- Lesson details
In this new series, figure drawing instructor, Karl Gnass, will show you how to draw an entire figure through his five crucial stages: Gesture, Formulation, Anatomy, Light and Tone, and Aesthetics. In this lesson, Karl will give you an overview of these five stages. He will then elaborate on the three initial stages to achieve a solid foundation for your drawing. Karl will share with you his in-depth theories of how to construct your figure drawings.
- Conté Crayon – Sanguine
- Digital Tablet
- Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencil – Indianthrene Blue
- CarbOthello Pencil – Prussian Blue
- Faber-Castell Pitt Pastel Pencil – Black
- Seth Cole Heavy Ledger Paper
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process. I do break it down, I think, in a very special way into several stages: Three
stages to be exact. Each stage covers something rather different but very interactive with
the other stages. Once we have a little experience with those three stages, we’ll see how they
fundamentally flow one into the other. Within it we will find a self-teaching method is
available. We’ll start this series with an overview of all three stages. After that,
we’ll go into each stage in a comprehensive way. We’ll put them all together again.
Finally, we’ll discuss the figure drawing aesthetics.
Alright then, let’s get started with the first lesson, the overview.
It’s a self-teaching method, and it’s broken down artificially. It’s done that
way so that you can troubleshoot the difficulties you’re having in the drawing process without
being lost or confused in doing that.
This method is really about developing your drawing skills, not so much about technique
or style. In fact, I might say that technique and style might interfere with your ability
to draw clearly or understand the development of your drawing in a clear way. This method
breaks the process down into what I would refer to as three stages.
The first stage is gesture. I’ll just say this simply to start with. The second stage
is formulation. And the third stage is anatomy. The first stage, gesture, well, we all have
a different idea about what we mean by gesture, so I’ll try to be as clear as I can about
we’ll be talking about when we refer to gesture. Gesture in this case will be for
us to draw the figure with a simple question in mind: What is the subject doing? In other
words, what is the story? So when I’m looking at my subject I ask this question: What is
the subject doing? What’s the story? Some way to get me involved in the drawing process
other than just simply copying. Copying is not a method for understanding in a deep sense,
but to ask what it is that you expect from your drawing gets you directly to the story itself.
So the way we’ll accomplish that is by keeping a couple of simple ideas in mind. When you
come into this process you’ll want to approach it with an idea that you’re going to handle
the whole figure. The whole figure in this case is eight parts of the body. So you have
eight parts of the body with then relative proportion is a kind of proportion that comes
from your gut sense of what visually something looks like proportionally. Now in the beginning
that might be crude. It might be a little off center and not quite accurate. It will
develop in time. It is a gut sense, but your gut sense is educated by a kind of measurement
that comes from the second stage, which is formulation. Formulation includes measurement.
As we do that we begin to have, change our sense, our just basic standing sense of what
proportion is, s that the next time we go to gesture, the beginning of a drawing, we
have then a better sense of proportion. It kind of is more intuitive at that point. We’re
starting with eight parts of the body with relative proportion. We’re asking this question:
What is the subject doing? So that would be all under the title of gesture. That’s what
we mean by gesture if you’re working using my method. If the gesture portion of your
drawing works for you, at that particular moment you kind of acknowledge
and move on to the next session.
Alright, so then when you move to the second stage, which is formulation, it’s less from
the gut and more cerebral. It is measurement and, for instance, concept. In other words,
you’re paying attention to shapes and becoming shape aware, or you’re taking a look at
volumes and paying attention to volume. Mostly people pay particular attention to shape.
You see a lot of shape oriented drawing. You see much less when it comes to the development
of a volumes. So I have a tendency to put more emphasis in my teaching on volume. That
doesn’t mean that shape isn’t important, but let’s just say it’s shape/volume.
So, if it’s shape/volume then shape is a small ‘s’ and volume is a capital ‘V’.
That way they are considered together, but we’re putting more emphasis on volume in
the beginning. If you can develop really good volumes to start with they may not have good
shape, but ultimately you want to say, well, I understand this volume now. Can it also
have a decent shape? Can shape be part of the consideration? I will say at this point
that shape has a tendency to make us look at the figure more graphically whereas volume
has a tendency to make us look at the figure more spatially. This is generally what’s
missing in a lot of figure drawing is the sense of the spatial relevance of the subject.
So when we work with formulation then there are all kinds of considerations. There are
ten different ways to take measure, and one way to take measure of the figure cerebrally
is to conceptually think about, say, what a body part is volumetrically and shape-wise.
That means you’re not copying the figure, but you’re actually thinking about what
it is that you’re looking at in terms of concepts: Shape and volume or shape/volume.
Other forms of measurement, for instance, you could say using a grid. It’s a two-dimensional
way of attending to what’s happening with what the eye sees. If you use a grid and you’re
looking at your subject the subject might be tipped one way or another. You can measure
that tip or direction against a vertical line. So you can say, well, it’s more or less
five degrees, and so on. The shoulders might also be at a certain degrees against a horizontal,
so it might be 5 degrees that way.
That way you’re making two-dimensional measurement. Notice that the first way, shape/volume is
a three-dimensional method for measuring. It’s cerebral. You’re actually imposing
an idea on what you see, whereas the second one is measuring two-dimensionally what the
eye sees. What the eye sees is not what the full figure is doing. The full figure is in
the round, and we’re only seeing one portion of it. So there is a tendency for the eye
or for the artist to simply draw shapes. So to envision a volume means to also possibly
think of an axis. I’ll demonstrate this in a moment. I just want to get through these
three sections a little bit. We’ll talk on it, and then we’ll look at some of these ideas.
So you could even say that the use of light and tone is a form of measurement. For instance,
we have lots of light on our subject, and oftentimes there is more than one light source.
It can be very confusing to the eye. So we have this idea about light. For instance,
single light source like the sun, for instance. It is a single light source. We can surmise
from that that certain surfaces that face that light source will receive more light
than surfaces that are bending away or turning away from that light source. So we come up
with this idea about light, and we can apply it to almost any three-dimensional object.
By the way, we can’t imply that concept about light to something that is simply shape
because it has not volume. So there are no surfaces that face the light; therefore, we
really need to be thinking about our subject in terms of volume in order to use this concept
about light. It is a direct light source concept.
We can also use that in conjunction with another idea about light. You could say it’s a secondary
light source. Photographers like to talk about it as a fill light, and they’re using it
basically to create the best possible observable image, where they create mood with it or any
other thing. So it’s a secondary light source that doesn’t interfere greatly or draw too
much attention to itself unless, of course, it’s making a dramatic statement. What I
mean is that it doesn’t draw too much attention to itself is that it basically becomes a supplementary
light source to the direct light source. In other words, whatever the direct light source
gives us or doesn’t give us can be picked up and supported by the secondary light source.
When we get into the tone section of the lessons, I will go into that in more depth. Basically,
here I'm trying to just explain what stage 2 formulation is about. These are cerebral
considerations. They are not intuitive and from the gut. These are things that the mind
must be applied to. And it works in conjunction with the first stage.
Now, the first stage again is a gesture that represents essentially what it is that you
as an artist in this particular case want to develop. So as you are developing your
drawing and you reach a certain point with your gesture—it could be 30 seconds in.
It could be a minute in or three minutes in. But at some point you say, yes, this works.
That then becomes a statement to yourself of your intent for the other stages that will
help you fulfill that drawing or bring it to a form of completion.
So these shape volumes need to support the idea. Now the shape volumes can look very
mechanical because if you look at a cylinder it’s very symmetrical. These things do not
look like body parts. They can end up very mechanical. I will demonstrate. What you have
to remember is that you’re not creating a mechanical figure. There should be a certain
suppleness in your original drawing. In other words, you could draw a gesture with very
direct lines. But ultimately it needs to find the rhythm in the pose itself or in the action
itself, and that rhythm keeps your lines from being a stick figure and develops it into
a movement. There is a sense of movement. When you’re developing your forms that follow
they should also be allowed to be supple and move around the figure.
Okay, so this is stage two. In the end I think you’ll see that really fundamental and important
to the whole process. We’ll keep coming back to it.
But stage three, for instance, a little bit of talk about that, is really essentially
about the development of your understanding of the human figure. For instance, anatomy.
Bones, muscles, how the fact works, how the flesh is. All of these things. More and more
understanding makes you more articulate. Now, how does that work in this case? I think I’d
like to describe it this way. Supposing you are creating a sentence that had meaning.
Well, that would be first stage. You would say what is the story I want to tell? What
is it that I’d like to say? Your gesture or your thought or your idea is what that’s
about. A clear idea. The structure of that now is formulation. You can break that down
into a series of events that help describe that idea. If you follow me on that then we
could say that the third stage, anatomy, is really about vocabulary. The more vocabulary
you have, the more choices you have when you develop that sentence. So you see how anatomy
will come back and actually support the idea. It will also support the sentence structure.
