I’m trying to increase the amount of time I’m drawing. A few years ago, I was having problems drawing every day, but now that is what I’m doing. However, what I’m currently have to deal with is that once I get above an hour of serious drawing (drawing with intent), I get all stressed out and have a hard time sleeping at night.
While the mantra used to be “draw every day”, it now has become “draw most of your free time.” I suppose this will mean removing obstacles, both physically (sketchbook) and mentally (variation). If you draw more or less the same stuff all day, you can get bored and stressed out. Variety is the spice of life.
⇧ I tried this variety thing out yesterday, by doing a spoof on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Having a laugh trying to ridicule an established intellectual property is what can motivate you to be creative (mix and match).
⇧ One of my favorite web comics at the moment is Chippy & Loopus by John Sanford. He has a streaming show on Livestream now, where he shares his ideas about comics and anything else people in the chat are interested in. Anyway, his main character is a bunny with a potty mouth and incredible strength. His drawing style is very much influenced by animation, and especially Preston Blair.
⇧ Anyway, he inspired me to draw cartoon characters with simple designs, which I always loved (Asterix, Walter Melon, etc.) and since a bunny is fun to play with (and excellent to experiment with), why not draw that? Here I was trying to experiment with balance and energy in the pose. The experiment failed, which meant I learned something.
⇧ Applying what I had learned (and probably will need to learn over and over again, because I’m a slow learner) to fashion drawing proved to be a success. This sketch is much better than what I’ve been doing so far. While having the proportions right is important, having the right feel and energy in your drawing is much more important, even if the proportions are a bit off.
I think the simplified cartoon sketch can teach you a lot about more complicated sketching from life. You have more leeway and can experiment more without having it be “off-model.” On the other hand, the discipline of the life drawing will teach you to look carefully and trying to visually understand what you are looking at, to take in the whole figure as one mental image, instead of seeing parts.
Seeing parts is what we are used to do. This is important for both identifying and classifying people (who is it and what state is he or she in?). However, if you want to draw someone, you need to go beyond that initial assessment and quickly construct an image of the whole person and what he or she is doing right now. A few of those impression will lead to a general impression of the characteristics of that person, the energy, presence, dynamics, body shape and such things.
I think it’s an eternal learning process, which translates into work you do from imagination. If you want to or not, you will apply your impressions from the real world into your comics drawings. And the reverse seems to be true as well. What you learn from comics drawing you can apply to life drawing.
One thing leads to another…