100 gesture studies complete – Day 17

Daily Art 10-18-17 gesture studies of animals

I’m happy to have completed my daily challenge of doing 100 gesture studies of different animals!

I noticed that a few animals tended to turn out better than others. Fish, birds, domestic cats, and insects often looked more interesting than primates, bears, and large cats. Maybe it has something to do with the scale of the animal and the 5-minute time limit. I’d say my most-improved animal is the horse. It came up many days so there were lots of opportunities to keep trying.

Things that went well

By doing 6 each day, I was able to reflect on each group of sketches and make small course corrections the next day. I’m also doing a lot of studying up on drawing — gesture sketches and about animals specifically — so I was able to start trying out different techniques.

One helpful thing I added part way through the challenge was to draw the axis lines on the face to orient the features more accurately.

The most useful thing I did for the challenge overall was to draw whatever animal appeared and not skip one because I didn’t feel like drawing it or it looked too difficult. This forced me out of my comfort zone (side profile views) and into harder poses (foreshortened views).

Areas I can improve

I’d like to focus more on imagining vertical and horizontal lines running through key intersections to improve proportions like torso length and limb size. It would be a good check-in system before I get too far along with details.

Some days my lines got really hard to tell apart, making the sketch look confusing and messy. And I often ran into issues putting features on the faces. This would be better if I made initial marks lighter, until I was sure I had things where I wanted them, and saving facial features for larger drawings.

What’s next

I’d like to continue with the focused practice theme. A big subject I’m working on is value and contrast, so it might be cool to do small and fast daily value studies. One of my goals is to get better at seeing lights and dark as abstracted shapes and not get hung up on details. This will help me down the road when I’m more focused on composition design. If I did three 10-minute studies I could get through a bunch of them quickly. I might not do 100 like with this activity, but even if I did it for a few weeks I could hit 50.

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