When I paint some­one’s legs buck­ling, they just look weird. Any tips?

ImagineFX - - Imagine Nation - Phil Jenk­ins, Canada

Peter replies

When legs buckle, they usu­ally end up in un­nat­u­ral po­si­tions. It’s very un­set­tling when it hap­pens to you and it needs to look un­set­tling when you’re try­ing to paint it. The key is to keep the pro­por­tions and anatomy cor­rect even in these un­nat­u­ral states.

I’ve gath­ered some ref­er­ence of some sprint­ers to get my mind into gear and I also act out my­self how I think a good buckle should go. I find that the joints in the leg fail and twist in un­com­fort­able ways. I keep this in my mind’s eye while plan­ning out the pic­ture.

I make use of over­lap­ping and fore­short­ened limbs; with­out this the fig­ure would look un­re­al­is­tic and flat. I use sim­pli­fied shapes of the limbs to plan this out. Hav­ing an artist’s man­nequin helps with this a lot. I’m happy to ex­ag­ger­ate some of the bends in the legs slightly, be­cause this adds to the feel­ing of the legs buck­ling. I try to make sure that I plan out and get the anatomy and pro­por­tions as cor­rect as pos­si­ble, be­cause it’ll mean less work later on dur­ing the paint­ing process.

The rest of the body re­acts when the legs buckle, so I paint a hope­less fa­cial ex­pres­sion and de­pict the arms try­ing to re­gain bal­ance. It’s a good idea to plan out the fig­ure with sim­ple shapes. Use dif­fer­ent colours to help

sep­a­rate the limbs.

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