Posted on

An Art Manikin Review

Here’s a fun thing to do: an Art Manikin Review!

What is an Art Manikin? Well it is a tool meant to help one learn to draw the human figure. An Art Manikin with respect to the spelling is different than a regular mannequin. An Art Manikin is a small human figure originally made of wood; whereas a mannequin is a full sized figure meant to display clothing in a store. Now that we have the correct terminology, let’s have an art manikin review!

I have several art manikins but I’ve never used them to help me learn to draw the human figure. I am of the opinion that one should learn from life, so that is what I did. I took life drawing classes with models that would pose in the nude. It was great! At first it was a little intimidating, but once I got over the initial shock and looked upon the models as an art form, all was good.

So why do I have this collection of art manikins when they just sit on my shelf collecting dust?

studio shelf
Art Manikins

I don’t know why I purchased these art manikins! The first one I acquired was the tall wooden one on the left. I bought it from Blick.com many years ago. The small wooden art manikin, I have no idea where it came from. Maybe I bought it because I thought it was cute.

Wooden art manikin

These wooden manikins are totally worthless in my opinion. The face jumps out at me as the first thing wrong since no human head is that elongated. Secondly is the pelvis area, why is that indented? And lastly the feet are too big. Also the hands are useless for learning to draw a hand. They don’t make a pose very easily and tend to fall over a lot, which is very annoying!

Art Manikins Alistair and Cordelia

This is Alistair and Cordelia, the Art Manikins you’ve seen in my previous posts, as the snobby art critics who like to critique my work. Instead of sitting on the shelf collecting dust, I thought I’d put them to use as the studio mascots.

I bought these art manikins at Blick.com a long time ago, because I thought they were very cool. I never used them to draw with but they’ve been a part of my studio ever since. Sadly, Blick doesn’t sell them anymore and I was quite upset to find this out when Cordelia’s arm broke last week! I was posing her for a picture and her arm just fell apart at the elbow. Luckily I had already taken the photo. My husband was able to glue her back together and now she’s good as new!

I think these are the best art manikins I’ve ever seen. Their proportions are correct and they pose quite easily. I put them on doll stands because their main draw back is they don’t stand up on their own. Cordelia arrived with no hair, so I gave her a full mane of red curly hair. I think I’m going to paint in their eyes, because they have no eyes just a blank stare, with no pupils, hence the sunglasses. It’s kind of creepy.

One day I got the idea to see if Barbie and Ken clothes would fit them and they do! It’s just too much fun. So now they are dressed to the nines and I find myself perusing the kids toy aisle for more clothes.

Alistair and Cordelia look at a new art work

These art manikins are called BYIA Body Kun Dolls and are TOTALLY worthless! I bought them when it looked like Cordelia was going to be armless last week. I thought they were as large as Alistair and Cordelia, but they are tiny, only 6″ tall. One needs glasses to see them for drawing with! I guess I didn’t read the description well enough before ordering. Oh well.

They are no bigger than my small wood manikin and are so ugly! They feel awful to the touch and their heads are too small for their bodies. The plastic stands they came with are a joke as they are hard to maneuver. It’s difficult to get the plastic tube into the hole in the back of the manikins. Their joints don’t move easily and the expression on the male’s face is one of anger. Kind of weird.

I was so disappointed upon opening the package. I would not recommend buying these manikins unless you want to waste your money. I didn’t save the packaging or I would have retuned them. So now I’m just going to give them to my grandson. He will have more fun playing with them than I will ever have any use for them. I don’t even want them on my studio shelf!

So thats my Art Manikin review. I hope this helps a bit if you are looking to purchase an art manikin. But truly, you’d be better off drawing from life. You don’t have to draw someone in the nude to get practice. Ask a friend or family member to pose for you and have the model change the pose every 15 minutes. Learn to draw the gesture of the person then later you can add details. Use a large newsprint pad and some vine charcoal so you can easily add shading.

Thanks for stopping by! I’ll be posting my latest pastel landscape in a few days. Until then, Much love! ~Rhonda