Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The "how to" of a Gesture drawing

It sometimes seems that the more explanation given to gesture, the more diluted the practical side gets. Expressive mark making, the importance of privileging artistic subjectivity, telling a story, capturing exaggeration, etc., not to mention the myriad of divergent approaches make pinpointing a "how to" problematic or discouraged. 

While the above qualities matter and are important, I have always concerned myself first (especially when teaching) with stripped down practical mechanics. Once comfortable,these later can be built up, tweaked, or turned upside down in the pursuit of a personalized style by a student/artist. In that spirit (and after realizing that this is largely missing in my own book) I included a brief description of my step by step process for gesture as well as notes to follow these lines clearly. See if you can follow my list below in looking at the examples. Keep in mind that all of these lines are abstract (so not directly referential like contour), on the inside, and are primarily devoted to creating a rhythmic armature for the figure. 

Step by step list

1. Start with a round sphere for the head.
2. Draw the asymmetrical movements of the spine in 3-4 lines. Lines should loosely represent 1. the cervical section (neck), 2. thoracic section (rib cage), 3. an imagined line for the abdomen (curve of the front), and 4. the lumbar section (lower back).
3. From the line of the lumbar create a curve for the hip on the weight bearing side. 
4. Describe the gesture of the legs in 3 lines - one for the femur, the knee, and the lower leg. The leg can also be drawn in 1 or 2 lines depending on the degree of simplicity you desire.
5. Describe the supporting leg with the same considerations. Tip - sometimes I keep the supporting leg simpler (1 or 2 lines) than the weight leg to indicate for a more relaxed quality.
6. Draw each arm by relating 1. a curve representing the shoulder to the movement of the rhythms created for the spine (In a back view this line could represent the scapula, from the front a more abstract rhythm). From the shoulder draw 2 lines, one for the humerus, and the last for the lower arm (this line can also flow into the direction of the hand or another line can be added for the hand.





This approach is heavily influenced by the teachings of Glen Vilppu. If you ever have the opportunity take one of his classes or read his "Villpu Manual" I highly recommend them. http://vilppuacademy.com/2013/

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Comparative Anatomy - Thoughts on Analyzing the Skeleton and Construction

When beginning a survey of the major skeletal structures of animals it is useful to begin with the horse, cow, cat, and dog, or the "4 key species." Many animal drawing books suggest beginning with these 4 as it give a broad understanding of animal type and function. Once these 4 are understood the idea is that variations of each becomes easier. For example, once the dog is learned, the wolf, hyena, fox, etc. can be understood as variations of the canine.



Following a discussion of the basic types I began with the hard work of comparing the skeleton of the human, horse, and cat. The skeleton exists is the foundation from which the figure/animal is studied in order to analyze movement, develop three dimensional structure, and interpret anatomy. My personal interest here is in understanding the skeleton and shapes as of course being functional but also as a way to understand each animal as having a unique "design theme." In other words, each animal offers an opportunity to study specialized attributes and how they manifest through a specific design aesthetic.



 For example, skeletal changes from the figure to the horse, should be considered in relationship to different evolutionary needs, i.e. what is the subject designed for or what is it's job? What type of environment shaped it? What are it's strengths and limitations? Equating the qualities of form and function not only helps with understanding the inherent design in each but also provide a more generative way of thinking across the 4 "key types" ... and potentially your own creatures. 



The demo below compares aspects of the "form language" in select skeletal parts of the human and horse. My hope is that once I understand the skeleton I am able to abstract it to a simple language of shape and form all of which can be imagined as simple manipulations of the design of the figure or spheres, cylinders, and boxes (DaVinci called this process "mental sculpting"). For example, it is possible to see the geometries used to design the horse as influenced heavily by the box and triangle. In a more abstract sense these shapes are effective at communicating feelings of stability or endurance and so match the subject well. In another example, the form language for a cat may emphasize the sphere and triangle which suggest a more fluid yet dynamic (predatory) quality.


Having discussed the basic parts and designs of the skeleton, I build the horse, human, cat, etc., with gesture, tilts and shapes, connections, then into landmarks, perspectives, and anatomy. I think using one process and varying the components within to describe specific animals is an efficient way to learn multiple subjects. I  this sense you don't need to learn a new approach for every animal only how to vary the components included in the process.


 The front and back 3/4 horse demonstrations views have been broken down into stages. Again, this is the workflow I use when drawing to analyze or learn my subject but it isn't the only approach. You only need to pick up "The Weatherly Guide to Drawing Animals," or "The Art of Animal Drawing" to see a wide diversity of approaches and their benefits.




The sketchbook pages below have been made using the same process. 





If you're interested in learning more, remember I'm giving a three day lectures on animal anatomy in Rome, Oct. 21-23 http://www.idea-academy.it/EN/Workshops/36/Animal_Anatomy_for_Creature_and_Character_Design/333

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Guest Instructor at Anatomy tools!



Hey All,

I'm excited and super honored to be a guest instructor for Andrew Cawrse at Anatomy tools this Aug./Sept for the "Level 1 Human Anatomy workshop.". The workshop is a 5 day intensive with lectures from Andrew, a sketching trip to "The Bodies" exhibit, and more. If anyone is interested check out the link below. It is not to be missed.

http://www.anatomytools.com/wshop-on-site-art-lvl1-paymentfull-p369.php

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Animal Anatomy Workshop

Hey All,

I am excited to be doing a workshop on "Animal anatomy for creature and character design" in Rome this October. If interested please check out the links below.

Here is the course registration page
http://www.idea-academy.it/EN/Workshops/36/Animal_Anatomy_for_Creature_and_Character_Design/333

and facebook invite
https://www.facebook.com/events/886111704850061/

Let me know if you have any questions.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Process lecture

Here is a step by step demo from a recent lecture reviewing process.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Costume study

Friday, November 20, 2015

Color study


Here is something a little different. This is a digital color study from life done today.