Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Steve Huston lectures - figure drawing is like composition is like story structure

Huston is an instructor for the New Masters Academy, alongside Glen Vilppu. I was considering signing up at least for a month to see if it's worth getting a full year - did a quick google and found a channel with a bunch of his lectures from 2000. So far I've seen about a half hour of the first one - some excellent stuff I haven't really heard before, much of it anyway.

One thing that really impressed me - he says when drawing the figure, even for a quicksketch, it's vitally important to get each part down accurately in terms of placement and shape and direction before moving on, or you have only a vague blob to attach the next form to, which tends to result in a bad connection. In fact many people start out by drawing a mass of vague incorrect forms with the intention of coming back and tightening them up afterwards, but when you do that it's too hard to fix all the bad connections and other errors - you really want to get each part right the first time before moving on, then it gives you something proper to work from when drawing the next form. The overall result will be a much more accurate and well-connected drawing.

Well this sounds really familiar to me - in fact I've been reading the same words in the Ian Roberts book Mastering Composition, only he's talking about an entire composition, not just a figure. So this is a universal principle then. Interesting.

This somehow led me to the idea also that composition (of entire image or of figure, or anything else really) is similar to story structure - literally an invisible scaffolding that everything hangs on, that connects the pieces and gives them context and meaning. Bam!! There we go - all that time spent studying story structure pays off!

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