How to Compose the Figure for Oil Painting

So the first thing I want to talk about is drawing that is not stiff. So you get something that flows nicely and when you’re looking at a figure or a form or arms or legs, I want you to think about a center line. Let’s say you have a form like this and let’s say the bone is here. This is like you cut right through a leg or arm. I want you to think about a center line. There’s the line, center line right there, right in the center of the form. This is an imaginary line, you don’t draw it but you’re always thinking about it. Always. Until your dying day you will think about that. So let me draw some forms here. (drawing) I’m trying to make these as like a solid form. All these forms are are all wrong. You don’t want to ever see a form like this on a body because center line on all these forms is a straight line. (drawing) And if you have a straight line (drawing) that means that it’s stiff, even though I have all these curves, it is stiff and it’s wrong. You do not ever want to have a straight line. Only in a skeleton, the backbone in a skeleton, looking directly from the front or from the behind. The backbone that could be straight, that’s your only straight line. So this center line is what I want you to be thinking about, always. Okay. These next forms are the right thinking and right way to draw. Is the right – again the right thinking. Now watch this, see I’ve got – I’ll put a straight line here, remember this is a form, we’re always talking about a solid form. So now the center line is curved. Well this is obvious, this on – you can have a straight, the center line is curved. (drawing) The center line again is curved, you can have a straight. (drawing) The center line is curved. This is all the right kind of thinking. Remember, you’re always thinking about that center line and the center line has to be curved, it always has to be curved. (drawing) Now I’ve asked some students to send in some drawings of somebody standing at attention. I’ve had hundreds of students in my later years of teaching, when I finally figured this out to make these drawings the first day of the class. And I think out of two or three hundred students only one or two ever got this right according to what I say is right or wrong. Okay the center line somebody standing at attention, that’s the backbone or through the center of the form. That is correct, it would be straight. However, this person drew the legs – center line as you see is perfectly straight. And this arm here it’s, again, way too straight. You notice that there’s a curve here and a curve going the same way, you got two curves going like that, you got a straight, you got a center line that is straight, and that is wrong. Down at the bottom you can see this shape here, center line again is straight it’s wrong. (drawing) Now this is a shape you can actually have a straight line right here. The center line now is curved. (drawing) Somebody who has – (drawing) the legs will touch at the thigh, the knee, the calf, and the ankle bones. They have perfectly straight legs. Think of a bow and an arrow. Think of the body as a bow but it’s this shape of a bow where the curved part is towards the top. (drawing) You see that line is just wave way too straight. (drawing) Again what is the center line. It has to be curved, it always has to be curved. Now this person here, they got the legs correct. They did it correct. The center line and these legs here are curved, very nicely done by this person. But, this arm is straight, this arm there’s a slight curve but it’s basically, it’s straight. Both sections are too straight. And this is how what I would have liked to see. (drawing) That is way too straight. It should be, you know, you know we have to exaggerate a little bit. (drawing) You can see this is way way too straight. Curve, you gotta curve. Curve things more than you actually see them. This arm could be like this. If I were to take this test I would have done this, I would have done this. (drawing) I would have done this and I would have said this person got it right. (drawing) That’s a stick figure and that’s how most people think when they’re drawing from a live model or who I’ve never drawn. This is what they think in sections, they think from here to here, stop, start from here to here, stop, start from here to here, stop start, stop, and then go up to the foot. This is the thinking you should have, right here. It flows all the way right to the fingers. Think – this is the thinking of the inside, remember that inside – that inside line you don’t see but you understand and you feel and you know this is what you’re drawing. You’re drawing that inside line even though you don’t actually draw it, it’s in your head. (drawing) At least that is curved. (drawing) This person starts, stop, start, stop, start, stop, start, stop start, stop. (drawing) So this line here should be like this, it shouldn’t flow and this one here should flow like that. Again this is the inside line that you don’t see. Then you worry about the outside. It would be so much easier to draw the outside of the arm (drawing) Let’s go over this. I always think of the negative shapes also, even though you don’t really draw the negative shape, you’re really drawing it in your