Studying the Figure

For me, it is hard to understand that not everything I create is going to be good. I am naturally a perfectionist, and thus I feel like everything I draw/paint has to be the best that I could have possibly made it. I have a hard time creating just to create because I always feel pressured to produce something outstanding and to the best of my abilities. I can readily acknowledge that I have both good and bad art days, but it is still sometimes hard to come to terms with. What is even more frustrating is admitting that my skill level is not presently where I want it to be at.

What that segways into is my figure drawing class. I’ve never been good at anatomy, and that is for one very simple reason- I almost never practiced it in high school. I would draw what I thought I saw from references, and that method would carry on into my summer before college. Once I began my college courses, I tried my best to not draw any humans from the neck down, or really anything involving motion, because I knew I wasn’t good at it. And that was something I tried to avoid until I had to take a figure drawing class this semester. Don’t get me wrong, I was ecstatic knowing that I was able to take such a cool class that would improve the overall quality of my art. However, I struggled in the class knowing that had I practiced in high school, I wouldn’t be as unskilled in this class as I am now. 

One assignment that really helped me was actually an assignment that came from a model calling in sick. Instead of drawing figures for that day, the class was instructed to choose three drawings from a slide list of “Figure Drawing Examples”. Once we did, we were to study those images and attempt to draw them ourselves. This assignment held a lot of value to me as I was better able to understand how others saw the human body, but also how they turned it into a drawing. It was extremely helpful to see the way that other artists shaded and drew the form, and also to see the lighter, sketchier mistakes that were still visible. It gave me insight as to how I might want to approach my classes in the future. Below are the three drawings that I did, which were based off of a Degas, Delacroix, and Deibenkron respectively.

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