Beginning in the Renaissance, drawing the figure from life has been considered the best way to learn how to draw, and the practice has been maintain into the present. Different drawing techniques and exercises have become standard, including gesture, contour, and mass drawings. For beginners first learning to draw, learning to correctly observe real objects is essential in order to learn three dimensional perspective and the effects of lighting. Live models are preferred but if not available, plaster casts of the figure may be used, never photographs.
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