“More Figures”, says Bullet Point Five of the Art Challenge

Remember how I complained about the limited number of body shapes at posemaniacs for item #2 and #3?

Well, this challenge takes onto that. And onto the most favorite exercise of any animator – Quick Sketches.

Quick (Body) Sketches are something you do when trying to get an idea of bodies in motion. Most of the time, you will be dealing with people, but of course can also study animals or objects in motion, e.g. trains, simple motors, windmills, etc. Drawing Quick Sketches of people can go as limited as easy stick figure drawings or as far as fully formed bodies – mostly without heads. But to be honest making fully fledged bodies is somewhat missing the point. You’re supposed to get an overview, an idea not the whole thing. It’s a sketch to base further drawings, or motion and dynamics understanding, on. So don’t let your inner peacock out.

We actually did this in class with two models and it went rather well with most of us. Again if you pay too much attention to detail, you probably miss the point – and the body in motion.

Now, artist Maarta Laiho wants you – and me – to approach this exercise like this:

Draw more Figures. Quick gestures and silhouettes. x20, with at least 10 different body shapes.

Which means going out, going out, going out. I mean in theory you could stay indoors and “search engine” body types, but if you want a realistic demographic mixture and outcome – step outside. It’s all there.

Especially subways stations are brilliant for that, because your sketching time is VERY limited. If you like to have more of a beginners challenge I would recommend a park or sight for tourists to you, people tend to stay there a bit longer.

Now it, says 20 silhouettes, and 10 different body shapes. Which in my mind equals to a minimum of two sketches for one body type. Once again, I advice you to go outside and find crowds to accomplish this. Inhomogeneous crowds! Because you might be allowed to draw, the stunning thin beauty – whose body type you draw all the time anyway – twice. But then?

Several rough sketches of people #1

Then, you have to search for someone else. Short, thick, old, young, with child, male, female, something in-between. After the fifth person it becomes a bit difficult to find someone you haven’t featured yet, but at the same time, it’s the point when you really start to look out for the peculiar, the strange, the unconventional, the something you would not have considered in your stale set of ideas on “how people should look like”.

Well, at least that was the case with me. And I loved it. I was so happy about every person, that stuck out on the page and in the crowd. I turned into a people collector. Gotta catch me a shiny one. I think you can see it in the sketches too, who I’m talking about. They became a bit more prominent.

As I tried to put as little extra time as possible into the challenge in general, I killed two birds with one stone and sketched on my way to school and during class. I left a bit earlier and even got some sketches at one of the mayor stations done.

So, you see some on-train sketches, station and class sketches. Can you tell, which were done where? I think some poses are really identifying. 😉

Several rough sketches of people #2

At least that’s what my fellow students claimed, as they recognized themselves, other students and even one teacher by his typical dress and stature without him even being in the room anymore.

I would really like to know what you think and recommend this exercise to you as it’s great fun and eye-opening to a world, that is otherwise clouded by our stern body shape stereotypes. Men and women have such a wide range of appearances and if you’re stuck on character development for your comic, animation or other creative challenge with diverse characters in it:

This. Will. Open. Your eyes! Promise.

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Art Improvement Challenge #04 – Feet