Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Life drawing I has been a great learning experience for me. My drawings have benefited in several ways: I've gotten better control of the structure and proportions of the human body, I've renewed a looser drawing technique, and I've gotten a better variation in line wheight and value. The biggest gain for me has been learning all the parts of the body. Knowing the actual anatomy makes it a lot easier to use landmarks on the body and therefore get a more proportionate drawing. It brings a lot more life into the drawing when the pose is very natural and not awkward. One thing that helped me in that department was gesture drawing. It loosened up my drawings so much, and helped give the more lively pose/gesture to the drawing. Using a good variety in line weight and value brings a lot of life to the drawing as well. I had been in the habit of doing dark outlines in many of my drawings, but once I started adding lighter tones, it pushed the depth of the drawing a lot more.
All in all, Life Drawing has been a very favorable experience. The level of my drawings has increased much more than I would have expected. I can't wait to take Life Drawing II.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Well, it's that time of year again. The holiday seasons are upon us along with all the hustle and bustle. I did this Christmas card of my girlfriend and myself that'll be getting sent out pretty quick here. This was a pretty fun piece to do. I was hoping to get a Norman Rockwell, Christmas nostalgia feel. It's no Rockwell by any means, but I'm pretty happy with it. I haven't gotten a chance to do much coloring in photoshop this semester, which I dont mind too much. I normally prefer to color my drawings more traditionally with watercolors, but this drawing lent itself pretty well to the digital tools.
On a side note, after taking my first life drawing class, I have a much greater appreciation for the work of Norman Rockwell, and many other artists and illustrators. His ability to capture the candid moments, expressions, vitality, and life of his subjects was simply astounding. It comes as no surprise that Rockwell is by far the most successful and well respected illustrator in American history.
Monday, December 1, 2008
For whatever reason, I haven't been doing much sketching lately. I think it's been close to two weeks since I even opened my sketchbook. Most likely due to schoolwork, and Thanksgiving break and the like. But today I finally got to sit down for a bit and do a few. Each of the above took around 10-20 minutes. The first is of my little brother, then a Jack Black, Ben Stiller(s), and a George Lucas. I was pretty happy with all the likenesses. One thing about sketching, at least for me, is that I need to constantly be drawing, otherwise it takes a bit more to warm up and get into it. At times, doing so might feel more like a chore, but I find that once I force myself to sit down and do a sketch, it's harder to put the pencil/pen down than it was to start.
I encourage everyone to listen to this podcast by Stephen Silver on his philosophies about sketchbooks. http://silvertoons.com/silvertoons/podcasts/Artcast003.mp3 Stephen is an amazing character designer who is the lead character designer for Kim Possible, Clerks, and art director for Danny Phantom. He stresses the importance of sketching as a tool to better your drawing skills.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
It's been a while since summer ended, but I thought I would share some caricatures I drew out at Valleyfair. It was my second summer at the concession job, and I've seen a lot of improvement in my drawings, likenesses, exaggerations, and airbrushing. I suppose drawing for 10-12 hours a day all summer will do that. One of the things about drawing at an amusement park is that its very easy to get bored, and your drawings can become stagnant and generic. The best way for me to combat this is really pushing my exaggerations. When you really nail a customer, its a great feeling. A lot of the time, customers will have a preconception about what the drawing is going to look like ie. not making them hideous monstrosities. Most of the time they just want a cute drawing. Not only is that insanely boring, but it'll rarely turn out as a good caricature. If a customer sits down for me and they specifically ask to be drawn cute, or ask me not to go to town on their ears/guady teeth/lazy eye/ what have you, what I really hear is draw me as ugly as you can. That keeps the job real interesting. Getting drawings returned is not uncommon for caricature artists that really like to exaggerate. It's somewhat of a right of passage. Anyway, I took my camera to work one day to snap some pictures. These were a couple that I thought turned out pretty good. The bottom drawing is a self caricature that we hang at the booths. I'm not sure what inspired my 300 lb. figure, I think it was the funnel cake stand right next to our booth. BTW, if you can eat a whole funnel cake and not feel like death afterwards, you are my hero.
