As my previous posts have shown, I have a list of books which were recommended by either websites that focus on life-drawing or by my lecturer. Going through the list, I noticed that most of them touch up on the same things, the same techniques, the way one has to observe the model during life drawing, but I want to make a useful guide and base my research on what life-drawing can do for animations and animators.
The anatomy of forms is important, but as an animator who works in 2D it’s most important to understand a gesture of a form. To convey a pose or action in the quickest way possible, knowledge of rhythm, balance and function is needed, so with this in mind I was able to remove most of the books that were mainly about anatomy for skeletons, muscle mass, dissecting limbs, eyes, ears and mouths. Whilst this is always a good thing to know, for now I focused on the books that explain how to observe and create in the most simplistic of ways.
Glenn Vilppu’s book : Drawing Manual was the one I started with. It explains shapes and forms, how to look at a model.
According to Vilppu there are atleast two different and opposite points of view towards art: Art is the imitation of Nature -or- Art is based on a concept of the Ideal.
On the one hand we have the illustrative or academic approach where we learn how to copy a model through long poses, whilst on the other hand we have a purely conceptual approach where the concept is the overriding element in the drawing. He adds that teaching the classical approach for animation is very close to industry standard teaching. Draftsman such as Raphael, Da Vinci and Pontormo planned their paintings, sculptures and murals in stages.
In the construction to create the ideal form in classical approach, the perfect form was accompanied by clarity, transition and the ease of understanding, something that goes for good animation as well.
Drawing from imagination towards a conceptualized ideal is the norm in animation. – Glenn Vilppu – Vilppu Drawing Manual.
He explains where we animators differ in technique to an illustratior “The main difference is in the ideal of the form created”.
Where an illustrator would focus on learning to copy the model, animators study the form in order to better understand the human form and its movements.
The need to draw from imagination has to be supported by the knowledge we have gathered from researching and studying forms, through this we are able to create believable movements and attitudes which help to translate the acting far better.
In his example given to explain how animation is put through and thought process, how an idea becomes a firlm or even how we will build anything, he touches on Alexander Marshack’s conclusion in his book “The Roots to Civilization.”
He uses the analogy of sending a man to the moon, in his discussion he talks about how impossible the tast of sending a man to the moon is when considered as a whole, but taken as a series of small steps or problems, it becomes possible. Each step is broken down into even smaller steps, the impossible becomes possible.
-Vilppu Drawing Manual.
If we address subjects in sequences and hit the very core of a form and learn to understand this, we will level up to the next stage.
Vilppu Drawing Manual : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vilppu-Drawing-Manual-Glenn/dp/1892053039