How to Draw: Foreshortening with the Coil Technique

How to Draw: Foreshortening with the Coil Technique



hey everyone sigh curious in here and in this lesson I wanted to talk about foreshortening so in a previous video I talked about my lightning bolt technique which is you know basically it's a fast way of doing figures you get the head you establish where the the shoulders and the hips are and then you build the arms and the leg using legs using it's kind of lightning bolt type picture I'm not going to go into too much detail into that right now but it's very good for getting figures down quickly and maintaining proportions what it's not so good at though is for shortening so that is when you want to bring something forward so right now this guy has his arms down and let's say I wanted him to have this arm facing us so maybe he's bending at the elbow now one way I could do it is the way I just did you know sort of guess it out and you know as you get more experienced this is not that hard it's pretty good as a as a method of doing that but when you haven't had too much practice it can be a little more difficult to to just do that to kind of know what it should look like and that's where a different technique comes into play that I find is really effective and I call that the coil technique so what I want to do something for shortened what I'm going to do is I'm going to make let's say I want this arm to be coming towards us I'm going to do is make these kind of coiling movements right so let's say this was a cylinder notice how it's a gets bigger towards us right so it looks like it's coming towards us so I'm going to do that with the arm and I'm just going to feel it out and go around and follow the form and maybe he's he has his hands up so now this requires a little bit of knowledge of anatomy but with that it's pretty effective to get down a basic shape which helps to to feel out the pose and now this is something you want to do roughly so if you're doing this traditionally with a paper and pencil you definitely want to use a pencil for this right I mean you could use a pen but it's not going to look very clean but this is something that is good to use with with a pencil and then you would erase it you know so it gets you the guides and you can use this for anything in three let's say he's raising his leg let's say this leg is going back I can do the same thing so the first thing I'm doing is I'm getting the coil to be about the same width as this leg if it was moved back in space so I'm just going to draw it out first as if it was like that right so I'm taking this and then I'm just going in space and for some reason and I don't know if this just is for me or if this is for everyone so maybe you can let me know in the comments how this works for you but having this building block seems to make it much easier and of course I can race it makes it easier to to picture things or to drawing in three dimensions when you're treating it this way when when you make these coiling movements so a human figure is a bit difficult anyway you have to understand Anatomy but this works for really everything so something you could do to practice it is just make coiling shapes that go around and sort of come towards you and as they come towards you they get bigger right and viewed from the side like a coil would pretty much just look like that right but then as it turns towards us it's going to get bigger and then as it goes around again so you can make these kind of snaking shapes I was recently using it when I was doing horns on like a demon creature so I had say I have a demon creature and I want to make those spiralling ram horns now if you just put them in without the guides it's sort of difficult to to picture you know where how does it turn and okay so it's going to turn like that and then I don't know I kind of want it to coil up and it's just it's just difficult right it's not that it's impossible of course you can do it you just need to think about it a lot but it is kind of difficult so with this coil technique just get the head down and then what I can do is start to build that so okay I want the horns to come around and come towards us and then to go up and then to go around and then once I've done that can sort of outline the coil and you'll and of course this is totally out of proportion but you get the idea right like you can feel it out much better you can feel the roundness of that you can feel it coming towards you um and yeah I definitely would have to correct the proportions of this head to make horns like that fit but anyway yeah right we can do the same thing on the other side notice how it comes forward and then it goes down and I'm sort of scribbling it out you could do this with like a snake or something just to practice to get a feel of this and then once you get used to it you can use it for all sorts of things like arms and things now something to remember when you're dealing with foreshortening is that as the name implies with for shortening what happened what's happening is forming towards us right and then it's getting shorter as it goes towards us so let's say and I've seen this a lot where you have like a figure someone's doing a foreshortened pose and let's say this figure is putting their hands towards us and you get something like this where their arms are towards us and maybe the hand looks very big in perspective right because it's closer to us and they've sort of got a sense of what they want but it looks really weird and the reason is that this arm coming towards us is actually bigger than let's say this person just had an arm and it's hanging down it's this long right from here to here well if it was to the side it would be you know from here to here this long so there's no way that coming towards us it can be as long as this can never be longer than this because if you imagine now I'll go with this side view right so we have this is a shoulder you know the elbows here and the hand is here now imagine this is turning in space towards us so what I like to do when I think of moving objects in space is to think of them as arcs so I'm putting down this guide and you of course wouldn't put it down this dark or even necessarily have to put it down I'm just thinking this way and I'm letting you know how I think so I'm imagining the shoulder is in the middle of this ellipse and this is turning right so it's coming towards us so what will happen is this hand as it turns yet will get bigger but notice what's happening like it's really short and then same with this elbow you could do the same thing you could put it down on that like okay hold on let me try to explain this clearer okay let's say we're looking straight down this is a shoulder this is the elbow this is the hand right so that's what it looks like and then if you turn this in perspective so the same same type of circle in the middle is the shoulder and then you have the elbow and the hand right and of course it could be different circles but in the middle you have the shoulder and the elbow in the hand so that's kind of letting you know it's never going to be longer than this one because this one is the top-down view so yeah in this case this arm is way too long so to fix that you just have to remember okay it's never going to be as long as if it was just straight to the side or straight down when it's foreshortened same thing with legs right if the person standing up and then their leg is towards us the objects closer to us will get bigger so the foot will get bigger the knee will get bigger but this distance from the heel to the hip is not going to be longer than this distance and of course a closer you get to to a straight view the longer it's going to appear so in this one for instance and let me just switch colors so from here to here this is coming towards us right that's the shortest now from here to here this is a bit longer from here to here is a bit longer and this one's the longest so it's always going to be like that right it's getting these lines these distances get shorter so as long as you have that in mind then it's pretty easy to to use the coil technique um you know you get your figure down I don't know having trouble thinking but just say they're sitting down on the ground okay and their legs are coming towards us so what I'm doing is I start always at the body like I don't want to start at the leg at the foot sorry and then coil it backwards that's not really making sense because then I don't get a feel of how big it is but for some reason it's almost like sculpting when I start it's like okay this is how big it is where this attaches to the hips and it's coming forward and I sort of you know if I want it to get thinner I make those coils smaller so okay so it's getting thinner if I want it to get bigger make those coils bigger right so of course that doesn't look like a leg that's a very messed up leg oops ah it's going to be too long let's just do this so say we have the leg and then here's the knee and then going to get the foot around here so this is how I handle for shortening and then once I have the coil down I can sort of flesh out what I have like okay and same thing for the other leg and I'm kind of making them too fat let me fix that but it does give me a sense of of fleshing the shape out and sometimes notice how I'm cutting away a lot of what I've drawn just having this gives you that feeling of of knowing you know more or less how things look another good way is to put down a ground plane so if I just put down basic ground plane immediately it makes it easier let's say I want to take this heel and put it forward what I can do then is again I can use those arcs so I can plot like a circle take this and it's going to be there take this put it around that circle so the the center of the circle would be here the hip or where it connects would be at the center of the circle so it's going to be here I can do the same thing where I take the top and the bottom and I just move it on on a circle notice how I'm going around this circle and the center of the circle is where you want it to move so I want to get this here so then this traveling around the circle is going to be here and notice how naturally by following that circle the foots bigger right so if I went all the way around to here so move this like as if she's doing the splits then I would be here and then this would come around it would be this we bring that and there we go right so and same thing for the knee it also follows that circle and the circles are for you to create you know it's not going to be the same every time just have to understand how things move how they pivot and in this case I could use that coil it as well and yeah it's messy so you gotta you gotta clean it up but after a while you know it gets easier you get better at doing it you need to rely less on on defining everything and you can sort of just build things fairly quickly and if you just want it you know let's say the arm is just going straight down well then the lightning bolt is a great method again for for handling most things it's just not very good at foreshortening this looks really weird with the three legs but anyway so I hope that helped I hope you try it out try it out on easy things just play around with making coils make them come towards you and understand that when a coil comes towards you it gets more circle II and when it you know as it turns it gets more elliptical as it's on its side it's very flat like straight up and down and you know you can even start like that just starting with straight and then make these wider and see like well what does that look like that looks like it's turning the corner so then outline it and you'll you'll get a feeling like yeah it's sort of three dimensional right so yeah hope to help and thanks for watching

