Archive | 11:06 pm

Bigger isn’t always better

21 Sep

We Europeans already knew that bigger isn’t necessarily better, and it really isn’t. This sketch started as a postage stamp size photo in a television guide and was blown up considerably as a sketch. This meant there was room for interpretation by the artist, but even better, there was little detail to get distracted by.

More caricature prep, part 11 (version 4)

Think about it. If you’re faced with a huge face, the temptation is great to draw every nook and cranny, and get lost in the details. If you either squint your eyes, or watch the photo at a large distance, you’re left with the outline and biggest features, the big picture.

So in a sense, to see big, you need to watch small. Or put in another way:

Think big, draw small.

I guess it also means that even if you know your skill isn’t good enough to draw something, that knowledge should never limit your imagination. Your imagination will often lead you to a good result, and on the long term improve your skill level (because you learn something by using your imagination and by applying it to something tangible, something in the real world).

A fuzzy, rough image is the spark that can fire your imagination, not because it is clear, but because it is not. On the other hand, you need clear images as references, to get things right. The roughs are to get you started, the reference material is to keep you going.

It also tells me something I hadn’t realized before. You watch with your eyes, but you see with your mind. It is what you know and have experienced in life that lets you see. The image coming from your retina is really not that high-def, but your brain, and because you live in a society, your mind (which is larger than your brain) makes you see it as such.

That is all.


Drawing is more like a marathon than a dash

21 Sep

When sketching one of the Gibb brothers, it dawned upon me that drawing is more like a long distance event (e.g. a marathon), and less like a sprint event (e.g. a 100 m dash). Again, I’ve set myself too high a goal, something which isn’t achievable at my current skill level.

more caricature prep, part 11 (version 3)

No, it’s not the drawing itself, but those 20 sketches in one day, “with some effort” (meaning, not done in a few minutes). Suppose each sketch would take me 30 minutes, then we are talking about drawing 5 hours straight. That isn’t asking much, it is asking the impossible. I would have cramps from drawing and run the risk of permanently injuring my wrists and shoulders.

Just as with running, you should build your “drawing muscles”, get used to long days of drawing. You don’t start with a 2 hour run, but rather with a 20 minutes run with lots of breaks for walking. The aim should always be on the long term.

So, I’m changing today’s assignment to a week assignment. This week I want to have at least 20 sketches done with a certain level of quality in them. By the end of the week I should be more ready to draw caricatures than I’m right now. I should have some notion of the proportions of the facial features, and recognize what makes each face so special. That skill is in my opinion a prerequisite for stylized drawing, be it caricature or cartoon drawing. If you know what makes an object tick, visually speaking, it is much easier to draw it.

I’m sure in a few months’ time, I will be quite amused by all this, because at that point, I’ll be making lots more drawings, or just as many, but technically much better.

Practice makes perfect, but you should never overdo it, because that takes the fun out of drawing. We can never have that. It should always be a somewhat enjoyable experience to draw.

That is all.

Today’s assignment

21 Sep

Today’s assignment is to do 20 sketches with some effort, based on photos in the media, either online or offline. I will only post a few of them, so I’m completely free to mess things up.

More caricature prep, part 11 (version 1)

Messing things up is important, because it’s at those times you stop and think why it went wrong. However, showing all your mistakes to others is not good for the soul. You’ve gotta have some room for privacy as an artist, as a springboard to get to the next level. I’m sure most artists have drawings they would never share with anyone, even (or perhaps, in case of autobiographical material, especially) their spouses or close friends.

Well, after I had written that and drawn my second sketch, I was so pleasantly surprised by the result, I had to share this with you. I like the expression in the face of this guitarist.

More caricature prep, part 11 (version 2)

That is all.

Drawing my cats, part 25

21 Sep

One of my cats was waiting for me to finish working on the Mac. So I decided to use her image to draw a cat. Mind you, she isn’t a black cat, but rather a calico cat (black, ginger and white).

Drawing my own cats, part 25

I used a brush pen, whiteout, and a Micron pen on a piece of thin copier paper, scanned and retouched it, and colored the scan in the GIMP.

That is all.