Drawing Russian Figures with Iliya Mirochnik

Drawing Russian Figures with Iliya Mirochnik


After months or even years of training, countless assignments and anatomical notes we are finally ready to tackle the complexity and beauty of the human figure from life. Join me to draw short poses of the figure and then finally a long pose. Just like at the Repin Academy we are going to work large, really large. This format allows us the room we need to resolve the figure and get the most from out training experience. I’m excited to be able to share with you this technique for the first time online and outside of Russia. With that, let’s begin. Now let’s try a medium long pose. I consider a medium long pose a pose that lasts anywhere from two and four hours. It’s enough time to build up the drawing to relative completion and to begin to integrate anatomical knowledge. Okay so now that we’ve spent a little bit of time working on the figure from observation and doing quick poses to doing quick poses in order to understand certain key principles practice certain exercises, why don’t we spend a little bit longer. So we’re working on something a little more completed but in a shorter period of time. So here let’s just begin with just a general placement on the page. And what you wanna do is kind of combine – combine some of these approaches that we’ve talked about. And what you want to try to see is how you can use some of this anatomical information that we’ve covered to get a basic placement of everything. So as you see I’m trying to get the placement of the neck and head, a little bit of the scapulas, the medial border of the scapula. Don’t worry too much about the arms at the moment, just figure out where the torso is and at times just figure out what a contour is just by observing. So you are combining. You are combining approaches. And you are combining the approaches that we actually were just talking about and were covering but on their own. So there are – there is a structural understanding that is kind of the underpining of it all but also we practiced just observing kind of an organic contour and that’s what we need here as well. Because keep in mind when you have a longer amount of time you have the opportunity to combine approaches. If you have a short amount of time and you’re focused on one particular exercise then of course you’re practicing one thing at a time. But now you can kind of work into it and practice all of it at once. And so after getting some of these contours you can see I am trying to figure out where the box of the pelvis is or the box of the ribcage is where the spine is, all of this is half observed and half, essentially, imagined. Follow the spine down, find where the coccyx is at the end of the spine, at the end of the tailbone, the end of the sacrum. And yeah just make sure the proportions are in the right place, but also even at this point begin to find some anatomy, especially if it’s something that you can easily see. So here we have the scapula, the spine of the scapula, the medial border, the inferior angle, and that certain amount, even show with line the amount that it’s protruding up from the back. And it’s particularly important to figure out where the scapuli are. The scapulas if you will. Because in this scapula, the arm is pulled back, so the scapula actually is going to be moving closer to the spine while the other scapula that’s connected to the left arm is pulled further away from the spine because the arm has moved forward. So that angle and that rotation and that curvature that you’ll be able to see a bit more of because of that is very important to get. So especially when working in the back you have with the back it’s much harder to establish some of these anatomical landmarks because they’re sort of complex and very organic muscular structures. But you still have to find where the ribcage is and where the opening in the ribcage is in the back as well, even though you might not be able to see it that well. So here we have the opening at the eleventh rib, we have the posterior superior iliac spines of the pelvis, which you can see and that can allow you to structure the pelvis. Just by using those two points and seeing where they are on either side of the sacrum. So there is – we’re trying to work anatomically here. We’re trying to think of the internal structures. And then right away maybe begin to put in some of the muscular aspects, some of the overlaps along the contour and then take them back in and find, for example as I’m doing here, find the seventh cervical vertebrae. Use all of the understood anatomy as well as all of the observed anatomy. I can’t say that enough. So – but you’re also, I think you can see that there’s some of these alignments that are helping us get that mild twist between the pelvis and the ribcage. So make sure you do have that before you start with anything else. And then, using the seventh cervical, you can kind of create that ellipse, which will create the base of the neck. And the thing is, you can’t always you can kind of imagine a little more easily from the front, but here it’s all in your head. You have to use a point to establish that ellipse and then take it up and find that curvature in his neck. So there’s not just a twist between the pelvis and the ribcage but it also moves up and there’s a tiny twist with the – tiny twist with the head as well. And so all of that’s gonna contribute to a large amount of sort of movement and action in the pose itself. Which is especially important in a seated post like the one we have here, where the twists aren’t that obvious and yet they need to – they definitely need to be in place, maybe even a little bit exaggerated. (drawing) And then, since we practiced the skull as much as we have, try to imagine the full structure of the head from the back. (drawing) And so I think that gets – and now we can begin with some internal contours as well as external ones that are just describing some of the anatomy that we’ve covered in the back. So here you can see that slight protrusion of the teres major. So – and then you take it down to the latissimus. To the latissimus dorsi. And then out of that, you find the obliques. See so all along the contour, follow that contour, observe it, but also in your head explain what that is, just like as you’re making a line, just like even go ahead and say it out loud. Say what that line is and what anatomical form that line represents. And remember, once you find that on one side take it across the center line, in this case across the spine, and find that line along – across that symmetrical axis. And the same here. Because of the position of the arms though, you might actually be getting a little bit more like the ribcage might be a little bit closer to there, you might be able to see it a little bit more. And