Hair-de Hair, Hair

September 11, 2011

As I posted recently, I’m really trying to stay in touch with drawing from life, as to avoid falling back on the same solutions over and over. One of my gripes though, has been that they never use drapery, not because I’m a prude or anything, but it’s a great artistic challenge. Trust me, as I leave the house for my drawing sessions the word “boob” gets tossed out… a lot. “Enjoy your booby session”, “Show ’em your boobs hun!”,  “Have fun— Ta-Ta for now!” Blah, blah, blah.

Seriously, though, in lieu of drawing drapery, one of the best challenges is hair. Like drapery, it has it’s own properties, it’s thin, single strands, but it tends to form groups. This concept has been one of the biggest challenges for CGI animation (Pixar/Dreamworks). Early on many tried to animate thousands of single strands, but when Mighty Joe Young was remade, they realized that animating larger groups of hair, or planes of hair, made it look and flow more naturally. It can be a huge challenge, and inexperienced artists often make mistakes with it. They make it too stringy, and in a drawing that comes across as dirty and oily. The other problem is that if it doesn’t move correctly, you create the appearance of being caught in a whirlwind, with clumps going in all different directions. For me, it’s a challenge and something that I always want to work on.

The nice thing about the studio session I go to, is that there are several models they cycle thru, and a few who come in for a one off session to help out. I won’t include names here for safety reasons, but there are those I favor.

Two that I’ve enjoy most, I did so for how they used their hair; as it became a prop or even a type of drapery during their poses. Just as some models use objects to achieve the same thing, these use their hair. It’s not that theirs is super long, but it’s how they treat it. They know when to let it down, when to put it up, or how to arrange it so it becomes a another focal point in the pose. They don’t pull it back so tight that they drain all the energy out of it, but rather they let it set naturally and loose, to become part of the overall image. Like a pattern on a kimono in a japanese print, it’s not repeated everywhere, but when you see it, it engages the eye and feels placed with a purpose.

Recently, a new model came to a session, with beautiful Afghan features, and thick, jet black, hair. Again even when it was pinned up, she knew how to use it in her pose.

I must admit though, when she had it down, it quickly became a prop for her to work with.

And then there were the times she used it as a make shift veil, or scarf.

So as the song goes…

Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair

I want it long, straight, curly, fuzzy
Snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty
Oily, greasy, fleecy
Shining, gleaming, streaming
Flaxen, waxen
Knotted, polka-dotted
Twisted, beaded, braided
Powdered, flowered, and confettied
Bangled, tangled, spangled, and spaghettied!

But it’s still a pain to draw!

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