- Lesson details
In this video lesson, we are excited to share with you a past online workshop with master artist, Steve Huston. In this two day workshop, Steve utilizes his thorough teaching style to help you build a basic skill set in figure drawing. This is the second part of the workshop, in which Steve discusses and demonstrates the ideal balance and stability of a figure’s gesture, explains the importance of connecting a series of gestures to guide the viewer’s eye, describes the visual components of gesture and structure, and shows that modifying and building onto a gesture can sometimes change the drawing altogether.
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with master artist, Steve Huston.
In this two-day workshop, Steve utilizes his thorough teaching style to build a basic skill
set in figure drawing.
That means we have forms driving up into, through, on top of other forms.
If I can feel that rhythm, that conductor brining all those 58 instruments or whatever
into one song, it’s going to work more beautifully.
That means as an ideate, if I can have clearly in mind what I’m after when I do my art,
when I begin my craft, my process, I’m going to get farther.
Specifically, I’m going to improve faster.
But, if we have clear ideas then we can see if we’re focused on the idea.
Is my gesture curved?
Is the curve attached to a grid so it’s not falling over?
Is the structure complete?
Am I moving you not only around the form, but over the form.
It gives us tools to build off of.
Gesture then is a long axis.
Fundamental design line.
Movement between the forms and curved because it’s alive and fluid and graceful and all
those kinds of things.
Structure, then, is the three-dimensional form in a position or perspective.
It’s the movement over the forms and its corners.
Remember, those three dimensions have three positions, and so if we’re trying to get
that difficult third position of trying to go in or out of the picture plane, then we’re
going to use the strategy of pulling our detail higher as it approaches the center and putting
our details lower as they approach the sides.
That’ll get us underneath that bugger like so.
We have a strategy.
Then we have a continuum of playing up the gesture, reducing the structure, playing up
the structure, reducing the gesture so something can be more formal, proper, maybe timeless
or more fluid, lively, graceful.
More two-dimensional even.
If we follow the simple process of gesture and structure, then we’ll draw the long
axis curve of whatever we’re interested in dealing with.
That becomes the first mark, let’s call it the first dimension
in our three-dimensional form.
Then we get the length.
We get the width.
And then we get the depth.
It’s the natural way we would draw a shape generally anyway.
That gives us everything in a natural process.
Our process takes us all the way through, including the rendering in the tones as we’ll
find out later.
We’ll spend some time on that.
Not as much as I would hope.
We could do a whole workshop on that, of course, and that will happen in the future.
But, it’s going to carry through to our rendering process too.
This is only a true idea.
Remember, looking for the truth here.
At least a truth.
It’s only a true idea if it works on every level.
It doesn’t do us any good if I come up with this carefully thought out process that only
works for 5-minute drawings.
As soon as I get a 10-minute drawing or a 20-minute drawing, or I switch from pencil
to paint, then it doesn’t work anymore.
So, I use this.
I’m working on a series of paintings that are 8 x 10 feet right now.
One of them had 70 figures in it.
I used the same process.
I drew up that monumental canvas with those tons of figures, 70 figures, somewhere around
this tall, and I drew it like a five-minute figure drawing, and I just build on top of that.
Every mark was gestural and/or structural.
Okay, so that’s kind of a recap of yesterday.
Now, let’s take this a little bit farther.
Let’s go back to gesture.
Take it a little bit farther.
Two points we want to make.
It’s not a gesture.
It’s a series of gestures.
We need that gesture or these gestures to balance out.
There has to be a stability involved so our drawing doesn’t tip over.
Let’s do this first.
When I’m doing a figure—you can’t see my feet here, but I’ve got them widely planted
What we’re going to find when a figure is stable—not falling over, not running away,
we’re going to find this kind of triangular design.
What we’re going to find is the head and the torso, which are the big, heavy parts
that are going to be supported somehow by the standing legs, the seated lap on the chair.
By lying on the ground, by leaning against something, the wall, the hand supporting this
way onto a cane, whatever.
There is going to be a support system.
So, what you want to know is, where is—let’s do it this way.
What you want to know where is the center of gravity?
It’s going to vary from body type to body type.
Basically, it’s going to be somewhere around here on the male, little lower on the female.
Somewhere on here.
That breadbox section of the body between the breastbone and the belly button.
Most of the time you can just refer to the head, frankly.
What we want now, is we want to make sure that that center of gravity is between the
supporting structures, in this case, my two feet.
Or, it can be over—we can have
that center of gravity over one of the supporting structures over that foot, basically.
Or, we can have it right between the feet this way.
Right between the feet.
Over one foot.
In other words, it can be an equilateral triangle, I mean isosceles triangle or a right triangle.
Either one is going to give us a stable form.
I’m not going to fall.
I can stay here all day, in theory.
Now, as soon as we take that pose and we push it outside of that support, now our center
of gravity, wherever it is, is outside the support.
Now it’s in danger of falling off.
So, as you’re drawing your figure, you want to make sure it has a balancing act going on.
You want to make sure that whatever is supporting that, the two feet or the hand leaning across,
that center of gravity falls in that field of support, wherever that is.
As soon as I take my figure
and do that—let me change that up a little bit.
It’s going to fall over.
It’s not going to make it.
We want to watch for that.
So, what we have then is three possibilities in terms of the pose itself, the balancing
act, the stability of the pose.
We can make it stable.
That’s our strategy.
Notice, too, if the figure sits down
then the chair or the prop becomes part of the supporting system.
Now my triangle got lower so we end up with a wider base or as wide of a base, but a lower top.
So, rather than standing it’s now sitting.
Of course, if it lays down then it’s just whatever shape it wants
to be lying down, reclining.
We’re going to roll the figure up in a carpet tube and they’re lying there.
Then there is no height at all.
It’s all width, in effect.
It’s all support.
The lower triangle gets and/or the wider the base gets—I can widen my feet way out—I’m
more and more stable.
So that’s what we want.
If we were to look down on the pose, look down this way we would also—if these are
the feet, this is the head in the torso.
We also need it to be balanced.
We don’t want them to fall off this side or this side, but also this way.
And so in sports, what do they do?
They think of a box, and the boxer puts one foot here, one foot here, the body is in here.
And so it’s stable this way, stable this way.
It’s only not stable that way.
That’s where most of the knockouts come.
I put this leg forward, this leg back.
Now you can’t push me this way.
You can’t push me that way.
You can only knock me over that way.
Then the football players make it even better, and they go down on the ground, and they put
one hand down.
Then they have the cross of the feet going this way, and the hand supporting there, and
their weight, their center of gravity is between that now three-sided, could be the knuckles
Now it’s a three-sided box.
Very, very stable.
Their weight is in here.
So, that’s that.
That creates stability.
