Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Figure Drawing

A few years ago, a good friend of mine at the figure drawing workshop asked me: "Frank, do you think I really have to do spend all this time figure drawing to get good?" and I said "No, of course not." and he said "That's what I suspected." And that was the last time I saw him in workshop.

While teaching the drawing workshop at Art Center, I would often get the question "What do you think?" from students. My response, which often would annoy them, and definitely would have annoyed me as a student, was "What do you think?"

The most important thing about getting good at something like drawing is that you enjoy the process. When I sit down in a drawing workshop, I try not to worry about what anyone around me might think of what I'm doing and just try to focus on doing what I want to work on.

For a long time, all I wanted was to practice good proportions, designing a dynamic figure and learning solid anatomy.

And also quite often I just wanted to have fun and see what I could come up with; maybe I would focus on the emotions I'm feeling while drawing, or about how I feel toward the subject, or just play with the way I design the page.

There's no wrong way to draw, unless you're not enjoying it. Always push to get better, enjoy the process and realize that being great is about the current moment and not a goal for the future.



Dik Pose said...

Oh man... what excellent drawings!

Pinflux said...

Beautiful work! And your thoughts on the process are insightful :)

Greg said...

These are great! Your lines give off so much volume.

Steve said...

wow Frank, awesome figures! I like the third image down (the second set of three images) your lines are always so cleannnn its sick. the top image totally reminded me of egon schiele. great job!

Timothy J Lamb said...

i enjoy these a great deal frank. gorgeous line weights..

Francis Vallejo said...

enjoy all of them, but especially the top one!!!!1

what pen are you using looks like a Hi-tek C or Skb...?

Frank said...

Thanks guys, I don't usually post figure drawings.

Francis, these are all in charcoal, pencil, or colored pencil. The tone on the top one was done with a cup of coffee I got from starbucks right before the pose started.


M said...

Great drawings. Where do you go to figure draw? (I think I recognize that coffee model).

I always appreciate the advice you give out on this blog... it sounds VERY right but at the same time, I have a hard time absorbing it because it's contradictory to how I've thought for so long (always worrying about the outcome instead of enjoying the process, always worrying I won't reach a future goal).

Curiously I've found that if I like the model or the atmosphere, the drawings turn out much better because I'm enjoying myself.

Frank said...

Hey M,

I have had a hard time finding workshops I like in NY. The ones I've been to are:

SVA wed. night - excellent energy, $8, no drawing horses, weird schedule

Society of illustrators - good energy, great models, over crowded, terrible seating arrangement, $15 on Tuesdays.

Art Students League - ok energy, mediocre models, $12 per session, 6 days a week.

Spring Street Drawing Workshop - good energy, ok models, $12 per session, 7x a week.

currently my favorite is the Spring Street workshop because I can go whenever, but sometimes the models are just terrible and sometimes they are great. Society of illustrators would be my favorite if they had drawing horses instead of huge ass chairs and a monitor who only cares about his own seat in the place and leaves everyone else on their own.

Actually, I don't know why there aren't any good workshops I've seen with drawing horses, they make so much more sense to me.

Anyway that's my 2 cents on workshops in NYC. Thanks for the comment!


Óscar del Amo said...

very beautifull. Excelent.

Jon Klassen said...

if you had been in my figure drawing class in school, i think i would have made it a point to sit within copying distance.

Eli said...

All well said Frank. I couldn't get enough figure drawing in school. You have to make room for other classes to fulfill graduation requirements I guess. If I had it my way that's all I would've taken. I just loved sitting for the six or so hours of class. Thanks Frank.

Joshua Gorchov said...

Thanks for the thoughtful post Frank. It's easy to get caught up and overwhelmed with the big picture... forgetting to enjoy the moment while working. I'm going to keep this in mind while working this week.

donny said...

the first series of sketches is ace, i love the hand! i've recently started sketching again and you couldn't be more right - enjoying the process is quite important. liking what i've produced is just a bonus.

Kyle T. Webster said...

Lovely stuff, Frank, and good philosophy.

mrmarkrobson said...

i went figure drawing for the first time in a long while last night, and it took me a while to get over the self conscious bit, but felt wonderful to be drawing live again. I really appreciated this post, its great encouragement for anyone at any stage! Great stuff!

Super Wu-Man said...

i think that is an excellent phrase

"There's no wrong way to draw, unless you're not enjoying it."

i think it also works with just about anything in life....

i've been trying to think of just that line, but couldnt word it better.

great work too, i look forward to seeing more of your work!