- Lesson details
In this lesson, Glenn draws quick sketches from life, taking Da Vinci’s suggestion to “go to the market place and draw real people doing real things.” It’s not enough to know how to do something, you have to actually do it! Glenn draws his grandchildren and his wife as they play in the backyard– interacting with each other, their pets, and their environment. Regularly tackling the challenge of drawing from life as it happens, rather than choosing something specific or hiring a model, is a key step in the evolution of an artist. Getting past the frustration of the chaos of moving figures that make up a college campus, a festival, or train station will give way to great reward as you train your mind and hand to capture figures and create compositions more quickly.
In his 50 years in the fine arts industry, Glenn Vilppu has gained fame for his renaissance approach to drawing and painting. He’s displayed his work at dozens of one-man-shows, and is represented in collections throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Glenn’s books and DVDs are used by universities and art schools across the globe. His traditional observational techniques for teaching drawing have become the standard for professional artists everywhere.
In this series, Glenn takes the New Masters Academy team out of the studio and into various environments for on-location landscape and figure drawing. He demonstrates techniques for drawing with gouache, graphite, and fountain pen.
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with real things happening.
This is what da Vinci said to do.
He’d go to the marketplace and capture real people doing real things.
Lots of movement.
My hand never stops.
In his 50 years in the fine arts industry, Glenn Vilppu has gained fame for his
Renaissance approach to drawing and painting.
He is represented in collections throughout the U.S. Canada, and Europe and has put on
over 20 one-man shows.
His traditional observational techniques for teaching and drawing have become the standard
for professional artists everywhere.
In this series, Glenn takes the New Masters Academy team out of the studio and into various
environments for on-location landscape and figure drawing.
He demonstrates techniques for drawing with gouache, graphite, and fountain pen.
Let’s take and see what we can get out of this.
Real situations, real things happening where people are not posing.
This is what da Vinci said to do.
He’d go the marketplace and capture real people doing real things.
That’s where you get the real action, the real grouping of figures.
Let’s take and see what we can get out of this.
Okay, first of all, when you’re sketching people you can’t expect them to take and
be posing for you.
In fact, I don’t like people that pose for me.
It’s not like we really are sketching them.
So, to begin with, the main idea is to just sort of capture gesture in action.
I always assume that they are going to take and move.
This is a 2-1/2 year old.
He’s already moved from the way he was a second ago.
I’m just capturing gesture.
Try to take and orientate what you’re drawing to the background.
In other words, all I’m doing here is I’m taking and, here is a table coming in.
Another figure behind.
You get a sense of scale coming through.
The main thing when you’re sketching, you want to capture the sense of reality that
At this point I’ve pretty much blocked in all the figures.
Now, they move around.
What you do is once you’ve got a gesture, an action, then it becomes, the object
that you're drawing becomes like a model in animation.
It tells you what they look like.
But I’ve already got the action.
Now I take and expand on it.
I go back into the drawing and I start to expand on that.
Essentially what I’m doing is I’m thinking in very simple construction.
I’ll take and actually construct a bit here.
In other words, what you’re visualizing is simple volume coming through.
A lot of times this simple volume that you’re drawing in here, you doing in this your head,
and what we do is you take and make the jump right away to the volumes.
Now I’m taking and using the drapery, coming around.
Drawing kids is like drawing animals.
They’re never going to sit still for you.
He’s taking and trying to eat some oatmeal.
Now they’ve completely moved.
In fact, not even at the table anymore.
The young girl here is so I’ll take and come back.
Again, I’m relying on a certain amount of memory here.
Again, visualizing the construction underneath.
The more experience you have in drawing the figure, of course, the better you can take
and do it.
The hard part is that most people are attempting, taking and drawing gesture and drawing people
in action, they expect to sit there and try and copy.
As you can see there is no copying involved here.
I’m remembering that she had her head—that’s what this ellipse what here for.