head. (drawing) All you have to do is curve that inside line in and you get a figure that is alive. (drawing) This drawing is pretty darn nice. (drawing) This is the center line. Curve nicely. (drawing) This is a little too straight here. This person when they were thinking, they were thinking I’m gonna stop at the hand and then I’m gonna draw the hand. You notice that the arms coming down and the hand – (drawing) the hand is it turns right here on both of these. Okay. I’m getting a little bit ahead of myself but it’s important that you understand this. I’m coming down the arm here. And the hand is here and she just comes straight down and hits the hand and then draws the hand off to the side like that. (drawing) Before you hit the hand the wrist has to turn towards the hand. Like this. Because even though – if you don’t do that and you just go like this and then you move the hand down here, the eye sees things so quickly that your eye will just run right off like that. It just shoots right past it, makes it really, really stiff looking. Plus the figure’s not like that. (drawing) And here and here. (drawing) There’s the hand down here. So you’re thinking like this and like that. It’s – for me this is a little too stiff, let me show you something about right here. About two thirds down you should start coming out towards the toes. When I was in Frank Reilly’s class we would go like that. (drawing) Here’s the knee It – we would draw this way because you’re thinking it’s all one flowing thing. You don’t think you’re coming down the leg then all of the sudden you’re coming out toward the floor. This is the thinking process. And then you put the foot in and you put that tendon right there the back part always is curving towards the toes. You never want it to look like a tree, like that. And then the foot is out like this. You’re – you’ll drive a line straight through the floor if you went like this. The back part is curving towards the toes. Remember about two thirds of the way down you start curving out towards the toes. Empower your creativity with the internet’s leading subscription library for artists at No matter what your skill level, you can learn drawing, painting, sculpture, and much more with thousands of videos taught by master instructors. 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This would be the front of a figure, here’s the waist through here and then the legs would come off like this. That would be a female and the male would be, let’s say, (drawing) the male would be like this. In other words, the lower it is from the shoulders, the smaller the waist and the higher it is from the shoulders, the higher the waist. (drawing) And this was the idea, if you have somebody curved like that you would draw these lines and this was a way of getting the hips and the torso to work nicely together. But the problem with this is it only works from the front and the back. It doesn’t work from the sides. I’ve come up with the idea of doing a upside down egg. Now as you think of an egg you think of something solid. With Reilly it wasn’t a solid kind of thinking, it was just lines. This is an egg, it’s solid. It is a solid thought. And this is an upside down bucket. Let’s draw a center line. Upside down egg, upside down bucket. Now in this bucket here let’s just cut this part off straight, like that. and take a line from here and come up and go around and back down. Here’s the center line. So now we have the ribcage here, let’s redo it. (drawing) We have the ribcage. (drawing) We have the iliac crest here. From the side this would be like this. From the side. Here’s the center line. (drawing) And (drawing) this would be somebody that’s turned to the left. You’re thinking in a solid way of the ribcage and the pelvis. So you can turn this any way you want. So this is what I would teach people to draw if they’re just thinking of the ribcage and the pelvis together. I wanna go over some of the old masters paintings, just want to comment on the center line. This is quite beautiful right through here. The way that center line curves. And again, this is quite nice done right there. However on this side it’s just too straight. Should have – he should have bent this more like that and shoulda bent the wrist out more towards the fingers. (drawing) See the center line is going straight like that. And the eye will just keep it going straight like this. (drawing) I would have liked to have seen (drawing) the arm going like that because the eye wants it to go up like that. I’m surprised Rubens drew it that way. This is lovely. Okay this is lovely. Just lovely. That’s a center line. There’s the center line on that one. Lovely. You can see curves this way and then again this way. (drawing) This arm here is absolutely gorgeous. (drawing) This is exactly what I’m talking about. (drawing) I’m thinking like tube drawing and the center line on this leg is very nice also. (drawing) And (drawing) and this leg here that’s how that works. (drawing) And this arm, her arm is just nicely (drawing) and the center line in the body is nice. See all these center lines they have to curve and bend. That makes the figure alive. Of course, he’s not alive here but you know what I mean. I’m not thrilled with this arm here. This part is bending