if you can see the ribcage then definitely exaggerate that. And usually when the scapula is pushed away – away, away from the spine because of the position of the arm, the latissimus is stretched out a bit more and so you can see the ribcage underneath it a little bit more obviously than if it – the scapula were closer to the spine and the muscle is more bunched up in that area. And then let’s get into some of the more specific anatomical aspects, you can move up and find the infraspinatus on the spine – underneath the spine of the scapula – and work from the spine of the scapula to find the posterior head of the deltoid. See so you just – and then you might even be able to see – I think I can see it – the accromial head. And then remember that we have the long head of triceps coming out from in between the teres major and the infraspinatus. And take the long head of the triceps all the way down to the end of the humerus where you can see the olecranon a little bit. And see so I just worked the other edge almost entirely from observation. But I know that that is the lateral head of the triceps. And so what’s important right now is to try to establish this one’s a little bit harder. Try to see where you have the trapezius. And we know that there’s a little bit part – there’s a little part right at the origin of the spine of the scapula that’s uncovered and the muscle is more obvious in that area. And then there’s the aponeurosis, there’s a more tendonous part that connects to the spine. So you want to try to divide the trapezius up into these parts that you see but at the same time keep in mind it’s one thing. And then remember that the bottom, the inferior edge of the scapula, is slightly underneath the latissimus. And you can see that slight elevation after that, the serratus anterior. And so we’re getting into the complexities of this. And keep in mind I’m still working primarily in line but I’m finding the contours of all of these muscular structures that we’ve covered. And here you do want to show just a little, a little bit as much as you can, you want to show that edge of the latissimus. You can really see it and you can even see hints of the ribs underneath the lat as well. Now let’s move to the other scapula and see what we can get there. And here we have a much larger amount of the trapezius in that area that we can see because the scapula’s movement away from the spine has opened up that area. So we can see a much larger amount there. And it’s these differences between what’s happening on the left side of the spine and the right side of the spine that’s really going to make this convincing and make it interesting as well. Unlike in the West, Russia preserved representational techniques of the 19th century in a remarkably unaltered form. I spent eight years in the academy’s incredibly rigorous painting department that formed not only my technique but my artistic outlook as well. I understand that most artists aren’t able to invest the time and resources required to study seriously at the Repin Academy. Because of this, we have decided to produce this unique online program. I have set out to help you master the most essential components of the method. I offer plenty of assignments to help you become as proficient as possible in the principles I cover. Now, no education is complete without self education and practice is an absolutely essential component. Please go over each assignment as many times as it takes to truly internalize the concepts before moving on to the next one. And I’m very excited to share the first part of my program, the fundamentals. In this section, we’re going to begin as if you have never had any drawing experience whatsoever, let alone training. If you have, I still recommend taking the time and going through this part of the program as there are important techniques and procedures covered here that you might not have been exposed to and that will most definitely age you in working through the more advanced assignments in the next part of the program. As repetition is the mother of learning, it never hurts to go back to the fundamentals. With that, let’s begin. And then you wanna try to find that teres major, wanna find the infraspinatus as well as the spine of the scapula as well. Here it’s not as clear, we don’t have as much information there and neither do we need it. You don’t want to accent both arms equally. (drawing) And then we can follow the erector spinae to the area where you can really see them in the lower back. And the erector spinae of course consist of a number of different groups so be particularly attentive to where they are and where you really see elevation and where they become a little bit flatter, closer to the pelvis. See we’re still working in line but we’re just continuing to map everything out. And you see, it’s observed, but it’s based off of an understanding of what’s going on inside. Complete the oblique there, you actually get a little bit of the internal oblique as well exposed, let’s not worry too much about it, the external oblique matters a bit more there And bring down the erector spinae into the sacrum. And then continue – continue with the muscles of the pelvis and just get them in place, the gluteus maximus and all that. Now I think it’s time to begin like we did in some of the exercises on top of our sort of outlines of all this anatomy. Just follow the terminator. But now that you know what the forms are, you’ve outlined them, you can make sure that this is – that the terminator continues along the forms, as opposed to simply being just an observed line. You’re doing a little bit of a the combination of the two but at the same time, that’s the advantage of having these much more precise anatomical outlines underneath. And then the advantage of working in charcoal is that you can just find that, use your hands, and get that all in place. And charcoal is a little bit closer to what we’re going to be working with when we spend a much longer amount of time on the drawing. On a much more developed piece. I do think this is a good primer though for how we’re going to be working on something that does take longer, is a little more involved, and is also much larger. But I think the technique will remain the same. So at the moment I am I am just focused on where the shadows are. Just following that terminator but also in the cases where I can see it, figuring out where the full area of that core shadow is and seeing if I can even spot just the tiniest of cast shadows. Right under the teres major there and the armpit. (drawing) See this is quite easy to do when you have your outlines. This is a little bit harder to do when you don’t and that’s also something to practice. And we’re going to be talking about this. I do want to accent that arm and I do want to accent the triceps and the