Tag Archives: Preston Blair

Preston Blair inspired, number 14

4 Feb

I drew this tired puppy, based on Preston Blair’s book about animation drawing.

Preston Blair inspired, number 14

I also recorded a video of the drawing and posted it on the Internet.


Preston Blair inspired drawing, part 12

21 Jan

Well, inspired is a great word. Let’s say that I used the three-drawings tutorial to create a sloppy copy of the original (which was already a loose sketch).

Preston Blair inspired drawing, part 12

I did nothing with line value, really. Getting the shapes somewhat right is already hard enough.

Some Preston Blair inspired sketches

12 Jan

I watched Brandon Dayton demonstrate how to paint a character using Photoshop. It was great, but the thing was that he was live on his Ustream channel at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/whistling-cloud from 3 to 5 AM (my) local time. So this morning I got up at 10 AM after only 4.5 hours of sleep. This meant the drawing on my Ustream channel was full of crap. I didn’t bother to record, I just wanted to force myself to draw “something” today, even if my brain wasn’t awake. My live Ustream channel is at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/pencilcast The object was to do some Preston Blair inspired drawings.

I have to get a good night’s sleep and then I’ll be fine, not like I’m feeling right now.

Posted via email from Posterous of René van Belzen

Preston Blair inspired drawing, part 11

30 Dec

I think it is important if you try some of the drawings by Preston Blair, that you avoid copying directly from the illustration. Even if the result isn’t as stunning as the original, I think you learn most by using your drawing based on the original and try to make a new version that gives a better impression.

Preston Blair inspired drawing, part 11

The idea is to learn how volumes behave when in motion, and also how to construct a strong pose. For that, a notebook with preprinted baselines for writing is ideal. You can’t be precious about your art, because it is unusable for publication. This means it is about the process, the technical aspect of drawing, just the thing you want in a notebook.

Let the precious artwork be for sketchbooks, which seem to be used more for exposition than for exploratory sketches, rough drawings rather than sketches that show something about how the artist struggled with the subject.

I guess most people don’t want any awareness of that struggle, but rather see a finished work, or something that is on its way to become a finished work, that was created without effort. It strengthens the romantic view most have of artists, that of one who conjures up an image out of nowhere.

That is all.

Preston Blair inspired drawings, part 10

1 Dec

Rabbit are you watching me
Originally uploaded by HVargas

I tried some more drawings from Preston Blair’s excellent book about character animation drawing. I was curious how he had come to such a design, in general terms, of course.

Judging from the photo of this rabbit, he started with a cute animal template and grafted “rabbit” onto it. You would expect the other way around, but I think that wouldn’t work. I think Preston abstracted the general body plan of rabbit-like creatures, stylized it into a cute animal template, and then set to work incorporating features of the animal in question.

While we can never be sure what goes on in the back of the mind of an artist (who isn’t aware of it as well), we can try to reason how to recreate a certain style, and use it to build our own.

I’m not stating that I’m going to do that in this blog post, for it surely requires years of study to be able to discuss an artist’s style with some authority, but I’m going to make a few statements that should make it easier to develop your own style based on someone else’s style.

Preston Blair inspired drawings, part 10

So the drawing above are my attempts to recreate the drawings of Preston Blair in his book. Next, I found the photo of the rabbit you see in the beginning of this post. Using that, I tried to stylize the realistic rabbit in a more cartoony version (on the right of the realistic version).

The bottom two drawings are an attempt to stylize the rabbit even more (left) and to recreate the Preston Blair drawing with my new found knowledge about drawing rabbits. As you can see, there is more life in the bottom right rabbit than in both the top two drawings based on the illustrations in the Preston Blair book.

I think this is a very productive method. Rather than to copy drawings of an artist, try to understand his style, look to the reference of a real animal (or whatever was drawn by the artist), and try to stylize it so, it resembles the original drawings somewhat. Your observations of the real animal (real object) will be incorporated into your own stylized drawings.

In my opinion this has two advantages, you can develop your own style, avoiding any copyright infringement claims, but more importantly, you can vary your style, between pure iconic and pure realistic. I’m sure you could even go abstract as well, but I haven’t yet looked into that aspect of illustration.

That is all.

Preston Blair inspired, part 9

26 Nov

Some things in drawing are just hard, like going from a basic setup to a full-featured sketch. I guess that requires years of good training and not a few days of trampling around with his pencil by some person who thinks he can draw.

Preston Blair inspired, part 9

Well, at least the drawings are getting better. They are still replicas of the originals, though, and not originals themselves. The problem still is that I can’t imagine a 2D shape as a 3D form. Getting some kind of “wire frame” in my head seems impossible.

Who knows, maybe it is indeed impossible for me. That is worrisome, because I’m already having problems telling stories. What is there left to do for someone who wants to draw comics if he can’t tell original stories and can’t draw original art?

In case you were wondering where part 8 is, I’ve published that on twitpic.

That is all.

Preston Blair inspired drawings, part 7

25 Nov

While on the surface most of these faces look very much alike, in reality they are different, too different for my critical eye.

Preston Blair inspired drawings, part 7

I guess it is important to draw on model, especially in animation drawing. This is I think the third sheet of egg shaped smiling faces I did since my previous post. One could say, get on with it, just go to the next exercise. However, I think being able to draw consistently is an important distinction between drawing for leisure and drawing more seriously (or even professionally). I’ve got to figure out this “draw on model” thing.

One of the things I’m struggling with is the precise shape of the egg form. The best I can come up with is to start with putting light pencil markings where the top and bottom of the egg shape is, and where the widest points left and right are.

Again, this is not enough. You also have to imagine how the shape looks if it were a three dimensional form, a true egg, like you buy at the grocery store. After all, you want to draw the egg shape from all sides, and fill it with the features in correct perspective. Perhaps I should use a real egg and do some sketches from different angles to get a better feel for egg perspective. I could even imagine drawing a face on a hard boiled egg, and draw that as well on paper.

Wrapping my head around seeing flat images as three dimensional is hard. For instance, when I study my cat’s heads close up, I try to imagine how the head would look from a different angle. Then I check to see if I was right. Sadly, I’m mostly wrong at this point.

I can only hope something will “click” at some point and turn on the 3D-light.

That is all.