Monday, June 28, 2010

Ain't Nothin' Like the Real Thing

I spent a few hours this week being "creepy", watching and drawing folks at the Thorden Park community swimming pool. I love it when the weather gets nice enough that I can do this -- in some ways, it is superior to being in a figure drawing class...

For one thing, there are kids. Even when kids are just lying there sunbathing, they're never boring. They never stay in one spot for long, so I really have to rush my drawings, knowing that time is limited. Their complete lack of self-consciousness is also a plus. One kid passed me by, noticed I was drawing people, and shouted, "SHE'S AN ARTIST!" In the past, I've also had kids come up to me and ask if they could draw with me, like I was a peer. Kids are great.

Also, there is more diversity, both in body types and in ethnic groups. I don't draw people because I'm too cheap to buy a subscription to Playgirl; I'm more interested in learning to draw a variety of "types" than how attractive a model is. I haven't seen an obese person sign up for figure drawing classes, and in fact most of the models are slim, non-muscular milquetoast collegiate types OR senior citizens. This was my experience; yours may vary. At this community swimming pool, I can have my pick of the dozens of models, and can choose the most interesting or "useful" characters.

"Professional models" aren't very natural in their posing. Many just sit there, or recline. Even when they try to be natural, it's hard to imagine the gestures people use in their day to day lives, and model them. I need these gestures when drawing comics, if I want to create a believable cast of human characters.

The only drawback is that people are always moving around, so it's challenging and at times
barely possible to capture the gestures I want. Forget about adding detail.

So Chrissy, why don't you take a picture? It'll last longer!
If I wanted to impress everyone with my Michelangelo-like drawing skills, I could do that, but I would learn much less from the experience. Drawing from moving models, I have to adapt myself to capture as much information as I can in what is sometimes only a few seconds. These are moving little kids! My skills develop more rapidly when I'm under pressure like that. I can't fall into the trap of favoring and concentrating on one part of the person, e.g. the face. I have to quickly decide what information will be useful, and give equal time to all of it or I get nothing. This way, the anatomy becomes more intuitive and, when drawing figures in a comic later, I have an easier time drawing a variety of poses off the top of my head. I also refer to these life drawings quite a bit when drawing comics.
God bless you, thanks for reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment