The next exercise involves gesture drawing where we need to be able to show the sense of energy and movement in a pose. Gesture drawing seems to be quite differently interpreted by different artists, all still showing gesture but by different means, some using a very scribbly line, others very few lines, while others produce drawings that have such beauty, life and movement to them, that even if you had never drawn it would desperately make you want to pick up a pencil and try. I have covered these artists elsewhere (due to copyright restrictions). In this post I am just going to concentrate on my first experiments with gesture drawing.
I read the chapters on gesture drawing in both Learning to Draw A Creative Approach to Drawing and Experimental Drawing, both books by Robert Kaupelis. One aspect that fascinated me was that everything has a gesture. I found that I could imagine a figure moving having gesture, but a lamp? On 06/10/13 I tried a series of drawings in my A4 sketchbook of various objects. Kaupelis said that a gesture drawing should be done looking 98% at the subject. I think, that rather than gesture drawing, I have ended up almost doing blind contour drawings instead, and somewhat scruffy ones at that. This was clearly going to need more work. I also tried to draw poses from http://www.artists.pixelovely.com of various models in various poses, trying to capture the gesture of the pose. Once again I seemed to be actually drawing outline or contour drawings instead and didn’t manage to show the feeling of gesture.
On 07/10/13 I tried again, but this time using my hand and holding it clenched or in tension and tried to express that with drawn marks, using a Uniball eye micro pen. My marks seemed very messy but they did seem to have a certain amount of energy to them and perhaps suggested a little of the tension in my hand.
I then tried drawing myself in the mirror going arrrrgggh and tried to show the gesture of that. I have never attempted anything like this before. It doesn’t look anything like me and I am not sure that I managed to show the gesture very well but it was good to try. I think that it does capture the gesture of arrrgggh a bit even if the actual drawing isn’t very good.
On 08/10/13 I tried again to show gesture. This time using a soft 4B sketching pencil. Once again I tried to hold my hand in tension and then capture the gesture of that. I also tried to draw my hand holding a ball and then throwing it up in the air. The drawings are very scribbly but I think that they do show some of the gesture.
I also had another attempt at drawing the gesture of a lamp. I started far to far up the page for some reason and ran out of room. I tried to show the weight of gravity pushing down on the lamp, down to the floor and some of the gesture of the ceramic base being made. Again, I did not do very well with the actual drawing, and I am not sure if I have managed to achieve any sense of gesture. I am certainly finding it difficult to show the gesture of an inanimate object.
I will need to continue to look into this. Kaupelis stresses that you are drawing the gesture, not the object. Yet gesture drawings by artist such as John Singer Sargeant or Rembrandt are far from messy and perfectly capture the object that they are drawing. They capture movement and life beautifully, without the scruffiness of my drawings. Lots more to learn with this, and I also definitely need a much better understanding of the gesture of an inanimate object. It has been good fun to try these and it is really good to be trying to think in a different way. I am going to try the next exercise and then that will give me a good idea on what would be good to work on next.