The Body Draws


Surveying physical and embodied contexts for drawing.


In exploring anatomical methods of drawing human bodies in space, I was struck by the simplification of using dots, lines and proportion to master the fundamentals of figure drawing. It was reminiscent of the act of vectorizing contexts in our familiar digital form of iconography.

It made me wonder, could I map out the intentions of a dancer’s improvisation by vectorizing the anatomical proportions of the body, and mapping them out in motion to explore embodied drawings?

Simplicity, as with vectorizing, has its wonderful benefits in a world with attention spans of less than 3 seconds. We look at the tensions between drawing in analog vs digital materials, the pros and cons of switching between tools and contexts to fulfill a variety of intents to get a message across. At the end of the day, drawing, whether simplistic vectors and lines or complex shapes and figures, all work effortlessly to communicate a message.

In The Hand (Chapter Five of Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman), he writes that after 2 weeks from birth, the HAND is ready for a lifetime of physical exploration. He shares about “prehension”, wherein the body anticipates and act in advance of sense data.

As an experiment, I took a 10 second video clip of myself improvising and tracked certain lines of the physical form to observe moving patterns.

Lines were determined based on Instructor Rachel Abram’s guidance on how to draw anatomical figures, specifically imagining horizontal lines across points on the shoulders, chest, hips, knees, ankles. I added a vertical guiding line from the head to the tail, to observe the interaction of balance within the movements.

the side hustle of 2015 – 2021

For 6 years, I dedicated my career to dance performance and creating movement for the stage, while exploring what design meant to me as an artist.
why it mattered

That gave me the time and space to breathe new life into my interdisciplinary arts-based research around the fluid categorization of identities in tangent with the self.