Figure Drawing Without Model

Figure Drawing Without Model

The rocking motion of the pelvis in the female figure tends to be a little more pronounced than in the male owing to the greater width at the hips and consequent slightly wider set of the legs.

When a baby first begins to walk, almost all its concentration is focused on maintaining balance, because the head and torso account for so much of the total body-weight. So the arms are held out and up, and the child 'toddles' precariously along. But later, as the legs lengthen and strengthen, balance becomes less difficult and the action is more fluid.

Weight distribution has a marked effect on the way in which walking - or, indeed, any other activity - is carried out. A fat man

Figure Drawing Without ModelFat Man Leaning Back Decal

with a heavy abdomen will tend to lean back as he walks, while a hiker carrying a heavy rucksack strapped to his or her back will lean forward to keep the centre of gravity of the hiker-rucksack combination over the legs, adopting a rolling gait as left and right feet alternately come in contact with the ground.

Carrying a heavy weight in one or both hands may cause the shoulders to be pulled forward and down. If the weight is slung over one shoulder, the figure will lean over towards the opposite side to achieve the same result.

A very erect posture is necessary for someone carrying an object on their head.

Figure Drawing Without Model

Left: Unpublished illustration for

Gumboot Practice, written by

John Francis.

Below: Illustration from

In a Monastery Garden, written by

Left: Unpublished illustration for

Gumboot Practice, written by

John Francis.

Below: Illustration from

In a Monastery Garden, written by

Figure Drawing Without Model How Draw Person Carrying ObjectLife Drawing Erect

Drawing Walking Figures from Life

In this, as in all other aspects of figure drawing, the most important source of knowledge and understanding is your sketchbook. Through informal studies made in real-life situations you gain an intimate perception of such things and, in the process, develop increasing drawing skills.

To catch the action of walking figures you need to choose your vantage point carefully, so that the people walking past you are a sufficient distance away. If you are looking across a wide street, the people on the other side will repeat their steps several times while your viewpoint remains almost unchanged, so that you have time to decide upon the person you wish to draw and glance up at them several times as you quickly jot down the movement. As I said in Chapter 1, this kind of exercise should be treated as a work-out. It helps you develop a sureness of touch that you cannot achieve in any other way, and your drawings will have added vitality as a result.

Catching the character of a continuing, fluid sequence of movements in activities like walking is by no means an easy task, and only a few worthwhile jottings may result from your first efforts, but the learning process is greatly enhanced by this exercise. There is a subtle yet profound difference between a drawing made from life of a walking figure and a drawing of a model posed as though walking. If you do draw from life frequently, the drawings you create at other times from memory and imagination will be more authentic and convincing. You will become immediately aware of character in the different proportions of individuals, their postures and the way they move. Some walk in an apologetic way, others aggressively; some with pride, others as though burdened with life's problems. All thiscan be convincingly recorded in your sketchbook and the experience you gain will later enrich your work. I cannot recommend the practice too highly. It will prove invaluable to you as a developing artist.

Figure Drawing Without Model
Running

During the action of walking, at all times there is at least one foot in contact with the ground. But running involves a leap from one foot to the other, and so there is a moment during every stride when there is no contact with the ground at all.

The first two drawings in the sequence above show this part of the process. The right foot has thrust the body forward and has left the ground, while the left foot has been brought forward in order to receive the body's weight and carry on the action. The upper body continues its forward movement. The right leg is lifted high and brought forward, past the supporting left. As it reaches out in front for the next stride, the left leg springs the body forward once again, to land on the right foot so that the cycle is repeated.

Movement of the pelvis is minimal. The massive swing of the top half of the body is, by contrast, very pronounced, aided by strong movement of the arms. This serves two purposes: it keeps the majority of the body's weight over the load-bearing foot, so maintaining lateral balance, and it also allows full use to be made of the muscles of the waist and back, so that strength and speed are added to the movements of the legs.

The differences in posture between the runners in the other drawings on these two pages reflect the different degrees of force and energy being used.

Figure Drawing Without ModelStrong Ectomorph

Right: Illustration from Lorna Doone, written by R. D. Blackmore. Below: Illustration from Canon, written by Melvyn Bagnall. Opposite, top left: Illustration from Timequake, written by John Wagner. [Copyright © Fleetway 1991.] Opposite, top right: Illustration from Spring-Heeled Jack. [Copyright © D. C. Thompson.]

Gesture Drawing Models
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