Q: Any small tips you think are helpful to know in figure drawing? Like noticing the difference between the male and female torso, consistent curves etc?
Yeah, I have a tip. Not a technical one, mind you (although in essence it is quite technical)
Tips To Get Better at Scratching The Surface.
by Alberto Ruiz
During the hottest summer month of the year, draw 17 hours a day non-stop for 7 straight days and then go out to a busy corner of the city, if you live in a small town, go to the nearest mall and observe real women for 4 or 5 hours.
Now go back to review the drawings you've just made and come to the sad realization that you don't know squat and that your life is so insignificant against what god and nature had created; understand that you will never be able to capture the female form at its glorious best and accept with sincere humility the fact that you are only a meager tool, a clumsy instrument of the universe; a tool being manipulated by forces bigger than you and as such, all you can ever hope to accomplish is to scratch the surface. Realize wholeheartedly that only by drawing ferociously fast for ungodly amounts of hours a day you can make any progress at all and that progress is the closest you will get to greatness.
Anything I can possibly say to you has already been said and written by better men than I could ever hope to become. The information is out there, I believe it's useless, silly and downright arrogant for me to even attempt to come up with 'new' tips on how to get better at depicting the human form. There's nothing you can't find in anatomy books regarding figure drawing, NOTHING; no one has the secret pill or the magic bullet or that photoshop filter which can make your drawings shine like the morning sun. In the end, the responsibility for achieving some level of success in educating yourself in this or any other artistic subject rests entirely upon you, yourself, upon your ability (or lack of such) to observe life with an bias, discerning and critical eye and in your discipline (or lack of such) for consistently applying what you discover in the form of practicing until your arm falls off.
Anyone can teach you how to draw, no one but yourself can teach you how to see. Stop asking for tips, start having a life and observing life, I mean OBSERVING as in PERCEIVING, CAREFULLY ANALYZING AND REGISTERING, not just looking and drooling at it like a fool, so that you can make those discoveries and find those 'tips' you are so desperately looking for, on your own, which in turn can give you the necessary confidence to move forward. Get spiritually groomed, get mentally fit, acquire some good taste and good manners so you can attract the opposite sex, listen to and make love to a real woman and find out what that experience is really like, what flesh and bones (other than your own) truly feel like not just on the surface, don't just have sex with her, make love to her, watch her sleep, cook her a meal and once you've done all that, pick up a pencil and draw.
© 2010 Alberto Ruiz all rights reserved