Fig­ure Fun­da­men­tals Vol­ume 1

Low­brow artist Van Arno uses his abil­ity to freeze time in a be­gin­ner-friendly guide to draw­ing from life

ImagineFX - - Reviews -

Plenty of artists, par­tic­u­larly those who are self-taught, have never taken the chance to draw fig­ures from life – and if you haven’t, then you’re se­ri­ously miss­ing out. Van Arno’s video takes the fear fac­tor out of what might seem like an in­tim­i­dat­ing un­der­tak­ing.

In this first vol­ume, Van goes through a se­ries of poses with a fe­male model (a sec­ond vol­ume with a male model is also avail­able to down­load). Van keeps the video about as sim­ple as you can get, us­ing each pose to drum home the ba­sics and build on key con­cepts, re­fer­ring to body parts in plain English rather than com­pli­cated anatom­i­cal terms.

Each draw­ing starts with a sin­gle line: the ges­ture. Van uses this to un­der­pin the draw­ing with a sense of life, with each sub­se­quent line sup­port­ing the ini­tial ges­ture. Through split-screen video, you’re able to see the model at all times while Van draws, so you can see how the cre­ative de­ci­sions he makes re­lates to the real hu­man form. (You could also try draw­ing the on-screen model your­self.)

Van ad­vises you to draw what you see, not what you think you should see. Oc­ca­sion­ally he trig­gers a ‘stop time’, to freeze the model so he can ex­plain ef­fects such as fore­short­en­ing, where not ob­serv­ing the model cor­rectly can lead to dis­torted pro­por­tions.

Dur­ing later poses, Van also ex­plains how look­ing at neg­a­tive space can make some poses – like a hand on the hip – eas­ier to draw, and why it’s im­por­tant to pay at­ten­tion to ar­eas where one form over­laps another.

Van re­turns to the same core ideas with each pose, so ex­pe­ri­enced artists may find the video a lit­tle sim­plis­tic and repet­i­tive. But for the less ex­pe­ri­enced, the for­mat en­ables you to see how es­sen­tial con­cepts ap­ply in dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions. Next stop: hire a model your­self (or with a group of artist friends). You’ll never look back.

Van ex­plains fig­ure draw­ing from the very ba­sics, like the use of the head size to mea­sure other body pro­por­tions. ‘Freez­ing time’ en­ables Van to dwell on cru­cial ideas like fore­short­en­ing, and to show how they re­late to what you ob­serve.

In Fig­ure Fun­da­men­tals, Van Arno sketches a model in a se­ries of poses to ex­plain im­por­tant con­cepts.

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