We can also have instability, make it unstable.
That would look like this, a balancing act.
If I lift up one foot like this, I can balance.
So, say a ballet dancer or something.
We’ve got this here and this here.
Notice the triangle there.
The hands can be part of that.
Hands and arms.
They don’t have a lot of weight so they don’t make a big difference.
If I’m stable, and I put my arm weight out here it’s not going to hurt my pose.
You basically can forget about the hands and arms unless they’re part of the supporting pose.
It won’t matter what I do with the hands and arms.
It won’t affect it.
Notice, now we have this triangle.
That’s potential energy.
I can hold that for some limited time, but if anybody touches me, I’ll fall over.
If I get tired I’m going to fall over.
It’s potential energy.
It’s ready to act.
Notice the stability is quieter now.
I’m the bouncer at the bar.
I’m not moving anywhere.
I’m the guard at the station.
I’m not moving anywhere.
Or I’m thinking deep thoughts and not moving anywhere, or sleeping it off and I’m not
Here the unstable pose becomes—as I said, potential.
Something is going to happen quick.
Then we can have the out of balance pose, let’s call it.
If you’re doing a billboard for Lebron James in Nike shoes, and you want him leaping, you
wouldn’t have him with the basketball leaving like this.
You’ll want him at an angle.
We’ve got the figure like this.
Notice here is the center of gravity.
Maybe he’s leaping, or maybe this one foot is on the ground, but notice how active that is now.
Darken it up and make sure you can see it.
Angle is action.
If I have a composition I do a lot of this.
It’s going to feel very stable.
If I do a composition I do a lot of this.
It’s going to feel quiet, contemplative, restful.
If I have a composition that’s a lot of this, it’s going to be active, chaotic.
So, architecture, we don’t want it to fall down.
If an earthquake happens, I’m going to look around at the walls, make sure they’re all
Landscape and go out to the beach.
I sit on the shore.
I watch the placid waves with the wispy clouds as the sun slowly sets, and I feel peaceful.
Then this is just absolute chaos.
Everything is going every which way.
Action, explosions, that kind of stuff.
That’s the visual metaphor we’re working with, and we pick up on that.
Just like if I do a teddy bear like this and give to my little daughter, she is going to
hug that thing and know that it’s going to be soft before she picks it up and inviting.
I could make it out of titanium steel and she’d bonk her little head on it.
But, she’d assume at first it was nice and soft.
If I did a nerve teddy bear like this, she’d probably not want to touch it.
There are certain ideas that go through that we just connect to.
The porcupine—most villains in comic books have sharp, spiky designs to them.
The grid idea helps with that.
I’ve got my curved spine, my curved legs, whatever it is.
If I look at where it’s vertical that’s going to give me the balancing act.
If I look to where it’s active, that’s going to give me the energy.
As long as I keep that balancing act, I can make it more exaggerated, more dynamic.
Same with the horizontal.
Whether I did it here or there, it wouldn’t matter.
It’s still going to feel balanced because I’m keeping the balancing act.
I’m still underneath.
Notice if I push something one way—if I lean this this way, I can still balance it
out by putting something back the other way if you can see that leg going back, so that
It still gives me a natural center.
The angles can be as dynamic as you want.
If I have to I’ll just push this angle back farther this way because I pushed this angle
further that way.
They’re going to balance out for us.
We’ve got a control there to get what we want based on that principle.
When they look at your painting, if there is a figure, they’ll go to the figure.
If there is a face they’ll go to the face.
If there are eyes they’ll go the eyes first and often, and they’ll go back.
If you look at a Van Dyk portrait, these great standing figures, 7 feet tall, and you’ll
see the face.
You’ll go look over here and then you come back to the face, and you’ll go look over
here and come back to the face.
There is actually, psychologically there has been experiments where they track the eye
and just follow how it wanders through a composition and comes back.
For that reason, I’m calling the head the first gesture.
Also, I think as I said yesterday, what I find in my own work and I find in student’s
work, having worked with them so long is if they don’t draw the head first they draw
the nice gesture, the body as best as they’ve been taught or understand it, and then they
stick the head on the gesture.
I think of those as balloons.
We have this balloon, and then we have this going on below.
This doesn’t flow or play or organize with that.
They become two different things.
When is start with the head first as the first gesture it’s going to be the gesture of
the head against the gesture of the neck, the torso, whatever the second gesture is
going to be.
So, there is the head.
There is the neck.
I’m just going to draw this as a simple profile, and then we’ll talk about it.
Alright, beautifully done job, I should say.
So, let’s look at our head.
The center line down the features I’m going to call gesture number one.
The head is actually made up of two big structures, the skull structure, and the mask of the face.
We’re going to think of this as one.
We’re going to ignore this for a moment.
We’ll come back to it.
We really need to consider if I’ll come back to it just to make sure my theory follows
It has to work on the big things and the little things.
But, gesture number one.
Now, we define gesture as all the stretching just because it was convenient.
It covered more ground.
It was a simpler line.
It organized several things together rather than breaking them apart.
When things pinch they break apart on the inside.
When they stretch they tend to group together on the outside.
So, for those reasons and a couple of others, we focus on the stretch.
So, I’m looking for every bulging line basically.
Bulging line, bulging line, bulging line, bulging line, and then the arms bulging, bulging,
There are all my bulging lines.
Let’s simplify this down now.
Let’s make a bean bag.
There is my stretch.
There is my pinch.
Let’s add another bean bag.
If I kept going this way I’d just make a donut, so that doesn’t do me any good.
I’m going to go the other way.
There is another bean bag.
There is another bean bag.
Notice what is happening now.
Here is my stretches, stretch, stretch, stretch.
Notice when I start adding bean bags I get a stretch on one side, and then when I add
the second bean bag, the second stretch is on the other side.
Then I add another bean bag, and the third stretch is over on the other side again.
It alternates back and forth.
The reason it does that is because life is naturally a watery design, and we’ve got
to have a stable pose.
The design is so we can have a stable pose.
If I’m going to survive the cave bears, I’ve got to be able to hold still and hide
behind the tree, and I’ve got to run like heck if I need to.
I need to be stable, and I have to have potential energy so I can act quickly.
You coil up that punch and then let the coil go, let the spring shoot out.
Bind it up.
Let it go.
What’s happening here when we have a full figure, a complex of living forms, living
parts, we’re going to find the stretch, and then we’re going to find an opposing stretch.
What we’re going to do is look at always the highest possible stretch, working from
the head down.
This is highest stretch, and then this is the highest stretch.
It ends right here.
Then this is the highest stretch.
Then this is the highest stretch.
Gesture number two.
Gesture number three.
Gesture number four.
Gesture number five.
Gesture number six.
You can do the same thing with the arms all the way through.
