Anatomy mas­ter­class

Glenn Vilppu shows how fo­cus­ing on ac­tion and mak­ing use of the “icons” of ba­sic ren­der­ing are the keys to cre­at­ing ex­pres­sive anatomy

ImagineFX - - Contents -

Ex­pres­sive anatomy with Glenn Vilppu.

Over the next five pages I’ll re­veal the ba­sic steps I use in my lec­tures, and how they’re re­lated. I’ll start with the first con­cep­tion or inkling of an idea, and take you through to the fi­nal pre­sen­ta­tion. Each step has an ac­com­pa­ny­ing video in­struc­tion and in­volves ap­ply­ing core vis­ual tools, like se­lect­ing icons for a

1 tools, not rules

When draw­ing from life and from imag­i­na­tion, the key is to un­der­stand the ac­tion that you’re try­ing to de­pict. This is an an­a­lyt­i­cal process. In this ex­am­ple, the lines lead you through the fig­ure – they’re not copies of shapes, out­lines or stick fig­ures. Each frag­ment leads you to the next, as if you were an­i­mat­ing a trip through the fig­ure, mov­ing from one side to the other. No dead draw­ings like CSI. It’s all about tran­si­tion. Make the viewer’s eye move. par­tic­u­lar pro­gram, that you need to know how to use, to de­velop your con­cept. Con­tin­u­ing the com­puter anal­ogy, draw­ing is the graph­i­cal in­ter­face to your imag­i­na­tion. Th­ese tools en­able you to re­late your idea to your­self and the world.

I’ve or­gan­ised th­ese tools into a se­ries of log­i­cal steps that can be ap­plied to any vis­ual pre­sen­ta­tion.

2 Go across the form

The next pri­mary tool is us­ing lines go­ing across and around the form, sim­i­lar to a ba­sic wire frame. No­tice how it gives the first step a clear un­der­stand­ing of the forms in space. Fo­cus on 3D, not shape or tone.

3 Build up the fig­ure

In this step we come to the work­horse of de­scrib­ing form in ac­tion. The ba­sic sphere is the first step in the de­vel­op­ment of the form. When adding the sphere, we fo­cus upon cre­at­ing clear, sim­ple vol­umes. You can look at th­ese as pro­to­type anatom­i­cal struc­tures, but don’t get ob­sessed about hav­ing to make them per­fect for now. Th­ese are gen­eral forms that will be ad­justed as we go along. But for now, pay par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to how they over­lap.

All of us know a lot more than we think we do, and much of what I teach is sim­ply mak­ing this knowl­edge ac­ces­si­ble. My de­sire is to bring a feel­ing of life to the draw­ing, based upon move­ment. In this work­shop I’ll fo­cus upon the ac­tion – oth­er­wise known as ges­ture – and the pri­mary ren­der­ing steps in­volved in draw­ing the fig­ure from imag­i­na­tion.

Our goal as artists is to add a sense of life and move­ment to our draw­ings. So it’s im­por­tant that you use lines that com­mu­ni­cate the ges­ture. No­tice how the same sim­ple spheres com­mu­ni­cate very dif­fer­ent ac­tions. Ev­ery line has mean­ing. Your draw­ing needs to be pur­pose­ful in de­vel­op­ing your first idea, which is your end goal.

5 all about re­al­ity

How your draw­ing com­mu­ni­cates a sense of phys­i­cal re­al­ity is key to your draw­ing hav­ing a sense of life. The first ex­er­cise in study­ing an­i­ma­tion is the bounc­ing ball, and the pri­mary el­e­ments of how the ball changes shape on hit­ting the ground and re­gains its shape in re­bound­ing. Squash and stretch are fun­da­men­tal draw­ing terms. I first heard th­ese in dis­cus­sions of the works of Michelan­gelo and Pon­tormo. Look at the Belvedere torso, copied by artists since Ro­man times. Note how I’m ap­ply­ing this ba­sic con­cept to the sim­ple forms of the fig­ure.

Ev­ery line has mean­ing. Your draw­ing needs to be pur­pose­ful in de­vel­op­ing your first idea, which is your end goal

6 Use the cylin­der

As we drew the sim­ple cross con­tours back in step 2, each showed a sec­tion of a cylin­der. The cylin­der be­comes our next ba­sic tool for the fig­ure and a build­ing foun­da­tion for anatom­i­cal in­for­ma­tion. Where you place the ends of the cylin­ders and how you draw the el­lipse are the main points in show­ing di­rec­tion and fore­short­en­ing. The cylin­der be­comes part of a vis­ual struc­ture we build anatom­i­cal struc­ture on.

