Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Michael Jackson gives some insight into gesture drawing

For todays gesture drawing class, I grabbed a few frames from some home video footage of Michael Jackson dancing in a doorway. What I wanted to show the class was how conscious Michael is of where his body is in relation to the audience (in this case the camera). Every pose he strikes, and every move he makes is tailored to the viewer to give maximum readability and appeal. Every single pose creates a clear and striking silhouette. That's what we should be aiming for when we're drawing. For Michael, since he knows the camera is locked, he adjusts his body to create clear and readable poses. For us, as artists drawing a locked subject, we need to adjust our drawings in order to create clear and readable poses. It's not just about capturing what we see in front of us. It's also very important how we present what we see. Michael was keenly aware of his relationship with the audience. We should be too.

Look at the great lines and shapes Michael creates with his body, playing around with weight (the moonwalk is the ultimate example of playing with the illusion of weightlessness) and embodying different attitudes. It's no different in animation and drawing.

Here is a link to the actual clip.

And here are some great clips of him moonwalking (notice how you almost always see the moonwalk from a side profile angle? It's because that's the angle at which it reads the best):

So next time you draw, don't be afraid to push, pull, move and turn things in order to clarify your drawing for the audience. You're the director of your drawing. Don't be afraid to direct!