If we go on the inside and not the outside, look what happens.
There is the fundamental design line.
There is the lifeline.
There is the energy, the grace, the fluidity that’s missing in your drawings and paintings
and sculptures, maybe.
It’s right there.
If we put it on the inside, how the other systems that I’ve seen do, then it’s just
a theoretical thing that you hope to have, but there is nothing to grab onto
to make it work.
What I’m going to do is I’m going to take the simplified contour of a head, build a
basic structure on that, and then build out the detail.
Notice what happens then.
Where the hairline meets the forehead, more or less, where the eyebrow meets the nose,
more or less, or the lip or barrel of the mouth, or muzzle of the mouth, I should say,
meets the chin, more or less; that’s where my construction line is.
Let me do this just to make sure you can see since you had trouble with the red.
Make sure you’re not having trouble with the green too.
Here is a forearm with a hand.
Notice that the contour varied from my construction line and my gesture line at times, but then
came back to it.
That’s the ideal.
It comes back to it quite often.
And so that gesture line is coming to the surface.
Here is the loch ness.
There is Nessie.
There she is again.
There she is again.
That’s what we’re doing with our gesture and structure.
We’re drawing a gesture line and building the construction lines on it.
Then we are varying those with little waves of action or smaller structures building on
the bigger structure.
This is a fundamental design of the human body or any living form.
It will also work with the arm.
Here is the torso to the right, gesture of the upper torso to the right.
Here is the gesture of the shoulder to the left.
Here is the gesture of the upper arm to the right.
Here is a little gesture—leave that for a second—gesture of the upper arm and gesture
of the forearm here, then gesture of the hand.
Or, you could do upper arm to supinator group to pronator group, flexor group, the hand.
Then even the thumb turning the other way.
Notice how it will work on the biggest forms and the smallest forms.
When we start adding muscle forms to that—let’s look at the leg here.
Here is the hip.
Here is the thigh, calf, and shin down to the foot, let’s say there.
That’s our basic gesture.
Notice that wave action, beautiful wave action going through.
Notice gesture number one now.
Gesture number two now.
Gesture number three now.
Look at what happens when I add secondary solids, secondary structures.
Here is the gesture, but that is also the simplified rough contour to another egg in here.
Now, I’m doing something very particular with that egg form.
Let me color it in for you.
Notice that the gesture of the thigh went that way, but the axis of the egg, the long
axis of the egg went that way.
I could also feel an egg down here.
Maybe the thigh does this down to the knee.
I’m feeling this upper quadriceps to this back hamstring, and then I’m feeling this
hamstring into that lower like that.
But, notice that every time I can make an egg within that contour, egg by building off
the bulge of the contour, those eggs are off axis.
Notice what happens then if I, the reason being, what happens if I don’t make them
off axis, I get a bulging thigh here, a bulging egg here, and a bulging egg here.
Look at that egg as right in axis with our thigh, more or less.
Look at how it’s getting muscle-bound.
And then I add the knee, and then I add the calf and shin, and they’re getting stiff
and muscle-bound because the bulge and the bulge is working this way.
What our muscles are doing, muscle work like pistons.
They fight gravity when they’re working, and they relax with gravity when they’re not.
We get this high-low, high-low.
As this muscle works, it gets bulged, this muscle relaxes and it moves out of the way.
If this muscle works, this relaxes.
It stretches out of the way.
This bulging bicep is going that way.
This relaxing biceps is going that way.
This bulging triceps is going that way.
Now, this bulging biceps is going this way, and that triceps is going that way.
They’re getting out of the way of each other.
And so they’re working in that piston.
Shoulder to upper triceps, triceps to biceps all the way through.
Supinator group to flexor group all the way through.
We’re going to constantly get these things almost always.
There is no always in life.
Things can get to the point because they’re balanced out because of the place, the articulation
and the workload.
But in general, we don’t want to have a bulge here canceling out with a bulge here.
Notice if I make both sides bulged equally, both sides pinched equally, that makes for
a stiff straight gesture.
I’ve lost my curve, my fluid lifeline.
We can’t allow the muscle-bound nature, the bulky nature of the detail to destroy
the fundamental design.
It still has to flow.
That means that those eggs, those wobbly, waving contours have to get out of the way
of each other.
What’s going on on this side cannot be the same as going on as that side because it’s
functionally not working the same.
One muscle does a completely different job than the other muscle, and because there is
a fundamental curve action, potential energy, a life force that has this impulse to act
that’s in there.
And so, the fundamental design is based on that.
And then further notice that the only way we can take dynamic form and get it to balance
is if it pushes one way we’ve got to have it then push the other to balance.
As this bulges this way, it’s just going to end up falling over eventually unless it
twists back and bulges the other way.
Gesture is a series of gestures that have to balance out in some kind of stable or potential
energy kind of situation or action kind of situation.
And there are several gestures.
Look what happens here.
Here is a ball.
Or, here is a ball.
Oftentimes, if I’m drawing say a rib cage, I might draw all the way through for my construction,
but in the finish, which is what we’re going to work on today, I’m not.
I’m going to end up having the contours and the overlaps doing whatever they’re doing.
And then it’s going to break away.
We’re not going to feel that completion.
I can lay it in structurally with whatever form I’ve conceived of.
But the final detail is going to be gapped.
There are going to be big gaps.
Any kind of gaps.
It’s a very important concept for us artists.
Notice what happens, then.
I say there is something over here to look at and something over here to look at.
Look at what you, the wonderful audience, does for me.
It finishes the job.
You just reduced my workload.
I don’t have to work as hard.
The gaps help us be lazy.
They help us not have to do as much.
We allow the audience to some of it for us.
It’s not this that’s correct.
It’s this in relationship to that.
Notice that same idea now.
When we’re talking about the figures, I said here is a gesture that is head over here.
This model has done this.
We don’t know that that’s right, and that’s not really very important unless it’s in
the correct relationship to that.
The beauty of that pose is this to that.
That’s what we’re after.
Then the architecture does all sorts of things, makes it seem real solid, chiaroscuro, photorealistic,
whatever it is.
But, for our purposes in the beginning of our artmaking, the structure is just there
as a placeholder so I can make sure the gesture, the fundamental design line, the lifelines,
the rhythm of life is there and working as it should be working.
So, this to this.
There’s that idea again.
This to that.
That’s what has to work.
Incidentally, when we did this we ignored the neck and we ignored the skull.
And so really, if you wanted to, you could say this is a first because the skull sits
a little higher in back than in front on almost all the figures you will draw.
It’s this to this.
We could call that first.
This is so intuitive, so easy to put together with the face, and the center line of the
face is such a nice visual to capture or the closest thing to the center line that you
It’s such a nice thing to work with.
That does the work for us.
