Tell stories with life

"Art teaches nothing except the significance of life." Henry Miller

After going over drawing clothes, the next step is going outside with everything we've learned. Drawing on location, or reportage, can be the most adventurous drawing experience. Here you have the chance to report, as a visual journalist, about the world around you. See the stories of everyday life. "People watch." I find that if I write about what I experience, it helps me see the wonder of it all. This way I'm not just drawing for study, but for story.

All the world is a stage: someone reading a newspaper on a park bench, people eating at the mall's food court or shopping, bowling, sports events, birthday parties; the list is infinite. If it is difficult to go outside, draw from TV. Use DVDs or tapes to frame through people's motions. It's great for observing.

The biggest obstacle to overcome is the lack of time you will have to watch someone staying still. There will be a break-in period during which you realize how much you can study and are forced to put to memory in order to capture a moment. Remember that our objective here is to capture that moment, or your impression thereof. Focusing on being able to draw is for the classroom. You will not have time for that here. You have to trust your intuition. Let the simplicity of shape and silhouette make it possible for you to memorize more.

Our bodies express our thoughts. If someone is frightened, he doesn't stand with his chest pushed out. He cowers or puts his hands up to protect himself. A human symbol for triumph is having both hands raised above our heads with our fists clenched. It would never be bending over with your head in your hands. As I wrote in Chapter One, realize that you can empathize with the people you are drawing. Use this connection to speed up your drawing process.

In class, the exercise students perform for story is similar to the hierarchy exercise I described in Chapter One. I have a nude model figure out an occupation or story point that can be read through his or her body language. He or she takes a five-minute pose. Students write down what they think the model is expressing for the first minute. Then they draw the model with this story point in mind for the last four minutes. This exercise is excellent for learning about the importance of body language, and also silhouette. In one class, the model took a reclining pose that clearly showed her scurrying away from an opposing force. The students behind her, though, who had an unclear view of the story, thought she was relaxing on a beach.

Another point I make to students is to go after character. People are so different from one another. As a side job, I have been doing caricatures since college. My clients always ask what feature I'm going to exaggerate. They look at me confused when I respond that I draw the forceful shapes of their head. I never pick a particular feature. I try and stick to my initial reaction, my gut feeling about the person.

Leroy Neimon is one of the few artists I know of that shows on-locotion drawings as part of his work. Most of you probably know him for his loud colored, impressionistic paintings of famous figures, especially in sports. His books hove some great reportage drawings. The best one is "Leroy Neiman, Art and Lifestyle."

Was this article helpful?

0 0
100 Bowling Tips

100 Bowling Tips

Playing bowling with your friends can help you decide if it is indeed the hobby that you want to invest your time on today. Aside from that, it can help you get a better feel of the sport. More importantly, when you play with your friends, it would become a more fun activity, which you can look forward to each week.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment