Saturday, September 3, 2011

Breaking old habits by starting new ones

I really enjoy drawing portraits - the face is the most visually distinguishable aspect of a person's identity (thus being one of the first things the viewer sees and reads) and it is one of the few things of the human body that I feel I can draw semi-accurately.  However, it is also the thing I feel I am most comfortable drawing - just look at my sketches throughout the summer and you will see most people I draw are depicted from the shoulders and above.  I need to break out of that comfort zone.

I've already done a few minor studies of everything but the feet over the summer, so I thought that would be a good starting point into unfamiliarity.  I tried to learn the foot's basic shape and visual idea from the analytical figure drawing blog I usually go to, but its flow and structure still felt incredibly unusual.  I decided I needed to delve into its bones since they're not only the structural basis, but all movement derives from them as well (as does everything else within the human body.)

Please forgive my scanner

Which brings me to my next conflict - gesture drawing.  I recently started reading Walt Stanchfield's Drawn to Life, which focuses on capturing the essence of the pose to tell a story.  Anatomy is still a crucial factor, but it seems like capturing correct proportions takes a back seat in order to better depict what you are trying to say with the pose - in other words: exaggeration (one of the 12 principles of animation).  This really clashes with what I'm learning as a fine artist in my Developing a Visual Vocabulary class (where we sculpt sacrums and other bones in order to truly understand form).  In addition, I'm not sure if I'm even doing gestures correctly.  I'll have to ask some of my old teachers their thoughts as well as the Ringling advisors when I visit the campus later this month.  However, the more I read, the more my instincts tell me that Walt Stanchfield's teachings on gestures are the bridge between character animation and what we learn as fine artists about the human body.

Some notes on the left page and gesture-ish chicken scratches on the right

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