Though figure drawing classes and open studio sessions are frequently available at art schools and artist organizations in larger metropolitan areas (see my post on the Directory of Figure Drawing Sessions), it’s not always easy or convenient to find a class nearby.
In 2007 I wrote an article about online or on disc substitutes for figure drawing sessions, Poser, Pose Maniacs and Virtual Pose.
I recently appended the article to bring it up to date, and added reference to the Figure & Gesture Drawing Tool, a website that provides figure drawing reference in the way of timed photographs.
In many of the figure drawing classes and sessions I’ve attended over the years, it’s common practice to start with shorter poses (sometimes called “croquis”, from a French word meaning “sketch”), from which gestural drawings are made, capturing the movement and gesture of the pose rather than detail. From there, classes usually move to longer poses, of different lengths for different intentions in the degree of finish the artists are trying to achieve.
In an attempt to simulate this, the Figure & Gesture Drawing Tool allows you to choose a pose interval, from 30 seconds to 10 minutes. after which the page automatically replaces the photo with another pose. You can also advance or step back manually, or use a pause button to choose your own timing. You can also choose clothed or nude models, male or female, or a mix.
There is also a choice for a “class”, that starts with shorter poses, moves to longer ones and includes breaks.
Though some of the poses are a little oddball (having been supplemented lately with turn of the century cheesecake postcards), and the photos aren’t as consistent or high quality as a dedicated commercial product like Virtual Pose might provide, some of them are quite good, and Figure & Gesture Drawing Tool is free, supported by donations to help defray the cost of bandwidth.
There is also a secondary feature, an Animal Drawing Training Tool.
Figure & Gesture Drawing Tool is provided and maintained by Kim of Piexlovely, a web design firm in Portland, Oregon.
[Addendum: I've learned of another online artist's pose resource — The Croquis Cafe, which serves up weekly videos of pose sessions consisting of one, two and five minute poses. You can also view the archives of previous sessions. The Croquis Cafe is provided by On Air Video, a video production company that features a line of arts and crafts instructional videos.]