You don’t use everything you know about anatomy, but you use the appropriate verbiage
in order to tell the idea that you wish to tell. If that’s clear then we can see the
whole drawing process simply by looking at the sentence and the sentence structure, from
the inception of the idea through the formal putting together of the sentence to the kinds
of words you choose to help express that.
Now, let’s just say you have a very big vocabulary. If you overuse that vocabulary
you’re going to cloud the issue, aren’t you? So the idea then is remember what you’re
intent is. Remember what your idea is. If you do that you’ll choose appropriate words
for describing what it is that you would like to say. At some point, you become facile enough
with that that you might even be poetic at it. At some point we’ll be talking about
the aesthetics. And aesthetics gets into the poetry of the issue, how you say a thing.
Whether it’s literary or whether it’s just a series of facts about the figure. If
it’s a series of facts it has a tendency to just lie there and be what it is. But it
doesn’t necessarily excite your audience or inspire the audience
to follow that or go into that.
So again, it’s not about just learning the skills to do each one of these things well.
It’s about how well you tell a story. In other words, you become a storyteller.
Hopefully you become a good storyteller.
For instance, we’re going to do the full figure, and we’re going to do eight parts
of the body. So, eight parts of the body are something like this: Upper, lower, head, neck.
Now, the neck is a special part, and we’ll discuss that. But we have upper torso, lower
torso, head, and neck. That’s four parts. Then we have the arms and the legs. Those
things are always involved when we’re trying to understand the full figure and it’s dynamic
relationship from one thing to another. Now the arms do include hands and feet. Obviously,
therefore, every part can be broken down into its own segments. For instance, the hand,
the forearm, the upper arm; three parts. We’ve got this down to the knee, the calf section,
and the foot. So we’ve got those sections.
Once you become familiar with and work with these eight parts and you’re comfortable
with it then it’s possible for us to go in and start discussing something even more
interesting and more intricate, which are the joints. That is the intersections between
one part and another part. They are rather complex and rather interesting. So what we
want is to not allow those things to interfere with our opening statement. The opening statement
here is the gesture that you, at some point, will say yes too. That becomes a statement
of your intent. Then we’re starting with the simple parts. You want to make sure that
those parts are always involved in everything you’re doing when you’re doing the gesture
of the full figure. Like I say, we can always break away and do parts. Obviously, it’s
recommended that we do that, but that’s a different exercise. For this exercise we’re
working with the whole figure.
When we work with the whole figure and we’re working with eight parts. One, two, three,
four, five, six, seven, and eight, you will find that as long as you get the feet on the
ground that you will be dealing with the density and weight and balance of the figure. If you
don’t draw the hands to the end, or you don’t draw the feet on the ground there
is a tendency to miss that aspect of the understanding process.
And for my money, I don’t believe you can really understand the dynamic of the figure
unless you understand that gravity is part of the equation, that there is an invisible
course called gravity that is always acting on the body. And it will always have something
to say about the attitude that the figure is taking. Now if you take a free-falling
figure or figure in water, obviously those things will be altered to some degree. If
you take a leaping figure, whatever, it will alter that to some degree. A running figure
will alter that to some degree. We’ll discuss some of those things as we go along. But just
in the simplest sense we’ve got these eight parts. Now, when I start talking about joints
and we start talking about breaking these parts down into something a little more interesting
than what I’ve drawn so far, you’ll notice that I will be borrowing ideas from anatomy.
So we can assume, and I will assume that you’re doing the same, that you have a skeleton or
an anatomy book, and that you’re thinking about it. Eventually some of those ideas will
work their way into the choices that you make. I’m going to give you one those right now.
It’s fundamental and I think that it’s important at this particular stage of the
game. So you’ll notice that occasionally I’m bringing some ideas from stage two into
the gesture and a few ideas from stage one into the gesture as well. In the beginning
your gesture is maybe really very rudimentary, and somewhere along the line they will develop
this kind of simplicity that shows within it a sense of knowledge. You’re always bringing
everything that you’ve been learning back to the beginning again. It reflects how your
gesture will be the next time and the next time. And it always changes that way. We go
from gesture all the way through the full drawing. We learn something, and the next
time we do gesture we have another level of understanding. I think if you keep your drawings
rather than throwing them away. There is a tendency for people to, you know, put a big
cross through it or scribble on it and write ‘I suck’ or ‘It sucks’ on it or trash
it in some way. That’s basically to let the outside world that you know that they
know that you know that they know that your drawing sucks. But, I wouldn’t bother with
that because essentially everybody is going to making mistakes all the way along the line.
I don’t care how good they are, how good we are. It’s part of the process. I think
you should become comfortable with that process. The process is that I stand up, I fall down;
I stand up, I fall down. I try to run, I fall to the side. I trip on something. We’re
learning from every one of these things. Both the successes and the so-called failures.
That’s serious failures. They are simply a way of us seeing and then correcting. Seeing
and correcting. Self-training method means that ordinarily you would look at your drawing
and you would say, okay, I’m having trouble here. It sucks. I’m having a bad day. I’ll
come back tomorrow. I don’t like the model. I don’t like the tools I’m using.
I don't like the paper. Whatever.
But what we’re doing is failing to see what the real difficulty is. This method, actually
I’ve broken this down into the three parts: There are actually more parts. There is a
four and five. But the skill part is one, two, and three. That’s basically what we’re
concentrating on. If you want to know what four and five are, I’ll simply say that
that gets into the art. It’s beyond aesthetics. It gets into who you are, your style, technique.
There is a stage four and five to that. We are concentrating here on stages one, two,
and three. We’re going to take it as far as we can through a series of lessons.
So I’m saying that when we break down into these three parts it allows you to ask yourself
the question, okay, I’m having problems with my drawing. Am I having problems with
stage one, with the gesture? Stage two, with formulation? Or stage three, my anatomy?
Now, you might say to yourself, well, I’m really good at anatomy and I’m really good
at formulation. In other words, you can create forms and shapes and everything. But it seems
that my drawings are really very stiff. Well, then you can automatically see by running
through this process that your difficulty is in your gesture. Now, maybe your gesture
is fine in the beginning, but once you start adding the form and the anatomy it starts
to stiffen up. So you begin to be able to pinpoint and ask yourself where exactly is
it that I need to crank up my study? Bring my focus of attention. Frankly, if you just
stick with the things that you do well you’re not going to get better. You really want to
find out what it is that you’re having difficulty with and bring more attention to that. What
is that going to mean? It might mean at the end of the day that you do worse looking drawings
than you would do if you were doing just the things you do well.
So we’re going to take this figure and I’m going to show it from a side view. Let’s
do this. Head. We’re just going to come down the leg like this. I’m going to leave
the arm off for the moment. Really, what I want to talk about right here is the spine.
The spine, its home in this case is the neck. So that is part four; it’s the fourth part.
But it also is something that joins these three parts here. So the spine does this.
It does this here. This is the cervical spine. There are seven cervical spines, and there
are 12 thoracic, and there are five here. Then there is the sacrum. You’ll notice
that it joins those three, and there is a kind of suppleness that occurs in these seven
and in these five. This is the lumbar section.
Now, I might also say, wow, I know something about the rib cage. Let’s say I’ve learned
that the rib cage has a certain feeling to it, and that may be the pelvis has a certain
feeling to it. So now I can bring that attitude to it. Maybe I know something about the head
at this point so things start to shift. If you see what I mean it takes it away from
this kind of rudimentary idea, and it begins to grow into something that has a little more
knowledge about it. We’re talking about what this is here. I might come down and say,
well, that’s a volume like this. That might start with just an idea about volume.
Here's shape, for instance.
And to think of that same thing of volume I might think of it this way: You’ll notice
that it goes around. This is simply a flat idea. What I’m doing is I’m kind of combining
the idea of an interesting shape with the idea of volume, that we’re going around
the form. Knee. Another volume does this, but you’ll notice the shape of it. So now
we’re beginning to think with ideas that are stage two formulation. I’ll be going
into this in some detail when we get into the next lesson. But at this particular point,
this is a kind of heads up about how you would develop a gesture drawing with forms. It will
take into account certain things that happens at joints. I want to introduce another thing
before we leave this drawing.
