Sunday, August 06, 2006

Develop your powers of visual thinking by drawing stick figures

You can learn a lot on the Web -- like how to cultivate your inner artist and develop your powers of visual expression by mastering the universal language of drawing stick figures. Dave Gray writes about this at Squidoo.
The stick figure is one of the most common types of sketches. It's extremely useful to convey many thoughts and ideas. The stick figure is also used in many international symbols, to convey important information to those who can't read the local language.
At Communication Nation -- a fascinating blog about the intersection of art, design, creative thinking and business -- Dave tells how to draw them. Note his first point:
1. Most people start a stick figure by drawing the head. This is a mistake. Since a stick figure represents the whole person, the best way to draw it is the way you see a whole person. Think about what you notice first when seeing someone from a distance. Always start with the body. The body is the center of gravity and motion. By starting with the body you will capture the essence of the gesture you want to convey.
But in art, rules exist to be broken.

Moral Turpitude is a young woman law blogger in Madison, WI. She clearly never saw Dave Gray’s rule, or if she did, she’s breaking it. The stick figure cartoons that accompany her blog posts are all head and stick and no body at all -- except for the cats. There’s no way you can represent a cat as a stick. The low-res, brightly colored computer-drawn cartoons are accompanied by brightly-colored short bits of humorous text about the mundane details of everyday life, little more than captions. In fact, the blog is basically a series of very funny cartoons about everyday life -- with a bit of stuff thrown in about the travails of getting started in practice for yourself (while holding down a job for the health insurance).

But you never can tell what will happen when someone starts thinking visually. Moral Turpitude had an earlier blog, one that was also funny but more conventional in structure. Now that she's blogged her way into cartooning, how long can those law books hold her?


Moral Turpitude said...

I always start with the head! Thanks for the link!!

dave said...

Thanks Madison guy!

I don't wish to be prescriptive -- there is really no wrong way to draw a stick figure; as long as you get your point across, that's the important thing!