Speaking of the National Caricaturist Network Convention, the only workshop I was able to attend was Steve Silver‘s “Figure Drawing”. Steve is a phenomenal artist and his workshop was terrific. He stressed the value of quick figure studies over doing long, drawn out poses as the best way to develop your figure drawings skills. He had a model come in and the packed room drew according to his direction.
We did three different exercises in his workshop. First, we started out with twenty quick 30 second studies of the model in various poses.
30 second poses
Next we did what animators call a “turnaround”, drawing a “character” of the model from various angles, ideally front, right 3/4, profile, left 3/4 and back. About 2 minutes per figure.
Finally we did an exercise where the model struck a pose for one minute and we just observed and studied the pose… no drawing. Then the model sat while we had 2 minutes or so to try and draw that pose from memory.
All great exercises. I have always believed that gestural (i.e. quick study) figure drawing to be the best way to develop your skills with the human figure. Long poses are relaxing and produce nice results, but what do you really learn? With quick studies, you develop your instinct for drawing the figure. Things like wieght, balance and movement become ingrained in your drawings and they have more life and energy. Then when you try to draw the igure from your imagination, or do drawings that are more involved your underlying figure structure and form are far more interesting and kinetic.
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