Dinosaurs, Raccoons and Cats, Oh My!

I've been a little behind in my blog posts this year because I've been spending my time learning. In addition to reviewing some of my old Schoolism classes, I took on some new ones over at Skillshare. Some classes include designing patterns—one in Photoshop, the other in Illustrator. I'm still trying to decide which best fits my workflow but now I have more options. I always thought that some of my character designs might potentially work well either as patterns or standalone images on products. I'll let you be the judge! :)

Schoolism Gesture Drawing - Weeks 7 and 8

In Week 7 of Gesture Drawing with Alex Woo, we covered the final topic of the course which was story. The goal was to take everything we've learned thus far (the visual punctuation and grammar) and create a narrative from a sequence of the model's poses. It was okay to change a pose if necessary to help sell the story. I found this to be one of the toughest assignments of the course and, for the first set, ended up having to change parts of the remaining poses to suit the narrative I saw from the first pose.

In the second set, I drew in blue pencil and stayed within the 4-minute timeline but, to do so, had to keep most of the poses as they were. Because some of the poses did not feel natural to me and the arrangement felt bizarre so I found it very difficult to come up with anything other than golfing and the narrative felt weak as a result. 

Week 8 was a review and wrap-up. Our teacher also recounted some of his background and his journey as an artist. It was interesting to hear his story and to find some similarities in the art that inspired us, growing up. I've learned much from this course and glad I took it. It has certainly helped me get a little faster at drawing poses and coming up with narratives.

I am looking forward to my next course on Pictorial Composition with Nathan Fowkes, a veteran in the entertainment industry who has worked on a lot of my favourite Dreamworks films.

Schoolism - Gesture Drawing Week 6

Now that the My Beloved Monster comic is out of the way, I thought I'd get back to where I left off in my Gesture Drawing class. Week 6 was about Extrapolation. In gesture drawing, it is the process of seeing beyond the surface of what's in front of you and drawing out the idea behind the pose onto another physiology. Week 5's homework of studying the anatomy of an animal of our choosing got us ready for this.

For our first assignment, we were to select 10 of our favourite examples of extrapolation from either animated or live action films where the animals show emotions and mannerisms we can relate to. We had to be careful not to select poses where they were overly anthropomorphized. I chose some of my favourite animal characters from Disney and one from Sony Pictures. It kind of makes me want to watch these movies all over again. These characters are so memorable and enjoyable to watch. 

The second part of the homework assignment was to take the idea behind the model's pose and draw it using our chosen animal instead. 

Some of these poses were more challenging than others and took longer than I thought. After using some of these principles on my recent comic book with a cat character, it made me see the value in this exercise coming up with body language for the cat on my own.

 

 

Schoolism - Gesture Drawing Week 5

Week 5 was about using exaggeration to clearly communicate our ideas. We were to use the model's poses from the supplied video and come up with a story behind each pose and push it a little further to sell the idea. I found some were definitely more challenging to see as an everyday activity. I changed the figure slightly or added some elements in order to get my idea across better.

The second part of homework was to pick an animal and do two hours worth of drawing, focusing on understanding its anatomy because we would be using it for the following week's assignment.

Because I was unsatisfied with my initial drawings from memory, I did more research than was called for, some of which I've posted below. I did feel my drawings improved with the added study but I could still use some more practice. It took me a while to get to a point where I didn't completely hate my drawings of people so I didn't expect instant mastery of drawing animals. I would love nothing more than to rush this learning process and draw like a boss but until I can download this into my brain, Matrix-style, I will have to contend with learning the old-fashioned way: lots of observation and practice!

Lastly, we were to draw for an hour using exaggeration to capture the ideas/feelings we saw in a pose. I found a number of models from photo reference. I used them and pushed their expressions, added costumes, etc., much like the first assignment.

Inktober 2015

Every year artists all over the world take up the challenge to draw something each day in October using traditional inks and I decided to take up that challenge because I felt that I had become too used to inking and painting digitally. Digital is great because if you make a mistake, just hit undo. You can also experiment with a piece until the cows come home. Having said that there is still something special about the tactile feel of the pen or brush on paper, having happy accidents and—in a good way—achieving a less perfect outcome with a traditional approach.  

While I didn't succeed in posting every day (life and other priorities got in the way) I was proud of myself for posting something most days. I don't think it was difficult coming up with an idea each day; the difficulty lay in deciding which one to proceed with. Some were a bit too ambitious to bring to life in one day to my satisfaction so I decided I would revisit them later without the pressures of a time limit.

I'll admit that inking is not really my strong suit. I did take a class on inking a while back but, as with anything, to become proficient you need a lot of practice. I took this opportunity to experiment with Pitt pens, Micron pens, Copic brushes and brush and nib with Indian Ink.

Below is what I felt were my favourite ideas/pieces from this exercise. I hope you enjoy them. :)

Schoolism - Foundation Studies Course - Weeks 4 and 5

I know that I'm a little behind on this post due to some personal and client projects that came up but below are my 2 assignments for week 4 on 'Composition' with Thomas Fluharty.

I took a little longer on my second assignment for week 4 trying to get the lighting, poses and expressions right. For both assignments, we were given photos to use as reference and encouraged to include as many as possible using all the tools we learned from this course to create a pleasing composition.  For my first assignment, I used all 4 of the provided images (dog, cat, window and flowers). For my last assignment, I used 4 out of the 5 images because I felt that a park bench wasn't necessary to the story of daredevil dogs and it would end up being too busy for the shot. I was thinking that I may do a coloured version later and possibly make a print of it.

Week 5 was an overview of gesture drawing with a suggestion to continue studies by taking Alex Woo's class on gesture drawing. I wholeheartedly agree and have already switched to his class. It's a great tool to help you see things in a new way and to keep poses from looking stiff. I will be posting more on that soon.