@rishenko- not often enough I see human faces as planes, I break up the cheeks, the forehead, the nose, the lips, etc. into separate planes but I still need to work on proportions, otherwise the planes will be off as well.
Do you find that thinking in planes helps you more than thinking in terms of surface lines/proportions?
I was asking out of curiosity because your images have a great sense of movement, line, and the like. I see some construction in the figures and a few on the faces, but not as much. That prompted me to look at the faces and some other objects, which led to the question about planes. I seem to come from a different direction, which I'll describe below. Place all of this in the context of me being rather analytical.
Still-life: I try and first think box things in with markers for important edges and straight lines for important angles. Next, I place things in terms of simple masses, cubes, spheres, what-not to box in the subject with appropriate relative sizing. After, I refine those blocks down into smaller objects, cleaning up angled lines, adding either more simple masses, blending some, etc. Then, I begin mapping out shadows. Though maybe to some degree before, it's at this point that I start thinking in planes.
Faces: Similar to the above. Box in the working area, refine it down with simple head shapes, locate the pieces. During the last is when I start thinking some in planes. I try and check pieces using the Reily method to lightly map out the facial structure and see how it compares, how everything fits. Combine this with thinking in terms of the light planes, and it helps me make sure the puzzle pieces work, if that makes sense? Of course, I haven't posted any faces in quite some time, so I should do that this next week.
People: Gestures, gestures, gestures. Maaaaan, I suck at those. My proportions aren't terrible (for a beginner), and you can see the motion and figure, but it's missing the exaggeration and vitality when compared to people like you. I need to focus more on curves, lines, exaggeration, and less on trying to perfect it as a figure?
I'm thinking of taking a multi-day breather from still-lifes and focusing instead on gestures, movement, faces, and planes. I've been neglecting those, faces entirely and beyond doing maybe 50-60 gestures in the last week or two, to work entirely on still-life and simple objects. Ahhh, the life of a beginner.
Also, thanks for posting the link to the animation pdf.
@rishenko-I definitely get the sense that you want everything to be perfectly structured-which isn't a bad thing at all, especially when it comes to still lifes. They can teach you so much about composition, perspective, and proportions in perspective which are ALL invaluable to figure studies. You're getting an excellent foundation by doing still lifes. I think for figure studies it goes like this: capture the gesture! Completely abandon all sense of structure (scary, right?) Just get some crazy, flowing lines down that describe the deepest impression you can find of the model's attitude (gesture). This is your base for the rest of your drawing. Get that action down perfectly. THEN revert back to that structured mindset....block in the basic forms, figure out the planes, add shading to make those forms stand out. The way you describe your approach to still life is perfect, you've got it down. now it's just a matter of endless practice
Here are some tips for gesture...try them out every day for a week or two and see if they help you improve any. I got most of them from the animation pdf. This will probably be a nice break for you from your still life studies, and after a week or so you can return to those and apply gesture to them. Like how a teapot has a really elegant, playful gesture with its curvy spout and handle, while a bottle of whiskey usually reads to me as being very bold and angular because it's such a strong drink (that was a great still life of yours by the way--those items have great contrast between each other as far as shape and taste go, but are still connected because they're awesome drinks).
1. Feel the gesture. It's okay to exaggerate the pose, gestures aren't about drawing the model exactly. Go crazy with details later, but for now just get your first impression with as few lines as possible (something I need to work on myself). Is the model (or the object--objects have gestures too!) happy? sad? tense? excited? Whatever your first impression is, target that and get it down on paper. If you have to, get up and act it out to really feel it. it's silly, but immensely helpful.
2. To add to #1: every drawing should say something, and it should be clear and obvious what the message is. Otherwise it's just a doodle.
3. Draw from the elbow, not from the wrist. The wrist wants to force too many tight lines, a habit that comes from using tight motions to write every day. The elbow is much more relaxed.
4. One solid line to describe gesture is better than a bunch of scribbles. Scribbles break up the flow while a nice, beautiful line will carry the viewer's eye through the action effortlessly (This is another thing that I REALLY need to work on!)
5. Keep in mind the balance of a pose and where the weight is distributed. The center of balance will always be through the pit of the neck, where the neck tendons and the collarbone meet. You can practice this on yourself if you stand in front of a mirror and shift from left foot, right foot, then back. You'll notice the pit always stays in line with where your center of balance is.
6. Draw verbs, not nouns. Don't draw "the neck" "the head" "the foot". Draw arching, pulling, twisting, stretching, bending, folding, wrinkling, relaxing, etc.
7. Resist the urge to straighten up a pose. If a model is leaning, really make them project a sense of leaning. If a model if lifting her foot, really bring it up off the floor with a good arch and a pointed toe, accentuating the fact that it's fighting gravity. Bodies don't WANT to stand up straight...we're constantly in a battle against gravity pulling and bending us in weird, not-straight ways.
8. trying to get a strong silhouette can really make the action of a pose pop. Again, it helps us resist the urge to "straighten up" a figure.
9. Last one! I've noticed that the shoulders and hips almost always counterbalance each other...if the right shoulder is dropped, the left hip will also drop. In some of my gestures you can see where I've drawn these lines across the shoulders and hips...
I think that's all I've got for now. If I think of more i'll add to this. Basically, it takes practice. I just started gesture on May 20th, apparently, from looking back at my first CA sketchbook page. I practice 1-2 hours a day and it's definitely beginning to click.
Here are some gestures I did this morning and a couple pages from a few days ago that I didn't post....I wasn't very loosened up today but I feel that by the end they got better (the two pages done in pencil). Trying really hard to simplify my lines!
I hope this helps rishenko, good luck! And thank you for sharing your process, i'm going to try your approach with faces today. I've heard of the Reilly method but never tried it, going to look it up right now.
@AllyAlbon-You've got it sister, persistence is the key. Thank you for the encouragement!
Today I tried a new strategy: "If I do a page of head studies, I can watch one episode of How I Met Your Mother" (I just started watching the other day-hated it at first, now I'm suddenly on season 2...)
But today's new strategy in reality ended up going something like this: "Okay, I did a page of head studies. Time to watch How I Met Your Mother!" 7 episodes and half a bottle of wine later....."I need a new strategy". Haha.
...or maybe i just need a whole lot more willpower
Hope to have something other than dull gestures posted soon.
Love your style/studies, keep at it. Hopefully we both can post some stuff that took more than 3 hours sometime as I have only been posting quick stuff as well. Its good to see you studying the shape's and flow of the body. Will definitely help in the end
Striving to be the best that is possible before I conk into the grave.
@spitboi- Good to hear we're in the same boat. I think I'm going to start making time for longer studies this week you should do the same!
@LastGen- Thank you very much, I'm definitely going to build on gesture with figure studies. I've had that in the back of my mind but I still feel like I need to work on gesture a bit more. Hopefully I;ll have some figure studies done this week.
First off, thank you for the generous outpouring of information on your approach. I'm going to take the week off from lengthy still-lifes (just a few shorter ones to keep the approach fresh in mind), and will instead focus my time on gestures using your information and that of the pdf you linked. I've created a 'before' page of gestures and will likely post my updates on my sketchbook.
Finally, I think I know what's drawn me to your work. I would highly suggest checking out AztcFireFlower's thread for some beautiful and elegant approaches to gesture and figure sketching. Your drawings remind of his/hers.
You are right, by the way! When learning new things, I usually take a highly structured, analytic approach. Funny how I never do that with the rest of my life.