- Lesson details
In this highly-anticipated series, master draftsman Glenn Vilppu shares with you his approach to figure drawing. Each lesson will cover a new stage in Glenn’s process, including: Gesture, Spherical Forms, Box Forms, Cylindrical Forms, Basic Procedure, Modeling Tone, Direct Lighting, and Atmosphere. In this first lesson of the series, Glenn covers the basic foundation of figure drawing: capturing the gesture. Glenn begins with a comprehensive lecture, followed by analyses of gesture in Old Master works. Glenn will then illustrate these concepts in several demonstrations, using a variety of different tools. Next, you will get a chance to apply what you’ve learned in a timed figure drawing assignment. The lesson will conclude with Glenn’s approach to the assignment, allowing you to compare your work with his.
- CarbOthello Pencil – Burnt Sienna
- Maruzen Art Lead Holder with Charcoal Lead
- Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencil – Sanguine and Black
- Pentel Water Brush
- Winsor & Newton Watercolor (in Homemade Altoids Tin Palette)
- Namiki Falcon Fountain Pen
- Noodler Konrad Brush Pen
- Blending Stump
- Sandpaper Block
Discuss this video in the forums!Discuss
we’re dealing with the gesture. Gesture is capturing the action. This is one of the
foundation elements that we’re dealing with. I’m going to be lecturing, demonstrating,
and giving you the sense of how it all works together. Then I’m going to give assignments.
Then watch how I did it. This is the ground. This is the basic. This is the beginning.
So let’s get started.
we use a term called line of action. That tends to be thought of as being the gesture
of a pose. In reality it’s not. Most of the people who originally started teaching
and writing about animation, they didn’t study animation. These were illustrators.
They were painters. If you look at the books at that time, Andrew Loomis is a good example.
He takes and diagrams some of the old masters. He uses these simple lines to take and show
the direction of the figures and how they relate to each other. That’s basically line
of action. That has been carried over in the publications and stuff that this is the gesture.
But it’s not the gesture. Let me demonstrate.
Okay, first what we have, this is a very simple figure now. If I’m just taking and saying
that, okay, here’s a figure. Let’s say his arm is up here and we’re coming down.
Let’s say the leg is stretched back. We’re coming through. What would normally be considered
line of action, this would be thought of as the line of action. Compositionally, that’s
what it would be. Let’s, now, where’s the difference? If I’m starting this figure
it’s the gesture now. I’ll just over this. It would be which way is this head turned?
How do we feel the torso. Maybe the torso is taking and turning slightly this way. Maybe
the pelvis is twisting across coming over into here. So how the different components
of the figure take and work with each other. That’s really the gesture. So that when
I’m taking and talking about gesture I’m talking about how the body moves. How the
head turns. How the shoulder moves. All of those subtle little points that really give
us body language. And body language is expression. It’s the way we communicate. We communicate
with body language. If I take and do something like that it reads. It’s not an overall
simple line now so that the subtleties of action of how the parts are integrated one
to the other. How we move ahead, how the hand turns. These are all body movements. These
are gesture. So when you’re taking and doing a gesture it’s the action. It’s literally
the core of your drawing.
So if we begin with the idea that a gesture, an action is the equivalent of a story point.
It is the story of your drawing in a way. It’s taking and it’s the essence of what
you’re trying to achieve. Step one. We’ll just take and work right here for a moment.
This is sort of my standard point that I’m always lecturing on. If I take these simple
lines like this, now often the student will look at that and say, well, that’s animation.
Obviously, your eye is moving across the page. In reality this doesn’t come from animation.
It goes all the way back so we can see it in the Greeks, Romans, the Renaissance. It’s
a transition from one point to the next to the next transition. But a transition, well,
if you think about it that’s what animation is. It’s a transition from one point to
the next. It’s movement. Animation is movement. The Renaissance is movement. The big difference
between the Renaissance and the Bauhaus basic design is movement.
In the Renaissance what we found is that the artists were telling stories. They had to
take and make the eye move to take and communicate the story. But they were also creating an
experience at the same time. If you happen to go to Pompeii in Italy there is a room
called the House of Mysteries. If you walk into that room, they take and lead you around
the rooms so that you literally read the story in sequence, the sequence going how you take
and make a transition from one point to the next point to the next point. This is a really
critical element of drawing now. We’re talking about how you organize the lines in your drawing
to communicate. Part of that is now that the confusion in a classroom—I run into this
all the time. The first class day I start talking we were doing some warm-up gesture
drawings. I see people moving their hand like crazy. How you move your hand, how fast you
move your hand has absolutely nothing to do with capturing a gesture. The artist doesn’t
draw with his hands. He draws with this brain. That’s Michelangelo. That’s what he said.
The artist draws with this brain not his hand. So the process of thinking is the process
of now analyzing and having something to analyze and communicating it. This is all a gesture
drawing. It sounds like I’m making this very, very complicated. In a way it’s such
an important element in the drawing that we understand. We understand all the levels of
complexity that take and come together. So in taking and doing this, now if I take and
do a simple thing like that. This experience is different than that experience. If I come
through and I do that I’m leading the eye from one point to the next. That’s a different
experience from that to that. Now, what if I take and I come in and I do—
no movement. There is no movement happening there. It’s just chaos.
We’re taking and like say the Renaissance storytelling, but already if you think about
what came before the Renaissance. We had Medieval art. These were icons. These were symbols
for things that people recognized the symbols, the stories were there. But there was not
movement. The Renaissance had to do with story. They were telling a story. As we go into the
whole period of the modern art, the whole thing was removing the story and focusing
purely on the abstract elements, the tools. These are the elements today. They’ve been
codified into tools of design. Straight against curve. Big, small balance. A perfectly balanced
picture does not have movement. So when I’m drawing a gesture I’m talking about movement.
An integral part of making a moving, feeling the action of something, is drawing the lines
in such a way that they actually communicate in themselves movement.
Now, the mechanics of actually doing the drawing and what confuses people is that the drawings
look so free and loose that I do and yet they’re very calculated. So there is a contradiction
here. What it is is that you have to integrate the tools. You have to integrate the tools
of drawing so that there is no separation between your feeling and your thoughts. There
aren’t any rules. First, there are no rules. There are tools that can be used many, many
different ways. Okay, so it’s the tools that we’re talking about. Now, what I aim
for when I’m teaching, I try to communicate the tools in such a way that they become integrated
into your thinking. It’s the exact same thing. If you were taking and studying karate
or taking and learning to play the piano. You do repetition, repetition, repetition
until you no longer have to think about it. You’re training the neurons in your brain
to take and function automatically without thinking. That’s really what we do. So what
I suggest as you’re doing it, to always start the drawing. Always go through the drawing
the same way. Then as you develop your skills you can take and do all kinds of stuff. The
integral part is that we’re always working for the total. Why do I start with the head.
If you’re taking the head, if you take the eyes.
I use an example given by friend Sheldon who is part of the New Masters Academy here. Sheldon
is a great animator and a very, very close friend of mine so I don’t think he’ll
mind if I steal his thing here. Just pretend like the eyes are like on a string on a mannequin.
You pull the string are going to go—very quickly the head is going to go with the eyes.
As the head goes the shoulders go. As the shoulders go the waist, the pelvis. It’s
this movement that takes place. So the head is really sort of the governing thing. Not
only in terms of just overall body movement but expression. Expression is a critical part
of any action. So to start with we don’t really focus so much on these expressions.
We’re basically dealing with body language but you have to start with the big things
and you break it down to smaller and smaller units as we go along. But first you get the total.
Okay, so now as I start with the head, now one of the things you’re going to notice
is that I don’t draw very fast. Actually, I draw quite slow. It looks simple, but there
is a lot of thought that goes into play. The old cliché of when I was a student was three
looks, two things, one application. This is sort of a basic mantra. I’m always looking—I’m
very, very seriously constantly thinking about what it is that I’m doing. So even in something
as simple as just blocking that head, I’m already thinking there is an axis to it. I
made it tilt. I don’t necessarily draw that so that’s precisely what I’m thinking.
So as I start that head I’m going over the surface and I’m coming down. I’m thinking
this and then I’ll come through and I’ll do this. It may be done very quickly. So then
as I go through here, as I’m pulling, I’m thinking, well, okay, this line. Also, at
this same point here I would be taking and indicating that the head is tilted. I could
maybe even put a dot at the top of the head to help show that. I may even draw an ear
and think of where the front is. So every line that I put down is communicating something.
There is nothing extraneous.
I’m not sketching. I’m drawing. As I go through, as I think, okay—let’s imagine
here that we have a figure that is taking and sort of leaning out towards us a little
bit. Maybe we have a pelvis that is turned. As I go through I’m taking and I do a lot
of movements in the air without actually touching the paper. I’ll come through and I’ll
say, well okay, it’s going over here. Coming around, feeling. This will go over here. Maybe
there is actually a twist. I may draw a line that gives us a twist.
Let’s take and sort of analyze what I’ve done so far. This is an important part. I
use the part brainware. Again, in computers we have 2-D and 3-D software. We have brainware.
We have ways of taking and we can see things. We know a lot. These are serious tools that
we use to take and communicate with. They are like words. So as they come through now,
I’m saying the eye, notice what I’ve done. I’m taking and leading the eye using one
line leading to the eye to the next line. These are pulling across the surface to make
you experience that this is over here. In other words, I’m coming across and making
the eye move in here. It’s not one line. This is the point that is a distinct difference
between the general way illustrators work. When you have a model and you have a pose
that you’re going to take and use to do a painting, you’re not worrying about how
to take and integrate that with something you’ve already figured that out. So what
we’re doing is we’re taking and we want to duplicate that. So what you find, in that
case we would be taking and say maybe dealing with coming in, looking at a line coming down,
coming across, looking at these shapes. So as we’re coming across the eye is moving.
So at the same time, so now I’m coming through. Maybe I would be taking and saying, let’s
say this leg is coming across. So what I’m doing is I’m drawing through. I’m taking
and making lines but I’m just going through the figure. I’m trying to experience the
total as I do it. I may change, may adjust the thing. But we have to do this. We have
to take and communicate this action, this gesture with both two-dimensionally and three-dimensionally.
So at this point these lines, obviously it’s very two-dimensional. It has a flow to it,
but it’s not three-dimensional.
So what is the most fundamental tool for taking and describing some three-dimensionally. We
can go back and you can look at the Greeks. You could look at da Vinci, Michelangelo,
Raphael. You find the essential tool that they use for taking and showing. Very simply,
three-dimension is to take and use lines that go across and around the figure. So I can
make these objects take and change direction. I can take and make this move in any which
way I want. You’re going to take and understand this three-dimensionally. I can feel the eye
coming through. This figure is exactly what we just did to start with with the head. Wrapping
a line around it shows the action. It shows you I should say, not the action, but the
tilt of the head. So if I come through and say, well okay, I want, I’m thinking. See,
this is the part that creates a lot of problems for a student. What you’re doing when you’re
doing a gesture drawing, you’re thinking. You’re capturing something. It’s not necessarily
for public consumption. Usually you do it for yourself. It’s done when you’re drawing
from imagination. You’re trying to bring an idea out of your head that doesn’t exist.
