Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Boxman Demo by Jacob Collins

Jacob Collins has been pushing the use of the "boxman" to the students working in the figure room. The boxman is a fairly simple concept; it consists of several boxes tilted on their axes to represent the major masses and their orientation in space. It is an exceedingly useful construct for simplifying and aiding in the conceptualization of form and space. The boxman is also valuable in the pursuit of gesture and anatomical accuracy; in Jacob's words, "The spatial relation of the major masses is the essence of gesture.  Without a deep grasp of these relationships the draughtsman will never get the gesture.  Also, although the boxes aren't anatomically articulated in a realistic way, the grasp of space they call upon is the foundation of anatomical understanding." The following gif animation is from a demonstration Jacob did today. The accompanying figure drawing is student Ken Salaz's figure block-in.

Click the above image for an animated .gif of Jacob's demo

When creating a boxman, it is important to spend time ensuring that the boxes are oriented in space correctly; otherwise, the point of the exercise is lost. Jacob spent a little over 40 minutes creating his boxman, and he labored over ensuring that each box was tilted in exactly the correct angle. Jacob has even hired models for the explicit purpose of drawing boxmen. 

At times during the demonstration, the masses of the figure (like the model's left foot) appeared to be viewed straight on or at deceivingly simplified angles; however, Jacob moved around the model and saw the actual location of the mass, such as in the case of the foot's orientation. Similarly in the thoracic box (rib cage), Jacob first identified the orientation of the first rib to understand the orientation of the entire rib cage. Even though the thoracic box may look slightly odd when compared to the pose, the rib cage cannot be bent, and thus Jacob drew it according to to his understanding of the orientation of the first rib to the rest of the rib cage. 

The usefulness and importance of the boxman is quite great; Jacob still draws boxmen and he also encourages even his most advanced students to do so as well. As stated before, this tool can easily become a great aid in understanding the true orientation and spatial qualities of the figure. 

Edit: The first paragraph has been updated with corrected information.

1 comment:

dorian said...

Good stuff! Thank you for making the gif, too!