Life Drawing
Lesson I
Gesture -- The Foundation of Figurative Art

The shortcomings of the stick figure



By itself, the stick figure can indicate the relationship of pivot points in the gesture pose. It can suggest the tilt angle of the ovals, and the rough placement of exterior-contour-center-lines.

But look at the above stick figure. Can you tell how the body parts project toward you or away from you? Do you see rotund volumes? The stick figure is a little like a pressed plant, where you don't get much sense of the figure's lifelike volumes or position in space.



Gesture Intro Page Skeletal Foundation
Stick: The following are the key elements for organizing a "stick" figure:
The line of action Three ovals -- Head, Ribcage, Pelvis Pivot points Long bones Tilts and angles Contour center lines of front and back torso, and face
Projection and volume augmentations: While good as a foundation, the stick figure does not adequately express projection of form, volume, or relative position in space. There is more you can do to express these important factors in the posing model:
The shortcomings of the stick figure Showing projection Application of the projection concept to the stick figure Simple volume solutions Relative position in space
Loosen up: Using the stick figure foundation with the projection and volume augmentations, you can loosely organize an expressive gesture sketch:
Compare the "contour" method to the stick-start method Importance of the free-going mark The line of action and stick are construction lines Adding relationship and rhythm



What's New? | Shortcut

Entrances: | Studio | Alzofon Art Institute | Guest Wing, Link Room | Idea Library | Academy |

Rebecca Alzofon can be e-mailed at
This page created February 14, 1998
1998 by Rebecca Alzofon. All rights reserved.