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  1. #1
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    Is This Gesture Bad?

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    Here's a rough 1 hour sketch, is the gesture working? It's hard for me to judge since I have a bit of a blind spot on poses.


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  3. #2
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    The one at the back is better due to head tilt. Both have lighting problems as you're muddying up the light and dark areas. Be bold and make a stronger statement with light to make a strong statement with a pose.

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  5. #3
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    Thanks, those are great points! I purposefully put little effort in the rendering/lighting since people say my poses and gestures are no good. So this was just a means of seeing if my gestures have improved or if it still needs work.

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    I suggest you to do quick gestures 30 sec. to 5 min, You can try different approaches like line drawing or big masses of light and shadow.
    About light and shadow, you can use black and white layer on top of your painting as you paint so you can check your values. How often you paint from life???

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  8. #5
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    I've done hundreds of quick gestures, but I don't seem to improve much from them. Maybe I am doing it wrong, I'm not sure. I haven't painted from life recently since it seems like I need to focus more on the drawing side of things. I can easily fix the values if it means getting a better estimation of the quality of the gesture.

  9. #6
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    Alright, here's a quick update on the values:
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    I think the issue is I don't do enough studying of figures actually moving, most of my studies have been done of people posing for a camera.

  10. #7
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    Even drawing from life is useful. Quick gestures are more about finding flow or movement of pose, less about measuring, too much measuring can stiffen pose but I think you should take a look some kendo poses for example as if you strike its more interesting if whole body is moving. You can start loose like you would do with quick gesture then refine pose as you go

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  12. #8
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    They lack energy. Also, motion isn't necessary to capture energy. Even sleeping people and trees have gesture. You just have to be able to perceive it. The way I learned was just by doing a bunch of gesture drawings. After about a month of doing 30 second gesture sketches for about 30 minutes or so each and every morning, I eventually started to feel it.

    Another thing that helped me was the book Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators by Mike Mattesi. He seems to be able to put the feeling into words that help cultivate the necessary perception.

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  14. #9
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    The gesture of those figures is just fine in my opinion. The arms look too short/small. I do like the muted hues and hue variation in the skin.

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  16. #10
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    That's a relief to hear because I was considering quitting art altogether since I seriously can't see how the gesture is wrong. I do appreciate other's feedback and suggestions, I've reread the Force books, rewatched the Proko videos but for the life of me, I don't understand how it translates well into painting unless I want to make my figures look like Rubens. Exaggerated gestures make perfect sense for animators, and non-hyper detailed styles of art, but for imaginative realism, it feels like I can't push the poses much further without breaking the believability. Maybe I just haven't done enough studies to awaken that inner eye, but I have a hunch it's just a difference in taste and style. Thanks for your input, it truly is a big relief to hear from someone with professional experience. And I complete agree that the arms and hands are way off.

    Rubens Example:
    Is This Gesture Bad?

  17. #11
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    The purpose of an exaggerated gesture is to offset the tendency of figures to become stiff once you add geometric construction/muscles on top of the gesture. Figures are not my specialty by a long shot, but unless you're going for a very stylized, overly dynamic look, those poses work fine for me. I don't think the figures in the Rubens you posted are particularily dynamic either, to be honest. If you're looking for realism and dynamic figures in a master painter, look at Steve Huston, for example.

    Is This Gesture Bad?

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  19. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ubem View Post
    That's a relief to hear because I was considering quitting art altogether since I seriously can't see how the gesture is wrong.
    lol yeah right. im not letting you off the hook that easily.

    look, sometimes its just the fault of the pose not the artist that the figures lack gesture. some poses are just shit boring so you should either change it or exaggerate it. Huston is a good example of exaggerated realism, although i think his exaggeration lies more in the way he paints (interior forms) vs his drawings which are quite grounded (exterior shape). its worth noting that Rubens exaggerated his figures and got a lot a looser as he aged (which is what you posted above) and the reason for this is because he wasn't being realistic he was idealising. doesn't look like you want to go down that road so don't look at him.

