Comments on nudity from a 1940s artist

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Comments on nudity from a 1940s artist

Postby Maverick » Sat Jul 02, 2016 9:15 am

When I was a kid, I used to draw a lot and I always wanted to draw people and faces well but I never could. I decided to get back into it this summer and found a book called Figure Drawing for All It's Worth by Andrew Loomis, published in 1943.

Here are Loomis's comments on drawing the nude before he even starts teaching how:
The nude human figure must serve as the basis for all figure study. It is impossible to draw the clothed or draped figure without a knowledge of the structure and form of the figure underneath. The artist who cannot put the figure together properly does not have one chance in a thousand of success—either as a figure draftsman or as a painter. It would be as reasonable to expect to become a surgeon without studying anatomy. If you are offended by the sight of the body the Almighty gave us to live in, then put this book aside at once and likewise give up all thought of a career in art. Since all of us are either male or female, and since the figures of the two sexes differ so radically in construction and appearance (a woman in slacks is not a man in pants, even when she has a short haircut), it is fantastic to conceive of a study of figure drawing that did not analyze the many difference. I have been engaged in almost every type of commercial art, and my experience confirms the fact that the study of the nude is indispensable to any art career that requires figure drawing. A vocational course without such study is a deplorable waste of time.

If anyone's interested, you can flip through a digital version of the book here: https://archive.org/details/loomis_FIGURE_draw

Interestingly, I've noticed a lot of newer books that teach how to draw clothed figures without teaching the nude first.
In nuditate veritas.
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Re: Comments on nudity from a 1940s artist

Postby Ramblinman » Sat Jul 02, 2016 1:27 pm

An amplification of that thought:
If you are offended by the sight of the body the Almighty gave us to live in, then give up all thought of a happy, well-adjusted life, particularly with your marriage and family life,
but also expect discomfort frequently wherever you go!
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Re: Comments on nudity from a 1940s artist

Postby naturaldon » Sat Jul 02, 2016 9:50 pm

I think I mentioned on another forum having seen abstract nude art in the lobby of a orthopedic surgeon's office a couple of years ago (watercolor, oil - I can't remember). Yes, the professional - doctor or artist - should already know what's going on underneath. Probably extend that to a tailor, too.

Enjoy your re-found artistic adventure, Maverick! Are you doing pencil sketches, color, or what other medium?
-Don
He must increase, but I must decrease. (John 3:30)
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Re: Comments on nudity from a 1940s artist

Postby DaveT » Sun Jul 03, 2016 12:00 am

makes much sense, those books trying to teach the art without the nude will not produce an artist with any skill. It takes a student with exceptional skill to make it without starting with the basics, jumping into an advanced level skipping the basics, most students will fail. I was more for animal art myself, but never pursued it beyond causal pencil sketch of a horse occasionally.
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Re: Comments on nudity from a 1940s artist

Postby Maverick » Sun Jul 03, 2016 8:50 am

naturaldon wrote:Enjoy your re-found artistic adventure, Maverick! Are you doing pencil sketches, color, or what other medium?


Thanks Don! I'm going to start with pencil sketches and go from there. Maybe I'll even break out the colored pencils! :D

Drawing a face doesn't look to hard. Drawing a nude figure looks very doable with practice. Drawing clothed figures looks like a pain in the butt. Maybe I'll just stick with nudes!
In nuditate veritas.
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Re: Comments on nudity from a 1940s artist

Postby naturaldon » Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:32 am

Drawing clothed figures looks like a pain in the butt.

How do you know it's a pain in the butt if you can't see the butt? Sorry, I can't think of anything funnier to say, and that wasn't that funny. :biggrin:

Anyway, select several lead hardness-es and experiment with various shades (bright, soft, dark, dull, etc.). Also, use a quality paper, one designed for lead sketches (Hobby Lobby is a good place to start and a great company to support). There's also ways to intentionally smudge, of course, and also smudge-removing "erases" available (I used these years ago drafting when it was done by hand - not even sure those kinds of erases are made anymore! ...they look like small tightly woven hacky sacks).

Anyway, keep us posted on your progress. Or better, post one of your sketches if you get the chance.
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Re: Comments on nudity from a 1940s artist

Postby webmeister » Wed Jul 06, 2016 9:24 am

Maverick wrote:When I was a kid, I used to draw a lot and I always wanted to draw people and faces well but I never could. I decided to get back into it this summer and found a book called Figure Drawing for All It's Worth by Andrew Loomis, published in 1943.

Here are Loomis's comments on drawing the nude before he even starts teaching how:
The nude human figure must serve as the basis for all figure study. It is impossible to draw the clothed or draped figure without a knowledge of the structure and form of the figure underneath. The artist who cannot put the figure together properly does not have one chance in a thousand of success—either as a figure draftsman or as a painter. It would be as reasonable to expect to become a surgeon without studying anatomy. If you are offended by the sight of the body the Almighty gave us to live in, then put this book aside at once and likewise give up all thought of a career in art. Since all of us are either male or female, and since the figures of the two sexes differ so radically in construction and appearance (a woman in slacks is not a man in pants, even when she has a short haircut), it is fantastic to conceive of a study of figure drawing that did not analyze the many difference. I have been engaged in almost every type of commercial art, and my experience confirms the fact that the study of the nude is indispensable to any art career that requires figure drawing. A vocational course without such study is a deplorable waste of time.

If anyone's interested, you can flip through a digital version of the book here: https://archive.org/details/loomis_FIGURE_draw

Interestingly, I've noticed a lot of newer books that teach how to draw clothed figures without teaching the nude first.

Sounds great...Would be great to see some of your drawings Maverick :)
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