“You can get away with a lot if you learn how to draw hands and feet.”
–[I can’t remember who said this….probably one of the teachers at IMC]–
I guess I’ve been drawing since I was about 3 years old, probably like most of the artists reading this. One thing I’ve noticed is that it pays great dividends to pay particular attention to two things, hehe… in addition to all the things you already have to pay attention to.
1) Notice what you notice (your future work is likely contained in the work you like to look at once you’ve understood *why* you like to look at it – There are always exceptions of course)
2) Notice what you avoid in your own work and why. For me there was a point when I realized that I avoided drawing faces. Some time later I realized that I had avoided faces because I was afraid of “not getting them right.” I decided to attack that particular hurdle and as it turned out I could, with effort, render a competent face that would actually be recognizable.
I realized that I actually loved drawing faces.
I had literally gone from hating doing something to loving doing it in a relatively short span of time.
This same scenario happened again with hands and feet. I avoided focusing on hands and feet. They were present, sometimes, but they were relegated to bit players in the scenes. I had yet to realize that there are no bit players… every element in the scene is important (What isn’t in the scene is important too but that’s for a different post).
But, to stay on target, I have learned that more often than not I can predict what I will be drawing in the future by what I’m avoiding drawing now. The challenge is discerning what you’re not interested in drawing as opposed to what you’re avoiding. And the truth is that *sometimes* avoidance presents as Lack of Interest.
I’m not interested in drawing cars generally but I do have this piece that has been floating around in the *not yet* section of my ideas folder that does involve drawing cars to a degree. So in this instance my lack of interest in drawing cars is a tool of procrastination (not that I have a deadline on that particular work).
That wasn’t on target at all… this is supposed to be about Hands and Feet.
Hands and Feet.
As characters in your work, in my work, they perform a disproportionate amount of the acting narrative in a scene. Many of the pieces I have accompanying this post rely on the hands exclusively to convey the energy of the composition.
So when I began drawing everything was fun because nothing had to look like anything. The longer I kept at drawing the more my expectations developed in regard to what I thought the work was supposed to look like. (Based on my own nature … This does not apply to everyone as we all have different experiences. This is just based on my own experience.)
I reached a point where my expectations exceeded my ability. That’s when, I think, I actively had to force myself to learn, to step outside of my comfort zone as they say.
Hands and Feet.
Hands and Feet are easier to draw THAN FORESHORTENED kNEES AND eLBOWS but way harder than ears.
The funny thing is that once I have started drawing a thing I have never found any one thing that is more difficult to draw than another. It all seems as if it’s a matter of how much effort I put into accurate observation of its subtleties. Once I decided to earnestly invest myself in drawing faces, I found that I was using the same manner of laying down lines and values. I just had to look long enough to see that some things are built on subtle foundations and an aggregation of delicate details.
The simple truth about anything is, there is NOTHING that is harder or easier to draw than anything else. It is all about whether it’s time for you to become interested or invested in doing it.
Next month on Muddy Colors… Foreshortened Knees and Elbows and That Difficult Bit Under the Chin When the Head is Tilted Up. JK 😉
Hello Allen, thank you very much for your post and wonderful artwork. Many of these scenes inspired me. I would like to say that your post “worked” because as soon as i was reading it i alredy felt an urge to draw (study, actually) hands and feet, which is one of the parts of the body i struggle most. One of the reasons i feel soo much difficulty on drawing hands is that sometimes they make some gestures or poses that we are NOT USED TO NOTICE in real life or pictures, and then when we attempt to draw them they look odd…sometimes the drawing is somewhat right and anatomy is being respected, but it look DIFFERENT in 2d then in reality (specially when the hand is in perspective and fingers get foreshortened etc, or when you have hands with fingers touching or “embracing” one another). Could you speak a bit about that? Anyway, thank you very much for the inspiring topic of today. I will keep your teachings in mind and work harder on my weak points.
I think hardest is getting hands and feet the right size in relation to the rest of the body.
Oh yes please about the That Difficult Bit Under the Chin When the Head is Tilted Up ;P
This is beautiful and much appreciated. And I wait for foreshortened knees with baited breath as half of everything I want to draw seems to involve them and they seem to lack that lovely silhouette that makes so many things read right. Thank you for sharing this!