She had her head tilted, the top of the head would have been here.
Now I come back in and I’m literally recreating the form.
I try to when doing sketching, especially if I’m doing groups of figures, to take
and get some kind of involvement between the figures.
Now we’re seeing, we’ve got a group.
We’ve got a table.
Again, I can see they are still here.
I can see what they’re wearing.
I can see what is going on here.
I can see the clothes.
The table is still in the same place, although with children there is no guarantee of that.
Oftentimes I’ll take and go back in with something like this.
This is a waterbrush.
I like to take and use that as a way of taking and adding value to the drawing.
Also, in the drawing what I’m doing here is I’m using a Caran D’Ache.
It’s a water soluble pencil that I can take and—the tone I’m putting down is a sepia.
This will work with the color of the pencil so I can take and
actually start to get large masses.
I can take and try to define some of the form just by creating shadows, light and shadow side.
Now, we’re actually almost back to the position that they were in before.
I can start to add.
We’ll get back to that.
Trying to feel the suppleness of children.
At this point he is crawling on top of the table.
Now you’re really seeing the sketching part, taking and trying to capture an action.
I’ve gone through several different things for now.
I can go back into this.
I’m expanding on it again.
In dealing with the drapery, it is important to actually know that there are
seven basic folds, which take and then build on.
This is totally and different than taking and being in a class where you’re
having 1-minute poses or even 30-second poses where the model is posing and holding a pose.
Capturing real actions, people doing real things.
It’s one of the major elements that da Vinci talks about.
It’s actually going to the park or the marketplace and taking and drawing people doing real things.
Arguing, talking, real life.
Not posed elements.
Okay, this is the mother, or I should say grandmother.
I’m hoping the camera is capturing some of this wild action.
You can see what kind of a situation we’re dealing with.
He’s a pretty good thrower.
What they were doing at this point is looking into the swimming pool.
Grandmother showing the kids something.
This is the type of thing that’s actually useful at this point.
The grouping of the figures.
These are the really useful elements to take and work with.
This is what you don’t get in a classroom situation, this really realistic,
normal type of, how people look.
You’re seeing flow.
You’ll notice there is no fancy drawing here.
It’s really just capturing the action, capturing the gesture.
That’s always what it is.
It’s not following any formula.
Just get the whole.
Sometimes you’re focusing on shape.
Other times you following the line that carries you through the figure.
We’ve got a dog in here.
Big fluffy ears.
I’m not sure what kind of dog that is.
We're getting a whole range of activities here.
This is my same watercolor setup that I have used in several other lessons here.
It’s made from an Altoids can with Sculpy divisions in between
and just regular watercolor applied.
Now, I can go back into some of the things that I’ve done here.
For instance, it helps to separate one figure from another using a tone behind.
It helps to clarify some of the forms.
You can modify and come back into these.
Adjust and change.
One of the ways I keep sketching an awful
lot is actually working directly with the brush.
I’m taking and through, feel the flow.
Notice I’m doing this exactly the same way that I was working with the pencil.
Then I’ll go back into that and I’ll take and clarify the lines.
Another element when working and sketching is I will take and say, okay, I’ve got this
one figure here going, now I can take and add to this other figures, so that we get
the appearance of—and I do this on a regular basis.
I’ll take and get one figure, and then I’ll come back in and I’ll expand on that by
adding other gestures, children that are taking and playing.
It’s important to have the idea of scale.
You can see that the youngest one is this size in here.
Now, in this action here, the pool was actually to the left and he was holding
onto her skirt and looking into the pool, but I wanted them on the right so I just reversed
the pose in my mind so that I could take and expand the group of figures.
The action is pretty much the same.
He was grabbing a hold of her skirt, except that I just did it in reverse.
I can even take and add another figure in here.
The young girl is up here and is taking and…
Now they’re getting a little bit more civilized and slowing down.
I started this with the wash.
I can come back into that.
