The next step in the process of making a ball-jointed doll is drawing. Drawing is used to solidify all those swirling ideas in your head, and put them down on paper. Drawing is easy, quick, and inexpensive. Also, it is relatively easy to change. Besides solidifying ideas, drawing is also used to determine proportions, and to get an idea of the size of the doll. Such a drawing can also be used to design armatures and cores, if any of those are going to be used.
I always like to work from human figure photographic references when I am drawing the human figure. If I could afford the services of a live model, that would be even better. However, the photo references are much less expensive than a live model, don't complain, and are always on time. Besides the photographic references, I also like to refer to artistic anatomy books. Between the two, I can usually figure out how to do something. Personally, I am not very good at artistic anatomy. All those Latin words give me a headache. Nevertheless, I have several artistic anatomy books in my studio reference library, and I enjoy looking at them.
For making sculpture, the best human figure photographic references are those that have a model in a pose which has been rotated 360 degrees, with a photo taken every 10 or 15 degrees. Such a sequence of photos can give the sculptor views of the pose all around the model. With a computer, such a sequence of photos can even be animated, to show the pose rotated in 3D. Not all poses can be done this way, but the usual standing, sitting, crouching, kneeling, and reclining poses can be photographed this way.
If you are making a BJD that is a portrait of a specific person, then taking as many photographs of the subject is a very good idea. If possible, a turnaround of at least the head is invaluable. A turnaround is at least eight photos, taken all around the subject. More is better, so if you can get 16 or 24 shots, do it! Then you can find a human figure photo reference that is close to the subject's body type, to use for the body of the doll. The photographs can be pinned to a bulletin board next to where you work, so you can see them at all times.
My favorite human figure photographic reference is PoseSpace.com. The site contains Artistic Nudity, which may not be work safe, so be careful if you are at work. They are located at: http://www.posespace.com/default.aspx
One of the nicest things about PoseSpace.com is that they have a variety of models, both male and female, in a variety of poses. All the poses of each model can be previewed using the Pose Tool. This page shows a list of all the Art Models models. These people have been in business for quite a few years now, and I have purchased from them in the past, without any problems. They have published at least six books of Art Models at the time of this post, which may be found at good book stores.
There are other Artist Model sites on the Internet as well. 3D.SK is another human figure photographic reference. PoseManiacs is not a photographic reference, but it is very interesting, even though the models are computer generated, and don't have any skin. I have found it useful for getting a better idea of artistic anatomy.
One of the best figure drawing books available is called Figure Drawing For All Its Worth, by Andrew Loomis. I have a 1943 printing of the book, but it is also available to view online at FineArt.sk. I believe it has recently been reprinted, and is also available as a dead tree book. This is one of my favorite drawing books for the human figure. It is also interesting to note that this is the book that Ryo Yoshida is referencing for drawing his doll in the Yoshida Style BJD Making Guide.
I would also like to mention Drawing the Head and Figure, by Jack Hamm. This is a fun book, filled with all kinds of tips and hints for drawing the human figure. All the illustrations are easy to understand, including the ones about proportion and anatomy.
My favorite anatomy books include Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist, by Stephen Rogers Peck, as well as Human Anatomy for Artists: The Elements of Form, by Eliot Goldfinger. Both of these books are still available from book sellers.
Finally, if you don't know how to draw, or, if you think that you do not draw well enough to design a ball-jointed doll, find Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain (the first book), by Betty Edwards, and work through the tutorials in that book. By the time you have finished the book, your drawing skills will have improved. I have heard that the New Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain (the second book) is not as good as the first book, so you probably shouldn't bother with that one. I worked through the tutorials in the first book after I graduated from Art School, and even then, I saw an improvement in my drawing skills.
PoseSpace.com Photographic References for Artists
List of Art Models at PoseSpace.com
3D.SK Photographic References for Artists
Figure Drawing For All Its Worth
Drawing the Head and Figure. Jack Hamm. Perigee, 1982. ISBN-10: 0399507914
Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist. Stephen Rogers Peck. Oxford Univ. Press, 1982. ISBN-10: 0195030958
Human Anatomy for Artists: The Elements of Form. Eliot Goldfinger. Oxford Univ. Press, 1991. ISBN-10: 0195052064
Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain. Betty Edwards. Tarcher, 1989. ISBN-10: 0874775132
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