Friday, October 17, 2008

Whew! Man, it's been pretty crazy for the last couple of weeks, but things are finally settling down. I did lots and lots of drawing, but unfortunately I can't post most of it, due to it being work for a client. Poo.

However, there are a few things I can post. First, a random doodle.

Sadly, all the work I did ate up the rest of my awesome Faber-Castell pencils, which I couldn't seem to find at any art store... Meaning I had to resort to some pretty terrible H lead pencils I had laying around. So, I apologize for the quality of the following images... I had to use Levels in Photoshop just to get the pencil lines to show up in the scans!

Fortunately, I found out that sells my beloved pencils for cheap! I'll probably order some today... It'll feel so good to have a decent B2 pencil in my hand again.

Last week, I sat down and watched the movie Clue, and made an attempt to caricaturize/cartoonify Tim Curry. He is extremely hard to get down right! Apparently I'm not the only one to think so; I did an Internet search for Tim Curry caricatures, and the few I found were... Well... Not very Curry-ish.

I didn't do so hot myself, though I think there were a couple of attempts on the second image that were starting to get there.

Something I've been raving about for the last month or so is the French animated film "Les Triplettes de Belleville." Seriously. It is SO awesome. Excellent art, amazing character animation, unusual but touching story, and some great humor.

However, I was frustrated to learn that the American DVD release of "The Triplets of Belleville" doesn't have the original French audio. In fact, they removed the French audio in order to put a Spanish audio track (WTF? Honestly?) In addition, the American release lacks all the extras that are in the original French AND Canadian DVD release (which has much nicer packaging, to boot.)

Lucky for me, I have a good friend that lives in Quebec, who was nice enough to take time out of his extremely busy schedule to track down and ship me a copy of the Canadian release. As an extra sign of thanks, I've decided to do an illustration for him based on the film (he has a six-figure job. Giving him more money as additional thanks seemed a bit frivolous.)

In order to complete this little personal project, I've been doing a character study of Champion to figure out his proportions (particularly of his face), and sketching some thumbnail ideas for the illustration.

Finally, I doodled up some ideas of a Mime character in a short I'm working on. One of these days, I'll finally hit a design I like.

Head & Shoulders

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Whew! Sorry for the lack of an update yesterday, things got pretty crazy! I went to a dinner party with a bunch of ol' pals from the Art Institute, and had a wonderful time catching up with everybody.

Also, I called about a freelance illustration opportunity. I just might get the job! Just have to hope I can impress him with my "skillz." It's a really, really cool project, and I'm VERY excited about possibly being a part of it. However, because the next few days will be spent taking on the "test," in which I have to draw some copyrighted characters, there probably won't be any updates here for a couple of days (though I will try very hard to squeeze some studies inbetween the work.)

Anyway! Yesterday, I studied the neck and shoulders, along with some of the upper body.

Something else I did was a fun little exercise... Basically, you draw random shapes, and then triy to make something out of it, sticking to the original shape as much as possible. Because of my current studies, I stuck mostly to heads alone.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Whew, okay... No anatomy studies tonight... For some reason, doing two paintings has just wiped out my brain and eyeballs.

Here's the second painting for today. The color unification sucks, which is somewhat irritating because I tried carefully picking out the pallet. I must not have an eye for color at all. Bleh.

I got super lazy with the clothing, but one thing I like is that the structure/volume of the face holds up reasonable well even at a distance.


One day, I shall be a great painter.

Today is not that day.

... Tomorrow probably won't be, either.

Not a quick paint, though that's what I'd originally intended it to be. I didn't keep track of the time, but I'm sure the amount of time I took to do this is embarrassing.

Not-So-Quick Paint

So, I set out to do a quick paint earlier tonight, and made a really poor choice of photographs to reference. Why was it a poor choice, you ask? The lighting was outside on a cloudy day, meaning that the lighting was all over the place. Grah. Anyway, it ended up being a not-so-quick paint.

Can't say that I'm particularly impressed with it, but I feel like finishing it for some reason or another.

Here's a WIP.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Okay, so I got a wee bit off task today while looking for neck anatomy reference on the Internet (curse you, intarwebs!) But! I still got some neck studies done. Today's thanks goes to Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing from Life. I'll continue studying the neck tomorrow, with the addition of the shoulders. The neck ended up being much more intimidating than I expected.

Also today, I cooked up a (rather poor) explanation of my technique for drawing ears. I might take the time in the future to make a more in-depth example... If I can just help one person not have to go through the "AAAUUUGH!" of trying to figure out ears from scratch, I will be happy.

Lend Me Your Ears!

