Gesture drawing is an important form of practice, but it’s easy to get trapped in it, telling yourself that there’s no point in moving on from the first thirty seconds of a drawing until you can get that part right.
There is a certain rationale to this. If you build a house, and the frame isn’t entirely square, you might not notice too much until you have to lay the kitchen tile. Then, all of a sudden, those triangular slivers you have to put in on one side stand out like a sore thumb.
If you can’t draw a good gesture, which is to say the most essential elements of a pose, carrying it onward to a higher level of detail will only make it look worse. But, the result of abandoning any attempt to produce more finished pieces leaves you with nothing to show, and nothing to talk about with anyone.
This is something I would call an antitruth. In contrast to a simple lie, an antitruth is a statement or a line of reasoning, based upon a limited set of facts, that points to a destructive or otherwise undesired conclusion. Antitruths can be produced without necessarily intending to be deceptive. We stumble upon them and they look convincing from a certain perspective, and only realize after the fact that we hate the results.
It may be factually true that when you try to produce finished work, there are fundamental structural problems. And, given that you already know this, anyone offering constructive criticism who is merely repeating this same fact, is not really telling you anything useful. Attempting to engage with people might therefore seem like a waste of time, but the result is that you try to hide in a black box, doing everything alone. It might seem reasonable to say that there’s no point in working for 5 hours on a piece when you saw problems after the first 5 minutes, but the consequence is that you learn no patience, and some of the skills that only really apply in the later stages of a piece are never practiced at all.
Another antitruth, is the idea that “we” (let’s say this could mean anyone who falls outside Hollywood’s ideological bubble and wants to compete with them) need to outperform Hollywood’s levels of production quality by setting extra-high standards on artistic talent. It seems conceptually sound in principle, but results in a double loss: would-be employers overlook opportunities on new talent; and aspiring artists are convinced to refrain from actively seeking work for a longer time, if at all.
This plays back into the problem with shutting yourself in a black box. Even we introverts need a little bit of human connection, and before you know it, you can find yourself in a social vacuum. That can be immensely demoralizing, which defeats the goal of trying to achieve professional skill as efficiently as possible. So, one thing I’ve been trying to work on here, is to produce a picture for every post from now on, and try to stick to updating at least three times a week, even if it’s a crude gesture drawing, just for the sake of continuing to show up.
I recommend Quickposes.com if you are interested in gesture drawing. The site gives you a variety of options for going through a slideshow of random human models, as well as animals, landscapes, and urban scenes– with or without a timer.