Block 348: February 18, 2014

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This is today’s weather; it’s also today’s mood.

Date: February 18, 2014

Crane: 348

Days Spent on Project: 367

Location: Apartment, Washington Heights, NYC

Person I would have sent it to: Ru-Jun W.

Today’s crane will be dedicated to Ru. For three years at the Yale School of Drama, he taught the weekly three-hour long figure drawing class at 149 York.

It was my first, and to this day my only, figure drawing class. Never before had I walked into a studio, pad of paper in hand, easel in front of me, and just looked at the human form and tried to draw what I saw in front of me. Never before had I tried to see and understand how an actual human fit together and moved and posed; I had always been instructed to draw the Croquis, using an artistic shorthand for drawing a person efficiently.

A human form is 8 heads tall. Shoulders are three heads widths wide. A hand is a foot is a head length. The knee hits at the bottom of head 6. The crotch is the halfway marker at the bottom of head 4; the waist is the top of head four.

And so on and so forth. Up until my 24th year, that’s the sole way I understood how to draw a person… by simplifying it.

Ru, for three years, lead me and the class along in quick drawing exercises, longer poses, asking each of us to see better, to understand better, to train our eyes to work with our hands as teammates.

I’m not sure if Ru ever liked my drawing style; I did tend to make my figures a little illustration-y with darker lines at the edges and areas of interest. Ru liked seeing what I call “thinking lines;” seeing the process behind a good line, or figure, was part of the beauty for him. (And I’ve grown to love that as well the more I draw… who wants a clean sketch anyway!? The messiness of it is part of the excitement, I think.)

As I’ve been allowing myself the time to enjoy drawing sketches for Shameless and Pippin, I’ve been thinking about the human form frequently and obviously. I still use the Croquis to measure out a body, especially now that looking at a real person isn’t feasible, but I now understand when I’m cheating. I still work on making sure the body goes together believably, and I always will.

I should thank Ru for helping me see that.

Music I listened to while sewing: At first nothing. It’s been kind of a quiet morning here in the apartment.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: The web-series I agreed to do on Sunday… well, I had a chance to read through the script treatment and the notes from producers and directors.

This has been a lesson in not agreeing to work on something without having all the information beforehand.

I don’t know what to do… Did my MFA from Yale make me a magician? I seem to have forgotten the lesson for making clothes appear out of thin air; maybe I was sick that day.

When did people get the impression that this kind of work isn’t work and doesn’t take time or effort and doesn’t need to be paid for?

Hmmmmmmm…

Forehead slap.

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