Robert L. Peters

21 June 2011

Drawing dance…

Vancouver, BC

Keith Martin is a remarkably talented designer and illustrator. I know him through the GDC (Society of Graphic Designers of Canada), our country’s national professional association, as well as from award-shows in which his work appears (including some of the most beautiful stamps every created for Canada Post). Keith is also known to those in our field as an outstanding teacher, and a helpful mentor.

Today he posted a link to the GDC Listserv (an ongoing conversation among Canadian designers that’s been going for over a decade now) along with some helpful advice regarding “keeping life in vector drawings.” I was blown away by the examples of his work that he pointed to in a Flickr set (here) and felt this was just too good not to share. (Hope you’re OK with that, Keith). (-:

Here’s how he described what you see above: “I think it is quite common for thumbnails to loose their energy/life when translated to vector. One way I have found to break out of that is to use a drawing tablet. I keep “drawing” the gesture repeatedly very quickly and then use the bits that work out. If you have never used one there is a bit of a learning curve, but I have found it to be an indispensable tool. Drawing with it (a tablet and stylus) using pressure sensitivity is a great way to capture that energy… here are some examples of my fluid vector work.”

“When I was doing these drawings I built a friendship with Kathryn Ricketts, the owner, dancer, choreographer of the dance school where I did these drawings. She was doing a series of performances where she improvised a dance performance with other art types (singers, musicians, poets,etc). What she created on stage was a conversation between herself and the other person through both artist’s disciplines. So I ended up doing a number of these with her where I was on stage with my laptop and a digital projector and I literally drew on her and the stage around her as she improvised dance movement from my drawings. Between us we had some interesting conversations without a word being spoken. We did this all over Vancouver, notably at the Chan Centre, the Vancouver Centre for Dance, and we even did a couple of the Fuse nights at the VAG (Vancouver Art Gallery).”

Images: part of a series of gestural sketches by Keith Martin of dancers in situ, done while watching dance students practice their craft. “These are quick 1 to 2 minute sketches using a stylus and tablet with a laptop, with the drawing program Adobe Illustrator.” All sketches were done at the Roundhouse Community Centre in Vancouver, Canada as part of the Salon Series, all are © Keith Martin, 2010.

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