dynamic art for animators


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Dynamic Life Drawing for

Michael D. Mattesi
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Mattesi, Michael D.
Force : the key to capturing life through drawing / Michael D. Mattesi. — 2nd ed.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN-13: 978-0-240-80845-1 (pbk. : alk. paper)
ISBN-10: 0-240-80845-2 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. Figure drawing — Technique. 2. Force and energy — Miscellanea. I. Title
NC765.M377 2006
741.01Ј8 — dc22
British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
ISBN 13: 978-0-240-80845-1
ISBN 10: 0-240-80845-2
For information on all Focal Press publications
visit our website at www.books.elsevier.com
06 07 08 09 10 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Printed in the United States of America

I dedicate this book to my two wonderful children, Makenna and Marin.
“Nothing makes me happier than sharing this life with you.”

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This book will enlighten you on how to see and explore the power of force through drawing. You will
draw with thought and opinions that will strengthen your originality and decisiveness. This will also
develop your awareness of the stories our bodies communicate, through the actions we perform.
The theory of force allows you to see in more abstract terms. Because of this, you can apply it to an
unlimited amount of applications. It can be used for drawing, painting, sculpting, animation,
architecture, graphic design, and all other disciplines of art. It can create a new awareness in your
day-to-day life. How are forces operating when you stand, walk, or drive? This book is here for you
to understand how to communicate force through drawing, and that is very exciting!
“Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.”
Paul Klee

Students who open themselves up to learning are the ones that move ahead quickly. Take what you
understand and agree with and use it to further yourself. Some students will actually argue their
habits or limitations.
“Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours.”
Richard Bach

These students move nowhere in their minds for sometimes a month, a semester, or even a whole
year. Don’t waste your time with bad habits! Seek to understand! If you keep doing what you know
now, you will keep getting the same results.
Before starting on the journey ahead, I want to give you some of my key concepts.

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Key Concepts
In my last few years of educating, I have had the epiphany of focusing on humanity in drawing.
I have taught and lectured in many schools around the world and the one element I see missing
is humanity. Almost all art instruction with a figure model is used to learn how to draw instead of
experiencing the richness of humanity. Once you have a bigger purpose to drawing than learning
how to draw, you will learn faster. You will be more eager to understand, force, perspective,
anatomy, and everything else that goes into becoming a great draftsman!
Where does all of this start? It starts with you and your humanity. Become hyper sensitive and
present, live in the moment. When you drive, feel the speed of the car, the weight of your body in the
seat, inertia and the tension in the steering wheel. What happens to your body’s weight when you go
into a curve at fifty miles an hour? Don’t talk on the phone, eat or listen to the radio while driving.
Drive your car. When you eat or drink, feel the food in your mouth, taste it, experience your body
swallowing the food and the sensations that occur while it travels down your throat into your
When drawing the model, stay present and in utter awe! When he or she takes the stand, it is as if
they are a god or goddess presented to us. They represent you and the rest of humanity. Become
amazed and stay open to this fantastic occurrence. Your experience with the model is your drawing.
Therefore, the more rich, incredible, and dramatic your experience, the more rich, incredible, and
dramatic your drawing. You are the vehicle to this journey so if you are closed and fearful, so is your
work. Use the idea of having the richest and most stimulating experience drawing the model’s
humanity while using your very own as the purpose to drawing. All of the technique throughout the
rest of this book is to serve that higher purpose.
What is there to be in awe of? Look at the amount of effort the model gives you. A living,
breathing person is in front of you. Notice their lungs fill with oxygen and how they present you
with stress, tension and torque. Look at their muscles and bones perform these great moments. This
particular person chooses particular poses. Be sensitive to that. Are the poses poetic, athletic,
romantic, relaxed, masculine or feminine? What stories does your humanity find in their poses?
You must be sensitive to drama! There is the drama of the pose, the drama of force, the drama of
structure, the drama of depth, the drama of shape, and the drama of texture. As you can see,
there is plenty of drama and therefore plenty to be in awe of. All of the above is what I refer to as


Key Concepts


This illustration shows that the increase of opinion based on knowledge brings us closer to the truth
and further from dishonesty. You need to gain knowledge to comprehend what to have an opinion
about and to obtain the capacity to actualize the opinions you possess upon the page. In this way,
your opinion will bring you closer to the model’s reality. Every line should have an opinion.
Two ways of clarifying your opinions are through exaggeration and analogy. Making analogies helps
you form opinions. “His leg is like a column of strength; the forces are like a roller coaster.” I will
constantly use analogies throughout this book to make myself clearer to you. If you have something
to say, learn how to express it as best you can. Students tell me they are afraid to exaggerate
because it is not real. You have a much greater opportunity to capture reality through what you
conceive as an exaggeration of ideas than you do working on a dead representation of life via
copying. Copying leads to lying.
Push whatever it is the model gives you. Go after its essence. If a pose is about torque, then draw
and experience torque. If it is about relaxation, then make it clearly about relaxation. State clearly
what you have to say. I love loud drawings, not whispers.
“The work of art is the exaggeration of the idea.”
Andre’ Gide

Key Concepts

Glen Keane is one of today’s leading artists when it comes to exaggerating the clarity of a moment.
He is extraordinary at giving drawings heart. If something is powerful, you feel its power; if sad, you
feel its sadness. His drawings are always loud and opinionated. If you don’t know who he is, go see
his performances of the main characters in films like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast,
Aladdin, Pocahontas, Tarzan, and recently Treasure Planet, to name a few.
Lightheartedly, one of my first comments to my students is that they are all a bunch of liars. Initially
students draw what they think they see and not reality. Not to confuse this with opinion, they create
things in their minds that do not exist in the model or the pose the model is taking. Assuming is like
guessing. Use this book to help you gain a new awareness of reality. If I create a “force full” drawing,
it is because I am aware of the model’s forces. You must learn to see by stripping yourself of
assumption. I tell students constantly that all of the answers are right in front of them. Open yourself
up to the splendor of the life in front of you. There is no reason to lie.
You must be passionate and driven to learn and to be great. Love it, hate it, have an emotional
experience. Always push yourself to new levels and enjoy the trip. No one strives for mediocrity. Give
the drawing everything you’ve got in the limited amount of time you have with the model. This is the
fundamental force behind a student’s progression. How can you or an instructor critique your work if
it is not your full effort? The critique is then based on only a percent of your ability. You have to
believe that you can obtain the goals you are after. In terms of myself, everything I have achieved has
been because I knew clearly what I wanted, I intensely wanted it, and some part of me knew I could
get it.
You are probably wondering how fear would have anything to do with drawing, but it has everything
to do with it. Fear kills passion. Fear is the most detrimental attribute a student could have. The
greatest fear is the fear of failing which in this case is creating a “bad” drawing. Remember, if you
are drawing in order to capture the humanity of the model, you will become unconcerned about
your drawing. Be aware of your experience and just stay present with the model. There is no failing,
only results. Be courageous and push yourself to new heights. Besides, what is going to happen if
you make a “bad” decision? You will learn from it. The more results you make, the faster you will
reach your destination. It is not as if we are skydiving. You will always land safely, no matter how
great the risks you take. Consider yourself the ultimate stunt person.
Pay attention to your internal dialogue. It will reveal your fears.
“Were the diver to think on the jaws of the shark he would never lay hands on the precious pearl.”
Sa’di Gulistan



Key Concepts


The shape of a pyramid gives us an icon of hierarchy or an order of importance. In the beginning,
draw and think with the most important or core idea first; details come last. The pyramid is the
human body and the story its posture implies. The top of this pyramid shows the number one. This
portrays your first representation of the model. This will be the main idea, or force, of what the model
is doing. For instance, standing straight, bending over, seated, etc. Think from large to small. You
always want to go after the main idea first. The bottom of the pyramid would be fingernails or
something equally insignificant. Many films and books suffer from the lack of this theory. They
contain tons of details or special effects, but no heart to the story. What is it about? Don’t get caught
up in the small things until you first know the main idea.
Animation is also a hierarchical process. Here the entire pyramid symbolizes the character’s actions
instead of one drawing’s forces. The animator’s drawings are represented by the pyramid’s peak. He
draws the key moments of a character’s actions. The team of inbetweeners, the rest of the pyramid
that works with him, then further develops these motions. Their drawings go in between the key
drawings the animator created.
If someone other than myself has accomplished a drawing, I will refer to that artist. Their full names
are Mike Roth, MaryEllen Mahar, Keith Wilson, Barrett Benica, and Mike Dougherty. Thank you for
all of your help. Every one of you has done a great job! I also want to thank the hard working
models that help my students and I recognize the beauty of humanity.

Key Concepts

I have students in my classes draw on 18”X24” smooth newsprint. Students draw with black china
marker or Caran D’Ache. I don’t want drawing class to be about fancy mediums. Everyone uses the
same supplies. These supplies have been chosen over years of instructing. Newsprint is cheap and
the smooth paper with wax is a slick and smooth sensation.


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Chapter 1: Seeing Life – The book will begin with learning force and how it creates rhythm
and balance in the body. The roller coaster of force will be our bridge into mass.


The awareness of force
The main idea in the figure
Directional force: a beginning, middle, and end
Applied force
The road of rhythm
The roller coaster of rhythm
Force pointers


Chapter 2: Forceful Form – This will talk about form and how to explain it through force.
This chapter will touch upon perspective one, two, three, and four points and different
spatial concepts.


Perspective: the drama of angles
One, two, and three points
Four-point perspective
Surface lines
Sculpting force
Spatial concepts
Overlap and tangents
Size and foreshortening
Forceful form exercises


Chapter 3: Forceful Shape – Shape is what will evolve from the combination of force
and form and will be the topic of this chapter. Here we will see how entire shapes move with
force and rhythm.


Forceful shape
The do’s and dont’s of forceful shape
Anatomy as shape
Reaction, the leap of faith
Forceful shape pointers




Chapter 4: Clothing – This chapter will start with the texture of line. Then I will talk about the
clothed figure. We will see force’s affect on clothing. Also we will learn about how to use
clothing to assist us in understanding the pose.
The texture of line revealed
The function and form of fabric
Fun with shapes
Forceful texture pointers


Chapter 5: On Location, Reportage – This chapter is about drawing on location. We go out
into the world and “people watch.” Let’s enjoy the wide variety of characters and real
situations that occur every day around us.
Tell stories with life
Inner thoughts, outer reaction
Staging, single person
Multiple moments
Reportage pointers


Chapter 6: Animals – This chapter is about drawing animals. We start with comparing their
anatomies to ours in order to liberate ourselves from anatomical problems. This will aid us in
understanding their stories. We talk about the different types of animal anatomy that exist and
finding character within our observations.
Comparative anatomy
Going to the zoo
Simplistic seals
Animal pointers
Recommended Reading




Chapter 1
Seeing Life

So, what is it that creates life? Force! Force, or energy with purpose, is what we want to recognize in
the world around us. I am going to lead you on a force full journey that will change the way you
perceive the world you live in. This new perception will clear your mind of the fog of assumption. You
will live in a new truth. This in turn will make you appreciate life to a new degree.
Drawing is the profound vehicle for our journey. Through it you will also learn about yourself. Always
remember what you put down on the page is a direct reflection of your thoughts and feelings.
There is so much to appreciate and enjoy, so let’s get started.
Drawing the body’s forces is the least talked about subject in figure drawing classes today, and is yet
the most important. The majority of books and instructors teach about copying what you see and not
understanding it. I was extremely fortunate to have Jim McMullan as an instructor and close friend at
the School of Visual Arts. He taught me to be aware of life in the figure.
The human figure is always full of force – no matter how still it may seem. We are built to move and
therefore even when a model is standing straight, there are forces to comprehend and address. We
are always under the influence of gravity, which is an all-encompassing force to recognize. When
drawing, we need to think about the beauty of why and how the model works, not worry what angle
to hold a pencil at in order to shade appropriately.
“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the probable reason why so few engage in it.”
Henry Ford

You want to draw what you know and empathize with. Draw with the mind’s eye, not only your vision.
If you find you are having a hard time figuring out what is happening in a pose, then assume the
pose yourself. This will definitely help your awareness of force. We are all people. If a model takes a
pose that radiates joy and you copy that pose physically yourself (all the way down to the facial
expression), you will begin to feel what the model is feeling and know physically what the model is
doing. When you see someone who is sad, how is it that you know that person feels that way? As a


Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

fellow human being, you know that you take on the same physiology when you feel sad. You
experience empathy through humanity.
Never forget that mind and body are one!
The main idea in the figure
Let’s discuss the pyramid of ideas that represent the model’s pose. Remember we want to deal with
the top of the pyramid, the largest idea, first. You will be creating some general statements about the
figure. They will be the first step on your road to understanding force. With experience you will
become more specific.
An exercise I do in class is to have the model pose for five minutes. For the first minute, I have the
students write what their goals are going to be in drawing the model. I have them list the goals in a
hierarchal manner. Then, for the last four minutes, they draw the model and achieve the goals they
have written.
Directional force: a beginning, middle, and end
Using the comparison of a writer to an artist, to express our ideas we must understand our drawn
language via its own vocabulary. The more vast our vocabulary, the clearer, more intelligent, and
expressive our thoughts. There are no great writers without the knowledge to write.
Our language throughout this book is drawing and our understanding of line is our control of that
language. The strength of line is immeasurable. To harness its power, though, one must understand
how to see force. Draw the verbs of the figure. This is where we want to direct our concentration.
Draw what the body is doing, not just the body. While having an internal dialog, think “the stretching
arm or thrusting hip,” not “the arm is here and it’s this thick and look at the shadow on it.” Verbs
come first and then the noun it is affecting. I will have students bring in a thesaurus to increase their
vocabulary and thus their experience of the model.
As important as line is, remember that the drawings are not about line. They are about ideas. The
line is your idea. Don’t do a drawing for the sake of beautiful lines. Create a drawing that expresses
your experience.
Here is the type of line that most describes force in the body.

Seeing Life

One line per energy or idea

1. Here is our curved line with force and direction. The one line addresses one idea. The line starts
somewhere, does something, and goes somewhere. This is achieved with a confident stroking of
the paper with the pencil. The arrow example shows you the direction of the energy or its path.
This is directional force.
2. This is our first student habit. It is sketchy and created by backward and forward motion. No
direction. The line, or more importantly, its idea, does not start somewhere, have a purpose, and
go somewhere. There is no clear idea.
3. This is the infamous hairy line. Uncertainty takes us from one place to another through thousands
of minuscule thoughts instead of drawing one line per idea. Doing this never gives you the
opportunity to move onto bigger issues or feel force and direction in your hand and mind.
Forewarning: Don’t think that I am talking about being uptight with the line. You don’t have to get it
right the first time. Let your hand sweep over the paper’s surface in the directions the model is
moving until you have absorbed the pose’s idea. Then start making your marks by slowly applying



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

pressure to the paper with the pencil while you are still in motion. Notice how you can control the
line’s value. This discipline of mark making is of tremendous value because when you draw, your
head will already be thinking about where energy is coming from, what it is doing, and where it is
going. Feel liberated and excited, and be courageous.

Skating the page
An excellent way to get the physical sensation of force is to close your eyes and skate the page with
your drawing utensil. Imagine your speed across the smooth, hard, and cold ice. Feel the blades
carve deep as you dig into a curve. Your mark on the page should get heavier as this happens.
Notice how fluidly you move. There are no clumsy, pinched moments.

Seeing Life

Draw small, think big
A great tactic for understanding hierarchy is to draw small. That will help you think about the big
picture. This helps you see the body as one story. It is your time to think and it also helps liberate you
from feeling committed to your drawing. It’s great to draw and redraw that main idea. Draw small
and think big. The down side to this is that you stay distanced from the model emotionally. The
ultimate scenario is to fill the page with the model’s full figure.

Here are some small one-minute drawings that show the story of each pose.




Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Here are half-minute drawings. The body’s entire pose is the key to understanding it.

Seeing Life

So this pose reminded me of a monkey and that was my bigger thought as I attempted getting the
full figure’s idea on the page. See the simple curves of force in the back and arms.

This two minute shows the big picture. With more time, more information was added. Here we have
much more structure.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

If you are having a hard time finding a directional force curve, try drawing two curves that are
opposite each other, one convex and one concave, to see which resembles the figure’s main force
the most. One of the curves will fit into the puzzle in front of you and the other will be opposing the
model’s movement. They are generic now, but this will give you an introduction to force. These
drawings are usually done in thirty seconds to five minutes. The first force you should look for is the
one that tells us the idea behind the connection between the ribcage and the pelvis. Here are some
fast drawings to show you my initial reaction to the model’s movements.

See the power of the directional curves. I do a great deal of drawing through the model to
understand where forces begin and end. Above the main drawing are simplifications of the pose
using curves of force.
1 and 2 are examples of picking a curve for the direction of the upper body.

Seeing Life

See how drawing 2 works because the model is obviously moving towards his right knee. Draw 3 is
the same as 2.
4 was to show an awareness of tangents, a topic I will cover in more detail later. This is a close-up of
the model’s jaw and center of the chest. These two moments would have been flattened if the two
ideas were drawn with one line.

This drawing by Barrett captures the vigor of the pose. The cumulative energy of the back sweeps up
into the musculature of the upper body and disperses to the arms and head. It’s like shooting
fireworks, as the thumbnail shows.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

The model has a pull from his hands up through his back and down into his feet. The focal point of
force here, or the apex of the directional curve, is the lower back. If the model were to let go, this is
the direction he would fall in.

Seeing Life

I am so happy I went through many attempts to understand this pose. Look at these drawings in the
order they are numbered.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

In drawing 1. we have the beginning of force in the left side of the model’s upper back. I was
dissatisfied with the mediocrity of this drawing. The model was so much more alive and aggressive
than my weak depiction of him. Also, the motivation for the push in the back begins at the right
In drawing 2. the directional force is more aggressive. Its curve is stronger. There is more thrust into
the left side of the back and here we witness more reaction of this force in the remainder of the
back’s musculature.
Finally, in my third venture, the main idea has extended much further. Now we see that the pose is
about the inward thrust of the lower ribcage against the upward energy in the right arm. This
combination of forces is what creates the strain in the upper back and pushes the left shoulder out.
This page is a great example of:
1. Investigating a pose to gain understanding.
2. Searching for how far a force travels and its true motivation.
3. Not settling for the first attempt. Keep working at a drawing until it feels like the model’s effort. It
is easy to obtain mediocrity and challenging to stare into the visage of splendor.
“I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”
Thomas Edison

Applied force
Besides the line giving us a linear direction or path of force, it also tells us how much force is being
applied upon it. This is extremely important because the force applied upon the line will be a
previous directional force. That previous directional force dictates how strong the applied force is.
These concepts are proven to us in everyday reality through physics. If these lines were roads, you
would obviously be able to drive your car through a straightaway faster than you would through a
curve. The tighter a curve is, the more you have to decelerate to drive through it. When driving
through the curve, the place where you would feel the most amount of force would be at its apex.
The force would diminish as you pulled out of it, allowing you to gain speed. Let’s look at this in line.

Seeing Life

The drawing above presents us with a line that starts with much speed (by its straightness) and then
slows through the curve. We also see that the line shows us a mass that is bottom heavy because of
where the apex of the curve is located on the line. The attitude or direction of the mass is pushing in
the direction of the gray arrow on the right, which represents applied force. Now, if we look at both
of the arrows, we get a sense of purpose from the line that takes the mass down and to the left and
then directs us to the right.

In talking about the amount of force being applied upon a line, we can use the analogy of a flexible
metal bar. The curvature of a line tells us how much force it is revealing to us. The line on the left is
stretched between two points and shows us speed. The line on the far right has the most amount of
force applied to it because of how strong its curvature is. In animation terms, it is “squashed,” which
tells us that there is force pushing on it from above and below. The mass being pushed on is thrusting
out, shown to us by the curve. This curved directional force is also slower than the first force.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Curved lines are more forceful than straights since they clearly show us directional and applied

Here is a clear example of applied force. Look at how strongly it is pushing up into the hip. I also
described the rhythm of the right leg shooting up into that hip.

Seeing Life

In this drawing, the model’s left shoulder is an obvious apex of applied force. Look at how it fluidly
connects to the direction of the neck.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

In this drawing by Mike D., you can see directional force apply itself into the model’s left shoulder
and back.

Seeing Life

The leading edge
The leading edge is the edge of the body that leads a motion. This is where the largest amount of
applied force can be found. A past force that directs itself to this moment in the body creates it. To
help students understand this idea, I describe it as the bow of a ship or a catch of force. A simple
way of finding this is to watch the model go through a movement. The direction of his or her motion
gives you the answers.

In these drawings, see how the leading edge is the ribcage. In drawing 1. the ribcage directs us to
the left, as the head looks right. The model’s upper body turns in the direction of the head in drawing
2. When it does everything follows it. The arrow from 2. through 4. represents the direction of
applied force that creates the strengthened curve of the ribcage.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

This was an adventurous and daring motion. The model executed a backward roll on the platform!
At 1 the leading edge is her upper back. It initiates the drive down to the platform. At 2 her legs
become the leading edge. They help continue the momentum over her upper body and get us into
3. Here her right knee brings us down to the platform and the ribcage shows what direction (from left
to right) she rolls in. Then finally in 4 her upper back returns her to the seated position.
The following drawings are the model standing still. Nonetheless, we want to see movement. Pay
attention to he or she getting into the pose to help recognize the leading edge of applied force. The
repetitive lines in some of the drawings show also the direction the model would have moved in. I
have drawn thumbnails to show you what my approach was on these poses. Enjoy the energy.

Seeing Life

The model here takes an aggressive counter clockwise rotation. His left leg is the brace for this
motion. Applied force is constantly pushing against the directional curve. The leading edge is where
you see the repetitive lines above his left shoulder. Think of this concept as deciding where the model
is going.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

I love the upward rotational thrust into her ribcage. Again, the leading edge is the place with the
three lines. It feels as if she would push herself forward to continue the motion of the pose. The
applied force found here originates in the hips.

Seeing Life

It is obvious here how much applied force there is in the model’s shoulders. See the strength of the
curve. Here is our catch or ship’s bow from all of the force she is using to pull back on the rope. This
is also the peak of our leading edge. She would continue this pose in the direction of her shoulder.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Here the model’s stretched arm acts like the arrow that relates directly to the applied force and
leading edge of the back.
In the first half of this chapter, we discussed directional and applied force. Now we will see how the
union of the two creates rhythm and harmony.

Seeing Life

A rhythm is the beautiful and seamless interplay of different forces in the body that helps it stay in
balance, or creates equilibrium. Rhythm exists in all living things. Your understanding of rhythm will
help you create living drawings.
Gravity is the reason we have rhythmic balance in our bodies. Our anatomy is not linear but
asymmetrical in its musculature. This allows us motion against the force of gravity and equalization
when standing still. Understand this will help you draw a living, grounded, balanced figure.
“The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so
that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life.”
William Faulkner

One line or idea is a force; two forces create rhythm. To draw rhythm, we must understand the
relationship between two directional forces or ideas. The attitude or direction of one line or force will
apply itself towards the next. In the first part of this chapter, we discussed directional and applied
force. The applied force is actually part of the body’s rhythm. It is the result of an earlier directional
force. Energy is coming from somewhere and sweeping into the main idea of the pose. Some
students understand this better as action, reaction, or moments of pressure.

In the drawing on the left, notice at the top we begin the same way we did in our description of
applied force. On the right, we see applied force represented by the arrows pushing into directional
force drawn in curves. The directional force then directs us to another place in the body. The
directional force becomes applied force. When this energy hits its next exchange and needs to be
redirected, it hits a new directional force and then turns into an applied force once more.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Be aware of the angles of the body. The drawing on the right shows you how they are created by the
forces. See how angles allow you to stop straightening out the pose. This is a bad student habit.
Angles are exciting and you want to find them. Try to avoid horizontal and vertical moments. The
forty-five degree angle is the most aggressive. Do not draw the figure with straight lines as we
discussed earlier.
Since rhythm is at least a pair of forces, you will get closer to the top of the pyramid by taking two
ideas and turning them into one. Another way of combining is to be aware of the relationship
between the arms, legs, and both sets of limbs to one another. The most expansive relationship is
between the head and the feet.

Let’s use the analogy of skiing slalom. Before us we have gates we must go through. These gates
represent the apexes of our directional lines of force or where applied energy in the model is the
strongest. There is a most efficient way to ski from one gate to another and the bouncing effect
created in doing so feels like drawing rhythm. As seen in drawing 1, the more close the gates are in
distance going downhill, and the further apart they are from left to right, the slower we will have to
go through them. The closer they are to being a straight line, the faster we can go through them, like
the example in drawing 2. Gravity is what continuously pulls us through the gates. A certain fluidity is
obtained in skiing through the gates, along with a certain rhythm.

Seeing Life

Here are four basic set-ups for the ribcage to hip relationship. The crosshairs represent the center of
the chest. This is the top of the pyramid. These are some generic ideas because we all have the same
anatomy. These concepts represent the front and/or back of the figure in rhythm. Always try to find
one of the four.

Here is the general set-up for the side view of the figure. Notice how rhythm goes from one side of
the figure to the other to obtain balance. In figure 1, look at how I draw through the crotch to get to
the butt and up into the hips. Then we shoot down the thigh. Drawing 2 shows the rhythm of the leg
from the front and the back. Drawings 3 and 4 are the arm from front to back. All of these diagrams
are generalizations. These will work almost all of the time but there are instances where the rules will
be broken, fortunately. Look for idiosyncrasies.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

These examples show two common errors that students may make after an initial discussion about
rhythm. On the left, what we see is that the student has put the same kind of force on both sides of
whatever part of the body this represents. The body will almost never be the same on two sides.
Rhythm must be oblique to create balance. In the case of the left and right side of the trunk of the
body, it is the front and back that are anatomically oblique. We will go into this further in Chapter 3.
Going back to our car analogy, we see here that this is an accident because both forces collide
instead of passing force off to one another. You should not worry about encapsulating the figure in
the beginning. Draw only the rhythms of the body.
On the right is the spaghetti line. Some students will do this as an attempt at connectiveness and
mass but lose energy in doing so. This line has many energies with no obvious transfer of force. The
line does not start somewhere, do something, and go somewhere. Every arrow represents what
should be another force or idea. Energy needs to be passed from one place to another.

Seeing Life

I have taken one of my drawings to show you an example of this. If we start at the top right shoulder,
once we get down to the lower back we should not continue over the right buttock. Rhythm is not
about following the edge of the model. This would put the model off balance. Notice inside the
model how the arrow takes us from the right shoulder to the left hip. This is our applied force. It is
what pushes out the left hip.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Through following rhythms in the figure, you can get a quick understanding of the entire pose’s
purpose and balance. The relationships of different forces in the body will become broader in
concept. Remember, your main objective is to draw what the model is doing, main idea first. There
will almost always be a relationship between the torso, hips, and head. In animation, you want to
animate the primary source of purpose creating action. This is usually the head and trunk of the
body. The limbs follow and assist the idea.
Beyond the head, ribcage, and pelvis, you want to draw these lines of force from joint to joint in the
figure. For instance, connect the hip to the knee or the shoulder to the elbow. This will stop you from
drawing hairy lines or broken ideas. Again, if you are having a problem seeing the forceful curve,
draw opposing curves and see which most resembles the movement of that particular part of the
body. In time you will understand the operation of a whole limb, like the wrist to the shoulder.
When animating, or drawing, gravity is the invisible force you must always be aware of to bring
reality to your work. Some pointers to think about when drawing the figure and considering our
1. A man’s center of gravity is in his chest, a woman’s closer to her pelvis. Women in general are
better balanced because of their lower center of gravity.
2. Always pay attention to where the model’s head and center of gravity are in comparison to his or
her feet.
3. Think about the model’s mass and forces and realize they have to be equalized on both sides of
the centerline of balance in order for the model to stand. This does not have to occur when
someone is moving. Then the body has time to compensate for its lack of balance.
4. Notice the implications of gravity pulling on the model, squash in the feet, muscles working with
and against it.
5. When drawing the amount of pressure in the model’s feet, take into consideration the weight of
the model.
Now, once more, let’s go to drawing small and thinking big.

Seeing Life

This is a four minute with the model. Again, see that the focus is on getting the main forces of the
model and how they relate to one another. Look at how the weight and force of the ribcage sweeps
down into the hips.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

This drawing shows the first big rhythm to find, the top of the pyramid, the ribcage to hip

Seeing Life

Looking at these four drawings, there are many patterns one can see. Notice the constant attention
to the relationship between the ribcage and pelvis. The buttocks represent the pelvis. In most cases
you can see the force of the thigh pushing the knee and calf back. Look at the close resemblance to
the skiing analogy.
The road of rhythm is the figure’s solution for balance. You must first find this road and draw the
moments along the way. Your initial recordings of the pose should not involve you teleporting from
one area to another in the figure without understanding the body’s connections. Only draw the parts
of the body you travel to through rhythm. This makes the drawing’s sense of balance clear.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Rhythm in this drawing is obvious. (It is the only parts of the model I have addressed.) So little is
actually drawn yet so much is said about the essence of the pose. Once we sweep into the hips,
force divides down each leg. See the importance of the knees as a place for the transfer of force
between the upper and lower leg.

Seeing Life

This drawing shows a clear asymmetry from the left shoulder to the right hip. Notice how we travel in
an “inside, outside” pattern from the hip to the heel in the model’s legs.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

There is a great deal to absorb here, so let’s go through this step by step:
1. The applied and directional forces set up the body’s cohesiveness or rhythm. All of this happens
for the body to stay in balance. This applied force obliquely crosses over the line of balance,
equalizing force and weight on both sides of the body.
2. Notice the line of balance. It is a guide of equalization of force and weight of the model. The
model’s head coincidentally happens to fall on the centerline.

Seeing Life

Here I want you to look at rhythm’s road and see how it continuously creates equilibrium.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Another blueprint. In order to comprehend the model’s balance you must look at the rhythm or
relationship of one leg to another instead of only moving down one leg. This is a great example of
pairing. Notice again how applied force moves across the line of balance of the figure.

Seeing Life

Look at the next few drawings and find the vertical line of balance.

In order to see balance, look at these drawings and understand how the model would fall without the
rope he is holding onto. The top drawing shows the center of gravity in his chest way past the
platform of his feet. The rope in his hands pulls back over his body to balance his weight. In the next
pose, he would fall to the right were it not for the rope’s tension on the left side of his body.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Here the model is just slightly assisted by the rope. He would normally be teetering on the balls of his
feet because of his chest’s placement relative to them. Instead he stands flat-footed since the rope is
used like a pendulum.
The head is extremely important because it usually establishes the direction the body is going to
move in, like the engine of a train. If you turn, your head initiates that movement. You never turn
your body first. It is the control center for the figure’s actions. Pay attention to how it affects the
body’s balance because of this. It is so small in size relative to the figure, though, that for the sake of
the pyramid and getting the largest idea on the page first, we go for the ribcage/pelvis relationship.

Seeing Life

The head must always coincide with the nature of the back. Many students forget to notice how the
head projects out of the ribcage and that the neck does that job. I usually try to use the sternocleido-mastoid, or the muscles that run from the back of your ear to the meeting point of the collar
bones, as a way of showing the neck’s forces.

See the opposing force of the neck relative to the back. The sterno-cleido-mastoid shows this with
subtlety. I drew a couple of diagrams showing the wrong and right way to handle this relationship.
The bottom drawing demonstrates a straight tubular neck with no relationship to the back. The top is
correct with its opposing force.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

This pose feels fast. Look at the beautiful rhythms. The westward lunge of the back against the
eastward projection of the head and legs creates an aggressive angle of balance. Look at the road
of rhythm.

