The bos and bonis of Forceful Shape

Since we hove gone over what kinds of lines create force and form, let's discuss what kinds of shapes do and don't. Notice their similarity to the rules of force from Chapter One.

Forceful Shape

First the don't.

1. Don't create a shape with parallel lines. Force has no way of moving obliquely through the body. As we will discuss further, human anatomy is not built in a parallel manner.

2. Don't have the same kind of force on either side of the same shape. I call this mirroring. Here the forces crash after doing their function.

3. This is similar to number 2 in that the forces mirror each other. Here they collide at the peak of their function.

Now let's talk about the do's.

4. Do draw oblique forces. This is what creates rhythm. Think of the skiing analogy I made earlier.

5. Do see straight to curve simplicity in the figure. Here we have created a shape that has function or force to it. It is appealing because of its contrast in ideas, and it also has direction. There are no mirroring moments.

The curve is the energy that moves through the shape, and the straight helps direct its path and give it structure.

6. Do see different kinds of shapes. Here we have straight to curve again, but represented in a different shape.

7. Do see the massive variety in which these rules can be applied. Here is a curve against a straight and a curve to give us a play of forces.

8. In this example, I want you to see how shape can explain f orm. Where the white shape overlaps the black shape, it describes its surface. The spatial concepts come in handy now. Size, overlap, and tangent theories help shape gain structure. You should still help yourself feel form to see more convincing, clear shapes.

An artist that I utilize to show students the graphic yet functional effect of straight to curve is Mike Mignola. He is the creator of "Hellboy," the comic book. His brilliant designs show forceful figures in a simple and efficient way. Check him out! His new book, "The Art of Hellboy," is awesome.

The Art Hellboy

Here is a sample of just how efficient you can become with your line through the power of forceful shape. Look at the level of abstraction found here. Overlap becomes essential to fooling us into seeing depth on the page.

Going back to the hierarchical way of thinking, shape can be used on a large scale, first to address the greater issues and then the smaller ones. Again, we will start in a generic, graphic manner to pursue the issue of straight to curve design and then move on to specifics. Big straights to curves first.

Online Life Drawing

See the animated shapes in these drawings. Notice the absence of mirroring and how there is a straight for every curve of force. See the silhouette. Shape one and shape four both represent the torso of the body. In this comparison, they are opposite in function. Shapes two and three are basically the same idea for both legs. Five shows two shapes overlapping. Their connection is the abdomen. Six finally shoots us into the foot.

Overlapping Shapes Art

The rood of rhythm is created by the overlap of forceful shapes from one to four. Shape one is our first in the pyramid, explaining the majority of the body.

Forceful Shape

Look ot the extremeness of the pose. See the straight of the chest relative to the curve of the bock. We con see a smaller representation of this in the modefs arm. The straight to curves move us from the deltoid to the triceps to the forearm and into the hand. Also notice the size difference in the feet for depth. See the thumbnail for clarification.

This silhouette gives us o cleor contropposto pose, the oblique bolonce between the torso ond hips. This originates with the straight to curve of the upper body. We can see the plane of perspective she is standing on because of the location of her feet relative to one another. Look at the straight to curve shape of her left hand and the size difference between both hands. This implies depth. Her facial profile gives us the direction that her head is pointing in.

Body Curve Draw

Mike's drawing has simplified the body into the straight to curve shapes. Look at the back relative to the front of the ribcage. The right arm is another good example of this theory. The fluid hair shape is fun, too. See also the size effect of the foot here.

Body Curves Drawing

In this drawing, let's look at how straight to curve strengthened the story of the pose. The curve of the front of the model's ribcage and belly is not strong enough in the large drawing. He weakly leans to the left side of the page. Through seeing silhouette and the concept of straight to curve, I strengthened the push of the back into the belly with the straights in the upper back and hips. This helps the clarity of the rest of the pose as seen in the thumbnail. I like the strong curve of the left arm pulling on the belt.

Upper Body Drawing

The largest example of forceful shape is her upper body. The left side is the straight and the right is the curve. This drawing is full of stronger against weaker curves like the one in her right foot. This some shape appears again in legs, arms, and the fold of skin thot wraps oround her ribcage.

Remember to see the big straight to curve ideas of the body to create a more forceful silhouette.

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