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Art Lessons: Gesture #1

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Gesture is single-handedly the most
important thing in drawing, period, point
blank, end of story.
Without gesture you really have no energy.
That's what gesture is, gesture is energy.
It's action.
It's a story.
So, gesture tells you everything.
And whether you have landscape,
whether you have figure, whether you have
architecture, you have movement.
And gesture is all of that.
Gesture is the spirit of something.
So, today we're gonna talk about gesture.
Not only is it amazing, it's fun, and it's
easy to learn, and we're
gonna do it together because everybody
could do it, and everybody should do it.
So, the first thing is with respect to
gesture things have to flow.
Especially with the human body, because
the human body is primarily made of water.
So when we see gesture, we think of
We think of rhythm, we think of water.
And we think this, this
flows into this, and this flows into this,
and this flows into this.
Now that has a really kinda beautiful
energy to it.
It's a series of C-curves or one long
So, with gesture we have rhythm, with
rhythm we have
what's called C-curves, and C-curves are
like this
And we have S-curves, and S-curves move
like that.
So, they're flowing.
They're always flowing.
When we have something like this,
that's not gesture,
because that's just stagnant energy that
doesn't continually move.
You gotta think about it as a brook
flowing, flowing endlessly like that.
And that's what that's what the figure is
all about it.
It's all about the fact that it's just
moving and flowing, and
there's an energy to it, and it's alive.
At the end of the day, that's what it's
all about.
It's a living, breathing organism.
And right here, it's just kinda dead
That looks like a virus, a bacteria, as
well as this looks like energy.
So we're gonna talk about a couple things
within gesture that will help us move
understand it, play with it, and get
Okay, so when describing the rhythm of the
it's good to remember that there are no
straight lines in nature.
They're always C-curves and S-curves.
So, if you look at the model, we wanna
look for two basic principles.
We wanna look for
the stretch side and we wanna look for the
pinch side.
So let me just break this down in very
simple terms.
So think about a bean.
A bean has a stretch side like that.
Now, this crazy little bean
also has a pinch side.
See that?
That side is pinching and this side is
And if you see the model, it's the same
She has her pinch side and
her flow is going down beautifully.
And here, she's pinching right in here.
So, having the juxtaposition of pinch
versus stretch,
there's always an opposite, and that's
really important to look at the figure.
So when you're looking at the figure, you
always wanna find, okay what side is
compressing, and what side is stretching
and elongating.
This side right here is tension.
There's a lot of tension right here.
And this side is kind of opening up.
One side is closing when the other side
And the leg comes out, and down.
This foot is sitting here.
And we're always looking for the midpoint,
always finding the middle point.
The arm is not just going straight down
like this,
but rather C-curving down,
C-curving down like that.
Same with this arm, this arms not going
just straight like that.
It's actually C-curving.
It's beautiful.
There's always a beauty to it.
And wrapping around.
So the most important thing is to really
look for
the pinch and the stretch, the opening.
That's one, that's one thing to just start
looking for immediately.
The next thing to look for Is balance.
Balance is the, the push and
pull that your body makes while it's
fighting gravity.
And a good indication of this is really
But a really good indication of this is
using your nose.
So wherever your nose is, that's where the
weight of your body is, okay?
So, you really need to take that line from
your nose and
draw all the way to the ground.
If you take, if you drop the line from the
nose to the ground,
you could see where the weight of your
body is.
So if you're like this, you could see that
my weight is forward.
If you're like this, you could see that
the weight is to the side.
If you're like that, the weight is in the
So a nose is a really good indicator.
So when you're drawing the model, look at
the model,
hold your pencil up, hold it straight like
take that pencil, find where the nose is,
drop it down to the ground.
That's gonna be a great indicator
of where the weight has been distributed
over the body.
So, we'll do it together here.
And remember, I'm still doing gesture, so
we're thinking pretty quickly.
But there's these little notes that's
going to help you
figure out how to get through a drawing
and make it really beautiful.
So, you could just see here,
is her head, the figure, and
remember just quickly,
just getting some fast lines.
you can see that her nose is right here.
And we draw a line straight down, before
we do that,
we hold our pencil, or our prisma stick,
and we go straight down, and
this is really where most of the weight
has been set,
right there, on her foot, right there.
So her arms, and remember we're drawing
very quickly so
we're trying to get the action of the
Her arms here, her arms here, arms down
like that and we're not really worried
about building this up.
We're, we're, we're thinking about this
more like a sculptor would think about
doing a sculpture.
They would think about, they're not just
laying clay on,
they're building an armature.
So that's what we're doing.
We're thinking three dimensionally even
though we're
drawing on a two dimensional surface.
But we're, in essence we're actually
building an armature of the model,
and then we're starting to put the clay
on, and then we're starting to
think about it three dimensionally, then
we're starting to wrap forms and
think about the sculptural qualities of
But before a sculptor ever does that they
have to say okay,
what's the gesture of the pose.
Let me take my armature and kinda bend it
in that direction, and
then start to build the muscles on top of
So we're in the armature phase.
So we're thinking about C curves and S
curves all the time.
So what's gonna help us get there?
Just directional lines.
