Art Theory : Gesture: why you should love your art history teachers (and dead people)
Another actual art relevant post ( I swear I’m actually good at this stuff…)
Gesture drawing/painting (honestly..I consider them the same thing) is one of those again mysterious things that some how ends up looking good in the end, and to that average person is like magic. BUT, much like the rest of art, gesture is 50% science 50% practice.
“what someone invented gesture!?”
That’s right Timmy! Sometime around 400bc people decided that really stiff sculpture looked kinda lame
but it is still my favorite ever, and shifted a statues weight on one side, causing the rest of the figure to follow suit. After this a whole ton of stuff cropped up in western art and started a wave of naturalistic sculpture and art. So tada! gesture! (Joe Basile probably wants to hit me right now) If you are struggling with it, don’t worry! People didn’t always think of gesture as obvious, and like most aspects of art, you tend to have to think of each and every aspect as you move along from sketch to final piece!
In short, Gesture
From this point forward I’m going to suggest you practice drawing either batman, or a large bird for fun! (i suggest batman just because he makes amazing sassy poses, and can be very emotive if you do it right!)
(readmore! Gifs, and batman!)
The key to gesture drawing is two things (mostly…)
anatomy-If you don’t know the anatomy of something, look it up, its worth your time to learn the basic moving parts of something, not only to build your visual library, but to
spam cool pictures on tumblr practice. Knowing the anatomy of your figure or form lets you pose your figure in the first place, without it, you cant place the weight/momentum of your object, or even know how much momentum your figure has.
Weight- knowing the weight of your object will place it in space. If you dont know how heavy something is, or are at least THINKING about how heavy something is, you wont be able to move it accurately in accordance to its anatomy. (even a ball with a string has anatomy)
Momentum is the driving force for your object and will cause your figure to follow in suit. According to which object was put into motion first, the next closest anatomical joint will follow. But in accordance to a speed and weight
Batman is standing, batman lifts his arm in the second image, but its apparently slow, there isnt enough momentum to move his cape along with it, or even the rest of his body. BUT in the third image batman is really uppity about something so he flings his arm upward causing his stance to change, the joints adjacent to his arm and cape to move with him.
It is the same concept with all of these doodles, that batman’s anatomy follows the momentum of all of his actions, even when things (like in the last sketch) interact with him, pushing and pulling his figure.
Now when it comes to actually placing the lines of a sketch, I start with the line of most weight. The line of most weight carries the POINT of the action and all motions follow it. This line, is also called the spine in many cases, and often can be the spine its self, sense it carries the SPRING in our step and contains a lot of our center of gravity (if not the pelvis).
In this deer sketch i started with the spine, curled up, as the legs retract to the core of the body. The spine is the focus and all points of anatomy react to it. As in the case of some of the batman sketches, his cape reacts to his arms, or his whole body is reacting to the rope from which he swings.
The body and form is fluid and all motion flows through it, small and big. Even bones bend and sway!
So keep in mind weight and anatomy as you begin drawing, think of the mass of the object and how it affects thing things around it.
And don’t panic if you struggle with it! Cave people had it right, but everyone forgot what they were doing in Europe for thousands of years.
So now that we have awesome people like art historians showing us all that cool old stuff, we don’t have to totally rediscover that information for ourselves, and instead, can spend that time making
doodles of dragons new and even more cutting edge art.