Gesture drawing

DEFINITION

The act of making a sketch with relatively loose arm movements (gestures) ? with the large muscles of the arm, rather than with the small muscles of the hand and wrist of the artist. Or a drawing made this way. Gesture drawing is both widely considered an important exercise in art education, and a common practice artists use in "warming up" at the start of any new work. A gesture drawing is typically the first sort of drawing done to begin a more finished drawing or painting. It is used to block in the layout of the largest shapes in a composition. There are compelling reasons too for artists to make gesture drawings simply for the sake of making them. The act of gesture drawing trains the simultaneous workings of the eyes, the brain, and the hand, especially in the act of drawing from life ?from direct observation of a subject. Intensifying this learning experience is the practise of gesture drawing at great speeds ?drawings made in as long as five minutes, and as short as a few seconds. Gesture drawing is likely to increase awareness of underlying structures, both in the subject of the work and in the work itself. The subject of a gesture drawing can be any at all, although the artists who made each of the following examples chose to make life drawings ?of human models.Examples: Mike Reed (American, contemporary), Gesture Drawing of Reclining Woman, charcoal pencil on newsprint, 18 x 11 inches, drawn while observing a model's 5 minute pose. "I am absolutely persuaded that almost every drawing issue an artist will encounter can be found in the human figure," Mike Reed has said.

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