A little over a month ago I was introduced to posemaniacs.com through Clayton Barton’s online course Figure Drawing Foundations: Proportions. I’ve found it to be a great resource for practicing and studying figure drawing.
Before I dig into Pose Maniac's more I want to list a few reason why I continually work on my figure drawing skills and you should too.
Benefits of Figure Drawing
- It will improve your ability to create natural poses for your characters.
- You will rely less on using visual reference.
- It will expand your creative bank account.
- It will allow you to quickly identify and recreate gestures.
- You will be able to draw gestures more accurately and efficiently using the least amount of lines possible.
- It’s a great way to get warmed up to work on your illustration projects.
Pose Maniac: Thirty-Second Drawing
The aspect of Pose Maniac's I’ve found most useful is the 30-Second Drawing. It’s almost like a game. There are six different speed settings including the 30 seconds it’s named after (10 seconds, 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 45 seconds, and 90 seconds). 30 seconds may or may not seem like a lot of time to complete a figure drawing. However, it’s not about completing the entire illustration. The idea is to identify the gesture and draw it as accurately and efficiently using the least amount of lines possible. It’s a great way to get warmed up to work on drawing projects for the day.
Sometimes I spend too much time on one aspect or another and don’t finish drawing the complete figure. When that happens I just take a deep breath, relax, and remind myself that I’m having fun and learning. Another result of using Pose Maniac’s 30 Second Drawing feature is that you will expand your “Creative Bank Account”. This will improve your ability to create natural poses for your characters. I’ve noticed the way I approach drawing thumbnails for illustrations feeling more natural and relying less on using visual reference. In addition to that, I’ve found it easier to expand upon my reference too. I’m in the middle of thumbnailing a La Dispute song adapted into a mini-comic that I mentioned a few blog posts ago.
If you’re looking for a way to start or continue practicing and improving your figure drawing skills I highly recommend that you check out posemaniacs.com. They also have a great list of tips for how to improve your figure drawing. I copied a revised version below. I believe these tips can be applied to figure drawing exercises outside of Pose Maniac's too.
Pose Maniac Tips
- Try to complete your drawing in time.
- If it is very tough to complete, it is best to increase the time limit.
- Think without words while sketching.
- Focus on the mass, the flow, and the center of mass, and work on details later.
- Try to keep your eyes on the screen instead of your paper.
- You will be able to draw faster if you don't lift your pen off of the paper as you draw.
- Draw lines of the backbone and the hip to make a continually balance.
- Use other drawing materials such as brushes, pastels, and charcoals after you get used to pencils.
- Ignore details. It's impossible to draw everything. Focused on the point of the pose.
- Observe your result, and analyze the good points and bad points.
- Change the style and find the way to conquer your weakness ( IT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT PART).
Their last tip, to observe, analyze, and adapt to improve your skills is one of the biggest take aways for me. I like to record my sessions for that same reason. I look back on my sessions and observe where I wasted time or how I was able to quickly identify a figure in one perspective but not another. Then I work on determining how I can understand and overcome whatever I’m struggling with. If you don’t have a screen capturing software available to you Pose Maniac has you covered. Below the screen the figures appear on is a link that takes you to a page that displays a log of the figures from your most recent 30 Second Drawing session.
I haven’t used the last feature of Pose Maniac’s website that I'm going to mention called Random Pose, but it seems like it would be a great time saver. A random pose will be displayed for you allow to just focus on drawing at your own pace unlike the urgency of 30-Second Drawing. You can click NEXT or PREVIOUS to go forward and backward to different poses. You can even turn on a grid to help you with drawing the figures proportions properly and DRAG straight lines on top of the figure. I should have mentioned this at the beginning, but in figures display in the main Poses section allow you to DRAG a pose 360 degrees. Learning to draw a pose from any angle is a huge skill to have in your arsenal.
I hope you give Pose Maniac's a try. Improving your figure drawing skills can connect a lot of dots to help improve the fluidity of action in your drawings. This wasn’t meant to be an advertisement for Pose Maniac, but more of a checkout this cool resource out that may be helpful for you too.