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

The line of action and stick are construction lines.

Look at the figure on the right.

Although there are several interesting phases of development shown in this one study, the figure on the right is the most relevant for this discussion. The figure on the right is a gesture sketch. You can see a basic anatomical contour on the right hand figure, but note the pale gray stick figure still in view. Because the stick figure is made with light lines, any subsequent darker drawing will dominate the visual impact. If a drawing proceeds beyond the gesture stage, the artist can elect to either erase or leave the stick figure in place. The stick under drawing for the figure on the left was erased in a few key areas before the shade zones were dropped in.



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
1998 by Rebecca Alzofon. All rights reserved.