Once upon a time (nearly 2 years ago to the day) I posted 9 figure drawing lessons for kids (and adults if they want to join in) and people still come looking for them. You can find them all here. Please keep in mind that originally I was doing these real time and life was rather hectic. If you decide to work through them feel free to leave a comment or email me if you ahve any questions or just want to share:
This week’s Tuesday prompt is: Walk outside, what is the first thing you see?
You can write about it, draw it, photograph it, imagine it, whatever as long as you have fun.
In our case, when you walk out onto our front porch the very first thing you see is a tree. A large, carpenter ant infested sugar maple to be exact. One that sits directly in front of our front porch, symmetric to the one the previous owners planted directly in front of the back porch, and parallel to the ones they planted at each corner of the house.
Being that it is rather dark outside and I can’t see a thing if I look out I thought I would use a previous doodle for this week. 🙂 (And yes, the ear infection seems to be mostly gone –Buried Treasure ACF plus an occasional drop of peroxide in the ear seems to have done the trick.)
You can find the list of prompts here if you want to take part next week.
I had planned to move in a different direction with this, teaching how to fill in the stick figure drawings, but something I noticed with the most recent batch of sketches changed my mind.
You all did a wonderful job drawing the heads and placing the the eyes and nose along the lines but I noticed something that I should have mentioned in that lesson which I will explain now.
First, remember to draw lightly when laying out the drawing, it will make life so much simpler down the road.
The facial features get laid out on the head similarly to how the body and joints are. Instead of using a “head” to measure we use the eye. A typical human face is 5 eyes wide (one eye wide between the two eyes and one on either side), the ears are directly even with the eyes and eyebrows. A closed mouth is one eye wide as is an average nose. An average smile is two eyes wide.
For measuring up and down you turn the eye sideways with an average of seven eyes tall. You have one eye at the midpoint, three up into the hair, and three below the midpoint–one eye down from the midpoint covering the nose two covering the mouth and chin.
This is why some people look odd–maybe their eyes are slightly bigger or smaller, the nose is wider or thinner. The same goes for drawing other life forms–an anime character has bigger eyes while an ogre is often drawn with an extra wide bridge of the nose and with the face scrunched towards the bottom of the head instead of even. A baby will have slightly larger eyes as well while an old man may have smaller more shrunken features.
Being able to draw an average face will help you draw more interesting ones.:) Also, as you practice you will find that you only have o draw little lines or a few notches to know where everything goes.
And so today I want you to practice laying out a face, and look around at real faces to see how Godd put thhe faces around you together. You will find that everyone is different but that there are similarities in many, also you will find that you can start to see better how to draw different faces if you learn to measure them using their own eyes.
Well, I am still catching up but do have a lesson for you this week (go ahead and post links to any drawings you have posted in the comments here and I will make a post of them after–I do have several but I know many people are on vacation or out of town and I don’t want to miss anyone who has posted theirs.)
This lesson is a kind of aside from the full body proportions we have been talking about.
One of the great things about doing a presketch skeleton is getting everything where you want it. You will notice that in mine I added a few lines to the head which gave the head a three dimensional feel.
There is another purpose to those lines. Those lines divide the head into four quarters.
The horizontal one cuts it into two hemispheres like the equator does the earth. The horizontal line is where you place the eyes and, if you move further out towards the sides, the ears. In general, if you cut a person’s head in half at their eyes there is the same amount on top as there is below. Above the line you place the eyebrows and hair. And below, on the vertical line, is where the nose and mouth belong.
This week I just want you to practice drawing heads (make sure you start with an egg shape–lots of people lop off the back of the head without meaning to.:)) Try using the vertical and horizontal lines to help you place the facial features.
Now that we know what we already know we can start to learn more about the body and its proportions.
If you know anything about horses you have probably heard of a horse being measured buy how many hands tall they are. Artists use a similar measurement when measuring people. You can measure a person using their head (unlike horse measuring “a head” is not a specific height, it is the height of that individual’s head). You can “eye it” (use your eye to estimate how many heads tall) or you can use your pencil and thumb like a ruler to figure out how many heads tall and wide a person is.
Look at your person again (if you are in the room with someone else it will be better if you actually walk over to them and a piece of paper or pencil to measure their head then how many heads tall they are.) Also measure how many heads wide they are at different points. How many heads wide are they at the shoulder? At the waist? At the hips? How many heads wide is one leg? An arm?
If there is more than one person in the room (or in the magazine if you don’t have a person) do this test on the others. Compare them. Keep in mind the person’s age when doing it. Is the person a child, a baby, a grownup?
Notice the difference between a baby, a child, a teen, a grown-up. A baby is about 3 heads tall, as she grows she gets to be about 4 heads tall , then 5, and once she is grown up she will be about 6 heads tall. A boy may end up being 7-8 heads tall. Width also changes as a child grows. A baby is only about 1 and a half heads wide, moving to about 2 heads wide as a toddler until adolescents. A 10 to 12 year old girl starts to widen slightly at the hips and by the time she is grown she will probably be about 3 heads wide both at the shoulders and the hips. A boy on the other hand will probably be about 2 heads wide at the hips and 3 at the shoulders.
Yes, everyone is different which is why this is a general rule. It gives you something to go on and will help you figure out proportions when drawing from the imagination AND when drawing from life. It will also help you if you want to draw in another style–for instance comic book illustrators tend to exaggerate certain proportions to make a point and manga/anime artists exaggerate them in a different way. If you know the general rules for real people it will make learning to draw other styles easier.
This week I would like you to draw a family, it can be your’s or someone elses. You can use stick figures or draw realistically if you like but I want you to use what I just explained about figuring out a person’s proportions using their head. Draw people of different heights and ages.
A lot of artists work in a studio–I work at my computer desk. I used to have a studio space in the basement and in the garage when I was using oils but nowadays I am working with watercolors and find that working at my desk with a photo on the monitor does the trick. I also carry a small watercolor tablet with me so I can do my doodles when I am out. Usually I don’t paint it or ink it until I get home though I try to keep my ink pen and a small case of watercolors with me, just in case.
The kids often sit on the floor nearby while I am working, working on their own watercolors or in work books. They also run in constantly showing me their latest projects. (Shamus’ desk is behind mine, across the room. Poor guy gets to deal with our constant interruptions while he is trying to concentrate.)
Busy preparing lessons for the art class. Well, that and watching movies with the kids (watched part of Camelot–the cheesy version, all of Overview of America by the John Birch Society–a great overview of political systems, and then Mr. Nice Guy–the kids and I LOVE JAckie Chan). And cleaning up messes, including my own–even my desk, which happens so seldom that I posted pictures over at Elasah.com.
My kids are helping me prepare a series of art lessons for kids. Instead of telling you how to draw a specific person or thing (like so many drawing books do) we are going to show you how to learn to draw anyone.
If you want to join in (adults are welcome as well as their children) you are going to need a decent sketch or drawing pad with plenty of paper–it can be slightly used but needs lots of fresh sheets. You will also need a pencil with an eraser (I prefer a mechanical pencil to drawing pencils.) Then, check in each Thursday to post a link to your version of the assignment and to check out the next week’s assignment.
The lessons will be posted each Thursday on my art blog: Elasah.com. (Don’t worry, I will let you know when I post them here as well.) My kids are looking forward to making some new friends and having others working along side them.:)
BTW–I would love it if you would get the word out. If you know someone you think might be interested could you let them know?