here, this part here is too straight. It could be because of the way he put the cloth in but it should be – that’s how the arm should have been. Like this. Let me darken this here. That should be turning up and of course this should be turning down. This part – this back part of the leg here is heading too much in that direction. Should have been going down because eventually your eye wants to come out towards the toes. The wrist is very nice here because it’s turning towards the hand. That’s exactly what you want to do. If you covered up the hand – (drawing) If you cover up the hand like this, just the part of the wrist here and here you can see that it’s turning down. So you know that the hand is over here because the wrist is turning down towards the hand. The wrist does not continue to go straight so that’s exactly what good drawing is all about. This is a Renoir and there’s the center line. It’s pretty straight. This is a weak drawing here. We want the center line to do this. We want it to come up into the body then it comes down and it should turn towards your next form. This is nicely done right here. (drawing) Again because he made this so straight that the center line becomes too straight. (drawing) You don’t have to do a lot to it. Just (drawing) catch the edge right there. (drawing) As you can say it feels – that’s what the eye will do the eye will just keep on going even though you’ve got the other part of the arm here but the eye will just go like that. (drawing) Now that I’ve done this, you’ll always see the arm as being stiff. This is Renoir and I’m not thrilled with the way he did this arm. (drawing) Too straight. This part is fine. This part here should have done more of this. You can curve around the breast but you want it to do – you want it to be heading towards the next part of the arm. which is over here. (drawing) So you want the arm to do that. (drawing) This hand is nice. Flows into the arm. And of course this leg is nice. This is beautiful the way this is done. And then it just curves right – just turns. However over here, feels weak. This feels too straight. Again the eye will continue (drawing) We want the eye to do this. So I would have like to have seen that go (drawing) I’m kind of exaggerating this so you get… (drawing) That’s the idea. (drawing) The problem is is right through here, where he’s got the drawing as going this way, that’s the main problem. (drawing) You want a gentle S curve because it’s turning down into the hand and this is turning up into the upper part of the arm. (drawing) I wanna talk about Sargent. I just wanna talk about the beautiful legs, the way this nice, gentle curve center, it’s a center line. Just lovely. It’s hard to tell but the light here bends. It starts here and it bends a little bit this way. So when we talk about painting I’ll come back and I’ll talk about this. When we do the painting. (drawing) This leg is just lovely and this one too. That’s the idea. The center line is nice and curved. Remember when it’s curved gives it life. And when it’s straight – in fact if you have a straight line here and you add weight this will break but faster than (drawing) this. If you hit this this might bend a little bit but this one will probably break. So a curve is stronger. You’ll see athletes, dancers, their bodies, their arms are always more curved than someone who is not quite as healthy. Somebody let’s say has had polio or can’t use their legs, then their legs are more straighter and they’re weaker. So a curve is stronger than a straight. This is Lucian Freud and he generally was a very good draftsman. However, on this leg here, here and this leg here, I find that the drawing is weak. He’s got a shape that going like this and then another shape that’s going like that. Like this to that. So basically he’s doing this and this and this and this. Creates a straight line and the eye is just burning right of the body like that, which is not good. We want this part of the leg turning that way and of course this part is turning that way also. Because this is where we’re going, we’re going back down towards the ankle, also the center of the leg, that’s the center line, is doing that. In here if you notice, this leg is stiff also. This part is fine there but here he’s doing that. Which is running the eye like this. Remember just because you stop a line that doesn’t mean that the eye is gonna stop. This part here is fine. Here he should have turned it up like this or he could have done it this way, he could have added that and to that. That’s what we want. (drawing) Also on the wrist right there this is too straight, going like that. Should have curved it more like that because we want the eye to do that. Here’s another Lucian Freud I don’t know what happened here but basically he’s got this to this, this to this this to this, and this to this. So he’s doing – (drawing) creates straight center lines which is in my opinion extremely bad. The outside shapes are correct and the inside shapes should be basically the same like that. So the center line is doing this and the center line is doing that. (drawing) Perfect legs. (drawing) The thighs touch, the knees touch, the calves touch, and the ankles touch. And that gives you beautiful legs. Nice center lines. (drawing) This