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Overlapping

Classically, we often start by mastering views we see. It's easier to represent a character or object through the side that's easiest to understand. Of course, this is too limited. A character or object moves in space, and rapidly we find ourselves with representations that are more difficult to master, particularly when what one draws is picked up in frontal representation. This is called "truncated".

To master all representations, and particularly the truncated ones, we must understand overlapping and the importance of having an "expressive" silhouette.

Let's take an easy example: 4 circles of similar size, side by side they seem to be on the same plane.

Now, let's make them overlap, so that we have the impression that some of them are on top of others.

Next, let's alter the proportions and allow the first to be bigger, the second a little smaller and so on, to the last.

From these 4 circles, I draw a truncated arm, each part partially conserving the overlapping of the circles we started from.

Let's observe this drawing, voluntarily purged of most of its internal details. The pose isn't particularly complicated, but it allows us to see easily how the overlapping enables us to understand the positioning of the elements of the body in relation to each other, thus making the pose credible.

The example following is more complex and eloquent. This time, the purified version is not enough in itself; the few superpositions remaining enable some indications of depth to be kept, but they are inadequate. We can clearly see in the final version that the drawing gains in understanding and expressivity once all the overlapping and details enable proper positioning in space of all the details of the body. All the same, we note in the refined version the work that has already been carried out on the silhouette to make the character more expressive.

You'll play to a greater or lesser degree with overlapping and silhouettes, depending on the style. Whatever the case, get to understand how a well mastered silhouette enables the eye to capture a character quickly. Have fun in working in silhouette, either directly or by refining a drawing that's already done and so arrive, as in the examples below, at creating characters solely through contour and silhouette.