So, we could just see that this arm is
going this direction,
this arm is C curving that direction, leg
is coming out.
The nose, obviously, is incredibly helpful
for us.
Now it's showing where all our weight is,
is right here.
And these are, these are gonna be pretty
fast drawings.
And once again, pin side, gotta look for
Pin side right here at the rib cage and
this goes out all the way and this side is
more of a stretch side.
Center line, this is the center.
This goes back and
this comes down like that.
And this
goes behind
like that.
Okay, so you can see that you keep start,
you start building it up,
you're building it up, you're building it
up, and you get more sophisticated.
Okay so let's, let's take another pose.
And let's think about something that we
haven't thought about before.
Okay so we're thinking about pin side,
stretch side.
We're thinking about where's the nose in
relationship to the body.
So you can see where your weight is
But now we have to think about the longest
That right there, is also really
So, if I'm looking at the model, I'm
thinking about.
What is going to, what is the spirit of
that pose,
what is the real essence of that pose.
And when I look at it, I feel like a C
curve down from the elbow.
All the way down to her left foot.
So, you can't really think about this
literally, this has to be figuratively.
Pun intended, by the way, I'd like to
point that out.
So, figuratively, no literally speaking,
you have to kind of think about this very
So, the essence of that pose is like a
[NOISE], it's like a swoosh.
If I was gonna take.
If I was going to take a Japanese brush
and do a calligraphic line I would,.
[SOUND] Just come down like that.
So, if you look at it it's very graceful
it's pulling in that direction so we have
this this elbow right there.
And once again, you gotta get out of your
mind and not think about this so
Like, well the elbow is here and then the
left ankle is over here.
So you gotta kinda do this diagonal.
No, you don't wanna do that.
You wanna say okay, the left arm is there
it kind of gracefully moves down to here.
That's very abstract.
That's a very abstract way of thinking.
But yet does it capture her?
Do you feel the energy and the spirit of
that pose, when you do that right away?
Cuz if you do then you're onto something.
So I think my first move is i'm looking
for the longest line.
That to me is really capturing what's
going on with her.
Then i'm looking here at the pinch side
right in here.
And then here is the stretch side and
The pelvis is coming out here.
And I'm drawing that diag, I'm drawing a
straight line by the way.
Because if I hold up my pencil or my
Prisma stick.
I could see that.
And I, I hold it up like that and I move
it to the model.
The first thing I'm going to hit is her
great trochanter,
which is this piece right here.
And that's not going to drop down.
A lot of people will drop that, as a
straight down like that.
But in reality, if we hold our pencil, and
this is a, this line here is an indicator
of my pencil,.
We see that, that line is actually going
very diagonal, like that.
So, it's actually going diagonally like
C-curving of course.
So, C-curve.
No straights.
Never straights.
Ever, ever, ever straights in the figure.
So that is really, really, really
In architecture.
They are straights.
But in the figure,
there are only diagonals and only C-curves
and only S-curves.
Straights do not exist.
The human figure is designed, if it were
straight, we would crumple.
So we are designed in a series of
That's really important.
Okay, so here.
As this line goes down super beautifully.
Obviously this side is stretching, this
side is compressing.
We're gonna find that center line.
Her belly button's right around here.
And, the bikini is curling around like
And think about things very sculpturally.
So this is going down.
This is coming up and around that figure.
So it's almost like going that direction.
This is going around the thigh like that.
And you feel the top here.
And her ribcage is right in here.
Her ribcage is in here like that.
And you can see even the bra, the bikini
top is going from low.
So I do it straight across like this.
Her bikini top is going from this point
low, higher, higher, higher, higher.
Climbing over that figure, over that
figure, and
then around and down, like that.
Okay, that's really important.
So you wanna think about, like I said, if
if you're thinking about it sculpturally
like this.
You're almost thinking about it like ants
marching over it.
So if ants were marching over it, it would
be going bop pop pop pop.
You're not just going straight.
You're not just going over it like this.
Their actually going around the form.
So everything, everything,
you have to feel like you're actually
drawing on that surface.
You have to feel the form, because we're
actually taking a two dimensional
piece of paper and creating the illusion
of space.
You're creating the allusion of three
This is curling around, this is going
back, Can always make this one flat value.
Curling around going back one flat value,.
This is ten.
Keep that center line here.
Not gonna get too much into value.
This is going, overlapping here.
Sitting behind here.
And you can see it's becoming lyrical.
It's becoming like a song or a poem or a
And that's kinda how you wanna make it
feel like.
You're telling a story.
You gotta make it really interesting.
So the arm's coming out, and at first I'm
gonna draw my arms really fast.
So I'm gonna draw the arm coming up like
that, the direction like this.
And then C curving that direction.
Same with this one.
Arm's coming that way.
Head is here.
Her nose is here somewhere covered by her
but I feel like her nose is right around
And that's where her balance really should
be, right there.
Oh, it's just so beautiful to really be
able to experience a figure like this.
This is really one of the best things
We have been, we've been studying
the figure for centuries, and centuries,
and centuries, and it never gets boring.
It never gets old.
It's so interesting.
Okay, so now we're going to move on to
another figure,
with a whole new set of information.