Monday, November 17, 2008
I always start to get ancy when im nearing the end of a sketchbook. Mostly I'm just looking forward to starting a new one. It's really nice to look through a recently filled up sketchbook and see all the little experiments, and improvements in the sketches. Also a good chance to see areas that still need improving. They are just sketches, but I think they do hold a lot of value/merit in the growth of an artist. Anyway, here's two sketches from the last couple of pages. The first is of Sean Connery. For being a somewhat handsome guy, he's got an easy face to caricature. The same goes for the second drawing of John Trevolta. A couple of my fellow caricature artists that are now employed out in California have switched from coloring with an airbrush to Prismacolor color stix. Theyre pretty much giant colored pencils without the wood around em. I haven't had a chance to try them yet, but I did these with regular prismacolor pencils. I've never done much with colored pencils so I was trying to slow down a bit on these and nail down some of the flesh tones. I guess I'm more or less happy with them, but theres a lot of room for improvements.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I've really enjoyed the blogging process. I think it's a great addition to a drawing class. Many of my coworkers/coleagues, and fellow artists have blogs that they update semi-regularly most notably Tom Richmond www.tomrichmond.com (my boss, and MAD Magazine illustrator extraordinaire) He blogs on all things art, illustration, and caricature. Once a week he'll post a sketch or two, as well as illustration jobs he's working on or recently finished. I also follow several cartoonist blogs that tend to post a single panel cartoon every day, or close to it. It's refreshing and inspirational to see new work everyday.
Apart from those other blogs, I've found our life drawing blogs to be a great outlet to share what us art students so diligently work on every day. We don't really get to look over or dissect each others work in class to a great degree, not to mention see students' work from other classes. We all together have a very large body of work, and its great to be able to see that work that we might not otherwise see.
That being said, I would like to see others post more of their work from outside this class. I would especially like to see their work from outside school altogether. That is the stuff that people tend to put a lot of themselves into thus making them stronger pieces as a whole. I have found several blog posts from my classmates that were quite interesting. I enjoyed Jennie Ekstrand's posts of ongoing shows and the like. It's nice to be in the know about things like that.
As for my own blog, I've kept pretty up to date on assigned posts as well as adding several extra posts of projects I've been working on or sketches I enjoyed etc. I haven't kept up on posting comments quite as well as I should have. But overall, I think I have portrayed myself clearly as the artist I am, and the art I create.
Now that we've covered the leg muscles, I'd have to say that the quadriceps, hamstrings, and adductors have been the most fun to build. The first of these that I built were the quadriceps. When It was just that muscle group, the femur seemed very bare and I kept wanting to add more volume to the quads. Then I added the adductors which again, didn't make much sense to me until more of the leg was put together. As soon as I started working on the hamstrings, things started taking shape. But it took a lot of faith for me to keep adding the long slender semimembranosus, semitendinosus, and biceps femoris. With the exception of the biceps femoris, I couldn't wrap my mind around the individual muscles thing lengthy look. I always thought of the hamstrings as big and massive. But once I got that whole muscle group together, it made a lot more sense, and my suspicions were put to rest. The anterior view still seemed very strange, but once again, when I added the sartorius muscle, it filled in the gaps(no pun intended). I had a complete thigh/upper leg.
I started to notice that my gluteus muscle group had a bit too much mass to it. I started to smush it down a little, but its still a little to big when you look at it from a front 3/4 view. With a little more trimming, the problem will be corrected.
The first drawing was one of our earlier long poses. Although some aspects of my drawings have improved a bit since, I think I captured the model pretty well in this drawing. The first thing I noticed was the pose of the model. I depicted the contrapasto stance naturally. The models weight seems to be situated on the right leg and the musculature and angles of the long axes reflect that. I also made a good attempt at adding a variety of line weights and values. At times the figure is a bit outlined, but I think with the lighter thinner lines contrasting it, it is less apparent. I added some value rendering to show the musculature. At this point we hadn't discussed the muscle groups of the posterior view, so I was just going on what I saw. For the most part, I think I got it spot on, but there are some inconsistencies.
The second drawing is one the later long poses. The model's pose in this one was pretty interesting. I had started off putting in with a fair amount of detail, the long axes, rib cage, pelvis etc. Then I began rendering the muscle groups that we've discussed. I had a good foreshortened view of the model's right thigh which was fun to draw. I think I needed to add some darker values on the inside of the thigh to make that more apparent, however, it turned out okay. I think I did a good job drawing the abdomen as well as the proportions between the abdomen and limbs. The head and neck are a little off from where they should be. Again I used a good variety in line weight and value. I think I could have lightened up the far left arm, but with the value I added to the muscles, it isnt too distracting.
The third drawing was another of our earlier poses. With this one I was really pleased with my depiction of the rib cage and pelvis. Although the pelvis was angled towards me, and the rib cage away, I messed up the proportions between the two a bit. Also, the model was leaning away from me and I made the torso a little too long for the pose. But never-the-less, I really enjoyed how the long axis of the spine turned out. I rather enjoyed rendering this drawing. I got a little too caught up with the rendering however, and consequently the gesture of the model suffered. But it was still a good chance to really examine the rib cage to the fullest.
