Gesture Drawing the Pixar Way (notes from CTNX 2011)

Last month I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Creative Talent Network Animation Expo in Burbank, California.  I can not understate how great of a time I had the three days I was there.  I met so many awesome students and professionals who all share my love of the animation industry, and also had the opportunity to attend several extremely informative workshops and panels.  One of the ones I enjoyed most was Gesture: The Soul of Drawing - the Pixar Way!, by Pixar artists Alex Woo and Matt Jones.  These are the notes I took during their panel; a few people have expressed interest in seeing them so I thought I'd post them up here for anyone who might benefit from them.

7 Foundational Topics

Line of Action - what is the main idea of the pose?

Shape - how can you simplify the complex form you see into basic shapes?

Silhouette - successful silhouettes depict the model/character's pose without confusion, choose an angle to draw from where the viewer will be able to correctly read the pose quickly and easily

Space - where is the model in relation to the space he/she is in?  This where perspective and foreshortening plays into your drawing

Exaggeration - push the pose farther than what you see in front of you to give it more life; when viewing a live model your eyes take in so much more information than when viewing a drawing so you have to exaggerate the drawn pose to compensate

Extrapolation - seeing beyond the pose, "Nobody is going to know if you changed the pose, just make it interesting;"use the model as your jumping off point, don't be married to it.  In the photo below the top drawing is of the model's actual pose, the bottom is how Matt interpreted it.

Story - contextualizing your drawing.  In the photo below Matt demonstrates how simple it is to create story out of the model's pose by adding the figure on the right. 

"A strong drawing is one that blends solid draftsmanship with vitality" - Alex Woo

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