Can you help me de­pict some­one who’s mov­ing though tar?

Brian Dea­con, Eng­land

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An­swer

Paco replies

A per­son walk­ing through tar or a swamp will need to make much more of an ef­fort to move their legs. That trans­lates into larger strides and en­hanced move­ments of the arms and torso.

To grasp that kind of move­ment, look for ref­er­ences, such as pic­tures of run­ners dur­ing a wet crosscountry run. It’s also use­ful to make the move­ments yourself. Imag­ine that you’re in a swamp. You’d be tak­ing long, ex­ag­ger­ated strides, twist­ing your waist and us­ing your arms to am­plify your for­ward move­ment. You’d also have a de­ter­mined fa­cial ex­pres­sion. Once you can vi­su­alise this, paint­ing the scene should be­come eas­ier. And try to show the move­ment in the sub­stance in which the char­ac­ter is stand­ing, such as slow-mov­ing rip­ples of gloopy, sludgy wa­ter.

The key to re­flect­ing the ef­fort that it takes to walk through a swamp or sim­i­lar is to ex­ag­ger­ate the move­ment of the limbs and the torso. Try to make that move­ment yourself first.

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