More gesture drawings from karate

Here are four pages of quick gesture drawings done while I watched my boys’ karate class. While drawing these, the students were waiting for their turn to spar. I was focusing on capturing the various sitting poses and observing the movement of the spine, and the tilts of the skull, ribcage, pelvis and extremities in just seconds.

After completing these, I enjoyed the narratives that emerged from the children’s interactions. That is the great thing about sketching from life.

In this grouping there are graphite drawings as well as pen drawings. I find myself using fine pen more and more because I can rely on the point staying sharp when I am not interested in erasing. I have learned a lot from these studies, you can see some of the large drawings that have resulted from this practice by clicking the karate series sub menu under portfolio.

On Planar Analysis

People draw for many reasons, to communicate ideas, to brainstorm, design, create characters , express emotions, observe the world, to name a few. In drawing, like in many other artistic disciplines, it is important to build on fundamental concepts and processes in order to give free reign to your creativity. When it comes to the study three-dimensional form through drawing, understanding form is very important. There is a process many artists utilize to break down form called planar analysis.

Planar Analysis is the break down of a complex form into flat planes. It is very helpful when trying to achieve volume in drawings of irregular non-geometric forms. Applying planar analysis goes hand in hand with a structural or constructive approach to drawing and it is beneficial when working from direct observation and when inventing. When drawing from direct observation the artist is responding to the subject observed and re-interpreting the form. When working  from memory or the imagination an understanding of planes can help in the construction of a believable volumetric image.

Above, is a detail image of one of my drawings from the toy series at the planar stage. This post focuses mainly on the drawing process, but I will take this opportunity to write a little bit about how this body of work originated. At the time, as a mother of young children, toys were scattered all over the house and were part of my every day life. As a college art professor, teaching observational drawing inspired me to get back into drawing from life myself, and I found toys to be a great subject due to their interesting forms and the potential for the exploration of metaphor through the still life. For that series, I worked both on toys of organic and geometric form and thoroughly enjoyed the process. This dinosaur is of organic form since it is made to look life like. Below are the steps I took to get to the planar stage of the drawing.

Gesture

First I mapped a light intuitive gesture with vine charcoal which allowed me to see the composition on the page.  Vine charcoal comes off easily so I could make adjustments to the over all design  just a few minutes into the work.

Sighting the gesture

I kept refining the drawing by analyzing proportions, angles and alignment, which are all aspects of sighting and measuring. Some of you may be familiar with the process. As you can see, this next image shows further development. The horizontal and vertical lines surrounding the figure show the study of placement of the different parts to the whole. For example, where does the top of the back line up to the tail? Where does the top of the head line up to the legs? Where does the hind leg on the floor line up to the tail or other leg?. This is typically done after checking key measurements. I also observed the changes in direction of the curves by checking angles.

Analysis of planes

In this stage, you can see the break down of the object into planes. To break down the form into planes, an artist drafts a line at the edge where the surface changes direction showing that there is a turn. It is important to keep in mind that planes are always connected to one another and that perspective has an influence on the shape of the plane. When working with planar analysis, it helps to think as a sculptor and imagine that you are creating a three dimensional model of the subject with paper or cardboard. Ask yourself where you would fold the cardboard to turn the form and that would be where you draw the line that defines the plane change. Going from big to small planes is the most effective. It is important to practice the process over and over to fully understand it.

Value block-in

Planar analysis helps with the development of lights and darks (value) in a drawing. This image shows the initial stages of value development. I was aiming for simple patterns of light and dark shapes (three to four tones). This simplicity reinforces unity in a composition.

Finished piece

In the finished piece, you can see a wider range of lights and darks as well as mark-making that follows the form. In this particular drawing I had a lot of fun developing the surface of the surrounding space and using color emotionally. I found working on the toy series enriching and appreciated the narrative potential in the subjects I was using. It was also good practice to work from toy animals, fun and challenging at the same time. This led me to create a major assignment in which students draw animals from life-like toys for my Drawing II class. Teaching and learning to draw analytically is not necessarily easy. It takes transforming the way you see and understand form which is not always comfortable, but allows for growth.

More examples of planar analysis in drawing

A planar approach is widely used when drawing subjects such as the human form, animals, bones, drapery, fruits, vegetables, shoes and plaster casts are some great subjects to draw from when practicing planar analysis. Below are samples from one of my Life Drawing  class demos showing the progression of the structural study of a skull. The first image shows the intuitive gesture, this takes about one minute. Then comes the analysis of proportions angles and alignment, which can take about 20 minutes and finally the analysis of the planes. I consider each stage a layer in the drawing process.

The study from a life-like toy gator below shows the planar process as well. Many artists and designers construct their drawings this way; animators, concept artists, sculptors, industrial designers, painters  to name a few.  One important artist who relied on planar structure to create compositions was Luca Cambiaso click here to see one of his drawings from the Metropolitan Museum of Art collection: http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/335650. Alberto Giacometti, one of my personal favorites created some wonderful planar studies as you can see in this group of drawings http://thefuturelab.org/2011/02/01/716/.

