Come Together…

2 05 2011

It has been awhile since my last post, so there is a lot to cover!

Here is a pretty complete body drawing!  Sorry the picture quality of my drawings is so bad in this post, but you get the idea.

We have moved from feet to hands.  Hands have similar construction to feet, as stated in the last post.  The hands are just a modification of the feet, designed to grab and assist the body in functional ways, instead of bearing weight. The thumbs have one less joint and are what make humans so unique!  In order to avoid sausage-like fingers while drawing, it is important to emphasize the bone structure. It is also very easy to make hands and feet way too small.  Look at the head as a reference to make sure you have them large enough! Hands and feet are definitely my weakness when drawing the body.  I will need a lot more practice to feel comfortable drawing them.  It is a good thing to practice every once in awhile so you do not get rusty.

We then moved into the head and face.  To draw the human head you must understand the structure of the skull. This will give you a better understanding of the different planes the head has.  The face and head do not have much muscle definition, so the skull is the most important reference when drawing a face.  You should pay close attention to the nasal bone and zygomatic bone.

Here is the beginning of a face drawing from class.  I was drawing from below so I got a good nostril shot.  I am really pleased on how the eyes turned out.  I wish I was able to get more done, but this is a good start!  I can’t wait to start my self portrait.  I have been waiting to draw faces all semester.  I love drawing portraits! I have learned some new things that have really made my drawings more realistic.  And once again it has to do with planes.  This class has really opened my eyes to drawing.  I have never been so excited to draw.  It’s like working out a puzzle.  While drawing the eyes, it is good to emphasize the sphere shape of the eye, and the iris and pupil are their own part of a sphere, like a drop of water on the white part.  The top eyelid has 3 planes, while the bottom has only 2.  Planes are according to the eyebrow arch usually. I need to practice the mouth next…


Long over-due post…

5 04 2011

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while!  It is crazy how busy I have been!  Classes seem to be flying by!  I have been revamping my manikin, and hopefully after some critical changes it will be looking much better.  I missed last week’s post, so I will talk a little about feet.  We learned to draw feet in planes, just as the torso.  I never knew how intricate feet and hands are! I found this picture on the internet to quickly describe the planes.  Also, when drawing toes the joints should be squared to prevent sausage toes!

The feet are made up of the heel and ankle portions.  That is good to know when drawing, because it will help you determine the planes.  Hands and feet have the same bones, just modified differently.  The big toes and thumbs have one less joint then the rest of the fingers and toes.  I liked learning about the feet in particular because it is easy to see why there are so many things that can go wrong with your feet and it is good to understand how they are constructed. Now that it is running season for me, I will be thinking about my feet a lot!  I like being more aware of my body.  I did not get much practice over spring break for drawing feet, but I particularly like drawing hands and feet, so hopefully I will add them in my drawings to get more practice.  Or at least get the general shapes.

As for the shoulders, chest, and back, I still need a lot more work on figuring out those muscles.  Once I get my manikin constructed right, it will be nice to look at it for a reference.  We had a longer in-class drawing that we concentrated on the back/chest/shoulder  muscles.  Mine turned out relatively good, but a little out of proportion, and I do not think that all of the muscles are in their correct places.

I did not have my manikin with me in class to reference, and it would have been nice.  It would be interesting to draw a really buff person so you could see all their muscles, but I guess there are not many people like that, so subtle muscle definition is more realistic.  I feel my drawings are a little over-the-top in muscle definition.  Her shoulders are pretty broad and her right arm looks a little strange.  I think this drawing is a good start to trying to figure out where all the back muscles are.

It’s interesting that after I started taking this class I began to look at people really differently.  Just the other day I was staring at my friend’s arm and was really excited that I could see her muscles that come together to form the arm pit.  She thought I was being strange, but I love taking classes that make to think about them outside of the classroom as well.  I love my concise book of muscles.  Whenever I have a muscle that is sore I can look at the book to see how to stretch it!

I am not feeling as comfortable with the back and shoulders, as I was with the torso and hips, but I think with a little more practice, and my manikin as reference, my confidence should improve.


Mid – Term is Here!

