This blog...

...was initially for pieces done on a computer, but has since become a free-for-all. Here you'll find process work (digital and otherwise), sketch pages and studies, sometimes with commentary.

You can see the rest of my work here.

Remember kids : if you can't make pretty designs, at least make pretty lines!


Saturday, August 29, 2009

lifedrawing log - 08.29.09

3-7 minute gestures, courtesy of Naked Lunch.
The model was holding a fan in a few of these, which my drawings should have reflected better, among other things.

A question was asked about my current lay-in process, so listed below is what I'm trying to be mindful of at these lifedrawing sessions. The hierarchy gets shuffled and expanded every month or so :)

Earlier thoughts :

-What is the action (story) of this pose?
-If I was to describe that action in a single, fluid stroke, what would that stroke be? Is a second major stroke required? Am I including all extremities (hands, feet, head) in these early strokes? Afterthoughts read as afterthoughts.
-Can the severity of these establishing action lines be pushed further for greater dramatic effect?
-Do I know what angle I'm viewing the ground at? Can this angle be altered for greater dramatic effect?
-If there's a prop (like a chair or a stick or a wall) that the model is interacting with, is it being included as part of the gesture? Again, afterthoughts read as afterthoughts.
-Where will the top of my drawing terminate? (Make a mark.) Where will the bottom terminate? (Make a mark.) I must establish some physical parameters of what I'm drawing, so things don't get too distorted.
-Which shoulder is higher? Which hip is higher? Which foot is higher? (Make marks.)
-Higher hip is usually an indicator of the supporting (locked) leg in standing poses. This will result in a higher, more flexed buttock, the other being invariably lower and more relaxed.
-In sitting poses, where is weight distributed? Which limbs are being used to prop up the body? What is "pancaking out" on the ground?
-Are all compressions (squashes) and opposing stretches taken into account?
-What masses can be consolidated? (limbs resting on/near limbs, etc.) What masses are better dealt with individually?
-What's in front of what? Which feature is closest to me? Which is furthest away? How can these features be enlarged or reduced for greater dramatic effect?

Later thoughts :

-Does the line I'm about to draw describe gesture or form? If it describes neither, why draw it? These "wasted strokes" do not advance the drawing.
-Is the contour I'm about to draw best represented by a straight line or a curved line? Drawing straight things curvy and curvy things straight messes up a lifedrawing fast, but you definitely need both for it to be a success.
-Am I looking at the side, front, back, top or bottom of something? Is it tilted away from me? On which axis is it tilted? Would a center line help me at all?
-What direction are the knees pointing? Find the axes (they resemble hinges).
-What's happening with the arms? What are the axes of the condyles of the humerus (at elbow - indicate with "barbell")? Using these axes as guides, can I now determine which direction the elbows are facing? Is an elbow pointed (arm bent) or nested (arm straight)?
-What's happening with the wrists? What are their axes (indicate with "barbell")? If the hand is supinated, axes of the aforementioned condyles and wrist will be parallel. If the hand is pronated, the axes will appear twisted.
-What's happening with the hands? Are they relaxed (naturally curled), raised, gripping, pointing, flattened? Where are the thumbs? Do some digits protrude more than others? If time is running out, what basic, gestural shape would best be used to describe the entire hand?
-What's happening with the feet? Are they turned inward or outward? Are they planted, arched, dangling, flexed one way or another? Where is the heel? Where is the big toe? Can I see the instep?
-If the model is female, is there any cool hyperextension happening in the limbs or hands?
-What's happening with the head? Is its cranium (spherical part), proportional to the distance between the pit of the neck and the bottom of the sternum? In which direction is the head looking? Where is its vertical center line? Can I correctly place features on it? Where is the jawline? How much of the neck is visible? How much of the face is obscured by hair?
-What direction is the light coming from?
-Do I have time to indicate heavier darks of side planes, under planes or cast shadows, thereby "popping" the features that need it? (I sometimes do this as I go, based on how obvious the lightsource is.)

Afterthoughts :

-Is this drawing working? If not, where did it go astray? Can I quickly make a comparison drawing to test out this theory? What is the before/after analysis?
-Did I avoid boring parallels and right angles?
-Did I make use of negative shapes in determining spatial relationships and strengthening silhouette?
-Were my strokes economic and resolute? Hairy, interrupted lines slow down a drawing, for you and for the person who eventually sees it! For less hesitant results, I must make decisions and execute them swiftly, with confidence. If a decision is wrong, so be it. If there is no time to make a new drawing, or alter the current one, I will simply try to better my thinking on the next pose. Move on.
-If a pose wound up overly complicated, what could have been downplayed or omitted? Was something getting in the way of an important element? Was it moved to accomodate?
-If a pose wound up overly simple (i.e. dull), what could have been morphed, moved, tilted or otherwise altered for greater dramatic effect? Was another camera angle or lighting rig necessary?
-Was I mentally present, trying to figure things out, or was I off in la-la land, just copying?

For this sort of study, I'm more interested in understanding what a subject is doing than depicting what it is. I'm building a design foundation -- information that would allow me to continue construction later, sans model. Does a nicely rendered kneecap help this cause, or would an axis indicating a hinge point suffice? Of what use is drawing an eye or nose or breast if I haven't yet given attention to the masses upon which they lie?

If I've left out something important, you'd better let me know!


Carlos Tovar said...

You rock dude. Thanks for sharing this. I kicked myself in the butt for not walking over to listen while you tried to explain this during naked lunch.

Danny said...

I didn't expect a comprehensive beakdown of your figure drawing philosophy but that's what you've shared and anyone who reads this is privileged with some brilliant and practical insight.


Also, I will be at the Monday AVAA session, so if you are planning on making it I'll trade you some green papery stuff for your sketchbooks.

Paul Richards said...

Hey, I'm actually planning on checking out the new session Tom's doing at Spiderhouse Monday nights. I don't have any books on me, unfortunately.

suupaboo said...

wow - thanks for these questions and sharing your thought process..