First we have an elongated stretch of the abdomen all the way up to the pit of her neck and down to
her hips. All of the weight of the torso that is being suspended by the cradle of the clavicle drives
upward from the hands into the shoulders. This is the reason for the stretch. Notice the transfer of
force in the elbow. The opposing force of the ribcage is her upper back, which then rhythmically
connects us with her neck through the sterno.

Seeing Life

Notice the spatial quality of the long ride of rhythm. At 1., we start way back in the left thigh. We
then travel through the body to 2. and dip aggressively down to 3. After the hairpin curve, we shoot
down to the hand.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

In two minutes, each of the drawings above has the main concept of the pose described. Long fluid
lines help describe these ideas.

With three extra minutes, you can see how the top drawing has more mass and description of

Seeing Life

The model did a great job of giving me something new and exciting to understand. He held this
fireman’s carry pose for five minutes. See the majority of the weight of her body draped over his right
shoulder and how he uses the pole as assistance to his balance. Notice the broad base he created
with his stance.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

The road of rhythm is a more flat, two-dimensional, left to right approach to comprehending the
fluid-like balance in the body. It is the beginning of something greater. The roller coaster analogy
starts using the body’s masses to recognize how force moves in a more connective and dimensional
I tell students to imagine the model’s platform as the amusement park and the model as the roller
coaster. Your first task is to get your mind’s eye into the park, close to the model. I suggest to
students that they think of themselves as being one inch high. This empowers them to envision the
figure as gargantuan. The model’s tremendous size guides the students into seeing more roundness
and depth. This helps you see just how long an idea goes before it turns into an opposing force
because the body’s energy changes direction. This again will help you get closer to the top of the
pyramid. Beware of drawing the spaghetti line we discussed earlier in the chapter.
You now connect the directional forces to one another and how they are applied. The road of rhythm
becomes seamless. To create this seamlessness, you NEED to travel around the forms of the figure.
Next, find the largest moment of force on the roller coaster and hop on. The tracks are smooth and
graceful. Feel how they project you through space, over high peaks and low gullies, through fast
straight-aways and G-force-filled turns, spiraling along loop-to-loops, and pretzel-like structures.
Then time is up, you get off the ride, the model changes positions, and a new and exciting ride is
yours to experience.
You have to give yourself the right to draw through the figure. Those of you who are uptight have to
loosen up in this exercise. Drawing through the figure will dramatically help you see long and begin
to understand space, dimensionality, and structure.
Disney’s Fred Moore was one of the best artists at going long with beautiful, rich, fluid ideas. You
can see drawings of his in some of the older Disney books.

Seeing Life

Look at how connected the body’s rhythms are. This one-minute drawing shows how much can be
said about a pose’s energy in very little time.
Students seem to think that they always have to draw an enclosed figure. This is just another habit to
hurdle. For now, you want your attention to be on rhythm. Remember it is the essence or main idea
that you want to achieve. Fluidity, continuity, action to reaction, and all of the theories I have given
you are ways to think about this concept. Use whatever it takes for you to understand this principle.
Remember, if you can find but one place in the figure where you feel you understand the forces
shown, they will lead you throughout the rest of the pose on the road of rhythm.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

This drawing shows how force directs itself seamlessly from one place to another in the model.
Notice that I draw through the right leg to get to the buttocks and the shoot up to the hip. Also see
me draw through the right shoulder and over the top of the back to create the rhythm between the
upper back and neck.

Seeing Life

Here is another drawing that shows force directing itself through the entire body. These drawings
show the first steps to drawing force and the most important ones. Line skates the page and
moves force. Notice how we can travel from the hand through the entire body to the foot on one
connected path.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

The thumbnail on the left shows you my first thoughts on how to approach this pose. Look at how
much is said about it with long ideas.
Here we shoot up the model’s right leg, roll around the knee to the forceful side. Then we swing our
way up the thigh and over into the hip where we make our final ascent up into the back, over the
shoulder, and down into his extended arm. The relationship of the left arm and right foot helps
encircle the idea of this pose.

Seeing Life

I love this drawing. To me it is so alive that it’s musical. The thumbnail on the right shows my initial
Look at the long connection of her head and elbow down through the hips, up through the thigh to
the knee. Finally, after that long and elegant journey we have a change in tempo but for a moment,
found in the knee. Off we embark down the calf for a fast and graceful curve to her ankle where it
repeats the tempo of the knee. Look also at how effectively mass is described with few lines.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Here we see where some ideas are longer and more connective than others.
1. The upward sweep of the back is where we will begin. This directs us across the body where we
travel down to the crotch and sweep up through the left hip at 2. and drive up into the right one at 3.
We then pick up speed again and shoot down the thighs through the knees and to the different
endings in his feet.

Seeing Life

See here how at 1. I address the largest idea, the connection between ribcage and hips. Then, to
push the ride, we can sweep into the arms at 2. and 5. We also can glide into the legs at 3. and 4.
with seamless rhythm.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

This drawing started off as an exercise where I have students begin a drawing and then another
student finishes up the time restriction. This drawing was started by Chuck and then completed by
Barrett. Barrett unknowingly succeeded in producing a drawing with a very long idea. Above the

Seeing Life

figure you will see my explanation of the roller coaster ride we take. Barrett explained how he was
content with seeing the model’s left leg from hip to foot as one idea. A second look at the drawing
shows us how that force sweeps through the crotch, up and over the back, into the deltoid, and then
down to the model’s wrist. Remember: Everything in Chapter 1 works together. At times you will see
applied force, and sometimes you will see the chance to go long, all within the same pose. Either
way, you want your drawing to be a rich experience of the humanity that was in front of you, a loud
drawing of your understanding. Don’t forget the power of the force full curve.
Now let’s look at how to better describe the forms around which force travels.
1. Skate the page. Close your eyes and imagine the paper as ice and you as the world’s best figure
skater. You are performing your best routine. As you skate, feel the fluidity and speed of your
movement. Notice how the blades cut into the ice as you move through tight and open curves.
Your marks should indicate the change in force and pressure that your body would feel on the ice.
2. Find the ribcage to hip relationship first. Keep seeing how their relationship is asymmetrical and
falls into one of the four previously discussed scenarios.
3. Stand and mimic the model’s pose. Start with the biggest ideas of the pose and work down to
the small detail. Close your eyes and feel your body in that pose. Notice the stretches, torques,
pressures, and gravity on yourself. Then push the pose and feel where it wants to go. Put those
experiences into your drawing.
4. Watch the model move into a pose. Look at the directions their body swept into to take the pose.
There lies answers to force.
5. Draw with a clear directional force for each part of the figure.
6. Be passionate about the aliveness of the model and the pose. Draw your excitement.
7. Write what you are achieving in a drawing. Bring a thesaurus to increase your vocabulary about
your ideas. Write verb first then noun it affects.
8. Pay attention to your internal dialog. Don’t be self defeating.
9. Explain what you see, don’t just copy it.
10. Get out of your own way. Don’t worry about the drawing.
11. Always have something to say.
12. Draw to feel what the model is feeling.


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Chapter 2
Forceful Form

Learning how to draw takes two parts. One part is knowledge about technique. That is perspective,
anatomy, force, and shape. The other side of drawing is honest observation, being able to draw what
you see. When the two combine, you can draw! You draw what you see and understand it at the
same time. You can assess your own experiences and see where you need more technique or more
honest observation. Is the drawing generic? Look more. Is it specific but flat, dead, and poorly
designed? Use technique.
Every chapter of this book is designed in a hierarchy. We go from big ideas first and then to specifics.
In this chapter I will cover many techniques about forceful form. This will lead us to observation of
specifics. The largest technical skill to learn when it comes to form is …
Artists’ understanding of the theories of perspective has changed the world we live in. Their
observations helped them create dimensional thoughts upon a flat surface. You are affected by this
every day of your life. Recognize that the chair you occupy and the space you live in were conceived
by an artist with the capacity to draw form.
The first topic we’ll cover is perspective. Perspective is not difficult, it just takes some time to
understand what you are seeing and know that you are capable of representing depth on the page.
This happens after understanding the traditional ways of drawing it. I learned perspective in junior
high first, then from “How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way,” and then, most importantly, from the
four years of architecture I studied in high school. The cube or box is the beginning of understanding
structure in space.
One of the major uses of perspective is to show you what angles to draw objects at. These angles
give you the sense of vanishing that occurs in our world.


Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

One, two, and three points

One-point perspective is everyone’s beginning when it comes to seeing space into a flat page. It
is limited. Its main use is to draw flat planes in depth. In the box on the left, one point shows its
limitations. When looking at a box, as soon as we face it from any direction besides head on, we are
dealing with two points or more of perspective. We cannot see another side of this box until we have
two points as reference.
The box in the bottom left corner is an example of what I receive from students when I ask them to draw
a box in perspective. This is the nemesis of perspective. I know we are taught this, but if you look at the
box, notice how the front face has right corners all around. We are looking directly at the front face, so
how would it be possible for us to see any of the other sides? It is as if we took the back plane of the
box and slid it, in a parallel manner, away from its actual structural orientation with the front of the box.
Two-point perspective has the cube converge in perspective on one plane of existence. Notice how
the vertical lines in the box are parallel and the others are not. Here our cube is affected only on
a horizontal plane. The horizontal lines of the cube are being squeezed into perspective by the
vanishing points. As soon as we are above or below the box, which means we should see three of
its planes, we must have three points of perspective.
In three points, the box is affected by perspective on two planes, vertical and horizontal. Number 1
and 2 are the horizontal points and number 3 is our one vertical point. We could have two points on
a vertical line and one on the horizontal. In this case, the third point gives us a sense that the box is

Forceful Form

long vertically. We seem to be floating above it looking down. The vertical lines that create the box
are converging downward towards the third point. An easy way to find out how many points a box is
affected by is that to find out how many planes you see. They will be the same amount.
Some simple rules to help you become aware of perspective:
1. The left point on the horizon line affects the left plane of the box. The right point affects the right
2. This is inverted when you are inside the box. This comes into play when you do a room interior.
3. When an object is below your eye line, the verticals are affected by the point below your eye line.
When the object is above your eye line, the verticals are affected by the point above your eye line.
To help explain one, two, and three points, I am going to use drawings of people’s heads. Why? The
head is the most block-like structure of the body. Some artists like to construct the head from a ball;
I prefer the cube. It is more definitive. It has clear planes that erase doubt as to what specific direction
in space a person or animal’s head is in. Use the angles of the cube to help define the angles of
the facial features. Just as curves defined force in Chapter 1, straight lines evoke structure and

This drawing is a profile or one-point perspective. Here we are looking right at the side of the
model’s head.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Mike Roth’s drawing of Keith is in two-point perspective. We have the front and side of his head
visible to us. The edge of those two planes is at the peak of his right eyebrow. That edge defines the
forehead and temple planes. The drawing itself is solid. Look at the bottom of the nose and his upper
lip. We see three planes of perspective in these features, but the head itself is not in three points. Also
notice the slight pinching effect of the projection lines of the eyes nose and mouth. The glasses are
obvious evidence of the two planes of perspective. Mike did an excellent job.

Forceful Form

Here is a drawing of my wife Ellen. You can immediately tell that I was above her when it was
produced. See the clear three planes of her head. Notice how her facial features block one another
because of the perspective. An example would be her nose blocking her mouth.
Know how to draw the right angles of a box in space and then how to squeeze those angles to give
your drawings even more depth. Pay attention to the vertical and horizontal lines and how they need
to converge to suggest a plane progressing back into space.
You must be able to draw a cube from any perspective out of your head. This is a definite
requirement of drawing well.
In my classes, for homework, students draw five heads a week. The way I have them do this is to first
find a victim. (Don’t draw from a magazine; it is flat, which actually makes the job harder.) Then they
are to see their relationship to that person to figure out the cube of perspective the head is in and
draw it. Lastly, the head should be drawn with surface lines to show structure. Later in the year, they
move on to hands and feet with the same disciplines in mind.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

As a homework assignment, students create many drawings of their heads. Above is an example of
Mike D.’s assignment in his first term and then in his third.

Four-point perspective
So here it is, four-point perspective in all its glory. It reminds me of looking out a window in New York
City. If you were at the height of about the thirteenth floor and the buildings around you were thirty
floors, this is what you would see. We have squeezed depth on both the vertical and horizontal
planes with each having two points of convergence. This is the world of perspective we live in. The
closer something gets to your eye, the more of a fisheye lens effect you will see. The centre of the
object will emerge closer to you while its perimeters will squeeze away back into space.

Forceful Form

The problem is, we are not normally close enough to objects to be aware of heightened perspective
and not around the middle of objects that are large enough to look up and down.
What you see in the side-view mirror of a car is what you want to be aware of all around you every
day. In production art, you will sometimes see this in camera tilts for storyboards or a layout.

Here is an example of how four-point perspective affects the model. The first thing I try to make
students aware of in learning to apply perspective to their drawings is having an awareness of their
eye level and location in reference to the model. In the drawing I have done, the eye level or horizon
line is at mid-thigh.
I have chosen these next four figure drawings for you to see the reaction of four-point perspective.
Make yourself aware of where the artist’s eye level was. The way to do this is to see where the body
seems to go flat for a moment, a place that you cannot see above or beneath, where you are
looking head on at the model. See where the closest edge of the box of space that the model
occupies is in reference to you. In most standing poses, my eye level hits right around the mid-thigh
of a model.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

This drawing is terrific for seeing the perspective set up between the model’s two feet. Because they
are connected with a line, we are given a direction towards the left vanishing point. As a visual
reminder, when drawing a model’s feet, notice the height difference of the two on the page (as
I have drawn with the arrow). From there, you can see how the rest of the body is affected by the
guidelines of perspective I have drawn. The closest edge of the box of space she occupies is
represented by the contour line running down the right side of her body.

Forceful Form

See the angles of his feet, knees, hips, and jaw. Here it is the hips that are at my eye level. Look at
the line running over his left shin that defines its form and direction of force.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Here the feet and shoulders happen to fall on the lines of perspective the body is in. See how the
hips do not do the same. The model’s knees are at my eye level or horizon line. The body is complex
and can move to present various different perspectives in one pose. You must be aware of your eye
line and how the entire pose sits in four dimensions.

Forceful Form

The steps the model is sitting on are our most obvious clue to the perspective of this drawing. Look at
their angle relative to that of her breasts and shoulders, or the straight line that represents the back
of her head. There is a strong sensation of looking upward at her here.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

This drawing gives us a sense of depth through height and from left to right. Here you can clearly see
the perspective angle between the feet. In fact on her right foot, I put the angle of perspective down
the back of the heel and the right side of the foot. Her shoulders also angle down away from us.

