Hello again and I am glad to have you back. In my last blog I showed you how to draw a chicken by first drawing an egg and by combining other different shapes. The finished outline drawing of our Rhode Island Red hen named Red, is her profile. In today’s blog I will show you how to look for and add gesture to your drawing. Gesture in drawing represents the combination of all of the characteristics of your subject whether still or moving. The characteristics are things that make one person or animal recognizable from another. So, by rearranging or slightly changing some of the same shapes I have already used, I can draw Red so that her head is turned and she is looking over her back or she is leaning down to eat.
The best way to understand gesture is to watch your subject. Observe how your subject looks at rest, walking or running. Gesture can be big movement like jumping or running or gesture can be small movement like a turn of the head. When our hens and rooster run their legs spread farther apart and they sometimes will also spread their wings. I know I have said it before, but I think running poultry is quite comical looking. They seem to roll from one side to the other as the weight is shifted from one leg to the other.
When Red is moving around slowly I have noticed that as she picks up one foot the toes droop and then open back up and stiffen as her lifted foot gets closer to being placed back on the ground and her weight shifts to that leg. So, today I have included a couple more photos and a step-by-step drawn example of how to add gesture. Be sure to look at the photos. Look at how the legs are different in the two photos. See how much lower Red’s head is in one photo than the other.
To begin you should again draw the egg shape for the body. The second step is to add a triangle overlapping the base of the triangle to the egg at the pointy end of the egg. Place the triangle closer to the top of the egg instead of just at the end. If you think of the egg as a clock, place the triangle at about one or two o’clock. The third step is to add the head by drawing a circle around the tip of the triangle. Then add a small triangle to the left side of the circle. The small triangle represents the beak. Now you can add the comb on top of her head and the waddle below the beak, oh, and don’t forget her eye. To add Red’s tail draw a triangle overlapping the bottom of the triangle onto the egg. You can add a wing on the side of her body. To draw legs add a “w” at the belly of her body and then draw the two diagonal lines for each leg. Remember that Red’s legs bend toward her tail, not her head. For her feet you will need to draw one short line for a toe at the back and three lines for toes at the front of the foot. Great job. Red is looking back over her tail.
To draw Red eating again draw the egg for her body. The triangle for her neck should be drawn below the three o’clock position on the pointy end of the egg. Then add the circle around the tip of the triangle. Next add the triangle for the beak so that the triangle is like the letter “V”. By drawing the shapes in this position her head is closer to the ground and her beak is pointing at the ground. Add her features and her eye. Her tail triangle should be drawn pointing more to nine o’clock than up as I drew it in the last demonstration. The “W” on the belly for the legs will be opened up and spread wider across the belly. The leg closest to the tail should be drawn straight, short and down. The leg closest to the front should be drawn down with a very short straight line and at the end of that line draw a diagonal line toward the beak. Now that the legs are drawn you should add the toes and wing.
Take another look at the photos, but this time look at the feathers and how they sit on the body or how the bigger feathers point to the end of the tail. Also look at the area around the chicken. What surrounds her, is she in the grass, is it daytime, are all of the leaves around her the same size and shape? These are all things I will begin adding to the drawings as I continue to draw. I will also begin adding other chickens, the coops and maybe even the cats that hang around. So, until the next time keep your pencil moving.