For instance, if I take this idea of the rib cage. Let’s just say I’ve looked at the
rib cage. We’ll do this later where we’ll actually look at the skeleton. But right now
let’s say I did and I looked at the skeleton. I’m seeing all those ribs and all the rest
of it. I might say to myself, what is it fundamentally? Well, it’s a cage. It’s a cage that looks
a little bit like an egg with the pointed side up. Let’s make that like this. It’s
an egg with the pointed side up. How does the neck fit into it? Well, the neck cuts
in the way you would cut the top of the egg like a soft boiled egg. Right? You cut the
top off. But it’s low in front and high in the back like a T-shirt cut. You stick
a cylinder in there, and you’ve got the neck. Then maybe the head from the front simply
might be described as an egg with the pointed side down.
So what happens is, is that we’ve created something that allows us to develop our ideas
in a very simple way. What does that do thought? It knocks out the shoulders, doesn’t it?
The shoulders really are not part of the upper torso. They’re part of the arm system. So
this whole section out here—you’ve got this line that comes out like this.
It's actually the collarbone or clavicle. It’s coming out this way, and the shoulder line
is this way. Then it kind of pulls in like this. Now, whenever the arm moves that shoulder
girdle moves with it. So if the arm moves up like this, for instance, this whole thing
swings out from the pit of the neck up here and pulls all of this with it, right? Notice
that rib cage does not have to move at all. So I can do this. Rib cage is not moving at all.
Therefore, what I’m trying to do is convince you that this is not stuck to the
upper torso. In fact, it’s part of the arm system, and it works to elevate and move the
arm around in various positions.
So, we’ve learned a couple of things. This has got a kind of restricted supple quality.
It’s got certain movements that can be made. The spine here allows us a certain number
of movements. Another development might be, wow, say the lower torso that’s kind of
raw and rudimentary. What can we do to simplify that but make it just a little more articulate.
For instance, one thing I like to do because the pelvis is so complex is to reduce it to
a simple idea like a cup. That cup has a rim, let’s say like this here, which is approximately
where the belt line is. The belt line will hit the two anterior points of the iliac crest.
So if the iliac crest is swinging around like this it’s going to hit this point.
I'm just doing this as an example.
But notice that this goes out beyond this point because the hips actually do. It’s
because ultimately there is a trochanter out here. We’ll get into that later. So I’m
just giving you the reason why I’m doing this. This cup is coming down this way.
I'm going to come into this now. I’m coming around and I’m finding this point and this
point. These are the two points, anterior points of the iliac crest. If we cut down
like this to the pubic bone you’ll notice that, for instance, it doesn’t quite come
to the bottom. That’s because this represents the front here; this point here. So what we’ve
done is we’ve come around like this, this point. This represents back here the ‘sits’
bones. This is the ischium. It’s back here. It’s where the muscles of the back of the
leg will ultimately attach. So what I’ve done is I’ve created this and found this.
In a way, about an inch and a half down here is approximately where the leg starts. So
we’ve got—the crotch will be here, and the leg will start approximately here. So
look how much I’m getting with ideas. Those ideas are also influenced by my having looked
a skeleton or looked at some of the bones in some anatomy books or whatever. Just a
simple anatomy book. Not a how-to, but just a simple anatomy book. You take a look at
some of these things, and you can watch how this works. Then if you’re working from
a figure or photographs you can also notice where the iliac crest is and where this is
and where these points are.
will take with me wherever I go. It will be my general model of the human figure. A general
model is simply a series of measurements about the figure. In this case, an adult figure.
That general model is something like, well, for instance, da Vinci’s Vitruvian man.
It’s the outstretched arms with the legs slightly spread. And there are certain measurements.
For instance, a general model is a series of measurements. At this point, from here
to the tip of the outgoing finger equals from the top of the head to the pubic bone. That
equals from the pubic bone to the bottom of the heel. Therefore, the outstretched arms
for da Vinci equals the height of the figure. Those measurements are something that you
walk into any new condition with. In other words, it is a yardstick that you’re carrying with you.
Now, da Vinci’s measurements are not the measurements of every single human being.
That would be the specific case. This is a general model. In other words, it’s used
as a yardstick for measuring what the specific case is. So if you go into a session where
you’re drawing from someone it might be a Katherine or it might be Todd, you would
adjust those measurements to match the specific model. What that general model allows you
to do, though, is to have something at the ready so that you can quickly make an assessment
about the specific case. For instance, in this specific case, your model may have longer
legs than your general model. You’ll note it right away because you have a measuring
device. Longer waist, shorter neck, broader shoulders, whatever it is;
you will be able to notate that accordingly.
That is a really valuable tool, so I would suggest that everyone develop a general model.
When I first started out I used a Greek model, a classical Greek male model, female model,
and developed an idea for that. No one had given me that idea, but I and a co-investigator
worked on this so that we could have a real sense of what it was that was similar between
one figure and another figure. Now, they’re similar. You could say that each culture nonetheless
has its own way of developing its general model. A cultural general model was shifted
from early Renaissance to late Renaissance. If you go north they’ve got their own models.
The later you go in history you get different cultural models. What we have today, interestingly,
is the ability to say, well, I don’t have a cultural model. There are lots of different
models. Therefore, I can make my own.
You can make your own model today, and that’s what I’m suggesting. You don’t have to
abide by a cultural model. It’s catch-as-catch-can today. So you make one that’s aesthetically
interesting for you. I started with a Greek Model, but ultimately I moved on to other
kinds of aesthetics that I liked. Finally, I left aesthetics behind and chose something
that was easy to calculate. For instance, instead of 7-3/4 heads high head for a figure,
I will do eight heads. That puts the pubic bone at four heads. So when I come down here
to this point that will be four heads, and then it will be another four heads down to
this point. That makes it simple. We also said that this distance equals this distance.
Add the outstretched arm from the pit of the neck to here and here.
We’ll also equal one of those portions, right?
Okay, so keep in mind then the general model is going to be a very useful thing. We’ll
get into that at some point. But I will not give you a complete general model. I’m just
going to make a few suggestions when we get to that. The reason is that you need to take
the initiative to build that model yourself. Otherwise, it will always remain on the outside
on a piece of paper, and you will not have ingested it. You kind of need to, if I were
to give you a handout I would ask you kindly to either learn that or internalize it within
a month or field strip it. That is, tear it up into a series of parts. Roll it up and
swallow it with water because somehow you need to get that internal model inside, that
general model inside. When you do then you walk into the situation with a sense of measurement.
You come to the table with something.
So notice that you have a sense of that when you come to your gesture again. When you renew
there is a sense of eight parts of the body. A general model and the rest of it. Now at
the same time you have these things you don’t want those things that you bring to fix the
situation. They’re simply there as a support. You still need to look and allow what you
see to influence and change your mind about your general model. So that means that every
time you interact with drawing from the figure you allow something new that you didn’t
see before to change your mind about your general model. When that happens your general
model gets better and better. But at the same time you’re coming in and you’re using
your general model to inform you about how to see. So you can see it’s kind of reciprocal.
One hand washes the other. A general model is a good thing. Without it you do not have
that interplay. You’re not developing along that line.
So I hope that’s a useful tool for you. It’s not as much fun as emotional drawing
because it is cerebral, but I think it’s a necessary part. It does and will support
the most supple drawings. But, like jazz, even though jazz has a tendency to move out
and go along and be creative, it always comes back and hits the point. It sits the melody
point so we know where we’re at. We do not get lost. The bones are all in the right place,
so to speak. So even though we can expand and do interesting things we come back and
we hit those joints right at the right place. We brought a little bit of interest into the
drawing process here by adding a few ideas that we may have acquired
along our drawing educational route.
Okay, so now I’m going to pull this down and we’ll look at some ideas from stage one,
stage two, and stage three so we kind of get an idea of where we’re going. I’ll give
you the visual interpretation of what we’ve been discussing.
figure, say something like this. Let’s just say I’m doing this. Swing up. Notice that
I’m simply starting to find where our subject is at. The arms could be down. It doesn’t
really—the head might be this way. Notice that I’m going right for what the subject
is doing, and I’m not concerned so much with detail and not at all. Now, it could
be that I’m really looking at directions, this direction, direction. I’m looking at
the stability. Maybe this is going to be back. Let’s do that. Hip though. So I’m kind
of finding what it is I’m looking for. Now, it could be this arm is up. Let’s bring
it over. So if I’m doing this it’s not—this arm is down maybe like that. Maybe I’ll
lean this head in a little bit. So really I’m searching for this figure. If we come
back to what I was discussing earlier, that this, I start thinking about this in terms
of volume that’s somewhat like an egg. For instance, this section here is here. I’m
bringing a scapula, which is a shape, something like that. I’m just pushing it up because
when it pushes up like this it actually supports this arm’s movement over, say something
like that. So we get this against that. Then down to the sacrum. Here is the bend the lumbar
region, and here is the bend here in that region, right? So it’s somewhat supple.
We’ll talk about, you know, the breakdown of these things more when we discuss anatomy.
