Archive | June, 2011

One thing leads to another

24 Jun

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.

GMNT - 2011/06/24

⇧ 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).

rabbit 1 - 2011/06/24

⇧ 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.

Cartoon rabbit 2 - 2011/06/24

⇧ 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.

Clothed figure sketch 28 - 2011/06/24

⇧ 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…

Going extreme

20 Jun

It is said you should push your design, but few say how to do it. I’m curious, so I tried the method of overlaying a sheet of paper on a design to use for a next design. I’m not sure if it’s the best method, but it is a method that seems to work.

Too extreme? 2011/06/20

⇧ This guy with an afro popped out of my head, but was it as extreme as I thought it was?

Extremer 2011/06/20

⇧ I put a piece of paper on top of the previous drawing and made it more extreme. Surely, this is as far as I could go, isn’t it?

Yet extremer 2011/06/20

⇧ While I had already fattened the original guy with an afro up, but I could go more extreme yet. This guy is overflowing with fat tissue.

This was a fun exercise!


18 Jun
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More figure drawing

12 Jun

Here is a figure sketch based on a fashion photo, in which I tried to draw in two steps, a design phase for the overall structure of the figure and a refinement phase, in which I concentrate more on the details.

Clothed figure sketch 15 2011/06/12

It’s still a rough sketch, made in 20 minutes, but I think you can see I’ve done a few dozen sketches (short, 7 minutes long each). The drawing looks more considered, more thought-through. There’s still room for improvement, quite a bit, actually, as there always is. Still, I think I captured the idea of the pose.

I will be doing more of these brief sketches, to develop a feel for proportions. Of course, the drawing above isn’t very well suited for that, because the figure isn’t standing upright, so it’s harder to check the proportions.

One could argue why not do unclothed figure sketches? I’m surely want to do those too, but good (non-pornographic) images are less frequent than good fashion photos on the Internet. Also, it’s much easier to ask someone to pose for me with her or his clothed on than without, in real life I mean. Typical clothed figure rates are 10 euros per hour (if I go by the rates my local community college uses). My guess is that nude models are much more expensive, but I could be wrong.

I’m still not confident enough to hire models, though, so for now I’m trying to improve my skills by using photos and short candid pose sketches (people in public spaces). Alas, the rates for the figure sketching course at my local community college has gone up this year (now 16 euros per 2 hour lesson, excluding modeling costs), so I’m unable to attend those, as I had planned.

Figure drawing

6 Jun

I decided to start drawing figures based on fashion photos. This is to learn the ideal proportions of the adult human being. As my guide I use the book by late Barbara Bradley, Drawing People; How To Portray The Clothed Figure.

Clothed figure sketch 1 (2011-06-06)

The ideal figure is eight heads high and can be used to compare people’s proportions with. I’m trying to learn this ideal figure by using fashion photos as reference. As a bonus I get to learn something about fashion, of which I know little.

Clothed figure sketch 2 (2011/06/06)

Drawing people is hard enough, so if I pick a subject, I’d better choose something I enjoy drawing, like pretty girls. This drawing is based on a fashion photo. This girl was a bit of a problem, because she has a more complicated pose and her clothing obscures the lines of her body.

Three important parts of the body are the head, chest and hips. In most (natural) poses most of the weight is on one of the legs (here her left leg). This weight-bearing leg is roughly underneath the chin. Furthermore, the groin is at the halfway point between the heels and the top of the head. So it makes sense to put the chin and heel of the weight-bearing leg on a vertical line and determine how far to the right or left the groin is. You then need to determine the angles of the head, chest and hips.

You would think it would help to draw a “through-line” that indicates the pose of the figure. However, I found that you first need to learn how the body works by drawing. Once you have a basic understanding, I suppose you can abstract that knowledge by drawing that through-line. At the moment, I’m still trying to understand.

Clothed figure sketch 3 2011/06/06

In this sketch I saw the limitation of my drawing method. Somehow I need to imagine the pose myself, perhaps even stand in front of a mirror. The way I’ve done it here is too mechanical, too much trying to copy from the original.

Clothed figure sketch 4 2011/06/06

In this sketch I have added more thought and planning. I didn’t stand in front of a mirror, but I imagined how the general pose was (through-line), and how the hips were thrust forward, slightly slanted to her right. She clearly wasn’t 8 heads high, so I had fudge the pose a lot to make it fit the ideal proportions.

I see an improvement, compared to the previous sketches, like I’m getting the hang of it. A few more of these improvements and I can get on in the book by Barbara Bradley.

If you want to see how a more experienced artist does this kind of drawing, I invite you to watch Leilani Joy on YouTube.