Thursday, 3 March 2011

Gesture Drawing: Action Poses - thumbnail drawings part 1

I recently posted a bunch of gesture drawings and also shared some of my thoughts on the process of drawing 30 second poses in one of those posts, touched on my attempts at incorporating space and composition into that process in another and then added a bit more in one more post.

Trying to capture the pose of a full figure within 30 seconds can be pretty challenging and trying to do the same with 10 second poses is, predictably, three times harder! Here's how they turned out:

Gesture Drawing - Action Poses - thumbnails 01

It's worth pointing out that each of these figures is roughly the size of a postage stamp. Faced with such short time my response was to draw small, the logic being there'd be less distance (across the paper) to travel.

Gesture Drawing - Action Poses - thumbnails 02

Working like this means you end up with what animators call "thumbnail" drawings - tiny drawings that communicate the essence of a pose i.e. a drawing that:
  • has a clear line of action
  • effectively shows how weight is distributed in the pose
  • describes the entire pose using only the main shapes
  • consequently discards superfluous detail
  • is easy to read as a silhouette
I'll admit drawing this way gets pretty frantic at times, especially when the model switches poses every 10 seconds like clockwork, leaving you no choice but to move on to the next drawing. Mind you, the relentless pace always pays off because I come away with a healthy reminder of what lies at the heart of any good image with a strong visual statement.

Gesture drawing from a life model continues to have a positive effect on my approach to character design, illustration, story boarding, photography and of course planning locomotion and performance in character animation.

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