So here it is, four-point perspective in all its glory. It reminds me of looking out o window in New York City. If you were at the height of obout the thirteenth f loor and the buildings around you were thirty f loors, this is what you would see. We have squeezed depth on both the vertical and horizontal planes with each having two points of convergence. This is the world of perspective we live in. The closer something gets to your eye, the more of a fisheye lens effect you will see. The center of the object will emerge closer to you while its perimeters will squeeze away back into space.
The problem is, we are not normally close enough to objects to be aware of heightened perspective and not around the middle of objects that are large enough to look up and down.
What you see in the side-view mirror of a car is what you want to be aware of all around you every day. In production art, you will sometimes see this in camera tilts for storyboards or a layout.
Here is an example of how four point perspective affects the model. The first thing I try to make students aware of in learning to apply perspective to their drawings is having an awareness of their eye level and location in reference to the model. In the drawing I have done, the eye level or horizon line is at mid-thigh.
I have chosen these next four figure drawings for you to see the reaction of four-point perspective. Make yourself aware of where the artist's eye level was. The way to do this is to see where the body seems to go flat for a moment, a place that you cannot see above or beneath, where you are looking head on at the model. See where the closest edge of the box of space that the model occupies is in reference to you. In most standing poses, my eye level hits right around the mid-thigh of a model.
This drawing is terrific for seeing the perspective set up between the model's two feet. Because they are connected with a line, we are given a direction towards the left vanishing point. As a visual reminder, when drawing a modefs feet, notice the height difference of the two on the page (as I have drawn with the arrow). From there, you can see how the rest of the body is af fected by the guidelines of perspective I have drawn. The closest edge of the box of space she occupies is represented by the contour line running down the right side of her body.
See the angles of his feet, knees, hips, and jaw. Here it is the hips that are at my eye level. Look at the line running over his left shin that defines its form and direction of force.
Here the feet ond shoulders hoppen to fall on the lines of perspective the body is in. See how the hips do not do the some. The model's knees ore at my eye level or horizon line. The body is complex and con move to present various different perspectives in one pose. You must be aware of your eye line and how the entire pose sits in four dimensions.
The steps the model is sitting on ore our most obvious clue to the perspective of this drawing. Look at their angle relative to that of her breasts and shoulders, or the straight line that represents the back of her head. There is a strong sensation of looking upward at her here.
In my classes, for homework, students draw five heads a week. The way I have them do this is to first find a victim. (Don't draw from a magazine; it is flat, which actually makes the job harder.) Then they are to see their relationship to that person to figure out the cube of perspective the head is in and draw it. Lastly, the head should be drawn with surface lines to show structure. Later in the year, they move on to hands and feet with the same disciplines in mind.
Many ort closses teach students to draw the figure with cubes and cylinders. I believe that this is a good foundation for artists. It allows you to see the angles and planes of perspective on the body as we just learned them.
The human body happens to be a little more complicated than just boxes and cylinders, though. In this part of Chapter Two, I will show you drawings that possess lines that evoke force and describe form. This will occur with the use of surface lines.
Going long in Chapter One was the beginning of seeing force wrap around form. Now we will focus on the forms.
Here we see surface lines with simple structures. The cylinder on the left shows lines that adhere to and go around the form. Some of them pull along its surface from end to end. On the right, we see lines that do not explain the surface of the cylinder. They seem to carve into it instead. The box on the bottom shows us how to describe a flat surface with line. You can also describe a change in planes with surface lines. As with the cylinders, inappropriate lines cut into the surface of the right side of the box.
This part of the book will also help you get away from the edge of the body, or its perimeter. The model takes up space and you want to be able to explain how. You will learn to see force throughout the entire form and this in turn will make you aware of structural and rhythmic connections. Remember that the edge of the model exists because of where you are seated relative to the model. If you or the model were to change location or position, the edge would change.
Pay attention to the location of the natural center on the f orms you understand. For instance the nose on the face, the center of the ribcage, or the belly button on the stomach. You obviously have the spine for the back. On the legs you find the model's knees and the top of the foot. For the arms you can use the center of the biceps or deltoid to explain each of those dif ferent planes.
