Tracking Figures in Medium Motion
So we've come outside, we were inside where we were practicing drawing the figure in a slow casual motion. We're going to ramp it up a little bit by drawing outdoors. You know, you may have family members who like to garden, in my case my daughter celeste loves to garden and I love going outside and doing sketches of her uh potting plants, which is what we'll do today and you know, to set up in a way where you have a place to sit and a place to lay out your things to sketch with. This is a nice thing to do while she's working. We're gonna track her motion doing gesture drawing. Um she's obviously got overalls on, so they'll be considerations about, you know, working with um clothing uh and all of those things. So we're gonna be drawing her as we're uh as she's working as she's potting plants for our garden. And this is something that artists have done for centuries. This Rembrandt drawing here, which I really love. It's a sweet little intimate drawing of people wearing obviously old fa...
shioned clothes, but just like a really slow gesture. You could imagine them walking with this baby through a village, the arm is outstretched, there's a sense of, you know, one figure sort of leaning down all of that are things that you can easily capture when you're drawing on location drawing outdoors and just keeping it very casual and very loose. So rather than taking an approach where you're drawing every single fold in the drapery of the clothes, what we're going to start with is actually working with this idea of structure. And so in a moment I'm going to actually sort of freeze frame celeste movement and just do a very quick structural drawing where I'm tracking her body and space, finding the joints, finding the angles of the limbs, and then she'll be set in motion again very slowly and we'll take that structure, will take that sort of stick figure version and just sort of notice how that one pose will flow into the other. And it's challenging even at like a medium speed like this, but this is really where the rubber meets the road. It's where you can really practice things in real time and I find that to be really fun to do. So we're gonna give that a go. Alright, so I'm gonna take my drawing pad and find a clean page. I've got my drawing tools laid out here and I'm gonna turn to face celeste and in a moment. And so you sort of notice I have my drawing pad on an angle, I'm open to the view here to the scene so that I can sort of see both at the same time. All right, so celeste if you just kind of yeah, hold that pose just like that. So she's just gonna freeze her action for a moment so that I can just show maybe a starting point, a place to launch from. So what I'm what I'm interested in here is the fact that I can take sort of shoulder to shoulder from the shoulder down to the elbow. It's like creating a map of the body from the elbow to the wrist. This far arm here coming down towards the pot, where she's planting a sense of, you know, just a basic oval for the head coming down the body to sort of what might be a hip point here out to the knee and then down to the ground where her foot hits the ground. There's sort of a zigzag shape and the foot in the back hits the ground here. This is a basic sort of stick figure shape that corresponds shoulder to shoulder, shoulder to elbow, elbow to wrist, shoulder too far elbow, elbow to wrist need to hip to ankle. This sort of notation when a figure is moving quickly might be, you'd be lucky often to get that much down. But these are the things that we want to track as they move through space. You might, even as I'm developing it here, you might even get a chance to put, you know, maybe a volume for the rib cage, maybe a volume for the leg. You know, maybe a sense of, you know, the overalls as she's wearing them. But you'll notice that as we track, it might get even more fluid. But this is what we're after these core points or after this core structure. And then ultimately, I'll just be making many, many drawings as she moves through space. And this is really raw material, it's raw material that you could use for working up further sketches over time. So let's give it a try. So, so you can get back to work doing your planting. And I'm going to just try to draw her very she's moving and she's gonna move quite slowly getting a tilt of the head. And sometimes it's nice, you know, when the figure is holding a particular pose and parts of the body are moving, so if she's down planting, I can I can start to just do a drawing where she, her body is pretty stable, but it's mostly her arms that are moving. And sometimes when you started drawing, you might just sort of have to give up on it if the figure like moves a little bit too quickly, but here's an example of, you know, she was in a pose like this and now this arm is moved up into this direction, this hand is moving up and down, so there's a sense of movement as she goes. So, I'm gonna start a new page again, just establishing the core pose and you can even include a little bit of maybe what they're working with. So in this case she's potting some, I think that's Tarragon. So you can have a relationship too, you know what's happening and then as she reaches over and grabs some more dirt. Sometimes you get to a point where imposed where you have to actually, so she starts to turn towards the wheelbarrow, I might just actually start a whole new drawing because in that motion towards the wheelbarrow she's turned her body her upper body anyway. And so in the turning of the upper body, I can shift it a little bit, the legs are shifting a little bit and then starting another one where she's back to the potting and let's try another and maybe if she shifts her body maybe towards the wheelbarrow again or even stands, we can get a standing pose eventually. But yeah, that's nice and you can look at the tilt and sort of the gesture of the arms as they come together. You know, she's holding a small plant now. So maybe even creating a sense of that small plant. Again, not forgetting about the structure and if some part of the body is obscured by something in the foreground, you can just let it slip behind like that far leg slips behind the pot. And if it if opposes sustained, you might get a little more time to put in a little bit more detail, a little bit more volume. And even in this case, possibly a little notation for maybe the space around the figure and now that she's leaning over like that again, I want to try to capture that motion of and sometimes it's a little bit about actually remembering, you know that motion one way and then the motion the other way. And actually, so she's leaning to the right, I can re establish that drawing and then as she leans to the left and leans down, I can actually start to establish um that drawing sort of back and forth and they might just start to overlap each other, which can look really beautiful because it starts to track this idea of the fleeting motion of the body, you know, and that's what you're really looking for. You're looking to track the motion, you're looking to track the gesture and drawing on location again. You know, really in some cases just giving some clues about where the figure is, whether you're in a backyard or maybe in an urban setting. Let's just do one more. Yeah, it's nice to the side. So this is great. They just get this kind of curve of the back, down to the knee, out to the foot, other foot is up and coming back and then then she's come a little bit more upright. So this was the spine. Now this is the spine and this it leaves you a little bit breathless, right? It leaves you a little bit breathless because you just have to it's almost like I'm looking at my drawing but I'm actually spending almost more time looking at my daughter because there's not a whole lot of futzing or time to start to work with all the, all the particulars of the drawing as she shifts in space. So it becomes almost like an animated sort of sequence over time. And with this medium speed drawing again, you can, if the figure is starting to stay in a particular position a little bit longer, you can start to sort of embellish with a little bit of a little bit more detail building out a little bit like in this case I'm starting to build out the overalls a little bit. The overalls are a nice thing to draw because they have straps which sort of help with the shape of the shoulders. And then one more sort of gestural pose where she's bending down with the arms coming down very loose. So this tracking of the figure in space at medium motion. Again, it could be um someone gardening, it could even be someone strolling very slowly down the street, It could be somebody folding laundry inside. This is an incredible opportunity to actually record your everyday life, you know, drawing in this way way, working with a friend or a family member can be an amazing way to really create a more intimate connection with your experience and an intimate connection with other human beings through the vehicle of drawing. So, I highly recommend giving this a try, definitely a challenge. But really is a wonderful way to record your experience