Saturday, February 8, 2014

What's not to like...?

As much as we are learning from the Preston Blair cycles I noticed something: all the Blair cycles are male-oriented.  You wouldn't want to draw a gal doing the strut cycle from the "Handsome Guy" exercise because she'd look... well... not like a female.

My point is the Blair cycles suit male figures but don't describe female figures.  To draw an exercise based on female-oriented movement we have to do a little searching.

I found such an example in this exercise based on a video on Vimeo by someone calling themselves Felix Sputnik.  Obviously Mr. Sputnik is an extremely accomplished animator... and probably a top notch teacher... as this is one of the best animation cycle projects I've ever seen.  I don't know much - I'm just an amateur, after all - but I recognize excellence when I see it.  And Mr. Sputnik's video is excellent.

There are no still pictures on which to base the exercise but I did notice numbers flashing by so I tried stopping the video at strategic places and I think I got most the "key" captures.  Enough, at least, that I could proceed with the exercise.

After much agonizing and laboriously drawing the figures as best I could, I derived these rough sketches and decided they were my key poses:
Not much more than a bunch of squiggly lines... but I think my shapes and proportions are fundamentally correct.
They're just squiggly lines but what is it about them that makes them unmistakeably female?   I think it has to do with with how she holds up her arms and hands, how she thrusts her butt out aggressively, how she leans into it and gives it 110%... I dunno.  Maybe it's just that we guys tend to morph everything we see into fantasies about females. Seriously, I could draw a series of rocks and we guys would still find something slightly female about it.

Anyway, I then built these up into "final" drawings... rough sketches, actually; I try not to spend too much time on finished-looking drawings because, quite frankly, I think the point of the exercise is to show logical movement and anyway, I'm only so-so when drawing realistic figures:
My gal isn't of quite the grand proportions of the original and maybe not as anatomically correct.  But I think these drawings are adequate for the purposes of the exercise.

Now here's an interesting thing.  The orientation of the video for this sequence is right-to-left.  Do your eyes resist following the figures?  Mine do, albeit slightly.  Culturally (listen to me!  I'm an anthropologist!!) we're accustomed to reading left-to-right so the orientation of this exercise is a bit unsettling.

Here it is flipped the other way:
Read a little better?