arm here is not good. It’s got this and this driving straight line right through the center of the form. (drawing) This side should be more curved, you don’t wanna do that. This could be more straight but we wanna get the eye to go like that because (drawing) we are not drawing like this. (drawing) This is what we want, that to that. Okay this is Eric Fischl and again he’s generally a pretty good draftsman but on this painting here he has several areas of the arms and legs that are quite stiff. Here one right through here. Perfectly straight center line. (drawing) That should be bent more like that. You can see this arm here is perfectly straight. Don’t like that. Remember just because he stops it here and goes this way, the eye continues off like that. And unless he drew it straight because he wants the eye to go off like this but I doubt it. This should be bent – I’m exaggerating so you guys – that should be bent like that. This arm here again that straight, this is straight. He has created an X. Unless that’s what he wanted, I doubt it. That should be bent like this and this should be bent like that. Again here he’s got straight center line, straight center line, just got another X. Which is not good. That should be bent like that, that should be bent here and here. Because again we want the center line to curve. Same thing here. Let’s say you put a straight line there as long as you got the back part to curve you can put a straight line there as long as this curves like that. This is way too stiff in my opinion. He’s got – in fact he’s got it actually curving this way, which is the complete opposite direction that it would be curved. When the human body curves there like that. Okay we’re gonna look at some of my paintings, again I’m always thinking about that center line. (drawing) Even though I’m not drawing it, I’m always thinking about the center line. (drawing) And right here when you have one thumb going one way and a finger going the other way I kind of decided I like the way that finger is better so that’s my thinking there. (drawing) I want to comment on the way I’ve really bent that are like that and you can see it, it’s almost like a tube. (drawing) I’m always trying to get one curve that works nicely against another curve. (drawing) This one here it’s a feeling that I want to paint. (drawing) I want that feeling. And you can see the way I did the light on the leg. That’s how the light is going and that’s how the leg is going also. I just wanna emphasize the wrist. (drawing) You’re always turning at the wrist towards the hand. It’s like driving a car when you’re gonna make a turn you don’t just suddenly start driving the opposite direction. You’ve gotta think about – you’re gonna be turning and you slowly turn and then you turn quicker. You notice that I have all the wrists are turned towards the hand. And this is – I see a lot of bad drawing where the wrist comes down. The wrist is here and then the hand is off in that direction. And there’s no connection between the two. (drawing) We want this feeling. We wanna turn the wrist towards the hand. If you hide the hand (drawing) and just look at the wrist, you know where the hand’s gonna be. You know the hand is not gonna be over here because you can see the wrist is turning that direction. You know the hand’s gonna be over here. And okay and you can see how nicely the arms flow. (drawing) Here’s an S curve, right through here. (drawing) You can see right here at the wrist where I have turned toward the hand. (drawing) You can see this arm here going toward the hand this way. You notice right at the last second I have turned – I’ve turned this right through here like that because this is where the eye is going this is where the leg is going, like that. So the center line will be going like that. (drawing) You don’t wanna just copy a photograph and draw exactly like the photograph because the photographs aren’t necessarily well drawn. And we’re gonna get to that. (drawing) You can see how I’ve turned all of this like this because the rest of the arm is back here so we wanna turn this way because that’s where we’re going. (drawing) Okay. (drawing) And the center line of this foot is like that. (drawing) The center line is like this I’m gonna draw right through that muscle kinda like a tube. That’s what’s happening. And then you could add the muscle. on. But this is the center line. This is how the eye will quickly look at something when you have foreshortening, a little foreshortening here, the curves are even more exaggerated. (drawing) And the fingers are also curved. All the fingers are curved. (drawing) Center line. (drawing) There’s the center line. (drawing) And you have the center line in the fingers also. (drawing) Got a nice curve on that arm there. And you can really really see it the center line on that arm. (drawing) So you have to kind of disregard all the bumps. I look at some of the muscles as just a bunch of bumps on a curve. So the thinking is again a nice nice curves. (drawing) You can see the way I did the hand here. (drawing) Curves, curves, curves. Just wanna go over this leg. Again foreshortening you tend to get (drawing) more of a curve and something that’s foreshortening. So that’s more of a curve. (drawing) This arm is more