Figure drawing using a virtual model

Many years ago several friends and I hired a model for three hours every Wednesday night, for about three years. We drawers all felt that we made terrific progress in training our eyes and muscles to capture the poses in front of us. I can liken it to when as Budgie (read my original post that mentions us) my musical partner and I played four sets a night for a year in a Washington, D.C. club. You can’t help but bring your skills up to the mad level, as the kids today might say. The flip side is that when you stop drawing or playing guitar as much, you lose the chops you had developed. I play the guitar everyday, but it’s been years since I’ve had the chance to draw from a model. Then recently it occurred to me that there must be images of figure poses out there somewhere.

Indeed there are. Recently I bought a DVD of poses, and here’s a drawing I did:

Figure drawing stephen springer davis Figure drawing using a virtual model

Female | Stephen Springer Davis | 2009

The DVD is called (if nudity offends you, or you’re at work [Wait, isn’t that a nude above? Too late- sorry], don’t click on the following link) Art Models 3 Reader Choice. Some of the poses are pretty goofy: models posed holding a spear or walking stick, or wearing toga-ish get-ups, or lounging boringly in a cheap fold-up chair. But for the most part the poses are useful.

When an artist draws from a live model, time is spent getting the pose to be interesting, in the sense of it being an attractive and challenging arrangement of the limbs, but also one that the model can successfully hold for ten to twenty minutes, and return to accurately after a break. With a virtual model, obviously there’s no fatigue for the model, but there’s also no input from the artist in choosing the pose either. One enhancement that the producers of this series have come up with is to photograph the models on a turntable which is slightly rotated after each shot, to allow the drawer to create a bunch of drawings from one pose, seen from different angles.

Not surprisingly, drawing at your computer is not as fulfilling as having a model live in person to draw. It’s quite different to have a standing pose that is 10 inches tall on your screen instead of an actual model at full size a few feet from you. But on the other hand, I was given the chance to do figure drawings, which I haven’t been able to for years. I could work at my own pace without worrying that the model would get tired and lose the pose, which usually happens. The virtual experience isn’t perfect, but it’s an acceptable substitute for a live model.

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This entry was posted on Monday, June 22nd, 2009 at 6:33 am and is filed under drawing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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I happened across your card this rainy morning and have enjoyed wandering around on your site, looking at the images and paintings and reading your comments.

Keep it up


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