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“Drawing the Head and Figure” by Jack Hamm. Awesome book!
And yes, once you’ve got the basics down, drawing from a model helps tons—I prefer photographs over wooden dummies, though, because they have more interesting poses.
Or action figures. Sometimes you can find them with better articulation.
Don’t keep trying to do a ‘finished’ drawing all the time. Get a small plain book and just keep trying to capture the feel of arms, legs, bodies, etc. in bold and simple strokes. Imagine your own limbs and how they feel; light, heavy, dark, soft – just repeat, repeat, repeat and don’t worry about how bad your stuff might be. By the time you have filled a 250-page book you will have developed confidence and skill that you didn’t know you had. Then start another one. Also study the work of the old Marvel comic artists, they were supreme at economical, expressive rendering of the human figure.
Just like musicians, artists don’t have to produce a masterpiece every time they practice. But they have to practice to produce masterpieces.
I very much agree with uncleblog. The “feel” is something that Nicolaides talks about quite a bit in his book, “The Natural Way to Draw”. Gesture drawing is one of the best things you can do, to capture the essence of your subject. I would also recommend picking up Robert Beverly Hale’s books. He was one of the top figure drawing instructors at the School of Visual Arts. Check out “Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters”.
Also, you will definitely want to study artistic anatomy, which will give you a foundation for drawing the figure. Knowing what lies beneath the surface of the skin is essential.
Google “Andrew Loomis books PDF”
You will find free books in PDF format by Andrew Loomis on drawing the human form. He was an illustrator many years ago, and a wrote many how to books on drawing.
He really breaks it down to be easy and a person can learn a lot.
The language and humor are old fashioned but the info is very applicable always.
I caught my college figure drawing class text using some of his examples. ;)
Good luck. It is worthwhile to learn to draw the figure. My figure drawing instructor always says that if you can draw the figure you can draw anything”...true? I have found it mostly so.
But I” still don’t ENJOY drawing buildings!
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