Friday, 26 June 2009

The King is Dead

I got into pop music way too late to have caught the Michael Jackson wave but he was a legend and touched so many lives. The world's reaction is a testament to his greatness.

For the first time I spent some time watching his videos on Youtube. I was watching a song called Beat It when it struck me how expressive and full of gesture his dancing style is.
We may exaggerate people's gestures to create more lively and expressive poses (which they often do in animation), but in Jackson 's case he is that exaggeration. His dancing is constantly pushing the limits... bending, stretching, twisting and turning.

I did a Google image search for "Michael Jackson gesture", and found Alex Woo, who has worked as a story artist on Wall-E. He taught a life drawing class back in 2008 where he used Jackson as an example for gesture drawing and camera awareness (link). He makes the point that Jackson is a master at positioning himself as to create the most striking and readable silhouette against the camera, and that artists shouldn't be afraid of manipulating poses to clarify the action.

Beat It on Youtube - (link)
Alex Woo - link
Michael Jackson gives some insight into gesture drawing - link

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