less like that this arm is more or less like this. (drawing) There’s the center line. It’s curved this way and then it’s curved that way. (drawing) Just wanna talk about the fingers. Wanna curve the fingers and (drawing) there’s a nice curve to the arm. (drawing) You can have these little valleys and bumps along the way but (drawing) you gotta always remember, what is the center of the arm doing? (drawing) You wanna get the wrist again turned towards the hand. So all of this here makes up nice curves. (drawing) I’m repeating on one side of the leg as I did on the other side so let’s say I do that on that part of the leg, the opposite side usually is the same. Same kind of a curve (drawing) You do not wanna do that because you’ll end up with a straight line. (drawing) So if one side of the leg is curved like that the other side usually curved the same way. On somebody who has really a nice figure the way the great architect designed us to be. Like this leg here (drawing) basically that’s what it’s doing. So you got whatever this is the opposite side of the leg will repeat it itself. But then you have these little bumps and valleys along the way, the muscles here, but that’s the thinking. So you get that center line, nice center line. (drawing) Look at the way I did the wrist right here. Really here’s the hand, you can just see how I really bent that wrist right there because we wanna come up into the hand. Just right there. So (drawing) that’s what’s happening here. And you can make the bumps and the valleys when you’re painting, how you run the light across the form you can get things to turn more and I’ll get to that and talk about that when I do the painting. Hands, all the fingers, are curved on the hands. (drawing) These two are generally curved towards each other and these two are turned like that. So some are S curves. But you want to curve – (drawing) we wanna curve all the fingers. They can be curved towards each other or they could be parallel curves. (drawing) Now I’ve curved this arm a little bit different, I went like this and like this and then again like this. (drawing) So that is an unusual curve to do this but it works out. I like the way it has a nice feel to it. You can see how I have curved the wrist right into the hand like that. (drawing) Even though I have this bump here or this (drawing) muscle coming down, still the way I’ve modeled the light, this is the curve I want. (drawing) That’s going up, that’s going like that. Okay these are photographs. You would think that everything is correct because they’re photographs but as artists we should realize that it could be a bad photograph, that the arms are awkward looking. Let’s look at this part right here. This is too straight. If I was gonna paint that arm I would bend it like that. This arm here, this is what we want it to do because turning into the shoulder and then it’s turning down into the lower part of the arm. This part here is okay because this is a nice little curve here. This part of the arm is too straight. (drawing) So we want the back part to go like this and we want this part to do the same thing. Okay now look at this one over here. Again (drawing) that’s what we want, this is really bad here and here and here and here. That’s what – this is what the eye sees even though you’re not aware of it. (drawing) You can see how straight that is right there, I would turn that like that – you can show that muscle and this is so foreshortened that I would almost do that. So the inside line is doing that. And if you were to paint this the way you see it you have a stick figure. I’m gonna exaggerate this drawing because I want you guys to see how I see things. This is what I would do. (drawing) Center line is doing this and it curves right into the fingers. (drawing) Again this is too straight and that’s too straight. (drawing) That’s how I see it and this is – this is how I would be painting it. And the ankles here instead of going like this. (drawing) I would turn – this is going like this, this is what you want. So I would turn right at the bottom, make sure that (drawing) that’s the drawing you want. Then you could add the heel. You want your lines to flow and then kind add the bumps or the muscles or the tendons, things like that. This is a good example of a bad photograph. (drawing) You could do that. (drawing) Or you could do that, but you have to bend it. (drawing) Right now it is too straight. (drawing) This is what I would have done, I would have done this, bent it like that. Because you can see the fingers here so we know it’s turning towards the lower part of the arm. You can see this little shadow see that shadow right there, it’s kinda going this way. (drawing) This is the lower part of the arm here, I would have made that going the opposite direction because this is where it’s going. The arm is bending towards the lower part of the arm where the hand is right there. So I would make that shadow edge like that. This arm here okay in the photograph. Here it’s too straight. (drawing) The back part of the arm is okay but this part here should be like that. (drawing) So you get this to this. And then it goes like that. Again we have a big problem with this arm, this way. It really looks funny. (drawing) This would – this is what