Christopher Hart and Sexism

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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby IVstudios » November 29th, 2012, 6:49 pm

SuperBiasedMan wrote:Stuff


I agree 100% with all those points. But whenever you are learning to draw (or do anything else for that matter) you start out by imitating other people. Heart caters to that desire to imitate.

Of course it's best to start out by enrolling in some good, fundamental art classes and take life drawing and do still lifes (still lives? How do you pluralize still life?). But what if you just like Batman and want to draw Batman? Not everyone who wants to learn to draw wants to make art their career. They grab a "how to draw superheroes" book and draw a few pictures of Batman. Maybe that's it. They get bored with drawing and move on with their lives. Or maybe they find out they love drawing and go out and buy some better books and start taking classes and learning other styles and techniques.

That's what Heart's books are best for, people who want to draw Batman. Or Danny Phantom or Sailor Moon. They just want to draw something they like. If they move on to bigger and better things, great. And if not, that's fine too. I don't see anything wrong with that.
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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby Thera Dratara » November 29th, 2012, 7:44 pm

I dunno, I just vaguely have the feeling there's something inbetween 'chris hart books' & 'drawing from life' when it comes to babies first art book.
It isn't so much that it doesn't teach people(because I agree with you, you start with a new skill with trying to figure out what you want to do and trying that out, any other method is demotivating) but it's shallow.

I have books that while simple enough for me to learn from it when I was unskilled, remained interesting for years afterwards, because the material was so varied. One chapter described drawing characters, the next perspective, paterns, animals, paints, ink, etc. (It was 'Drawing and Painting Fantasy Figures' by Finlay Cowan.)

...Hell, looking at it now, the art isn't as impressive as it used to be, but I still find myself learning from it.

EDIT: I'm basically trying to say you're better off having a recipe book on deserts and pies than one on decorating cupcakes. Neither are as good as the large household cookbooks, or training under an actual chef, but I think people would have so much more fun with the deserts book than with the book about decorating cupcakes.
If only because there may be a time when you get sick of buttercream and fondant. /crazy analogy, but still better than the maths one.

EDIT2: Now to somehow go full circle and imply that there's a hypothetical cupcake recipe book that perpetuates sexist ideas.
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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby robybang » November 29th, 2012, 11:47 pm

IVstudios wrote:That's what Heart's books are best for, people who want to draw Batman. Or Danny Phantom or Sailor Moon.


Except Hart doesn't teach you how to draw Batman. He teaches you how to draw "Superhero style" or "Retro style" or "Manga style". If a beginner wanted to draw Batman, he'd grab a book that teaches you how to draw those characters. Or find an internet tutorial on those characters. I have quite a few books that teach how to draw well-known comic book and cartoon characters because when I was younger, that's all I wanted to do. I still have them too, though they don't teach anything I didn't learn from basic drawing lessons.
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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby blankd » November 30th, 2012, 12:56 am

"No you." - Talking about Hart
Spoiler! :
IVstudios wrote:Again, I still disagree. Wrong math is always wrong and always useless. Art less so. Were the egyptians "wrong" for using a flat perspective when drawing people? Because their anatomy is bad does that make their art less important? But if there math was bad, no pyramids.
Art History 101, the Egyptians used that horrible perspective because they wanted to convey the most information they could on STONE, additionally the concept of perspective (as we know it) is relatively new, Renaissance new. This is the context for their wonky perspective. So while "wrong" by today's standards they have a reason for why it is what it is. Hart's errors are errors because they are either technically wrong or they pigeon-hole aspiring artists with poorly grasped concepts and notorious "bad art" habits. (If you require I can retrieve bad art examples from him from the Internet, but I'm sure you're familiar with them.)
IVstudios wrote:First off: You've got a little logical fallacy on your shirt there. Me failing to prove you wrong does not automatically prove you right. Just because I can't prove you're not a Sasquatch doesn't mean you are one.
Aside from getting your fallacies confused let's clarify something. I said Hart was a bad source for learning art from and elaborated as to why. Your "counter" was to state I was wrong but you did not state any support. As for a back on-topic, thank you for posting images on why Hart's "reference" is plainly inferior to others' books.
IVstudios wrote:A nice little bit on the movement of neck muscles.
Original Image of Neck

And what have you learned from these drawings of neck muscles? Beyond showing that they can indeed turn with the head? Does it talk about the limitations of the movements of the neck? How about how the muscles change depending on the movements of the jaw? How about how the muscles at all change when the head moves, or why? Does it even list what the names of these muscles are when he references them in the diagrams? (Ignoring that the text says the muscles are attached to the clavicle but the representations of such are hovering well above the actual bones.) If a newbie can be expected to learn these names, they can do the same for an actual anatomy guide actually intended for artists. Additionally, there is no real reason why the Trapezius is in color in that 3rd diagram when what the text is referring to is the Sternomastoid and it's visibility from the back. (Additionally these illustrations are not very accurate, if you have to use a quick ref, you're a Google search away from a muscle diagram, why use Hart's? Or if you have a book at all, why settle for Hart's?)

