Just the other day I was speaking to one of my colleges about figure drawing and how important it is for every visual artist to experience drawing from the figure. Some how we got onto the topic of college students learning how to figure draw using tablets. TABLETS!!!! That has to be one of the most ridiculous things I ever heard in my life. Yes tablets are very nifty tools that if you haven’t experienced working with one you should, because it really is amazing what you can do with one. But when a person learns how to draw they don’t go straight to the tablet. No, they use a piece of paper and a pencil.
If your starting to figure draw get the traditional materials that the old master used (well not the exact things, but close enough) a 18″ x 24″ newsprint pad and charcoal. Using a tablet you don’t get the same feel or understanding of form as you would with the traditional materials. A bigger pad forces the student to think about the composition, the size of their figure and really use their whole arm movement. Charcoal is a great material to work with as well because it’s easily erasable with a needed eraser. You can also get different line weights (how dark the mark is) and different line sizes. Plus if you use the charcoal on its side, the beautiful shadow masses that could be created.
The most important reason why you should start traditionally before digitally is that you always have a basis to refer back to. Every year technology changes and computers and programs get more advanced. That means each year a professional digital artist has to upgrade to the latest software. If they don’t then their images over time would look out of date. Even if you are mainly a digital person your mind is still referring back to a time when you used a sheet of paper as your main/only medium. If you can master the basics then it makes the digital world much much easier to use and understand.
Today was my second time going to Spring Street Studio in Manhattan. This studio is one of the best places to do figure drawing. There are different classes everyday, each class is like three hours long, plus there is always a teacher to help you with your work and it only costs 15 dollars per class. Now that is a very good price compared to some places in New York. I like it here because it’s a nice quiet place to draw, the people there are very nice, good studio space, but the best part of all is that there is a teacher to help you. The teacher would mostly look over what you have done and then give you a couple of tips but they are not by your side for the entire class. The classes are more independent and quiet so that you could really focus. (just warning you, if you do go make sure you shut off your phone because both the times I went I forgot and when it rang everyone stared at me.) Now these classes at the studio have live nude models. I particularly love to draw nude models, it’s like you get a good sense at what a person really looks like. Plus they always change up the model so you don’t get bored. This place is really good and I do really enjoy it here, so hopefully if you are as serious as I am about art you will try it out.
for more information about Spring Street studio click here- http://www.springstudiosoho.com/
FIT also known as the Fashion Institute of Technology, a collage in New York City. This summer I went to FIT for their pre Collage program. Now this program is like no other art program I have been to. For one thing the teachers are much harder on you and they really really want to try and push you art work to the next level. Plus they give you a lot of freedom then to experiment and try new things. Also if your like me and you really really want to know how good you are, you get graded on your work. The classes there are really amazing and if you push yourself you would defiantly grow as an artist.
There are many many diffrent classes for the FIT pre collage program over the summer, like there is fashion, fin arts, photography, graphic design, textile, etc. Plus heads up the classes are pretty cheap compared to most art classes in New York City.
If you want some more information on the classes click here http://www.fitnyc.edu/5915.asp
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