Thursday, 18 March 2010

This blog is dead here -- it lives on here:

Thursday, 26 February 2009

What I have been doing a lot of last week

Last week I signed up for a class on "object drawing" with the intent that this could help me draw voluminous things, I bought some play-doh and started making simple shapes, sticking them on each other and turning them around. Very much in the spirit of the first Preston Blair lesson where you draw on an egg and draw it from different angles.

I drew the simple, general shapes first, imagining the object in 3D, even drawing out the surfaces I didn't see

Also some some volume-feeling hatching

And some other ways

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Some of what I've done these last couple of weeks

I've not been doing all that much construction these last couple of weeks, though I've done some:


The inked one is from a drawing by Giuseppe Ferarro, by the way, I've been following his blog here:

Previously, I think my way of working has been to start out trying to draw one thing, not making it, but seeing mid process that I have the opportunity to draw something else that's nice and doing that.

That way, I can make some good looking drawings, but it's not that great if there's actually one specific thing that I know I need to draw. I don't think anyone ever gets to the point where they have full control and can just visualize something and then draw exactly that, and I don't think I would want that either (because of the creative possibilities of chance) – but I've realized that I do need to get closer.

To that end, I've started redrawing:

The grey lines are the original, as you can see, the second tries aren't perfect, but they're better, some of them a lot better.

Tried at one of the covers as well:
Looks like one of those first attempts above, doesn't it? That's because it is, I will make a second jab at this some time this week.

Finally, another charming character I've made:

Saturday, 31 January 2009

What I've done this week

I've ordered the book from the US, but it seems like it won't arrive until some time in March – I suppose I'll just have to use the stuff that's online for the rest of the 310 drawings and do 310 more when the book arrives. Maybe I'll draw some lions or dogs or something inbetween, god knows I'm not very good at drawing animals. Then again, I have been slacking this week, I'm at about 140 drawings now, I've been bad at keeping track of where I should be, but I know I haven't done ten a day :l

Speaking of animals, here are some:

Now for some facial expressions with Jerry:

I went through most of the expressions on that page, there were more than twenty of them, but they were all very basic. Facial expressions are certainly something I should work a lot on, and not just by doing faces in the mirror.

More T&J, this time to learn the concept of the line of action:

It's an amazing thing – I've been struggling with making my drawings lively, I never thought that construction could be the thing to do it. The line of action is a brilliant tool for just that. 

It's a hard thing to define – it often follows along the spine, but not always – it often goes from the head to the foot, but not always. I've only used it for copying so far, but I think the best way to use it is to a: draw it, b: measure up and mark off the proportions, c: use the proportion marks to  sketch in shapes to show the dimensions of whatever's on each end, d: draw the skellington, e: pears, blobs and spheres, f: ??? and finally g: profit!

Some "types" – the brute and the goof:

Like with the hands, I did get in a rut at a point, I used that to go revisit the basics:

And finally, some drawings of stuff that's outside the book:

So, that's what I've been drawing for the last week – or the best 25% or so, at least :)

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Getting started with Preston Blair

I've been doing some dabbling with it before, but I haven't sat myself down and decided to make a proper effort before now. The lessons can be found here, and I found them thanks to posts by John K, who also comments on the lessons.

Before really starting to construct the drawings in the book, I got myself a basic understanding of the principles and had a stab at bugs:

Amazingly, the drawing kind og looks like bugs and it's not as stiff as I'd expect it to be from the fact that it's constructed.

After copying some of the examples from the lessons I also tried making some of my own characters:

Not too original, but I'm happy with them – especially with the expression of the second one, which has some quite subtle qualities – some day I'll be able to do that kind of stuff on purpose.

The above aren't exact copies, but they aren't blundering failures either – I'll redo the worst ones once I'm through the lessons.

Speaking of blundering failures:

Seems I've made the exact same mistake everyone else has in not being aware enough of the line of action. There are also some proportion mistakes – poor Tom's arm looks like it's melting and his head isn't quite that small.

The funny thing is, that I didn't get the line of action too wrong (it's the green line running through his belly to his head) I just didn't follow it well enough.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Done with big hands project, updating blog

I got a tip on how to draw hands in this blog post, which I followed by drawing 620 hands in about a month.

Happily, my favorites are all among the last 300 or so, which I think means I've learned something. I've scanned some of them here.

The first one is just an example of an ugly hand, it's among the early ones, but not all the later ones are perfect either – I'll still need to practice much more in order to reach any kind of mastery. I'm done for now with doing 20 hands a day, though.

I think it was a great exercise, though – not only is it a great thing to brag about; it helped me learn to draw hands, it honed my observation skills and the handful of tutorials I followed online made me think more analytically about my drawing.

Musings after the images:

Your average drawing class will follow Betty Edward's theories that drawing is all about taking what's in front of you in through the eyes and throwing it through your hands, directly on to the paper without filtering it through too many concepts and categories. This is fine if all you want to do is draw stuff that's in front of you.

If you want to go beyond that, though – to caricatures, cartoons, comics or other creative and exploratory kinds of non-abstract drawing – well, Betty Edwards style drawing is good (or just plain obligatory) for beginners and for the more advanced it's good warmup and gymnastics for the mind, but you'll need to get analytical if you want to get beyond stick figures or south park style.

That means getting some intimate knowledge of anatomy, or trying exercises like using your hatching to define shape and volume rather than shading (like I've tried with that green hand), building stuff from geometric primitives (which is what most of the online hand-drawing tutorials suggest) and, of course, just being mindful of stuff around you. What colour is the light where you are? Could it be multiple colours, like yellow from your lamp and blue from outside? Is your skin the same colour all over? How do people's heads look when they turn their chin upwards? 

Good information can come from all kinds of places – sub surface scattering was what finally made skin in 3D CG movies look soft and alive, could the concept do the same  for you when you colour your drawings?

Anyway, I've decided to keep the tempo up, so my current project is doing 310 studies of different cartoon characters using Preston Blair's construction methods (kindly provided by ASIFA here)
– more on that tomorrow

Thursday, 14 August 2008