How to let loose: the 2 MINUTE Gesture.

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It’s been about 2 years since I’ve properly attended a life drawing/figure drawing class. But tonight I was rummaging around underneath my bed and I stumbled upon my old art pad. I thought I’d update my website and post a couple pictures to share the excitement and rush of warming up with gesture drawings before a life drawing class.

Gesture Drawings are quick sketches that usually last between 30 seconds and 3 minutes per pose. The goal of a gesture is to capture the ENERGY of the model’s pose and aim for general PROPORTIONS.

The examples above are 2 minute gesture drawings, used to loosen up before moving on to longer 30 – 60 minute postures. When people know they have AN HOUR to complete their drawing, they take their time, measure the proportions, and think before every stroke and shadow. With only 30 seconds for each posture, the careful uptight artist is forced to feel the drawing rather than calculate it. Even for long poses, you should start with a gesture in the beginning. Otherwise, the rest of your work is screwed… The proportions and energy must initially be correct before all the detail can transform a good sketch into an amazing piece of art.

Personally, I’ve always been fascinated with good sketches that are 10 minutes or less. It’s amazing how little detail and shading you actually need to recognise the human body and it’s posture. The University of London Student Union does some cheap classes on Wednesdays, so I definitely plan on starting back up soon!

Plus, it’s always hilarious to see people’s reaction when you tell them one of your hobbies is drawing naked people. (You can discover a lot about someone’s personality based on his or her attitude to the raw human body.) And that’s why I love art. It makes people feel awkward… pushing them outside their comfort zone.

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Let’s make Tuesdays “Life Drawing Day”? (Plus, add a yoga class.)

Sketch

This is a quick snapshot of two pages from my sketchbook: one page includes 5 min poses with pen and the other 3 min poses with markers. It’s been about 3 years since I have seriously and consistently practiced life drawing…. And boy, does it show in my art! Many people assume that drawing skills are rooted in talent (therefore unrelated to practice). That could not be further from the truth… ART IS PRACTICE. ART IS TECHNIQUE. ART IS CONSISTENT CREATIVITY.

Speaking of practice, these poses were inspired by the recent yoga classes I have been attending. Yoga is consistently referred to as an individual ‘practice.’ Sometimes, the classes can have a religious feel with the ‘namasté’ pray at the end (but rest assured it’s more mental and physical exercise than spiritual). Today, our teacher kept referring to the neck as “an extension of the spine,” which reminded me of the principles behind gesture poses in life drawing classes. (Gesture poses are more about capturing the energy of the pose than the actual proportions and details.) Yoga teachers also love to say “Check in with your body today… Listen to your body.” In much the same way, figure drawing is about checking in with the model’s posture, attitude, pain, physique, and form for THAT MOMENT. Too many people draw what they think they see rather than what they ACTUALLY see. Both yoga and figure drawing requires checking in with the body constantly to re-alight the physical level. After the power vinyasa class, I was extremely motivated to sketch… Plus, my sister is just SO photographic (aka draw-able).

Today, I set my intension for my yoga practice and life drawing practice … “Stay consistent in order to improve technique and creative flow.”

When was the last time you paid attention to the cinematography of an ANIMATED film?

When was the last time you paid attention to the cinematography of an ANIMATED film?

My Neighbour Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki, 1988)

Can we please take a moment to honour the framing, colour, lighting, and design of shots in Miyazaki animation? His animated films are visually beautiful and a nice stylistic difference from the traditional western aesthetics.

Note to Self: the cinema of Asia is artistically exceptional and I should watch international films more often.