Of course, if you’re doing other than realistic-type stuff and even realistic, but if you’re
doing fantasy works and what have you and you don’t have something to take and draw
from, it is all from imagination. So as I’m drawing then I’m taking and coming and saying,
oh okay, this is pulling out. This figure is pulling out. As I’m doing that then I
may say, well okay, maybe. Maybe the pelvis is taking and going a different direction.
So this is for me. This is for me trying to understand what that figure is doing. So if
I come across, if I have a hand, arm going up in here we’re finding that I go over that surface.
Okay, so at this point I am talking about two tools. The next difficulty that the student
has, and this is, I literally travel all over the world teaching drawing. The first thing
that I take and tell a class is we do not copy. But everybody starts out studying and
learning how to draw by copying. They take and copy the contour of something. We don’t
copy the contour. We create the contour with using forms. So the next tool is literally
the creation or containing of form. So in doing that the containing is if we have, for
instance, in the most simple terms, if we have a word, let’s say Vilppu here. We put
brackets around it. That’s containing. Really simple. Okay, so if I take and come around
here and say, well okay, I’m thinking of the rib cage and I come through and I do this.
I’m containing it. At the same time I’m taking and giving a preliminary contour of
the form. As I take and come through and I start thinking of the pelvis I’m coming
in and I go over the surface here. Well, I’m containing. There is more to it than just
bracketing. The bracket itself is a tool that deals with symmetry. We’re always dealing
with symmetry. That’s how we recognize. You can see when I tilt my shoulder it’s
the symmetry of having two sides to it that have an angle that is taking and telling us
that I’ve tilted my shoulder. When you tilt your head, the pull, the change. So as I do
this there is a line across here. We can see that this is the symmetry here. Well, these
are actually working at right angles to basically the center of your form.
So as I’m going through the figure I’m thinking, okay, first thing I was taking and
just trying to feel the flow of how to think. It’s not one line. It could be 20 lines.
I don’t even have to use line. I can use a chamois to do this. As long as you’re
getting the feeling of how the parts move and relate to each other. That’s the key
to the whole process. As I’m going across with this then I’m taking and going through
and saying, okay, now I will contain this, and I’m containing this. Going over the
surface and going over, taking around. As I’m doing this, I’m changing, adjusting
what I’ve drawn before. That’s the process. You’re visualizing. You’re trying to understand it.
People always say what about measuring? I don’t do that. Of course, sometimes you
take and you do measure things. But in general, when I’m doing gesture drawings I don’t
measure. I’m feeling my eyes and eye-hand coordination thing that you’re working with.
So as I do this my pencil in reality is not on the paper. It’s on the model. So as I’m
moving my hand it’s moving in conjunction with my eye going through the figure and how
the parts are moving and relating to that.
Okay, I’m not tracing over photographs. Sure there are going to be differences and
changes. I will maybe exaggerate. I will take and move things. I’m not copying it. What
I’m trying to do is communicate the experience that I’m having looking at the model. That’s
what I want you, the viewer, to see. It’s what it is that I am taking and experience.
By feeling it I’m making the thing move. I want you to experience my art as I’m sure
you want to take and have other people experiencing your art. That’s what it’s all about.
So as I go through and do this then I’m taking and I draw through. Feel coming down.
Pulling, coming across, through. So now let’s go through and summarize this a bit. What
are we talking about? We talked about first lead the eye and number one, number two, it’s
going across or around the surface to make you experience what that or what that movement
is doing in space. Then we’re talking about containing. Just that. In other words, it’s
just this sphere. This is what it’s all about. Sequence, sequence, sequence. I’ve
broken things down in a logical step by step process so that it becomes easier to understand
as we go through from one thing to the next, to the next. These are all essential tools
but you have to take and master each one of them. They have to then become integrated
so there becomes a natural flow of how you work. So we’ve got these two points. From
here we’re going to take and do a little bit more drawing. Unfortunately, I’m going
to make it a little more complex.
First question I get is often after I’ve gone through this a little bit is I say, okay,
as I’m doing the drawing I’m thinking of where we’re at coming through. And I
start to draw and I’m drawing this line here. Students ask, well, is this the middle
of the neck. Is this is the spine. None of that. It’s the feeling of the way the neck
is going. In other words, if I’m taking that and let’s just say it could be taking and feeling over this over here.
What I’m doing that’s here, looks like the center, maybe it is the center. But that’s
not the important part. I’m feeling the way the neck is going. Here I’m taking and
communicating, here there is a stretch here, but then I’m moving over to here. Then I
can say, well, if this is the whole then maybe the shoulder is way up here. I’m coming
around and I’m thinking I’m going over the surface in this way. Then I’m taking
and saying, well, maybe the leg is going off. But I want to lead the eye going through.
So what I’m talking about now—and this really is important—is that I purposely
break the line to create a movement. I’m composing the sequence of lines to lead the
eye through the figure. Okay, that’s only half the story. Because in reality what I’m
doing is I’m taking and leading my eye through the figures. I’m trying to figure out what
the figure is doing. So now we’ve got two points. We’ve got the fact that the line
is broken just to lead the eye. The fact is that I’m leading the eye to take and understand,
communicate what the thing is. But it also becomes a composition or a design point. And
as we go through the drawings, more of the gesture drawings, the drawings that we go
and carry farther, maybe more developed drawings we find that we go back to these essential
rhythmical lines that take and communicate the action. It’s the composition, in other
words. So this because the basis of sort of the compositional lines that we take and use
within the figure. Maybe very easily they become part of the lines. They move off the
figure into the background and it becomes more. It becomes the sense of design thing.
I often will take a gesture drawing that I’ve done and take and develop that into a composition
with maybe other figures. The landscapes, background, whatever. But it’s part of the
organization, visual organization is composition of a picture. Okay, so now as I’m doing
this, these lines are not anatomical. It’s not necessarily the outside contour. Now,
having said that, that is not the outside contour. Of course, it doesn’t mean that
it can’t be the outside contour. In fact, if you listen to me talking when I’m doing
gesture drawings that I’m often coming out and saying I’m following the natural rhythm
of the anatomy. Okay, obviously, I’m taking and looking anatomy. I’m taking and looking
at the contour, but I’m looking at it in the context of how the line leads you through
the figure. You’re using these things. You’re not copying, but you’re taking and incorporating
elements in the subject that you’re looking at that helps to take and show the action
Okay, so now as I’m going through I’m going across. I would take and be saying,
okay now, I’m containing. Okay, now I’m going over the surface. Now, what’s happened
here is that you are instantly seeing the fact that we’re having a strong compression
of one element into another. So what that is saying is the essence of what I was started
out with, saying if I take and move the eye coming across and I feel the action of how
one part of the figure to another, that’s the crucial element. That’s really what
you’re trying to deal with. That’s where you removed from that line of action, which
is a graphic statement. This is now we’re talking about how the parts relate to each
other, how something twists, how something turns. You have to feel it. I tell students
if you can’t, if you don’t understand the pose get up and take the pose. Do it.
That’s the only way you’re going to take and understand it. That’s like an animator
is. They have mirrors where they’re taking and making expressions in the mirror. That’s
how you see it. That’s how you experience it. So now when I’m going through and I’m
saying, ahh, this is fitting into that. Feeling the pinch. Well, we’re having a stretch
and a compression. Okay, we’re going over the surface of the form. Going through. We’re
working with this whole movement as we’re taking and doing it. I come out and I can
feel, you notice the way I’m going through. I’m feeling what’s going on. I’m taking
and, I can take this leg back and maybe change things. You can move around. Often, I will
take and change a pose. Some poses can be really ridiculous. You’d never really use
them. You’re showing somebody where they have a hand sticking out of the side of their
rib cage. That’s silly. Just because it’s there you don’t have to draw it.
So as I’m doing the drawing then I’m taking and leading the eye over. I want you to feel
that and then I’m taking and constructing and I’m building into that. I’m thinking
where the pelvis is across. I’m looking at that angle. I create the sense of the tilt
by symmetry. I’m always talking about symmetry. As we deal with symmetry then you’re naturally
going to be talking about anatomy. Symmetrical, got the corners of the rib cage, corners of
the pelvis. The wrists will tend to be sort of square across. We work around. These are
all elements. So, as we’re doing the drawing, and these are the various stages that you
go through in doing a drawing. First, you’ve got a very simple gesture. Then we start talking
about the volumes. We’re creating mass. Then, once you’ve got that worked out then
you start to take and add particulars. The analogy is of course, sculpture. When taking
and making an armature, before you even do the armature you have to know what is the
pose. You can’t make an armature until you know what the pose is.
That’s why some of the greatest draftsmen were sculptors. You look at the drawings of
Michelangelo. He’s a sculptor. When the Pope asked him to do the ceiling, he said
I’m not a painter; I’m a sculptor. He says, I don’t care. It’s great that he
had that kind of a power to take and say, tough, do it. So that’s what we’re on.
So the idea is you build masses and then you start to refine it. But hey, what is the essence
of what that pose or what that action is. It’s the gesture. That’s number one. They
are very distinct hand movements. This goes right down to how do you hold the pencil.
Obviously, I hold it down this way. That’s not to say that I don’t turn it around and
get out here and hold it this way. I do that too. You will see me do it. Of course, I do
most of gesture drawings are done with a pen, so obviously I have to be holding it this
way. I can’t do it going up on this wall because ink doesn’t run up hill very well.
I also do an awful lot of my gesture drawing with a brush. So the tool, it’s not just
one tool, but there are distinct hand movements regardless of what tool you are using.
Let me show.
First, the line as you saw, I’m taking and leading the eye. I’m feeling the movement
as I’m going through. I will jump ahead. I look, I think coming across. I will take
and I work a lot in the air. So that’s a distinct hand movement. If it’s done, the
lines are done in the direction of the pencil that I’m holding rather than this way. So
even in a very, very broad pencil I can make a very, very fine line. The other movement
is going across. It’s going across. Now, here I am going from one side to the other,
but it’s going across the surface. I’m going around. Little talked about or seldom
talked about is that there is a follow through involved here just like in golf or baseball
or anything. You’re following through so you’re actually thinking about the whole
thing. You’re following through. So when I’m doing the gesture I’m already conscious
of the outside contours that I’m working with. But I’m drawing across as a contour
or going over the surface of the form.
Okay, now this is a, it’s very much like a wire frame. You’re drawing lines over
a contour map, really. So that’s a very distinct hand movement. The other one is when
I was talking about bracketing, going from one side to the other. So now I’m talking
about my movement where I’m taking and going through. I’m containing. That’s different
than going over or doing this. These are distinct movements that we use going over and drawing
the figure. In karate you have punch, you have a block, you have all kinds of different
movements that you make that are practical for what it is that you’re trying to, anything,
any activity that you do, whether you’re a carpenter working with a hammer or a saw
there are logical, rational ways to do things.
