Most of my commissions require a good deal of tight, intricate work. It really tenses up my whole body and shortens the periods of time I can sit and work. Yoga and regular trips to the gym help alleviate that. I've also taken a page from my college drawing classes this past two weeks.
One of the most dreaded (at least at first) exercises we did was gesture drawing. The model posed and we were given 30 seconds to capture the essence of that pose. This was really frustrating at first since my tendency is to analyze things, view them from every angle and let them simmer for a while. Vercingetorix for instance.
This is a 40mm figure that I started over two years ago. Other projects came and went while I decided on the look I wanted for him. Armor or no? Sword or spear? What style of belt and scabbard?
Imagine my panic when told to draw something that I normally would have agonized over for hours in 30 seconds. So there were frantic scribbles made with broad strokes of charcoal on newsprint. And the worst was yet to come. After four or five of these drawings we were then told that we had 20 seconds to do the next series. Then 10 seconds and finally 5 seconds. Panic set in with each new time constraint.
I was totally drained after that hour and a half of class, but my body was loose and relaxed. Looking back over the days work I could see the progression from many frantic scribbles for each attempt to a few precise, elegant lines describing the essence of the pose. Maybe there was something to this after all.
Vercingetorix, by the way, is well under way to completion. I have details to wrap up and the last choice is cloak or no cloak. A cloak would add some movement and flow to the work. But I kind of like the clean, simple look of him right now.
Last week I was getting tense after an hour of work on a project. I decided to try gesture sculpting on a few figures. I had two goblin ninjas to do for Goblin Factory. So I bent some wire, pushed some putty and about three hours of work later (time lapsed for curing time between layers of putty) there were two ninjas on my table.
A little rough, but the anatomy is where I want it and the poses have a decent sense of balance and motion. A little clean up work and they're good to go.
All right. On to another guy that has been sitting in armature stage for several months. I tried the loose sculpting with the first of the High Kings in 28mm.
This is a shot after about four hours of work. Again that doesn't count the time for the putty to cure between stages.
I'm estimating another hour of rough work and probably a second of clean up.
I started the second High King yesterday.
Here he is after half an hour of work.
Just some wire and putty, but again, the anatomy and pose are worked out and major muscle masses are blocked in. The left arm will have to wait until I have the torso done as it crosses over the body and will need to be bent into place.
The greatest benefit of gesture drawing was that when we had longer to work on later projects, they were all tighter and more accurate than previous efforts. I expect that the same thing will happen with the sculpting. I'm already starting to see it on another client's project. I'll post some pictures of that later if I get permission.
I have permission to blog about these now. They are 28mm pinup Napoleonic girls for RastlWorld Minis.
These will be wearing British Horse Artillery jackets and helmets when they are finished.