We can just ignore that first one.
So, that’s one.
So, the skull is not excluded.
It’s part of the same lifeline rhythm.
Same with the neck.
Notice that the neck is conceived simply in this case as an hourglass.
Hourglass is a canceled gesture just like a symmetrical ball or egg is.
If we made it asymmetrical then we could get that high to low relationship, and it would
not be straight.
But, that actually reads as a straight.
Here’s what’s happening there.
If I do this then the neck is really stretching with the face.
If I were to shade—let me switch pens here—if I would put a shadow on this like Titian did
for the Sacrifice of Abraham then you can see how the chin is actually cut off, and
there is our lovely gesture right there.
Face and neck stretched together.
So it’s that to that.
This is coming way up here, binding in there.
There to there.
There is our lovely wave action happening again.
If the head were to do this with the neck, then we’re going to have the back dominate.
The neck is going to group with the upper back and rib cage.
Here is the pinching neck on this side.
Then on the front or back view, of course, the neck will work with the head, center line
of the face or spine and back and flow as it does.
That neck either is biased into the gesture of the head, or it’s biased into the gesture
of the upper torso there.
It takes care of itself.
This is what we’re after, that rhythm.
This to that.
Notice, now there is the orchestra conductor.
There are the dance steps.
This to that.
I’m a lousy dancer because I can’t move from first position to next position.
The gesture does that.
The great dancer can flow beautifully from that to this, from this to that.
The terrific draftsman can go beautifully from this gesture to that gesture, and he
or she feels, and more importantly, makes us feel that movement.
It’s somewhere—the audience is going to be seeing more or less the outline here.
It’s called touch sight.
They’re going to see the contours of things to see how far they are from touching it.
The clever artist is going to see through that and feel that fundamental design in there.
That’s always the mastery of the art form is that underlying connectivity.
How the heck does he dance across those keys?
How does he harmonize those colors?
It’s just blue and orange.
Why do they work together?
That’s where our mastery is coming from is those inner rhythms that most people feel
in their gut.
They can’t think through, and we want it that way.
We don’t them to analyze it.
That’s our job when we need to.
We want them to feel it.
It’s a truth that’s in here, in your gut, in your heart; not up here.
So, the same rhythmic gut level, emotional rhythm, the dance of contours, the dance of
flowing gestures or flowing forms that I would do to construct a ball I will to construct
a gesture to build a gesture.
Anything that has a curved nature we’re going to feel that rhythm very easily.
When it gets stiff and straight, it’s harder.
It feels stilted.
It feels like you’re skipping.
The film is skipping.
The story is losing words.
The sentence is that story is missing words.
We still feel like it stops and starts.
There are plenty of places where we want that to happen in a dramatic moment.
The knife comes down too, and we don’t know what the knife stabs.
Those kinds of things.
There are moments where there is a pause, and then it builds up again.
These corners are pauses.
These straights are inelegant movements.
It’s the rhythm, the fluid idea that keeps us moving easily throughout the flowing roller
These slow us down or don’t take us in a direction, keep us doing.
The story hasn’t changed at all.
They have absolute places in our work, but they’re not going to be what holds it together
Notice that when I keep it just the gesture, it is the most dynamic, the most fluid and
graceful moment in my whole drawing.
And then more or less every time I add stuff it’s going to get less fluid, more lumpy,
more bumpy, oftentimes more stiff.
If I add a carefully conceived construction line or constructed form, I should say, that
helps a lot.
Notice if I make whatever I’m drawing a tube, a tube is just a three-dimensional gesture
line, isn’t it?
That is fantastic.
A box can be that too if it’s conceived correctly, if it’s conceived with curves
that act together.
Notice that I can take these long, narrow forms, these axle forms, as opposed to this
If I start doing that and that, notice the snowman problem.
I give those solid, lumpy muscles to that muscular character I’m drawing, and they
look muscle-bound and they look like a snowman.
Oftentimes, when we add detail we end up here.
But, if we keep it tubular or boxy—it wouldn’t matter which—and they’re just linear,
long-curved, axle shapes that track perfectly our initial gesture line.
They connect to the gesture, on it, and they flow with the gesture.
I haven’t hurt anything at all.
Everything is the same.
My gesture is still gestural.
As soon as it start varying off of that into the wider hips, let’s say, now notice that
beautiful gesture line just got bumpier and starts to go off track a little bit.
Let’s say it’s beautifully constructed, and here’s my gesture here for the thigh,
and then I add this.
If I can keep it just a tube, notice how I come off this gestural bulge.
Pick up that and this flows with it.
That stays nice and gestural.
But, if I start adding detail, lumps and bumps, architecture, muscle, that kind of stuff,
it gives me trouble.
So, how do we solve that?
Well, you can’t.
No, I’m kidding.
You actually can.
In fact, since we are really visual philosophers, if you give me more time to talk about my
idea, that idea should become clearer and clearer and clearer and clearer and more and
If we bring a real philosopher in, and they start talking about idealism or empiricism
or whatever a philosopher wants to talk about, you give them more time, they’re going to
be more and more convincing more than likely.
More and more explanatory—they’re going to add detail to it.
They’re going to really hammer home the idea.
They’re going to convince you.
The more time you give them, the more likely you’re going to agree with them.
The more you will get the idea from them and all its nuances.
So, that’s what we want in our work.
This is a visual idea.
We are telling you what life means to us.
We are telling the audience what life means to us as thinkers of life, as capturers of life.
And so, if I’m doing stuff that takes away from my fundamental idea, the fundamental
design line, the most important idea.
If I’ve done anything that makes that less powerful, shame on me.
If I say that it’s actually a bulging tube, that’s much more descriptive of the volume,
the structure of the torso.
But, now I’ve done some damage to the gesture of the torso.
This was better than this and this.
That can’t be.
So, we need strategies to fix that.
When we add more detail, our gesture should get better and better and better, as well
as the whole piece becoming more and more sophisticated and interesting and nuanced.
Of course, we can add subplots to our story that go against the main thread.
Maybe our theme is love, and show we’re going to show a set of characters ending up
hating each other just to make the love of our main couple ring truer or being more poignant
or anything like that.
We can add subplots to it.
But, our overriding theme should become better and better and better.
So, what the heck are we going to do?
We’ve got a few strategies here.
First, let’s talk about structure.
Get away from gesture because we spend quite a bit of time on gesture.
We build our understanding of gesture to a more sophisticated level.
Now we’re going to bring structure right up with it.
They’ve got to come together because the two ideas are our strategy for decoding life,
It’s the movement over the forms.
And it’s the corners.
Let’s focus on that.
Movement over the forms and corners.
If I take my structure and add more and more corners.
Don’t have to destroy the curves at all.
Everything can still be a curved idea, but I’m adding corners.
Corners, corners, corners, corners.
That gives me more solidity.
It places that three-dimensional form in position.
We know that change directions, and we change directions.
The other thing that form information does is helps to take us around the other side.
We feel the back and the side, but we inuit—dot, dot, dot—the front and the other side.
It helps us feel that.
That’s a problem, of course, because whatever position you’re going to draw, you’re
only going to see half of it at best, and oftentimes far less than half because there
is going to be overlaps in blocks.
If you’re seeing the back you can’t see the front.
If you see the front you can’t see the front.
If you see the front you can’t see the back.
If you see the top you’re probably not going to see the bottom.
So, when we can move a construction line over the form, it’s going to show us what we
can see, but it’s going to suggest what we can’t see.
We make that connection, that loop, that rhythm, that flow around.
It can be a staccato flow, or it can be a fluid flow; organic, lovely flow.
So, we build our construction by moving over the form.
Now, I’m thinking how much I’m going to show you here and how much I want to show
you in a demo.
What we’re going to try and do—I’ll go ahead and just give you the points here.
Then we’ll see it in a demo.
As I start adding information, my construction lines easily explain if I’m willing to use
them, easily explain how we move from one side to the other.
These are visual arrows that take us across.
We move down and up and over in this case.
And so, we feel that connection.
We feel that volume.
It gives us not the illusion but the idea of moving in and out of the paper plane, the
But then we’re going to start adding stuff.
It’s going to be secondary thing that fit on it.
Shoulder blades, armpits, deltoid, arm musculature, all that kind of stuff.
Light and shadow shapes, those kinds of things.
Notice our gesture is suffering more and more.
We’re going to have to fix that.
It’s getting more and more wobbly, more and more lumpy.
Things are not looking good in terms of that initial flow.
We still have good flow, but it’s not great flow like it was.
Notice we’re getting troubled here.
Maybe that armpit comes out here, so instead of feeling this now we’re feeling that.
That hip comes out.
Now we’re feeling that.
It’s almost going the wrong way.
Trouble, trouble, trouble.
Back to structure.
We’re going to have several strategies on how to—let me do it down here—on how to
move over the form, in no particular order.
If we show an overlap—let’s say the shoulders overlap the neck and the face, as soon as
we have that overlap, notice that we’re moving right over the form.
We have those visual arrows.
In fact, that was what the pinching thing did for us, wasn’t it?
If I show a pinch and stretch, my bean bag idea, the Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, all that
If I show the bean bag, what I’m showing is how to—I’m showing several things,
showing stretch and pinch—but on the pinch side I’m showing you how to—in fact, let’s
put in a shadow shape—I’m showing you how to move over the form.
Dot, dot, dot.
We feel that we move over the form.
In fact, in this case, because of the nature of those pinches, we feel like we’re slightly
on top of that.
Let’s turn it into a pillow cylinder.
We feel that we’re on top of that form, moving over the form.
Whenever you have a pinch, it’s going to start to show you the three-dimensional because
they are construction lines, basically.
They’re shown up as convenient detail just like sometimes we get lucky with our costume,
but they’re showing, they’re tracking exactly over the contour and the position
of that form through overlap.
That leads us to the second thing: Contour.
If we are lucky enough to have some costuming, pinching, overlapping that moves over—let’s
say she’s got a tan line here.
Right here she has tube top on.
She has a tan line.
That’ll track over more or less.
It might be very wandering kind of contour, but it’ll track over that higher in the
center, lower in the side kind of perspective or after.
Pearl necklace or pearl beltline in this case.
We’ll track over exactly every wobble, in theory, of all the little forms on all the
big forms, but it’s going to move us over the form in whatever manner.
In this case, up and over will fill that volume.
So, if we can see any contour, whatever it is, pinching flesh, cast shadow.
We have a cast shadow.
Something casts across it.
We’ll feel that.
Let’s say this shoulder blade casts across somehow.
It wouldn’t, but let’s say it does.
It casts across that over into the other shadow side.
I’ll show you this better in a demo.
Then that is tracking this across.
The other thing we can have is interlocks.
Interlocks are like super overlaps.
This is an overlap.
We have one shape in front of another.
For all we know, this could be the alignment, the harmonic convergence of the planet that’s
in outer space.
These things might be millions of miles away or something.
Thousands of miles away, whatever they are in space.
A solar or lunar eclipse, for example.
We don’t necessarily know they’re connecting.
We intuit that if we know the subject matter we’re working with.
A simple overlap doesn’t give us that gut feeling of it.
An interlock is like a jigsaw puzzle.
It’s like the wrench going around the nut, locking onto it, connecting solidy to it.
An interlockis going to take us in.
Specifically, this is the easiest interlock we can think of the drumstick.
Notice that the cylindrical shape intrudes into the contour rather than just bumping
over the contour it intrudes into it.
Specifically the sides and the end.
Some of the sides and the end of the form goes into the other, intrudes into the other.
We feel that jigsaw locknut connectivity that is much more satisfying.
And we have the added advantage of that’s how anatomy works.
It rings true when we use a lot of the interlocks with the anatomy that we’re doing in the
figure or any animal.
What happens is we have a joint here.
The bone more or less just comes together and articulates like this.
It just touches at that contact point.
The muscles can’t do that.
We have the forearm bones and we have the upper arm bones.
Then we have, for example, the bicep doesn’t just come to the joint.
It goes below the joint and attaches to the ulna and the radius.
And the supinator muscles don’t just come back to the elbow; they go up and attach to
the humerus up here.
The deltoid doesn’t just attach at the shoulder joint.
The deltoid goes all the way down, halfway down the upper arm bone to attach and comes
all the way across and attaches onto the scapula and the collarbone, clavicle.
So we have the bone doing this.
We have the muscles doing this, going above and below that joint to work that joint.
And so that means we have forms driving up into, through, on top of other forms.
For example, let me dust this back just a little bit.
For example, we might have the hips as our architectural shapes, and the waist,
and the ribs or the obliques.
I’m just going to cut it off here so we can feel the solid architectural shape to
hopefully make the point better for us.
We have that for or that series of forms driving up into—do it like that again to make the
point—driving up into that upper torso.
The lower torso is intruding on the upper torso.
The red is intruding into the field of green.
Can you feel how that locks together just beautifully then?
That’s an interlock.
One of the most obvious interlocks, most consistently seen interlocks, if you look at the front
of the torso, here’s the ribs, here’s the nipples, male or female, here is the obliques,
the spare tire muscles, the waist area.
Here is the stomach.
Give a little twist so it wouldn’t matter.
Here are the hips, like so.
Look at how the upper torso intrudes into those hips, takes the rib cage, waist, and
stomach, abdominal wall, and breaks down into it, dives into it.
