That’s right folks–you don’t think you can draw? Have I got an experiment for you! Meet the Gesture Drawing:
In figure drawing class (the files of which I went and dug through tonight so I could have something to show you) we would start every day with a series of short scribbles. The model would hold a pose for up to 60 seconds (sometimes as little as 30) and we’d have to capture as much of the pose as we could in that time.
The idea is you put your pencil, crayon, charcoal, whatever down on the paper and scribble like mad to describe the shape and weight of the object in front of you; ideally without raising your pencil.
At first I wasn’t very good at it–I have a lot of unfinished gesture drawings and blobby squiggles. Eventually, though, I got more adept at describing what I saw, learned to fill the space and then go back to add weight to the edges and to trace the spine and limbs to get the most movement out of the fewest possible seconds. Then I started using charcoal or conte crayons for value gesture drawings (value being the relative dark or light qualities between the pencil strokes) and I got even faster because I could rough out the shape of the figure quicker, and spend more precious seconds adding definition.
Another trick (though that makes it sound like a cheat, and it’s not) is to think about the general joint and muscle structure of the body: the head is an oval, the neck a cylinder, the shoulder circles with narrow ovals for upper arms, little circles for elbows, and so forth. This still comes in handy (majorly!) when I’m trying to figure out a pose for my comics.
While you can practice gesture drawing from still photographs, live models really are better. My teacher suggested going to a park or playground and drawing children at play. If you feel a little odd about doing that and otherwise lack a model to pose for you (and, yes, it IS easier to draw nudes that clothed people–clothing obscures lines and confuses the eye-mind understanding of what we know is there), pop in a DVD and hit pause on an interesting pose. Yoga or pilates DVDs would be great for this. (And, hey, it’s not like they’re getting used otherwise, right?)
* * *
And now for my Daily Doodle.Â (Still time to share yours, hint HINT! lol)
So this one came out of nowhere. I was really stumped about what to draw but I knew I needed to do something. I had colored in a stamped image the other night that had a fairy and butterflies and stuff, just fooling around with my colored pencils (okay, procrastinating working on the comic) so I was thinking flowers. Then I thought of that Dali-Disney collaboration (Destino) and the female with the bell-shaped dress (about 2:30 in) and that’s where this came from. I couldn’t decide if it looked more like a Tulip-themed cotillion gown (with little wheels under the tips of the framed skirt petals so that the shape would not be compromised as she walked) or a Dr Seuss Wedding Dress 🙂 THEN (see the way this happens?) I realized it would be perfect for another project I have on the back-burner, and this drawing will get used again. Yay!