Figure Drawing Tips & Reflection

While this video suffices for an adequate self-reflection and critique of some of my own recent figure drawing, I also wanted to write a little about it.

My intention with creating a self-critique is both external and internal: external for others to see my process and perhaps learn a thing or two, or to challenge their current way of drawing, and internal to allow me to become conscious of what I’m doing with my own art.  It’s very easy to get lost in “the way that we do things” as artists and it can help to regularly reawaken your conscious awareness to what it is you’re trying to do with your art. I helps me to reflect regularly on my process of drawing because it acts as a moment to think to myself, “do I still agree with this method, or is there anything I’d like to change?”.  Through the act of asking this question, you suddenly regain control of your ship, to continue on your path or change course, which is nice! There’s nothing worse than feeling like a slave to your method of drawing rather than the director.

While I studied at Sheridan College in the Bachelor of Animation program, I was given a set of tools that were especially helpful for outlining the boundaries of what the human body could do.  With becoming aware of the internal structure, the rib cage, the pelvis, the food position, the general proportions of each limb, we become aware of what can and can’t be done. With these boundaries delineated, we were free to pose our own character in a multitude of different dramatic or emotive poses, which is a good foundation for layering on caricature and personality on top of; the other building blocks critical to the discipline of animation.  

However, since graduating, I’ve been gently pushing towards a new way of drawing for myself, that is less concerned with exactness and proportional accuracy, and more concerned with stylization, or self-expression, but not in a post-modernisty sort of way the abandons all material and aesthetic concern, but is just not completely at the mercy of a mimetic way of seeing (or put differently, not completely trying to simply copy what is being seen as accurately as possible).  

The road to complete realistic accuracy to me feels like a well-tread road, as I imagine it did for many of the modernist artists, such as Monet, Cezanne, and Van Gogh, who sought to find their own way to express what they saw, or perhaps how they felt.  Another reason I’ve been increasingly feeling this way is to have varying degree of goals within my art. Sometimes, I love trying to represent the subject as accurately as I can, but sometimes this feels stale, and I feel more as though I need to find myself, and my own brush strokes, in the subject I see.  I think this variety of expression helps to keep art fresh for me, and I think this is reason enough.

So I hope you’ll enjoy the video above.  I think I went into anatomy too much, while I should have discussed my exact way of drawing and my own “style” of interpreting the forms more, but that might just be more difficult to discuss as it is less concrete.

To come out to my figure drawing here in Guelph to draw and chat about some of these things, see all the details on my Guelph Figure Drawing page. Go to the instruction, mentorship, or upcoming classes, go to the classes page.