olecranon, the elbow in that area because that arm I feel like it’s an important accent, we might as well. Especially because we’re kind of – we’re moving the other arm. You can’t see it as much, you can sort of push it into a haze while the arm that’s extended outwards, I think that’s the one that we’re gonna accent. Here you can see I just follow the terminator on the head and then immediately took it into that outline of the cast shadow from the head onto the neck. And here too, once that’s in place, all you need to do is essentially just color it in. Right. Stay within the lines more or less, just get a flat shape for that core shadow. And use your hands to get it a little bit smoother, a little bit softer. See so as soon as you put a little bit of tone down and you find where those shadows are, you’re just a lot more completion that it adds to a piece, even at that moment, even without the half tones. So I’ve switched to the charcoal pencil because that allows me to work in gradations of tone that are a little more nuanced. And you can see I’m already thinking about some of the half tones. Some of the half tones that are particularly descriptive of the structures. So figuring out what the values are on either side of the spine and the areas of the scapulas. See so these are the dark half tones. And I’m putting them in right away to try to get to try to get some softer movement out from these shadows that we started with. It also allows me to work that terminator. To begin to pull those half tones out from the terminator. Which in most cases is a great place to begin with your shading. (drawing) And then keep in mind the eraser is a friend of yours, use it to define those shapes of shadows even more. Right, carve in to them when you see there’s a bit of light and at the same time ask yourself what is that light. So see so I’m focusing at the moment for the most part on the area of the upper back. So I’m trying to get like with these small half tones, working off of small changes on the sort of just the very outside of the form. I’m still trying to get a larger area of half tone that will show the full roundness of the ribcage. (drawing) And so you can, at a certain – after getting into it just a little bit, you just need to kind of group the values a little bit more. Right, don’t think so much about specifics after they’re in place and just see if you can get a general half tone to describe a larger mass. Now the idea behind this is as you’re putting that larger half tone on top of a little bit of tonal – a little bit of tonal work that’s describing just the general topography, all of that work you did is still there. So it’s kind of like you’re putting a transparent coat onto a transparent coat of tone onto those areas that you’ve already slightly modeled. So you’re just getting them into a general area. You’re – like it’s a way to quickly move very specific modeling into a larger and more generalized area that describes a larger form, a larger underlying structure. So the part of the lower back that I’m working on right now, it’s a little bit harder to describe because it’s relatively flat but there’s still a lot going on in this area. So you just wanna make sure it reads as flat but still keep a lot of the information there. And we do have some important things, you can see that tiny bit of – we can even call it a shadow – along the erector spinae that falls onto the area of the spine and the real thing to worry about now is the form of the upper back, It’s catching the largest amount of light but there’s also some major and pretty radical changes in plane. So right in between the scapula and the spine is a plane that moves in towards the spine. And then that kind of – that’s the shape that we need to keep all across that upper back and that shape we spoke about is kind of like an accordion. So if there’s a plane move in the one right next to it is gonna be moving out and then the one after that gonna be moving in again. So you wanna try to see that as much as possible. Even though it might not be that obvious and even if it’s not that obvious, you still wanna put it on paper. So after getting some of the larger form modeling, then take some time away from that and just indulge yourself with some of this smaller form modeling based on specific anatomical parts. (drawing) I’m just gonna push that tone a bit more, working the trapezius, push that tone of that plane from the medial border of the scapula to the spine, the actual spine of the back but using some of the smaller changes. And always go back – always go back and take a look at those, at your overall contours correct them, find more overlaps, see what’s happening along that contour with maybe a specific tonal change that’s really showing that form coming in off of that corner. And at the same time remember that you do want to accent very specific parts, you do want to accent as much as possible the anatomical landmarks. Even if you can’t really see them as a dark half tone or a shadow. Sometimes you wanna take a half tone and make it just a little bit darker than it really is. Or take a dark half tone and almost push it into shadow. Remember to keep the principles. Make sure that those shadows are separate. in value from anything in your lights, including the darkest of half tones. But you have to use as much as you can to pull out as much anatomical information, especially the skeletal landmarks as you can. (drawing) So now I’m continuing to work along the spine and I’m just taking that shadow and really making it count. The thing is you don’t want to count all of the ribs. You don’t want to have each rib individually modeled, you want to hint at them while preserving the overall form of the ribcage. And then once you do a little bit of work, figure out what the general form is and use that eraser, the eraser is a tool that’s as important, and I kind of even believe it’s more important than your pencil or charcoal. It allows you to carve out a shape, model a form, and also the amount that you erase is going to effect the how light or dark that half tone is. So it gives you a lot to work with and you can really push and pull the values if you use both your pencils, charcoal, and the eraser. So just to work into, once again, some smaller form modeling – now keep in mind after you spend a lot of time on smaller sort of the topography of the – the topography of the surface anatomy, you will need to keep stepping back because often when you get too involved in an area, your general value structure gets a little bit confused. So you are gonna have to go back and readjust these things as you go. But keep in mind that’s part of the process. So I do see that that – in order to get that turn, that slight turn of the teres major, keep in mind that the scapula, though for the most part is relatively