How Loomis does it. (Courtesy of Google.) Look you can actually see the muscles AND you get different head views, what a bargain! *If you want an actual image of the neck area breakdown, I'll fetch it.
IVstudios wrote:The interaction of various bones and muscles in the arm.
Original Image of Arm
Supinated and Pronated, what accessible words. Again, this is the lingo that comes from anatomy books intended for artists. Additionally, none of the muscles are indicated or which ones changed depending on the angle of the arm or how the tense/relaxed state of the hand can change how the muscles appear.

How Loomis does it. (Courtesy of Google)
IVstudios wrote:A helpful bit about the hand.
Original Image of Hand
I want you to look at your own hand for three seconds, hold it up to the screen if you have to to see what is so very wrong with this picture. The textual tips are "correct" but the hand and it's components are depicted very wrong.

How Loomis does it (Courtesy of Google) *While not a direct link to a breakdown of the hands, the guy has a whole book dedicated to hands (and heads).
IVstudios wrote:And as for the style thing, a side by side comparison of the same character in two styles to show how they differ, and a brief overview of the focus of each style when it comes to representing the human body. Danny Phantom has seen better days
Others have already picked at it, but the basic breakdown of both characters demonstrates he doesn't know what he's talking about simply by virtue of how he skims over everything. There's a reason both look like poor knockoffs of what they're supposed to represent.

Others have already voiced why anything less than the "visual best" is detrimental, but I'll give it another kick. The text has some truth in it because they're parroted from better books, but newbie artists won't know any better and associate these flawed diagrams with the partial information presented with them.

That is what makes Hart's books bad and why defending or otherwise "permitting" purchase of these books will have a negative effect on the artist. For the "casual artists" crowd you mentioned, Robybang brings up an excellent point, why would any fan settle for Hart when they can get a "how to" from the actual artist(s) they admire? (Or just copying the characters wholesale from whatever they are reading or watching?)
*Other notes, I primarily used examples from Loomis since those are readily available on Google, the book I personally have on hand is "Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist" by Stephen Rogers Peck. There are scores of other artbooks that could be helpful to the budding artist and with the magic of the internet, there are even MORE artists to seek help from- the beauty of the Internet option is that there is the on-hand ability to cross-reference with reality. So again, why settle for Hart when there are better options?
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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby KirbyHead » November 30th, 2012, 1:44 am

Well, I think the real crux of this whole issue is that no one should be learning from Chris Hart books, anyway. Hell, How to Draw Manga books are better than his, and that's saying something. Although I will say that the "Guns and Military" and "Costume Encyclopedia" are incredibly useful as references, since they focus on clothing and objects rather than people.
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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby IVstudios » November 30th, 2012, 10:11 am

blankd wrote:Stuff


Other people already brought up a lot of these points. Please see my responses to them.

I'm not trying to prove Heart is awesome. I just don't agree with your assertion that he knows nothing about art. I agree there are lots of better sources out there. The stuff you linked to is better, I'm not disagreeing about that. But they both cover the same basic stuff. Heart covers it in a way that conveys they basic idea of how they work.

Again, see my comment about hamburgers v steak.
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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby blankd » November 30th, 2012, 11:57 am

IVstudios wrote:Other people already brought up a lot of these points. Please see my responses to them.

I'm not trying to prove Heart is awesome. I just don't agree with your assertion that he knows nothing about art. I agree there are lots of better sources out there. The stuff you linked to is better, I'm not disagreeing about that. But they both cover the same basic stuff. Heart covers it in a way that conveys they basic idea of how they work.

Again, see my comment about hamburgers v steak.

It's like you never really read my initial post or something.

I'm going to take that example of the hand you posted, it is frankly (and plainly easy to see), horrible since it is technically wrong and is intended to be a "technical drawing" of a hand (same for the style breakdown, it sticks out as a poor breakdown of the style because it doesn't actually look like any "retro" style anyone would pay attention to because it's poorly executed). As a reference book you are not allowed the luxury of screwing up so badly on something so fundamental. My point remains that while the text is partially correct due to what he parrots from other sources, his images which are supposed to be the "most easy to understand" and provide "quick reference" are flawed for the reasons I already discussed.

