Warmups are not uncommon in sports training. It is assumed that the body is not always ready to undertake rigorous physical workouts and needs to be toned to get into action. Why should we then assume that the body is ready to get into the act of sketching anytime? So, the first set of tasks are the warm ups to get the body in action. (In sports, one is expected to bring the pulse rate to a specific level before the workouts start. Unfortunately, we do not have such scientific equivalent measure for sketching.)
Body in Action
The idea is to make the entire body participate in the act of sketching. The tasks demand keeping the drawing hand perpendicular to the horizontal edge of the paper and the drawing board and move the hand from the shoulder joint. Move the entire body in the direction of the line being drawn and if the line is long, move the feet too.
Entire body participation during the act of sketching
The left hand is kept attached to the body at the back. Preferred posture is shown in the videos.
Body Posture during the act of sketching
The tasks require you to draw rapidly to fill the sheet, but later, focus on the sheet only occasionally.
The childhood practice of drawing is so strong that it is not easy to accept that one needs specific postures during learning of sketching. The learner is expected to stand in particular postures and move his body in specific ways. The experience has shown that for beginners, control on the posture and body movements helps in learning sketching. So, it is important to implement these movements and overcome childhood practices. To force this, we have proposed two ways,
1. To find a large surface to draw very large continuous lines, such as on a large white/black board. Since the span is larger than what the movement of the hand can cover, it forces the person to move his body.
Hand and body movement while drawing very large continuous lines on a blackboard
The learner needs to find a large surface to practice.
2. To occasionally sketch with the hand that is not normally used. The body automatically comes into action! (Right-handed will use the left hand and vice versa)Sketching with the hand not normally used
Feeling the body movement internally
Why should the whole body move along with the hand almost in the direction of the hand actions? Initially it looks contrived, but with practice the logic becomes clear.
First reason to move the entire body in sketching is to understand and feel the line path through internally monitoring the movement of specific body parts. So, while doing the exercises, force yourself to close your eyes (or look elsewhere) and draw predetermined line paths (small straight or sinuous curves, curve segments of fixed length, etc.) in different directions. With the eyes closed, the only way you can judge the correctness of these lines is by internally sensing the movements of your hand and body while drawing. Now guess what has gone wrong with the line and then open the eyes to check if the guess is correct.
Feeling the body movement internally - Guessing correctness of line paths while drawing without looking, then cross-checking
Second reason flows out of the first explanation. Movements of the body make the learner not depend on the visual feedback. Most beginners depend on continuous visual tracking to initiate correction.
Beginners depend on continuous visual tracking to initiate correction
You can dispense with continuous tracking of the line direction by eyes, if you learn to internally sense the direction through your body movement which, in a way, clones the movement of the pencil path. For instance, we can walk or move our hand straight even when we are blindfolded, by concentrating on internal monitoring of the ‘feel’ of the body movement. These tasks encourage understanding of the line path in sketching by internally monitoring the body movement using kinesthetic sense.
We rarely use this ability in sketching. Once you develop the internal feel of the line path, except for occasional glances at the other reference lines, the eyes could be focused elsewhere. [Refer video: Feeling the body movement internally - Guessing correctness of line paths while drawing without looking, then cross-checking]
You are now free to scan the sketches drawn so far (or even earlier) and react to them creatively.
Need for using music support
Warm ups encourage you to use background music. It is then possible to synchronize the body movement with the pace of the music. Musical tunes with change in pace prompt the learner to synchronize his/her body movements with the music while sketching. Also singing along is encouraged as it takes the mind away from sketching. So, selecting local popular and hummable tunes helps.