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2.4 Silhouette

Now that you know how to find the motion and basic shapes of your subject, it's time to learn how to use them to create powerful designs. The key to doing this is to seek out strong silhouettes in your subjects. This increases the interest in the drawing and is what separates a dull drawing from a strong and "readable" one.

2.4 Silhouette

Hi, my name is Brian Lee, and welcome back to Dynamic Gesture Drawing. Up to this point, we have been working mostly with strong, expressive lines. And although these lines are the most important part of capturing the feeling of a drawing, you also need to know how to apply the structure around the lines to help tell the story. To do this, I want to introduce a popular method used in figure drawing to break up organic subject matter. And I want you to be able to use these in your gesture drawings as well. Using geometric shapes, we can make organic moving parts easier to understand, like the human body or this elephant, for example. In general, the most common use of shapes to use in this method are boxes, circles and cylinders. To understand the box, you need to understand some simple two-point perspective. It helps if you understand three and four-point perspective also, but, if you can get the two-point down, you can generally have what you need to make this method work for you. if you don't really understand two-point method, I recommend just going online really quickly and checking it out. There's plenty of information out there on perspective. For this lesson, we will be using the box as our main shape. A box shows the most amount of perspective due to its multiple planes. Some poses may call for circles or cylinders. But, if you can get the box concept, you can replace it with other shapes as needed. So, let's talk about how boxes work with the human body. The front and back planes of these boxes represent the direction of the human torso is facing. And are usually good places to start when determining the perspective of the body. The top and bottom planes show tilt and lean and are pretty important when summarizing forward lean or downward angle of the body. The side planes describe the twisting and turning of the torso and also help to describe the thickness of the hips and the rib cage. So, I just want to run through a few examples of how I find the boxes within the human body. So, here we have a naked cowboy. If you're interested in tracking him down and I believe he can be found on the streets of New York or Vegas. He's got a crazy twist in his torso and using the box method in this example is a great way to summarize it. For the first pass, I'm just going to add the major shapes of the torso, rotation, and a few lines to describe the center line of the back. We will come back to each one of these examples and look at how to apply the structure, once the building blocks are established. So you can see, these are very dynamic poses, and without using a simplified message like this, it's very hard to figure out what's going on internally in the body. All right, so let's go back to the first example and see how to complete the pose of the cowboy. So building off the boxes, I'm gonna start with the torso's contour lines. I'm just gonna try to find the main shapes in his body and build those out. The boxes themselves are just the first two shapes that you use, and after that it's just finding more shapes within the body. Keep in mind this is very sped up. I think we're going about three times the normal speed here. So, this pose in particular is a great example of when to use geometric shapes and there are so many action lines involved here that would be very tricky to build just off of action lines. And the pose itself really lends itself to shapes. You can see the triangle from the hips to the knee to the ankle, you see straight lines coming up from the hips. And there's a lot of circular areas as well. So remember when you're looking at really difficult poses, just try to simplify them as much as possible. That's what I want you to walk away with from this lesson. For homework, I'd like you to draw at least ten poses using the geometrics we've described in this lesson. Don't feel obligated to use boxes. You can use circles or cylinders, whatever helps you to define the main building blocks of the body. When I first started drawing, I would use the method a lot. The more I practiced, the less that I needed to use them in my drawings. I would just see them subconsciously. I want you to get to that point. I still use them every once in a while, especially when there's a difficult pose or a push perspective. But I hope that by practicing this method, you will start seeing these different forms in a new, simplified way. In the next lesson, we will look at how to effectively balance the poses we draw. So thanks for joining me, and I'll see you in the next lesson.

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