Your burger and your steak analogy is faulty- art is not limited to consumption, it's also production. So let's make it the analogy a cookbook, the cookbook describes what sounds like a steak, but the accompanying photo looks like a burnt burger, a newbie cook has now been "taught" that this subpar burger is how steaks really look and really taste ("I followed the recipe but it doesn't match the picture, better cook it some more!" So in addition to a not-steak we get a burnt burger instead of something well-done).

Teaching a flawed concept of something is not the same as teaching it in a basic manner.
That is the meat of what I'm trying to convey while you continue to champion Hart's mediocrity. There are better books out there, in fact some of these books teach in an easy to understand manner and give a more thorough discussion of the terms Hart slings around; there is no logical reason to settle for less.

Our discussion broken down:
-You agree Hart is not the best instructor
-You agree that Hart is not the best artist
-You agree that there are better books out there

Therefore:
-It would be better if newbies picked up a better book by a better artist so that they can get a better understanding of the subject

What's Happening:
-Artists can use this book because it got a C- in art while other art books are B's or A's. That's good enough. Why can't you understand that burnt burgers are acceptable when everyone else is making varying degrees of steaks? Will no one think of the burgers?
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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby Sonic-ock » November 30th, 2012, 12:04 pm

Haha... Meat.
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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby IVstudios » November 30th, 2012, 12:36 pm

blankd wrote:Teaching a flawed concept of something is not the same as teaching it in a basic manner.[/i] That is the meat of what I'm trying to convey while you continue to champion Hart's mediocrity. There are better books out there, in fact some of these books teach in an easy to understand manner and give a more thorough discussion of the terms Hart slings around; there is no logical reason to settle for less.


There's nothing else I can really ad at this point. If you really think his stuff is so god-awful there's nothing I can say or show you to change your mind.

But I really don't think his stuff is as detrimental or as bad as you say. I think you're looking for stuff to hate about it and all you can see is that the hand has some weird proportions and an odd pinky and are missing the bigger point that it's teaching the idea that the structure of the hand is dictated by the bones and muscles inside it.
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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby Thera Dratara » November 30th, 2012, 1:57 pm

But because Hart doesn't seem to understand what he's parroting, he lacks the ability to explain the theory better.

Sure, the hand-palm contains phalanges, but really, as an artist you barely know they're there. Yet no mention is made of the extensor digitorum, also known as 'those lovely little lines beneath your knuckles that move as you flex your fingers'(it's attached to the upper part of your lowerarm, btw), or the muscles creating the webbing between your fingers, which allow you to spread out your fingers. I don't really get why he's explaining the phalanges of all things while he could've done better explaining through a general construction technique. (which would've been simpler and easier to understand)
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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby blankd » November 30th, 2012, 3:54 pm

IVstudios wrote:There's nothing else I can really ad at this point. If you really think his stuff is so god-awful there's nothing I can say or show you to change your mind.

But I really don't think his stuff is as detrimental or as bad as you say. I think you're looking for stuff to hate about it and all you can see is that the hand has some weird proportions and an odd pinky and are missing the bigger point that it's teaching the idea that the structure of the hand is dictated by the bones and muscles inside it.

So basically you cannot comprehend how poorly indicated diagrams (the neck muscle), unclear diagrams (the arm muscles- and why is he using "advanced" terms to describe the pictures but not the pictures themselves) and wildly anatomically inaccurate diagrams (the hand), are detrimental?

I too can spout "gee, form is altered by underlying structure" but if I draw a horrendous diagram, I should not be making books intended to be reference material for beginners. Unlike subjective art which can find values in subjective terms, anatomical references are not allowed such room, they have to adhere to the reality they are supposed to reproduce since the tips themselves stem from reality. If pictures do not compliment or address what the text is referring to it is, by definition, a poor guide.

Again, he parrots the text from superior sources but lacks the competency to create examples to back up the text; they also deprive newbie artists of information and accuracy in a feeble attempt to be "accessible"; they are a "resource" that should be removed a young artist's options because there are many other better and far more deserving options in terms of time and money. Unlike a fandom of "it's just your opinion" I can hold Hart's books to an academic standard (just like Art with a Capital A has an academic institution) and you seem to have trouble grasping that concept because in your world if something is "sorta, vaguely right, only if you really think about the text and ignore the wrong diagrams" deserves to be on the same shelf as "actually right" books existing.