Forceful Form

Anatomy is structure in drawing the human figure. There are too many books out there about
anatomy for me to take up a chapter on this. If you feel uncertain in this area, it helps for you to
have a book that shows basic understanding of the placement, relations, connectivity, and workings
of the major muscles of the human body. Some books I can recommend are Bridgeman’s “Complete
Guide to Drawing From Life,” which is stylized, but the drawings are forceful and he explains how
things work. Another book is “Anatomy for Artists” by Jeno’ Barcshy. It is informative and the drawings
show some of the mechanics of the body. Lastly, Elliot Goldfingers’s “Human Anatomy for Artists.”
This book considers the body’s muscle groups and draws the layers that create a given area’s
anatomy, from the skeleton to a photograph of a model’s actual musculature, as we would see it.
Drawing through the figure is probably the fastest way to start your journey on forceful form. You will
see this in most of the drawings in this entire book. This shows the difference from someone copying
the model to someone attempting to understand what they see. Don’t let an arm, leg, or any other
part of the body block you from comprehending what is happening in front of you.
Surface lines
Many art classes teach students to draw the figure with cubes and cylinders. I believe that this is a
good foundation for artists. It allows you to see the angles and planes of perspective on the body as
we just learned them.
The human body happens to be a little more complicated than just boxes and cylinders, though. In
this part of Chapter 2, I will show you drawings that possess lines that evoke force and describe
form. This will occur with the use of surface lines.
Going long in Chapter 1 was the beginning of seeing force wrap around form. Now we will focus on
the forms.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Here we see surface lines with simple structures. The cylinder on the left shows lines that adhere to and
go around the form. Some of them pull along its surface from end to end. On the right, we see lines
that do not explain the surface of the cylinder. They seem to carve into it instead. The box on the bottom
shows us how to describe a flat surface with line. You can also describe a change in planes with surface
lines. As with the cylinders, inappropriate lines cut into the surface of the right side of the box.
Many drawing classes have an exercise called “blind contour” drawing. In my classes I have students
perform “blind force” drawing. The difference between the two is huge. Blind contour is done to
teach you to copy the “edge” of the model. Blind force is an exercise that persuades you to see force
travel through and around the model. It is extremely exciting.
Forceful flight
So, let’s start the process of blind force. As you are sitting and observing the model, I want you to use your
imagination to “fly” from your seat, like a tiny, ant-sized airplane and make your way across the ocean to
the land of the model. The model is hundreds of miles high and wide and has miles of depth. You fly
across the model’s landscape to that first sweep of force. You start drawing along with the movement of
your forceful flight. You fly over mountains, across plains and hills. Your eyes, mind, and hand are all in the
same place at the same time. You must concentrate on being present! Did I mention that you are not
looking at the paper? This is similar to the roller coaster with the main difference being blindness.
There are other skills we learn through the blind flight. One of the most important is you getting in front
of you paper, not behind it. Students’ egos are what get in between them and the model. You must
move out of your own way to truly see. I remember trying out this exercise myself and after a few poses,
the massive weight of responsibility for the appearance of my drawing slid off my shoulders. As I
mentioned at the beginning of the book, don’t make the act of drawing about your drawing, make it
about your experience while drawing. The drawing itself is but a by-product of your time with the model.
The leap that students take in this process is inspiring! You become aware of how much you lie when you
draw and how much more interesting reality is than what your mind can come up with. Boring drawings
occur because you have not created a vast enough library of reference from years of drawing from life.

Forceful Form

Here is a two-minute blind flight drawing. I remember looking at the paper once. I completed the
entire pose except for the model’s left leg. Look at the information of the right knee and left foot.
These locations show the beginning of forceful surface lines.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

This five-minute blind shows an exciting experience. Look at the rhythm of the ribcage to hips. Notice
all of the form in the left arm, scapulas, butt and feet. Look at the line variety again. I love the feel of
force trying to escape out of the right hip and abdomen and then reconnecting back into the right

Forceful Form

With more time, look at what can be accomplished. Mike D. had a rich experience here. This
exercise teaches students to draw “inside “the figure instead of the contour. In truth, there is no
contour. The edge of the model is coincidence relative to where you sit. This flight makes you
aware of the model’s structure or form.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Throughout the process of blind forceful flight, I give students more opportunities to look at the
page. For instance, at the beginning they look down every minute, then thirty seconds, fifteen and
finally when they decide to. Here is a drawing of Mike D.’s that is under his control. Look at the level
of specifics with fluidity and form. It feels close to the model. See the interior line work that sculpts
the models forms. This leads me to our next topic of forceful form.
Sculpting force
Forceful form will help you get away from the edge of the body, or its perimeter. The model takes up
space and you want to be able to explain how. You will learn to see force throughout the entire form
and this in turn will make you aware of structural and rhythmic connections. Remember that the edge
of the model exists because of where you are seated relative to the model. If you or the model were
to change location or position, the edge would change.
Pay attention to the location of the natural centre on the forms you understand. For instance the nose
on the face, the centre of the ribcage, or the belly button on the stomach. You obviously have the

Forceful Form

spine for the back. On the legs you find the model’s knees and the top of the foot. For the arms you
can use the center of the biceps or deltoid to explain each of those different planes.
Going back to hierarchy, think about addressing larger structures first and then smaller ones. Understand
the direction and form of the ribcage before you draw the muscles attached to it. I remember when
I was first experiencing the enjoyment of seeing space, it was because of an instructor telling me to
imagine I was an ant crawling over the surface of the model’s body. Everything is large in comparison
to you. It is a new landscape for you to explore. Hills, valleys, and plateaus will appear on your trip.
Ride the rapids of force in the figure. The more you can believe what I tell you, open up your mind,
and envelope what you see, the faster you will obtain awareness of space.
Another exercise in drawing form is for you to act as if you are sculpting the model with your pencil.
Draw as though you are caressing him/her with the pencil’s tip. Feel the forms in your mind and
express them on the page.
Sometimes students confuse this exercise with drawing shadows. We are not looking for shadow; we
are looking for form through force.
Michelangelo comes to mind when I think about line showing force and form. He was the master at
making a complex group of muscles, such as the back, work together as a whole. This is no easy
task. The vast sea of bulges and depressions could leave any artist confused and lost.
In the beginning of the twentieth century lived a man named Charles Dana Gibson. He was best known
for “The Gibson Girl.” His lines dealt mainly with structure. Everything occupied space as he illustrated
scenes from that time period. Dover publishes an excellent book called “The Gibson Girl and Her
America: The Best Drawings by Charles Dana Gibson.” I fortunately almost tripped over two large, old
volumes of his work on the floor of an antique shop in South Jersey. Definitely a precious find.
Heinrich Kley was an artist I had never heard of until representatives from Disney told me about him.
At that time, I was lacking form and Kley’s drawings were not. Kley was a German artist who did
satirical cartoons for Germany’s newspapers. These illustrations are full of life and creativity. He
draws everything with solidity in mind and uses line to do it. He draws centaurs and satyrs, dancing
elephants and gators, giants and fairies, all in service of his political opinion. His book is readily
available and it costs fewer than ten dollars. “The Drawings of Heinrich Kley” from Dover. This is
a worthy investment.
A contemporary master at giving line force and form is Frank Frazetta. Some of you may know him
as the great fantasy painter that he is, but his black and white ink work is intelligent and beautiful as
well. His brush strokes evoke solidity and force at the same time. Check out “Frank Frazetta, The
Living Legend,” to see some great examples of this.
Go and see the sculptures of Richard MacDonald to get a sense of what your drawings should
evoke. His sculptures are incredible representations of figures that occupy space through rhythm,
form, and poetic power. His work can be seen on his website of the same name.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

(Again, don’t copy the model; instead, recreate him or her.) You must rebuild them on the paper.
I usually give the students ten-minute poses to actuate these exercises. Also start to consistently draw
the hands and feet within each drawing. They add another level of expression to the images you

So, here we are, the model in perspective and showing form through sculptural lines. See how most
of the surface lines sculpt the model’s space and also move in the direction of the force of that part
of the body. As an example, see the surface lines along the ribcage that give us its form, but also the
sweeping upward sensation caused by the model’s raised arm. Also look at how the surface lines of
the ribcage and hips help to explain their different directions in space, which aids in telling a clearer
story about the pose’s ideas.

Forceful Form

I’ve drawn this as simpler masses on the right. The right leg in relationship to the hip is more severe
in perspective. It comes out towards us more rapidly than the hip. The calf also rapidly descends
back into the page. The capacity to create three-dimensionality or a sense of deep paper is a
miracle of drawing.
I have students cover as much of the model’s body in forceful line as possible to speed their process
of understanding. The more you do it, the faster you will learn it.

Look at how the lines evoke a direction of force and form at the same time. See how the lower back
sweeps into the legs. His left arm opposes this major direction by going in the flip direction.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

So here we have an experience in sculpting the model. Look at the surface lines of the left forearm.
They show us the volume and how force sweeps down towards the hand. See the shadow on the leg,
and how I adhered it to the body instead of creating a flat shape.

Forceful Form

Look around this drawing and see how the lines of structure also describe force. I started this
drawing with the sweep of the back. Notice the straight, hard moments of the shoulder, hand,
and head.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Again, surface line helps describe forceful form. We see the direction of forces and how the forms
are affected by them. Look at the ribcage sweeping to the belly. You can see rhythm in the deltoid
and the outer edge of the tricep.

Forceful Form

Here there is less physical drawing. The lines are used in an efficient manner to help us feel the
solidity of the model’s forms. The thickness of the feet and pressure put upon them by the model’s
weight are revealed by all of the surface lines here. Look at the knees and the roundness of the
ribcage for more structure. This is still in four-point perspective.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Here you can see how the place where the ribcage and hips meet is furthest from us in perspective
for those structures. See how I handled the hair to show solidity.

Forceful Form

Here is high drama and speed with efficiency of form. Notice the repetition of grouping of two or
three marks in strategic areas showing the direction in space of form. For example the oblique, the
top of the leg and the forearms.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Overlap and tangents
Let’s address some visual rules of space.

The first visual rule is overlap. See how it is that shape 1 is closest to us and 11 is furthest away. This
is all done with overlap. Overlap occurs when one line stops as it touches another. This makes it
appear as though it has gone behind it. The circles in the bottom left corner also give us this depth
effect. I have heard some instructors call this the “T” rule because of the intersection creating a “T.”
At Disney they made a huge fuss about tangents, and rightly so. As the drawing at the bottom right
shows you, if you have a tangent or two lines meeting, neither takes dominance in space and we
have flatness. Decide what is closest to you and see the journey back into space. All three of the
circles feel as though they are on the same plane. Overlap helps evoke foreshortening.
With all of these concepts in mind, as you draw the model, ask yourself what is closest to you and
what is furthest away. Enjoy the journey between the two moments.

Forceful Form

We have come to the point where we have a solid structural drawing without all of the surface line.
The centreline of her back, her spine, helps set up all of the structures. The buttock and hip area
shows plenty of overlaps describing depth. Look at where two lines meet and which one moves over
the other. The form it describes is in front.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Here force makes an aggressive vertical climb up the model’s right leg. When we crest the hip we
quickly shoot back into space over the upper body. See the hip in front of the stomach, with the
ribcage beyond it. Look at the lats, and the shoulder blade resting on the ribcage, and the head
over the horizon. Overlap helps divide the back into left and right halves.

Forceful Form

In this drawing, the model’s elbow is closest to us. The rest of the model falls behind it. See the
straight places that show us the angle of the head, the hardness of the shoulder and hand, and the
strength of the lower back. A quick visual aside: I was taught that a heavier edge on an object with
less interior information makes an object punch forward. Now when I draw this comes to me
automatically. I see closer objects as having thicker edges to them. In this drawing, it helps push the
entire right arm slightly away from the model’s body. In the end, you are trying to show your thoughts
as clearly as possible, so this is another approach to consider.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

The most telling overlap here is the ribcage stretch beyond the hips in depth at 1. His right arm has
extreme foreshortening at 2. We move from the deltoid to the bicep and elbow into the page. Then
we make our way out from the forearm to the hand with the face lying just beyond it. The left arm
at 3. has a more casual progression through space still created by overlap. Also see the sweeping
surface lines that assisted me in finding the model’s forms.

Forceful Form

The success of the overlaps is what makes this drawing legible. Besides all of the overlapping
moments, notice the surface lines on the deltoid that sweep us down into the rhythm of the arm.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Size and foreshortening
Size matters. The larger an object is, the closer it will appear. Therefore, the smaller an object the
further away. This rule will help explode the boundaries of the paper, thus fooling the eye into
seeing depth. We are so conditioned to this rule in our everyday lives that something as simple as
the size of a circle fools us into seeing space. The more you force space into your drawings, the
more conditioned you will become to seeing it in everyday life. To provoke the sight of space, try
drawing the model from a closer position than you usually do and exaggerate size. Make things
ridiculously small or large. This will help you see the power of size.
Imagine what would happen if while driving, all of the cars on the freeway around you were the
same size, no matter how close or far from you they were. Size tells our brain about the drama of

Look at how effective both examples of this are. We are forced into believing we see depth when it is
only the size of the object that has changed.
Try drawing as close to the model as possible. This shorter distance will help you experience more
depth. The further the model is from you, the flatter they will seem. This should begin to help you see
direction into and out of the page.

Forceful Form

Foreshortening is shortening the lines in the drawing to create depth. In this drawing we have a tube.
Its distance from top to bottom is shortened in the drawing on the right. This immediately tells our
brain that it is coming forward. The combination of foreshortening along with size develops dramatic
depth. When students ask me about foreshortening, the first suggestion I have for them is draw what
you actually see. Your mind wants to flatten out what you see. Accept the truth. When a leg for
instance is foreshortened, look at the distance between the joints. Notice how close they are to each



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Since space, or depth of the page, through size is our focus, look at the size of the model’s right foot
relative to her hands, head, or most importantly, her other foot. This is so important because if two of
the same objects are different sizes, we immediately make a visual connection that helps us realize a
change in perspective or distance between them. You can also see some moments of surface line
here. Down the model’s right leg I drew the distances between her joints. Imagine her standing and
how much longer they would become.

Forceful Form

In this drawing, his left hand is the object that is closest to my eye. The reference of his other hand
helps the spatial illusion. See how I structured his arm and hand in the depth it occupies. Now
overlap helps describe form in a foreshortened space along with the shortened distances between
the joints of the arm.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

I love the upward climb. Starting at the left foot, we have an invigorating journey ahead before we
reach the model’s face.

Forceful Form

Here is a fast and aggressive drawing showing a vast amount of depth. See the hands relative to the
model’s face. Look at the distance in the feet. The back foot is tiny in comparison to the hands.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Our triangular trip through space takes us from the model’s right foot to her head and then to her
other foot, where we see a digression in size that makes us see space or depth. Again, also notice
the overlapping to force space. See the foreshortening of the model’s right leg relative to the left.
Look at how close her big toe is to her hip!
All of the topics covered in this chapter are to assist you in describing forceful structure. You need to
be capable of describing forms moving with rhythm in a four-dimensional space. In animation,
surface lines are not evident in the finished product. Moving shapes are important. These shapes are
created via a true understanding of force and form, or in simpler terms, curve to straight. That is the
topic of Chapter 3, forceful shape.

Forceful Form

1. Learn four-point perspective. See the model in space.
2. Practice blind force. Travel with your mind’s eye beyond your paper to the model and follow the
path of force around the surfaces of the model.
3. Sculpt the model. Think about actually touching them with the tip of the china marker.
4. Draw your head many times to see two- and three-point perspective.
5. Pay attention to anatomical centers.
6. Learn anatomy.
7. Walk around the model to become aware of roundness. Sit close to the model to see depth.
8. Get in front of your page while drawing, not behind it.
9. Pay attention to size and overlap.


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Chapter 3
Forceful Shape

John Ruggieri and the late Jack Potter, both of whom were instructors at the School of Visual Arts,
helped me to recognize shapes in life. This made me curious about their expressiveness and
efficiency. It is exciting to see the world in shapes. Everything has shape.


Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Let’s make believe that we are looking through filters when drawing. In Chapter 1, the filter we
peered through was force and its different aspects. The previous chapter’s filter was form and some
pictorial tricks that gave us space. This chapter’s filter is shape. Shape exists because of the first two
Shape gives us immediate width. Shapes can wrap around form to describe a particular mass. In
animation, shapes change from drawing to drawing, which also helps present form.
Again, let’s enjoy shape in a hierarchical manner. The biggest, most encompassing shape is the
silhouette. The silhouette is the filled-in shape created by the outline of the entire object. It is a vital
element to animated drawing. A silhouette helps us see the whole body clearly, without any
interruption. You can see if the story of a pose is clear in its silhouette.
It allows you to see how all parts relate to each other on a flat plane. Here it is the size of shapes that
gives us depth. As I will show you, shape can give you force. A good silhouette can even imply form
by its overlapping shapes. Silhouettes can tell you about character, emotion, and much more. There
are two different kinds of shape: forceful and un-forceful, lively or lifeless.
“What is conceived well is expressed clearly.”
Nicholas Boileau

Forceful Shape

So here is a silhouette of a full female figure. Notice the positive and negative space. There is so
much said with just the silhouette of the figure. We can still see how force pushes this flat shape from
left to right down the page. Don’t forget that the silhouette comes from form. That is why it is the
third chapter! You must clear to see these flat shapes from structure.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Keith’s drawing has a great deal of force and form. You can tell he saw the connection between the
upper and lower body. I love the “drawing through” in the left arm and also the head seen through
the hair. The forceful shape he saw in the model’s left hand is excellent. The drawing’s major
problem lies in its silhouette. The orb the model is holding gets lost within the shape of the body. The
left arm is a clear read. I don’t have students make things up to suit their needs, but what Keith could
have done was physically move to obtain a better vantage-point of the pose for a clearer silhouette.

Forceful Shape

This drawing by Mike D. has a very clear silhouette that was designed from force and form. See the
rhythms and how applied force pushes into the right shoulder and then shoots into the left.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

The top of the page shows us three shapes: a circle, a square, and a triangle. None of these shapes
evoke force or form. They have no forceful direction because of their equalization and symmetry in
shape. They are without force. The shapes underneath are full of life and fluidity. I filled the bottom
shape with contour lines to show you how the shape still is filled with structure.

Forceful Shape

A forceful silhouette is a great opportunity to show us all of the above because the silhouette changes
shapes, overlaps, and size. Shape is great for seeing angles and thickness, and gaining a new
awareness that you can have an opinion about.

Here we have the silhouette of a porcupine and a water balloon. One shows us hard, pointy
aggressiveness while the other is soft and placid. Nature has already done a tremendous job of
designing its world. To break both of these shapes down to their simplest components, they are both
created by the relationship between a straight and a cur ved line. The cur ve represents an upward
force while the straight tells of the hard surface on the bottom of both forms. This straight to cur ve is
the beginning of forceful shape. Look for this shape in the figure drawings that follow.
Working at Disney made me realize that there is such a thing as appealing and unappealing shapes.
I prefer forceful and un-forceful shapes. If you truly understand something’s function, it will be
To discuss un-forceful shapes, look at the old cartoons where the characters had rubber-hose arms
and legs. The shapes of their appendages did not lend themselves to asymmetrical, forceful energy.
Their parallel quality created dysfunctional shapes.
Disney’s first feature films suffered from softness. Everything from characters to backgrounds was
primarily created from cur ves. The animation was excellent, but the designs were weak. Believe me,
this is no critique of the stories either.
It was not until “Sleeping Beauty” came along that the studio really caught on to straight to cur ve
design. Although the film was a financial failure, it changed the design principles of the studio. The
dramatic modification took the studio to a contemporary style and thought process that has evolved
to the efficient and graphically strong appearance that it has today. Because of this “Sleeping
Beauty” was a great success. It changed the face of American traditional animation.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

In “Disney Animation, The Illusion of Life” by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston on page 68, there is
a small box that discusses appeal in drawing. It has so much importance yet it is easily passed over
in the book. It briefly talks about the theory that the studio stands on!
I freelanced for Walt Disney Consumer Products before going into feature film and the guys there
were great at appeal. New York’s artists were mainly drawing the traditional Disney characters. That
is where I learned what a great example of appealing design Mickey Mouse is. I heard that tests were
done wherein babies were shown an image of Mickey, and they would smile and laugh. That is
appealing design!
The artists kept telling me to design more. I did my damnedest to make the characters look right and
I thought I was doing a good job. I look back at those drawings today and just want to thank them
for giving me any work at all. They were dreadful. They lacked the spark and clarity of design they
should have had. It took me four months down at the studio in Florida and some great “Timon”
drawings in front of me to finally understand appealing design. It’s strange how the light bulb just
came on. Once you fully understand the theory, you realize just how applicable to reality it is.
Look at the Batman cartoon of today. Bruce Timm has done a great job of designing a character
from a different medium, in this case comics, and converting Batman into an appealing cartoon
design. This design principle has made it possible for the animation to be of higher quality than it
usually is. Intelligent simplicity has lead to a greater product. Samurai Jack is also fantastic because
of the amount of forceful shape applied to the design theory of the cartoon. Characters and
backgrounds are affected. Here you can enjoy it in a graphic, raw representation created by
Genndy Tartakovsky.
Appealing design, or what I like to call forceful shape, helps us see force and form in the construct of
a shape. We do this by being aware of straight to cur ve. We touched upon this in Chapter 1 as it
related to force. Now the relationship of the different forceful lines creates forceful shapes. Straight is
hard structure and cur ved is flexible force.
The trap in trying to draw with shape in mind that I find students fall into is forgetting about force and
form. The theory of forceful shape is not something you have to assert upon the figure. Like the
previous topics we’ve discussed, forceful shape is a reality. Learn to see it.
Effective shape comes from force and form.
The Do’s and Dont’s of Forceful shape
Since we have gone over what kinds of lines create force and form, let’s discuss what kinds of shapes
do and don’t. Notice their similarity to the rules of force from Chapter 1.

Forceful Shape

First the don’t:
1. Don’t create a shape with parallel lines. Force has no way of moving obliquely through the body.
As we will discuss further, human anatomy is not built in a parallel manner.
2. Don’t have the same kind of force on either side of the same shape. I call this mirroring. Here the
forces crash after doing their function.
3. This is similar to number 2 in that the forces mirror each other. Here they collide at the peak of
their function.
Now let’s talk about the do’s:
4. Do draw oblique forces. This is what creates rhythm. Think of the skiing analogy I made earlier.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

5. Do see straight to cur ve simplicity in the figure. Here we have created a shape that has function
or force to it. It is appealing because of its contrast in ideas, and it also has direction. There are
no mirroring moments.
The cur ve is the energy that moves through the shape, and the straight helps direct its path and give
it structure.
6. Do see different kinds of shapes. Here we have straight to cur ve again, but represented in a
different shape.
7. Do see the massive variety in which these rules can be applied. Here is a cur ve against a straight
and a cur ve to give us a play of forces.
8. In this example, I want you to see how shape can explain form. Where the white shape overlaps
the black shape, it describes its surface. The spatial concepts come in handy now. Size, overlap,
and tangent theories help shape gain structure. You should still help yourself feel form to see
more convincing, clear shapes.
An artist that I utilize to show students the graphic yet functional effect of straight to cur ve is Mike
Mignola. He is the creator of “Hellboy,” the comic book. His brilliant designs show forceful figures in
a simple and efficient way. Check him out! His new book, “The Art of Hellboy,” is awesome.

Forceful Shape

I want you to see the differences between the effects of straight lines versus cur ved ones:
1. Here is a forceful drawing with strong cur ves that move us through the model.
2. Look at what happens to energy when the figure is drawn with only straight lines. There is no
forceful power. The drawing seems to be more about angles. If a figure is drawn out of only straight
lines it has no energy, and if it is all cur ves it lacks strength and structure. The balance of the two
within every shape gives us drawings with a sense of believability through contrasting forces.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Here is a sample of just how efficient you can become with your line through the power of forceful
shape. Look at the level of abstraction found here. Overlap becomes essential to fooling us into
seeing depth on the page.
Going back to the hierarchical way of thinking, shape can be used on a large scale, first to address
the greater issues and then the smaller ones. Again, we will start in a generic, graphic manner to
pursue the issue of straight to cur ve design and then move onto specifics. Big straights to cur ves first.

Forceful Shape

See the animated shapes in these drawings. Notice the absence of mirroring and how there is a
straight for every cur ve of force. See the silhouette. Shape 1 and shape 4 both represent the torso of
the body. In this comparison, they are opposite in function. Shapes 2 and 3 are basically the same
idea for both legs. See how shape 5 seamlessly moves us into shape 6.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

The road of rhythm is created by the overlap of forceful shapes from one to four. Shape one is our
first in the pyramid, explaining the majority of the body. For depth, notice the size difference in
her feet.

Forceful Shape

Here are some fast drawings that show the efficiency of using shape. Shape along with some overlap
gives immediate form. The leg has straight to cur ve and the knee overlapping the shin give the leg



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Look at the extremeness of the pose. See the straight of the chest relative to the cur ve of the back.
We can see a smaller representation of this in the model’s arm. The straight to cur ves move us from
the deltoid to the triceps to the forearm and into the hand. Also notice the size difference in the feet
for depth. See the thumbnail for clarification.

Forceful Shape

This silhouette gives us a clear contrapposto pose, the oblique balance between the torso and hips.
This originates with the straight to cur ve of the upper body. We can see the plane of perspective she
is standing on because of the location of her feet relative to one another. Look at the straight to
cur ve shape of her left hand and the size difference between both hands. This implies depth. Her
facial profile gives us the direction that her head is pointing in. I also reveal the design of her right
leg. See how it is structure that creates the shapes.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Mike Roth’s drawing has simplified the body into the straight to cur ve shapes. Look at the back
relative to the front of the ribcage. The right arm and leg are other good examples of this theory. The
fluid hair shape is fun, too. See also the size effect of the foot here.

Forceful Shape

In this drawing, let’s look at how straight to cur ve strengthened the story of the pose. The cur ve of
the front of the model’s ribcage and belly is not strong enough in the large drawing. He weakly
leans to the left side of the page. Through seeing silhouette and the concept of straight to cur ve,
I strengthened the push of the back into the belly with the straights in the upper back and hips. This
helps the clarity of the rest of the pose as seen in the thumbnail. I like the strong cur ve of the left arm
pulling on the belt.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

The largest example of forceful shape is her upper body. The left side is the straight and the right is
the cur ve. This drawing is full of stronger against weaker cur ves like the one in her right foot. This
same shape appears again in legs, arms, and the fold of skin that wraps around her ribcage. Also,
there is a subtle straight that runs from one knee, through her hips, across to the other knee with the
bottom of her butt be the cur ve.

Forceful Shape

The sense of straight to cur ve in this drawing starts to create an abstract and appealing quality to
the work.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

This experience was exciting in combining force, form, shape, and some texture. Remember to see
the big straight to cur ve ideas of the body to create a more forceful silhouette. You can see the
straight line I thought about going down the right side of the body. That helps us push the cur ve out
on the left.

Forceful Shape

Forceful shapes can get more specific. I want to discuss some powerful theories about the anatomy
of the body that pertain to force and rhythm as seen by forceful shape. The body, as I said earlier, is
built to move. Its musculature is set up in traverse angles from one area in the figure to another.
These relationships allow it to perform. If you work out or you are a physical therapist, you know
exactly what I am talking about. The biceps are opposite in function to the triceps. The biceps bring
your hands to your shoulders and your triceps help straighten your arm.
In the following drawings, we will travel from simple to complex depictions of the power of the
human form through forceful shape.

Here I want you to see that, as a whole, the body looks symmetrical. Because of this, the torso of the
figure feels rigid. Its left and right edges are a mirror image of one another, causing forces to collide



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

(as the arrows show). The torso does not work from left to right, but from front to back. It is in the
torso’s profile that we see how this complex organic entity is built to move and operate.
At this time, I also want you to be aware of the fact that the body is built in a hard bone and soft
muscle pattern. The head is hard, neck is soft, ribcage hard, abdomen soft, pelvis hard, thighs soft,
knees hard, calves soft, ankles hard, and the bottom of the feet are soft. The soft areas are what
make it possible for us to move the hard ones.

The limbs of the human body, although always paired, have asymmetry within themselves. Look at
the drawing of the leg. Look at how its musculature creates asymmetrical forms and therefore a
functional and appealing shape. The same goes for the drawings of the arm. There are no moments
of mirroring or equal forces being found on both sides of a shape. The shape of the body’s anatomy
always gives us a feeling of functionality. A simple way of seeing this is to notice the peaks of force
on the sides of a shape and making sure that they are not directly across from one another.
J.C. Leyendecker was the master at putting everything we have discussed so far into his work. He was
an illustrator from the earlier part of the twentieth century. His work shows decisive shapes that are
full of force and form. They are created with clear straights and cur ves. There is no laziness in his

Forceful Shape

work. Leyendecker would have been a great character designer had he been alive today. I strongly
suggest looking at his work. It is difficult to find much of it. There is a poster book called “The
J. C. Leyendecker Collection: American Illustrators Poster Book” that is available for sale. There is
also an older book that is extremely rare, but full of his paintings: “J.C. Leyendecker” by
Michael Schau.
Dean Cornwell is another artist from this time period. I would like to make you aware of him before
we move on. His forceful design is not as strong as Leyendecker’s, but he is powerful in the area of
structure. His work leans towards straighter, harder moments. He also has some great definitive
shapes in his work. There was also a book published on his work called “Dean Cornwell, The Dean
of Illustrators” by Patricia Janis Broder.
The theory of straight to cur ve allows you more exaggeration, clearer opinion. Make a statement
with every shape.
“Exaggeration, the inseparable companion of greatness.”

Here you can see the exact example of the asymmetrical legs at work. Look at the straight to cur ve of
the ribcage, the hips, shoulders, and arms. Notice the apexes of force and their asymmetry. Look at
the thumbnail for straight to cur ve silhouette.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

The clarity and understanding of this pose epitomizes all levels of drawing, force, form, and shape.
Its simplicity is what makes it so successful.

Forceful Shape

I love the sense of thickness conveyed in her back and buttocks by the cur ve in those areas.
See the small straight of her ribcage to define structure. Look at the asymmetry found throughout.
The simplicity of straight to cur ve of her left arm gets the idea of force and form across. Notice the
structure of her head and the shape of her hair. Lastly, look at her left hand and how it also has
straight to cur ve or forceful shape in it. The knuckle line gives the flat shape its structure.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Definitive lines show us a lucid understanding of the forces and forms of this model’s pose. Look at
the asymmetry in the arms and upper body. See how the structure of the back created its shape.

Forceful Shape

Look at the efficiency. This pose is complex in its idea. The model is turning over his left hip and
sustaining this torque with his left arm. His right leg is closest to us and is also under a certain
amount of tension, caused by the rotation of the upper body. The model’s figure consistently moves
away from us in space. See the subtle references to depth in the overlap and the light structural lines.
I enjoy the quiet reference made to the left shoulder blade and how it relates to the operation of that
shoulder. I reveal the forceful design of the ribcage and right thigh.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

I love the power of this drawing. It is opinionated. It tells us what the model was doing, loud and
clear. Look at the shapes created by the anatomy and how much force they imply. His right arm and
buttocks are two unmistakable moments of this. See the structure in the straights and the force in the
cur ves. His silhouette can be easily understood. See how his legs work relative to the torque in the
upper body.
Line has no form; shape does. In this chapter, force has been described in the rules of straight to
cur ve. That led us into asymmetrical anatomy. Lastly, to modify everything into successful shapes, we
turned to the silhouette. Its clarity is as strong as a magnifying glass in looking at all of the preceding
concepts. Here you can see if everything is working successfully.

Forceful Shape

A great deal of drawing is academic, but what finally gives it power is your reaction to the reality in
front of you. This reaction is pure opinion relying on academic knowledge. Reacting means you don’t
have time to copy. You go after full concept and feeling. The more you learn how to draw, the clearer
and more powerful your reactions to the figure will be.
It is time to have faith in your abilities. Put yourself out on the line, take the leap of faith, and
fearlessly enjoy your experience with the model. Give the drawings some of your heart. With the
closing of this half of the book, I want to share with you some drawings that express my exhilaration
in drawing the model.
Shorter poses are a great way to force yourself into reacting.

