The Glory of Stick Figures-beginning to draw stories

In Brazil I was teaching teachers how to draw comics so they could work with students.

I started with the work of Ed Emberley ( posts coming) thinking simple graphic shapes, anyone can draw it! It’s an easy approach to drawing for kids. Yet college graduates, masters degrees and teachers where overwhelmed when the had to combine drawing even just circles and lines with storytelling.

I needed something more basic, simplier to allow them to tell a story and not have to be stuck on teaching just drawing. So I went to stick figures, to see if it could work I layed out a version of Tortoise and the Hare for them.

I found reducing a comic to a kirby grid six panels and full figures in Action only takes almost all the thought out of drawing a comic in terms of fancy shit and allows the focus to be on plot, events and pacing. It also reduces a comic to it’s most basic level for ease of understanding.

It was easier for them to have an entry into drawing the comics without trying to make anything look good, still drawing a normal gesture was hard for them.

Some thoughts

Stephen DeStefano always thought I drew weird (along with the rest of the comics biz, but he at least liked it) because I would start drawing from some point on the figure and follow the lines and shapes, He’ld scream at me, “Wheres the construction? wheres the foundation? how can you draw like that? ” I never understood why it bothered him, I was used to looking at something and drawing from life, he was used to constructing figures from the structure, probably the more logical way to draw comics.

Wife said this morning “Of course it’s easy, it’s a 20 second gesture drawing from life drawing class”.

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