In the meantime, I notice that there is kind of an arc, and I wanted to take advantage
of that. That arc is the iliac crest so it looks rather flat here. But I’m thinking
of it because I’m thinking conceptually to some degree that this is somewhat like
a wheel. I’ll just do that to show you. Right. See? So we see that out here.
Essentially, I’m probably, I might go that far. Then I either like it or I’m going
to move on. So I notice that when I did this I might have started this way. Then I got
a direction, and I went this way. So I got this against this. Then this, the support
leg. The support leg is really the most important leg. Not the fancy leg. You could do that.
See? You could have this; again, this head could be over here. This is the leg that if
you change that leg, if you change that leg right there what is going to happen is that
you’re going to change the whole pose. You’ll change the balance of the pose. If you change
this leg all the rest of it might stay intact.
That’s why this is so important. It’s sort of like flowers in the vase. If you take
away the vase itself the flowers are going to go every which way. So in some sense the
vase is the support system. In this case this leg is the support system for this whole thing,
so you’ve got this point. We can do this or this. We have time again in this first
section of development to shift or invent or adjust. So now I can say I want to bring
that up. Again, I’m bringing the shoulder up. I’m taking a simple idea, pushing it
up. Against what? Against this. Against this. In this case I’m just simply taking the
side. So there is the back, the side. Notice I’ve kind of made it a box and we’re doing
it this way. Sacrum. I can come in and develop this. Maybe this arm is down.
So maybe we’re going to go with that.
But at any rate, at some point I have to say this is what I wish to develop. Now, I’ve
drawn this very darkly so that you can see it. In fact, when I’m actually developing
it, if it’s going to be a drawing that I’m going to develop I’m going to do this rather
lightly. If the gesture itself is a statement within itself and needs no development, then
I’m going to hit it harder. It becomes less of a developmental piece than it is a performance
piece. So a gesture can be a finished drawing in itself. But for our purposes, we want the
gesture to represent the first stage of a development drawing.
Let’s take another gesture. Let’s—just kind of feeling something out. Let’s say…
So you notice I’m much looser, searching and trying to find this. Again, this stage
really has to do with making it work. It could be that I need the subject to be lower, the
arm to reach lower. Might want to refine that reach, right, at what point. So, at some point,
I will say, okay, now I work into and develop that with some ideas. Okay.
The ideas then would be to start to develop the volumes and forms. In this case, there
is shape and there is volume. Notice neither one of those is really anatomical. That’s
not the point of this. It’s to basically give it the graphic quality that we like to
have as well as the spatial quality that we were discussing. That volume brings in. Volume
also speaks to axis. This not so much, but volumes speaks to axis. So let’s just say
we like this and we don’t want to change it. What do I mean by change? Maybe I would
want this. If I want that I’m changing the pose, right. It changes the idea. You see
what I mean. If this is back here, we’re pushing off in a different way than we are
here. Let’s accept that for a moment. Okay, so I say yes to this. I want to develop this.
That means the forms, formulation shape/volume that I want to develop would be the next thing.
I might come in here and say, okay, this back is a volume, something like this. Maybe remember
I said kind of like a teacup in here. Pulling around and maybe this volume is a tapered
volume. Right? It’s still a volume, but it’s got a new shape. So that might be determined
by the fact that I’ve noticed that the thigh is thicker up here and moves down there over
towards the knee. The same might be said here if we go that way. So it might be like so.
And I might do the same here as I develop.
Remember, I was saying that the leg starts rather high. Here is a center line for the
front and a center for the back. Remember, the center line for the back is that spine
so it’s fixed and then supple. And we’ve got the one shoulder back so it’s going
that way. One shoulder down here so it’s going this way. Volumetrically it’s coming
toward us. So I’m looking to go around that form this way. Around that form this way.
So here we go. This is part of the back we can develop, and so on.
Okay, so that’s a little bit of how I might develop this thing without getting lost in
detail. You might notice also, and I haven’t said so yet, I haven’t started in any one
of these poses with the head. What am I starting with? For me, it’s the largest expression
of the action that we’re looking for. The largest expression of the action. That comes
here this way, and the head in this case becomes an extension of that movement. Sort of like
the fountain goes up and out; it doesn’t start at the top and work its way down. If
it does it’s usually dissipating. It’s over. It’s a different aspect. But when
we’re pushing up and out it’s forcing from there, and so on.
This is supporting it this way.
Now the next thing, if I liked all of this I might bring in some of the anatomy. In other
words, vocabulary which will make it more articulate. So I could come in and say, find
where these hips are, where this is—the quadriceps. There is a long muscle in the
body called the sartorius which pulls down and divides the quadriceps group from the
inner thigh muscles. So then you get something like that over to the knee and down and down.
So we’re developing. I might square this up and say that’s like a little box there.
In other words, I moved from the organic back to the conceptual. The conceptual is diagramming.
The organic is creating the words that we would finally use, the more articulate visual
development of the story that we would want to tell. So if I come down here I might hit
where the acromion process is, which is a little section that comes off the spine of
the scapula right here. We’ll talk about it later. The deltoid wraps around both aspects
of it like this, and we’re also pulling down here to this bone, and then we’ve got
a muscle that pulls up this way into the upper arm. That’s the brachioradialis, and it’s
pulling down this way, and back here—behind—is the biceps, triceps here. Tie it in. Tying
it in because that’s where these bones are so you can feel it. Notice where the bones
are. So that allows me to be more articulate. So make sure we’re more or less proportional.
I’m feeling this spine. Why is that so important? Because that’s the story. It’s not about
the muscles. The muscles help tell the story. It’s not about getting everything right.
It’s about communicating. Everything we’ve been talking about now is really about communicating
what it is that you want to say to the viewer. So I want to make sure that we feel these
things. I’m using the anatomy and everything I understand to try to bring that into being.
So in some sense you are a storyteller. There are different stories to tell. This is one
that involves the dynamic of the body, the grace and dynamic of the body,
and what the action is doing.
take one or two figures here. We’ll take this figure leaning in. You see finding the
gestural sense and coming directional lines. Notice that this is a two-dimensional line,
but we’re going to bring into three dimensions because we’re giving it three-dimensional
axis. Coming around finding the fundamental forms. Shoulder high, head continues along
this line. Let’s try this. Right shoulder back to the elbow, back to the wrist, hand.
And then you’ve got the spine back here and the other arm coming around. Now notice
the fingers into the wrist area and we’re also swinging around this way. So the cross axis swings
around. Notice cross axis. Remember, around the form down to the sacrum. I’m just going
to draw the fundamental form of the arm. Okay. Fundamental form. We can always come back
and give it its characteristics, but we want to be thinking around the form. Same thing
here. Basically, we are going around the form this way. We can come in and describe what
the muscles are doing. First it’s direction. Then it’s what are the fundamental forms?
Then the articulation comes in with a little knowledge on the anatomical level. Right,
so this is a corner. He’s indicating it with tone. We’re cutting in. Here’s this
thing about one form in front of another. One form cuts across, articulation. The knee
is behind. We have this tendon pulling in. So kind of get the idea. Ear is up. Head is—he’s
giving us a real clear indication of where the back is by pointing to it. Over, around,
around, and so on. So there is the sense of it. Drawing through the form as well.
So that’s enough said on that. Higher.
Alright, let’s take another one. Let’s take this guy down in the lower right corner.
I’m just going to kind of come across. Again, what’s going on? We’ve got this. Shoulders
up, coming down. This is coming toward us so we’re thinking around that way. Then
we have foreshortening back that makes the lower leg vary. Short with the foot coming
off this way. We have—he’s sitting on a cloud which is actually like a rock because
of the kind of pressure it’s putting on the leg. We can feel that.
Notice that I’m making—even though I’m doing this I’m making some anatomical choices
as I go. For instance, this development in here has to do with the muscles. And in here
and in here, this would be the development. We’re coming around. But that’s a little
soon, but I’ll show you where it goes. Come off that way and this this way. Notice the
rhythm of these things. This is crushing on this side up this way. We have a very massive
character so his center line is kind of pressed and compressed forward. We have an arm that’s
coming out this way. Right hand this way. And he’s holding this skin. This is actually
the skin of Michelangelo himself. This is a self-portrait. He didn’t compromise on
where he belongs in this picture; Michelangelo did not.
So we’ve got this. Underneath this beard he’s taking care of how the head should
attach to the body. That’s one of those things in hidden forms. So in this case it’s
hidden by the beard. Just trying to give this some sense of weight and mass. He’s given
it even more mass, you’ll see. So the structure, and of course we’ve got this cloth covering
private parts. The arm is coming up, and he’s got the knife that he used to skin himself with.