My opinion here was, Wow, look at how immense his upper body is. His feet are so flat and thin.
I enjoyed the fluid quality of his arm and thickness of his leg. These moments are all ideas that
occurred in my initial reaction, ideas which I stuck to instead of getting caught up in copying the



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Sloped head, extreme pose, and thin legs are just some of the reactions I had to the model in
this pose.

Forceful Shape

Here I was going for the model’s thin legs, massive shoulders, and upper body. The trick to this
design is to keep it fluid.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Long thin legs and feet are expressed here. The weight is on her buttocks and the force is in her right
shoulder. The expression on her face has also been captured.

Forceful Shape

This drawing is a great example of forceful shape and playing with size for depth. Look at the fluid
shapes from the close hands to the feet down on the ground and off in the distance. Efficient line and
overlaps take us through space.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

I love the cartoony musculature in this drawing performed by Mike D. You really get a sense of how
much fun he had during this experience. Look at the fluidity, form, and shape.

Forceful Shape

The next three drawings are all the same model. Each drawing has a different opinion. Here,
pushing the abstract idea of shape with more flatness helps me see the model on a new level. The
simplicity of shape helps me develop my opinions.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Here is another entirely different story. It was a godlike quality that I was after. The massive shoulders,
large hands, and crazy hair make for an interesting statement. Notice the lack of under drawing.
Each opinion about the model is expressed as I reach it.

Forceful Shape

A crazed, angry old man with a short neck and long torso were thoughts that occurred to me during
this pose. On the right, a fellow artist is hard at work.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Yes, there is the obvious, but I also shortened the upper body and size of her head to push my ideas.
These last few drawings are our wrap-up for the first half of the book. They also introduce us to the
next chapter. Look at the texture of line in these drawings and how it affects the story of each pose.

Forceful Shape

All processes combined. The following drawings show how force, form, and shape all make their
appearance in drawing the model.

I love the graceful flow that brings us up from the belly through the back and shoulder into the left
hand. The fleshy lines let us enjoy the model’s muscularity. See how the small hard straight of the
lower back is enough to give us strength between the ribcage, belly, and hips.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Look at the wide variety of ideas expressed. Of course there is force, form, and shape, but beyond
that, the variety of line pressure brings us closer to the reality of the model. See the hard point of the
shoulder blade against the meaty thickness of the latissimus dorsi. See how specific you can get
about a model without losing your sense of the pose’s rhythm.

Forceful Shape

So here we see force, form, and shape again. Notice that the relationship in size of the knees gives
us depth.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

1. Stay aware of the rules of forceful design. See abstract straight to cur ve.
2. Go after your ideas.
3. See silhouette.
4. Think about the figure as flat shapes and then fill those shapes with structure.
5. Think of analogies as you draw.
6. Try drawing in two tones. Get down force and form first then use a second color to clarify shapes.
7. Have model create a character and moment for themselves. See if you can figure it out and draw
it. Find out afterwards how close you came to the character.
8. Think about the history of the model to help you form opinion.
9. Draw model with all straights. Then apply one cur ve at a time to each new pose.
10. Cut out a forceful “D” shape (straight to curve design) from a colored paper. Adhere it with a glue
stick to your newsprint relative to where you see it in the figure. (The first shape should be the
ribcage.) Then draw the figure on top of the shape. During longer poses, find multiple shapes in
the figure. This is an excellent exercise for seeing the abstraction of forceful design in the human

Chapter 4

Let’s talk about Michelangelo’s Pieta’. What is so amazing about his sculpture is how marble is
made to look like flesh, bone, and cloth. Yet of course, if you were to touch it, it would be cold and
hard. Its shapes fool us into thinking otherwise. The long smooth curves invent flesh. If you were
to accurately draw this sculpture, it would have to be with harder lines. When drawing a real
human being, the shapes should be drawn with the amount of pressure on the pencil that most
closely resembles the texture of what it is you are drawing.


Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Above, look at the face next to the model’s hair. See the sensual sculpting of his abdomen and the
hard lower abs. Feel the hardness of the jawbone.


As you can see from the previous drawings, the pressure of the line I created them with established
the hardness or softness of the subject I was drawing. A simple example about the application of this
reality that I mention in class is if you were to draw a brick and a rose, you should draw them with
two notably different types of line. The brick would be drawn with a hard, angular line while the rose
would have soft, delicate curves.
Drawing fabric is a great way to experience line’s ability to express texture. Most fabric feels different
from skin and bone. This gives us a great contrast to experience.
Fabric has no form; it is like paper, thin and flat, without energy. When something is done to it,
it takes on different properties. Say we crumpled it. Then it would sit as a wrinkled mass with
no function except that of the material itself, weighed down the force of gravity. There is much
information that can be collected from it at this stage. The softness or hardness, thickness or
thinness, can be recognized by the formation of the wrinkles. As soon as we hang the cloth on
something, the weight of the material comes more clearly into play. Look for this information in
the following drawings.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Mary Ellen’s drawing is full of texture. See the hard, curious foot and the straight line of pressure of
the buttocks on the stool in comparison to the curly, flowing material hanging from it.


Here we can tell that the material is thinner and yet somehow harder than the last. It folds in angles
and straighter lines. You can see this around the neck where we also see how clothes can begin to
describe form. I like the texture of the strings hanging from the material.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

The hardness of the ribcage, left shoulder, and elbows against the soft, flowing material wrapped
around the model’s waist gives us a great variety of sensations. See how the type of line, the way it
curves, and the pressure I used to draw it tell us about its weight and feel. The fabric is heavier and
thicker than the previous.


The model’s long, wispy ponytail stands out against the solidity of her face and figure. The fabric is
slicker and harder than the others. The wrinkles are pointy and change direction aggressively. Look
at how the robe wraps around her arms and then hangs from the right wrist. I like the small, hard,
straight line that represents the bottom end of the cuff.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Look at the variety of marks to describe texture here. The hard crunchiness of the hat’s brim, the soft
fluidity of her hair, the heaviness of the jacket and jeans next to the light fur of the jacket edge.


In this last drawing focusing on texture, feel the crumpled quality of her dress against the tight top
and the leather of her boots.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Everything we have learned so far has prepared us for the next step: drawing the model clothed.
The first thing to remember when drawing the clothed figure is that you are drawing a clothed figure.
You must understand a figure’s actions and anatomy before you can tackle the issue of clothes.
Fabric now takes on the forces and form of the person wearing it, thus making it clothing. Clothes
hang on us, usually from the shoulders and the waist. Paying attention to the moments from which
clothes hang is most of the story when it comes to drawing clothes.
Clothes can be a quick read as far as what the body underneath is doing. For example, if someone
in a shirt were to bend over, you would see crumpled cloth around the stomach and stretch over the
back. This is a symbol of the simplicity of the figure’s function. The same phenomenon can happen
in a smaller moment, like a bent knee or elbow.
The other major attribute of clothes is the fact that they wrap around the form of our figures and
have holes to suit the way our bodies are built. Look at collars, waists, and sleeves, and also don’t
forget the seams where the clothing has been stitched together. These examples can help you
describe the figure’s form.
When first confronted with drawing the clothed model, I find it wise for the student to first find the
function and form of the model. Then draw the clothes and notice where they hang from. See how
the story the clothes show you relates to the forces of the pose. In the beginning, draw all of the
wrinkles you observe. This will more quickly make you realize how clothes work.
A couple of books I can recommend on the subject of clothing are “Dynamic Wrinkles and Drapery”
by Burne Hogarth and George Bridgeman’s “Complete Guide to Drawing From Life.” Hogarth’s
book is good in that he explains clothing in a directional force oriented method. He shows different
types of wrinkles and pulls in clothing. The problem with this book for animation is that he draws all
of the wrinkles and therefore the illustrations are too busy. You don’t want to get caught up in doing
this yourself. Clarity of the idea of the pose is what will make your drawings strong and loud.
Bridgeman describes different types of folds in the back of his book. They also are good to know.
I believe that in the end, your observation and understanding of what the body is doing will help you
achieve more believable clothed figure drawings.
Here is a recap of ways to approach the clothed figure:
1. Recognize the type of material you are drawing. Different materials wrinkle in different ways. Their
breaking points vary and the kind of line you draw them with can express their texture.
2. I look at how and where on the body clothes hang from. Find the point, i.e., the shoulders, waist,
or knees.


3. Always use the exits and entrances of clothing to help define form. I’m talking about the collar,
sleeves, waist, etc. The stitching is just as useful. Look at where sleeves are attached or how pants
are put together.
4. See the simplicity of stretch to compressed. Clothes can quickly tell you what is happening.
Leyendecker and Cornwell were both excellent at drawing clothing.

This drawing has examples of everything I discussed earlier. Force and form create the moments.
1. Here we see the thickness created by the fold in the shirt’s collar. This gives us a sense of the
stiffness of the material. Also see how the collar wraps around the model’s neck to show form.
2. Look at how the material drops down from the shoulder and locks into a thick wrinkle that wraps
around the arm.
3. The thickness of the pants is greater than that of the shirt as shown here.
4. The bottom of the shirt wraps around the form of the leg.
5. The weight of the jeans shoots down the leg and splits because of a locked fold near the ankle.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

This is a great example of finding evidence of the figure through the clothes. Look at the model’s left
leg. See how the filled shape falls and hangs from the structure of the leg. His right knee shows the
pants creasing away from it and down towards the ankle.


So here we have a simple example of clothes wrapping around the model’s forms. Look at the
different ellipses and how they determine the specific volumes and angles in the perspectives they
reside in.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Look at how the clothes wrap around the model’s body in this drawing by Mike Roth. The curve of
the shirt and that of her pants tell us how her body moves in space. See how the pants lock into a
wrinkle because of the downward force of the knee. He uses straight to curve in the sleeves and in
the right leg. The leg has a curve to multiple straights.
In time, you want to be able to simplify the confusion of clothing. The ideas you draw from the
clothing need to support the idea of the pose. You must learn to draw what the idea of the pose
needs and delete what hinders it to keep the drawings animated. Here are more efficient and clearer


The neck hole of the shirt defines the form of that area. See how it hangs from her shoulders over her
breasts. The sleeve of her left arm tells us her arm is coming forward by the overlap in the wrinkles
and the elliptical shape of the sleeve opening. Look at how it drapes over her legs, revealing their



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Here we can clearly see how the model’s belt describes the angle change between the side of her hip
and her back. The roughed-in pockets also help describe the roundness of her buttocks.


The backpack here is a great tool for describing the direction in space of the back. The pockets on
his right leg show us its roundness of form.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

This drawing really gives a great sense of stretch in a highly efficient manner. Look at the straights
and curves of her legs. The lines that describe the wrinkles around her back and left knee give
us form.


Let’s return to drawing small and thinking big. These two drawings could be animation keys. Both
show straight to curve in the upper body. See how that force is balanced with the strong curve of the
left leg in the left drawing. Notice the minimal approach to the wrinkles in the model’s costume. The
drawing on the right has more information about the clothes. See the stretched fabric near the left
knee, or how it is compressed in the right.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

I love the clarity of this drawing. Obviously having a great, hard working model really helps also.
See how the stretched triangular shape created by the arms and the back works against the pressure
of the left leg. There is evidence of this in the way I treated the shoe. The back left pocket helps
define form.


This drawing has the shirt crumpled on one side and stretched on the other to give you the concept
of bending over.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Another great pose. To discuss line quality a little more, I feel the upper body comes across as flesh
and the lower as cloth. See the distinctive idea of each leg and its structure. The model’ s right leg
has a sense of the knee being locked back. The other is all work in the quadriceps.


Here the long soft curves of the coat help us understand its texture. The difference in the curves of
the boots explains its fabric.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Clothing offers us more shapes to play with. This means new inspirations for describing the specific
model and story of each pose.

This drawing and the next are a great example of contrast in story. Above we find the meager,
downtrodden, old peasant woman. Here her jacket engulfs and protects her from the outside world.


Here the same model shows us a woman with strength and confidence. The large shape of the jacket
seems to support this idea.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

The main play in shape here is the size of the jacket against a small head and thin legs. These
elements still help to give us an interesting character.


In Mike D.’s drawing, shape lends itself to the depth of the page. The model’s head recedes into the
page and we feel space between the knees because of their difference in size.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

I want you to realize that clothing is not only a topic you should understand technically. Clothing can
tell a story. When drawing people, ask yourself some of these questions: What kinds of clothes does
this person wear? What color are the clothes and what kinds of materials are they made of? Are the
clothes snug or of a more relaxed fit? All of this gives you inside information about a person. It starts
to give you a personal story. Notice yourself and figure out why you wear the clothes you do and
how they represent you.
“Know, first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly.”

1. Become aware of the hard and soft areas of the body.
2. Think of clothing as having different speeds of force.
3. Be aware of the contrast in pressure of your marks.
4. Use clothes to clarify the concept and volumes of the pose.
5. In your mind, think about touching the model and the clothes they wear.
6. Remember how important clothes are in describing character.

Chapter 5
On Location, Reportage
“Art teaches nothing except the significance of life.”
Henry Miller

After going over drawing clothes, the next step is going outside with everything we’ve learned.
Drawing on location, or reportage, can be the most adventurous drawing experience. Here you have
the chance to report, as a visual journalist, about the world around you. See the stories of everyday
life. “People watch.” I find that if I write about what I experience, it helps me see the wonder of it all.
This way I’m not just drawing for study, but for story.
All the world is a stage: someone reading a newspaper on a park bench, people eating at the mall’s
food court or shopping, bowling, sports events, birthday parties; the list is infinite. If it is difficult to go
outside, draw from TV. Use DVDs or tapes to frame through people’s motions. It’s great for observing.
The biggest obstacle to overcome is the lack of time you will have to watch someone staying still.
There will be a break-in period during which you realize how much you can study and are forced to
put to memory in order to capture a moment. Remember that our objective here is to capture that
moment, or your impression thereof. Focusing on being able to draw is for the classroom. You will
not have time for that here. You have to trust your intuition. Let the simplicity of shape and silhouette
make it possible for you to memorize more.
Our bodies express our thoughts. If someone is frightened, he doesn’t stand with his chest pushed
out. He cowers or puts his hands up to protect himself. A human symbol for triumph is having both
hands raised above our heads with our fists clenched. It would never be bending over with your head
in your hands. As I wrote in Chapter 1, realize that you can empathize with the people you are
drawing. Use this connection to speed up your drawing process.
In class, the exercise students perform for story is similar to the hierarchy exercise I described in
Chapter 1. I have a nude model figure out an occupation or story point that can be read through his
or her body language. He or she takes a five-minute pose. Students write down what they think the
model is expressing for the first minute. Then they draw the model with this story point in mind for the


Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

last four minutes. This exercise is excellent for learning about the importance of body language, and
also silhouette. In one class, the model took a reclining pose that clearly showed her scurrying away
from an opposing force. The students behind her, though, who had an unclear view of the story,
thought she was relaxing on a beach.
Another point I make to students is to go after character. People are so different from one another. As
a side job, I have been doing caricatures since college. My clients always ask what feature I’m going
to exaggerate. They look at me confused when I respond that I draw the forceful shapes of their
head. I never pick a particular feature. I try and stick to my initial reaction, my gut feeling about the
Leroy Neiman is one of the few artists I know of that shows on-location drawings as part of his work.
Most of you probably know him for his loud colored, impressionistic paintings of famous figures,
especially in sports. His books have some great reportage drawings. The best one is “Leroy Neiman,
Art and Lifestyle.”
I also self published a book entitled “Reportage 01”. Here you will find observations of New York
City and Disney World.
Inner thoughts, outer reaction
Let’s start with drawings of people thinking to themselves and trying to capture those thoughts. Here
there is no outside stimulus.

Here is a typical moment captured by Mike. The upward lift of this woman’s head makes it seem
as though she is in casual thought. This woman is deep in thought; her burning cigarette shows us
the progression of time.

