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

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