Saturday, January 24, 2015

Thoughts concerning the 'realism versus construction' thread

First of all it should be called 'observational versus constructive' methods. But I understand why the guy called it what he did - he's contrasting essentially the 2 different approaches favored by the 2 flavors of figure drawing schools - one realist and one leaning toward constructive. It's still supposed to be realistic, but the classical atelier approach is generally CALLED realism, and often uses the modern sight-size method and accurate copying of the shapes in the visual field rather than understanding of the 3 dimensional forms/volumes and the properties of light.

I've only read the first 2 pages - I suspect that's the best part of the thread, but I'll at least skim some more to see if anything looks equally interesting. But I'm so glad I found this! This feels as important to me as the Talent thread, which got me all fired up and lead to my recent breakthroughs in composition (soft edges etc) that have greatly improved my work. And wow am I glad I saved so many posts from that one!! The main contributor - the guy whose words I mostly pasted in here - has since gone through and removed all of his posts there, with as far as I can tell no explanation. It's funny but the threads  I get most excited about on CA are usually the old one from bygone days.

Anyway - back on topic.

I'm glad to have found this overview on construction - with discussion about differing methods of as well as versus pure observational drawing. I've been working on gesture for a while now, still improving at it, and little by little including some structure along with it, the way Vilppu and Huston do it. My thinking is that if I can get good enough at it this way then I can avoid the more rigid boxy construction that tends to make drawings stiff and awkward.

However, deeper thinking has indicated that I probably should study that kind of construction, at least until I get used to thinking that way. It's good for finding the plane breaks and keeping things aligned. Also for more accurate proportioning and measuring. Then when I've absorbed it pretty well I hope it will inform my more gestural/structural drawing method, ala Vilppu.

Ok, final thoughts - I plan to go back through some of the old figure drawing books - Hogarth and Hale mainly - to re-learn this stuff. I also think - and I've been thinking this a lot lately - that I need to get myself an Asaro head.

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