Can you explain how to marry my anatomy knowledge with character gestures?
Answer Tom Fox replies
I want to use my own character concept here, going with something that will show off the anatomy that this issue of ImagineFX is focusing on. In the end I settle on a barbarian.
My process for gestures is three-fold. First, I lay down a floor grid to establish perspective and eye level, and I block in major forms of the figure and rough proportions. These include the torso and hips, the head and limbs. This is the most important part of the whole drawing, because if you finalise the pose at this stage, then the rest is just detailing.
Important things to remember include trying to include a twist between the torso and hips, using the feet and hands to reflect the attitude of the gesture, and finally, get into the pose and act it out yourself. This is possibly the most useful advice I ever received. All the great animators do it, so you should, too.
Second, lay over the anatomy and details such as clothing and weapons. You can see both stages in my work in-progress image. Over the years you develop a sense of how these forms drape over the block forms that you’ve already drawn in the first stage.
Finally, I take my anatomy chart and paint over it. This is probably the most timeconsuming stage, yet plays the smallest part in determining whether it’s an interesting piece or not. A well-painted model in a stiff or boring pose will always lack visual interest.
Here are some gestures taken slightly further and coloured underneath the lines. Some lines are removed to stop the piece looking like an anatomy chart. The anatomical features are draped over the major forms. Those block forms determine the overall gesture and attitude.