5 03 2011

When I entered the life drawing studio, I knew my drawing skills would increase, but I had no idea how quickly my view of drawing would change, and in such an enlightening way.  I have always had art teachers that focused on expressive techniques that were more painterly.  I love this aspect of art, but I was always fascinated by artists who could render a quick and concise drawing.  Being able to give so much information in so few lines really amazes me.  This way of drawing to me is all about planes.  One main key element I have learned in this class is planes.  I always knew planes existed, I guess it just did not make sense until now.  Cross contour drawing teaches you so much about a surface and planes.

Another great drawing tool I have learned is simplified forms and how they interact with different planes.  By identifying a few key landmarks the most simple drawings can show so much.  Our quick 30 second drawings are a great warm up for drawing, loosening your body and mind, but it is also teaches you to analyze quickly and use your instincts.  I am excited to learn more body parts in their simplified form so my quick sketches can have different focuses, depending on what part I wanted to highlight.

Finally, but not least important by any means, my knowledge of human anatomy has improved.  By working on my manikin, creating every muscle, placing it in the correct spot, my view of the human body has completely changed.  It is great to know how the skeletal system works and how the muscles interact with one another.  Not only have it changed how I draw, it has changed how I view my own body.  I already like to stay active, but by recognizing my muscles I have, I want to do more yoga and stay active.                  

To view all my photos on my Flickr account follow this link:


What is Art?

28 02 2011

Tolstoy, What is Art?, Chapter 5


What is Art?


Art can be defined differently across cultures and throughout time.  Art can be very subjective, thus many definitions exist. What is considered art has always been a hot debate, and Tolstoy tries to define art in chapter five of What is Art?.  He wants to look at the definition of art without the conception of beauty.  He examines three existing definitions of art, and generates his own opinion of what art is.

The first definition, a psychological-metaphysical definition, states that art is created out of sexual desire and the human will to play.  This creates positive reactions in the nervous system.  Tolstoy disregards this definition because it fails to look at other activities that excite the nervous system.  Also, it does not exactly deal with the question of what is art, rather why or how art is made.  Tolstoy quickly denies this definition and moves on to an experimental explanation. This definition says that art is one’s emotion expressed outwardly through lines, color, movement, sound, and words.  Again, Tolstoy quickly dismisses this definition because one may create art to not manifest his or her own emotions, but possibly someone else’s or an emotion they never have felt.  Finally, the third definition states art is an object or passing action that creates pleasure for the producer and audience.  Tolstoy disagrees with this statement because many things in life are pleasurable for the performers and the audience, like sporting events.  According to Tolstoy, “The accuracy of all these definitions arises from the fact that in them all (as also in the metaphysical definitions) the object considered is the pleasure art may give, and not the purpose it may serve in the life of man and of humanity” (49).

Tolstoy believes that art should be viewed as absolute existence in society and not just a casual pleasure.  He also believes that art is a form of communication between human beings, like cause and effect.  He gives examples of how different situations can perpetuate emotions in different people. Tolstoy believes, “this capacity of man to receive another man’s expression of feeling and experience those feelings himself, that the activity of art is based” (50).  A true artist is able to infect viewers with emotion that the artist has felt, or even imagined feeling.  The feeling produced can be very subtle or really strong.  According to Tolstoy, “ If only the spectators or audience are infected by the feelings which the author has felt, it is art” (51).  He also explores whether or not people are not able to infect or to be infected.

Tolstoy believes that art is very important because it can prevent man from becoming beast-like.  Just as without speech in stages of development, growing up without art can cause one to act as a wild beast.  Some scholars and religions have tried to ban art because of the power it holds over mankind.  They believed art has the “power to infect people against their wills that mankind will lose far less by banishing all art than by tolerating each and every art” (Tolstoy 53).  Tolstoy states that art cannot be banished, but it is part of everyday life communication.

Although art can be defined in many ways, Tolstoy explores a new way to define art.  By examining popular definitions and refuting them, one can begin to see art in a new light.  To Tolstoy art is a communication or reciprocation of feeling and emotion.  It is important to human life and development and cannot be taken away.  Art is more than just beauty and pleasure.  It is an influential and essential form of communication for mankind.

Pelvis and Thighs

28 02 2011

Hello!  It has been quite some time since I have last posted!  Sorry to those who are in my comment group!  I am going to do a longer post to make up for the week before.  We had a shorter week with the protesting in Wisconsin, so my drawing time that week was very low!  But thank you to all who show support for public employees!

On to life drawing!  We began looking at the pelvic region and drawing in the butterfly-shaped bone structure.  The pelvic bone is a lot closer to the rib cage  than it appears.  At first, I was having some troubles with grasping that  concept, but I just forced myself to exaggerate how close it was and I ended up getting it spot on.  I really enjoy putting all of the pieces together to form the human body.  I find myself creating the human form while doodling in other classes.  It is fun to be able to render the human form without having to look directly at the form.  I like to spend longer time on drawings, so many of my short gesture drawings do not include the pelvis.  I am sure I will get quicker with time.  I have improved my life drawing skill immensely since the beginning of class.  I am still starting off with the middle line either describing the middle of the back or middle of the chest and belly.  Then, I draw in my egg-shaped ribcage with a neck opening (if relevant or if I have enough time).  Also, while I am making my middle line, I like to mark where the ribcage starts and ends, along with the a mark to indicate the top of the pelvic bone.  Then I draw in the pelvic bone, either drawing the “butterfly wings” from the side (which can be very easy to see), or from straight on (front and back view), or a combo.  From the back view on our model, you are able to see indents in the lower back, this is also a good landmark.  Then I like to draw in the abdominal muscles and the thigh muscles.  I do not have much practice in either of those areas just yet, but by just getting the skeleton down I am able to draw my figures in proportion.  It is really hard to visualize the pelvic bone at times and I really like having many skeletons around the drawing room to look at.

You are able to see the dimples in the lower back from the pelvic bone in this gesture drawing.

As for my manikin, I need to catch up with the rest of the class.  I am just starting to build the thighs, and this will help me be able to draw them much easier.  I am purchasing the Concise Book of Muscles by Chris Jarmey, and this should help my manikin in time for my mid-term blog post.  Plus it will be a great reference to have on hand!




14 02 2011


We are still working on the spinal column and rib cage.  I started out with the mid line of the body and then drew in my rib cage.  We had our first female model on Thursday, and I felt a little challenged by the switch up.  It was a lot harder to see her skeleton, so I had to just trust my judgment on where to place her rib cage.  I really liked the change up though.  It will only make me improve.  This drawing is pretty off now that I look at it again.  I tried drawing in some of her abdominal muscles, but I may have put them in too low.  We are supposed to draw an egg shape for the rib cage, and my egg could be repositioned a little bit.  Although sitting at a drawing horse can seem just as affective for drawing, I believe I am able to assess my drawing with a more objective eye by being able to stand back.  I also drew in the nipple to show the different planes of the body.  The line going down the side of the body is representing that change in plane.  My line is very heavy in this drawing and I feel I need to put less on the paper, and only use line deliberately.  So far though this technique of mapping out the spine and rib cage has already helped my figure drawing skills greatly.  As for the manikins,  mine is slowly coming along.  I will post a picture as soon as I get my assignments up to date.  There is not much to show as of right now.  It will be interesting to learn our next key body part.  I would like to be able to draw more complete forms.  Although some of my sketches are taking on an abstract feel.  I like the idea of simplified forms.  Plus, so much information can be provided by a 30 second sketch of the spine and rib cage.

Cross Contour and Spines

8 02 2011

One of our first lessons was on cross contour drawing.  This is pretty new to me, although I have tried it before.  It’s a really great way to show the surface of an object!  This is my attempt in class of a calf and an ankle.  It is interesting to describe a surface with parallel lines.  Depending on how close together your lines are, you can show more detail as well.  More intricate line work should be done where there is the most information.   Like my ankle has many more lines than my the upper calf.  This drawing process is a great way to render your drawings.

The next lesson we had was on the spine!  It was very interesting to learn how the spine moves and the different sections involved.  By drawing each section you are really able to illustrate so much of the figure, and the sections can be formed into one line to represent the spinal column.  This line is supposed to be the first line we draw when doing gestures.  This will take some time getting used to, but it makes sense.  The entire body relies on the spine.  By getting the orientation of the spine correct, you are able to draw the figure more accurately and in proportion.

This was one of the first gesture drawings I did in the class.  This is before I learned any anatomy.  So, hopefully the quick drawings will become accurate with fewer lines.  This figure is way out of proportion, but human-like nonetheless.  My method of drawing people has always been about where the joints are in relationship to one another.  It will be interesting to change this method, and be more focused on anatomical structures and their  design.  By understanding how the body moves and works I will be able to draw people with a lot more accuracy.

By posting each week’s work we will see how I progress!!