Hey guys. I was going to save this for next Wednesday, but knowing me I'll end up forgetting about it. Consider this second Tips and Terms post for this week a bonus as well as an apology for not doing any sketchbook work over the last few days. *blush*
This little exercise can help you learn to see the basic shapes of the body. Just as our heads are made up of spheres and wedges, our bodies are composed of simple shapes. Things like cylinders, spheres, rectangles, even kidney bean-type shapes. Training yourself to see these simple forms can make drawing bodies from various angles and in numerous poses easier. With enough practice, you'll be able to draw any body in any position and have it appear solid and believable.
The exercise itself is pretty fun and can quickly become a daily habit. What you do is find an image of a character and - either on a print-out or tracing paper laid over the image - try to draw the shapes that make up the body.
I picked stills from The Batman and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic since those were the two samples used in the previous Tips and Terms post. You can use whatever you'd like, from cartoons to photos to classic works of art. The internet makes this very easy due to all the wonderful screen-caps and images out there. Pick poses or series that interest you and have at it.
Don't worry about clothing at the moment. Clothing can throw you off because of the way it drapes and folds thanks to gravity. Your goal is to discover the mass under the clothing. Once you're familiar with that, adding clothes to the body becomes a little easier, especially clothing on a figure in motion. You'll have a clearer idea of where the cloth hangs, as well as which parts will sway with movement and which parts will cling to the figure.
You can use this practice on four-footed critters as well.
Again, don't worry about things like manes and clothing at the moment. Just focus on getting a feel for the forms underneath. The legs are cylinders, the body is a slightly squished cylinder or bean shape, the upper part of the rear leg is a slight oval... you get the idea.
The point is to play, practice, and have fun. Don't worry about perfection or making things looking messy and odd. Just explore and see what you find.
If there's an art or comic topic that you'd like me to write about, please let me know via comments or email. Thanks guys!
"Drawing is your understanding of form."
-- Edgar Degas