But you have to use these tools. This is the hard part. I find the students having ingrained
ways of working that—in a way, in a sense I’m retraining people. Of course, I think
my approach is the most rational, logical way of doing it. But it’s also the very,
very traditional. You go back into the Renaissance and you see how the artists work from imagination,
how they created these works, starting everything without a model. They would bring the model
in only when it came to the point of having to have the specific details. But by that
time the composition was already decided. It may have already been worked up painting
wise, all the different steps, but that’s at the end. You bring in the information.
You get your scrap as needed. But the idea first, bring it out. Of course, dealing with
so much fantasy today it’s all done from imagination. Comic books, storyboards.
Everybody is doing—I shouldn’t say everybody, but a lot of people are taking and doing graphic novels.
It’s storytelling. It’s talking about movement. We’re talking about sequential art.
gesture in terms of looking at compositional drawings, but this is all really the same
now. If we look at the drawings there is that when he’s doing the drawing he is concerned
with how one line leads into another. This is exactly what I do. If you look at any of
my gesture drawings I’m always focusing on how the eye leads. So, as we’re going
through at this point in the drawing, and it’s very clear when you look at him now
that he’s not—he’s just talking about how one thing works into the next, into the
next. There’s no real effort at any kind of detail. Just feeling the goal for the total.
As you’re going through the drawings you look at some of these secondary figures. In
other words, if you go over here and look at the figure, look at this figure way over
in the corner, there is nothing there. There is just a very, very simple line. There is
a hand going out and something like that, maybe a little bit of tone. Also, part of
this process of taking and capturing the total—in other words, this is really what maybe we
should be saying. Keep talking about gesture drawing. Why don’t we just call it capturing
the total drawing? That’s what you’re doing. Even when you look at the secondary
lines, in other words, coming through, behind. All of this stuff is leading the eye coming
through. It’s to get the total.
When you’re composing and when you’re drawing a gesture so as you’re doing the
drawing you’re focusing on using the lines to take and move the eye. That’s what you’re
doing when you’re composing a picture. That’s why we look at the drawings of the old masters.
All of the preliminary drawings are compositional drawings. That’s why they are. They are
taking and everything was done as working, so they were taking as the drawings were being
done. We look at them and say as like gesture drawings, but they weren’t gesture drawings.
They were compositional sketches that would take and communicate the idea. They did nothing
that wasn’t work related. It was all work related. So that the most free, rough sketches
that you look at were taking and thinking and designing and creating and making the
eye move one thing to the other. This is the point.
When you look at the drawings you’re looking at, and this is really the whole point is
that all of these drawings now that we’re looking at were all done from imagination.
They were not working with models. They weren’t doing gesture drawings. They were doing compositional
drawings. And that’s what we’re dealing with all the time. As you’re taking and
drawing and myself is that how I develop the way I draw was by taking and developing compositions.
But I’ve gone back and looked at the Old Masters and saw how they worked. So it’s
all derived from having looked at these guys and gals and taking and trying to understand
their compositions. But when I was drawing I wasn’t thinking of that. I wasn’t thinking
of how do you do a drawing. I was just drawing to try to understand the composition. I was
going for the total. That has become my particular approach to taking and doing gesture drawing
so that you’re constantly taking and leading the eye from one thing to the next you naturally
get a feeling for a movement. You get a new focusing on the total.
I’m constantly—people say you’re drawings are moving. Well, of course they are. I’m
making the eye move. So as you go through these drawings then you can see how, you know,
just go over this a little it here. You can look at these lines. You can see the flow.
He’s building it up. There is rhythm. There is movement. The lines are taking and going
through. Everything is building up even into the backgrounds and sky. Everything is orchestrated
to take and create a sense of movement within the eye. It’s a building. It’s creating
dramatic effect. All the lines are summing up to create that movement.
Okay, let’s take a look at the next drawing. This Pontormo drawing now, this is a good
example. Obviously, this is drawn from imagination. But as you look at the drawing now you can
see he’s taking and it’s a very strange drawing. It’s actually quite small. I have
facsimile drawing print of this. The whole drawing horizontally across is about maybe
10 or 11 inches. So what you’re seeing on your screen is probably close to actual size.
Now, as you look at the figures in the background let’s start in the back. Up in the upper
right hand corner, for instance, you can see, what is he doing here. Is it just very, very
simple, almost a crude kind of construction. Here we get the, you know, it’s almost like
a happy face. Actually, it's a frown on there. But you can see the way the lines are building up.
As we’re drawing these figures then, the lines, he’s constantly weaving. He’s weaving.
He’s got really huge figures. He’s got things that are way out of scale coming through.
But it’s feeling and trying to feel the flow. You can see the lines on the side. Look
at these lines here. You can see how he’s moving. He’s changed arms, moving around.
Here you can see some graphite type lines that we’re taking and
showing the flow of the figure.
So the process here is in taking and looking at one of these drawing, what you’re doing
is you’re looking at the thinking process. You’re actually visualizing what he—every
time you go over the drawing. In other words when you start to go through you can see what
he was thinking is you doing the drawing you’re experiencing exactly what he was thinking
and just look, talk to yourself and say, oh yeah, this head is turned and looking that
way. You’re immediately in the area now. You can see how—look at this strange, large
arm that’s coming through. Pontormo was credited with one of the first artists to
do what we call psychological drawing. Here I look at this figure coming down here and
the way this, that leg turns into the hip of the other figure, but you start to feel
these lines. It’s trying to figure out, now gee, what was this guy imagining when
he was doing this? What is he doing? As I look at this I can feel the lines going through.
This figure is turned completely around now, and we have the figures going up. But that’s
going right along now with this movement that’s taking and going the way the head is going
up. So as you’re doing the drawing, then, you’re experiencing as you’re going back
and looking at these things. You’re experiencing the actual creative elements that we’re
involved in the creation of that thing.
But as students in drawing, it’s important now to—okay, we’ll look at it say, yeah,
he’s got these strange twisting figures going on through here. But that’s not the
point. The point is to look at the process of how he actually did the drawing, what were
the stages. How did he approach it, and the key to this then is that he was focusing on
what we refer to as the aesthetics. Maybe that’s jumping a little too philosophically
here. But aesthetics is the art experience. So that when you’re doing a gesture you
are taking and as what Pontormo was doing in his drawing he was creating an experience.
So a simple gesture drawing then is taking and creating the experience that you are experiencing
when you’re looking at a figure. Your gesture drawing is recreating, or I should say is
creating an experience that tells you and lets your audience feel the actions of that
figure. It’s much more than trying to do a photograph. It’s not a question of is
this a good drawing or is that a bad drawing. It’s does it communicate the action.
This drawing by Nicholas Poussin, again it’s the whole, look at the way it’s done. Poussin
was noted for being an incredibly meticulous organizer. Everything was absolutely in perspective.
The drawing was right down to the nitty-gritty. He was a classicist. He was considered the
epitome of taking and being a thorough artist working out everything. This is where drawing
starts. This would be very comfortable in a series of animation preliminary sketches.
I myself have done them. You can take and they could pass as rough animation drawings
or story based sketches. You get the feeling by looking at the ones down here you can see
we’re just going over the surface pulling down. You’ve got the full, there’s nothing
there. There is no anatomy. It’s action. This is a key point now. When I say there
is no anatomy there is only action. When you’re drawing you’re drawing the action, not the anatomy.
You may use anatomy as I’m doing gesture drawings, demonstrating, I will be calling
out anatomy points as I’m doing it. But those are, in working for oneself and developing
one’s ideas, those are things that you’re just using them. You’re not talking about
them. You’re talking about what is the feeling of the overall total that you’re after.
As you look at the drawing here, looking at the head in this main figure that he’s got
here, he’s just going through. He’s just taking and going through. You can feel there
is an eye. Maybe that’s a mouth or chin. He’s coming underneath. We get something
for a head back here. But you can feel the shoulders lifted up. We come across, he’s
using a line here. Probably it could even just be a shirt thing. But as he’s drawing
this he’s going over the surface and coming down and we build.
As the drawing is built he’s coming through. He’s not worried about the fact that this
arm is proportionally really off. He’s got something in his head. I don’t know what
that’s supposed to be. But you can get a little sense of the drapery, the way the arm
is coming across. This is a hard part for many, many students to get over—the preoccupation
with trying at this stage of a drawing to take and be preoccupied with details. It takes
a strong sense of understanding what the function of a gesture drawing is or a compositional
sketch. All of these paintings that we look at in the Renaissance, they all started from
imagination. So what we do, today the gesture drawing has taken on a life of its own as
a classroom exercise.
But in reality it’s taking and giving you the opportunity to be able to go outside the
classroom to capture and to look at real things, to take and make real drawing notes of people
doing real things. In fact, that was da Vinci’s suggestion, that the artist go out to the
marketplace with a blank book, in other words, with a sketchbook and to capture real people
doing real things to see how people related to each other in real situations rather than
just a studio setup. So this is the gesture drawing. The ability to take and capture action
is a tool to go outside and be able to take and actually record what we see in a shorthand
manner. But you have to have the facility to take and focus on the action
and to actually analyze the action.
Now, when you’re drawing from imagination we’re taking and, you’re not analyzing
on something. You’re taking and drawing from your own imagination. So what you have
to be able to do then as you’re drawing from imagination is to take and be able to—and
this is what you do when you’re going outside. By analyzing actions of the figure, being
able to learn how you can take and communicate an action. That’s a big part of the whole
process, being able to analyze, to look, to understand why do you see something the way
it is. What makes us see an action? When we’re looking at this just as a little bit of my
scribbling here, why do we look at that and say, yes, that’s going up and it’s going
back in? Why do we see that?
Well, it becomes pretty easily. Actually, it’s very obvious what I’m doing. I’m
doing lines that are going over the surface going back in. That’s the simple overlapping
volumes. You see that it’s going in. That’s a simple tool that we use. So you have to
be able to incorporate these tools. Literally drawing with tools. One of the elements that
we’re taking and dealing with is that the lines, the idea is being led. It’s a continuity
of lines that leads your eye. It can be rhythm or it can just be a repetition of lines that
take and make you move. But that’s a tool. But you have to actually be conscious of making
the eye move in a direction one way or the other.
Okay, let’s look at another drawing. Look at the drawing here. Okay, you look at it
and you can see that the head is turned to the left. The right arm is coming back towards
us. We can feel there is a certain sense of space to it. Why do we see it? Why do you
feel that action doing that? Well, if we start to analyze that pose now, and it’s really
very simple. Chances are now that this is a, often even in a loose drawing like this,
there is a very good chance that this was done with graphite underneath first. You can
see in the corners, lots of graphite lines there. You can feel these lines coming through.
They could have been done first with a graphite or charcoal. But when we look at the head
what we’re getting is, for instance, we have the ear. We’ve got the ear here. We’ve
got the ear here. You can see from one side to the other. Also, taking and creating this
dot on the top of the head. That’s creating symmetry. So we can feel the turn coming back.
