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

Pivot Points


The bones articulate with each other within joint capsules. There are imaginary centers of movement inside the joints. I call these locations pivot points.

It is very easy to imagine the locations of pivot points in joints. In fact, it is much easier to think about pivot points than trying to decipher and draw the external view around the joints.

Because it's so easy to locate pivot points, I strongly recommend that you think pivot points right after you apply the three ovals.

A few more important thoughts on pivot points:

As the illustration below shows, pivot points are located deep inside the body parts. They are not associated with the exterior contour of the body. Pivot points can be expertly imagined even in body parts not visible to the artist. This can provide enormous assistance when you want to organize a confusing gesture pose.


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.