Saturday, December 5, 2015

DRAW! Redux + Setting the Stage + Microgestures

Spent a week trolling through the campus gymnasium + student rec center again with another Life Drawing class (here's last year's post on the same field trip). And yeah, it's virtually impossible to pull off, but serves as a lesson in several crucial facets for these types of exercises: #1 is learn to draw faster. That in turn means sharpening ones skills in observation. Particularly when discerning patterns in movement, ie waiting for them to return to a core set of motions, gestures or poses.
And no different than athletes in training, this hinges entirely on practice. I am constantly reminded of this simple fact while attempting to sketch, say, an entire volleyball or basketball team during their drills: the vast majority of their efforts fail, as in missing the shot, but that ain't the point. Same with drawing.

As per the usual MO, my posse of advanced art majors infiltrated various areas across campus and throughout the surrounding community to harvest random scenes for sketching. I always find a way to incorporate the reference material into my own pieces. Or, put another way, sometimes the cartoons wind up infecting everything else I draw.

As a quick ten-minute demo sketch I sat with a student in the Wood Center's Arctic Java cafe area so as to avail ourselves of the opportunity at capturing folks who might linger a little bit longer than an athlete in action. At some certain point while learning to to life drawing, especially of people out and about doing things, it behooves you to maybe try first setting the stage before putting in the actors. So by means of employing linear perspective we create a setting or/and an environment in which the principles can appear. The characters are not in any way remotely drawn realistically, as exercises like these are not lessons in portraiture. Quite often they are an amalgamation of two or more people, incorporating dress, hair, and posture from multiple subjects.

Another merciless drill I inflict upon the class is an exercise in what I term "micro-gestures,"which are seemingly endless sets of 30-second poses. After fifty or so of these, which maybe a dozen at best might manage to nail the pose, one is theoretically primed for setting up shop out in the real world. And speaking of the real world: read this account of a Scottish photographer who estimates he invested over six years + 700k tries before nabbing the shot of a lifetime. As per a comment left by an Alaskan photographer friend: "Luck favors the prepared mind."

Almost at the opposite end of the continuum of drawing from life (posing models being the ultimate to work from) there any number of opportunities to sketch folks who linger: workplaces make for great settings that lend themselves quite handily to detailed observation. Here are a few of mine from another courtroom field-trip with a class, which along with city buses and bookstore cafes, provide quite the fertile ground for studies.

No comments:

Post a Comment