Not being able to sleep, I decided to write a quick post instead. Recently life’s been a completely unbalanced mix of work and more work. The fact that the work consists of making animals talk, creating a parody title sequence of Cowboy Bebop, and recreating a car crash moment frozen in time is entirely beside the point. The point is that I just got out of work a half hour ago, and have managed to skip most forms of improv and figure drawing for the last three weeks. It’s just not healthy going that long without doing what I draw my life force from.
With that said, I really do enjoy having an external deadline. It makes me much more productive than when I dream up my own arbitrary goals and assign funny “deadlines” to them. With others dependent, I actually need to finish, and I love that. While it might be killing me now, it’s making me stronger in the long run. At least I hope so. Here’s a couple of pictures, because what’s a blog post without? I don’t know what this page is, but it was in my sketchbook and now it’s on my blog. Waiting to head in to a film shoot for the talking animal project I’m working on. Most others called someone and figured out the address was wrong right away. I ended up hanging out there sketching, and losing track of time, eventually finding my way to where I was supposed to go from the start. Waiting for a live Q&A with Tarantino. 600 people in a private theater watching Inglorious Bastards followed by an interview with Tarantino for the price of nada? Worth the wait.
Have I mentioned my love of charcoal? It makes everything pop. 1-5 minute quickies. Pencil. Charcoal. On a bunch of these the model was wearing a mask. I wasn’t too lazy to draw the face, just too lazy to add in the mask. The contest with this 20 minute pose was to make it as busy as possible. This could have been busier. There were masks. I swear. I need to switch to charcoal full time when doing these, as I’m improving there, where with pencil I more or less stay with what’s safe. It’s a shame, as there’s so many places I need to push myself in. Movement, legs, proportions, expression, emotion, and weight to name a few.
I don’t know if having a bunch of drawings in a reel is a thing (as apposed to a portfolio) but I can’t imagine it hurts. Considering how little time it takes to put together, how could I resist not doing it? This is a first draft. The next one will probably have a different song, cut out some of the worse drawings, not zoom in so far on some of the others, and add in a bunch that weren’t in this one.
The song, for those interested, is by RJD2 and called “Smoke and Mirrors”
Regardless, I am learning the best formats to upload for youtube (640 x 360 at as uncompressed as possible.)
Final installment in this five minute sketches run. All of these are in charcoal and done stupid quick. I dare say, it shows. The bride/groom theme was explained in the last post, so I’m not going over it again. Ah, my classic horse face. I’m good at those. Despite the skewing, I liked this. Feels free. Still need so much work on hands. Also, has a very flat feel. I need a better feeling of volume in these. That’s largely due to my willy nilly way of throwing lines around.
You’d think I’d also post the good stuff…you’d be wrong. The most unique thing about this one was my attempt to get into the habit of signing my work. It’s a nice thought. The bride looked a bit too much like she did in the photograph. I dare say, not a good thing, but who am I to judge?
I’d love if this blog consisted of posts entirely like these last four. It’s not going to happen, and I’ll continue posting whatever I please, but I was very happy with these for 2 day’s worth of output.
So one of the reasons I was doing all of these sketches was to prep for a wedding I’d been hired to sketch at. I was very honored, and aware that I’d have no more then fifteen minutes to get a good drawing out. I needed to make sure I could do it. With that said, I decided to draw a bunch of wedding couples to see that I could capture the emotion, the likeness, and more then anything make sure to stop making female faces look too manly, and all faces less grimacing, a tendency I have. Also I was experimenting with using charcoal. There’s a bit less control, but the end result speaks for itself. It’s much more free.
Same face drawn twice. Not ecstatic with the second, but a whole lot better then the first. Struggling to get a grip on charcoal. More struggling with charcoal. Starting to get more of a feel for charcoal. Faces are a bit elongated, but I like it. One of the pieces I would have loved to have spent more time on. Starting to dig the charcoal. Ah…proportions… To be fair, the bride was not that great of a looker in the first place. With that said, it’s my job to fix that. I felt I really got the expression with this one. A bit dark, tried the technique of erasing out the parts I wanted from a sheet covered in charcoal. It was fun. Didn’t work out quite as expected, but not a complete loss.
This man could eat her head in a single bite with the size of his mouth. After doing all of these I got an itch to spend a nice long time on a single image. Something to look forward to in a future post. What? Full body? Not just shoulders and head? Pure madness. Pure madness A quick dip into ink. Charcoal. Charcoal. Pencil. Boo ya. I can do a likeness with the expression. Good times. I was happy with this one, even if it’s a prime example of me attempting a piece and taking no risks. At some point I’ll start focusing on not wasting a single line. One of the first charcoals I attempted. Decided I was getting sick of pencil around this piece. It turned out all right, it’s just pencil wasn’t forcing me to challenge myself with every stroke. Still need work with my quicky pen and inks.
Some more sketches done in an attempt to improve my speed at drawing. I went between drawing people I knew personally and famous people. Otherwise it was hard to tell if I got a likeness.
I was a really big fan of the drawing above. Those heads were a big breakthrough for me. To be fair, some of these pieces were closer to 15, rather then 5 minutes. On most of them I wanted to keep going, but the hardest part for me is getting those initial lines right, so spending time on detailing seems like a waste from a learning perspective. More to come in the next post.
I was curious how far I could get by limiting myself to no more then 5 minutes per figure. In order to sketch them out quickly, I could only rough in the most basic of gestures before refining. On most of them, I started with the nose to get the tilt and angle of the head, moved to the left eye, then the right, put in the hair and the mouth, and then shaped out the rest of the head structure. Once that was in place I loosely drew out the body, building the clothes on top. For the most part I didn’t get to the hands, and when I did, I didn’t have nearly enough time to spend on them.
There were three main points I tried to emphasize in doing these:
Their expression/emotion (which included getting the tilt)
Correct Proportions from one figure to the next
These are all skills I need to refine much more. In doing these I did some ink washes, some charcoal, mostly pencil and didn’t let myself get into color, as the two times I tried were a horrible disaster with the five minute time limit.
What I loved about this exercise is I ended up with roughly 80 drawings over the course of 2 and a half days, and I really could feel myself improving. Knowing that this is exactly the sort of schedule that any professional illustrator, comic artist, concept artist, or animator need to keep up on a daily basis makes me happy.
The best place to go online for a complete rundown on how to draw trees is Squidoo’s Tutorial on How to Draw Trees. It goes through the basic principles, the key artists to look at, and some books for further information.
Instead of repeating such a brilliant tutorial, what I have is a series of images to inspire and hopefully push you to up your game when drawing trees. At the end are some places to go for photo reference, as well as others’ tutorials littered throughout.
Here’s some inspiration of beautifully rendered trees that one up reality.
Most tree tutorials look like this simple tutorial on drawing trees, and while that might be enough for those first getting started, it’s not enough to understand their real beauty. It doesn’t capture the spirit of the tree.
short film, animation, Apparently this has been floating around on the blogosphere for about a week now. Amid from Animation Brew described it as an “Epic Mindtrip.” It was created at the Fame Festival in less then a week by David Ellis and Blu. Experimental animation at its very best.
For those in the Los Angeles area, Saturday night is the opening for the Terrible Yellow Eyes showing at Nucleus gallery. It’s a stunning collection of work, and I have no doubt the who’s who of the artist community will be showing up. I’ll be caught in the throws of Rosh Hashanah, but wish I could make it. The least I can do is pass the event on to everyone who can.