That’s an interlock.
Some of the sides and the end breaks in.
Okay, interlock, very powerful tool.
Chest, pectoralis muscle breaking inside of the rib cage.
What we’re doing when we interlock them and overlap, but especially the interlock,
that movement is going to last longer.
It’s going to go up inside, last longer, and then take us over the form.
Overlap is like a bean bag, moves us over the form.
Interlock moves us over the form, but also it intrudes up into the forms so the forms
are locking together beautifully, so even more gesture, gesture on two fronts there.
It’s pulling here and then going all the way over.
I hope that makes sense.
I’ll show you in the demo again.
As I intimated there, the anatomy itself, and some of these, you know, contour and overlap,
contour in these, at least a simplified contour at the very least and sometimes the exact
These concepts can mush together, but to separate them out so you can see them from the different
directions, I think is useful.
The actual anatomy, as I said, creates that interlocking idea so you can track the muscle
structure, the bone structure, and feel how to move over just by going over the architecture
and the insertion and origin of that muscle form, so using the anatomy.
And then there are gaps.
In psychology they call it closure.
This becomes very, very useful.
Look what happens here when we dust this back again.
We’ve got an upper shoulder girdle against the ribs.
There is a little bit of overlap there.
We’ve got the shoulder blade.
We’ve got the vertebrae of the spine in there.
We’ve got the trapezius and the other shoulder blade and the teres major, teres minor, the
shoulder girdle there, all the way over.
Then we have the rib cage again, maybe with no overlap this time.
Just a bump on the contour.
Now we’re going to use overlap, contour, anatomy, and dot, dot, dot, interlock in here,
if we intrude that up over, let’s say.
We might use any or all of these in here.
But, notice whatever strategy we’re trying to use—anatomy—whatever strategy we’re
trying to use, we can’t get all the way across.
Sometimes we can when we’re lucky.
More often than not, we can only get part of the way across.
That’s absolutely okay.
That’s what closure tells us.
Look, I’ve got a detail.
Then I’ve got a detail that happens to stretch here.
Then I’ve got another detail—or let’s even say it’s this detail.
Then I’ve got another detail, another detail, and another detail.
Notice how in terms of my construction line, they don’t track very well with the construction
line, do they?
But, what they do do is move up and over.
They get higher in the center and lower at the sides no matter what the detail is.
It was a complex of details.
But, if we turn them into a pearl necklace, the pearl necklace tracks up and over in the
same character as our constructed concept, our hopes and dreams for what this is.
It just does it in a more exaggerated manner and a slightly lopsided manner.
I would actually hope not to have the lopsided because that could twist things off.
I like the end along my constructed axis this way and not twist off that way.
On one of the drawings on the Wacom pad, the nipple line, bust line was out of whack, and
so we wanted to bring that back down to the constructed axis there.
But, the fact that the detail I chose exaggerated the perspective is fine.
Remember, if I’m doing a horror movie, I’d rather it was way too scary than even a little
If it’s a joke, comedy, if it’s way too funny than a little or just barely funny.
I’d prefer the shadows are way too dark than a little light.
I’d prefer the gesture is way too curved than a little stuff.
If we know what our idea is we will always want to push it.
Err to the more dynamic is the way I think of it.
Whatever your dynamic idea is, and it may not even be a dynamic idea.
It may be a quiet, sedate, contemplative kind of idea, but whatever that idea is, push it
in that direction.
Err to the more dynamic.
We are going to make mistakes.
If we always screw up in the right direction, we’re going to get a lot of money, and we’re
going to be called great stylists.
A screw up in the right direction is your style.
In Rembrandt, he screwed up.
He made the shadows too simple.
In Rembrandt he screwed up.
He made the lights too light and too golden, and we love him for it.
So, look at your favorite artists.
In Reubens he made the gestures too fluid, the eggs too bulky.
In Michelangelo’s Pieta, he made every shape in Mary’s face an egg to show the birth
or rebirth concept.
So, when we screw up in the right way, we’re celebrated for it, but it has to be a consistent
direction, erring toward more structure, more gesture, more comedy, more scares consistently.
If we do that consistently, then we can afford to slip in a few serious moments in our comedy,
a few quiet, restful moments in our horror story.
That’s what we want.
If I overdo this perspective, that’s great.
I prefer that.
We don’t care about how it tracks absolutely, we just want to move it in the general direction
and hopefully in a more exaggerated direction.
If I look at the pinch side, my natural place to start to see the three-dimensional structural
idea, what I want to do is dot, dot, dot, find something else or a series of other things
that take me up and over, or if it’s appropriate, down and under.
If I can show you three times something at or near the bottom, maybe the sacral pad and
the upper and lower gluteal structures.
If I can show you three times, maybe the shadow shapes.
Something at or near the bottom, something at or near the middle.
Something at or near the top.
Notice the pinching neck, the hairline, the shoulder line.
All that kind of stuff is giving us something at the top.
Three times: Something at the bottom, something at the middle, something at the top.
You can do a lot more of that, as we’ve just done, but if you do at least three times,
we will feel that form, that three-dimensional position, that structure I should say, that
three-dimensional position in space.
Okay, so that’s our goal.
We turn the contour back into the perspective.
We add up the little details to get the big movement across.
We seek out the overlaps or the interlocks.
This little pinch is an overlap.
This little pinch, because it breaks some of the side end in, is an interlock.
In can be the anatomy.
It can be the line or the tone.
I won’t do the shadow on this.
It just doesn’t take well on that.
We’ll do that in the demo.
But shadow we’re going to find follows the same rules.
The shadow will describe the structure.
The shadow, in effect, is a corner.
When I give a shadow shape, here’s my shadow shape for that gluteal area.
It’s showing a corner where the back becomes the bottom or the back becomes the side.
That’s what we’re after.
Overlaps, contours, interlocks, anatomy, closure, line, tone.
All of my visual components, all of my marks are going to reinforce my structure.
We also want them to reinforce the gesture, so let’s go back now to gesture.
Let’s say there is a leg.
That’s a nice, simple form that does very little, a little bit here, but very little,
a little bit here, very little to destroy our gesture.
It can get a little bit beat up, or it can get a lot beat up, and we lose that.
So how do we fix that?
Let’s dust it back slightly again.
First off, let’s go back to the traditional view of gesture.
Traditionally, gesture is stretch, pinch, and twist.
We just dealt with that.
We ignored the other two for the most part.
We really said pinch was a structural idea.
It’s all semantics, really.
Let’s go back to pinch and deal with it as a gestural idea.
All we’re saying in gesture is how things relate, how things connect.
They can connect off a stretch.
They can connect off a pinch.
They can connect off a twist.
It’s absolutely a logical, useful way of thinking of gesture.
