Something I do a lot with friends is I go out to draw in random locations through the city. It’s meant to help us draw from life. We draw people, or buildings or animals. I wanted to talk about the differences of drawing from life as opposed to drawing from a picture. Drawing from life is very similar to training with a weighted vest in physical exercise. It’s harder to draw from life and I feel much more rewarding because you accomplish a harder task. When you are drawing someone who is in constant motion, it tells your brain you only have a certain amount of time to capture the moment, so you tend to remember certain details better. A teacher once told me, drawing from life is 80 percent what you know and 20 percent what you see. You learn how to draw what you are seeing first, study it and then go out to draw it from real life.
One of my prime locations in my city is the zoo. I go there to draw the animals as they are going about their business. If you don’t know what you are looking at its more of a shape exercise that you are doing. You would be are drawing something on a “surfacy” level, the same way you would draw a vase. Learning the internal workings of a person, or animal, can help you draw something much better, especially since most of your subjects will be moving. You wouldn’t have the time to overthink, you have to know some information beforehand. You shold have an artist pencil case near by.
Some things to take into account when drawing a person would be the anatomy, the slight perspective of the body, the proportions of the body and how the joints rotate, overlapping of form, and clothing, etc. That’s not even all you need. When you learn all those on their own, you take that knowledge and use it when you need to think fast. This will give you less things to figure out when you are seeing a moving subject and be able to draw them much easier. So this is really the key to becoming great at drawing from life. I’ve rarely seen people do it without knowing vital information beforehand. Always have an artist bag near.
So when I need to think fast, I keep my pencils strapped to my sketchbook using the arm-adillo. It is perfectly designed for out and about drawing, for art on the go here.
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