On Location, Reportage

Above are different people in different situations, all going about their lives.
Here is an observation about the train. Since I have been commuting for ten years, I have realized
that people have come up with every possible way of ignoring each other in confined spaces.
Walkmen, newspapers, magazines, computers, books, and closed eyes are some of the ways people
have found to ignore their surroundings.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

So here is my daughter. Notice the casual stance of her body and yet how occupied she was with her

On Location, Reportage

Staging, single person
Something to be aware of in order to tell a story is staging. See what the relationship is between a
person and something else. See the negative space between them. Look at the posture the person
has relative to the object.

Mike Roth’s drawing is an excellent example of what I want to see students achieve. We have the
story of a man with a relaxed curiosity over the paper he is reading. Mike staged this very well. By
giving us the negative space between the man and the paper, he lets us clearly see the moment. The
silhouette is an easy read. The negative space in itself is a story. If it were greater or smaller, our story
would be different.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

I saw this as a moment between the player and the gridiron. He stands and contemplates the field.

In terms of a person’s clothes portraying his character, Mike has revealed this man’s cultural pride.
Also see how the silhouette is a good read since the shape of the instrument breaks out of the shape
of the man’s body. The thumbnail in the corner does the same.

On Location, Reportage

This is a drawing of my cousin Charlie helping his Dad cut the grass.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Here is a great moment with Makenna swinging by herself. All we need for story here is she and the
swing attached to the ground.
Multiple moments
Drawing multiple moments of the same subject is more telling than drawing one. You will get a better
sense of personality through the actions people take. This is also a great exercise for proportion and
volume. This is a great time to use your VCR or DVD player.

On Location, Reportage

I drew my niece Felicia on Halloween. She was a ladybug. What these drawings show is her urge to
stand, along with her simultaneous inability to do so. Her costume made it easy for me to see her
forceful shapes.

Here is Makenna and multiple moments of her playing on the ground with some toys. See how force,
form and shape combined give us clear representations of story.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

A friend is about to paint a wall, and it seems as though he hunches over to inspect it in the top left
drawing. In the next moment, when he is painting, we see he stays hunched. This is probably a habit
caused by his height.

On Location, Reportage

If you have ever been on a swing, you know how to get it moving. It’s all in the chest and legs, as
this girl show us. Underneath the drawings I drew representations of how force would change in her
body if I were to animate her. The exchange in force from concave to convex is exchanged through
the rhythm or “S” curve in the center. That allows for a smooth transition in energy.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

These drawings by Mike Roth are so much fun. Look at the simplicity of the shapes and how much
squash, stretch, and direction they give the toddler.

On Location, Reportage

Here is my other daughter Marin, running around a playground. Her vest and pants make for easy
shapes to define her proportions and forms. Playing with those shapes gives her dynamic story.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Here we want to be aware of the interplay between two people. Again, as a human being you can
watch the people around you in different emotional states and know what they are thinking or
feeling. Instead of understanding the idea of one person, though, we now will grasp the main idea of
two people. We are creating a new top to the pyramid. Rhythm is now the idea between two people
instead of two ideas in the body. Pay attention to negative space again, for in a way it is its own
Before going outside with this challenge, I had two models pose nude at the same time so the
clothing would not distract the students. This way there was concentration on the relationship of
forces between the two models.

The story I see here is two people at a table who are leaning forward, but not in each other’s
directions spatially. She is reading to ignore him while he looks off into space, deep in thought. He
covers his mouth to stop himself from speaking. There is the opportunity for focused discussion
because of their forces sweeping forward. It is as though they had already spoken to one another
and he is preparing to speak again.

On Location, Reportage

Then I have students draw two clothed models. Here they have the opportunity – in a controlled
setting – to see the couple’s relationship.

In this drawing, my brother-in-law Chris’s height difference automatically gives him visual superiority.
He seems to be waiting for Ellen to get off the phone. Two ideas suggest this; one: his hands on his
hips, and two: his relationship to her. Her phone conversation is a priority since she is looking away
from him, yet she does stare at his shoes, recognizing his presence.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

This was a half-hour of watching a boxing match on TV. The contenders go through their own
personal dance, caused by actions and reactions between the two. Like dancing cobras. All of the
drawings are done in seconds. In the center of the page is a woman who was caught with drugs, and
you can see her posture: leaning against the wall.
Try to set the scene that the moment you are observing takes place in. Act as if it is a play that you
see before you. Be aware of the props around the characters. Let’s go outside again.

On Location, Reportage

The story of this drawing is about the boy assisting his father in seeing the object that holds his
attention. You can see the direct connection between the arch of the father’s back and the boy’s
extended arm.

Here there are many different types of relationships:
1. The photographers to their subjects.
2. The photographers to one another. See their similar posture.
3. The strange way that the down markers are a visual repetition of the photographers.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

In the midst of a crazy birthday party, these two women found a moment to talk to one another under
the protection of the umbrella. Their silhouettes tell you who is doing the talking and who is listening.

On Location, Reportage

This is a close moment between a mother and her child. She observes the child handling its
beverage. The child seems happy as it kicks and looks at its drink.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

These are old drawings of mine that tell a great story. Here the mother helps the child bowl. I like the
simplicity of the layout. It is like theater to me. Draw only what you need of the environment. The
child in the first drawing feels like it is carrying a bowling ball.
In drawing large numbers of people, see them as an entity. Look for the overall shape of the crowd.
See what direction they move in as a whole, like a sea of force. Then break it down into the
individuals. Again, this is a hierarchic approach. I have drawn thumbnails for you to see the
compositions behind the concepts.

I enjoyed my location for this moment. The drawing feels as though it is about Charlie and the
viewer. He is beyond all of the other children at the table and their distractions, yet is looking right at
us. The arrows show how the children’s gazes ultimately lead to Charlie. The thumbnail and blue
directional lines show how the two triangles and the table point us towards Charlie in the center.

On Location, Reportage

Putting a box around the next few images helps me compose the picture based on the story I want
to tell. Here the crowd looks on at the performers. You can see the rough circle I drew around the
musicians to assist me in the awareness of the story’s focus. I also drew the closest man to us as a
way of separating the crowd from the musicians. He gives us depth of field, too. Lastly, I grayed out
the crowd so the performers would be brighter and draw your attention to them. Notice the multiple
hands on the drummers to give a sense of speed.

Following the top of the people’s heads, look at the arrows they create towards the fish. Here the
figures are also darkened to focus on the fish.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

This composition is encapsulated. Rich – framed between the umbrella and his audience – tells his
tale. The curvature of the audience’s backs, and direction of their heads, leads us to Rich.

On Location, Reportage

This moment was captured one night at a Barnes and Noble that was holding a book signing. I drew
this from the second floor. You can see the perspective by the way the people are stacked behind
one another. The curve created by the people leads us up to the author and then past her to the
separated individual. His attention to her brings us back. Look at the thumbnail for clarification of
this idea.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

See how I went after the moon shape created by the football team and how it directs us out to the
Texture of line is a great way to add more character and opinion to your work. Your drawing
constitutes a visual medium, yet you have the power to make a viewer understand how a fabric feels
or how heavy something is. You have the opportunity to experience more feelings as an artist
because of this.
1. Stay sensitive to the environment. Feel the temperature, hear the sounds and smell the aromas.
2. Look at people’s humanity. Become aware of their stories.
3. See the stories in perspective.
4. Shapes help you draw faster. See shape in architecture and people.
5. Again, be aware of the clothes people wear.

Chapter 6

Drawing animals on location can be more challenging than drawing people on location. The first
reason is that it is harder to relate to them. They move faster and obviously in a different manner
than us. How different? Not as different as you may think.
The way I was taught to understand animals was to compare them to us, bring them into our world.
The first step in accomplishing this is in comparing our anatomies. Once you can relate an animal’s
anatomy to your own, you will understand their body language and in turn, their actions.
Ken Hultgren’s book “The Art of Animal Drawing” is a great book on this subject. He touches upon
force and covers a variety of animals. His drawings of horses are magnificent.

Here are some head drawings of Adrianne that I adore. Look at the expression in the top, right
drawing and the different textures, which are what I was mainly after. So, man’s best friend will be the
first animal we compare to.


Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Let’s look at a comparison between man and dog. This comparison works for all animals with paws
but not hoofed. Here is a list of important ideas to see:
1. Look at how similar a dog’s anatomy is to a man’s on all fours. Look at the shoulders and elbows
in both.
2. Notice the wrist. A dog cannot bend his paw upward like we can. This helps lock the leg when
he is standing on it. His paw rests on the pad of our hand.
3. In the back leg, the dog walks on what would be the ball of our foot. The hip and knee
relationship is similar.
For the most part, mammals fit in three major categories: plantigrade, digigrade, and unguligrade.
It is not so important that you remember these terms, but remember the skeletal differences between
the three so your comparison to us is correct.


These three examples show you how the three main categories of mammals’ “hands” work relative to
ours. Humans are plantigrades. We plant our whole foot down on the ground. Digigrade animals
walk on the ball of their feet and hands. In the unguligrade example, the joint above the hoof is like
our knuckles. These animals walk on the tips of their toes. The foot has the same changes in it as the
hand does amongst the three examples.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Look at the change in the hoofed animal versus the humans and dogs. The “wrist” is higher in the
horse, which makes it seem as though it runs on its fingertips.

Looking closely at the limbs of both subjects, see where the shoulder, elbow, and wrist are in the dog.
Of great importance is noticing how the angle of the shoulder is the same as the angle of the
forearm. These parts of the dog’s front and back legs stay parallel unless the dog is on its back and
its limbs are not operating against gravity.


1. On this page, the drawings on the bottom left show how the back leg operates with this parallel
concept through a large range of motion.
2. On the right is a drawing that shows how all four legs are working.
3. I created the drawing on top to show you the mechanics of a pawed animal. The cat’s right side,
in this case, has the legs in a closed scissor position where the left side is open. By doing this
scissoring action to the one side of the body at a time, the animal walks. Another way this was
explained to me was to think of the back leg kicking the front leg forward when it took a step.
As I have explained throughout the book, we want to understand the basic rhythm of four-legged
animals first.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

In this drawing, let’s look at a comparison in rhythm.
1. The dog actually has one less change in direction of force. Reason being, the dog’s ribcage is
suspended like a bridge from the hips to the shoulders, or force 1 to force 3. His neck follows the
sweep upward of the ribcage to raise the head.
2. Since we stand upright, our forces are different. Our ribcage is not suspended between two forces
like the dog’s. Our ribcage sits or is cradled in force 3 of the man.
3. See how this affects the force of the neck in both instances. Our neck projects our head forward
where the dog’s is projected back, or relative to how a dog actually walks: up away from the


Here is an example of seeing shape in the dog. In Ken Hultgren’s book “The Art of Animal Drawing,”
he makes a point of splitting animal bodies into parts. This helps to see how the major masses are
creating the animals’ figures and the different shapes of the parts.
Here I have shaded the fore and rear quarters for you to see the effective shapes and their
relationship to the dog’s body. When drawing animals, I see the major mass of the animal’s body
first, that is, its trunk, and then draw how the legs and their shape are affecting it.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

This page has small drawings with big ideas. Look at the dog’s body as a whole. See the angles in
the legs. See the shapes. Look at the rhythms. Feel the story.
I happen to have a dog named Adrianne. Why Adrianne? My in-laws have a dog named Rocky.
Adrianne is great to observe. As I write this book, she has just become one year old. It’s fun to see
her thinking. Her body language is so similar to ours. It’s strange how most expressive animals say
the same things in the same ways. When she is happy, she jumps and wiggles around; when she is
punished or sad, she droops her head down or sighs. Curious or alert, she becomes wide eyed and
stands at attention. As every pet owner will agree, each animal has its own distinct personality, yet
there are definite similarities in physical communication.


In this drawing of my dog, notice the overall shape of her body and how it already possesses rhythm
from head to tail. See the flat angle of her back in relationship to the curve of her ribcage. I am
happy with the shape of her neck in particular. The straight of the left to the curve of the right sweeps
her face in the westward direction. See also how I wrapped her shoulder blade around her body to
describe its form.

I enjoy the work and struggle involved here. I did a great deal of exploring to achieve my
understanding of how Adrianne’s anatomy operated while she lay on her back.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Here is a page of wonderful moments by Mike. Look at the different stories. I love the multiple
images of the dog running. Notice the squash and stretch found here. I like the drawing on the
bottom right where we see clear perspective from the two dogs sitting like pillars by their owner.
Above that is a drawing of man and his best friend.
I had not been to the Bronx Zoo since I was in elementary school. Writing this book provoked me to
return. It is so much fun to observe the animals. They come in so many different shapes, sizes, and
colors, all because of how and where they live.
Simplistic seals
In going to the zoo, I suggest starting with simple animals first. Seals and sea lions are a great place
to warm up. Their simple anatomy allows you to focus on their streamline, aquatic-designed bodies.
Their simplicity allows you to focus on shape with force and form. All of the other animals in the zoo
have basically the same shape body as the seal with different arms and legs.


Try to find the unique qualities of each animal, even within their own families. Look for their specific
personalities and what they are experiencing when you are drawing them.

So, here are the seals. Their forms are so flexible and fluid.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Keith pushes story here with the seal war cry. Look at the straight to curve and the feeling of stretch
up to the head.
Use your experience with the seals to assist you in drawing the more complicated animals. See the
shape of an animal’s trunk and head first, then its legs. After drawing the seals, let’s go through the
zoo from the plantigrade to the unguligrade (or in easier terms, the bears and pawed animals to
hoofed animals).



Here are some observations of black bears I saw in the Bronx Zoo. In the top drawing, I like the
connectivity of the bear’s belly to his right rear leg. The perspective the bear is in shows us his form
wrapped around the previous idea. On the bottom, we see him making his way down a rock face.
As I mentioned earlier in this chapter, you can see the divisions of the bear’s body to help see
shapes. You must make sure they all operate together in the end.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Here lies a polar bear on a hot August afternoon. See:
1. the shape of his arm,
2. the relationship of his back to his stomach,
3. the way his neck and head sweep out of his torso.


Here are some great panda drawings by Mike. The black shoulder mass helps define form and
anatomy as we discussed earlier.

Here you can see that the shape of the lion was my approach. I love the size of his mane and head.
With digigrade and unguligrade mammals, I make quick straight-line references of the legs for their



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

The seated lion is also shape based with force and form in mind. I like the subtle hard moment
captured in his right shoulder. The smaller drawing has force, form, and shape.



This has to be one of my favorite animals in the zoo. The black rhino is so powerful and beautiful.
I loved watching it walk. The massive weight of it would push down into its feet as it walked,
displacing the mud on the ground. Its long, heavy head seemed to hang from its shoulder girdle.
Notice the difference in style in between the two drawings but they both have the theory of “force”
within them.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Here are examples of an Indian Rhino that I pushed some opinions upon. Look at the slight
variations and see how much fun there is in personal design.

Grevy’s zebras were one of the greatest challenges. This drawing was a product of many with poor
results. First, I ignored the stripes to more clearly see the shape of its body. See the attention made to
the wide hip region. The stripes could be added later to help emphasize form.


Look at the attention paid to the angles of the impala’s legs and shoulder blade.

I feel that the most difficult of these animals to draw is the giraffe. Having done this with a still
specimen before coming to the zoo, I had an advantage when it came to tackling this one. On the
left is a more graphic representation. The drawing on the right has more fluidity and character.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

This image was drawn at The Museum of Natural History. Before going to the zoo, I will often take
students to the museum so they get an understanding of anatomy and shape.


This was also drawn at the museum as part of a lecture. The top left is the drawing and everything
around it is an explanation of the thoughts within it. You can see simplifications of force and shape.
Notice in the silhouette, the breakdown of straight to curve in this moose.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

The Bronx Zoo has a brand new exhibit called The Congo. The design of the exhibit allows you to
get within inches of exotic and interesting creatures from that region of the world. Primates are the
focal point of the exhibit.
Watching primates is fascinating because of their similarity to us. It is easier to relate to and
understand them because of this. Look at their body language and facial expressions.

