Last month I spent a brilliant morning drawing at a model guild benefit, and it reignited my love of life drawing, and especially the gesture. And since I get an disproportionate number of hits for “gesture drawing,” I thought I’d scratch out some thoughts on gesture drawing from life.
Gesture drawing is often described as capturing the action of a pose, the feeling of a thing, the “inner essence”. It’s quick, it’s forceful, it’s to-the-point. It captures an active moment in time. A frozen glimpse of a model balancing on one leg; a dog loping along the beach; a bank of clouds blowing like boulders across the horizon.
At it’s most academic, gesture drawing is about studying. It’s about drawing—a lot of—poses, or people, or animals, or landscapes, in a short amount of time. It’s a rapid and deep immersion into a multiplicity of form and line. It’s an exploration of media and mind. A flick of the wrist and the arc of the arm discover new shapes and spaces, new angles and elements, new ideas to build upon later when drawing time has once again slowed to a careful crawl.
But at it’s most basic level, gesture drawing is simply and awfully darn fun.