Monday, June 17, 2013

Drawing Movement



 When I first start a drawing, I'm not thinking about how things look or where each element is placed. I think about how everything in the space moves and where they are going so I can tell the story.

A lot of times my initial drawings are unrecognizable squiggles and blobs. I'm trying to capture the motion and energy of the entire illustration.  I want to keep the initial sketch as loose and exaggerated as possible so a lot of the liveliness will carry through to the final painting.

To me, this messy stage is the most important. The temptation to just skip it and dive right into the fun details like the character's face is so tempting to me.  Experience has taught me that most of the time if I skip this stage, I pay for it later. It's too easy to end up with a painting that is just pretty but lifeless and stiff. Trying to get the life and energy back after this point is like wading through mud and just never happens most of the time.

Another reason why I want to keep the very start of the process looking like a mess is so I won't treat it like a precious thing. As long as it's just scribbles, I can make the marks quickly and throw them away if it's not working.
I try to keep on improving drawing motion by sketching from life whenever I can. I do quick gesture drawings of people to capture their movement and personality. A lot of time these gesture drawings are quick marks made in 15 seconds to a minute.

Doing a lot of these quick sketches make my sketchbook look like a mess. I keep on reminding myself that it's ok. As an illustrator, it's not good enough for my images to only be pretty -- they need to be alive.


Here are some resources for practicing gesture drawings:

8 comments:

  1. Thank you, Tracy! This is definitely something I need to improve on! And the drawing progression image you have below your post is so helpful...I've been staring at it...thanks for spending the time to create and post it.:)

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  2. Great post Tracy! Thank you for sharing the drawing progression!

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  3. Thank you! This is really helpful so I can improve my figuring drawing and I am really happy to start ordering Drawn to Life volumes!! Excited!!!

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  4. Thanks for the advice, Tracy. I bought Drawn to Life Last year, and they are invaluable!

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  5. Thanks for the lovely comments, everyone :-)

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  6. Wonderful! Love that last example, so great to see your sketch truly come to life. :)

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  7. I love the layered illustration example you used here. It's fun to see someone's work come to life through the different stages. I agree that messy is better to start with. It does make it so much easier to throw away and start over when it's not working out right.

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  8. Great post, Tracy. Love the process pic.

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