Walt [Stanchfield] was a kind of Mark Twain for us at Disney. He always taught with humor and skill. You learned to see the world through his eyes. I remember him one day encouraging us to leap into our drawings with boldness and confidence, "Don't be afraid to make a mistake. We all have 10,000 bad drawings in us so the sooner you get them out the better!" Sitting in Walt's class was as much a psychology course as it was a drawing class. One couldn't help walk away with your mind and soul a little more open than when you entered.
Walt Stanchfield's Drawn To Life books have been an invaluable source of inspiration for me, re-igniting my love of drawing after a 20+ year hiatus. So it was a thrill and a privilege to be able to attend David Pimentel's gesture drawing workshop at this year's CTN. David, a story artist at Walt Disney Feature Animation, was one of Walt's students.
David encouraged us to try to capture the essence of each character's attitude and personality--to really try and bring their story to life. Like Walt used to say: "Draw verbs, not nouns. A noun is a thing that can be named; a verb is that thing given the breath of life."
It's been years since I've done any figure drawing from live models, so I was more than a little rusty. The models themselves were pretty awesome, beautifully setting the scene (a restaurant in France) while bringing lots of life to their characters--a lady of high society and her waiter. There was even some French music playing in the background for ambience.
Below are my sketches from the two-hour workshop. The first hour and a half was spent on quick one to two minute gesture drawings, followed by longer five minute poses in the final half hour. It's amazing how quickly the time flew by. I guess that old cliché about time flying by when you're having fun is absolutely true.