Sunday, 28 April 2013

Foundation, Foundation, Foundation.

Michael Whynot. Figure Study, 2013. Red chalk with white highlights.


Michael Whynot. Thirty second?? gesture drawing, 2013.


I had someone comment this morning, during our life drawing session, that they liked my use of anatomy. And there is nothing more wonderful than to have our work appreciated.

But, while I do study anatomy, and its accurate portrayal greatly enhances our drawings, I worry that, often, anatomy is the only aspect of a good drawing that gets noticed. Unless the draftsman works from a strong gestural foundation, all the accurate anatomy, tone, etc. which they use later on, will be for nothing. Just as a carpenter would never attempt to shingle a roof before pouring the foundation for a house, so the draftsman must have their gesture solid before they worry about anatomy.

Shown, above, is a thirty second gesture from this morning's session and, above that, a thirty minute study completed, this afternoon, from that initial gesture. Notice that there is very little in the way of anatomy in the gesture; just the thrust of the forms, the tilt of the head, the twist of the torso. But it was all the information which was absolutely necessary to complete the final drawing. The pose is what was important; the natural rhythm that flows through a gesture is what makes our drawings come alive. Gesture animates anatomy not the other way around. If you build a drawing with anatomy as your foundation, you will find your drawings stiff and two dimensional; a lifeless endeavour. Concentrate on the gesture first; give it as much study as anatomy, or more. Life is what the viewer really sees in a good drawing, even if they don't realize it.