7 Sym­me­try aware­ness

Anal­y­sis of the pose is key when draw­ing from a model. In do­ing the draw­ings so far I’ve been build­ing on an idea in my head, but in draw­ing from a model it’s not of­ten clear what the ac­tion is. Our next tool is the box, which works to both clar­ify our un­der­stand­ing of the live model and our con­cep­tual in­tent. This is be­cause it in­tro­duces crit­i­cal anatom­i­cal land­marks that show us sym­me­try – a key el­e­ment in re­veal­ing ac­tion.

8 Make it move!

At this point in the draw­ing we get a merg­ing of fun­da­men­tal con­struc­tion and anatomy in ac­tion. All the mus­cles are con­nected at two points and some at more. How the ba­sic un­der­ly­ing struc­ture moves and in­ter­acts is giv­ing vis­ual expressions to how they af­fect the sur­face anatomy. So now is the per­fect time to fo­cus on not only the mus­cles, but the fab­ric of skin and fat on top of the mus­cles and their in­ter­ac­tion. Re­mem­ber that every­thing goes over, around, com­presses and stretches.

9 Keep the move­ment

It’s im­por­tant to fo­cus on how our orig­i­nal ges­ture sketch is ap­plied in the de­vel­op­ment and ren­der­ing of the anatomy. We’re draw­ing fig­ures in ac­tion, not anatomy book il­lus­tra­tions. Each of the lines lead­ing through the fig­ure are tran­si­tions from one point to the next. In us­ing th­ese lines as guides I com­pose the anatomy to com­mu­ni­cate the ac­tion.

Use the tone

The first tonal ren­der­ing tool is the mod­el­ling tone. Push the sides back, and what faces you is in light. As the form turns away it goes into tone. The tones move the eye in the same way lines do. They have to di­rect and de­scribe the form. Don’t copy tones, but use them to de­scribe form.

11 Bring it to life

A ma­jor el­e­ment in the draw­ing that’s of­ten over­looked is the sub­jec­tive con­tent of the sub­ject. In this ex­am­ple, no­tice how the look of the eyes and ex­pres­sion change the feel­ing of the draw­ing. Make the ac­tion and body lan­guage ob­vi­ous, or no one will un­der­stand your in­ten­tions for the piece.

12 Use the photo, don’t copy it!

When work­ing from pho­to­graphs, it’s im­por­tant to keep in mind that a copy of a fig­ure in ac­tion doesn’t mean the draw­ing will show ac­tion. You must cre­ate it. I tell my stu­dents, we never copy, we an­a­lyse and con­struct. Com­pose the anatomy to show the ac­tion.

Di­a­grams only show what anatomy looks like. You have to bring it to life

Artist TIP: Think of each of the tools as icons on a com­puter that you ac­cess to cre­ate a draw­ing. Artist TIP: Fol­low through, and take the line across and around the form. Imag­ine your pen­cil on the forms go­ing over the con­tours.

Artist TIP: Draw very lightly so that you can change with­out eras­ing. Re­hearse the strokes: three looks, two thinks, one ap­pli­ca­tion.

Artist TIP: What’s seen are the lines we put down. The lines you put down is what you’re think­ing. Build the draw­ing. Artist TIP: Put two or­anges in a stock­ing and see what hap­pens as you twist and bend it.

Artist TIP: This ap­proach also works for any­thing that’s com­ing for­ward or back, from snakes to branches. Artist TIP: Don’t get hung up on us­ing boxes. They help, but are not es­sen­tial. Artist TIP: Make the pose your­self to feel the ac­tion.

Artist TIP: The ren­der­ing in a 3D com­puter model with the lights not set is the same as the mod­el­ling tone in a draw­ing. Artist TIP: Feel the pen­cil as it goes over the form. Fo­cus on the to­tal, not the parts.

Artist TIP: The fig­ure should look like it’s in ac­tion – about to speak, turn, or just be in the process of do­ing some­thing.

Artist TIP: It’s about stretch, com­pres­sion and how to de­scribe form. Anatomy di­a­grams only show what it looks like. You have to bring it to life.

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