Sunday, February 15, 2015


I'm becoming aware that at least part of the reason for all my indecisive linework in these quicksketches is because I have too many ideas of what I'm trying to do and I don't choose one. What I mean is - I've delved a little ways into various approaches to gesture drawing (Proko, Vilppu, Huston, Stanchfield etc) and now I'm getting interested in contour, continuous line and rhythm drawing techniques. And when I sit down to do some figure sketches all these approaches are drifting through my head, and as I draw I seem to shift from one to another. Or worse, since I haven't developed complete proficiency in any of them yet, I'm shifting from half-formed notions of one to something consisting of bits and pieces of others. It's like if you step into the dojo knowing a little about karate, judo, jiu jitsu, and aikido, and have your head full of old movies with guys fighting, and no clear idea of what approach you're going to use. You'd be a mess!! You'd just hurt yourself.

I'm still thinking about what Sycra said (2 posts back) about drilling until you get the form down perfectly. It requires commitment to one discipline and a clear head. Focus.

Note - there's nothing wrong with restated lines - they can be a beautiful part of a drawing. It's the indecisive or hairy lines that have to go.

And of course part of the problem is that I'm still developing my ideas about the figure.

I think there's another reason as well - I'm searching for a very intuitive and fluid way to draw the figure, and trying to learn more about it as I go forward. I suspect those people who have a very specific way of doing gestures (for instance) and never vary from it don't learn anything from it, except how to make nice smooth lines.

There seems to be a certain way that a lot of today's digital artists conceive of the figure that's very materialistic, as if they see the body as a machine made of definite and unchanging parts hinged together. I think this comes from video games and CGI mostly. Maybe action figures too. Personally my influences come from drawing and painting of the past - key among them of course the heroic fantasy artists of the 60's/70's and lots of illustrators. The ones I'm drawn to, at least the ones I'm thinking of now, tended to draw in a loose intuitive way, and I'm sure they trained with a lot of contour and rhythm drawing exercises, including blind contour. A strong emphasis on intuition and fluidity. The really good artists (my opinion) blend materialism and intuition.

But see - I'm whaffling (being indecisive) - I have all these different ideas about why I make hairy sloppy drawings, and when I set out to think about it I come up with more ideas and end up writing an essay rather than focus on the actual problem and a clear solution. It's good to think about these things - hell it's necessary. Leonardo said something about an artist who doesn't theorize being like a sailor setting off on a journey without compass or charts. But I need to end it with a clear concise solution to the stated problem.

So here it is - designate an amount of time to doing one type of exercise. Be clear which it is. Look at tutorials or books about it, get an idea of how to practice it, and then go. And always keep in mind to get rid of those hairy insecure lines.

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