Monday, July 24, 2006

Reference materials

I love, love, love to draw people. Inspired by Norman Rockwell, who drew from life as much as possible, I try to get my family to pose for me. If I need a hand, or a mouth, I turn to one of the many mirrors I have in my studio. (One, which I love, is an ornate affair with three panels, so it can stand up by itself. Whatever you're drawing is reflected from three angles, which instead of confusing me somehow makes me appreciate its three dimensions more.)

When all else fails, I have my highly prized backup materials: figure drawing reference books. All of mine come from either book sales or family member's attics - they are all from the 40's or therabouts and feature studies of human anatomy. (They also seem to feature a lot of naked women in high heels!) Proportions, ratios, and the insistence to draw, draw, draw are all outlined carefully. Also important is the attention to detail for bone and musculature structure - something that I think even in my figure drawing class we maybe spent two days on. I have one book that's only studies of hands. How cool is that?

Take a look on Ebay or your local library's book sale - or poke around in grandma's basement. I have about five of these books and they were all either free or about $1. And the value they give - for both reference and pure artistic enjoyment - is priceless.

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