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Staff Pick Premiere: 9 Ways to Draw a Person

Jeffrey Bowers
July 11, 2018 by Jeffrey Bowers Staff

Step 1: Start with a circle. Draw a large circle and make a horizontal line below it for the chin …

Step 2: Draw guidelines on the face …

Step 3: Draw eyes in the right spot …

Step 4: Draw a proportionate nose …

Step 5: Add the eyebrows …

Step 6: Use a triangle shape to draw lips …

Step 7: Add the ears …

Step 8: Draw the hair …

Step 9: Throw away the drawing and start again in your own way. Or at least that’s what artist, animator, and filmmaker Sasha Svirsky calls for in this week’s playfully poignant Staff Pick Premiere, “9 Ways to Draw a Person.” Of course, there aren’t just nine ways to draw someone, but for Svirsky, the title and film are just starting points, or rather, “an invitation to free play in the drawing of a person, avoiding restrictions and rules.”

With a rhythmic and kinetic style, Svirksy addresses numerous ways to capture a person’s likeness through association, abstraction, and obfuscation. Drawing from the Dada art movement, he mixes abstract and figurative images into ever changing color schemes, designs and animated mediums (photo collage, ink paintings, and computer tablet drawings) in order to address the idea of Art in a spontaneous and imaginative way. Remaining true to the tenants of Dadaism, the film embraces irrationality, absurdity, and chaos over logic, realism, and reason. The film’s unknown narrator prompts the audience with something odd, yet visually concrete, like “You can draw a person like a bird,” but he quickly veers into the incongruous “draw a person how a bird might draw them,” before going full abstract with “draw a person how a bird would speak or how a bird chirps.” Many of the “ways” of drawing simply illustrate that there is no one or two or nine ways to draw, but that people in art can be constructed out of anything, in any way.

The making of the film itself was a form of improvisation, where each chapter of the film’s visual style came during the animation process. “I never do storyboards, I always improvise,” Svirksy says. “Once I wanted to make a film by the rules and did storyboards first, but after that I got bored and I did not do this film.” He taught himself animation after abandoning traditional Russian realism learned in college, because he wanted to push boundaries and experiment with his own artistic language. With over 15 short animations completed, including the Staff Picked Tanzonk and Ants Songs, Svirsky has developed a style all his own, by fusing intuitive design skills with social subtext. “9 Ways to Draw a Person” is a testament to all that he’s learned and a call to use one’s imagination.

Check out more of Vimeo’s Staff Pick Premieres here.

If you’re interested in premiering your short film as a Staff Pick Premiere, please check out vimeo.com/submit for more information.

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