You can feel the stretching on the one side. We can see the pinching on the other side.
Okay, now we say, okay, but he’s twisted. Again, how do you know that? Why do we see
that? So as we come through now, if I take and just look at what’s happening here.
Okay, here’s the shoulder here. This is the shoulder here. Very quickly you can recognize
the fact that we’re seeing the size of the figure here. Again, it’s the symmetry. It’s
like drawing the box. These actually come down and he's drawn on the center of the
box here. So we’re coming through. This arm is coming at us because these wrapped
lines going around it to show that it’s coming back. It gives us the center of the
buttocks here. It gives us a sense of corner. He’s taking and showing all of these lines.
Also, he gives a sense of movement to it by the flowing, as if the drapery was blowing
in the wind. It gives a sense of movement.
Okay, if that leg goes in, notice what he is doing. He’s drawing lines going over
that surface. He’s using anatomy here to take and give us a sense of a corner. But
this whole leg is dropped in shadow. This he’s coming back and he’s casting a shadow
over this to take and show that we’re coming back.
Looking at the old masters and drawing from them and copying them is really an act of
analysis. You’re analyzing how things are being created. Actually you go by, just asking
yourself the question. First, you have to analyze, okay, what is the action of that
figure? In the process of doing that you are then taking and coming up with in a sense
solutions. As I look at that and say, well okay, that leg is going in. Notice up here
I’m drawing a box. That box could, I could take and be drawing this leg going back in this way.
Now, this is the side of this whole form. Look at what he’s done. That’s precisely
what he’s done. He’s come through with the tone here. He’s come across with this.
He’s dropped that in tone. He’s got this thing going like, that’s what he did. See,
so as we take and look and say, well, we look at that leg and we get a real clear sense
of how that leg is going back in. We can see that this is fitting in. One form is fitting
into another. But how do you do that? Very simply. He’s showing with the wash, taking
and coming through. And he’s giving us a clear sense of the three dimensional form.
He’s taking and communicating. But as we’re studying it’s up to us to take and analyze.
Okay, how did he get to that point? Well, if you look on the side here. Look at the
lines. Look at all these lines on the side. Look at that. That’s where the drawing begins.
It starts out with just simple lines trying to indicate an action. That’s the beginning of it.
Okay, in this Tintoretto it’s probably a fragment—now, first of all, Tintoretto was
a very, very good teacher. He had lots of students. But if you look at the figure, again
we get a strong sense of the volumes and the way he’s taking and moving. But look at
the way the lines are put down. He’s feeling, he’s feeling coming around. That’s like
a school of fish coming through. Then he’s coming in and coming out. We’ve got this
line going down. But if we understand we understand what’s going on. We can take the top now,
and we can look at this almost like a box or cylinder, the top of the head. I’ll just
draw it as a box. But it might be a little easy to understand. But you can see what he’s doing.
There’s a light on the top on the box. Now, you’ve got a neck underneath that,
and it’s casting a shadow over. The neck is casting a shadow over the top of this form
that is going down in space. Now, that’s a very basic tool. Okay, but we get the arm
going up. We come over. It’s the process. But there is no effort at all to take and
get involved with the rendering. He’s taking it very, very free of how the forms go from
one side to the other.
In fact, in my own training the teachers explained the whole idea of going down one side of the
figure to the other by talking about Tintoretto. Feeling one movement going into the next.
You will see that I use, as I’m doing gesture I’m always talking about following the natural
flow of the figure. Well, we can look at this and you’ll see this later as you look at
the Michelangelos. That’s what you see he was doing. That’s the natural flow of how
you make the eye move. It’s the movement. It’s all about movement, taking and going through the figure.
This is sort of fun because you can see where he did many variations on this. He was looking
for the whole composition here. In fact, he’s got several different compositions here. One,
we’re taking and you can see where he is fighting the lion. Then this look likes maybe
and Atlas or something. There is some kind of character. Look at that. These are fun
to just look at. This guy has got some guy’s arm or something in his mouth. Okay, he’s
holding him up here. Okay. But again, you can see the lines (not lions, but lines) and
you can see how the eye, he uses the things going through. I’m using myself as an example
for a lot of this stuff. You can see the way he is doing this. It’s Rubens’ drawings
with a pen that took and gave me the courage to not worry about putting lines down because
once you start putting all these lines down and then you start to take and clarify them
by creating form. All of the secondary lines start to disappear.
So in other words, the drawing may start out as a series of really scattered lines as you’re
going through the drawing, but then the minute that you come in and you start to take and
clarify the form going over something, then those extraneous lines start to become nothing
more than a texture in the background of the drawing. And so you don’t worry about lines
where you’ve changed the placement of a leg. Throw out an extra arm. Once you take
and come in and clarify this form, those secondary lines will no longer exist. They just become
a texture in the drawing. So this is the process that the artist goes through. He’s taking
and developing the composition, but he has total freedom to take and change and adjust
and to move things around.
Okay, let’s take a look at another drawing. In this Correggio drawing we have a whole
range now of steps in the drawing. We look at the things down in the corner. You can
see this is very free. I’m just drawing over here. You can see very free, very loose
things going on. Very sketchy. Building up. From that then you can see where he’s gone
from these very, very sketchy drawings into then carrying it a little bit farther. As
we look at this up here you can see the drawing up in the top there. It starts out as a very,
very free type of thing. You can see the lines going over the surface coming in. We can feel
the construction. I’m just going to create sort of a thing that’s going on here. You
can see—in other words as I’m doing this you can see the idea of it going over, pushing
back. The head is turned in here. The other arm is going up, coming through.
Once we get at that point then we come back in and we start to refine it. So now in the
refining here I’m taking and okay I’ll go through. Drawing a little bit darker. I’m
taking and notice that as I’m doing this I’m taking on relying on very, very simple
volumes. One of the things I’m always talking about is the squishing and the stretching.
You can see how it’s coming here. Now, for instance, I’m changing the angle of the
pelvis. Coming through you can feel the rendering because I’m using a lot of very subtle tones
coming up. This is built on top of a very, very free drawing underneath. Simple spherical
forms. Notice how the lines that I first put down are disappearing. It’s difficult to
even see them. And it’s coming through. Picking up so you’re slowly clarifying the
composition and the way the lines go. But if you start out doing that you are going to be stuck.
So now as I’m going back through this drawing you can see those preliminary rough parts
of the drawing are disappearing. But if I had tried to start out in taking and spending
a lot of time on working on details, I frankly would be very reluctant to take and start
changing things because you invest so much time and you do not allow yourself then the
opportunity to make adjustments and to make corrections and to make changes that you need
to deal with so that the overall gesture in the drawing then can be very simple. You’re
just feeling the flow going over the surface talking about which way it’s going. Come
down. It can be very free. There is no concern for detail. It’s not taking and doing an
illustrator’s job where you take and use a pose. You set a pose up and you’re just
going to take and use that pose so you’re copying it. So it’s not just a rough drawing.
It’s a working drawing where you’re trying to sense the organization of how one figure
takes and works with the next figure.
So you’re constantly trying to feel and compose, so the question then is the aesthetics.
What kind of experience are you trying to create so that you take and build forms? You’re
constructing. As I’m doing the drawing I’m taking and trying to feel how he’s doing.
I look at this figure up here. It also reminds me of Michelangelo’s Sybil, the pose. It’s
a different figure but it’s pretty much the same pose. Through, head turn. Then we
have the baby in here. Added the baby. You’re focusing on an action, the gesture and not
the details. Once you can get the overall gesture of something then you can take and
focus on the details. That’s exactly what they did.
Okay, now in this drawing this is interesting now, because what you have—this is actually
a fairly well-developed drawing. What you have is you can see where he has been working
and starting out. He was doing it with the graphite and working with charcoal. Now, as
you come through here look. We’ve got a whole range of different levels of completion
or development. Look at this figure right here. Look at this figure right here down
in the right corner. That’s a head. Look at the arm coming across through here. I’m
not quite sure if that’s a figure that turns into an animal or what it is, but we find
that you have. So going from something like that or to some of these really secondary
figures or just simple shapes in tone going on back there to where we get a fairly well-developed
figure lifting up. But even there you can see—look at the, here, I’m just going
to draw over this. First, take a look at these lines. You can see the lines that he was using
to take and carry the eye through. You can see how all of the forms are building up.
That’s basically, and there is a rhythm that’s coming through here. So as he was
working this thing, and he has no detail in that head. You can see where he had it down
here. And he’s got it leaning back. He’s trying to discover it. So we’re taking and
constantly, and this is not the final drawing. This is still a rough idea. It’s the composition.
He’s feeling the flow. That’s the gesture. Again, the gesture drawing is not a—I hate
to, we’re using that term so much that if we could take and change the term and call
it a rough compositional sketch of an action. But that’s so long so we just call it gesture.
But it is. It’s a rough compositional sketch of an action.
Now here, again, look at the drawing. Look at the way the movements. You can see how
he’s making the eye move. How he’s working these figures, one figure flowing into the
next and the next and lifting up. The figures are going up. Notice the way I’m doing the
drawing. Again, it’s the same thing. It’s a rough compositional sketch. Interesting,
this is something we don’t always think of in terms of a Michelangelo. It’s really,
look at the box form he’s drawn there. The head is the box form. These are box forms.
He’s coming through and he’s basically drawing in box form. We usually think of Cambiaso
with the box forms. But in Michelangelo we see the same thing. It’s a tool for clarifying
how forms are in space. So often as we’re drawing even gestures sometimes it’s useful
to draw the figures as box forms to understand what the form itself is doing. Of course,
Michelangelo was a sculptor so he was very preoccupied with the actual mass of the figures.
You can see where he’s coming through here, you can see that he’s coming in and blocking
in the sides of the figure. He has very clearly got the top of the figure. He’s drawing
that arm as a cylinder going back in, wrapping over and around the form. That’s what we
take and, don’t just copy the fancy pen rendering. Try to see what the fancy pen work
is trying to communicate.
Look at the way he’s taking and pushing things. Going up again and again. Going over
the form. Now, look at these. As I’m drawing the figure is being lifted up. Look at the
flow. Look at the rhythm that’s created. It’s the movement. Also, at the same time
very simple areas of design and thinking simple areas against complex areas. You’re always
trying to develop readability. The drawing has to be readable. Okay, readable, we’re
basically talking about communication here. Notice that long, straight line that’s coming
through. That’s giving us the sense of the lift. You can feel the pull-through. He’s
creating these movements through a very strong geometric type of structure. So we’re getting
a feeling of the movement as being woven through. In other words, we’re taking the straight,
and we’re making the eye work with that straight. The straight makes us see the actual
movement better. Again, these are all simple compositional devices, but these are part
of the tools of doing just a simple gesture drawing.
I advise students the best way to take and improve your drawing, and this goes for gesture
drawing is to take and draw from imagination and to create pictures. Take and create something.
Working out a composition you will then be using your drawing skills. It’ll become
very apparent of how you take and draw what is needed. If you can then take and use the
way you draw to take and compose the picture as the beginning point for doing gesture drawing.
