Artist’s Mannequin, a Useful Reference Tool?

Artist’s Mannequin, a Useful Reference Tool?

Question from Emily, Drawing Academy student


I have been having a lot of trouble lately with drawing figures in different positions and at different angles. I’ve attempted many times to depict figures in a scene from imagination, and almost every time I have had to erase and re-work an area multiple times and still not have the angles or details correct. I have practiced drawing human figures and am able to depict them with overall accuracy, but unless I have a clear reference for a particular pose, it seems that I just can’t visualize the lines for drawing it. I would like to become more proficient in drawing figures from imagination, but in the meantime, I have been considering getting an artist’s mannequin to use for a reference. Are these a good tool to use? Or is there a better means for drawing figures accurately?

Artist’s Mannequin, a Useful Reference Tool?


Answer from Vladimir London, Art tutor

Dear Emily,

Thank you for your questions.

There is a reason why you have troubles with drawing figures from imagination and the short answer is – an artist’s mannequin would not help.

First, I’ll mention what mannequins are good for and then we will talk how to get strong skills of drawing from imagination.

There are two cases when you may need a mannequin:

  1. To learn how to draw a mannequin
  2. To draw draperies and clothes

I don’t think that your ambition as an artist is to draw wooden or plastic dolls. So, we will dismiss the first case.

In the past, before photography, portrait artists had noble portraits commissions, and very often a busy sitter did not have enough time to pose for many hours during multiple sessions. The solution was to paint the face and hands from life and the rest without the model being present. A life-size mannequin was dressed in the sitter’s clothes. Then, an artist could draw and paint draperies and clothes with elaborate decorations (laces, ribbons, patterns) with precision for as long as it takes without worrying that clothes’ folds would change when a sitter moves.

Life Drawing Academy

I don’t think this is the challenge you have. So, having a mannequin would be a wasted investment. Just ask other artists who already bought it.

Life Drawing Academy

Now, we come to the important part of your question – how to develop good drawing skills.

Here’s the “secret” – strong skills of drawing from imagination is a sub-product of drawing from life and good life-drawing skills only come with knowledge of constructive drawing, proportions, and anatomy.

Life Drawing Academy

I will ask a few questions, and if you answer “no” to some or all of them, then you would know why you can’t draw figures from imagination.

  1. Can you list all principles of constructive drawing and do you use all of them in your artworks?
  2. Can you name 20 main proportions of a human head? Have you practiced those proportions by drawing portraits from life at various angles?
  3. Can you name 40 main proportions of a human figure?
  4. Can you name 200 main bones and muscles of a human body? Do you know all main points of muscles’ origins and insertions?
  5. Have you spent at least 5,000 hours of studying constructive drawing, proportions and anatomy, drawing portraits and figures from life and then repeating those poses from memory?

If not, why do you expect any different results? Your ability to draw from imagination is a result of your learning and practice. Your drawing skills adequately correlate with your art education. if you have troubles “with drawing figures in different positions and at different angles” it only means that the necessary part of your art education is missing.

Life Drawing Academy

Purchasing a wooden toy won’t improve your skills; but learning good drawing techniques will enable you to draw from imagination.

In the Life Drawing Academy Correspondence Course, you can learn all that is needed for drawing whatever you see, saw, or imagine. 

This course is unique. Nowhere else, for a one-time low fee, you would get a dedicated team of professional artists and art teachers, who will assess in depth your current level of drawing skills, create a custom-tailored drawing curriculum for you according to your skills and needs, and do with you 100 drawing tasks, giving in-depth step-by-step instructions for every task, providing feedback on your artworks, giving advice on how to fix mistakes and improve your drawing skills. This personal one-to-one tutoring is unlimited, and comes for a lifetime until you reach the advanced level of drawing skills.

Can you name any other art college, art atelier, or online course where you would get the same service? If you know any other place let me know. So far, the Life Drawing Academy Correspondence Course is the only course in the World where you can learn from art teachers who went through intense art education system themselves and now share their knowledge and experience with their students, providing unlimited tutoring for a one-time fee.

Life Drawing Academy

If you think that the Correspondence Course is expensive, consider this: 

1. This course comes with personal one-to-one tutoring by professional art teachers that went through classical top-end art education that today is only practiced in Russia.

2. There are simply no other art courses like this. You won’t get the same quality tutoring anywhere else, not for this price anyway.

3. In this course, you will cover all the topics that we teach in other drawing courses:

4. Tutoring communication will be via email. It will take more than 1000 emails to go through all 100 drawing tasks. Nowhere else you could get the same teaching for less than $1 per email.

5. If you would like to compare our service to the product offered by another online art academy, here it is:

“Another academy” teaches some erroneous approaches like copying photos and reference images. This is the sure way to get into the “copying trap”, which is the main hazard of original art today. The more you copy, the less you will be able to draw from life, memory and imagination.

Life Drawing Academy

It would take you at least 4 years to get to the advanced level of drawing skills. I have to say that 4 years is optimistic, but if you work hard, it is doable with our coaching.

In the “Another academy”, the most advanced personal tutoring they offer is “Level 7 Coaching”. The word “level” in this case has nothing to do with the level of drawing skills you will get; it is just the product name.

This most intensive tutoring they offer is way inferior to what is provided in the Life Drawing Academy Correspondence Course. They give tutoring/reviews on a weekly basis. Our tutoring is unlimited; you can communicate with us daily or several times per day; there are no limits whatsoever.

Life Drawing Academy

Talking of prices:

“Another academy”:
4 years x 12 months x $949 pcm = $45,552

Life Drawing Academy:
One-time payment for lifetime tutoring – $997

If you are serious about learning good drawing skills, this is the best option available today anywhere in the World. The very low fee does not cover all our expenses, but because it is a new course, we take students at a great discount to raise professional artists who will tell about their experience in this course. Because our time is limited, places are limited. When we run out of capacity, we will suspend enrolment, or put the price to its real value, over 15,000$.

Do not miss your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, ENROLL NOW!

Kind regards,
Vladimir London
Art tutor

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