It’s just not as useful as I like, and it’s trying to think about three things rather
than one thing.
I prefer not to use those.
We can certainly use them.
Notice if I have a pinching idea, here is my beanbag.
This was the basic concept of that pose, wasn’t it?
Bean bag for the torso.
Quite often you’ll see the articulating torso is a beanbag, or you’ll see the articulating
torso as a drumstick with wider hips, especially on the female, of course.
The hips stand out and it can articulate and such, go back one way or the other.
Bean bags and drumsticks make an excellent, simple concept structurally for and gesturally
for the torso.
We had our bean bag here.
We started about like that, didn’t we, on that pinch side.
Look what happened when we started adding detail.
The more detail we gave or introduced, the more pinching it became, didn’t it?
Notice on the pinch side there is no problem at all.
When I add more stuff, whatever it is, technique of light and shadow, little form on the big
form, contour that are unconceived; we’re just drawing them because they’re there
rather than conceive them as little architectural structures.
Whatever we do, it just gets better and better and better.
You’ve got to love the pinch for that.
It’s just going to take care of itself.
All this stuff.
I’m going to add the light and shadow, the shadow pattern here like that, let’s say.
And that whole shadow pattern, then, is even more pinching.
Look at the zigzags.
That’s what we’re getting with a pinch is zigzags.
Zigzags, the fabric.
That’s what we’re getting with the pinch.
It just gets better and better and better.
The real problem in gesture is the stretch.
Notice on the stretch side we had this side, we had this on the stretch side which matched
this on the center line, our natural gesture line that we used to connect everything too.
Then we build our tubular form.
We turned into the bean bag.
That’s where the gesture stretch side started to suffer.
We did a more sophisticated shape for the hips.
Let’s do that.
And it got a little worse.
We did a more nuanced representation for the rib cage, separated from the waist.
It got worse.
It went off into the shoulder girdle, the wider shoulders, and it got worse.
Yeah, it is doing this rather than that, and it’s doing it in a very lumpy way rather
than a very fluid way.
So, how do we fix that?
We fix it by breaking the contour.
If we don’t get fixated on the contour, look what happens.
That contour does what it does, and it damages our stretch and gesture.
But now I’m going to come back inside.
I can do two strategies actually.
I can do as Ingres would do and many artists would do.
David, the neoclassicist would do this all the time.
You can play down the lumps and bumps.
Make it smooth.
Ingres does this—these quiet little ripples.
These long, fluid languid movements.
He never does this.
But, if you’re Michelangelo, you’re going to do this like crazy.
Rodan you’re doing to do it like crazy.
So, we can quiet the trouble and pretend it doesn’t exist, but it’s still going to
get a little worse.
Or we can break the contour.
Now I’m going to overlap and interlock, basically.
I’m going to take my rib cage.
Now, notice here when I take that rib cage, there is my initial gesture.
My gesture got a little better there.
For that bit of time it’s even more curved, isn’t it.
Then I’m going to break in.
I’m not going to follow up the contour, I’m going to break inside the contour.
Come over here or here, let’s say, into the shoulder blade.
Keep going here up to the 7th vertebra, maybe, and into the neck, the ducktail of the hairline
and the back of the head.
I’m going to break into here into the sacral area down into here.
Now, look at what we have here.
We can even play this way over here by some pinching form or reflected light, and I can
get you way over here, right to that connective tissue on that strap of the hamstring.
And now, what we had before was this lovely gesture, and we were so proud of ourselves,
weren’t we, that we got that beautiful fluid, graceful line.
Look at where we ended up.
So, we started with this, and we ended up with that.
That’s pretty good.
We made it even bigger and we took several things that were disconnected.
Structurally, the mannequin, the constructed style says there is this part and there is
this part and there is this part, and there is this part, and there is this part, and
there is this part on and on and on.
If you’re ahead of the game you’ll start imposing that gestural idea on it.
It’s still going to be several gestures, and when we add the detail, several tiny gestures
are almost always disrupting the bigger gestures.
Now we’ve really tied together one, two, and maybe three, let’s call it.
Really, it’s three here.
Here is the big two and here’s one at the head and neck.
We’ve tied it into a complicated, complex form, a complex curve, but we’ve integrated
everything into a magnificent roller coaster ride.
Look at how I can keep playing that game through anatomical connections, through interlocking,
through overlapping and interlocking, through closure.
I can skip, make a jump there past something that’s in the way or just where it visually
breaks away, but what a magnificent ride, and really we’re all the way down to here
That can dot, dot, dot, pick up something else.
Maybe it comes through, and we pick up that leg behind that’s over here.
We can feel that inferior connection.
What happens when you start thinking of gesture as a cohesive, a holistic idea?
It’s all connected.
Then the world opens up for you, and interruptions are no longer interruptions.
There is a connectivity there.
Things that should stop can keep going indefinitely off this curve, and you can absolutely stylize
this so that it becomes something else.
You can track like a maze, labyrinth kind of a thing.
It can be this kind of thing or it can be with straights.
It’s not going to be graceful and fluid, but then that wouldn’t be the point if you’re
going to do that.
But it would have this connectivity to it.
We’re going to feel that.
So, notice how wherever the structure goes, we have the potential to find the gesture,
the gestural connectivity in it.
What happens if we weren’t lucky enough to have the back of the hairstyle?
What if it poofed out here, the bun of the hair?
What if it did not connect?
Well, we could find some interior strands or shadow shapes on it, or at the very least
we could say this did this, that would have been my gestural line.
This is way out here.
In fact, clothing does that, doesn’t it?
Clothing sticks up, builds out from the gestural structure underneath and oftentimes shadows
that structure so we pick it up.
It would be a shadow of it.
But also, notice how this is also a proportional idea.
I can check how things fit together.
Most of the time we check how many heads tall is it.
We use some yardstick to measure and check.
If we turn the head over that in a quarter to a half will give me a waist.
A head and a quarter, head and a half will give me a waist.
We start doing these measuring tricks.
As soon as it articulates you can’t use that.
You might have to come up with some new canon of measuring.
But, if I can feel that rhythm, that orchestra, the conductor bringing all those 58 instruments
or whatever is in an orchestra into one song, all those characters into one story, all those
steps into one dance, notes into the music.
All that kind of stuff is going to work more beautifully.
If I can use the gesture to double check, so where does that head fit?
Where does that series of balls or blocks have to fit?
I’ll feel this rhythm, and I’ll know that it just goes out from that rhythm that much.
I’ve got a much better chance of fitting.
As an Italiae artist you can out your calipers and you can measure everything to plot out
on your canvas as many will do and get it perfectly measured and paint it, and it won’t
look hardly like the person or it will be this kind of wooden, waxy version of the person.
It doesn’t have any life.