That is a point in the process. Rather than just thinking that this a two-minute pose
or a one-minute pose and that this becomes a classroom exercise. The classroom exercise
is not the point. The point is to take and communicate an action in how you take and
communicate these actions. Also, at the same time you’re learning to analyze an action.
Parmigianino is an incredible artist. He was Michelangelo’s contemporary. He at some
point was actually more famous because was one of the first guys to really start dealing
with prints. Okay, now, what we have, this is the part that is sometimes a little difficult
to communicate. Now I’m just drawing and thinking of the head of the main figure on
the left. He’s taking and turning the arm. The arm is going in. As that arm is going
in you can see a series of overlapping shapes as we go through that are taking and going
in. Body is going through. The other arm is taking and going back in, going back up.
Keep going, through. Coming across.
Now, see the way I’m drawing. Actually, you can feel the body turning. Even though
he is wearing like a skin he’s come in and drawn the sacrum back here. We can see that
the leg is going in. But that’s not even the point that I want to make. As he’s doing
this and he’s looking back is that look at the next figure. This figure here is taking
and doing this. The next figure is reacting to that. Look at the lines. Look at all of
the tones now. This figure here is taking and going back and pulling away. This way
the lines are going this way. And so there is a flow of movement from one thing to the
other. Now, this is something that you have to become sensitive to. It’s beyond the
technical aspects in doing a drawing. It’s a feeling of how the eye moves. So now as
I’m doing the drawing and talking about it, I’m making that thing happen at the
same time. You can feel this going here. We can feel this now turning and going back with
the head turning and going the opposite direction. As this goes this way the head and taking
and turning back out this way. So these are compositional consideration, but the feeling
of how one thing feels and flows to the next, again that’s the action. It’s composition.
But it’s all part of the analysis of the figure, analysis of the old masters, and it’s
also a critical element in being able to communicate a gesture.
Okay, I put this Francesco Mola in here. If you’re not familiar with him he’s actually
an interesting to look at. His paintings were quite realistic. But mainly to show how crude
a drawing can be and still have value. We’ve got this teenie head here, and it looks like
we’ve go this angel pouncing on the reclining nude, and then we’ve got the devil coming
out from behind the sheet that’s hanging there. The idea is just this is the inspiration
of an idea. You put it down. Don’t sensor. That’s what you do when you’re drawing.
When you’re working in a film, for instance, you start out with very crude rough drawings,
a story sketch. It can be just the idea. Again, you might call this a gesture drawing, but
it’s the idea of an action, and it’s the idea of a composition. A composition is a
group of actions. It’s a group of lines and tones and shapes that create and communicate
something. So that’s what you’re doing. You’re organizing lines, shapes, and tones
to communicate and create an experience.
thinking and going slow now. Notice how slowly I’m drawing. I’m just trying to feel what
the action is. You can almost think of this stage in the drawing, it’s almost like a
Tai-Chi. Go through, you’re experiencing the flow. I’m thinking of just the pull
of the neck. In reality I look at that as going in there. She’s really this. As I’m
doing the drawing I’m thinking, I’m going through experiencing. I’m coming through
and feeling the whole body. It’s taking and going across, through, feeling the flow
of how it’s going. It’s the movement coming across. I mentioned that I don’t necessarily
measure. That doesn’t mean that I don’t look to see where things are. I am working
on a flat piece of paper. I’m taking and translating from a three-dimensional object
down to a two-dimensional surface. I’m using two-dimensional tools. For instance, I look
to see where the shoulder is at. I don’t necessarily come in and start drawing a bunch
of lines. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t look. The main element that I’m after is
the flow and action so I’m trying to experience this.
In this first drawing I’m taking and looking and adding lines. Notice, for instance, as
I’m drawing I’m picking up on the actual rhythm. I’m actually going from the outside
to the inside to the outside of that leg. That’s a natural rhythm of the figure. So
then as I’m coming through I’m thinking okay. I’m going over. The leg is coming
out. I’m trying to feel the flow. Notice how I’m really thinking and trying to feel
how that figure is moving. So it’s very distinctly different than what I talk about
as sort of the graphic statement of blocking in the shapes. I’m not doing that at all.
Coming in. And this is a part that often is very difficult for the student to take and
break that habit. When you’re coming in, and I know a lot of people do it, a lot of
my contemporaries do it. They come in and they just, phew, put a line down. To me it’s
sort of, you’re not getting the feeling. You’re not experiencing really what’s
going on. It’s a graphic, two-dimensional shape. So I don’t do that. Again, that’s
a very distinctly, contrary to what many of the people, friends of mine, the way they
work. Find and come through.
Now, at this point, so now what I’ve done here is I’ve taken and I’ve talked about
now the first tool. The first tool was getting the gesture. Number one, tool number two is
going across the surface. At this point, I’ve separated things. I’ve done just one. In
practice and as I’m taking and doing drawings as we move along here you’ll see that I
am doing both of those elements and sometimes even the third tool, which in other words,
containing. I will be taking and doing all three at the same time. Not always. It all
depends on the pose. Okay, so now here I’m coming through. I’m saying, well, okay,
it’s pretty much…I’ve done the head. I just came in and did that. Now I’m going
across and I’m feeling the flow here. I’m taking and thinking, okay, the pelvis. The
female pelvis generally is tilted forward like this. Coming through. The leg, this is
coming out, going over. I will draw this the opposite just because it’s the difference.
I’ve blocked in already, we can think of the arm I’m drawing as I’m going over.
You don’t have to take and draw 300 lines going around. Although you look at drawings
by da Vinci, there were drawings completely done where he is taking and worked with lines
and just wrapping around the figure and you find the form. This is coming through, going over.
Okay, so now at this point I’ve stated pretty much what’s going on. So, now I come back
in and I go through the drawing multiple times. I go through it all the way once, and I go
back through it again. Generally, as long as I’m working with the whole figure, this
is a point, sometimes when you’re doing gesture drawings a lot of times not all of
it is important. I tend to focus on only what is important. In other words, when you’re
taking and talking to somebody with the hand movements and things those are important.
But nobody really cares about what the big toe is doing. It doesn’t matter. You don’t
deal with it. I won’t even draw the feet or anything.
Okay, so now here I’m going back in and I’m thinking the rib cage is high in back
so I’m already thinking anatomy. Come through. I’m containing now. I’m going through.
I draw through so when you’re talking about containing you’re talking about the whole
form. Coming in, come through. Going around but also at the same time now I’m containing
the form. I’m thinking very, very simple mass of the whole form. As I come through
and I’m consciously thinking where the corner of the pelvis is. I will draw a line. I think
over here is the pelvis or maybe just hit a point, but I’m already dealing with the
symmetry that I’ve mentioned so many times now. That is so important. So then as I go
down I’m drawing the leg while working down from one side to the other, containing. I
may jump ahead and look at the width of something. Going over. So now, notice the hand movements
like this, this, going across, containing. Then as I work through. Now, in general the
drawing may look like it’s done very quickly, as you can see. Although this is drawn particularly
slow because I’m talking and trying to demonstrate as I’m going over.
Also, notice that I don’t really pay attention, at least at this stage in the game, to what
the light is doing. I’m not dealing with the light. I will take and create forms. I’m
not copying. I’m taking and going through, going over the surface. Coming in. Going across
the form. Drawing the shape. When I draw the shape I’m trying to think of the whole shape.
I’m containing and dealing and going over and feeling one side. I feel the whole thing.
So you can see at this stage now I’ve taken and I’ve got a pretty good idea now of what
the main parts of that torso are doing. As I started out now I was talking about moving
the lines. We’re taking and going across, over. I wanted to lead the eye. Well, now
that I’ve added these forms in here, as that drawing develops I would take and reintroduce
lines that are going to take and communicate and lead the eye to that first part of the
gesture, which is what I was trying to get. So then as I come across these forms.
For instance, okay, I don’t think, for instance I’m not drawing the breasts. They are not
particularly important at this point. We feel the clavicles. I want to come in and I will
start blocking in. Just to make the drawing look…I’ll take and indicate the head.
But that’s the giving you a very, very simple starting point. But also notice that one of
the points here is that I’m drawing through the figure. I draw through everything. I’m
feeling the flow of how the lines take and move.
Now, in this new pose here I’m just going to take and draw a little bit faster. We have
new issues that are coming up. From here, through, one side to the other. Going over,
feeling the direction. Feeling the neck coming through. Now, this figure as it’s coming
through here is, first I’m taking and thinking, okay, the movement is going across. I want
to lead the eye over to the pelvis. At this point we’re going over. She’s going back.
She’s going back in that way, so right away I’m taking and thinking that is coming through.
At this point we’re going over. She’s going back. She’s going back in that way.
So right away I’m taking and thinking that is coming through. I need to make real issue.
I’ll come through and feel the flow. I started out drawing, but maybe I need to come through
and feel this coming across more. I’m not really trying to contain yet. I want to feel.
I want to move the eye through, coming across. We’re feeling the…feel the flow. Again,
natural rhythm of the leg. The pelvis, leg is coming out. One of the advantages of actually
working from a photograph is that the models can take poses that would not be possible
to hold for any length of time. But then f you’re doing gesture drawings then, of course,
that’s not an issue. So now you can see that I’m going down. This one goes through.
Think, I want to go over the surface that’s coming out. Then we’re coming down. Now,
I go back in. As I’m going back in to this I do take in anatomy. I really think that’s
twisting. So I’m really just creating lines. There is a twist. This may feel confused in
there, but for just a matter of just trying to feel it. Right now I’m feeling it coming
across so I’m changing the initial statement that I was making now. Okay, she’s going
back. She’s tilting back and through. We want to feel that pelvis pushing out. One
of the elements that people don’t like, gets so many lines. It gets so confusing in
the diagram here in the background. It doesn’t matter because these lines that I’m putting
down they become part of the texture of the drawing. The minute you start to take a finalize
or actually take and communicate form they will start to disappear.
Also, this poses an interesting point now, that arm going back like that is really not
very practical. It’s not very clear. I would take and draw over and put this off out here,
carry it farther out so that it’s a clear statement. Okay, as you look at the old master
drawings we’ve got a series of a bunch of lines going on back here. Look at their drawings
and you’re going to see exactly the same thing. You have many, many lines where they’re
taking and changing and moving things around. You’re trying to see how, notice how I’m
following through with those lines as I’m going around. Through, now coming across,
going over. At this stage of the drawing is little as I’ve actually done you have a
very clear understanding of what the action is. Come through. It’s all felt. It’s
a felt thing. You’re feeling it coming through. Now at this point I can take and come back in.
I forgot to mention in the introduction how I hold the pencil. I’ll take on points,
like here if I want to come in and get fussy and I want to take and sometimes it is important
to take and even in something as loose and as free as I have here to take an indicate
an expression. I come back through and I’ll adjust things so that that point adds
something to the whole drawing.
So now I’ll come back and I want to feel, okay, there’s a pull. Feel the pull coming
through. I’m taking and coming a little bit information about what’s coming across.
