"The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that 100 years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life" -Faulkner
Recently, during my coffee in the morning, I've been going through old art books that I own to refresh my memory and see if the lessons I learned from them still hold true. Today's reading is from a gem of a book I purchased a few years ago. It's called "Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators" and it is one of the best books for any aspiring character artist. The reason? It focuses not on 'here's how to draw a nose, but rather more on how to get out of your own way as an artist. It forces you to acknowledge your own limitations, and then blow past them by using energy and confidence in line and form. Getting this book was ground breaking for me, and it's the only book I own where I've drawn in. I was so caught up in the lessons and theory that it was teaching that I couldn't even break away to find a sketchpad. Essentially, it shows you how to recognize the rhythm of opposing forces that go into making a figure look alive, and how to recognize them in yourself and others. Chances are you're sitting in a computer chair while you're reading this. Do you feel that slight pinch in the small of your back, caused by the gravity pushing your midsection down and into the chair? How about that slight tension in the back of your shoulder-blades because of your arms sitting on the arm rest. Are you drinking a beverage? Then you'll feel the tension and force on the inside of your upper arm when you lift it to your mouth. That kind of thought and secondary realization is only the beginning of this book. It shows you that vitality and humanity can come though, and not only that, but NEEDS to show through on your drawings. It makes you explain what you see, rather than just copying it, and showing you how to draw with clear directional forces that make your characters alive, rather than a simple representation. It teaches you to always have something to say in a particular piece, and how to draw with excitement rather than getting caught up in the minor details that can be so very self-defeating at times. Confidence, vitality, humanity, and from that comes works that you can always be proud of.