Nice image. But at any rate, you’ll see how we’re rhythmically finding how everything
works. But it’s really actually a very fundamental and simple conceptual ideas. Not a lot of
development yet because really we’re looking for whether we’ve got the whole sense of
this thing first. Right? Alright, and we’re coming down. Ankle. Once we do this we can
begin to articulate things and concentrate more on the development of it. Okay. That’s
enough for this one. Let’s just do a little more. Cutting into there, just give that.
Let’s take this figure over on the left, lower left here. It’s kind of coming around.
We have a lot of concealed forms because they’re actually concealed under clothing. So we have
to think through what’s actually going on. Direction. This leg is back. This leg is out
and down. We’re seeing an awful lot of the back here. Side here. We’re coming through.
That means we’re doing—we have do some conceptualizing. This area right in here is
where the spine is. This arm is coming back. Mass. Mass. And this arm is actually pushing
back against. You’ll notice the spine. Even as this comes up and goes out this way where
the head is turned in this direction. Even though that’s happening, we’ve got this
arm pressing back against the spine. It’s reaching forward so it is foreshortening forward
and also pressing back against the spine. Now what we do is we get this material wrapping
around. Notice how he’s using it to help us feel the flow. He’s actually describing
form by coming around this way. He’s describing form material, using material to describe
the form. So it’s kind of pulling down. He’s even, see how this kind of all wraps
up this way back this way. Sway, sway. Swinging it around. Everything is going around. Using
a lot of this to help us describe form. This foot is down. This is up. Notice the rhythms.
So even though there is a lot of detail here, we see that there is a lot of attention to
how one thing is flowing into another thing. It does not miss a trick when it comes to
this. Even the head has a wrap around it. It kind of comes up this way. He keeps describing
form by the way he wraps around it and so on into the distance. He’s actually leading
off to another figure over here, you see. That’s kind of leaning in toward him and
another figure over here. Interesting. See how they’re all kind of leading into one another.
Brings this out, this in. Just rhythmically one thing working into another head here, head here.
Another one here. See that swing with this doing this which also leads up somewhere else.
Okay, let’s take one more. Michelangelo. All this stuff, by the way, is from The Last Judgment.
Kind of swinging down, down. I’m going around. Arm up. Let me get this.
What's going on? Okay. Sense of it. More mass, more mass around the midsection. More mass.
As this comes around we’ve got this arm folding back as he wraps around. So this hand and
this hand are holding this cross here. Let’s get that over. More mass. Neck down. Still,
a lot of stretching right here. Rib cage into the hip into the groin, mass. And this leg
is extended down here and out. Notice that’s fairly straight. Not very interesting. But
it’s what he does with the small muscles that brings it all back. Anyway, this one
is twisting around and headed in this direction three-dimensionally. Right? Okay, so it’s
bending back. He’s got the lower leg bent back so it’s forcing all these muscles like
this over into the knee. This is pulling up, pulling up. Now we can describe this better
and this. I’m hitting it a little heavy so you can see where I’m going with it.
This, a little heavier looking at the top of this.
Coming around to supporting this whole thing.
Now I’m back on this leg, you see, so we’re looking at his breakdown. There is the quadriceps
and division. Okay, so we’ve got the medial,
lateral breakdown of the knee cutting in.
See how the small rhythms make that leg interesting even as this leg is pushing forward like that.
This is swinging up and over and back this way and pulling over. So we’re really actually
feeling this mass. This head is really tiny on here but only to give us a bigger sense of this mass.
Notice that when I’m doing a gesture there is a certain amount of analysis that goes
on while doing this, a certain amount. Really, I’m just really asking, what is the story?
What’s going on? How does the story reveal itself in the forms? You can be sure that
this was not lost on Michelangelo. You see it in everything he does. So anyway, we’ve
got something like this. You’ll notice that when he comes up to these intersections they’re
very articulated. I don’t think anyone could accuse Michelangelo of missing that point.
Anyway, you see this is what we’re doing. We’re pushing up, pushing up, pulling down.
We’ve got compression on this side. I’ll just do that fast. We’ve got stretch on
this side. Stretch and you’ll even do this. We’ll pull this down. Emphasize down, up,
back down again. Up, maybe not quite so strong. But that’s the basic sense of it.
So with the drawings here from Michelangelo essentially what we’re doing is running
through the same fundamental ideas that we’ve been discussing in this lesson, that is, the
gesture, long lines of action. On occasion we have some foreshortening or some hidden
forms. And you’ll notice that the development of these ideas run one into the other. The
whole idea also of the gestural consideration for the figure, which is the simplest possible
take on what we’re developing into the, say the fundamental volumes and shapes unencumbered
with anything, but just simple shape volume then into the addition of the landmarks and
some fundamental ideas about anatomy. Notice they kind of run freely one into the other.
I think Michelangelo is a really good example of how each one has its own consideration,
its own intelligence, and yet they fundamentally work all together. When one is really flowing
with one’s drawing, all these things seem to merge one into the other.
This is kind of an example of it here.
using all three stages here. So I will be using a Faber-Castell. It is one of the blues
#247. So let’s begin. These won’t be timed exactly, but we just want to cover some of
the points. I want to take this. Maude here. I’m going for the gesture to pull it down.
I’m going for the gesture, and what that means to me is finding—I’m going to lower
this a little bit so we can stay on the paper. So these adjustments are making are so we
stay within. And what I’m doing is I’m thinking is, what is the story I’m trying
to tell? Here’s the supporting leg down here. You’ll notice that in this case navigating
around the form that the other leg, the hip is lower so it drops the knee down. The heel
is up. We’ve got the relative way that those things are fitting together for balance. Notice
that this is swinging up now as a single form and that the head is kind of an extension
of that. These are things I might consider right away.
The next thing is if I’m really going to give an extension to say these two arms like
this and this, let’s bring the head back by the way. Chin is basically up here like
this. She’s practically laying the head back. What I was saying is before I get into
the arms too much I want to find out where that rib cage is. That’s kind of a moving
from a gestural take on what the story is into the forms. This is a little bit of stage
two and a little bit of stage three because it’s articulated to some degree with a sense
of anatomy. This form is an anatomically inspired. This form is like an egg, but it represents
a rib cage. Now I’m going to be thinking about where the clavicle comes up. From there
the clavicle is swinging up, you see, into the direction that the arm is going. This
is foreshortened here, very foreshortened, maybe too much for the gesture that we like
to create. I might change that.
Now I’m coming over here thinking about where those pecks are. Notice I’m not drawing
the obvious thing, the breasts. Really I’m trying to find the structure and the development
using the ideas we were talking about. First the gesture, what is my story. The story is
about this stretching against this. Notice I had navigated around this earlier, and that’s
approximately where the beltline would be or where the iliac crest comes to its foremost
position in front and then drops down to make the pubic bone. So the inguinal ligament is
here and here. This is actually swinging around. Belt lining it, goes around this way. That
belt hits these two points.
That’s a conceptual idea. That’s an idea that comes from trying to understand the relationship
between what you’re beginning to discover anatomically and how to think about it visually
with concepts. The concept is that’s a belt that can hit those points. Pubic bone. This
whole thing is directed right down to the pubic bone. Here we go; it tucks under. Over
here we’re seeing the rib cage, and there is a stretch. Notice that the muscles on the
inside seem to start up here where the rib is, and then they pull down. I’m going to
give this a little bit of tone in here as it comes to the pubic bone.
Okay, center line. Okay. So, this may then at the hip continue out to where the great
trochanter is and pull back. Okay. This arm is pulling up so the clavicle is up here.
The neck is in here. Some of the shoulder muscle is here, and here’s the deltoid pulling
around. And the pecs are basically turning into the deltoid. Now I’m just going to
describe this with a stage two idea cylinder. So the cylinder says that the arm is going
back in a way a little bit. We see the deltoid pulling this way. The arm is up. We’re going
into the wrist, the thumb, the fingers. So notice that each one of these stages is a
way of developing the concept just a little bit further. Now at a certain point I’m
going to come in and say, supposing I’ve done a whole lot of this work in all these
areas, I’m now going to come back and say, alright, so the breast is laying on the rib
cage in this way. We’re feeling it here, here. Pulling. And some of that rib cage over
here, and then the breast here is pulling and rolling over and off.
We have this. We have this.
Notice on this end it’s just a little bit of tuck. You might not even notice that whether
you’re working from a photograph or the model is right in front of you. You might
not notice that if you’re not paying attention to the story. The story is on this side. It’s
stretch. We’re stretching from here to here, and on this side there is compression here
to here. There’s the compression. We see it continues around. It’s pulling around
this way. So there we go. This is the center here. Navel is also stretching, tucking.
