Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Answer to a question...

One of my faithful blog readers, Sean, after reading Quick Sketching with Ron Husband commented on how I was able to capture the "life and energy of my subjects". 

He inquired, "How do you construct a sketch? Do you start with the head or body...do you use some sort of gesture line to capture movement?"

The answer is that it all depends on the action being drawn.

The majority of my sketching focuses on people and animals in movement. Observation plays a key part in any drawing, more so in true quick sketching (my book gives an in depth definition).

The general rule is to get the head over the weight bearing foot or triangle shape for a balanced sketch. You have to work at this for it to become 'second nature' to you.

Sean, here are a few suggestions with examples...

Examples #1.
I usually start with the head and drop a line (visually) straight down to the foot that is bearing the weight.

As an example, the below man is carrying a weighted object (baby in basket).  You'll see his head is directly over his weight bearing foot and counter balanced by the arm away from the body.

As another example, below is a man holding a small boy- both their heads are above his right foot, yet he feels on balance because the boys torso (weight) is centered over the base of the triangle base formed by the two feet.

Example #2

When sketching sports action the idea of head over weight bearing foot does not apply as most activity is 'in the air' or in an extreme pose. A gesture line or basic shape is what I look for.

For really fast action as in these skateboarders (below), I use whatever it takes to capture the pose. After a period of time spent observing arms, heads, bodies in contorted shapes and all at break neck speed and in constant movement trying to stay balanced upon a small rolling board, I'll begin the sketch.

A gesture line here, foot placement there, deciding what shape this pose represents is about all I can do to put this action on paper in a split second of time.

Below is a Long jump series.  Starting with a backward c shape, into a forward c, and landing as a triangle (my interpretation).

By the time I finish these three sketches, the jumper is walking away from the long jump pit.

Zoo sketches-
Animals also have to feel on balance. Weight over feet (paws, hoofs, claws).

In quick sketching try to choose a subject(s) that is engaged in some activity, that makes your sketches  interesting and fun to look at.

But remember to spend some time observing your subject in action BEFORE you put pen to paper.

For more information and helpful hints on Quick Sketching, check out my book on Amazon.

Until next time...Happy Thanksgiving!