Forceful shapes can get more specific. I want to discuss some powerful theories about the anatomy of the body that pertain to force and rhythm as seen by forceful shape. The body, as I said earlier, is built to move. Its musculature is set up in traverse angles from one area in the figure to another. These relationships allow it to perform. If you work out or you are a physical therapist, you know exactly what I am talking about. The biceps are opposite in f unction to the triceps. The biceps bring your hands to your shoulders and your triceps help straighten your arm.
In the following drawings, we will travel from simple to complex depictions of the power of the human form through f orcef ul shape.
Here I want you to see that, as a whole, the body looks symmetrical. Because of this, the torso of the f igure feels rigid. Its left and right edges are a mirror image of one another, causing forces to collide (as the arrows show). The torso does not work from left to right, but from front to back. It is in the torso's profile that we see how this complex organic entity is built to move and operate.
At this time, I also want you to be aware of the fact that the body is built in a hard bone and soft muscle pattern. The head is hard, neck is soft, ribcage hard, abdomen soft, pelvis hard, thighs soft, knees hard, calves soft, ankles hard, and the bottom of the feet are soft. The soft areas are what make it possible for us to move the hard ones.
The limbs of the human body, although always paired, have asymmetry within themselves. Look at the drawing of the leg. Look at how its musculature creates asymmetrical forms and therefore a functional and appealing shape. The same goes for the drawings of the arm. There are no moments of mirroring or equal forces being found on both sides of a shape. The shape of the body's anatomy always gives us a feeling of functionality. A simple way of seeing this is to notice the peaks of force on the sides of a shape and making sure that they are not directly across from one another.
J.C. Leyendecker was the master at putting everything we have discussed so far into his work. He was an illustrator from the earlier part of the twentieth century. His work shows decisive shapes that are full of force and form. They are created with clear straights and curves. There is no laziness in his work. Leyendecker would have been a great character designer had he been alive today. I strongly suggest looking at his work. It is difficult to find much of it. There is a poster book called "The J. C. Leyendecker Collection: American Illustrators Poster Book" that is available for sale. There is also an older book that is extremely rare, but full of his paintings: "J.C. Leyendecker" by Michael Schau.
Dean Cornwell is another artist from this time period. I would like to make you aware of him before we move on. His forceful design is not as strong as Leyendecker's, but he is powerful in the area of structure. His work leans towards straighter, harder moments. He also has some great definitive shapes in his work. There was also a book published on his work called "Dean Cornwell, The Dean of Illustrators" by Patricia Janis Broder.
The theory of straight to curve allows you more exaggeration, clearer opinion. Make a statement with every shape.
Here you con see the exoct example of the asymmetrical legs at work. Look at the straight to curve of the ribcage, the hips, shoulders, and arms. Notice the apexes of force and their asymmetry. Look at the thumbnail for straight to curve silhouette.
The clarity and understanding of this pose epitomizes all levels of drawing, force, form, ond shape. Its simplicity is whot makes it so successful.
I love the sense of thickness conveyed in her bock ond buttocks by the curve in those oreos. See the small straight of her ribcage to define structure. Look at the asymmetry found throughout. The simplicity of straight to curve of her left arm gets the idea of force ond form across. Notice the structure of her head and the shape of her hair.
Definitive lines show us o lucid understanding of the forces and forms of this model's pose. Look at the asymmetry in the arms and upper body. See how the structure of the back created its shape.
Look ot the efficiency. This pose is complex in its idea. The model is turning over his left hip ond sustaining this torque with his left orm. His right leg is closest to us ond is also under o certain amount of tension, caused by the rotation of the upper body. The model's figure consistently moves oway f rom us in space. See the subtle references to depth in the overlap and the light structural lines. I enjoy the quiet reference made to the left shoulder blode and how it relates to the operation of thot shoulder.
I love the power of this drawing. It is opinionated. It tells us what the model was doing, loud and clear. Look at the shapes created by the anatomy and how much force they imply. His right arm and buttocks are two unmistakable moments of this. See the structure in the straights and the force in the curves. His silhouette can be easily understood. See how his legs work relative to the torque in the upper body.
Line has no form; shape does. In this chapter, force has been described in the rules of straight to curve. That led us into asymmetrical anatomy. Lastly, to modify everything into successful shapes, we turned to the silhouette. Its clarity is as strong as a magnifying glass in looking at all of the preceding concepts. Here you can see if everything is working successfully.
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