Hello Madame! So I'm an art student in Graphic Design and a self-taught artist since more or less ten years, but I honestly learn way more things by myself than at art school so I still have one big problem. I can draw a lot of things but when it comes to poses I just... Draw always the same, easy ones, or I'm obligated to use references to draw something a bit different. It's killing me, because I want to leave my comfort zone and draw poses from my imagination alone. Any tips, tutorials ? <3
Hi anon ^^
First, I have to apologize because it’s gonna be a long post, consider it as my “DEFINITIVE REFERENCE PICTURE POST” :)
I’m obligated to use references to draw something a bit different.(…) I want to leave my comfort zone and draw poses from
my imagination alone. Any tips, tutorials ? <3
The first step is drawing all kind of poses under different angles using reference pictures. What? But…I don’t want to!! That’s why I’m contacting you P-M!!! WHAT THE HELL!!!
Calm down ^^
It’s necessary in order to build in your head a kind of “visual library” that will give you the possibility to draw without references later. It will train your eye and your hand. Also, at the same time you’re working on your “visual library”, you have to study anatomy techniques like for instance breaking figures
from reference down into more simple 3D shapes. You have to learn how to draw groups
of simple 3D shapes in perspective and then construct figures from them. However, it doesn’t come in one day and also, you’ll have to use tons of reference pics AT FIRST. You see what I mean? You can’t go from zero reference to “cool figure drawing” in one step, you have to use the combo “reference + anatomy technique” to be able to reach this goal.
Artists who train in
illustration are taught how to draw from using a building block tool for construction, much
like some of the pictures that you can see below.
As I said above, it really takes a lot of training and practice
to build objects from shapes. Basically every form begins as a shape. The more experience you
get, the more you understand proportions and the more skills you will have to draw
without visual reference.
In order to reach this result, you have to study anatomy tutorials. They always work more or less the same
way, a bit like the pic above: decomposing the human body in geometric shapes or in elaborated stick
figures. Here are a couple of video tuts.
- Drawing the body from imagination (part1)
- Drawing the body from imagination (part2)
- Figure drawing with Michael Hampton (not really for beginners but very interesting)
TLDR: practice over and over again by using refs. Create a “visual library”. Learn to break the body into shapes. That will be the only way to make you come out of your comfort zone.
(Rainbow Comic Sans for maximum effect. I guess that now, I have everybody’s attention if it wasn’t the case til now)
Yes, you have rules to make
things easier to draw from memory BUT THERE IS NOTHING WRONG ABOUT USING REFERENCE PICTURES!! It shouldn’t “kill you”, it shouldn’t make you feel guilty and you shouldn’t feel “less of an artist” because you need references for complicated poses!!! Plenty of pros don’t do art without models and props. And the old masters did the same thing. You want examples? Ok, let’s start!
Here’s a great quote from Alex Ross’ book, Mythology.
Ross’ biggest breakthrough as an illustrator came in June 1987 at the American Academy of Art, when he was introduced to the use of live models. “Before that, I had no idea how much I could grow as a draftsman. It was a huge turning point, because all through grade school I hadn’t so much as drawn from photographs_I’d always thought that you had to make it all up out of your head, and that’s how you did ‘fantasy’ illustration. Now I wonder if I would have developed even sooner had I drawn from life as child”
Photo session for a Superman drawing:
Alex Ross using the photos for his work (and you see the pose is not even complicated!)
And wait, MY FAVORITE PAGE EVER. PROFESSIONAL artists taking pictures of themselves and of their friends so that they can have reference pictures for their artworks. An example:
(Artist Claudio Pozas posing with…huh…a modern day sword for one of his artworks)
And if you want a funny anecdote, you see Dean’s shoes in this art? It’s mine. I had a problem with the pose so I took a pic of myself with a camera and worked from the pic.
Yeah…but for manga and
comics, it’s more stylized, they don’t use refs…Artists draw from the top of
their heads…and…HA! HA! HA!!!! MEGA LOL! Two examples from my personal archive. Here is a
picture taken from a Japanese program. I don’t remember the name of the artist but
this mangaka is drawing a page for his forthcoming comic and instead of drawing
from memory do you know what he did? He asked his assistant to pose for him. He took a pic with a Polaroid and…voilà!
The guy is in his 70′s!! He’s a super experienced artist and he still uses references for his art.
Let’s carry on! Another example. When I was a
teen I bought an artbook by artist Takeda Yaoi
(my first yaoi stuff!)
and two of the poses looked
You bet it looked familiar. The artist used as reference, pictures of members from some my favorite bands at the time, Gene and Menswear (90′s
teenagers, fan of Britpop, hello…).
(Pictures: L’UOMO Vogue, May-June 1995). And yes, we are in 2016 and I still have this magazine and this artbook at home. I..have problem throwing things away, ok? ><
Also, do you know what comic artists use nowadays for referencing? 3D softwares like Poser.They create the pose with a 3D model, they orientate the model according to the perspective they want and they use it as ref. It doesn’t mean they aren’t “real” artists, it just makes life fucking easier and it reduces the chances of anatomy mistakes.
(The picture above proves that not ALL the artists in the business use models or reference pictures xD)
Listen, I understand that you want to draw from imagination, that for some reason it makes you feel “freer” and that some poses are complicated to obtain from refs (the super dynamic “spider man poses” for instance) but it shouldn’t “kill you” to need refs to draw the human body when you really need it. If it’s to sketch or to draw “super comic style” poses, ok, why not, but otherwise WHEN IN DOUBT: REF!!! Particularly when you work on something complicated or on a big project like an artwork, for a book, a comic cover, etc..Do you understand? Even dôjinshi artists who seem to sketch things from the top of their heads use refs. I KNOW IT BECAUSE I KNEW SOME OF THEM.
TLDR2: Drawing from imagination is cool, it’s convenient for some poses or for some styles (super dynamic comic poses) but otherwise, don’t feel guilty for using refs! Pro artists do it all the time and now that 2000000 miliion images are available on the Internet, they do it even more than before!
Good luck anon, YOU CAN DO IT!! ♥