Now this extends back and pulls back the other shoulders in here. We’ve got the head back
this way. All of these incidental little things and need to contribute and not just go off
and do their own thing. Even as we’re going around and pointing her up, you’re seeing,
even as we’re doing these things we are making sure that these little things are helping
to contribute to that, and not going off and making their own statement. All of this. Ultimately,
we’ll come in here and develop all our simple concepts like this is first direction, then
it’s, okay, what is it three-dimensionally. So we might draw a cylinder. Then we might
come in and say it’s characteristics organically are more like this. I might note that this
muscle is pulling across the inner thigh group this way and coming over to the knee of the
bone, the top of the patella as it begins to turn and so on. So that’s kind of the
thinking. You’ll notice that in the overall I don’t want to lose the big sense of this.
So even as I develop these things we want to keep our figure. The biggest statement
alive without losing it in the detail. Alright, so that’s kind of how that goes.
Alright, let’s try another pencil here. It’s a CarbOthello. It’s also a blue 390
one star. And see how that goes. Okay, same idea. The whole point of this is to just see
how these three work. So let’s just say I’ve got my model in front of me. I’m
just kind of analyzing with as few strokes as possible what she’s doing. She’s very
long in the legs, so I’m going to raise this up. Ring this up. Again, I will try and
stay on the paper here. So I’m just going to move it. So I’m actually adjusting now
for the paper and just getting kind of a placement. Alright, we can see that coming down back
to the hip, basically a straight leg. There is kind of a follow-through here from the
other leg. And then this arm. So we’re talking about getting the eight parts of the body
with as few strokes as possible that represent the story or the action of the figure. For
me that may be enough. I may start to come into it and say, well, how am I going to anchor
this? I really want this to feel like that this leg, for instance, supports this whole
enterprise, this whole mass. So she’s stepping forward on it slightly. I’m not going into
the detail of that at this point, but something like that. Something like that. Rhythmically
paying attention we get a swing here and starts high and swings back this way. Notice that
it’s coming across on a slight angle. So we’re doing here. I’m thinking even as
do this I’m still thinking around. I’m not just thinking this side to this side.
I’m also thinking around the axis of the form as I go. So there and so on. I’m coming
back up to the hips. I see that the rib cage is in here like this, and the neck is going
to attach to the rib cage. The head is back. Right, the rib cage is in here.
I’ll feel that.
Now, notice that the rib cage in this case is practically blocked. She’s got her arm
here, and then it goes between her breasts. I want to make sure that the sense of the
rib cage really exists for me so when I think about how we’re pulling off from the upper
torso into the lower torso here that I get a true sense of that stretch. We’re stretching
from the hip that’s around the corner. Maybe we see it just a little bit to the knee. Then
we can see that it hooks. Then in a way we can see that it picks up in the back rhythmically.
It’s coming around this way, right? So here we go.
Again, when I develop the forms I want to try to remember to stay with my rhythmic choices,
the big rhythm, the big rhythms. Notice that even here this is more than just a shape.
Rhythmically it’s a, if this rises this is a drop. Notice how abstract that is in
a way, but it attends to the basic movements throughout this form. It’s taking care of
them. This should be a little higher. This should be a little lower. We’re dealing
with tops and bottoms on the page here.
This hand essentially has a gesture involved. So the breast is going to be in here.
The other breast we’re seeing a little bit of it. Notice that I’m just, I’m placing
these things but I’m not really insisting. I’m placing and having a look.
Here we’re coming.
I mean there’s a time when you can draw directly. When you draw directly you
do all the stages at one time. They all come out of one stroke. Every stage is taken care
of in a single stroke. But this is trying to develop the ideas of stages and how they
can be useful for helping you see where you’re at in the drawing.
Now, I’m pushing that up and down. You’ll notice that it got way far away from the head
at this point. So I’m not sticking right to the drawing. I’m actually raising everything
up. I could raise the head some more. Start the whole thing higher. Okay, maybe even higher.
This is, again, this is the time to make these kinds of adjustments. You’ll notice that.
I could actually even bring this in. Pull back. Bring this in. Bring that in and I can
bring this out. But this says that these adjustments now are minor. I don’t mean that they’re
minor in importance. But they’re minor in the sense that they’re very subtle and almost
invisible. I could sort of kind of bring in a tone here, which helps us feel this form
at some point. So in the further development of this you see we can begin to experience
these forms three-dimensionally along here, for instance. So essentially in this drawing
I’m showing a lot of different levels and stages. First stages. Simple lines that represent
the story. The second stage is developing the forms. The third stage is bringing in,
giving these forms some articulation by bringing in the anatomical understanding, what we grasp
about that and how we can turn it into conceptual notions about form.
Then the whole idea of using light and tone to describe form, which is what we’re doing
here. That helps us feel not just the form itself, but it allows us also to have a kind
of graphic relationship to the form. In other words, we’re experiencing the form through
light and tone patterns that also describe the forms.
So there is that little bit of area.
So this is just, again, an overview that helps us feel how we move from one stage to another
stage and the levels of those stages. So what I mean by level is there is a simple understanding
about a form and a volume, but it’s been developed into say that leg.
I’m going to try to draw it a little bit smaller to keep it on the page. Really, again
I’m just thinking across the form, the direction. It suddenly takes a turn from the upper to
the lower. The most important thing for me is coming down and locking the figure to the
planet. So we have a head going off this way. Notice the head was not drawn first. I’m
just basically thinking through the form. What’s happening here now is probably the
most important opening I can do in the development of this drawing. Then I’m coming up and
I’m going to do that. That might be a little high, but what I’m doing is trying to find
the spirit of that pose. So I’m looking for it as we go. This arm is down this way
so I’ll kind of give its direction, kind of like that, and his back. And that may be
adjusted. But right now that’ll work. I’m navigating around the form. Again, here’s
my direction. I’m going to get the knee approximately there. This one is here. This
is, well, maybe tipping this way. So I have almost all of the elements at this point.
What I don’t like about this is two-dimensional right here. What I will do is add an element
of three-dimension to that by coming down and finding his hip and turning this cylindrically
so that we feel that we actually feel like it’s going into the space. In fact, by making
it look like it goes into the space, we’re actually defining and creating that space
with the very choice that we make. So that space is defined by my choice to say that
this form is like this. Yes, indeed.
So, there that is. And now we’re coming over. I’m now going to find where that spine
is, where the sacrum is. When I say sacrum and when I say spine, those are ideas that
have come from my examination of the human body and the anatomy. So up here is where
the scapula is going. It’s pulling all the way out. The deltoid is here. That’s approximately
where we want to find the elbow joint, and then up here the wrist. Fingers are coming
down this way. The first finger is pointing out. Thumb is in here. Notice it’s just
all the simple indication at this point. Very simple. Then the basic form here like this,
okay, this is kind of an ovoid, and this also is. So right now I’m talking about a rhythm
that’s not the major rhythm. Here is the major rhythm here, here, here, on up into
the back of the neck, back this way. But when I start going inside I’m actually talking
about the subdominant rhythm, the one that dances around the trellis of the structure
of the body and around the first big rhythm.
Here we go. I’m navigating around here not to show you to draw this, but for you to see
and for me to see that I want my thinking to include this kind of dimensionality. Up
here it’s this way navigating this way. Here it’s this way. I don’t need to actually
draw these, but I need to be thinking this. Here this whole form tucks, and then it begins
to turn under. And so these tones, where the light is here, help me to show that, you see.
So here again this navigating around this way. Now I’m coming into the joints a little
bit, so you’re coming into the hamstrings here. This is tying up above. It’s actually
tying up above the light line, so if we do have light—by the way, this is conceptual
light, a form a conceptual light. So it’s like a single light source that says the light
is hitting this object this way, and we’ve got tone down here. So that tone helps us
drop that leg back in relief. It can also help us express the volumetric quality or
drop something down into relieve so we can actually describe these qualities using light,
and I mean the three-dimensional qualities.
Even up here along the spine I could come along the muscles that form all along the
spine there, the spinal sacrospinalis group that, by the way, go all the way back up into
the back of the head up to the occipital ridge here. We’ll do this. They go up there. This
whole group in this area could be defined, and I could drop this area here into relief, see.
We have a little hit pulling and then this.
By the way, we also have a sense of the rib cage here, and it tucks and pulls. We feel
the muscles pulling across and over here to the bone. Now that bone is not real obvious.
It’s not real obvious. It’s counterpart is over here. It’s not real obvious. It’s
easy to miss that, especially on the female form. By not missing it you give us a sense
of the structure. This is pulling up, pulling all the way in this direction. We get some
of the turns using light and tone of the muscle here and here. So we see how the muscle turns,
and we’re using light and tone to help show the turning of the form here and here.