I’ll come through. I feel the pectoralis muscles pulling off of the chest. In fact,
now I’ll make more of an issue of the actual rib cage itself. Coming in, through. I’m
picking up points in here. I want to come across. So now I’m taking and again I’m
using lines that are going to take and feeling strength. Think of where the pelvis is. I
want to feel the stretch. So I’m coming here. As I’m doing this I’m thinking of
the whole volume coming through. We’re going across the surface of the form. Then as I
go into the leg I contain going from one side to the other, containing, following through
and going over the surface and down. Pushing this and going the opposite direction with
the knee there. Go from one side to the other. Containing, following through. Going over
the surface, down. Pushing this and going the opposite direction with the knee there.
Go from one side to the other, over. Now even there as I’m doing that I think the calf
is high on the outside, low on the inside. There is an adjusting coming across. Going
across the ankle. The ankle is exactly the opposite. High on the inside, low on the outside.
There is this natural flow to the way you’re taking and doing the drawing and how the forms
are fitting in. You go through and start thinking of thoracic arch. We can add the breast. Feel
the pull. This shoulder now, I’m looking at this with what I have right now. This point
is fairly awkward, and I don’t feel the head. You’ve got to carry the weight there
with the features. That doesn’t really work. So now I would come back in and I would start
to change that. I come back and feel the pull.
Maybe somebody would say, well, if you were copying that you would have probably got that
right to start with. Well, maybe. But then the drawing would not have the quality of
the feeling that I want out of it. Coming through. Again, this is a good exactly. Don’t
worry about things. Figure it out. You’re just trying to analyze a pose. Now, come through
and emphasize. Come through, carry through. I want to feel the eye moving across so I
would be constantly going back. Take and create that feeling. Then I can come back in.
One thing you don’t do, don’t use your eraser and try to take and erase stuff out. That’s
the wrong thing. We’re not trying taking and trying to create finished, fancy drawings
here. We’re trying to feel, you notice how the lines of the eyes and stuff that I had
before, they don’t really show. They’re not really important. I’m trying to feel
the pull of how things go. I’m constantly adjusting.
Okay, now in this pose here it’s a little different. What I want to take and go a little
bit slower. Be a little bit more careful, through. Head here, I’m taking and thinking
even the hair and going for the back and turning away. Feel the back of the ear. Come and feel
the pull of the neck. Figure is taking and now coming down. Leading the eye through.
Notice I’m using fewer lines. I’m doing a little bit more in my head as I’m going
through and doing the drawing. Playing down, a little subtler. As that leg is going back
in you can notice I’m moving without putting any lines down. I’m pulling through. I’m
taking and looking and thinking about where I’m going. I’m pulling through. There
just a very light line coming through in the end of the point. Even here now I’d be going
through over the surface. It’s going back in. Feel the pull of how the eye is moving.
Come through. Come over, down. Now here shoulder is pulling forward. I really want to feel
and feeling the point coming through. He is a little technical point. One of the things
that allows we to draw so lightly is I’m not holding the pencil up off the paper. I’m
running my fingernails on the paper so I can take and push it down as hard as I want. As
I’m moving I’m on the paper. Now, coming across. Now, go back in. Since she’s tilting
back. Now the more I look I can think of the ear on the other side. We’re getting an
angle. The eyes would be down here so maybe I would take and hit the corner of the cheek.
I can use the hair. It doesn’t take very much here now. I was taking and coming through.
I want to feel the way the neck is fitting into the skull. I’m going over the surface.
That’s going right back to the tools we talked about before. Now we go through, thinking
of the 7th cervical vertebra. Now I’m taking and really visualizing the rib cage. I’m
going from one side to the other. I’m containing this. Then I’m going over the surface as
it comes down. So I’m going through and thinking of the pelvis, where it’s at. So
I’m visualizing this whole volume now. This is really just a simple form to start with.
Then I’m going through and containing it. But I’m also thinking of where the center
and the back is. Look at the drawing, the two drawings here, or the three drawings.
I’m actually doing the same. I’m just not putting so many lines down. So it looks
in a sense cleaner. Let me think of the way the waist is. It’s simpler, but I can and
build. Now, I’m going to go back in and try to feel this shoulder. You’re really
pushing it back in. This is really a point. I need to feel this is coming out a little
bit farther. I’m thinking really where the center is of the rib cage. Now I’m going
back over. I want to feel this is going back. The shoulder is taking and coming forward.
I’m visualizing this is like the corner and then coming out. Then I feel the pinch.
The other shoulder is also taking and we can actually feel the scapula. I’m thinking
of the corner, the edge of the scapula. Then the arm would be coming through. And it’s
coming back. And we’re coming down. I’m not using a lot of lines. It’s really quite
simple. Now, if I’m looking at the arm through here I need to pull it forward a little bit.
As I work into the waist I want to take and feel. Going over, I need to go over the surface
to show which way it’s going. I want to come down. I start working into the buttocks.
I’m going across and I’m drawing through the arm. I’m thinking of where the sacrum
is. Already at this point I’m thinking of the compression, how the buttocks will be
compressing. I don’t see that, but I’m drawing that. Over here I see it, see the
compression going over. But I want to feel the lines now. I’ve got this gesture coming
through. We can feel how this is going to pull up into here. Now as I’m doing that
I go over the surface. I’m containing again. Going through, one side to the other. Also,
I want to show the pinch. This is fitting in. There is really not a lot of extraneous
stuff here. Everything is directed, taking and communicating what the figure is doing
both two-dimensionally and three-dimensionally. Come back down. The other leg now will go over.
Coming over the surface. We can really feel we’re taking and pulling from in here now.
This leg is actually lifted slightly up off the surface, I believe. Coming in,
going back. This is a cylinder. Notice I’ve changed the placement. It doesn’t matter.
It’s going over the surface. As I come down I want to feel the other foot pulling through,
going across. Move down. Going over.
Now, the pace that I’m taking and going through with this drawing. It’ll be about
a five-minute pose. I’m not paying any attention to any kind of time or clock because I’m
trying to take and explain as clearly as I can what I’m going through as I’m doing
this drawing. So in many respects this is absolutely no different than if I was taking
and doing a large format drawing, double the size, and was doing it for an hour. I would
be taking and starting out precisely the same way. No matter how long the pose is the critical
part is still taking and capturing the action and creating the experience that I am seeing
and feeling while I’m looking at the pose.
Okay, let’s try another one. Okay, this next drawing is really, we’re taking a variation
on this pose that we started with here. It’s just a little more extreme. As I start this
I’m thinking, okay, here we have a situation which is really, really leaning over. I’m
going to go back, in a sense what I’m doing here in the earlier drawings by taking and,
I want to really feel this as a strong movement. It’s really a pull coming across. See how
I’m leading the eye. I want to feel this coming over. At the same time here I’m taking
and going around that surface, coming down, pushing through, going across then going over
that. Pull through. Then the leg is going up or going over, in. We’re coming down,
through. The shoulder is coming forward but it’s high. It’s up here. It’s high.
Taking and I want to feel the full flow of how this is going.
Now, at that point now I can go back in. I want to say alright. I’m feeling the stretch.
Feel the stretch in here. Now, she’s actually slightly turned. Now as I look at the drawing
a little bit more, I say that’s not really a good representation. She’s actually sort
of tilting that way. I need to feel that direction. Now I’m thinking, okay, we’ve got the
rib cage. Come through. Coming in here. The rib cage is not always perfectly round. There
is flexibility to it. They can do that. But what I try to avoid, you notice if I do the
lines like that it actually conveys movement. The side is not containing. When I draw that
this line become something over here. It’s not containing. I have to use lines that are
going to take and imply the completion of the form. The rib cage may actually be more
flexible. I want to take and use lines that are containing. I’m thinking of the center
and coming through. Lead, pull across the pelvis. This is a form that is actually going
across. Notice what I’m doing here. I’m taking and we have to cross the bottom.
This is the equivalent of taking and drawing a box-type form. This has thickness going
across, through the figure this way. I’m coming in. As you look at the tones on the
photograph there you will see that we have a very clear cut side to the form. That gives
you a sense of dimension. Going over, in. The leg is going in. Going over the surface.
Now it’s a different kind of pose now. Just a variation now. She’s just moving back
so we really feel this. As I’m drawing this now I want to take and be conscious of the
fact that there is a stretching that’s taking place. I’m really pulling. It’s coming
across. I would actually take and start to take and work with lines that are going over
the surface, taking and coming in. Also, at the same time, thinking of the sacrum down
here. Think of the spine coming through. Now, I don’t see that in the model. But I feel
it. I’m coming through and I’m going to take and feel the line of the rib cage. So
now I’m emphasizing lines that are creating the feeling for the action. Feeling the gesture
that go beyond what it is that I actually see. So in the same breath now we take and
we can push the spine. Pushing up and I’m using the scapula now. Coming across and I’m
forcing that line. I’ll come up here. I’m going to hit here. So now I’m pushing like
the corners of a box. I’m hitting the symmetry in the form. Now we’re pulling through.
We can feel that the trapezius muscles come off of the neck cylinder. I’m pulling this
out. Coming in to the end of the scapula. This is square, and we can feel the pull.
The neck is pulling off the—well, actually this would be the teres major and possibly
the latissimus coming across. Then we start to pull into this. So you can feel right here.
I would be constantly trying to emphasize this movement as it pulls across and picking
up lines that I’m going to carry through. Emphasizing and going over the surface.
The arm would be feeling the natural rhythm. Notice I’m using the pencil. I’m pushing the
line instead of pulling the line.
not different than I would take and normally draw. I’m just taking and getting large.
I also take and block in simple masses. Come through. I can take and worth with positive
and negative space. I work around. So working with the wash is very, very…then I come
back in. I can take and work a little bit more detail just to take through. Push. Okay.
As I go through here, again, working with this. Really feeling the flow. Basically just
the rhythm, movement across. I use rhythm as a tool to take and lead the eye through
the drawing. As such, like I say it’s a tool. It’s not a style. It’s just a tool
that I taking and capturing the flow of how things go. Now I can come back in and I can
emphasize using a little bit darker. Feel the scapula. Feel the rib cage coming through.
Here, a bit more complicated. Nothing, no different. Feel the flow. It’s going up,
through. Here I can take, one of the things is a wash that you can take and, notice how
simply I was able to show the leg in the back. Arm coming across. Now, just a little bit
more detail. Now a little darker than I wanted. Come through. I’ll integrate that into what
I’ve got. That extra dark in there will look like that’s the way it’s supposed
to be rather than a little bit of accident. Okay, giving away my secrets here. But you
can get the sense of what the whole figure is doing now.
Okay, now, here we can pull, feel the way we’re going here now. Arm is going up, down.
Feel the compression. Somehow I’m jumping right away to that. Drawing is looking a little
bit smaller. I want to take and go through. Going over the surface. Leg is going behind
so I’ll just use a tone there. Through. The other leg come back behind. The head is
turned down, so I’ll use, again, a shadow just to take and indicate what’s going on.
