Sitting Figure

In this chapter we are concerned with qualities other than motion. Almost the whole gamut of feeling can be expressed in a seated figure. It can suggest alertness or composure, fatigue, dejection, aggressiveness, timidity, aloofness, uneasiness, boredom. Each would be expressed differently. Sit down or have someone do so, and see how you would dramatize each of these.

It is of paramount importance, at this point, to understand the shifting of the weight from the feet to the buttocks, thighs, hands, elbows, back, the neck and head. Important, too, is the correct understanding of foreshortened limbs that assume other dian usual contours. In such poses limbs become props or braces rather than complete supports. The spine has a tendency to relax in a concave manner toward such bracing. When you are sitting on the floor, one of your arms usually bccomcs a bracc, and the spine relaxes toward the bracing shoulder. One shoulder is high and the other one drops; the hips lean toward the brace; the weight is carried on one side of the buttocks, the side of the supporting arm.

When you are sitting in a chair, your spine may lose its S-shape and become a C. The thighs and buttocks take the weight. Both flatten a good deal, particularly a woman's thighs. The position of the head over the body should be carcfully placcd, sincc it has much to do with what the pose suggests. The draftsman must decide whether the sitting pose should be erect or relaxed. Remember that the figure is always subject to the law of gravity. It should have weight, or it cannot be convincing.

Foreshortening will require subtle observation, for no two poses arc quite alike. Every pose off die feet will be a new problem and probably one you have not solved before. The variations of viewpoint, lighting, perspective, the unlimited variety of poses, all keep the problems of drawing new and interesting. I cannot think of anything less animated or more boring to look at or to draw than a model who is "just sitting." This, to me, means both feet close together on the floor, arms resting alike on the arms of the chair, back flat against the chair, eyes looking straight ahead. Your model might half-turn toward you, hang an arm over the back of the «chair, cross her feet, stretch them out, or hold a knee. Use plenty of imagination to change a dull pose into an interesting one.

Let the whole pose of the model as well as the hands and facial expression tell the story. Do you want her to show animation or weariness? If she sits at a table, talking to her fiance, let her lean forward, absorbedly, or show displeasure if they are quarreling.

Watch carcfully for contours arranged in front of each other and draw them that way; if you do not, a thigh will not recede, a part of an arm will look too short or stumplikc. Remember that if the hands or feet are close to the camcra, they photograph too large. Any figme that is quite foreshortened should be photographed from a distance if possible, and then enlarged for copy. If you are planning a portrait, find a natural gesture or pose for your sitter. Turn the chair at an odd angle, get an unusual viewpoint, don't have the head stiffly above the neck. Let her drop comfortably into the corner of the chair, feet drawn back or even drawn under her, or feet extended and knees crossed. Don't let the legs make a perfect right angle with the knees.

You must stir yourself on to invention.

Perfect Figure Drawing

it should 6e repeated over. and over. to the. student not to° fake" light and shadow on the f i cure . draw from the model or. from a good photo. five minutes op'aeeinq" is worth days op faklnq. shadows can 6eseen Platter and simpler than they are.

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