we wanna do. We wanna curve it up into the upper part of the shoulder and then turn it towards – (drawing) turn it towards the lower part of the arm here. (drawing) Let me erase it you’ll see now. See how it looks too straight and stuff. (drawing) This here is going off like that even though that’s what the eye does. We’ve got to turn it down like that because it’s eventually the way it’s heading over here. (drawing) Just these two little marks you can see (drawing) the arms are way too straight here, should be really more curved like that. (drawing) Yes I would curve them that much. (drawing) This is a nice photograph the way all the muscles are put together. Except here to here. (drawing) You can see this shadow. Look how straight that shadow is. This part of the arm should be turning like that and down here should be turning like that. So think of a tube that’s how it should be. Now doesn’t that look better thank that. (drawing) So if you don’t really understand drawing you would paint it stiff. And these fingers, curve them. I don’t care how you curve them but make sure they’re curved, everything is curved. In fact right here, see how this shadow is heading just like that and so the eye will continue that shadow off like that. (drawing) I would just turn that down a little bit because that’s where we’re going. I would like to talk a little bit about my process of how I work. I know all artists work differently and I wanna show you the tools I use. Reducing glass is very good, just back up makes things really small, you could see mistakes you’ve made. I use a mirror all the time. Back up, look through it and, in my studio I have a four feet by six foot mirror that I place it behind me so I just have to turn my head and look back at the mirror and it’s like I’m stepping back about ten feet and looking at my work through the mirror. I use a mahl stick a lot just to steady my hand when I’m doing detail. All this is is just a dollar, you can buy anywhere. And I always have paper towel in my left hand, which I’m always wiping my brush. I use Viva but any soft paper towel works great. I use a projector when I work and I just project the image into a dark space. This is just a cardboard box, it’s about three feet deep and I have a white screen on the inside and I’ve sprayed it black around here. And the reason I use a projector is because slides have a greater value when you’re looking at a slide and a slide is closer to real life than a print. I would never use a print and never suggest anybody using a print. And the nice thing about the projector is that I can blur the image and when you blur the image, the image shows more values and it shows stronger color and simplifies it so it just gives me more information. I can turn the image upside down and I’ll turn my canvas upside down and it’s kind of like you’re painting something that’s not necessarily a nude, it can be anything but you’re always looking for values and color and not necessarily drawing because it’s upside down. So it’s just refreshing. I also use a green plastic that I can hold up in front of my projector and when you’re looking at an image through green, the image tends to have more value change because anything that’s in the reds or warm have more value change, will get really dark when you look at it through a green color because green is the compliment of red so it’ll change anything warm or red really dark and you’ll see a lot more values. This is of course a demonstration on painting a nude figure. Every time you pick up a pencil or a brush, you’re always drawing. So I want to talk about drawing and the main thing is not to think of any kind of a drawing that’s gonna give you a stick or stiff looking drawing. So that’s what I’m gonna talk about now because I start doing a painting. Now I’m going to do a demonstration painting of a female nude I’m going to work from a photograph. I generally work from photographs these days. In the past I did quite a few nudes from a live model. Let’s look at the photograph and on most images where the lighting is you have one strong light on the model. This one here has nine tenths of the model is in light. Always look for one area of the model that is the lightest or the brightest. That should occur on every model when your main light is so in the biggest area. In this photograph the lightest area is around her ribcage and her breast. Pick one – I would say there’s kind of a highlight on her breast so nothing in the model can be as light as her breast. Even if you see two areas there to equally light do not make them light. Just pick one. You can see that it gets darker down the leg. The reason why it gets darker is because the leg is smaller, it receives less light and it reflects less light. Also her leg is curved more than her chest, the radius is smaller so it would reflect less light towards the viewer and also it sometimes is darker because it can have some tan or the blood is closer to the surface. Just remember, everything you’re looking at on this model, and most things you look at all day long, is reflected light. The only light that is now being reflected is if you look directly at the light source. Which would be the sun, computer, fire, electric light bulbs, etc. Let’s look at this John Singer