PWI Week 1 with Ran

Ran Jing has just completed her first week of intensive classes with the Portfolio Workshop International (PWI).  During Ran's 4 weeks of intensive classes she has generously agreed to share her drawings and her thoughts here on our blog.
  Week 1. "This week, I was working on short 5 to 30 sec gesture drawings, simple masses and bone structure."  Ran Jing
"I looked over Ran’s drawings from Monday’s class…she has made a good start.  I asked Ran to start sketching basic shape visualizations to prepare for drawing the masses of the human body as distinctive shapes that occupy space in relation to each other.
Gesture is the key to holding everything together, and I told Ran to keep focused on this aspect through all that she’s doing no matter what. I am pleased with what I have seen in Ran’s drawings today. Her gestures are coming along nicely. She is letting go of trying to make them “look like something” and is focusing on looking at the poses and drawing what the model is doing. “Let the drawing take care of itself” , is the maxim I apply in this scenario….it always gets the student's mind off of judging “the result” and onto looking at the actual model in front of them, so they can  respond  to what the model is doing as directly as possible in a graphic medium."  Gerard Sternik   "In one drawing, there are so many things that one needs to consider, for example, the impulse, weight, action, lines, masses, etc. and all of those can totally apply to other drawings later on.  Learning life drawing is like learning a visual language"  Ran Jing  
"Ran's longer studies of mass and volume are getting clearer, more organized and descriptive of the direction, shape and planar structure of what she is drawing.
The longer studies at this stage tend to be stiffer, and feel a bit ‘wooden’, which I expected….. Once the practice of visualizing and drawing everything in terms of volumes takes hold, then it’s time to gently nudge Ran in the direction of integrating the practice of searching for the gesture of things into all of her longer mass/volume studies. The ‘line’ (in the student’s mind) between gesture drawing and volume drawing has to become blurred to the point where the two practices are interchangeable, and unified into the one act of drawing. This will breathe life into all the sustained work, and introduce form into the quick drawings."  Gerard Sternik.   "Ran brought up the question of how to deal with stiffness in her longer structure studies. And it is a good question that comes at the right time in terms of her progress to date….   I made a point of telling Ran that a lot of what she is learning, through the relentless practice and repetition of some key drawing principles has to become “second nature” to her.   By this of course I mean that the material has to settle in the subconscious part of her mind, having entered through a conscious effort to master it. The subconscious unification of all of these apparently disparate principles (appearing disparate at least from the student's point of view) into the one act of drawing is, I have to admit, somewhat of a mystery. I have learned not to try and explain away with overly simplified labels how ‘everything comes together’ to any student going through this process. My advice to Ran today quite frankly was to not worry or even think too much about the whole thing. In effect, the stiffness in the structural drawings will gently dissolve into the flow of the gesture without forcing it, simply by continuing the practice of gesture drawing, and perhaps giving the mind a little nudge like ‘I’ll draw this next set of structure drawings quickly, feeling the pose in my own body for the duration of each drawing’. Conversely, if one approaches gesture drawing feeling ‘what the masses are doing in relation to each other’, one has nudged the gesture drawing in the direction of a structure study.  
Hopefully, at some point the desire to label everything dissolves, and one can simply draw.Enough said."                               APW Director Gerard Sternik

  Click here for Week 2 Blog posting Back to Ran's PWI Progress Home