Going back to hierarchy, think about addressing larger structures first and then smaller ones. Understand the direction and form of the ribcage before you draw the muscles attached to it. I remember when I was first experiencing the enjoyment of seeing space, it was because of an instructor telling me to imagine I was an ant crawling over the surface of the model's body. Everything is large in comparison to you. It is a new landscape for you to explore. Hills, valleys, and plateaus will appear on your trip. Ride the rapids of force in the figure. The more you can believe what I tell you, open up your mind, and envelope what you see, the faster you will obtain awareness of space.
Another exercise in drawing form is for you to act as if you are sculpting the model with your pencil. Draw as though you are caressing him/her with the pencil's tip. Feel the f orms in your mind and express them on the page.
Sometimes students confuse this exercise with drawing shadows. We are not looking for shadow; we are looking for form through force.
Michelangelo comes to mind when I think about line showing force and form. He was the master at making a complex group of muscles, such as the back, work together as a whole. This is no easy task. The vast sea of bulges and depressions could leave any artist confused and lost.
In the beginning of the twentieth century lived a man named Charles Dana Gibson. He was best known for "The Gibson Girl." His lines dealt mainly with structure. Everything occupied space as he illustrated scenes from that time period. Dover publishes an excellent book called "The Gibson Girl and Her America: The Best Drawings by Charles Dana Gibson." I fortunately almost tripped over two large, old volumes of his work on the floor of an antique shop in South Jersey. Definitely a precious find.
Heinrich Kley was an artist I had never heard of until representatives from Disney told me about him. At that time, I was lacking form and Kley's drawings were not. Kley was a German artist who did satirical cartoons for Germany's newspapers. These illustrations are full of life and creativity. He draws everything with solidity in mind and uses line to do it. He draws centaurs and satyrs, dancing elephants and gators, giants and fairies, all in service of his political opinion. His book is readily available and it costs fewer than ten dollars. "The Drawings of Heinrich Kley" from Dover. This is a worthy investment.
A contemporary master at giving line force and form is Frank Frazetta. Some of you may know him as the great fantasy painter that he is, but his black and white ink work is intelligent and beautiful as well. His brush strokes evoke solidity and force at the same time. Check out "Frank Frazetta, The Living Legend " to see some great examples of this.
Go and see the sculptures of Richard MacDonald to get a sense of what your drawings should evoke. His sculptures are incredible representations of figures that occupy space through rhythm, form, and poetic power. His work can be seen on his website of the same name.
(Again, don't copy the model; instead, recreate him or her.) You must rebuild them on the paper. I usually give the students ten-minute poses to actuate these exercises. Also start to consistently draw the hands and feet within each drawing. They add another level of expression to the images you create.
So, here we ore, the model in perspective ond showing form through sculpturol lines. See how most of the surfoce lines sculpt the model's spoce ond olso move in the direction of the force of that port of the body. As on example, see the surface lines along the ribcage that give us its form, but also the sweeping upward sensation caused by the model's raised arm. Also look at how the surface lines of the ribcage and hips help to explain their different directions in space, which aids in telling a clearer story about the pose's ideas.
I've drawn this as simpler masses on the right. The right leg in relationship to the hip is more severe in perspective. It comes out towards us more rapidly than the hip. The calf also rapidly descends back into the page. The capacity to create three-dimensionality or a sense of deep paper is a miracle of drawing.
I have students cover as much of the model's body in forceful line as possible to speed their process of understanding. The more you do it, the faster you will learn it.
Here Seung effectively tokes on o rather difficult perspective situation. Seung's drawing shows us how to sculpt the body with line and still discuss its forces. On the surface of the ribs, we are shown their roundness and the outward pressure they endure. Notice the concept of a stretched abdomen shown here, as well as its surface. As an aside, also see how much depth there is here in this drawing. The size of the model's hand is noticeably smaller than that of his foot.
Look around this drawing and see how the lines of structure also describe force. I started this drawing with the sweep of the back. Notice the straight, hard moments of the shoulder, hand, and head.
Here there is less physical drawing. The lines are used in an efficient manner to help us feel the solidity of the model's forms. The thickness of the feet and pressure put upon them by the model's weight are revealed by all of the surface lines here. Look at the knees and the roundness of the ribcage for more structure.
Here you con see how the ploce where the ribcoge ond hips meet is furthest f rom us in perspective for those structures. See how I handled the hair to show solidity.
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