34 thoughts on “How to Draw: Foreshortening with the Coil Technique”

  1. Thank you this was way better than the way my old teachers showed fore shortening thank you

  2. Holy f this really helped me with my art! Thank you Tumblr for taking me to this wonderful video!

  3. I see this video and I'm like, "Why did I never think of this?!" This was genuinely useful and I can't thank you enough for showing me this.

  4. This is amazing!!! Thank you so much for teaching me this, my perspective is SO much better!!!!

  5. I must say this is one of the most enlightening videos I've ever seen on foreshortening. I have searched for it in books and it is kind of hard. Any suggestions?

  6. to me the question is always.."how MUCH bigger/smaller does something get when it comes towards me." it often feels very weird. some time ago i was thinking about a calculation about how much things change in size on paper compared to how far i am away from its closest and furthest point. i am pretty sure plenty of calculations have been done already and there is a handy rule of thumb or something..i just havent seen it jet. i would for example imagine if an eyeball is right in front of the viewer then it fills whatever the canvas is and if it gets away it gets smaller by x…i really would like to know what x is. Q_Q any hints? how much of the space on a given canvas is it taking if it is 5 metres away from you, if 0 metres is "all of it"?

  7. I doodled coils like that in school during class when i was little and I always thought it looked so cool because i thought it looked like 3D pipes.

  8. Every person, dragon, and animal I will ever draw will bow down to this video, as it will give them quality of life.

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