I realized the value of gesture drawing only this year, after I read Walt Stanchfield's notes on it. Everything in life has gesture to it, even still objects. Gesture expresses movement and feeling and that's why it's so important in animation. Animators capture character and emotion so well. Anatomy can aid in understanding action but gesture helps tell a story. Here are my 10 favourite bits of advice from this great Disney animator:
“We learn drawing by studying parts; we practice drawing by assembling those parts into a meaningful whole.”
“Drawing is really your reaction to life—to the bits of life you are sketching. It is not merely a collection of parts being put down on paper.”
“What is a pose or gesture but an orderly arrangement of body parts to display a mood, demeanor, attitude, mannerism, expression, emotion—whatever.”
“A sure way to keep from making static, lifeless drawings is to think of drawing “verbs” instead of “nouns.”
“Most important to the success of a drawing is that first impression. If it is perceived wrongly, the preliminary sketch will be off and all the work put in it from then on will be a waste.”
“Using a touch of story in your drawings can quicken them into life—like zapping them with a magic wand.”
“Everything on the drawing is there to help stress the story. Every line drawn should help direct the eye to the theme.”
“What is going to make an artist out of you is a combination of a few basic facts about the body, a few basic principles of drawing and an extensive, obsessive desire and urge to express your feelings and impressions. ”
“Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. We all have 10,000 bad drawings in us. The sooner we get them out the better.”
Nature is so rich and surprising and there's so much to learn about it. It feels like the imaginary creatures you create can actually live somewhere and are yet to be discovered. There are so many amazing species people don't know about. We are so used to seeing the same animals in picture books and animation that we don't appreciate other types of animals, those that are unusual and mysterious both in their looks and behaviour. Such an inspiration for artists!
Here's a video of the world's smallest endangered deer species - Pudu. Please enjoy!