Work with the, come back into that with the pencil.
Since it is a water soluble pencil a lot of times when we’re working with the wash,
of course, it is wet.
You have the possibility of getting much darker tones just because of the wet
surface to start with and then the pencil that’s water soluble.
It’s not drying out fairly fast.
I also, I used the preliminary stage underneath that I did with the wash.
It’s purely, I don’t follow, I don’t copy.
I can change and just use it as a suggestion.
I’m watching what they’re doing.
Right now I can see underneath the table so I’m taking and, I’m going to take and come through.
Now I want to expand on this whole thing a bit here.
Now I'm getting a little in front of me here.
Going to be a little bit more starting out.
Show me something with their hands.
Notice how I'm jumping right away to where the placement is, trying to get the feeling for the eyes.
A critical part here Just the attitude that
Notice anything I'm doing I'm not worrying about whether every line is correct.
In fact, if I was sitting and worrying about whether the drawing was perfectly accurate
Or something like that it would probably be a horrible sketch.
Expanding on this.
So all I had to start with was really was the action.
A little overdone there with the mouth.
The wavy the shoulders, the arms.
Yeah, don't worry about whether fingers and all that are correct.
We're just taking and, the action.
And it's the attitude of the figure.
I can elaborate on this.
Soften that. The mouth is just a bit overdone.
So now I'm just blending that into the shadow.
Okay, that's taken over here on the other side.
This, as I've mentioned in the other lessons, it's just a piece of plastic that I tape
two pieces together with Velcro underneath or on top to take and attach things.
This time, I'm going to approach it a little differently in that
this is a type of thing we could do like if I'm sitting in the airport or what have you.
I will take and start out right away with a little bit more detail.
So now I'm just taking and blocking.
Be more direct with just the lines.
And I'm gonna expand.
And again, it's really sort of a suggestion.
So as I'm doing it now, in the last lessons we did
a point-to-point, actually first lesson.
And so this really becomes like the point-to-point thing
so I keep adding to the figure as I'm going along.
Now even here she's...
It's not going to be perfectly still so I'm taking and
building on possibility here.
What's gonna become a combination. Go back.
Now, I can come back into this again and add...
Okay, let's see if I can take and, I'm gonna get some action here
Look the good kicker. It just ended up in the pool.
Location see here
Okay, she's sitting here reaching out trying to get the ball that's in the pool.
Okay now they run off to see, but I'm still drawing the last pose.
With the action you would hardly call it posing.
What I'm getting here is a figure slightly turning to the other child.
Now here notice I'm just gonna add another child.
Going out of my way, not exactly the same but off to one side.
Now if you've seen any of my videos on sketching,
you'll see that this is pretty much consistent.
Although, I'm doing gesture drawings. We usually have people posing
Which is not particularly,
when you get a pose, it's not really, no matter how extreme the action, it's not really normal.
So you have to learn to see people in really subtle actions.
That are going on.
Well, all three of these figures really get a feeling that they are in movement.
There's nothing there's nothing static about the poses
or the drawing itself, it's all based on
trying to capture action
Let's see if I can capture her eating here.
Look to see what her brother is doing,
Now, one of the future lessons
that we're going to be talking about is 3D,
3D figure drawing, or capturing 3D in the figure.
There we will be taking and working a little bit slower with a little
more development in the form.
Alright, now you've pretty much got the whole idea.
Gesture and movement.
You saw it.
Lots of movement, lots of movement. That's what it's all about.
I had to keep moving. My hand never stopped.
It was fun. And the more you do this the better off you're gonna take and get.
See I didn't worry about whether made a perfect drawing or not. That's not the point.
It's the capture of the action, the vitality of your subject.
Okay. That was a good lesson.
Let's see what you can do with it.
Free to try
1. Lesson Overview1m 11sNow playing...
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2. Approaches to Drawing from Life26m 21s
3. Capturing the Action20m 33s