Day 18: Observe and commit
The Croquis Cafe poses are quick, which is great. Quick poses help you focus on just what is important. But when time is short, it’s our instinct to rush. To jam as many lines in as we can, to cram in information because there is more information than we have time to put down on paper.
Let’s approach quick drawings completely differently. Let’s aim to put down fewer lines, but the lines we do draw should be important, committed and powerful. And to make lines like that, you need to make good observations. You need to know where the line is going and what it is for.
When time is short, you need to be a good editor. Choose only the most important information – what we talked about during week 1 and 2. Take a few seconds at the start of the 60 minutes to see what’s important – the curves and angles, the weight, the big shapes of tone. Go to the extreme of editing. Once you’ve seen some essential things, really observe each line before you put it down. And while you draw it, your eyes can flick back and forth to the figure and the paper.
Secondly, because each line is so important, they should be bold and committed but that does not mean they need to be fast. The pencil doesn’t need to move rapidly. You can vary the speed as you need to – when you know exactly where it’s going and it’s going to move with a natural flick of the arm or wrist, then by all means go for it. But if it needs you to observe the figure as you go, or the motion is a little more tricky, your arm can slow down, not stop, but slow down keeping the flow going but giving you time to observe again.
So today during the Croquis Cafe slow poses, try slowing down. Instead of 2 lines a second, you might only make a line every 3 or 4 seconds. Instead of 100 rushed and panicked lines, you’ll have 15 or 20 lines committed and well observed lines which are only focused on the most fundamental aspects of the figure and pose. Good luck and I’ll see you tomorrow.