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

Look at the same gestures, only now as a skeleton.


The skeleton is the foundation of human form and movement. While we can't see much of it in living people, the skeleton plays a critical role in organizing the shapes, bends and twists of the body.

Because of this, rather than just draw what you see of the external structure, I recommend that you first draw what is inside, a stick-like skeleton. Once you get used to this way of thinking, you can start with other approaches, but use the skeleton reference as a helpful guide any time you want to.


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.