Gestural Expression

GESTURE – Gestural drawing is the ability to consolidate the observed and imagined visual characteristics of the subject matter and convey the most inFORMation as graphically as possible.

Capturing the Gesture or gestalt is about the melding of perception and conception. Gestural drawing is about merging what we know about our subject with our comprehension of it.

Gesture encapsulates the five levels of intent: Imitation (what we see), Intellect (what we know), Interpretation (what we deduct), Intuition (what we feel), and Imagination (what we invent). Gestural Expression incorporates and integrates the core elements of the visual language: Points, Lines, Planes, Volumes. To achieve this, one must identify the most distinctive visual and emotive aspects of the subject. Once one determines the most relevant elements, one must visualize the arrangement of those elements.

Historically some of the better Gestural Expressions have been done by Sculptors such as Don Gales excellent drawings below.

The beginning draughtsman starts with details instead of a conception of the whole. They never grasp the whole or gestalt, and the resulting efforts fall far short of Gestural Expression. Beginners do not know where to begin. When confronted with all the elements of the visual language, they are overwhelmed. When presented with a figure, they start with the head, add the neck, then the torso, and so on. This piecemeal window shade approach never ends well.

Capturing Gesture starts with the mass conception of the whole, and determining the major players. Recognizing the cube as the mothership, we conceive the geometric design of the major masses. We find and feel the rhythms and relationships between the most characteristic elements. These drawings by Giacometti show his inquiring Gestural line work.

In Giacometti’s works the Gesture becomes to subject.

We find and feel the rhythms and relationships between the most characteristic elements. We determine the Angles, Alignments, Axis, and Articulations, emphasizing the interlocks, intersections, and intervals. The master draughtsman knows to exaggerate the tilts, twists, and turns and creates dynamic relationships within each element of design; Light to Dark, Big to Small, Curved to Straight, et al.

Rembrandt, Leonardo, and all the usual suspects were incredible at capturing the underlying Gestural Expression. The Gesture is not a warm-up exercise, it is not an exercise to waste paper before one does a finished drawing. Capturing the feeling of the whole and its emotive character is the foundation of the drawing itself, everything is built on that foundation. If the foundation is weak the resulting drawing will fail.

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