The "bigger picture" is not lost on me, the bigger picture is lost on you because you feel that a book with inaccurate and poorly explained drawings is an acceptable substitute to A LIBRARY of resources done by artists who actually know what they're drawing and can explain circles around Hart. Hart's books are not some subjective artwork that can find appreciation from various audiences, they are poorly done 'academic' books that masquerade as a Cliff's Notes to art and as a artist I will always be bothered that this man profits and continues to hold sway over the doughy minds of people whose only fault is not knowing any better.
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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby SuperBiasedMan » November 30th, 2012, 4:27 pm

blankd wrote:
IVstudios wrote:There's nothing else I can really ad at this point. If you really think his stuff is so god-awful there's nothing I can say or show you to change your mind.

But I really don't think his stuff is as detrimental or as bad as you say. I think you're looking for stuff to hate about it and all you can see is that the hand has some weird proportions and an odd pinky and are missing the bigger point that it's teaching the idea that the structure of the hand is dictated by the bones and muscles inside it.

So basically you cannot comprehend how poorly indicated diagrams (the neck muscle), unclear diagrams (the arm muscles- and why is he using "advanced" terms to describe the pictures but not the pictures themselves) and wildly anatomically inaccurate diagrams (the hand), are detrimental?

I too can spout "gee, form is altered by underlying structure" but if I draw a horrendous diagram, I should not be making books intended to be reference material for beginners. Unlike subjective art which can find values in subjective terms, anatomical references are not allowed such room, they have to adhere to the reality they are supposed to reproduce since the tips themselves stem from reality. If pictures do not compliment or address what the text is referring to it is, by definition, a poor guide.

Again, he parrots the text from superior sources but lacks the competency to create examples to back up the text; they also deprive newbie artists of information and accuracy in a feeble attempt to be "accessible"; they are a "resource" that should be removed a young artist's options because there are many other better and far more deserving options in terms of time and money. Unlike a fandom of "it's just your opinion" I can hold Hart's books to an academic standard (just like Art with a Capital A has an academic institution) and you seem to have trouble grasping that concept because in your world if something is "sorta, vaguely right, only if you really think about the text and ignore the wrong diagrams" deserves to be on the same shelf as "actually right" books existing.

The "bigger picture" is not lost on me, the bigger picture is lost on you because you feel that a book with inaccurate and poorly explained drawings is an acceptable substitute to A LIBRARY of resources done by artists who actually know what they're drawing and can explain circles around Hart. Hart's books are not some subjective artwork that can find appreciation from various audiences, they are poorly done 'academic' books that masquerade as a Cliff's Notes to art and as a artist I will always be bothered that this man profits and continues to hold sway over the doughy minds of people whose only fault is not knowing any better.


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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby marchen de lune » December 1st, 2012, 10:25 pm

As someone that had studied Hart's books as a beginner artist in high school, they ARE bad. Very much so for newbies. I was crippled because I took his methods as fact and didn't know otherwise. I just wanted to be able to draw people and cartoons. No one told me I should draw from life first. I wasn't on deviant art or art forums back then. Even my high school art teacher didn't bring up that Hart wasn't the best books to go off of. These methods become habits and habits are hard to break. That is why Hart isn't good for beginners. They form habits that can leak in to their artwork or influence how they learn.

As for sexism in his work. I don't believe he is a true blue sexist but merely represents the popular idea in most art media. Which is, of course, women looking similar in body shapes and being ideal. As others have said before me.
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Re: Christopher Hart and Sexism

Postby MisterMacanulty » December 2nd, 2012, 12:15 am

Thera Dratara wrote:Do you have any idea how hard it is to feign gratitude when you just received a chris hart book?


I'm making that my signature. Cracked me up.

I loved Chris Hart books when I was a kid. Never the anime ones though, just the older cartoonier ones where all the drawings really were his own. I really think it crippled me artistically. For many years all I could draw were the drawings in his book. I couldn't come up with a pose or character or a style of my own to save my life. My parents never signed me up for art classes as a kid, and I never asked them to. They just bought me more and more Chris Hart books and I was happy to have them and nothing else. Poor, stupid child. I don't like to say whether or not he's sexist himself, having never met him, but from reading his books I would say that yes, he's just a part of a generally sexist culture rather than being a source of it himself. But if not sexist, he at least seems pretty sex crazed to me! Which could arguably be seen as synonymous with sexist.
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