Archive | August, 2010

Charging Bear

20 Aug

After a frustratingly failed warm-up sketch, I created this drawing on my iPad.

Growl!

Brushes on the iPad has a wonderful feature to record your drawing and export it as an action file. I used it to create this short video clip on YouTube.

I recorded this short Audioboo about why and how I made this drawing.


listen to it on Audioboo.fm

I was so pleased, that I printed it out and hung it on the wall.

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Pencilcast Ramblings: Episode 0015 – Quick Pose Sketches

19 Aug

I did six quick pose sketches in less than 22 minutes.

Warm-up, quick pose sketches

Here is the recording audio comment I made while drawing these.


play in new window

Trying to leave the comfort zone

16 Aug

There was the daily warm-up sketch, and I decided to go out of my comfort zone to learn something new. The goal was to draw faster and more efficient. I did that by concentrating on the underlying structure of the pose. This meant drawing a stick figure first and once I got that right, add features to it to give at an appearance of an anthropomorphized pig.

warm-up sketch

This method saved me 20 minutes (if not more) right out off the bat. Normally, I try to get the looks, the final appearance, right. However, this time around I tried to put off drawing a pig-like character as long as possible. In fact, it could have been any animal. However, at some point, I began to add more volume to the upper legs, to give it more porcinus look and feel. Pigs are known for their huge hams, so there.

While I was nearing completion, I erased most of the underlying structure, because all those lines had become a bit of a mess. Next time, I should draw with a lighter touch, so I can safe time not having to erase. Once I have the correct shape, I can emphasize that and leave the other stuff for a clean-up. I could even imagine using a colored pencil to do the roughs and the final version in black lead, so I can separate on color after scanning. The light-rough-and-emphasized-final method is my preferred method, though, because it is much more intuitive for me.

So did I learn something today? Heck, yeah, tons of new ideas on how to approach sketches. Also, that one of the differences between an amateurish and a professional look is how you approach the subject. While the amateur wants to have an immediate gratification from the get-go, the pro has the discipline to suppress this urge to impress to a later stage, and work on building a scaffold first, and not to dive right in like an amateur. Amateur art can be impressive. Pro art is impressive too, but it has the added bonus of consistency and speed.

In fact, it is the consistency and speed which enables an artist to earn a living from his or her art. If it takes too long to create anything, you won’t be able to produce enough work to pay your bills. I’m not yet proficient enough to take the plunge of asking money for my artwork, but I’m surely getter nearer to that point each time I try to do better than previous time, preferably in the same time or less.

Take care, folks! Thanks for reading.

Pencilcast Ramblings: Episode 0014 – Space Monkey fan art

15 Aug

While I was making this pencil sketch of Space Monkey, I recorded my voice (painfully) trying to describe what I was thinking at the time.

Space Monkey fan art - Blissfully Unaware

I know the recording probably doesn’t make much sense, but hey, it’s free to listen to.


play in new window

Warm-up sketch for August 14, 2010

14 Aug

This is today’s warm-up sketch.

Warm-up sketch

I did a brief recording while doing this sketch. The intention was to keep it under 5 minutes, but I went 2 minutes over that. The audio is very rough, although I tried to clean it up. Next time I’ll be using my headset to have a cleaner audio source.


play in new window

Dance pose

8 Aug

I fetched ye olde pencil and scribbled some lines that should give the impression of a dance pose. I tried to find the main energy line (red) first, then the secondary energy lines (cyan). After that, I gave the figure some volume, by indicating contour lines. The parts that should grab attention are colored yellow, while the more subdued base is colored gray.

Dance pose

I’m sure there still much to be improved, and my pose drawing skills are still “mechanical” (I draw from stills), but I feel I’m getting somewhere.

The next big leap would be to observe moving video and draw a quick pose from that. After that, live drawing, although that can be still months away from now. Progress is slow.

The issue at this moment is how to indicate parts of the human anatomy with as little detail as possible, but still very clear to the casual observer (who didn’t have to opportunity to study the subject as closely as the artist). I’m also struggling with the concept of energy. Is this the mechanical energy that is being spent in the body, or is it the psychological energy, the wow factor in the observer?