If Sargent got out calipers he wouldn’t have been Sargent.
Those old ladies are 7 feet tall will necklines like a goddess, deep sunken eyes like Soloman,
full rich hair like Aphrodite.
They were goddesses.
They had very little to do with caliper reads.
So, what we want to do then is feel the proportions, use the calipers, use your measuring tools.
You’re going to need them every once in a while.
Maybe you need them a lot.
But, also use this.
That side of the rib cage.
This side of the rib cage.
The head up here.
The hip down here.
Feel that flow through, that connectivity.
We are not doing 6 peaches and an apple.
We’re doing one still life.
It’s got to be one story, one song, one piece of art, one world that is of consistency
to step into.
The gesture is the most dynamic, most graceful, most beautiful, and the most clever because
they don’t see it.
They just feel it.
It’s not working here.
It’s working here.
The calipers are here.
Well, science tells me that we should go down this many eyes to get to the nose.
It’s empirical evidence.
This is gut level.
It’s going to ring much more true, and it’s funner.
That’s that gestural idea.
And that, again, is the great tool or the great concepts of gaps or closure.
We’re going past the interruptions.
The chapter ends but the story continues kind of thing.
We’re going past those interruptions to always feel how it fits, how it relates, how
it connects to that whole idea, that philosophy of life.
It’s not a still life.
It’s not a landscape.
It’s how I feel about the world.
It maybe just at this moment how I feel.
So, life is this beautiful roller coaster ride or this tortured journey.
You pick and then this becomes a metaphor to the language, to your language to speak
to those deep and powerful things.
Why study masters?
Well, you may be a figurative artist, so that’s that.
But, when I was coming out of the Art Center in the 80s, I graduated in 1982.
A year or two before that, New York in their wisdom, announced that the figure was dead.
The fine art community decided you couldn’t do anything new with the figure.
You weren’t allowed to work with it.
And so the few fine art programs that were still out and around the country started disappearing
I actually studied under illustration to learn the craftsmanship because that’s where the
craft classes were.
There has been a long period of announcing that the figure is dead.
But, the fact is, we are figures.
We live around other figures.
We go to movies to look at figures.
We listen to the music the figures make, and we watch those figures dance.
We’re always going to have a fascination with a thing that is us,
the thing that looks like us.
Remember, we talked about on the first day that most artists, when they do a piece of
work, and you could argue, I would argue all artists when they a piece of work, they’re
really doing a self-portrait.
Even if they’re doing a still life in a way it’s a figure.
And many of the aesthetic principles apply.
We’re always dealing with that fact.
If you want to work with the figure, and you want to study the figure, there is a good
reason to do it.
You don’t have to let anybody try and talk you out of it.
Why study the great masters?
Well, mainly to steal from.
They did it incredibly well.
We still wonder, or some people wonder, if maybe aliens made the great pyramids.
How in the heck could these primitive people—usually when we think primitive, well, they are not
as smart as we are now.
Of course, that isn’t true at all.
But, how can these primitive people with primitive tools get pieces of stone that we can’t
even build cranes big enough to lift get them up on top of a mountain of stone and make
joints so tight that you can’t put a business card in between them?
So, it’s got to be aliens.
It’s got to be telepathy.
It’s got to be magic.
We couldn’t have done it.
The things that humans can do with their skill set, with their minds, with their emotions,
the heights that we can get to is amazing.
I still get a thrill out of making a mark on a page that rings true.
Putting that highlight on the nose and having it pop.
The figure is the greatest expression in a lot of ways of that ability
of man to do amazing things.
When I say man it’s mankind, women and men do amazing things.
So, when we look at the masters, we’re looking at the best.
They survive because they’re the best.
When there was a war they grabbed those few greatest pieces and they ran for it.
Even the Nazis who were taking out everything we’re taking the beautiful pieces and saving them.
So, those things survived for a reason, and they’re there to teach us.
They are the best teachers.
Nobody else, including New Masters, is going to be anywhere close to that.
So, look to those folks.
Take from them, steal from them.
They stole from everybody else.
We know Raphael stole from Michelangelo.
Rodan stole from Michelangelo.
Michelangelo stole from the Belvidere torso.
It’s okay to do that.
When you look, all you want to do is study.
Find as many lessons as you can from those great people, and if you just change the context
just a bit, just change the context.
Hollywood does it all the time.
If you take a little boy who goes to boarding school and put him in a magical boarding school,
you’ve changed the context of a very old idea and made it brand new.
That’s the easiest way to be creative and in some ways the most effective and the most
It’s that a rose by any other name.
If we could look at that rose in any other way or speak to love through a different metaphor,
we’re going to make it brand new.
The dialogue becomes brand new.
When we look at our friend Pontormo here, look at this beautiful flow of drapery.
He must be floating up on a cloud to his maker or her maker.
Just beautiful curvature.
Notice that that circular curvature them, there is our little wrist right there, there
is another one over there.
Look at that head is a big ball.
Oftentimes, in the Renaissance they used a short skull because here is the skull about
They used a short, ball-like school.
Loomis uses that in his drawing books, to less great effect, frankly, in terms of teaching,
but beautiful drawings.
There is that ball shape, that Renaissance ball.
We have the same balls everywhere, and yet now the balls that are contained within the
form have now exploded or are floating away more likely.
You can see a bit of a wing here.
And so look at how beautifully what was in the body as an idea now breaks out of the body.
Again, a potential sense of movement or at least of leaching out.
We’re a leaky vessel that reunites with the world that we think is separate.
I stole that idea right over here.
There is his fold of fabric leaking out.
Here is his body leaking into the environment, leaking into the environment.
Now, this is energetic.
This is leaving a ghostly image of the flesh that was over here or about to be over there,
you know, whatever excuse you want to give.
It’s the flare in the camera lens that is blasted out.
It’s whatever it is.
It’s that same kind of idea that the round barrel-like form that was here is now pushed
out, floated away, leaked off, or exploded from the form that logically should contain it.
It’s an emotional reaction to that event.
So, that was how I stole from the best.
By giving it a different context, instead of incredibly quiet and peaceful, look at
this nautilus shell, kind of golden ration kind of move there, I’ve made it a rougher,
gritter, more aggressive kind of thing.
So, take from the great traditions and hopefully add to those traditions.
Anyway, thank you guys so much for joining us, and we’ll sign off on this.
Free to try
1. Lesson Overview40sNow playing...
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2. Quick Review, Stability & Balance of the Gesture18m 7s
3. Connecting Gestures While Honoring the Fundamental Design Line15m 11s
4. Visual Components to Describe Structure and Gesture40m 7s
5. Adjusting and Redesigning the Gesture15m 19s
6. Example of Stealing from the Masters (and why you should, too)7m 26s