Form and Geometry in Figure Drawing

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Using geometric shapes to simplify blocking in a drawing of the figure.

Using geometric shapes to simplify blocking in a drawing of the figure.

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  • 1. FORMUsing Geometric Elements in figure drawing
    Honoria Starbuck
    For Life Drawing
    Art Institute of Austin
  • 2. Draw a few pages of cubes to get started.
    Turn off overhead lights.
    Shine a flashlight on a box and draw!
    Jeff Jackson
  • 3. Next play with warping and twisting cubic forms to help you see shapes on the figure.
    Mathematics and Art
    ...well artists have more possibilities and their cubes take adventurous forms... Načeradsky's sketches
  • 4. Blocking in the gesture is a fun game when you are at an event or park.
    Capture the light on people during the morning and late afternoon.
  • 5. Analyze what the body masses are doing when a figure is in motion.
    Hang out in a boxing gym and see if you can follow the punches.
    Hang out at a rodeo and draw bucking broncos.
    Hang out at a golf course and take a swing at drawing the drives.
  • 6. Blocking with line first shows anatomical elements of head, ribcage pelvis with position of the spine.
    Blocking with value first also shows the position of the axial skeleton – the skull, ribcage, pelvis with position of the spine.
    Developing the shading and adding defining lines brings additional volume and anatomical detail to the figure.
  • 7. Carve the figure out of geometric shapes and anatomical knowledge will help you to build structurally sound figures.
    James King drawing at Hipbone Studio, Portland, Oregon
  • 8. Tips on using planes to compose figures
    Light the figure with form light.
    Planes are revealed by the crest shadow, midtones, and highlights of light on the figure.
    Ignore cast shadows on the figure but use them on the ground or background to give the drawing depth.
    Use your anatomy book to verify your growing X-ray vision
    Block in the planes based on light logic and anatomical structures.
    Use lines for shapes OR use values for the shapes you block in. Using line or value, not both, will simplify your initial drawing.
    When you have the forms blocked you may refine them by softening edges, blending, using watercolor, dry brush, ink wash, nuanced line, etc.
  • 9. Thank You
    Thank you to all the artists living and dead whose work is posted on the Internet to use in building educational tools.
    Links to source websites are on each slide for ease of finding more material connected to illustrations.
    This presentation was created in response to a student request for more information on capturing form in life drawing. It is designed to be used in a life model drawing session in combination with active drawing and discussion.