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Introduction to Figure Drawing
You should learn figure drawing even if you're mainly interested in drawing and painting landscapes.
That's because depicting incidental figures in a painting will give a feeling of life to the subject.
The figure is a foil to a landscape, and if it is not executed convincingly it can destroy the effect of an otherwise good drawing.
You can learn human figure drawing and anatomy well by sketching people at every opportunity.
Sketch people in the train, the park, at home, at the beach, etc. The rule is: Draw at all times.
Observe how people walk, sit, and stand. Notice their gestures.
You will see that you can often identify someone you know at a distance by the way his head rests onhis shoulders, and you'll see the different postures of the old and the young.
Make notes on how clothes are draped on a person, and how wringkles form a in a sleeve when the arm is bent, raised and hanging at the side.
Your drawings do not have to be large. Anything between 2 to 6 inches will do. But keep in mind that your drawings will have to be small if you're trying to capture any action.
Obtain a small sketch pad that can fit into your pocket or purse and carry it with you at all times. Fill the pages with sketches, using a pencil, a fountain pen, or the newer felt-tip pen.
If you use a pencil, don't use an eraser. You are not out to collect neat pads of figure drawings. If the line is not right redraw a corrected heavier line over it.
The advantage of using a pen is that it leads to a more direct handling. But do not be concerned about technical handling of the pen.
Put the lines down as you feel them. Observe how the shape of a suit or a dress is affected by the figure.
In time your pads will contain a collection of both action sketches and studies of form.
As these pads are filled you will develop your figure drawing and acquire enough knowledge to place a single figure or a group of figures convincingly in your composition.
As you progress, you may want to try drawing with stick figures and/or using a manekin as a model, before you engage in the more serious business of drawing from life.
As you can see, learning to draw the human figure is such an interesting journey!
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