flat, there is that little bit of a curvature. But all the muscles on top of it are going to amplify that curvature. So you’re gonna want to make it feel as round as possible. (drawing) And keep in mind that your hands are really important. They can get a nice, smooth change of value and then you can hatch on top, erase into it and so on. And see even as is, I can already see that there’s some problems with the overall value of the scapula as opposed to the value of all the parts underneath it. That’s okay. As long as you keep that in mind, you can always then go back and bring the whole thing up in a value. It’s a natural – it’s something that happens naturally as you just continue to model and you’re going to lose some of those values. It’s the importance of stepping back though. Step back, analyze, make large corrections and then get back into the small things. So it’s – we’re not working on anything too involved. This isn’t something that we’re going to spend twenty hours on but we’re gonna try and still to get as much information as possible. (drawing) And the – (drawing) a way to kind of achieve it – and what is most likely going to happen is that the whole drawing is going to get a little bit heavy, there’s going to be a lot of tone on the thing. And keep in mind that it’s not about the amount of tone, it’s not about how dark or light it is, even though that is of course a stylistic preference you might have but it’s just about the relationships. So I just wanna go back and make sure my half tones read like half tones but not by changing them but by making my shadow even darker. And the advantage of working in charcoal is that you have a very wide range of values. And so you want to at least begin if you haven’t worked in charcoal a lot before to use those values, to use as much of that range as possible. And so as we know from our practice that it’s all about controlling those relationships of values. See even toning down the shadow achieves a larger effective modeling, stops things from being flat. Because keep in mind no amount of small form modeling will ever contribute to a full roundness of the form. It’s only large form modeling that can do this. So I’m not working to define the contours that specifically yet but I do want to get a little bit of variation along them. And keep in mind that within the shadow you just wanna concentrate on just a large area of reflected light. And that’s all you can concentrate on. So here we can now I think safely move down to the pelvis and kind of model, on the one hand, the more organic structures of the gluteus maximus but also try to see as many planes there as possible. There are some major changes in plane there. (drawing) And then at this point I’m just moving around the whole thing because I feel like I do want to keep focusing on the upper back and so that’s kind of the idea, you wanna establish that hierarchy of important elements and do spend more time on those parts that are important. don’t spend all your time there, do move around and complete the whole thing, add more information in other areas but most of your attention should be spent on those parts that you deem important. And I am particularly focused on the upper back here, I think it’s the largest amount of the interesting information that we have here. So just gonna tone back that other scapula, (drawing) define a little bit of the arm but not the key is not to get too involved in it though. Not to get too involved in the arm. but also make sure you don’t have too many super sharp edges, right, especially coming off of the terminator. Just an important element can be accented with a sharper terminator. But the key word there is that it’s not sharp, it’s sharper than some of the other areas that you just need to get a little bit softer. It’s all relationships. (drawing) So the amount of information we need in the head – and keep in mind the whole point here is to get as much as you can in the time that we have, so if you don’t complete something in this time, then that’s it. All you have to do is move on and do a new one. And I assure you, with practice, you’ll be able to get more and more in a set amount of time as you practice. But we’re still gonna do as much of possible. As I said, this is a good primer for working on something for a lot longer. In order to draw the complexity of nature, we need to study all of the anatomy that makes up the surface form that we see in the head and neck. So far, we’ve spent quite a lot of time honing our fundamental drawing skills. Now we undertake a new challenge, the portrait. At the Repin Academy the skull is treated with the utmost importance. We studied each of the bones that make up thee skull and had to draw them from imagination. Luckily, we have fantastic resources to make this task easier than ever before. We will be working from photographs and 3D models scanned from the real human skeleton. For the first time at New Masters Academy we will also be using castings of real human cadavers prepared by renowned artistic anatomist Eliot Goldfinger. These 13 castings are a remarkable, one of kind learning resource and we will making full use of them. I will be demonstrating the planes and structure of the anatomy, as well as giving you some instruction on the anatomical terms and forms. You will follow along with assignments, working from the references we provide. After our intense exploration of anatomy, we will tackle the final assignment in this course, the portrait from life. With that, let’s begin. I’m just – I just got some major plane changes in the head, on the occipital, on the parietals, moving off of that temporal line to establish that side plane of the head and now I wanna come back to that most important area to the upper back. Okay. And now let’s see what we can do here. Always take a break, even if you’re not working from a live model. Take out your phone and put a timer on the phone so that you’re able to sort of clock in the amount of time that you have worked and make sure to take a break because you need to step away because the more you’re looking at a thing – and especially here you’re looking at it rather intently – takes a lot of energy and you get kinda caught up in things and you stop being able to see how to proceed. So you need that break to clear your mind a little bit. So just gonna continue working on some of this small form anatomy on the trapezius on top, kind of hinting at the arm a little bit. And also keep in mind, it’s nice to take a break, especially after you’ve spent some time on the beginnings of the drawing, mainly because the mindset that you have at the beginning is not really the same one that you need when you’re working on completion and you’re focusing on smaller areas. So it’s nice to take that break in order to just allow your mind to switch gears