Slides: 2012-2013 G10 L2: Shape, Space
Xavier School | Grade 10 | by Josiah Gosingtian
The point of this activity is to show a different way of approaching drawing. In the first lesson, we were all about the details, like where to place the nose, the eyes, and so on. This time, the focus is on the form.
In movies and video games, characters need to be recognizable as quickly as possible. Especially with moving images, where you may have only a few seconds to show a particular character, establishing their silhouette is a reliable and fast way to make them recognizable. Picture a large, looming figure with horns, webbed wings, a tail and a pitchfork. Even without the details, you’d probably conclude that this is someone you can’t approach for directions (unless you’re goin’ down).
In the slide that shows Queen Victoria’s silhouette, the text selection gives clues as to how we recognize silhouettes. The shapes give us information; we see the crown at the top, which allows us to conclude that the person is of a royal house, and then there’s her chin, which gives us a clue about her age.
To be clear, the foreground isn’t always solid black. It’s only for the sake of the topic (silhouettes). It’s possible to have silhouettes in the middle ground. For example, if you have a character that is walking out of a fire, the brightness of the fire will make the figure a silhouette. Lighting matters. You may have heard of the statement “against the light” (in photography), and what happens there is that the subjects become dark and lose detail.
I emphasized the fact that I have to be able to figure out what’s going on in my students’ dream scenes with just one look, and I’m glad that in spite of some fear regarding the perceived difficulty of the activity, they were able to create recognizable forms with stories that were fleshed out as they divided the space into foreground, middle ground, and background.
There was a warrior that leapt from a dragon flying above a burning city. There was a submarine exploring a strange underwater domain. There was a basketball player about to throw a game-breaking shot. There was a guitarist playing before a massive crowd. It was fun watching my students show me their dreams. Yeah, back then, I wanted to have a dragon, too.