04 June, 2010

On Gestures and Character: Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci is one of the Renaissance artists who particularly fascinates me: Leonardo was both incredibly interested and open-minded about what he observed and reflective about his work. (I love the work of Albrecht Dürer for the same reason.)

To my understanding, both gesture (how a character moves,
the energy of a figure's movement or posture) and gestures (what a character does) are crucial to drawing for Animation. They say everything about character and story. I like to dip into a book of excerpts from Leonardo's prodigious notebooks.

Here is a quote from Leonardo Da Vinci on the subject:

'A picture or representation of human figures ought to be done in such a way that the spectator may easily recognise, by means of their attitudes, the purpose in their minds. Thus, if you have to represent a man of noble character, in the act of speaking, let his gestures by such as naturally accompany good words; and, in the same way, if you wish to represent a man of brutal nature, give him fierce movements; as with his arms flung out towards the listener, and his head and breast thrust forward beyond his feet, as if following the speaker's hands.'