So I’ll just drop that into relief, a little of the breast here. This head couldn’t even
drop it on more of an angle. Alright, now some of this I’ve developed a little more
than other areas, so I’m doing that so that we can have a discussion about the thinking
as we go along. I actually stopped one process to go into another process. Remember, this
is an overview. So in a technical sense you would want to develop the whole thing in each
stage before you move to the next one because it’s very easy to get lost when you switch
stages without knowing it. Then you get lost in the little gesture, and before you know
it you’re doing some work with tone, and you’ve forgotten that you’ve got this
big statement that you’re trying to show us, and it’s lost. It’s gone. It’s given
way to the dance of the subdominant forms. And what you want, again, is for the subdominant
forms to help support the music of the big rhythm. So even though I go into each one
of these things it’s really all at the service of the big story, or it will distract from it.
Okay, so we can drop down, make this more interesting.
Alright, let’s take another example. I’ll start midsection. We have a reclining figure
here. Notice that the hips are in this direction, and the shoulders are this way. We’re stretching
across, stretching across. Here’s the main body. We have a leg that’s doing this, and
a leg that’s doing this. So we’re here… And hip…over. Upper torso. Arm is up. The
head is just kind of pulling back so it’s kind of all in alignment. And the other arm
is back here. It could be like that.
Navel. Going towards the crotch, center line.
Again, where would that belt line be? Around here someplace, you see, and so right around here.
Here is the—when we come down here—let’s do it this way. Come here. This is the other
side of this that’s happening here. We’re coming around that belt line. And this is
the external oblique that’s pulling down. So we have the stomach muscles coming down
towards the pubic bone here and pulling in. We have the knee here. Notice this is foreshortened
form. So we don’t have a long line here. We’ve got a short line, and it needs to
be described with an idea from stage two. This length is fine. This length is also somewhat
foreshortened on this leg, but not nearly as much as this one is. So what we’re seeing
coming across and own is the rear end tuck underneath the leg here, the knee here. So
I’m going to come down the shin bone, follow the shin bone across this way. This one we
have the—okay, let me finish this first. Calf muscle.
Over to the ankle. Alright, and then we’re pulling up this way. We’re
seeing a little bit of the muscle here lifting off as it’s going in. So that’s partly
the latissimus and the arrangement of the muscles that go into the armpit. We’re coming
up this way. I want to just think volumetrically here into the leg here where the knee will
go going across. Again, in this case, the shin bone. I’m thinking around again. Notice
the direction of the cross axis going over to the ankle and so on.
In this case, I’m pulling over. I want to really find that stretch. Lift the shoulder
coming off. We also have the forearm here coming back this way to the elbow and down.
Where is it tucking into where the neck would be? Pecs going over. In this case, she’s
falling in this direction, so the breast on top of—center muscles here—the breasts
on top of the rib cage will have a tendency to lean in this direction. Same here, leaning
in this direction. It’s kind of like a state of falling. Out to the shoulder and so on.
You’ll notice that—and I’ll even go out to this bone. You see how that bone and
this bone, so you get the olecranon or the elbow here. I’m wrapping around this form,
so you see it’s cylindrical. It’s also got a two-dimensional direction and a three-dimensional
orientation. We could do the palm, back of the hand here, thumb.
Notice I’m going into some—I’m switching from level and going into another level to
show you how you would go about moving from thing to another and how to keep to the sense
of the statement that you’re making about your story. Fingers, wrist, nice and easy.
The head back. I want to get the sense of the hair maybe laying and puddling up, whatever.
It’s that sense that in spite of all the kinds of detail you want to keep in mind,
and that’s the tricky part. It’s to keep in mind what’s the big story. That’s basically
where we get lost when there is a lot of nuance. So notice I’m keeping this relatively simple
at this point. It still states the big idea. Once I get involved in that detail it’s
very easy to lose it. So that’s part of the challenge is to try to keep that in mind.
Notice here I’m going around where the neck
will be. In other words, I’m already thinking around this way. Even though this figure is
like this and like this, I’m finding the center line. I’m pulling back, defining
the chest, shoulder. I’m already thinking of it cylindrically like that, and the neck
is fitted in here. The head is going to be here, right? His shoulder is jutting out.
Raise that up, pulling away. Pulling away from center. Arm down, fisting up and kind of like that.
This is out and the shoulder is pushing up. If I think about it it’s
coming towards us like this to some degree. So I’m thinking around this way cross-axis.
Arm is back over this way. Alright, I want that hand overlapping, so I actually want
less direction. I’m going to knock that.
Again, in the first stage you get this orientation. This is coming around from behind, center.
You see how I’m now combining these different ideas, the idea of the gesture and the gesture
guiding us, helping us to decide what we need from the other stages in order for the gesture
or the story to fulfill itself and clarify itself, right? Pulling across helps us understand
the pullback, muscles actually pulling from here. Those are pecks down here too. Down
into this we feel the compression. We’re feeling it all the way down here,
a little bit of that.
We’re going into some little bit of detail now, the kind of detail you wouldn’t expect
right away. I’m suggesting that you don’t do it right away, but I’m trying to show
how you will start something and then develop it. What you want to do is make sure that
you have this direction and then make sure that this is working and it also has a feel.
This is actually turning over, so the center of this form is really more oriented this
way. This is tucking around underneath. Don’t want to lose that. Down, down, tuck. This
leg is actually going to be lower. This is up. Why is it up? Because he’s got his heel
high. In this case, the heel is down so the knee is lower. Even though there is not you
can’t actually say that this hip is lower. Nonetheless, the knee is lower because we’ve
got a raised heel here. How am I going to get to this? Even though this is forward—cross-axis
is this way—this is slightly back.
Notice before I do any drawing of the muscles I want to make sure that’s clear. Once those
things are clear then I can choose the things within the smaller group of choices that will
help prove that. If I don’t know what it is I’m trying to prove, then it’s likely
that I will prove nothing. Okay, so the knee down to where the foot will be. I won’t
complete this. I’ll just give you a sense. Elbow. Once I know where the elbow and wrist
are and the first finger then I can start giving the characteristic rhythms to the forearm.
I can say this drops. This pulls in. Alright, I think that might be enough.
Once again, I’m doing all the stages together because this is an overview. But the real
way to understand this—I can also knock this down, make it less important.
The real way to get to this is to understand that these stages are best understood if you do one at
a time and the move from the one as you understand it into the other. But ultimately, this is
an artificial breakdown. So ultimately you want to be able to allow yourself the freedom
to have one work its way into the other without getting lost as to where you are. That’s
the key; it's to not be lost and know what stage you’re working in and to move to the stage
that you need in the moment without being lost in any one or the other.
Let’s see, swinging over nice and easy, down. Okay, what’s the attitude?
Again, this is the support leg.
I get that he’s twisting around. If I follow through I see
that the head is part of that rhythm. You see how I’m arriving at that.
If I just take this a little further you can see why I made those simple choices, right? This is
what allows everything to happen down to the heel. Then up here almost anything can happen. In this case, he’s stretching,
stretching around. He’s bringing his arm around so that swings the scapula around the
corner. So when we look we’re actually seeing this. This is kind of like the direction.
This arm, even though it’s raised, is lower. It’s a nice rhythm so you get this swing.
You get this straight crashing in here, crashes in like that. These muscles go beyond. You
see how the rhythms were working here? Down here. This cuts around the corner because
the iliac crest is in here. We have this happening, and the iliac crest is in here. This arm is,
let’s do this. This back arm that we don’t see is swinging around. I see fingers in here
which means that’s going forward and then back around. I don’t know if I’ going
to draw that at this point.
Coming over. Wrist, elbow. What’s going on here? Notice I didn’t complete that.
The truth is that I want all these things to be related to one another. Not just that
they accomplish their mission on a local level. They need to also, as I said, harmonize with
the other things within this choice. This leg is doing this slightly. I will have it
do this just slightly. I look for the evidence of that. I see that this is kicking harder,
and maybe that’s even in deeper. I’m going to swing this over a little bit. Makes sense.
This, this. We got a little pressure right there as this leg is actually pulling back,
maybe not so erratically. At this point we see that the calf portion of the leg, the
lower leg and the Achilles tendon and all that are coming back toward us this way.
So this is wedging in like this. I’ll just do it was a wedge for the moment.
We can see this.
I’m just diagramming now by putting these in this way. This is pulling around this way.
We see the shoulder up and around.
As I said before someplace, there is the spine of the scapula making the little turn. This
is coming up. I would next, you know, make this a cylinder. Maybe this is a tapered kind
of cylinder in this sense. Flattens out at the wrist where it goes into the fingers and so on.
So maybe something like that over to the elbow. This is going around. This is here.
