Drawing

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Drawing

Drawing2c0002CH002.indd 712/26/2009 7:01:13 PM


Walt Stanchfi eld 139foundation for a background. “ Follow the Yellow Brick Road ” when you have time to dream — but whiledrawing — follow the “ grid. ”f1000p2200It may help to think of a figure as enclosed in an invisible box, subject, of course, to your viewpoint.f1010p2210p2220This is not to be thought of as a prop, but as a concept that will aid you in any third dimensionaldrawing you will ever make. It’s a kind of drawing grammar. In writing, grammar deals with the formsand structures of words and their arrangement in phrases and sentences (syntax). So “ drawing grammar” deals with forms and structures and their arrangement, not in phrases and sentences, but in thirddimensional space.Circles, incidentally, although good for locating things on the page, are not much help in revealingthe illusion of 3D. Here are four views of a tennis ball.CH002.indd 1392/26/2009 7:08:18 PM


140 Drawn to Lifef1020p2230Next is an attempt to illustrate how important seeing things in space is by using the box symbol. Theseare some old drawings that were used for other reasons but will work for this demonstration. Therewill be a student’s drawing, accompanied by a “ box ” drawing, showing his perspective. Then therewill be my correction drawing with a “ box ” drawing to show how perspective can enhance the illusionof space.f1030CH002.indd 1402/26/2009 7:08:18 PM


Walt Stanchfi eld 141f1040f1050CH002.indd 1412/26/2009 7:08:19 PM


142 Drawn to Lifep2240Granted, it’s easy to analyze another person’s drawing, but by the same token it is extremely difficult toanalyze one’s own drawing. That is why we must form some useable concepts of gesture, proportion, balance,etc., in space, so that we can see those good things as we draw. Just moving the pen or pencil aroundthe surface of the paper, no matter how intense our desire for a good drawing, is simply not enough.c018036Don’t Let the Facts Get in theWay of a Good Drawingp2250p2260p2270p2280p2290p2300p2310On the Channel 5 morning newscast, weatherman Mark Cristi related an amusing story, but couldn’tremember the name of the person he was quoting. Barbara Beck, anchor woman, said, “ Mark neverlets the facts get in the way of a good story. ” It was a good story and whether the person quoted wasRodney Dangerfield or Prince Charles, it wouldn’t have added or taken away from the comical twist.(The story was about some older man who had gotten his much younger wife pregnant so she wouldhave a playmate.)Here is a paraphrase of that line: “ … don’t let the facts get in the way of a good drawing. ” All thefacts in the world are only “ grist ” waiting for a good story. Or to look at it from another angle, “ A goodstory just needs enough facts to give it a vehicle for expression. ”In other words, when you draw, draw the story (or the gesture) and allow just enough facts to creepin to give your pen something to do. It’s something like the guy who was photographing with no film inhis camera. He didn’t need factual proof that he was taking beautiful pictures — he could see what hewas getting in his view finder.Many years ago Stan Green stepped into Milt Kahi’s room and said: “ Such-and-such-a-scene hascome back from camera — it’s on the Moviola, do you want to see it? ” Milt said, “ Hell, no. I animatedit. I know what it looks like. ” Well … it may be a long time before some of us will be that confident (orthat conceited), but you might take a hint from one of the “ masters ” ; that is, know what your drawinglooks like before you start detracting from the story with too many facts. You know what a lot of flounderingand superfluous words can do to a joke’s punch line.Ruth Rendell, British detective story writer, said she doesn’t research the mechanics of policedom forher stories, “ I find if you do it consciously (rely on facts) it doesn’t work. ” Well, in drawing you do haveto be conscious of the gesture and the story. Most other conscious effort should be done in an anatomyclass or curled up with a good anatomy book, remembering always that what a muscle does (verb) ismore important than its construction (noun).Keep your drawings vital, zestful, and entertaining by drawing verbs not nouns. A list of verbsshould be enough to convince you of their importance: twist, bend, stretch, run, jump; look, stare, besurprised, be mad, be coy; sit, lay, lean — the list goes on and on and encompasses all the activitiesthat a story might require. Nouns are facts: a belt buckle, a shirt, a hairdo, eyes, or a mouth. WriterJosephine Tey recognized the principle of facts versus content (story). In her book The Daughters of Time,she has one of her characters comment on a portrait of Richard III, “ Whatever it is, it is a face, isn’t it!Not just a collection of organs for seeing, breathing, and eating with … . ”A couple of weeks ago Tom Sito, one of our favorite people and certainly one of our best models,posed for the evening classes. As a civil war officer, he amused us with lines like (through clenchedteeth that held a cigar), “ Forget it General. I’m not going up that hill — it’s too dangerous. ” Anyway,Tina Price, who has renewed her interest in drawing and possibly animation, did some nice drawingCH002.indd 1422/26/2009 7:08:19 PM

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