a little bit. So after you come back you can be just a little bit calmer and be able to concentrate on small – smaller areas of the drawing. And in this case this isn’t very large but when you’re working on something much larger in order to complete it you do have to essentially complete it piece by piece and so that is something to think about. So just gonna use the eraser to add that bit of light right under the spine of the scapula and the origin of the deltoid. There’s that light on the infraspinatus and I am working on this area mainly because I think this, not just the upper back as a whole but this part of the upper back, is even more important than the upper back as a whole. So you start with large hierarchies and you move to smaller ones and smaller ones and smaller ones so that you can really get one tiny sort of square half inch that’s the real accent and then everything else is not as important and you kind of – and that’s what will dictate the amount of completion in every area. So that’s the part I’m going to focus on, just making sure there’s clarity, there are very soft changes in tone in the – very soft changes in tone in all the muscles of the scapula and then take it down a bit and see how we can model that area right underneath (drawing) as well as above and around. So see I’m still staying with the area but now I’m working around the area, I’m sort of pulling away from it because I wanna see how the information and tone around that most important area is going to influence and affect how we perceive that one area that I’ve isolated as most important. (drawing) So (drawing) that – that’s just a process. It’s hard to talk about it this entire time because now I’m not working on anything specifically I’m just kind of taking a look at the same thing, adding information where I see it. A lot of this at this point in the process has moved to just observing and seeing what I need to put on paper. (drawing) And if I can get more information, as I’m doing right now, then I could push that information, I could see a little bit more on the erector spinae and the lats, the latissimus dorsi. See I’m going to go for it but try and not forget that it’s in a general tonal area of its own. Small tone and large tone, that’s what you need to be thinking about. So now is a good time to work some of those contours. And the thing is you work those contours by seeing where a mass is creating that contour. And this applies for internal contours as well. Now in some areas you do actually want a line because there’s a plane there that’s perfectly sort of turned away, perfectly in line with your eyesight, it’s parallel to it. But then as that plane reaches in more, that angle moves from parallel to just slightly more perpendicular – it’s not of course, it’s at a different angle, but it’s not so – it’s not a line anymore then you can begin to pull out a tone along that edge, really wrapping that edge. And I have to tell you that in terms of the techniques and and approaches that will really complete a thing, it’s working those edges. And I don’t just mean soft or hard, I mean analyzing what that edge is and what the tone on that edge is. (drawing) So – and you see how just a little bit of this sort of small form modeling is really beginning to complete this area of the ribcage and the lower back. Now you do wanna hint at the spine. The spine is not an easy thing because it’s long and on the one hand you wanna have it in place, you wanna show it, but you don’t want necessarily to count each of the vertebrae. You want to kinda get a general idea, hint at some of them, and step back. Because you don’t want the spine to overtake the whole drawing and if you were to really spend time on it then that amount of small form modeling might just take a lot of attention. So I’ve accented that curving in that is sort of the end of where we can perceive the ribcage. Maybe a little bit more than I see it in life but I feel like we just need to lock that point in. It’s an important anatomical landmark and one that’s harder to find in the back. Which only means that I need to spend more time on it. (drawing) And of course at the same time, the more tone you have in your areas of light, the more you’re gonna need to reevaluate the overall tonal structure of the drawing. And so you’re gonna have to go back and figure out what’s going on with those shadows. (drawing) And here too I would just wanna make sure that there are distinctions within that shadow. And especially along the terminator. You gotta have those anatomical skeletal landmarks accented along that terminator and within larger tonal areas. (drawing) So I think we’re getting a good feeling. See without really doing too much to the scapula to make sure it’s catching a lot of light, by toning down everything around it the scapula has now become much lighter. So always, always keep your eye on those things that you’re not working on as you’re working on other parts. Because you see how the relationships change the way you perceive them. And you’ve heard me speak about this a lot in a lot of our assignments here but I feel like if there’s anything that’s important it’s gotta be that. So I’m just gonna keep repeating it. (drawing) So now I’m working on a little bit of a finding a little bit more of a connection between the upper – the upper torso – the upper back and the lower back. Trying to get a little bit of a smoother movement from top to bottom. Up to this point it’s been just a little bit divided and so I feel it’s got a – it’s still a back and you still need to feel the back in it’s entirety. As much as you’re working on finding individual areas within the back, you gotta keep the whole in the end. And you gotta evaluate it and see how you can make things come together. While, see I still feel like I did need to model a little bit more on the obliques especially. (drawing) Do a little bit of accents on the spine, in the thorax, and there is a strong bit of light here, on that much wider part, the more exposed part of the trapezius. So it’s a more pronounced highlight. So in such instances you might even wanna just kinda think of the highlight and work around it. Just work around that highlight and extend out of it. And that will give you some of those lighter half tones. Some of the lightest half tones actually. So I’d like to go back and just use the eraser, kind of get a general area of light up top. It does feel like I’m erasing but as you see, I’m just getting light. Most of the information that was there is still there but just on the whole a bit lighter. Because the upper back is catching a large amount of light. So kinda like you put, as I said, a glaze of a darker value on top of an area after you’re working on some small form modeling to get it into that area – to get it into, to reinforce that overall