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