Learning pose drawing

2 Aug

I know I still have a long, long way to go, but I will share the little I have learned so far anyway. I wanted to know how to draw shapes so that they appear more real, more like 3-dimensional shapes. After posting this in the Art & Story Supreme forums (only accessible for paying members), I got a clear answer back: learn how to draw the human shape, especially poses, more specifically the energy in a pose. I suppose it is this energy from the 3D world you want to capture in the 2D world, which a drawing actually is.

After some back and forth about the subject, I think I got an inkling of what I’m supposed to do. It’s about capturing the curves that convey the impression of the energy in a pose. I don’t claim I fully understand this concept, but I will try to explain it as well as I can. Mind you, it is a bit like describing how to ride a bicycle to someone who has never driven a bike in his or her life.

Looking for content on YouTube I found a suitable video, which I will be mining for the weeks to come. Because drawing from a running video is so hard, I decided to keep things simple, by pausing the video and trying to capture the energy of the pose in the still frame.

Dance pose one
Pose drawing one

The first curve I should be drawing is going from the leg that has weight on it to the highest point of the body frame (the shoulder opposite to the leg). Here I mistakingly used the line through the spine.

Dance pose two
Pose drawing two

The second attempt is better. There is an invisible line going from the girl’s left foot to her right shoulder. However, since her body has geometry, it follows the mass of her leg first. Only from the hips upward, the energy is more straight and can flow directly to the right shoulder, through the mass of the torso.

Thus was my reasoning, but look closely at the screenshot. Her weight is on her right foot and her right shoulder is the highest point on the torso. So this was a clear misinterpretation by the artist, who still has to learn how to interpret poses. The energy goes straight up from the hips, and not across the torso to the other side. This makes sense if the dancer is preparing for a body turn. In that case, the left side of her body should be relaxed, while the right side of the body will be tense, to serve as a rigid axis for rotation.

Dance pose three
Pose drawing three

The third attempt is much better. Because only one foot is touching the floor, the weight must be on that foot.

The secondary lines still puzzle me. They are important, because they indicate where the movement will be going. I suppose these lines are best studied in motion, so their placement and path become apparent. A still image can only give you the primary line for the pose. Of course, if you start out, like yours truly, capturing this primary line is already tough as it is.

Mind you, there is nothing fuzzy about drawing poses. There is an underlying logic, and understanding this logic will make you better at drawing poses (at least, that is what I’m  hoping).

The assignment, by the way, was not to think of a pose at all, but just to draw lines that best fit what you’re experiencing while watching movement. I hope I can soon reach that level of confidence, but right now, I’m still in the mechanical phase, where I need to think about what I’m doing. All who can remember the first time they rode a bike will know what I’m referring to. Falling on the ground, because you don’t yet get it, is all part of the process. Once you “get it”, it just requires practice to get better at it. Until that time comes, it will be uncomfortable and painful at times.

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