Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Nia Dancing

While I'm not quite ready for any of the extreme activity I tried to portray in these sketches, I'm at least able to look at them again without wincing. Thank you for all the well wishes here and elsewhere, I appreciate them all so much and am recuperating steadily!
This was a Nia dancing 'jam' held at moyo restaurant at Zoo Lake on the first day of Spring last month. Barbara, Anni and I went along for some more action sketching. All and sundry were invited to join this stretching, energising class after the torpor of winter and we on the sidelines were tempted to discard our sketchbooks and join in, it looked so much fun. It was fun to sketch too, once we'd (well, I) got over stage fright - we were welcomed to come in, watch and sketch and the dancers seemed to appreciate us appreciating their agile creativity.
I've been asked again for tips on drawing moving figures so I've tried to analyse what I did here. It does differ with the amount and pace of movement - this was very fast in comparison to the Tango lesson of two posts ago, where the same actions were repeated over fairly slowly so I had more time to study the shapes of arms, legs, backs etc.
  • Remember, none of these are definitive captures of a single pose or body position, as in a snapshot. They are the results of watching the movements of a group, scribbling down fleeting impressions of, for instance, outstretched arms, then watching some more and adding a torso, fitting it to what's been put down, looking again to catch a leg position - perhaps from your original subject, perhaps from somebody else who has moved into your field of vision - attaching as logically as possible to what's happening in the rest of the figure.
  • Clothing, hair, head gear or scarves can help to create the impression of movement, flowing wavy lines or creases across a torso describing a sideways stretch or a swooping lunge.
  • Try and relax into the movement of  your pen or brush - this may only happen deep into your sketching session - allow it to dance lightly around your page. I sometimes find myself 'conducting' the music in the air with my brush before lowering it to the page and constraining it into body shapes while keeping some of the swirling, twirling motion of my baton.
  • Feel within your body the music, the rhythm, the big shapes of the dancer's bodies as well as the smaller ones of hands and feet - see this sketch with arms stretching upwards - by no means accurately drawn hands, but imitating the many fingers flickering together in the air. If you look at some of the individual limbs, hands and feet I've sketched, there are some weird shapes and renditions, but as a whole, give the impression of movement, stretches, lunges, etc.
  • To analyse and store in your 'memory bank' some of the postures bodies can get into during sport or exercise, try pausing your TV during a programme like 'So You Think You Can Dance' (a favourite of mine!) and sketch what you see, you'll be surprised at the odd shapes limbs can get into in the middle of a pas de deux!
Does all of that make sense?... probably not, but I hope it helps somebody, somewhere, somewhat! Do let me know if so.
...Aaa..a..nd rest!!


Sadami said...

Hi, Lovely Cathy,
All drawings are so good!! Yes, "Does all of that make sense"!
Cheers,wink,wink, Sadami said...

Hi Cathy,

glad your back and sketching. (I tried leaving a comment on your previous post but after a few times I gave up.)

Your dance sketches are terrific and I do like your descriptions and how-to instructions. I believe it did help me. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

These are WONDERFUL! Thank you so much for sharing them!

All the best,

Cathy Gatland said...

Sadami, I'm so glad it made sense to you :-) - you are so good at sharing your process and thoughts!

Hi Carol, I'm sorry you're still having trouble commenting here, I don't know why that happens...thanks for the feedback!

Thanks Jenny - coming from a Nia teacher, I'm honoured!

Lady Fishbone said...

With your illustrations, I feel dancing too :) Hehe.

Unknown said...

Lovely drawings.

Glad you are recovering.

Midori Yoshino said...

Hi Cathy,
your drawing always give lots of energy to me.Terrific work, Cathy.