Monday, November 10, 2008
I've noticed much improvement in my gesture drawings as the semester has progressed. One aspect that has I've fixed is that my early gesture drawings didn't show the long axes very well.(1) Also, they aren't very naturally situated. Just the way that I very jaggedly outlined parts of the figure make it feel stiff and rigid.(2) The outlines flatten the drawings. Even though they are quick gesture sketches, there is no sense of depth because of the uniform line weight and value.(3) None of the first three drawings correctly show any volume in the figure.(4) There are no rib cages or pelvises.
On my more recent, better drawings, most or all of the afore mentioned items have been corrected. In the 30 second pose(5) the rib cage is foreshortened and shows good depth. (6) I could have pushed the variety in the line weight and value to create more depth.(7)
The 60 second drawing(8) really captures the figures pose. I set up the long axes pretty well(9) but missed it in a spot here or there as well.(10) I think I used a good variety of line weight and value,(11) and that makes the drawing much more appealing. I think I did a good job placing the rib cage and pelvis.(12)
The 10 minute drawing(13) was done from the skeleton and I added some musculature. I really enjoyed this one. Again I used a good variety of line weight and value, as well as rendering some of the muscle groups.(14) Taking the time to do this drawing helped me to start concentrating on the long axes a bit more when drawing from the live model.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
It's nice that all the shenanigans of the election are done with, but I guess there's still plenty to cartoon about. Politics aside, I think I'm starting to hit my stride with my editorial cartoon style. I find that when I draw with pen and ink, its hard for me to loosen up. Many editorial cartoons are very sloppy, but its a controlled sloppiness thats very appealing. I think if an artist tries to force a style, it will be evident in their work. MAD Magazine artist Tom Richmond once told me that your style will just develop after many hundreds of thousands of drawings. So all I can do is keep pounding out drawings, and it'll come.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
I'm in the process of finishing up my latest sketchbook. Over the last year or so, I've been going through sketchbooks a lot quicker than I used to, and here's a couple sketches from the most recent.
There are some faces that some people just can't get a likeness on for whatever reason. For me, in my latest sketchbook, it's been Brett Favre(in the top picture) and Kelsey Grammar(bottom two pictures). I filled up several pages with sketches of each, and just couldn't get any decent results. It's very hard to put my pencil down after doing a crappy sketch, but after several attempts, frustration takes over, and some explicit phrases may be uttered before my sketchbook is closed for the day. I normally like to come back to these faces if I am still not satisfied(or not completely defeated), and give it a fresh eye. In some instances this will help, and others, not so much.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Here's a couple pen and ink doodles. I've worked as a caricature artist at Valleyfair in Shakopee MN the last two summers, and I've gotten an earful from many a customer about making them too fat, their nose too big, buck teeth, colossal ears, etc, and the list goes on. I did the first drawing after getting a drawing returned from a rather obese woman who had no reservations about telling me where I should stuff the drawing. But these very instances are a great learning experience. We as artists, or in whatever we are doing, have to be able to defend our work, and sound competent while doing so. But at the same time we have to be open to criticism. I definitely wont be taking advice from a visually illiterate carnival goer, but when someone has something of value to say, its important to listen.
Well, my caricature woes aside, I thought I'd do an Obama and McCain. Election day is coming up soon, and I hope everyone ready to exercise their democratic rights. As they say, vote early, vote often.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
The first image was an hour long pose. The last couple of poses that we have done, I have been trying to make a special effort to concentrate on the long axes. I spent the majority of the hour doing just that. After those were in rather loosely, I started drawing the individual bones. I found this to be a big help in rendering the muscles correctly. It makes it easier to see where they attatch and what not. Not to mention, I think my proportions have gotten better because of it. With about 15 minutes or so left, I started rendering some of the muscles. I didnt really have a good vantage point for a lot of the muscles that we've studied so far, but it wasnt hard to figure out and approximate the muscles that we havent learned.
The last drawing was a ten minutes pose from the skeleton. I found it very helpful to go from drawing the skeleton to the live model. I had all the long axes lengths, shapes, and angles in my head before starting the live model. I hope to do more sketches from a skeleton either in class or on my own. Anyway, I started to use a good variation in line weight and value, but I think I just went over some of the lines one to many times and it started to look to much like an outline. I tried to exaggerate the curves of the spine, and I think I did a good job without it getting too out of hand.