The thought process behind the ten second drawing by Jeff Harter 6.26.15
This is an exercise I often do for fun. These contour gesture drawings are quick and intuitive, but here is what's happening in the the 10 seconds that it took, combined with years of drawing practice, of course, to whip out this drawing: When I sketch from life, I try to capture the accurate and descriptive essence of a subject, while at the same time, do a caricature of the subject. Some drawings are more or less exaggerated than others. Rather than include shading, I focus on drawing the essential contour lines. I put them down confidently and with purpose in order to describe the form. You could compare it to a map... not every road is shown, just the ones that get you where you need to go. Same with writing a story, only the essential words and sentences should be used to move the story forward. Unlike a written story, where several rounds of editing may take place over time, and chunks of words and sentences pushed around, added or removed to end up with the perfect story (e.g. it took me over 30 minutes to write about this 10 second drawing), with these drawings I try to edit on the spot as I draw. Sometimes the lines are searching, but I don't erase those. This helps give the drawing additional energy. I don't do this for the sake of an energetic drawing, they just happen when I'm searching... maybe the perfect drawing for this exercise is to nail it the first time, with as few searching lines as possible. Another analogy: the essential lines that are put down in a drawing are like the bones of the human skeleton. Without the proper skeleton, the body either falls to the ground in a messy pile, or becomes too cumbersome to move. Same goes for a gesture drawing, a character design or a full blown illustration.