Keep in mind that planar analysis is a helpful approach in the study of volume through drawing, but not the only one. Many artists will use cross-contour or chiaroscuro to study the three-dimensional quality of a subject. Personally I am a big fan of constructive drawing and find that it helps me when drawing from observation, photo references and memory. To many this process may seem overly analytical at first but it can give you the freedom to develop your drawings loosely with a lot of expression yet maintaining clarity.  I hope you found this helpful. Come back and visit for future instructional material.

End of the year sketches

I spent the last week of 2014  camping with my husband and kids at Jekyll Island, Ga. The setting was ideal for reflecting on the ending year and setting goals for the new year. Here are a couple of sketchbook drawings from that week. I wish all of you a Happy New Year!

Studies of space and movement from multiple figures

Last week I posted a single quick gestural drawing from the karate journals. This week I am sharing a study of  multiple figures. I have found that the practice of quick gesture studies from life during my kids’ karate classes has given me the opportunity to explore composition and space. With no time to think, just look and record and this allows me to respond to the shapes and rhythms created by a room full of figures. I enjoy enhancing composition with light and dark and creating areas of emphasis by developing some figures more than others.

Single figure from the karate journals

Adriana Burgos, 1 minute gesture sketchbook drawing from the karate journals

Adriana Burgos 1 minute gesture sketchbook drawing from the karate journals

Today I share with you a single figure from my karate sketches. This is a gesture drawing done under one minute. The subject is a child in sparring gear, which includes, a helmet, gloves and shoes. I marvel at the balance and rhythms found in the human figure and never get tired of studying this through these observational sketches. In the torso, the spine has an “S” like movement; on the legs, the curvatures of the front of the thighs face the curves of the calves. All these lyrical movements add grace to the standing human form.

Movement studies

Here are a few of my sketchbook pages from the karate journals. My boys have been going to karate for four years now and I started drawing from direct observation as practice while watching the class. Working from figures in constant movement forces me to pay close attention and take note of the poses in seconds. Careful observation, memory, an understanding of anatomical structure and gesture all come into play here.  These studies allow me to explore composition in the picture plane as well as the human body in movement, thus enriching my visual vocabulary.

Mixed media sketchbook entries

The sketchbook is a great place to explore materials and ideas, therefor it is a valuable tool to expand visual possibilities. These images were sketchbook entries from a journal I created while participating in the Sketchbook Project

www.thesketchbookproject.com a few years back. The theme I chose for the journal was dirigibles and submersibles, which was on their list of suggested topics.

These entries are photocopy and gel- medium transfers combined with drawing. I took the photos in Jekyll Island, which is one of my favorite places around here. The two-page spreads allowed me to explore different formats within one book.

 

Thoughts on blogging

IMG_3396It’s been a while since I’ve been meaning to have a presence on the web as an artist. After much thought, I decided that the best venue for me would be a blog instead of a static website. Over the years, I found that I learn more from artists’ blogs than I do their websites (I’ll confess that I can spend a little too much time on the Internet looking at artwork and doing research for my classes). I like reading about other people’s creative process and find it very enriching. This is why when I finally got around to presenting myself as an artist online, I chose to blog. After researching several platforms, I decided to use worpress.com because here, I could have the blogroll component as well as static pages.

I launched The Drawing Page and published my very first post about two months ago in early September. I have learned a lot through the process of setting up and writing in this medium. Fortunately, Blogging 101 was being offered in September and it was perfect timing for me. The class has helped me understand the dynamics of blogging.

I had no idea what it meant to be in the blogosphere until last month. Looking at blogs as an outsider is a whole different experience than from the inside. The sense of community among bloggers took me by surprise, the interaction is very positive and encouraging. This new interaction has led me to find blogs I enjoy that are not necessarily art related, but have to do with some of my other interests or with thoughtful reflections on many aspects of life. The setup through word press in which there are suggested blogs for different topics and tips on many aspects of blogging has allowed me to discover new artists and meaningful articles of all types.

I have been inspired by many of these sites, I find many writers witty and very interesting. One thing most bloggers have in common is creativity and self drive.

Certainly blogging is a commitment and takes work, but I agree with many other bloggers that the opportunity to reflect on whatever the site’s topic is, can help anyone grow as a human being and somehow become more organized and accountable with ones own goals.

Docks and Piers

I am so grateful to live near the ocean and coastal rivers. Savannah has beautiful waterways and I often get away with my family in our camper to the beach or by a river.

Here is a selection of sketchbook drawings done from docks or fishing piers over the years. These were all done from direct observation. My favorite thing about drawing from direct observation is that the response to the subject being drawn is more emotional and the feeling of the space makes it into the drawing.

View from the gate

This is the first post under the Sunday sketchbook category. I plan to upload a sketchbook entry every Sunday.

I did this sketch at the Atlanta airport, while waiting to board the plane on a business trip. This was done with ballpoint pen on a travelogue sketchbook.

I had fun observing all the activity that happened while I was drawing and hope to have captured some of that.

Adriana Burgos, sketchbook entry, 2014, ballpoint pen

Adriana Burgos, sketchbook entry, 2014, ballpoint pen