structure. You can do the same thing with the eraser by just lightly erasing a part in a way that keeps most of the information there but just brings the whole thing up. There’s actually quite a lot that you’re capable of modifying and adjusting as you go. You can erase pretty much everything and often if you can’t, because there’s just a large amount of medium on the page, most of the time you don’t need to erase at all, you just need to bring it up a notch or tone it down a little bit. It’s not about erasing something that’s wrong, it’s about making tiny adjustments all over the page and seeing how it affects the general relationships. So, as you can see, if you have a relatively small piece of paper, you can get quite a lot accomplished in not a lot of time. Of course, if I only had an hour or so to work on an enormous drawing then there’s no way I can get as far as I’ve gone here. But – so keep in mind the scale is going to be important because it’ll allow you to complete a drawing to a higher degree based on how large or small it is. So when practicing, make sure to cautiously to think about the size of your paper and the size of the drawing. So now that some of these major things have been adjusted, now’s the time to really get back in and figure out where I want those accents. So along the other – the shadows on the on that scapula, on the left scapula, feel like I need them a little bit darker right so that I can lock it in. So that I can see both scapulas at the same time. Because you don’t wanna have one completely developed and the other one kind of vanishing into obscurity. You still want both of them accented. One more than the other, but both accented. I need to see it as it was. On top of that it’s nice to always see it move because that gives you more information. about the anatomy. And that’s what you want, you want to take advantage of every time the model moves, mainly because that just exposes more information. You might not want all that information but that’s already on you. I think the important thing here is to not work out of ignorance but to get as much as you can and then you pick and choose what you really need in the drawing. So some structural aspects. I do wanna accent the spine where I can with that shadow. (drawing) And a lot of the time when you get something a little bit softer after you smudge a bit, you’re gonna need to go back over it with a hatch or some kind of a tone right to get these a little bit more a little more controlled. You could of course smudge a bit more carefully, but it’s a smudge anyway and it’ll always look like one and it has an interesting positive affect but you’re gonna have to go back and add to it, work into it, and so on. We’ve been studying for some time now and we’ve covered so much material together. You’ve just learned how powerful the combination of observation and construction can be in the drawing. We have learned how to think three dimensionally, how to model form and create a sense of weight and solidity. But now, if we hope to make masterful art, we need to become masters of our subject matter. For figurative art, this means studying human anatomy. We have wonderful resources to help us in our endeavor. As with the portrait, I will teach you the structures that you need to know to depict the human forms in your artwork. We will study the skeleton from multiple angles and learn how the muscles and other tissues combine to create the surface forms of the figure. Anatomy is challenging, but I hope in this next section you can come to appreciate its power and utility and begin what may become a lifelong appreciation of nature. With that, let’s begin. Right now I’m going back over a lot of the things that we’ve spoken about, a lot of the important anatomical landmarks by just giving it a once over again. And that’s kind of the approach too. It might seem like it takes a while because you don’t ever really complete anything, you just kind of do a little bit of work and then move on and then you come back to it eventually and then you do a little bit of work elsewhere and come back to it again. And this is kind of indefinite. And that’s an interesting approach that might seem a bit long at the beginning but it’s what keeps you thinking of the whole. That’s what keeps the – it’s what keeps things interesting I think also. So just to get a little bit more information on this arm, we’re primarily focusing on the back but as I said, that arm is important in terms of its (drawing) action and the movement that it brings to the pose. And so there is some information there, there’s a lot of information there, and it’d be nice to get a bit of it. On the other arm as well, to get as much there as possible. Without making it the most important aspect in this piece. And here’s where I add that bit of a background, right, it’s not really a background, not really a tone, but it’s just enough to minimize that contrast. Because, keep in mind, you’re thinking in contrasts. So what I see in front of me is a certain way because there’s a value in the background. But I advocate for not thinking about – for not putting down a value for the background until you need it. And you are doing everything in relation to the white of the page. So when you do need a little bit of a tone there, right, to just minimize that contrast, then you’re really analyzing and you’re not just copying a value, but you’re transposing multiple values at the same time onto the page. We’re not copying. We’re analyzing and essentially inventing but in the way that ideally still quite convincing. So I haven’t done too much on the pelvis so I do feel like at least I need a bit of a value there because now it’s pretty much as light as the page and that’s not great. So not as much information there perhaps but we can get darker values on the gluteus maximus on one side and the other, at least if for nothing else then to show just a little bit more of the sacrum. Get a little bit more, get a little bit more pronounced because that is an anatomical landmark we can’t really ignore. As well as, of course, we need the shadows on the pelvis and we especially need at least a line, right, it’s possibly an occlusion shadow but you can think of it pretty much as like a cast shadow. It’s – we’re gonna need to find it in order to make sure that he’s got some weight to him. And yeah so just a little bit more information, figuring out where the sacrum is, what those particular turns on the contour are and how we’re going to show the legs. And we’re not gonna spend too much time on them. Gotta lock that in place a little better. So just wanna hint at the leg and here see I’m kind of giving a little more attention to the leg that’s at a diagonal from the accented arm. And that’s intentional right, so that you don’t have two areas equally, one right above the