Comics are well-known for two things, other than the superheroes: Their graphical art style as well as the dynamic way that everything is drawn.
No matter what medium, creating something dynamic is a difficult technique. Comics are characterized by dynamic characters, carefully planned storytelling, well-constructed shots, and world-building.
Today we will be focusing on the character posing portion. This is one of the most challenging tasks for comic book artists. It requires a lot more foundational drawing skills.
Don’t worry! I will walk you through the subject and show you step-by-step how to achieve professional results quickly.
Topics in the Tutorial:
- Everything is made up of shapes.
- How to simplify your body for easier construction
- These are the keys to a good posture.
- These are the fastest ways to improve.
- This is the entire process of drawing a final pose.
Everything is built from simple shapes
You are correct. Everything you see in your physical world is possible from a small number of volumes or shapes.
Volume refers to a 3-dimensional shape. These are the basic shapes of volume: the cube, spheres, cylinders, cones, and pyramids (or triangular volumes). Although the cone is not often used, I prefer to keep it in my collection as it is very similar to a tapered cylindrical.
This posing lesson begins with the task of drawing volumes. It is also known as perspective drawing.
Perspective drawing allows an artist to effectively render three dimensions on a flat 2D surface. To warm up, draw a perspective grid on the ground and then etch simple shapes with cast shadows.
The Human Body as a Volume
After that, let’s move on to the next step: how can these simple shapes represent the human body?
When you think about the human body, it is easy to forget the finer details. This is because we tend to forget about the whole body.
If you try to look at someone as you would in a comic, or in real life, the details may blur away. All that is left are the general shapes described by light and shadow.
Let’s take a look at some examples to show this.
The head is the first. Although facial features and the human head are complex, the basic structure of the head is a sphere with an attached cylindrical jaw shape to the bottom hemisphere.
The arm is even more obvious. The arm is even simpler. Although the hand is most complicated, it can still be described using a cube to describe a palm and cylinder-like hands.
Practice Part 1: Perspective Drawing
Use perspective drawing to sketch two cylinders connected with a sphere. The sphere should be bent at the ends of the two cylinders.
These will serve as the foundation for organic forms in part 2. These volumes should be considered as a starting point for more organic forms in part 2.
These volumes can be filled up to a page. This process is actually very relaxing for me. Just relax and watch the volumes form on the page.
Perspective Drawing: Part 2
Bravo for part 1. The next step is to bridge the gap between drawing simple shapes and drawing an organic human being.
Begin by lightly erasing the rigid volumes off your page. Next, we’ll draw organic appendage-like shapes on the top of that first layer. These shapes can be viewed in photos, or even better, you can use action figures or posable art to help you get used to them.
These figures can be rotated around to make it easier to visualize organic shapes such as arms and legs. You can see how I transformed the rigid shapes into natural-looking appendages.
Great work. Keep your artistic eye sharp by doing exercises such as these regularly.
What makes a great pose?
Before we get into drawing a figure, let me highlight the goals that should be set when trying to create dynamic poses. We don’t have too many guidelines so let’s get to it!
Balance All objects have an area of gravity. It’s important that you pay attention to these areas when drawing. Artists need to be aware that there is an imaginary line that divides the figure.
If you have difficulty visualizing the concept, it may help to draw a line with dotted lines in your underdrawing.
Assume the figure is balanced on a see-saw. The figure can be twisted in any direction you like, but it should always balance.
In certain situations, the balance may not be necessary. Examples of gravity-affected actions include running, falling, or not being affected at all by gravity.
Contrapposto This concept dates back to Renaissance times. It means “counterpoise” in Italian. It is a way to show a figure whose weight has been shifted to one side, resulting in a raised hip and cocked opposite shoulder.
Because everyone uses this stance every day, it is natural. This is a great way to give your figures a more dynamic and realistic look.
Twist This goal is my favorite because it gives you a lot of bang for your bucks.
Simply put, if you draw a figure with its torso facing one direction you need to turn its head so it faces another direction. That’s it. This is all there is to it.
You can also apply this to your upper and lower torsos, as well as your legs and upper body. It’s easy to do, just twist your bodies to make them appear more purposeful and poised.
Foreshortening This is the scary, big one: Foreshortening.
Foreshortening figures are more difficult than twisting, which may seem like the easiest concept. When objects are oriented at the viewer, foreshortening occurs. Parts of an object are “shortened” when viewed directly at the viewer.
This concept can be learned by repetition and studying.
This particular example doesn’t have a particularly prominent section that has been dramatically shortened. However, there are still some areas that you should be aware of.
I have highlighted in red select foreshortened areas that are prone to ‘wedging’ (as George Bridgeman would call it). You can see the inner calf of the figure and notice that it is covered by the knee. It’s not a drastic form of foreshortening, but it is.
Remember that there are many different ways to pose characters. So, make sure you have a book or a video handy.
This approach is very similar in style to Michael Hampton’s. I strongly recommend it. You will see improvements if you continue to practice daily, or even regularly. If you don’t have all of these concepts in your head, the only way to get through difficult times is through hard work.
I am very happy to write tutorials about HTDC. While I do my best to impart knowledge through these tutorials I also learn a lot from the process. Keep checking back for more tutorials.
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