Sargent painting. As you can see on this one, her shoulder is the lightest area and then comes down the arm, then there’s second lightest area on her leg. So Sargent was doing the same thing. So I want you to be aware of that, if when you have a strong – one strong light on a model there’s only gonna be one area that’s the lightest. Doesn’t matter if you see two equal areas. Just pick one. Okay now I’m going to lay out my colors. I’m using Old Holland paint. It’s – my favorite is it seems to be thicker and it seems to last longer. So this is cadmium yellow light, (drawing) cadmium yellow deep, cadmium yellow orange. This is called Old Holland bright red. (painting) This is – (painting) this is darker rose. (painting) This is dioxin mauve. (painting) This is Old Holland blue. (painting) I’m using all this for the background. (painting) And I could use the green. (painting) Was Old Holland bright green and this is black. Doesn’t matter which black. (painting) This is titanium white, Old Holland, and I mix oil of cloves in with the paint because oil of cloves keeps paint wet. And if you mix oil of cloves with the individual colors the painting will stay wet for weeks. But I’m just using it in the white for now. The first thing I’m going to do is I’m going to paint the background. Oh one thing – I don’t have a problem just throwing my image right on the canvas. and making a quick little sketch. I just need that to center it in my painting and I will do most of the drawing as I’m painting. Just remember that every time you pick up a brush or a pencil, you’re drawing. Okay this is going to be the photograph I’m going to be working from to do the painting. And let’s talk about center line in the form, in the body. Okay the torso center line is a nice curved shape like that. The leg we have a kind of an elongated S shape like that. And this leg here, the center line is going like this. (drawing) This arm the center line is going like this and this lower part of the leg center line is going like that. The fingers here you remember we want to curve the fingers. As far as values we always want to have an academic lighting one area of the body that will be the lightest, and that area is right on her breast. If you see two areas that look exactly the same value always pick one over the other. You can see on her breast is the lightest, which is here and then second would be on her ribcage here. The reason why this is the lightest is because it’s a bigger area and because it’s a bigger area it receives more light, it reflects more light plus it’s the local color would be grayer because it’s less blood in the surface of the body. Now you’re going down this leg here and it’s gonna get darker as you go down the leg, the value. Three reasons because it’s a smaller area, it’s gonna receive less light and reflect less light. It’s curved more than her chest so it’s gonna be splattering more light off this direction Less light is being reflected back to the viewer. And also there could be some tan on her leg and the blood might be closer to the surface. So that’s other reasons why it would be darker. The head is also gonna be darker because it’s smaller than the ribcage and chest and also there’s more local color, blood, and or there’s some tan on the face. Everything you’re looking at is reflected light. Just remember unless you’re looking directly at the light source, the sun, fire, t.v. screen to computer screen, electric lightbulbs. If you’re not looking at the source, everything you’re looking at is reflected light. So there is basically you’ve got the main light. This model was photographed out in the sun, so we’ve got the main light is coming from the sun, pretty much a white light. That’s like number one. You got light number two, which is right here on her upper part of her thigh. We’ve got a blue light coming down from the sky, that’s why it’s blue there. That light blue light mixes with the local color and reflects directly at the viewer. We have kind of a magenta or rose light right there. That’s coming from here, hitting the leg and bouncing back at the viewer. Light number three. And light number four we have the sun hitting her stomach here, picking up a little bit of this warm color bouncing here on her thigh. So you’ve got this color hitting this local color, you’ve got two warm colors together. That’s why this is such a warm light here, that’s light number four and that is now bouncing directly at the viewer. The same with this thigh right here. Okay see we got one, two, three, four different colored lights on this model. And if you could see it, it’s light. No matter what you’re looking at all day long, what you can see you’re looking at light. Okay let’s get started painting this figure. Empower your creativity with the internet’s leading subscription for artists at No matter what your skill level, you can learn drawing, painting. sculpture, and much more with thousands of videos taught by master instructors. Our instructors are professional artists and best selling authors, leading art education with over 40 books in print around the world. Our cutting edge, interactive learning format takes art instruction to a new level. Learn at your own pace anytime, anywhere. 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