My guess the latter is meant, although I’m not quite sure. It could be it’s one of those proxies artists use to get a hold of reality. The proxy isn’t real, just a model of reality, a way of seeing underneath what your eyes receive, but which doesn’t necessarily reflect the physical reality of what is going on in the body. Just like lines are a handy tool for draftsmen. Lines aren’t real, but they indicate a vision, something which is abstracted from reality, and is easier to reproduce than reality itself. Such an abstraction can become the image, or is erased after the artist has completed the image.

Of course, I have a book on the subject of energy in poses, meant for animators, but the content didn’t ring a bell. I suppose that is both because I haven’t a good foundation in human anatomy (especially how to draw the outer appearance), nor in drawing quick poses. I simply lack the knowledge and experience to make this book “work” for me. I’m not yet ready to receive its teachings.

I’m looking forward to the time I’m ready, because the sketches in this book (“Force”, by Mattesi) are just stunning. I just don’t get the text that goes with the drawings, meaning I can’t create my own stunning sketches, based on the theory in the book.

The future is bright and sunny. At least, if I keep on the straight and narrow path of improvement and enlightenment.

Learning pose drawing

2 Aug

I know I still have a long, long way to go, but I will share the little I have learned so far anyway. I wanted to know how to draw shapes so that they appear more real, more like 3-dimensional shapes. After posting this in the Art & Story Supreme forums (only accessible for paying members), I got a clear answer back: learn how to draw the human shape, especially poses, more specifically the energy in a pose. I suppose it is this energy from the 3D world you want to capture in the 2D world, which a drawing actually is.

After some back and forth about the subject, I think I got an inkling of what I’m supposed to do. It’s about capturing the curves that convey the impression of the energy in a pose. I don’t claim I fully understand this concept, but I will try to explain it as well as I can. Mind you, it is a bit like describing how to ride a bicycle to someone who has never driven a bike in his or her life.

Looking for content on YouTube I found a suitable video, which I will be mining for the weeks to come. Because drawing from a running video is so hard, I decided to keep things simple, by pausing the video and trying to capture the energy of the pose in the still frame.

Dance pose one
Pose drawing one

The first curve I should be drawing is going from the leg that has weight on it to the highest point of the body frame (the shoulder opposite to the leg). Here I mistakingly used the line through the spine.

Dance pose two
Pose drawing two

The second attempt is better. There is an invisible line going from the girl’s left foot to her right shoulder. However, since her body has geometry, it follows the mass of her leg first. Only from the hips upward, the energy is more straight and can flow directly to the right shoulder, through the mass of the torso.

Thus was my reasoning, but look closely at the screenshot. Her weight is on her right foot and her right shoulder is the highest point on the torso. So this was a clear misinterpretation by the artist, who still has to learn how to interpret poses. The energy goes straight up from the hips, and not across the torso to the other side. This makes sense if the dancer is preparing for a body turn. In that case, the left side of her body should be relaxed, while the right side of the body will be tense, to serve as a rigid axis for rotation.

Dance pose three
Pose drawing three

The third attempt is much better. Because only one foot is touching the floor, the weight must be on that foot.

The secondary lines still puzzle me. They are important, because they indicate where the movement will be going. I suppose these lines are best studied in motion, so their placement and path become apparent. A still image can only give you the primary line for the pose. Of course, if you start out, like yours truly, capturing this primary line is already tough as it is.

Mind you, there is nothing fuzzy about drawing poses. There is an underlying logic, and understanding this logic will make you better at drawing poses (at least, that is what I’m  hoping).

The assignment, by the way, was not to think of a pose at all, but just to draw lines that best fit what you’re experiencing while watching movement. I hope I can soon reach that level of confidence, but right now, I’m still in the mechanical phase, where I need to think about what I’m doing. All who can remember the first time they rode a bike will know what I’m referring to. Falling on the ground, because you don’t yet get it, is all part of the process. Once you “get it”, it just requires practice to get better at it. Until that time comes, it will be uncomfortable and painful at times.