I’ll come back a little bit darker and emphasize rib cage a bit more. Push the compression
Here, again, there is a lot of compression in the pose so I come up a little bit larger.
I’m going to jump right away to taking and thinking about how I can work with the negative
space, the air around the figure to take and start to show what’s going on. So being
a little bit more adventuresome in the approach here. Come through. Blocking the ones around,
behind. Once I’ve got that I can come back in with a little bit darker line. Start to
pull. We can feel the hands coming across. The other shoulder is high. Coming down. Through.
This pose what we have is a reclining, a little bit more direct, through. I need to go back
in a little bit darker to take and emphasize the pull. The scapula is pushing up high,
really part of what helps us see the action of the head dropped down. Come over.
Okay, now in this pose I’m taking and using, she’s really got her head lifted up there.
It’s a pretty tense type of pose that I can take. The buttocks is coming back. Really
drop this tone that goes back this way. Coming across, the arm stretching across. Feel the
pull, the feet coming up, buttocks. Really, the angle of the pose would be something that
I would chances are spend a little bit longer, a little bit more time. I would take and change
it for practical purposes. Having both feet coming back at you like that is not very readable.
Arm going back in.
Here I’m starting out with a pin. Notice it’s really no different than starting out
with a brush. Through. Focus on the action. Coming through, swish and stretch. Going over.
Leading through the figure. Things are a bit symmetrical. I tend to push things a little
bit more to get away from that. I’m taking and going through. There’s nothing wrong
with being symmetrical. It is preferred to have a little bit more play. Now, I’ll come
back into this with a wash. Then we’ll pick up some of the tone going through. Taking
and feeling—in other words, you can see what I’ve done there. I’ve emphasized
the compression. I come through. Taking and picking up tone. Drop this a little bit more
in from behind. That arm is going back in, through, across. Here we’ll take and then,
again, push the tone to help the movement come through. That’s pushing the gesture
a bit more. I can very easily now also take and expand on that by taking and coming around
a bit more.
Okay, now, she’s really giving a strong stretching here. So pull, really feel the
stretch come through. The leg is going back behind, which we’ll take and then use. The
tone to take and push that leg back even farther. Going over the surface. The arms are going
up, coming down, pulling through. Thinking of the volume. Push the rib cage out. Breasts
out. Feel the muscles coming out, through. Going over the surface. This leg is going
back in. I can take and push up even more. Arm going over. The key to doing things fast
is being systematic. So now I can come through into this. I’m going to take and push. Make
this go behind. The air behind, through. Now, let’s give a bit more of an accent. I want
to feel the pull, the underside of the arm. Come across. Over here we’re focusing on
the rib cage going over, going under. I’m going to take and play around with different
materials, which I am constantly dealing with. This is a Noodler brush pen. I put my own
ink in, diluted ink in fact. What I’m doing is, I’m not drawing any different. I’m
still taking and trying to feel the action coming through. Down over the surface. I always
encourage the students to take and be constantly trying different media. We tend to get stuck
with one way. A lot of people will complain about getting sort of worn out, bored with
taking and doing what they’re doing. I’ll find that often just changing a medium. Go
back and start to look at this as I start to analyze. Wow, this is going through. The
head is going in here more. What I’m going to do now is I’m just going to drop over
and work with the pen. Now, this is a Noodler again, flexible point. Come through. I’m
not timing these poses. I’m just taking and working in the way I would normally work.
Feel the rib cage going in. Thinking where the corner, thoracic arch. Feel the sternum
coming down. We’re getting a compression coming through. I want to feel the pull, the
way the forms wrap around. Pelvis fitting in. Going across. Coming around from behind.
Now you can see I’m taking and we’re getting a fairly strong sense of the way the figure
is taking and going. Why don’t we come back in here and actually feel even a bit more.
After I’ve gone through this I’m going to take over and go back over again with the
wash. Notice how I change as I go through. I see the second time around. See it a little
differently. Using cylinders, spheres, boxes. I’m falling through with the anatomy. Think
of the clavicle coming through. Trapezius from behind. Scapula. Feel the pull dropping
down. As this arm comes forward we’re going to push over. Coming through. Across. By the
way, the pen that I’m using is Noodler brush pen. They’re really inexpensive and you
can see they really work well for $20. Okay, feel the pecs coming off. Now, as I go through
I’ll go back in with the brush. What I can do with this now is I take and expand the
range because I’m mixing with the ink. What I have in the ink that’s in the brush is
the same ink I was drawing with except that I diluted it down. It really gives it sort
of a neat effect. I use it for sketching a lot. Notice how you can go over positive and
negative. Indicate shadows. Once I’ve got this down I can come back in, and you can
take and come back and emphasize. You can pull the things out. Notice that the way the
dark coming in, I’m really pushing the accent. I emphasize the thing even more. So if you
can get in with the pen going back in while it’s still wet you get a bigger contrast.
For me I just like the look really. It has a cool look, the cast shadow going over. There
is no limits to how you take and build with this thing.
Again, this is another pretty extreme pose here. Really going so right away I’m jumping
to that movement. Arm going up. Really keep it loose, free. When I’m traveling around
the world this is pretty much the type of thing. I draw an awful lot with the brush.
I really like drawing. The brush actually gives me a lot more freedom. I really draw
a lot faster than I do with the pencil or even just the pen by itself. Here, you can
see I’ve just gone through, not worrying about anything in particular because now I
know I’m going to go back into this. First, I really want to get in here and think, okay.
I’m really analyzing there. I’m thinking, okay, here’s the rib cage. Going through.
Feel the pull one side to the other. Coming through, down. So we really feel the pelvis
taking and coming out. Feel the bones sticking out. Come through. Feel the underside of the
rib cage, the thoracic arch. Even as a quick sketch I’m taking and, I think anatomy,
constantly dealing with anatomy. Feel the buttocks coming through. I’m constantly
changing. Going over the surface, constantly going over, around. Feel the pinch. Pretty
funny foot there. Really pulling back. Feel the breasts stretch. Pushing out. Coming forward
a bit more. The neck twisting down. The feeling we’re looking up underneath that chin here.
Feel the nose sticking out. The other arm is going up
and going across. Now, go back in again with the wash pushing underneath. Give it a little
bit of that hair here. Let it fly out a little bit. Pushing the way the thoracic or the rib
cage fits in. Coming around from behind. I really push down more. Stretch. Underside
of the thoracic arch. It’s going back.
I’m not really even pushing this stronger.
Now, in this one, this is going to be a slight variation.
I’m going to start this with a brush, but then I’m
going to come back with pencil. So I’m taking and feeling.
The pencil I’m going to use here is a sanguine.
You find that the combination of this ink and the sanguine, they’re very close.
Really, they sort of blend in as a rather soft relationship here. In other words,
I’m taking and, the ink, by the way, that I’m using is a Monteblanc, and the color is a toffee.
You can see how the two colors tend to work well with each other. You can
build and it takes on a much more developed look. Going over. Notice I’m just taking
and using the wash as an armature in a way. I’m taking and I’m using this way because
of the paper, and I wanted to get the point. Notice, still my fingers aren’t moving.
It’s my arm that is doing all the moving.
Of course, when you’re working with a pen it has to be held in the same way. Here we
come through, build, think of the scapula coming across the arm. The arm is a cylinder
going in. The arm is across, sort of build.
Feel the twisting of the neck. It’s going through and across. Now I go back in with a bit more wash.
It’s not going to be as extreme, but it’ll give you a little bit more tone.
Not really enough to make it worth the effort, I don’t think here. We could take and go
back into that. It needs a little bit more oomph. So now I’m going back in with the black.
Okay, you can see where I start pulling it out a little bit more. Think of the twist.
Little bit more clarity on some of the forms, but still, a fairly loose sketch coming in.
Think of the latissimus and rib cage underneath. Getting a clear pinching of the pelvis.
Notice how, again, I adjust things as I go to through. Every time I go through the drawing I’m
going back over and changing things. You’re adding to the process as I’m doing it.
My little calligraphy there is really just going over the surface.
One of the problems that everybody has drawing from photographs is that, again, the natural tendency
is to want to copy. But what we need to do is develop a mentality of not copying but analyzing.
So one of things you can do that, and I’ll do that in the next drawing, is to take and
do a drawing and then re-draw it from a different angle or slightly different. So what I’m
going to do is start this drawing. What I’m going to do is change the drawing, change
the pose. We’re starting out. This is a strategy for taking and helping you get away
from copying what it is that you’re drawing. Feeling the pull. Warm, through.
If you're working professionally, like is say, in the animation industry, even illustration often,
you are taking and have resources, but the resources are not actually the pose that you
need or whatever the angle is not correct or you have to change the light to match the
whole series of things. Now, keep in mind that the Renaissance, everything was started
first from imagination. The model was not brought into play, of course, unless it was
a portrait. The model was brought into play until the actual composition was fairly well settled.
So now as we go from here, okay, now I want to take that and say now, what
if the same basic pose but I’m going to draw it from a slight, I’m going to take
and turn it. This is a thing that Rubens would do. He would take and do a drawing and then
redraw it by looking at it from a different angle. But I’m saying the figure is best
over here. Now I’m analyzing that pose and drawing it from seeing the top as a box. We’re
starting to see the turn slightly this way. So I’m using the simple box form as a tool
to help me take and see it a little bit more clearly, what it’s doing in space.
Head turned away. This arm would be really coming out at me. Going back in. That becomes the
place that I’m drawing this then. I can start to see. She’s looking down so I need
to make a point of making this looking down. I’m seeing a profile now. Through. The neck
stretching. Now here, again, if you can break the form down into a three-dimensional volume,
it allows you to take and do this, so now I’m coming over the center, going down,
and I want to feel that the rib cage is twisting. Feel the pelvis through. We’re getting the
compression. Feeling the forms coming around from behind. So this is a standard sort of
exercise I do in my classes as I will have the students take and draw the model from
a different angle, and they see it. This has the effect of forcing you to take and analyze
rather than copying, so you’re then using the figure as a resource and not a thing that
you’re copying. So this is a really good exercise to take and sort of wean yourself
away from the photograph. I know a lot of you don’t want to be weaned away from the
photograph. But if you’re going to work professionally, you’re going to need to
be able to draw from imagination and to take and use material that doesn’t necessarily
perfectly fit what it is that you’re doing. This is a beginning so now I’m just taking
and drawing the pose from a different angle than I’m seeing it.
I can go back in with the brush and I can emphasize through. Typically what I do when
I working with the brush is I’ll also deal with the atmosphere, bringing tone around
it, helping to emphasize the gesture. You can look at the drawings of Parmigianino,
a good example to use for taking and building drawings. In fact, this drawing has sort of
a Parmigianino look to it. Stretch the figure out a bit. Coming through.
But you build, you build the drawing.
Okay, now, this time I’m taking and starting out working with the pencil. Polychromos.
Feel the flow.
Okay, now, I’ve got this started working with the sanguine. I’m going
to go back in with black. You can see the changes that I go through as I’m doing the drawing.