The drawings around the perimeter are the most fun for me. I enjoy seeing the shapes of their body’s
forces. Look at how the shape tells us about the effort being made. Their long tails help them
balance up in the trees.


I believe these drawings are of the Red-Tailed Monkey. They were more active than the Silver-Leafed.
Look at how their tales are a continuation of the rhythm found in their backs.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Here are some baboons cleaning one another. Simplicity of shape from force and form once again
convey clear ideas quickly. The baboon walking has a great shape on his back from the extra fur he
has. Look at how that shape leads into his arm.


The Congo has a special exhibit of the western lowland gorillas. It is a glass tunnel that allows you to
get within inches of these animals.

This western lowland gorilla was about two feet away from me. Incredible. Look at how human the
forces of her body are.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

This was the highlight of the day. The woman closest to the gorilla put her palm on the glass that
separates us from the animals. So the male gorilla lifted his hand and slapped it on the glass. When
he did this, the glass tunnels echoed with the power and weight of his hand. Awesome.


Last but not least are birds. Here again, we want to compare our anatomy to theirs. In so doing, you
will better understand what it would be like to take flight and soar amongst the clouds. You would
reach forward with your fingertips and sweep your arms down to your sides, bringing your elbows in
and bending your wrists.

Look at the similarity between our arm and the bird’s. Look at how his extended feathers would be
our fingers. The rest of our feathers would drape down from our arms. The upward peak of the wing
is our wrist. There is barely any difference in the legs either.

See how important the wrist is in a bird’s flight. In 2 the “wrist” is the leading edge of force, driving
the wing downward. In 4 the “wrist” drives the wing upward.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

I have used this drawing of a young bald eagle to show you our anatomy in this pose. Imagine our
skeleton in the other bird.


I end this chapter with these two Guira Cuckoos. I like the squash and stretch we see in their bodies.
Their relationship makes this visual difference possible.
Enjoy the world of animals. See our similarities and differences. They also have great stories to
uncover. Through understanding animals, we can learn more about our selves. You will uncover new
mannerisms and personalities that you can use for your creative work.



Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

1. Start with seals and learn their fluid, simple shapes. Take this shape to the more complex animals.
2. Get the rhythms of the animals down with forceful shape. Then you can use them as a reference
point to add more information.
3. See the character of the particular animals. Compare them to people.
4. Learn the different anatomical structures of their limbs.


I believe that great drawing starts with an understanding of the fundamentals. For me, one of those
fundamentals is force. Through this understanding, one is freed up to start forming opinions.
In the end, you want to bring as much of yourself as possible to your work. Have an opinion and
fight mediocrity. Learn to understand what you find interesting. That will be where your individuality
“All the knowledge I possess everyone else can acquire, but my heart is all my own.”

Every day, I take a moment and realize the beauty of the life around me. Drawing is a miraculous
vehicle with which to do this. Let it be your window to awareness of the remarkable world around
you. In turn, this will revolutionize the world inside of you.
I hope that you have enjoyed this journey with me, and that you’re leaving it with something new and
inspiring. Keep drawing!
Visit me at www.drawingforce.com or www.enterartacad.com I would love to hear from you.
The Drawings of Heinrich Kley
Dean Cornwell, The Dean of Illustrators
J.C. Leyendecker
The Art of Hellboy or any of Mike Mignola’s comics
Any Disney Book
Claire Wendling’s Drawers
Frezatto Sketchbook
Any Frank Frazetta book
John Singer Sargent Drawings


Force: Dynamic Life Drawing for Animators

Azpiri Sketchbook
Bernie Wrightson’s A Look Back
Carlos Meglia comics
The Art of Richard MacDonald
George Bridgeman’s Complete Guide to Drawing from Life
Charles Dana Gibson’s The Gibson Girl and Her America
Elliot Goldfinger’s Human Anatomy for Artists
Applied force

A past directional force transferring itself to the next directional force.


Not symmetrical or not balanced; having contrast.


The oblique balance between the torso and the hips

Directional force

A force in the body created by the pull of gravity on human anatomy.


Any push or pull exerted on an organic form because of gravity and the
object’s posture relative to gravity.

Forceful shape

An asymmetrical shape that moves force from one location to the next
in whatever organic form it is describing.


The concept of thinking from a big idea to a small one. When it comes
to drawing force that means going after the largest rhythms in a
pose before the smaller ones.

Leading edge

The edge of a form that leads in the direction of the action it is taking.


Where one line stops another, causing the illusion of one form being in
front of another.


The beautiful interplay helps at least two directional forces in the body
that stay in balance or creates equilibrium against the force of
gravity. Rhythm exists in all living things.

Roller coaster of rhythm

This term is used to describe rhythm in four-dimensional space. This
causes rhythm to not only bounce from side to side, but to travel
through and around the organic object being drawn.


The filled-in shape created by the outline of an object.

Surface line

Line that lands on the surface of the subject to help describe its forceful


The moment where two lines describing two forms touch each other.
This causes equality in space of both forms, which in turn takes away
the opportunity for page depth.


Twisting force mostly found between the ribcage and hips.


Abdomen, 40, 142
Action, xii, 28, 38, 150, 176, 184, 193
Anatomy, 23, 105, 120, 126
comparative anatomy, 193–202
as shape, 119
see also Structure
Angles, 24, 55, 63, 107, 200, 207, 211
Animals, 193
digigrade, 194–202, 207–208
human anatomy, comparison with, 193–202
plantigrade, 194–195, 205–207
pointers, 222
primates, 214–218
simplistic seals, 202–204
unguligrade, 195
in zoo, 202
Animated shapes, 109
Ankle, 49, 151, 152
Appealing design, 103, 104
see also Forceful shape
Appearance, 68, 103, 137
Applied force, 12–16, 23, 34
leading edge, 17–22
Arm, 22, 25, 74, 86, 87, 114, 120, 123, 124, 126
birds, 219
Artists and models, xii
Assumption, xi
Awareness, of force, 1
Baboons, 216
Back, 22, 39, 85, 114, 124, 137
Background, 103, 104
Balance, 26, 27, 34–37, 40, 107, 159
see also equilibrium
Barrett, 9, 52–53
Batman, 104
Belly, 78, 137
Bending, 161, 169
Birds, 219–221
eagle, young bald, 220
Guira Cuckoos, 221

Black bear, 205
Black rhino, 209
Blind contour, 68
Blind flight, 68
five-minute drawing, 70
two-minute drawing, 69
Blind force, 68
Body language, 169, 170, 172, 200, 214
Box, 56
and image, 189
Breast, 65, 155
Bridgeman, George, 150
Bronx Zoo, 202, 214
Buttocks, 31, 83, 123, 126, 130, 144, 156
Calf, 75
Cartoony musculature, 132–137
Character, 98, 104, 166, 170, 174, 182, 211
Chest, 9, 25, 28, 169
Chuck, 52
Circle, 102
Clarity, 98, 113, 122, 126, 156, 160
idea of, 150
Clothing, 141, 174, 183
clothed figure, 150–151
fabric, function and form, 150
shapes, fun with, 164–168
sports, 181
texture, 141–149
Comparative anatomy, 193–202
Contrapposto, 113
Cornwell, Dean, 121, 151
Creativity, 5, 73
Crowds, 188–192
Curved lines, 106
directional force, 3, 13, 14
and straight line, 107–108
Definitive lines, 124
Digigrade, 195
dog, 195–202
lion, 207–208



Directional curves, 8
Directional force, 2–4, 23
beginning, middle, and end, 2
Dishonesty, x
Disney, 44, 73, 82, 103, 104
Dog, 193, 200–202
comparison, with man, 194, 195, 198
Eagle, young bald, 220
Elbow, 28, 40, 85, 146, 195
Ellen, Mary, 144
Emotion, 98
Energy, 23, 106
transitions, 179
Equilibrium, 23, 35
see also Balance
Exaggeration, 121
Expression, 74, 130, 193
facial, 214
model, 130
Eye, 57, 58, 60, 64, 88
eye level, 61, 63
drawing, 143
function and form, 150
Face, 130, 142
expression, 214
Fear, xi
Feel, ix, 1–2, 4, 44, 70, 73, 142
Feet, 24, 62, 63, 69, 74, 90, 93, 114, 131,
Filters, 98
Fluidity, 45, 129, 132, 148
Focal point, 10, 214
Force, 40, 151
applied force, 12–22
awareness, 1
directional force, 2–12
figure, main idea, 2
pointers, 53
Forceful flight, 68–72
Forceful form, 84
perspectives, 55–67
spatial concepts, 82–94
structure, 67
Forceful shape, 97, 102, 103
anatomy, 119–126
do’s and don’ts, 105–106

pointers, 140
reaction, 127
silhouette, 98–103
straight to curve, 106–117, 121
see also forceful shape
Forearm, 76, 81, 112, 196
Foreshortening, 82, 89–94
Form see Forceful form
Four-legged animal, rhythm, 197–198
Four-minute drawing, 29
Four-point perspective, 60–66, 79
Frazetta, Frank, 73
Gates, 24
Gibson, Charles Dana, 73
Giraffe, 211–212
Gravity, 23, 28, 143, 196
Grevy’s zebras, 210
Guira Cuckoos, 221
Hairy line, 3, 28
Half-minute drawings, 6
Hand, 10, 40, 74, 76, 77, 85, 91, 93, 100, 113,
123, 131, 137, 172, 183, 195, 218
Head, 24, 28, 38, 77, 84, 85
animals, 193
and back, 39
human beings, 57–60
Hellboy, 106
Hierarchy, xii, 5, 73
Hip, 25, 28, 29, 30, 40, 51, 63, 70, 74, 80, 83,
84, 113, 194, 210
Hogarth, Burne, 150
Hoofed animals see Unguligrade
Hultgren, Ken, 193, 199
Human form, power of, 119–120
Humanity, ix, 53
Impala, 211
Indian rhino, 210
Inner thoughts, outer reaction, 170–172
“Inside, outside” pattern, 33
Jack, Samurai, 104
Jaw, 9, 63, 142
Joint, 89, 90, 91
Keane, Glen, xi
Keith, 100, 204


Kley, Heinrich, 73
Knees, 18, 49, 63, 64, 69, 79, 152, 162
Knuckle line, 123, 195
Leading edge, 17–22, 219
Learning, 55
Legs, 18, 19, 36, 69, 76, 84, 89, 90, 113, 114,
120, 121, 130, 151, 152, 162, 197
Leroy Neiman, Art and Lifestyle, 170
Leyendecker, J. C., 120–121, 151
Life, seeing, 1
Lifeless shapes, 102
Limbs, 120, 196
Line, 2, 13, 47, 68, 74, 78, 79, 126
versus energy/idea, 3–4, 26
texture, 141, 192
Line pressure, 138
Lion, 202, 207–208
Lively shapes, 102
Lower body, 100
MacDonald, Richard, 73
Mass, 13, 199, 207
McMullan, Jim, 1
Michelangelo, 73
Pieta, 141
Mickey Mouse, 104
Mignola, Mike, 106
Mike D., 16, 60, 71, 72, 101, 132, 167
Mind’s eye, 1, 44
Mirroring, 105
absence, 109, 120
Model, 68, 169–170
expression, 130
movement, 8, 17, 18
Moore, Fred, 44
Motion, 17, 18, 23
Mouth, 58, 59, 182
Multiple moments, 176–181
Musculature, 39, 67, 119, 120, 132, 137
Neck, to back, 39, 40, 155, 198
Negative space, 99, 173, 182
Neiman, Leroy, 170
Nose, 58, 59
Oblique forces, 34, 105
On-location drawings, 169–170
One-minute drawings, 5, 45

One-point perspective, 56, 57
Opinion, based on knowledge
analogy, x
exaggeration, x–xi
Opposite (opposing) curve, 8, 28
Overlap, 82–87, 91, 108, 110, 111
Pairing, 36
Panda, 207
Passion, xi
Pawed animals see Digigrade
Pelvis, 8, 28, 31, 38
Perspectives, 55, 74, 75, 113, 191, 205
four-points, 60–66
one, two, and three points, 56–60
awareness, 57
Plantigrade, 194–195, 205–207
Polar bear, 206
Pose, 1, 2, 5–7, 12, 28, 40, 42, 99, 107, 112, 119,
150, 154, 182, 199
Positive space, 99
Pressure, 28, 53, 144, 160
of line, 138
Primates, 214–218
baboons, 216
red-tailed monkey, 215
silver-leafed monkey, 214, 215
western lowland gorillas, 217–218
Reaction, 127
outer reaction, 170–172
Red-tailed monkey, 215
Relationships, 24, 28, 31, 48, 182–188
types, 185
Repetitive lines, 18, 19
Reportage, 169, 170
pointers, 192
Rhino, 209–210
Rhythm, 23, 70, 110, 182, 198, 200
common errors, 26
oblique forces, 105
roller coaster, 44–53
Ribcage, 17, 18, 20, 29, 31, 38, 39, 40, 74, 78,
79, 80, 84, 86, 123, 146
to hip relationship, 25, 30, 51, 70
Road of rhythm, 23–44
errors, 26
Roller coaster, of rhythm, 44–53
Roth, Mike, xii, 58, 114, 154, 173, 180




Sculpting force, 72–81
Seals, 202–204
Shape, 94, 97–98, 103, 111
forceful shape, 103, 119, 131, 177
fun with, 164–168
simplicity of, 133, 169, 180, 216
un-forceful shape, 102
Shoulder, 19, 21, 40, 77, 85, 130, 137, 138, 146,
Silhouette, 98–103, 109, 113, 173, 174, 186
Simple to complex depictions, 119
Size, 88–94
Skating, 4, 53
Skiing analogy, 24, 31, 105
Sleeping Beauty, 103
Space, 44, 55, 56, 73, 74, 81, 82, 88, 94, 154,
negative space, 99, 173, 182
positive space, 99
Spaghetti line, 26
Spatial concepts
foreshortening, 82, 89–94
overlap, 82, 83–87, 91, 94
size, 88
tangents, 9, 82
Sports, 184, 188, 192
clothes, 181
Square, 102
Squash, 13, 180, 202, 221
Staging, single person, 173–176
Sterno-cleido-mastoid, 39
Still, 18, 23, 79, 86, 102, 169, 211
Stomach, 84, 206
Stories, with life
crowds, 188–192
inner thoughts, outer reaction, 170–172
multiple moments, 176–181
relationships, 182–188
staging, single person, 173–176
Straight line, 24, 57, 65, 144, 145, 147, 207
versus curved line, 107
Straight to curve, 103, 104, 106, 108–109,
111–118, 121, 123, 126, 154, 159, 204,
Stretch, 40

Structure, 67
sculpting force, 72–81
surface lines, 67–72
Supplies, xiii
Surface lines, 67, 74, 76, 78
forceful flight, 68–72
Swing, 179
“T” rule, 82
Tangents, 9, 82–87
Tartakovsky, Genndy, 104
Texture, 141–149, 192
drawing fabric, 143
The Congo, 214, 217
Three-point perspective, 56–57
Thumbnail, 9, 19, 48, 49, 112, 115, 121, 174,
188, 191
Timm, Bruce, 104
Torso, 28, 40, 109, 113, 119–120
Triangle, 102
Truth, x–xi, 71
assumption, xi
opinion based on knowledge, x
Two-point perspective, 56, 58
Unappealing shape, 103
see also Un-forceful shape
Un-forceful shapes, 102
old cartoons, 103
Unguligrade, 194–195, 209–213
black rhino, 209
giraffe, 211
horses, 193, 195
impala, 211
Indian rhino, 210
zebra, 210
Upper body, 17, 116
Visual journalist, 169
Waist, 146
Walt Disney Consumer Products, 104
Western lowland gorillas, 217–218
Wrinkle, 143, 150, 154, 158, 159
Wrist, 194, 196, 219
Zoo, 202

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