Perspective and the Figure = Foreshortening

I usually save this project for after you’ve already learned perspective, drapery, figure drawing and after you’ve had lots of experience with a variety of media and have found a few favorites. This is usually one of the best pieces students make all year, or one of the worst. The compositions are dynamic but if you don’t get the distortions right, it’s an epic fail.

Process:

1.  For this project you and your classmates will work together to take photos to work from. TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES for this drawing. If you’re lucky, you’ll get one good one for every 20 photos you take. Experiment with different interesting viewpoints (bird’s eye view, ant’s eye view etc.) and positions for the human figure which show extreme foreshortening. It’s your piece so you should decide the following BEFORE you check out a camera Who’s the PHOTOGRAPHER? Who’s holding the light? Who’s modeling? Which job are you doing? If you’re not modeling, I recommend that you take the photos so you can see exactly how it looks.

2.  Once you’ve printed your photo, do several thumbnail sketches in your sketchbook before starting on the large (18”x 24”) paper. It’s NOT easy to draw a foreshortened figure.  Remember: Draw what you see, not what you think it should look like! Work upside down and use a quadrant system to help you. Block in your drawing showing the distortions created by foreshortening. I’ve put some great tutorials on HOW to draw a foreshortened figure at the bottom of this page- use them!

3.  Put the figure in an interesting environment- either realistic or abstract, which enhances the composition.

4.  You may use any medium you wish except graphite.

Critique / Evaluation:

Did you effectively create the illusion of foreshortening?

Does the figure’s anatomy look realistic and accurate; especially the parts which are foreshortened?

Did you use an interesting viewpoint?

Does the background enhance the composition?

Hands toward the viewer:

These works focus on the hands coming toward the viewer. Sometimes the photo is  taken from above, looking down at the model. Or the model reaches toward the camera. The hand(s) are HUGE compared to the rest of the body, but they appear correct because they’re coming toward you.

Some examples of this pose/viewpoint by my AP Studio Art Students:

Some examples of this pose/viewpoint by other AP artists:

Feet toward the viewer:

These works have mainly feet and legs coming toward the viewer. Sometimes the photo is taken from below, looking up at the model. Or the model kicks toward the camera. The feet are HUGE compared to the rest of the body, but they appear correct because they’re coming toward you. If you’re drawing the soles of the shoes, be VERY specific.

Some examples of this pose/viewpoint by my AP Studio Art Students:

Some examples of this pose/viewpoint by other AP artists:

These drawings by my AP Studio Art students have BOTH feet and hands coming toward the viewer:

These drawings by other AP artists have BOTH feet and hands coming toward the viewer:

These drawings by my AP Studio Art students are focused more on foreshortening of the torso or face:

These drawings by other AP artists are focused more on foreshortening of the torso or face:

Need help?

Here are some great tutorials on HOW to draw a foreshortened figure:

Need more examples?

Here’s a great website on foreshortening:

http://figure-drawings.blogspot.com/2008/12/foreshortening.html

link to my pinterest board with LOTS of images of foreshortening:

http://pinterest.com/artbabe3/foreshortening/

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