Draw the Figure: Head, Hands, and Feet

Draw the figure:Head, Hands and Feet by Juliette Aristides

Drawing heads, hands and feet often intimidates beginner artists. In this excerpt from “Figure Drawing Atelier”, Juliette Aristides shares sketches that will help simplify the process and inspire you to practice.

Copying and creating seem contradictory concepts. However, over the centuries, artists were able to shape their own vision,olo absorbing the past, however innovative or personal whatsoever,.

Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann, Creative Copies
Drawing the Figure: Heads, Hands, and Feet
Michael Mentler, “From the Sketchbook”, 2007, ink wash, pen and gouache enhanced with white, 12 x 9 inches (30.5 x 22.9 cm). Image courtesy of Monacelli Press.

Two Approaches to Drawing

The complete formation of figure drawing focuses on two approaches: conceptual (understand concepts) and observational (training the eye).

A conceptual approach is to understand structure, anatomy and proportion. We can draw a credible figure, in the ideal, without looking at a model, as long as we understand the mechanics.

Drawing the Figure: Heads, Hands, and Feet
Glen V. Vilppu, Feet, VilppuAcademy.com. Image courtesy of NewMastersAcademy.org and Monacelli Press.

The other approach is observation drawing: draw only what you see, not focus on what’s under the skin, but what makes this figure different from any other. This naturalistic approach trains the angles of the view to see, the shapes and the value to draw an individual, exactly as it is. Both the strength of the structure and the sensitivity of nuanced observation are inseparable when one is creating a good drawing.

In principle, a drawing is always addressed as a whole, never as a series of parts; we don’t use a formula to draw different themes. The way we draw a head is the same way we approach an apple or a teapot. However, it can be intimidating to draw certain parts of the body, because they are detailed, complex and familiar. It only takes a small mistake to make them look wrong. In this excerpt from “Figure Drawing Atelier”, we will mainly see three parts of the figure that often intimidate new artists (heads, hands and feet) and overcome some of our fears by simplifying and practicing.

Drawing the Figure: Heads, Hands, and Feet
Peter Paul Rubens, “Anatomical studies: a left forearm in two positions and a right forearm,” ca. 1600–5, brown pen and ink on paper, 10 15 x 16 x 7 5/16 inches (27.8 x 18.6 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Image courtesy of Monacelli Press.

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