    Quote Originally Posted by ubem View Post
    Exaggerated gestures make perfect sense for animators, and non-hyper detailed styles of art, but for imaginative realism, it feels like I can't push the poses much further without breaking the believability.
    how familiar are you with Sargent? 0_0 i mean i know he isn't imaginative but somehow he managed to stay faithful to the pose (without breaking it) whilst still being dynamic as you could possbily hope to be in the realism realm imo.
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  21. #13
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    @Giantano Thanks, those are some excellent counter points. I never considered the interior of a figure to have gesture, great observation. And haha, I would quit, but probably not for long...
    Here's another one of Sargent's that I admire, along with many Bouguereau's figures. The subject of gesture feels like such a mental labyrinth since I cannot distinguish what is good and what is the bad gesture, and therefore cannot improve and move in the right direction. It feels like there's no concrete right or wrong gestures from a purely objective perspective, or perhaps I'm not looking hard enough. I'm so grateful for everyone's input so far, I'm learning little by little, hopefully I'll have a grasp on it one day.
    *I'll try looking for Houston's tutorials, if it helps I'll try to report back.
    Is This Gesture Bad?
    Last edited by ubem; 3 Weeks Ago at 01:02 AM.

  22. #14
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    Wow, Steve Houston's Exploring Gesture and Structure explains so much so well. It helps that his figures are something I'd love to emulate, rather than learning from an animator. I'll be back with better gestured figures for critique, thanks again, everyone!

  23. #15
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    Houston said something that started to click with me, something to the effect that gesture is the story, the relationship, of how all the anatomy comes together. I can totally see why and where my gestures were failing because I always started figures from perspective-based construction rather than the bare bones of a living, moving creature. Here's a quick test to see if I've learned anything, not sure if the gesture is successful or not though:
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  24. #16
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    To me it's primarily a different pose. The old one was more balanced, braced, settled where this one is a bit less so and perhaps more dynamic because of it but ultimately telling a different story. Don't obsess about gesture, you can easily lose yourself chasing it if you focus too much on some elusive quality or concept.

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  26. #17
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    I think that trying to render a pose while worrying about the gesture is not really useful (rendering a pose usually stiffen it a lot, that's why you often exagerate a little the gesture in the drawing phase). It's an issue that should have been resolved in the drawing phase. You said that you already did many gestures, can you post some here? (Are they done like this? http://www.proko.com/how-to-draw-gesture/#.WuoiOIiFOUk)
    Maybe try to study gestures in a different way. If realistic stuff makes you stiffen the pose, try cartoon or simply more stylized stuff to understand the concept (even if you dont like the style). Dont worry about perfect proportions, here we are talking about understanding the principle, it's not about making a pretty rendered image.
    Check this out: http://grizandnorm.tumblr.com/archive (here you can find tips and really cool gestures/figure drawing, these show how gesture can give life to a drawing)

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  28. #18
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    Thanks for the advice and those are some good ideas to try. I rendered it out since it seems the values was a huge issue with the first few figures I posted. These last few drawings are probably my loosest ones since I just started using stick figures to start a gesture study. The hundreds that I've done are mostly built out of round blocks in perspective (Like the smaller one on the right most page) or were done several years ago when I went to figure drawing classes, which are probably thrown out or buried somewhere. Name:  111.jpg
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    *Here are a few more, with the left ones done around 1 minute, the center ones being around 30 seconds (these were pre-Houston sketches), and the last one a muscle/foreshortening study of 10 min+ :
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    Last edited by ubem; 3 Weeks Ago at 07:32 PM.

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  30. #19
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    To me it seems like your lines are insecure. It's understandable that you want to produce a good drawing, but that's making you stiffen the pose. Try to do gesture from photos with this kind of mannequin, and for now, don't detail any further. (this is not mine)
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    Once you get good at this try to detail on top. Hope this can help.
    A useful article i found: https://line-of-action.com/forums/to...-figure-first/

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