Man! Ears are so incredibly intricate and amazing! Not to mention that ears can be so different from person to person. I understand now that a lot of the reason why I can't find a good "system" for drawing ears is because it'd be darn near impossible to make one; you'd have to change it for nearly every ear!

I decided that, while I was at it, I should incorporate everything else I've learned thus far into my drawings... By drawing the head and face as well. I got the chance to draw a couple of children's heads, which is good, because childhood proportions are way, way different from adult proportions.

While looking in my photo collection for ears (people have a bad tendency to cover them with hair, blargh), I found an interesting fellow with a wonderfully crooked face. I decided to go all-out on him.

If you look really closely, lots of people have crooked faces, or at the very least, crooked noses (I know I do!) Most trained artists also know that actual symmetry in the face is rarely achieved in life. I think perhaps as we age, these nuances become more and more apparent, possibly because structures underneath the skin are no longer padded and smoothed over by full, youthful flesh.

After the drawings above, I felt I had grasped the anatomy of the ear well enough to try a system... It actually worked out pretty well!

I'll find some time tomorrow to explain the system and draw a "how to" of sorts. However, I will note that it will only work if you already understand the anatomy of the ear to a certain extent. It is not a substitute for study of the ear in life!

(By the way, if you're wondering where I got the above and below views of the ear... The answer is I didn't have any. I also couldn't make use of a mirror for those particular angles, so I had to go by touch alone. My right ear has been fondled more times tonight than I care to mention.)

Also, I didn't get a quick paint done tonight (boo!) I'll have to make sure I do two tomorrow to make up for it.

Studies of the Face

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

For the last few days I've been studying the structures of the face, rather than doing quick paints. I believe today I'll start doing both anatomical studies and a quick paint. Every day.

In fact, I'm trying to set up a plan/schedule for my studies. I'm starting with the face and head, and will then continue to the various limbs and section of the body. The goal is to study the entire human body in detail, to where I know what muscles/ligaments/bones are where, and how they move.

A few days ago, I studied noses. I looked up a few references for the planes of the nose, and tried using them a couple of times. They didn't turn out very well, and I imagine you can probably pick them out from the rest (hint: they're towards the center of the page.) I decided it would be better to deconstruct some noses from the many pictures of people I have at my disposal. Not surprisingly, my understanding solidified quite a bit by using this technique. I've still got a long way to go, but I'm getting there.

Three days ago, I studied eyes.

I got carried away with one and ended up doing a whole face (and yes, that guy's brow really does stick out that much. Cool, huh?)

Two days ago, I studied the mouth. I found the mouth to be a bit frustrating, because I was having a hard time picking out the basic structure of the lips. I ended up looking around for some clues into the situation, and found some great help in a Loomis book, in which he describes the lips as five small masses (three on top, two on bottom). I'll see if I can't post an example later.

And yesterday, I studied the head as a whole. This ended up being a real struggle for me, as I had a hard time finding a system that allowed me to draw the head from any angle and gave me consistent results. I ended up using a mixture of Loomis, How to Draw the Marvel Way and an online tutorial by Ron Lemen. I'm showing all the pages, so hopefully there's a noticeable progression. The sketchbook is about learning, not making pretty pictures.

Today, I think I'll study the ears.

And so, she began her epic journey to become... an artist.

I've been wanting to take serious measures to improve my art skills for some time now. Unfortunately, due to the pressures of a large student project, portfolio, and finding a job, I never really found the time to spend on self-improvement (heck, I was lucky to get 5 hours of sleep and two meals a day.)

However, last week I was temporarily "let go" from my job while we awaited word from the client of the project I was working on. "Well," I thought to myself, "what do I do now?"

During the previous weekend, my father and I went to the Kimball art museum in Dallas to see the Impressionists exhibition. I marveled at the use of color. So deeply I wished to master this element of art, to truly understand the futility of the color peach when painting a human subject, or green when painting the grass. My first couple of days were spent solely looking for photographic reference of anything and everything, with a particular focus on landscapes (during different seasons and different times of day), and people of various skin types.

The first night I attempted a quick paint, I used Photoshop, and kept my time to an hour or less. I made two attempts on the same photo, and was deeply dissatisfied with both.

I found that I struggled a great deal with Photoshop's brushes. I wanted something that felt more like using real medium. Trying to get anything to blend in Photoshop was a real chore for me. Apparently, there are ways to make custom brushes in Photoshop that act more like real medium brushes, but it requires a lot of fiddling. I'll have to try making some later.

The next night, a made another attempt, this time in Painter. I was much, much happier with my results. I felt much more like I was practicing in art than struggling with a program. I wasn't quite as happy with the next attempt, but never the less, I DID feel I was coming to a better understanding of color in human skin and hair.