other, And so instead, you wanna accent them essentially at a diagonal on the page. So just gonna go back, just gonna go back with my eraser and my blending stump, right, just to get some things a little more intricate, a little more precise. I don’t usually start things off with them, I kind of begin to work with them later on when I’m really modeling small forms, small areas, tiny changes, along – just at the outermost part of the form. The one – the part that’s closest to the surface. So at the same time I do wanna go back and make sure we read that spine of the scapula. The spine of the scapula’s of primary importance and we need it there. I’m gonna tone back – just feel the need to tone back that trapezius a little bit. And you can see – you can place these tiny little accents right at the major change between one form and another form. Right at the crease. Really pulling one form apart from the other. Not along the whole contour of the form but just in one or two areas. And that little bit of light was also I think helpful. I’m happy with what happened there. It gives us that inferior angle of the scapula. And really pushes that edge, the medial border out. And essentially only by accenting that one tiny part. So of course, it’s advantageous that our model mark does not have a lot of body fat. It’s really good for us to really see what’s going on there. But that’s kind of precisely – but needed to happen here, right so that we can see as much of this anatomy that we covered, exclusively up to this point using casts from cadavers. We wanna try to get as close to that as possible so that we can observe that in a human form. However of course, people come in all different shapes and sizes and so some you might not be able to see it as much but I think these points that I keep accenting, you know, the scapula, all the parts of the scapuli. The end of the ribcage, the posterior superior iliac spines, the coccyx, all of that. The spines of the scapula. All of these things. You will probably be able to observe on any model and those are the ones you need to concentrate on. everything in between is not that important as long as you remember what the major masses are. So I’m just going back over our main accents just going over scapula again. I keep coming back to it, keep coming back, adding as much information as I can and the idea is basically you can’t observe it all in one go. So as you add a little bit, it hints to what you still need. And so that’s why you keep coming back to it because it’s not – because you begin to observe more keenly as you analyze the drawing itself as it’s in the process. So I’m just trying to get a little more specific on the changes in planes along the deltoid, especially the posterior portion, the one that we can see more clearly. And right now I honestly can’t remember if that was what I saw at the beginning but you see how the posterior portion of the deltoid is almost casting a shadow onto the muscles of the scapula and it’s just – it’s too good to to pass up, I’m gonna have to use it. So just adding that as a shadow. And remember if you just keep going over those principles of shadows – terminator line, core shadow, reflected light, cast shadow, at times occlusion shadows – if you know where they are, you keep them in their proper – in the proper relationships, then you really can almost invent a shadow if you happen to need it. If you know what the form is. And it’s nice to have that bit of cast shadow from that deltoid because it gives us that sharp edge, focusing our attention even more on the scapula. Just feel the need to get a bit more of that roundness underneath it, tone it down a bit, make sure it’s a plane that’s going inwards. So with all the informationt here it still can’t catch as much light as anything above it. So it’s at this point in the game you’re just making changes everywhere and doing your best to add information. Though at times you realize that you might actually have overmodeled the part. You don’t actually need that much there. So at that point you’re just kind of erase it. It’s totally fine, you’ve learned the form, you’ve spent time with it, you’ve analyzed it, you’ve put it on paper. But it’s the overall effect you’re after, not individual details, keep that in mind. Even though, while working on the thing, you are focused a lot on individual details if for nothing else then for the purpose of really learning them and understanding them. So do a little more work on the head. I don’t wanna overemphasize the head here. We’ve spent a fair amount of time on it. And keep in mind that the portrait in a nude, if you’re working on a nude model the portrait is far from primary. You’re focused on the anatomy, you’re focused on these larger structures, the general movement. The head, it needs to be there, it needs to be in the right proportion but you don’t need it to be a portrait. Because otherwise it becomes a portrait of a – it becomes a nude portrait as opposed to a nude. It’s sort of a shift of emphasis if you know what I’m saying. So just kind of remove that shadow on the head a little bit, make it bit lighter to keep the relationships correct right now. I know I might go back in and change it though because I do plan on adding some more of those half tones on the head. So as to not leave a totally – a schematic. I’m okay with it being simpler, but not that much. And so just gonna use the – just gonna use the blending stump to get the general values and clearly right away you can see that I have made the half tones darker than the shadow. And as much as I don’t want that shadow to really take away from the shadows on the back we still have to have our shadows consistently a darker value than any of our lights, no matter how dark those half tones might be. And so at the moment I just wanna step back, take a look and I gotta go back in to some of those main terminators right that go all along the torso and just make sure that they’re emphasized. Right, just once again we’re kind of wrapping this up a little bit and I just wanna make sure that those contrasts, those hierarchies of contrast are in place, I have them in there and they’re doing what I want them to do. And also that goes in reverse, right, that deltoid just needed to go down a little bit, just needed to tone back, it’s catching a little bit too much light. There was a conflict I needed to resolve. And so I still feel like maybe it’s not enough tone on the pelvic areas, just not enough of it. I’m just gonna add a little bit more of the leg just enough to make things just a little bit more interesting, kind of establish that there’s a box. It doesn’t have to be a chair, even if you have a chair it just needs to be something for us to understand that he’s not just floating in space but that he’s on a structure. So we’re thinking a little