Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Concert Sketching: Dealing with Movement

Here's another sneak peek at the current issue of International Artist, where I answer your questions about concert sketching.

Gustavo Torqueto asks: “How do you draw someone that is in constant movement?”

The amount that musicians move around varies a lot, depending on the style of the performer and the kind of instrument. A few are reliably rock-steady—Irish flutists, for example, especially if they are playing into a microphone. They tend not to budge, so you can settle into a careful drawing.

It’s a good idea to watch any performer for the first few minutes to observe the range of poses they’re likely to take, and to let them settle in. If the subject is going to move a lot, such as this symphonic conductor, I start a series of smaller sketches, each one representing a keyframe or characteristic pose that they cycle back into. I lock a pose in my short term memory by snapping my eyes shut and studying the afterimage.
International Artist magazine issue 107


jeffkunze said...

One summer I felt was a real point of growth for me was when I had the goal of filling one of my 100 page sketchbooks with only gesture drawings in public. I went to parks, zoos, farms, shopping areas, pretty much anywhere I knew there would be people or animals doing a variety of activities. It was a challenge at first but I found that my ability to take that mental snapshot for the initial pose to get the feeling/attitude got significantly better.

Not only that but my confidence to draw wherever, whenever or in front of whomever also went up. I didn't expect that. That feeling of "oh I don't want someone to see me doing a bad drawing" comes back if I get out of the habit of drawing all the time. But I think I was more confident after that summer than I ever had been before.

Jared Cullum said...

I haven't had a chance to read your article yet so please forgive me, GJ_family, if this is a redundant suggestion:
In Mary Whyte's "Portraits of the South" watercolor DVD she shows and talks for a minute about sketching chickens in constant motion. One tip she mentions is to basically have a lot a little starts so that when they go back into a certain position you can pick back up and move around the page.

Eugene Arenhaus said...

So, basically, exactly like you sketch animals in a zoo.

(What a beautiful handwriting skill, by the way!)

John Mitchell said...

I recommend the same techniques for drawing tango dancers. They move in semi-static patterns, and pause every now and then. Watching them for a few minutes lets you see which angles and positions repeat, so it's easier to draw them.

Mitch said...

FYI the International Artist website is somewhat out of sync with their print distribution. The website says the current issue = 106. However, when I signed up for a print + digital subscription, I was told my first issue would be 108. I asked if I could start with 107, which had already been mailed, and they were very accommodating. Friendly folks. Looking forward to the article.

And regarding this post: I really like the cumulative effect of those small conductor sketches.

James, I'm wondering if you ever do (or have done, and decided it didn't work for you) more "typical" gesture drawings of figures in motion?

Jeff, I like your account of filling a sketchbook of gestures done in public! I'm going to have to try that.