Coming in, through. Now I’ll feel the head here. I want to get really the overlapping,
the deltoid coming through. Feel the building. I’m just suggesting these things without
really going too far with the form. I want to feel the stretching. She’s really pulling
across. Feel the tension in the small of the back. Feel the compression coming through,
around. Going over the surface at the same time. So I’m building on those first drawings,
the lines that I did. But it’s still not—I haven’t really defined the form very much.
Through, feel the flow. I’m changing what I see to take and reflect the tension here.
I’m changing that shape because it goes over and reflects the fact that the leg is
pushing up against the buttocks. Again, as I draw I have no concern about whether I’m
changing it or not. If I feel I want to change it I can change it. I don’t worry about
whether it looks like the model or not. I have two hands here. Okay, that’s got the thing started. So now let’s
take and carry it just a little bit farther. What I want to do is I want to use more tone
to take and do a lot of the feeling for it. So what you’re seeing, in other words there
is just a rhythm that’s going through the figure. You saw as I’ve been doing this.
So now I’m going to reinforce that. Take and make the eye see that a little bit more
clearly, and so here is where they’re using the tone. We come in and we feel the pull
coming out. Going over the surface a bit. Dropping areas in tone so we really feel this
is dropping down. Through. I want to feel the flow.
Push over and around. Going through. Going over.
Okay, I’m taking and working with a little different material. This is a stump
which I use on the sand pad just rubbing, to begin with just make a smear with it. This
is something that in a larger scale, working with a chamois, I had found that students,
this approach gives access to the students to beginning dealing with gesture a lot easier
than say going directly with a pen or wash. It’s a more accessible way of capturing the overall total.
Now, starting, just feeling the action. I’m doing nothing different
than I would normally do while working with a pen or wash, just working for the action.
Get the total. So already you can see it. Then going back into that. Feeling, building
this pretty much the same way. But now it gives me a jump and I’m able to jump real
quickly into a little bit more volume in the drawing. Following the natural rhythm of the
leg, going through. So already at this point you can get a really clear understanding of
what the action is. It tends to work a lot faster.
Okay, now, you can take and go through.
You can see how quickly, now notice that I’m not dealing with line. I’m dealing with
the mass of the figure. Taking and pulling through.
Now, this is very similar to what I deal with when I’m just taking and capturing the action
with the wash. Now, I go back into this, emphasizing the flow.
Notice that I’m not copying the contours of my stump.
Feel the flow, feel the flow. Go across around the form. Pulling through. Arm going back.
Thinking of cylinders. Feel the pull of the muscles. The head is turned, coming in.
As you can see as I’m approaching this, there’s nothing about copying. You’re
just feeling the action. With the chamois like this or the stump it’s not necessary
to take and draw everything, especially when you only have one minute. Just capturing the
action, helping to push the big elements. Notice how I go from one side to the other.
Keep pulling through. Feel the way it’s going around. Feel the pull.
Now, reclining no different than the standing. Feel the flow going over the surface. Think
of the way the forms are going up, moving through. If I follow through I’m not copying contours.
Feel the pull through. Go over the surface. Adjusting. I can see where I was
way too far over. The leg coming across, down.
Arm, a little bit more volume.
I’ve picked out five drawings that I want you to spend 10 seconds on.
I’ve also picked out 10 drawings that I want you to spend two minutes on.
This is a great lesson. This is the beginning of it all.
drawings. Compare, not that it’s better; that’s not the point. It’s the understanding
of how it’s done. I really suggest that you go back and do the drawings again. Sometimes
you do the same drawing, same pose two, three, four times. Compare and learn from the process
of doing it over and over again.
Now, this is also a holder with a charcoal. It’s soft charcoal so it’s pretty standard
materials here. I tend to constantly vary what I’m drawing with. It’s always more
interesting. Sometimes I work with pencil. Sometimes I work with waterbrush. This time
I’m doing these 10 second poses with charcoal. This is really no different than charcoal
pencil. It’s just a stick within a nice holder. But that’s about it.
Okay, 10 seconds. What I find when I’m working with charcoal I work a little bit larger than
a lot of times.
Okay, the second one…
First of all, doing the 10 second poses. The advantages normally in class I will take between
10 seconds, 30 seconds a minute, five minutes. Within a period of an hour. Sometimes we accomplish
100 different poses. What it forces you to do is to concentrate rather
than getting involved in the pieces.
Okay, these are two minutes. Let’s get started. Now, as I’m doing this I’m really starting
it the same way I start a 10 second or a one-minute, but I’m taking and trying to feel the whole, the total first.
Notice that I actually don’t draw very fast but I’m very deliberate in
what I’m doing. So first, let’s capture the gesture. Second is to start thinking about
basic volumes. I just keep carrying the form, carrying it a little bit farther and adjusting
as I’m going through. Constantly taking and developing, drawing a little bit more.
I build anatomy as I’m doing it. Notice I have one simple forms underneath. First
the gesture, and then I’m building volumes one on top of the other.
At this point there was no consideration at all for dealing with the tonal qualities. It’s strictly form,
feeling the action and how the various parts of the body relate to each other.
Okay, so what I was doing there was to take and come back in and start to take and do a little
bit more going over the form. But at that point it’s done. Okay, let’s do the next here.
As I’m doing these I draw through the figure so I’m taking and constantly trying to understand the action.
I don’t copy, obviously, as you can see. I’m not copying. I’m trying
to work the actual way the forms relate to each other. Each time I come back into the
drawing I take and clarify it a little bit more. Often I will go through the drawing
many, many times. Of course, in a two-minute pose we don’t have that option. My general
procedure is to do it rough, and then you do it over again.
The male model is often more difficult because of more musculature. It doesn’t necessarily
have the same flowing movement of the female. But at the same time, as you’re drawing
it, it’s not the muscles. It’s the action of the whole that you’re taking and working
for. So I’m still taking and trying to feel the flow of the way the figure goes. Then
I will come back. As the drawing develops take and deal with the musculature. It’s
a step-by-step process. But again, as my basic dictum; no rules, just tools. So what I’m
doing is I’m feeling the flow through the figure. As I go back in I take and build working
with the volume, adding form on top. I actually follow through with the muscles, how they
fit and work together. The nice thing about working with the fountain pen is that you
don’t have to take and be dipping the pen. It doesn’t get in the way of being continuously
following your thoughts. Okay.
The next drawing here will take and, figure is turned away. I want to feel the twist.
Again, notice that I’m focusing on the twist. Not the outside contour. Then we build. Again,
add, build onto that underlying structure. One of the things to keep in mind as you’re
doing the drawing. Notice that each one of these drawings I start all exactly the same.
So creating a pattern of approach allows you a certain sense of freedom. You always know
essentially what you’re going to do. You basically have a standard approach within,
it’s the lay of the land that you apply your approach to the unique situation that
you’re working with. But you have a standard that you’re constantly working with regardless
of what it is and what the pose is. So I’m building the drawing.
Now I’m going back to drawing a female. The interesting thing about this pose is a
lot of it is covered up. So I’m taking and have to draw through, feeling and going around
the form. Full model. Legs coming forward, going over the surface. Then I construct.
I get the shoulders up. The arm is coming through, coming up. The other arm is coming
behind, coming forward, and coming over the top. So the dot is to show the top of the
head. The head is underneath. The arm is coming out in front. So now as I come through I’m
focusing on the rib cage. Coming through. The way I get the compression then. Adding
the breasts. So I’m taking and feeling fullness of the form. Going over that surface. Through.
The tones I’m putting there are just to indicate the end of the cylinder. Feel the
compression pushing in. Okay.
Now this next drawing, the same model, but now she’s taking and really leaning back.
So I want to feel and go through. As she’s pulling back I’m going over the surface,
feeling the stretch coming around. Still, full figure. Over. Arm raised so we feel the
pull of the muscles. I try to go with the direction of the action. The other arm is
coming off down, rather delicate sort of pose. Come off and out. Through. Now, come back
and reinforce that rib cage. And we come around and feel the belly. So now I’m using the
tone to push this down, over, through. Feel that trapezius or pectoralis, take and pulling
up. Getting underneath the chin and coming across the face.
Starting on this, can we get a back view. Really feeling the pull. She’s really going,
but at the same time there is a compression so I’m pushing down and over, around. Very
round forms. Feeling the natural rhythm of the figure going back.
Feel this coming back in, overlapping.
Okay now, this pose is rather stretched out,
but like I say, keep focused on the approach. You notice I always start with the head. And
the reason for that is—and you’ll find that some of the other artists don’t. Well,
I do because I think that the head takes and leads to everything else. But it doesn’t
really make any difference. You can start with the big toe if you want. The idea is
to get the total, get the action, get the gesture. Where you start is not particularly
important. That’s just the way I do it because I feel it gives me a sense of how the different
parts are relating. Now, go back in, volume, through.
Also, I generally put the breasts,
for instance, the last, they are accessories. They don’t really have particularly anything
to do with the action in particular. It’s a shape thing.
Here I’m adjusting the angle of the eyes.
Now I can put in the breasts. Usually just start with a point.
This I can see where I need to go farther up.
So you’re always adjusting.
Okay, now we’re getting a back view reclining. But again, she’s really stretching.
We really want to feel the flow.
Often I’m asked what is that line that I start with or is that
the spine? Sometimes. It’s not really the important part. It’s the sense of the flow
of the whole form that counts, not a particular form itself. It’s the flow. I want to feel
the shoulder, pressure push down. Thinking of the volume of that rib cage. The other
arm is going up, high; feel the scapula pushing in. Come through. Pressure.
Then I’ll come back. I want to really push. Feel there is a compression taking place at the waist.
Feel the stretch going over that surface.
The arm doubling back.
His head is actually tilted back so we want to feel that dropping back.
Then, again, like in the other poses. It’s the action. The male, of course.
Think of the arm dropping down.
The other arm pressure pushing up, scapula.
Now I’ll come back in and start to feel the volume compression building on top of the rib cage.
Really feel the way he’s forcing down, coming around. So we’re going to get a lot of pressure
building there. We get the buttocks that’s pulling back. Sacrum. Coming through.
Here I go out of my way to give a little bit of flatness there to show that there is weight.
Notice I go constantly just from one side to the other.
Now that we’ve taken and gone through gesture, you can see it really is the foundation. And
so in my normal teaching I have the students first go through the gestures then the spherical
forms. Later, as you start studying you go through box forms. You go through many of
the other classes that we have. I look forward to seeing you next time. Take care.
Free to try
1. Lesson overview57sNow playing...
Watch the whole lesson with a subscription
2. Lecture: The Origins and Main Concepts of Gesture43m 10s
3. Analysis of Gesture in Master Works48m 22s
4. Gesture Demonstrations with a Polychromos Pencil34m 35s
5. Gesture Demonstrations Using a Fountain Pen, Watercolor, and Charcoal50m 1s
6. Timed Figure Drawing Assignment24m 22s
7. Glenn's Approach to the Assignment24m 27s