more architecturally. You could also begin with the box. You could build everything up from the – essentially in an architectural way, from the ground up. but I chose not to here. And as I said completion does depend an immense amount on accents and contours so in some cases, just to get that accent, it’s okay to simply have a line. Don’t keep it too long, find variation in those contours, but nonetheless, a line can be quite an interesting effect. It can attract the eye in a good way. And then also keep in mind right practically at the end, you feel like you’re wrapping up but you still got a little bit more time and you notice something that’s just off, you just go ahead and change it and do it as fast as possible. See what you can do. (drawing) So, yeah I think that it’s the same process over and over again on just maybe a smaller scale, adding more and more information as you go. Tiny accents, tiny highlights but that’s the point we’re on right now. (drawing) Then maybe you see an opportunity like I’m doing now to once again get those important skeletal landmarks into drawing. Maybe you’ve had them but now you’ve noticed that there’s a way you can make them even more obvious, even more clear.=and more prominent so you go for it. (drawing) And then of course, as you do get towards completing things, you end up really thinking of highlights. The shape of highlights, the edges of highlights, what are the half tones around them, really making them as dynamic as possible. Because that highlight, which will really give you that element of completion at the very highest point of the form. And right now might be one of the hardest parts of the approach to explain because you just – you’re just sort of observing, you’re trying to add information while at the same, at this point, just really trying to preserve overall relationships and at this point you’re just trying to find a way for the drawing to really complete itself. Of course, you’re responsible for that completion but you kind of, like the way that I think about it is it’s some sort of a part from what I’m in control of. And at this point in the process I’m more just responding, not even to the model, but I’m responding to the drawing itself and constantly asking questions. You know, what more, what more, what more does this need? and so, you know, and there’s always of course those parts that you just didn’t think about, didn’t have time to do that you can – maybe because they weren’t actually that important, but at the same time I’ve just – I think I don’t want that hand to be just nonexistent so we can just hint at it enough for it to be there without making it too prominent. And so as you see, I kind of I add a tone and then I wipe it away and then I add a tone again and I wipe it away again, it’s a way to sort of just really not allow me to overwork it. And so even if you are modeling something that’s relatively unimportant, you just have to make sure to control those values in relation to the main values. And accent the base of the skull, that change in plane inwards for the front plane to the plane underneath of the occipital. (drawing) Just make sure to have some clarity in those contrasts, in those terminators, and especially really following how that cast shadow from the head is defining the forms of the neck and the shoulders. (drawing) I do wanna hint a little bit at the mandible if I can. Can see it a little bit and just see almost randomly. Just move from the head down to the pelvis. It’s just something that caught my eye, something that needed to happen. In general try to keep your eye moving all across the page. Along the page, across the page, every part. Try to see it all at once. Especially at the end of an assignment or the end of just a drawing, you know, even if you’re working on small things, the whole is what you’re really trying to capture at the very end. Trying to keep a unity. And then, you know, you just kind of – this is the time, especially since I get everything covered in charcoal or whatever media I’m working in, then you maybe wanna go around and clean up a little bit. You know, kind of work those edges from the outside with an eraser a little bit, you know, remove some of the smudges you’ve made. And I think that’s it. This exercise was a great primer for what we’re going to do next and I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. (drawing) After months or even years of training, countless assignments and anatomical notes, we are finally ready to tackle the complexity and beauty of the human figure from life. Join me to draw short poses of the figure, and then finally a long pose. Just like at the Repin Academy, we are going to work large. Really large. This format allows us the room we need to resolve the figure and get the most from our training experience. I’m excited to be able to share with you this technique for the first time online and outside of Russia. With that, let’s begin. Empower your creativity with the internet’s leading subscription library for artists at NMA.art. 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, any time, anywhere. Take advantage of our self study assignments and beautiful references to practice your artistic skills. Our mission is to provide exceptional training to artists around the world at an affordable price. Thousands of artists just like you have used our library to take their first step into the art world, open new career possibilities, and improve their professional skills. NMA.art is the most comprehensive art training on the internet. Your subscription is everything you need to reach your artistic goals. Let us transform your art and unleash your creative potential. Start your free trial today at NMA.art.

14 thoughts on “Drawing Russian Figures with Iliya Mirochnik

  1. Can't wait for it! Thank you for your amazing courses and all the effort

  2. Мммм. Будет интересно. Но, наверное, это больше подходит для студентов, нежели чем для новичков. Но всё равно ожидаю с нетерпением.

  3. Great process! Thank you for sharing

  4. Gracias, excelente!!!

  5. Oh, no. I didn't get an e-mail this time warning about the premiere. Was looking forward to asking Iliya some questions.

  6. Cool

  7. Wow! Incredible production and great information. Thank you team. Well done

  8. Great lesson

  9. Great tutorial. Helped me out a lot with the musculature of the back. The scapula has always caused me problems. especially enjoyed the part where he steps back in front of the camera to "reveal" the finished work. 🙂

  10. I'm exhausted just having watched you

  11. What mediums did you use? Could you please tell me so I can follow the tutorial.

  12. tag_faces
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  13. Iliya, thanks you a lot!

  14. круто! 🙂

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