Famous Artists School

Famous Artists School on Facebook FAS FREE interactive art quiz: test your art knowledge
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by FAS grad Christina Cooper


by FAS grad Pam Rice


by FAS grad Robert Heindel


by FAS grad Charles Reid


by FAS instructor Dolph LeMoult

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Try it This Way

Think with tracing paper:

Tracing paper is the artist’s best friend—all illustrators use quantities of it. Here is how you can use it to solve problems of figure drawing. If you run into trouble, trying working out each step on a separate sheet of paper laid over the previous drawing. In this way you can experiment or make changes at any state without losing the work you have done up to that point. The progressive photographs show the steps, from the simplest form of action or gesture drawing to a well-constructed basic figure. This can then be clothed or modified by more realistic muscle structure—you just slip the basic figure under another sheet of tracing paper and carry on!

Think with tracing paper: Action Lines
1—Action Lines. Freely sketch the swing of the action—don’t bother with details. Try a number of these sketches and pick the best.

Think with tracing paper: Stick Figures
2—Stick Figures. Tear off your first sketch and slide it under a fresh sheet of paper on your pad. Then work out your stick figure.

Think with tracing paper: Try a new angle
3—Try New Angle. This is easy—tear off tracing sheet and turn you stick figure this way and that to see if the action is improved.

Think with tracing paper: Basic figure forms
4—Basic Figure Forms. Build these over your stick figure. Don’t worry if they are uneven at first. Retain the “life” of the action.

Think with tracing paper: Basic figure refined
5—Basic Figure (Refined). You’ve solved your action problems, now do as many tracings as needed to produce a well-constructed figure.