-Connor de Jong
|Samir Head by Andrew Payne|
The ability to focus on those things enables you to see so many more things that you haven’t noticed before (at least for me). She gave me events to look for: high points, low points, overlaps, fullnesses - points where the line breaks.
Some of my favorite drawings are not even fully rendered - just to be able to use all these different tools and ideas to create something that looks like it could move off the page without even being fully rendered is exciting.
Also, Colleen has really helped me with handling distance from the models; sometimes there are 10 or 12 feet between you and the model, and you can't really get away with too much without truly knowing the structure of the figure. At that distance, I can’t even really see the model’s face too well, so this knowledge becomes very important. It’s fun. I can see where people can get really creative - you have to conceptualize this thing. Sometimes I enjoy that even more than when you can see the model very clearly.
One facet of figure drawing that Colleen discusses is playing around with the picture plane. She talks about it almost as if it’s a puzzle, the way the pieces interlock and intersect, the way you push things back and forward - not necessarily in a form sense, but in the visual, compositional sense.
|Collin by Andrew Payne|
Colleen talks about how you want to find that rhythm of the figure; where things are pinched and where they are stretched, where there is tension. That’s why it’s important to know where all the muscles connect. A leg can have rhythm by itself, but you want the whole figure to have it, all the parts and individually. For instance, the leg can look stiff unless the high points are placed diagonally from each other in a sort of zig zag [motions leg high points]... and it’s always like that on the model, but unless you know that, you don’t notice it.
I’m still trying to find this balance between drawing and measuring, and drawing optically versus structurally - they’re all different things, but when Colleen demonstrates to me, “I mark the top and the bottom of my drawing at the beginning, and I want my drawing to fit in here,” I think, ”Whoa, I have to fit it exactly within these measurements...” That’s a lot of pressure.
|Santiago by Andrew Payne|
However, she tells me to use measurement as a safety net; to check things every once in a while - sure, find the half just to have something to base your conception on from the beginning, but I’m surprised by how well she draws without measuring all that much. It can be really stifling to measure all the time, sometimes I feel like it’s kind of a bad habit I got into in the Cast Hall, just measuring every little thing. It’s easy to do because the cast doesn’t move and it’s easier to measure.