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Thread: What is Massing?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    18

    Question What is Massing?

    Hey guys,

    First let me state that there should be a sub-forum for general art technique discussion (hopefully I didn't miss it when I was looking for a place to ask this)...this seemed the best place to ask this question based on the forum descriptions.

    Anyway, I've been reading up on a couple of books from fantasy artist Rob Alexander and he discusses the concept of massing (I've seen it mentioned elsewhere too). Can someone give their own interpretation of what this concept is? I don't quite understand it.

    Thanks,
    Greg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    NC, USA
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    I've never heard that term before. At least, not in the sense of a specific method to work in. I Google searched it, and came up with very little information on it, which is unusual. From what I did read, it seemed like it might have something in common with the Golden Mean method.
    Nothing is easy to the unwilling.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Virginia
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    My first college scene design instructor, George San Pedro, would talk about "laying in masses" when effecting a design. I understood it to mean that at an intitial stage of design, you start with your gesture sketch, refine it, then you start to add masses or the elemental and key shapes of the piece then you develop tone and finally add detail.

    Now this was for scene design and stage make up but it's what I was told back when dinosaurs walked the earth.

    Hope this helps!

  4. #4
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    May 2007
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    As far as I understand it's just the ancient, classical procedure to draw by lines (disegno a matita o schizzo grafico) and to add tones, with charcoal etc., thus making a tonal drawing (disegno a carboncino, sanguigna e biacca or disegno tonale).
    You may start with either or both even dierctly with brush and paint in case.
    Practically someone just renamed concepts giving them an idea of a modern acquisition I guess ...
    Panta rei (everything flows)!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Rio de Janeiro
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    Juggerp, hi there…

    Mass in a drawing or painting refers to the weight or the density of a figure or object. Mass drawing in monochrome oil paint is one of the transitional steps from drawing to painting. The purpose of mass drawing is to bring students “from simple outlines to approach the full realization of form in all the complexity of light and shade.”

    One of the best painting teachers was Harold Speed (1872-1957). His books on both drawing and paintingare among the finest sources of classic art instruction. Speed uses the term “mass drawing” to distinguish it from “outline drawing.”

    You can download his book just press the link bellow.

    THE PRACTICE & SCIENCE OF DRAWING BY HAROLD SPEED

    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/14264....htm#CHAPTER_V

    Another quote from a great book " Problem solving for oil painters"- Gregg Kreutz… (can also be downloaded from the net.)

    “ARE YOU PAINTING LINES WHEN YOU SHOULD BE PAINTING MASSES…
    Painting can be linear or it can be painterly. Oil paint because of its thickness , wetness and clumsiness works better in a painterly way. Gouache, blockprinting, etching and certain types of watercolour techniques are in the domain of linear. People who have spent a lot of time drawing often have trouble getting the feel of a painterly approach. They start their paintings with a carefully outlined drawing sometimes even pencil or chalk and then methodically paint in between the lines. In the end their painting look like what they are :coloured drawings. If you see external reality as a collection of outer edges to be copied, the painting will look flat.The painterly approach is to see paintings as a series of near and far volumes. Instead of expressing them with outlines, express them with blobs smears, dribbles and splotches of paint. Your painting should begin with a series of these spots and as it progresses…”

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Thanks for the input everyone!

  7. #7
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    My teachers always referred to it as painting/drawing with shape. I have to admit, the term "massing" works better in my opinion. They did use the word "mass" a lot, but it was always done more to describe the weight of the subject directly. Hmm... Perhaps I simply misunderstood them. Wouldn't be the first time, lol.
    Nothing is easy to the unwilling.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Virginia
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    Harold Speed was truly one of the great ones. I forgot all about him--shame on me!

    Also check out a book called "Other Worlds: How to Imagine, Paint and Create Epic Scenes of Fantasy" by Tom Kidd.

    He has a chapter on the subject which is very interesting.

  9. #9
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    Apr 2007
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    washington, usa
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    Oriane, thanks for the link to the book by Harold Speed. Found a few others as well. and I can download as epub so works for ipad I think. I can lay in bed at night and browse, while my wife controls the television programming. excellent.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    brighton uk
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    Blimey SP your behind the times thought everyone had a Massing Board

    .....................

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