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

Simple volume and projection solutions

The cylinders above illustrate several variations of volume description.


An easy way to indicate volume is to make turning edges a different value than the full bellies of the form. On white paper, you could darken the edges of the form. In gesture sketching, you can do this very quickly by making a loose collection of lines at the edges, like in the illustrations below. You may notice that artifacts from a searching style can automatically describe this kind of volume.
Illustration (1) has a flat top and bottom, but you may want to indicate that you are both looking up at the top, and down at the bottom of the cylinder, as in this figure (2). Notice the curvature on top and bottom. This happens in figure drawing, like in some of the figures below.
Illustration (3) causes you to be looking down at the top and down at the bottom. The top is closer to you, right? That means the top is projecting toward you.
Illustration (3) isn't as extreme projection as (4). Relative angle of view is suggested by the roundness of the ellipses associated with the cylinder. Including round or compressed ellipses and also, using tonal change at form turning edges, will combine the sense of volume and projection.
If you show perspectively converging lines over distance (things get smaller with distance), you get more of a sense of recession.

The Sphere

Many forms in the figure are sphere-like, and can be handled as volumes accordingly. Like the illustration below, all you need to do is loosely circle the full parts. The edges will recede and the center areas will appear full.


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



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This page created February 14, 1998
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