Alright. So anyway, you see we’re trying to keep to the original rhythm, the big rhythm.
If we like this there is your light source. That helps us describe volume. So light, again,
can help us describe volume, and it can also help us design. At some point we’ll be going
into that in some depth, that concept. See, knock that down.
Notice I’m starting with the biggest possible take, the biggest possible take. Notice that that is
not last, but it’s also not first as we’ve come into this. Back, back. Shoulders. Okay.
I’m basically doing directional lines and also attempting to find, you know, where the
balance is as we go. The foot is back. Take a look at that. There are basically lines
of direction. Maybe the attitude and so on. So we can develop it that way. I’m coming
down and finding a center line. Again, you might refine some of these things. The gesture
might not go a whole lot further than that before I start to develop the forms. When
I develop forms you’ll notice that I’m kind of going around, again, finding center
line over, in this case here. Hip coming around. Now, I’m finding some of these points. That
would be a little anatomical coming in. So eventually it gets into the drawing. Here
is shape volume tucking under where the bone would be. Over here.
So we’re finding center.
Head tipped more and so on. Symmetry from here to here. Again, center. Kind of get that.
Now, I’ve just got to push into this a little bit. You can kind of develop this and then
later when you can come in you can also kind of refine it, see? So I might come in later
and push into these forms. Rib cage. Notice that there is an attention to the rib cage.
If that was central to the first thought we don’t want to lose that. Here it’s pulling
around from behind and pulling over. Okay, again directional. I want to come down right
away and find out where that main support it. Notice across, down, directional. She’s
twisting her foot this way. Foot is high, or I should say that the heel is high.
The toe is touching. We’ve got this over, bending. Shoulder high. Head in this direction. Shoulder.
Again, notice it’s very direct. Pulling around, pulling around.
So these directions with shoulders back, across. These directions are basically what I will be developing the
form around. So here to here. Here. Notice there is a rhythm in this, for instance.
It's not just simply this form against this form. This is volume. It’s got shape, but this
refines the shape and gives it a little more rhythm as we go. So more and more we’ll
find that in the earlier stages of the drawing, pushing over. The head is back and turning
away, so we’ll tip it back. It’s tipping back and away and so on.
Again, volumetrically coming in.
So we’re pushing out. Might drop the hair. Pull back.
So a gestural idea. Development of form.
Rhythms. Rhythms suggest the anatomical relationships. Again, if I come back we’re
starting here. Coming around here finding the hip. Navel is in here. Rib cage, hip and
so on. Can feel this muscle pulling from here all the way down.
I’m starting with the upper, working directional.
This is the supporting leg on this side. This side is cutting across
like that. It’s coming down a little more. Again, it’s just directional. Arm up here.
I’m looking for a center line now. Lower torso.
Okay, so here. Here. Center sacrum.
This is coming back toward us. I’m thinking that even as we have line the heel is high.
I want to make sure that the volumes are expressing this direction of this. For instance, this
leg is supporting and it’s moving forward so I’m going to be thinking around this
way. This leg is this way. I’m thinking around this way, up and over like this. There
is some pressure going over like this. This arm coming toward us. Even though we’ve
done it as a two-dimensional line now we’re thinking about it as three-dimensionally.
So I’m thinking around this way as it comes down like that. Here the calf part of this
leg here, still coming around. Notice I started in. This whole thing is still very much cylinder
and shape with some anatomical consideration here. This is putting pressure so what we
have is putting pressure here. This coming across and reaching over. So we’re actually
starting with the gesture and developing into volumes with a little anatomical consideration.
You can see the way we’re handling that and so on. Thinking around the head.
But I’m not going to develop that too far.
Just get it moving. Just get it moving. Clearly, this is out in front,
and this is behind. Okay, the gesture. In this case, it’s really interesting. I’m seeing this almost
as a straight line coming down here. She’s bending this way, and her hips then are this way.
Thematically, I want to keep that straight line. Something like that. This is stretching
up and out. Her arm and shoulder up. Her head is off directionally. Hips. Over. This is
the supporting leg on this side so I want to make sure of that. Going in. So this is
going in. This is not radically back, straight down. This is now coming back toward us with
the heel high. This arm is on an angle.
General direction, up. Going up into the head here.
Reaching. Point. It’s the general direction. I’ll bring that out a little bit.
Okay, here we go. Okay, this is sort of a jackknife pose coming this way, this way. Support leg.
Coming across. Again, direction, balance. Hip.
So bringing a little bit of that into it. She’s swinging around.
Head and neck. Just keep this simple.
Okay, the knee.
Just basic direction.
It's kind of popping out toward us a little bit, this one. And it’s foreshortened back.
So this way with the support leg here that allows this to extend out.
Trying to get the sense of that direction.
Notice it’s the working in the figure. Hips and back. Low shoulder. Arm on hip.
I want the sense of this rib cage here a little bit at this point so that when I pull this
up we feel the pull against, one against the other.
So you’ve got that center line navel down to the hip.
Then the head. You’ve got that arm here now coming back against the head.
We’re just looking for her positioning.
We don’t want to be lost in the detail.
We’re looking for the major players in this down.
Here’s something interesting about the rhythm. When we’re looking at it
you could say this is a straight line, but look
at the actual rhythm that works within it. This is hooking low. This is starting high
up here and pulling down this way. See it coming across rhythmically into the foot.
This is here and cuts back to the heel. So we’ve got this, this, this lift to the bone.
Lifting, falling. Alright, so you kind of get that falling, and over here we’ve got
that falling so we might play that one against the other. This is directionally going back.
Pull this back. Okay, it’s coming around from behind. Okay, let’s take another one
now. Following through with the lines now, down. Notice it’s basically the lines of
direction, and again the head is at the end of this. Now I’m going to come in. Basically,
it’s directional coming down. You see like that. So now I’m going to come in and start
developing the forms a little bit. Center line to the back. I’m aware that we have
a back here and a side here. Again, we’re taking a shape volume. Again, there is shape
volume, which I’ll give a little bit of character to based on what I see anatomically.
Like I say, we’re developing anatomical understanding by our research and our time
spent, thinking about it, looking it over, exploring it. Again, this is on that direction
pulling way back. Rib cage now. Shoulder. Basically we’re doing this. Over. So you
see, essentially we’re playing one thing, and we’re working with how this fits into
this. And that’s like in a local area, but how that fits into the bigger picture and
helps express the bigger picture. Back this way. This way. One playing against another
here. This arm is going to back further. Just if you think about abstractly we’ve got
this. One thing into the other. That’s essentially just first simplest take. Heel back. Alright.
Interesting one. It’s a wave-like action taken by Jee here. And the twisting around
with the arm coming over this way. This arm out this way. Look at that movement, that
rhythm. Keep it simple in this case. So our lines are kind of looking back. In this case
they’re very fluid. A little foreshortening here. A little extension over here. But, there
you go. They actually play interestingly into one another. He’s a little bit smaller as
if he were further back. But in a way that’s finding that fluid quality is what keeps it
alive. Okay, again simple take. This, this. How do these legs work together? This one
is back. He’s actually twisting and pushing up this way. So I’m seeing this against
this leaning back into it, coming around. Twisting. Okay, something like that. Let’s
get this back here. Just directional here at this moment. It’s a little directional.
The head. This, by the way, in the gestural stage, this is the time to make adjustments.
If any adjustments need to be made, this is the place to do it. Before you’ve invested
in a lot of development that might not be working. You want it cross checked. You don’t
move into your moment of intent until you’re happy with this opening stage. Alright, so
that’s sort of ballpark in a way. Something like that. Let’s take another one here,
pushing out, back. Extending all the way. Stepping out.
So we’ve got this. Finding this.
This is swinging around this way. There is a sense of the swinging this way. In other
words, what is the story? His head is actually back. So if we look at that I’m going to
bring that up. This other arm is back here. Again, what then is the story? What are we
trying to say? Pulling here. A little tension here.
Around, pulling around this way, up.
Here it is to here up to the wrist. First finger, fingers.
So I want to get the sense of that and that working before we get too much development here.
To the knee, calf.
This, this up. This back. This down. This support. This extension.
Alright, well, I hope that lesson was helpful. I will see you in the upcoming lessons.
The next one we will be discussing is gesture.
Free to try
1. Lesson Overview1m 6sNow playing...
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2. Gesture, Formulation and Anatomy15m 49s
3. Eight Parts of the Body16m 45s
4. General Model7m 32s
5. The Process12m 48s
6. Old Masters Analysis: Michelangelo17m 54s
7. Demonstration Part 117m 48s
8. Demonstration Part 215m 45s
9. Demonstration Part 311m 44s
10. Demonstration Part 416m 28s
11. Demonstration Part 515m 43s