Friday, March 30, 2007

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain - Profiles from Master Artists

The next exercises from "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" were to copy profile portraits done by any of the master artists - one of a male and one by a female. I chose to copy "Simon George of Quocote" by Hans Holbein the Younger (1543) and "Study of a Young Woman in Profile" by Leonardo da Vinci (c. 1485-7).

After starting the S. George portrait, I started to wish I hadn't picked one with facial hair and the stylized hair that Holbein had done. Still, other than the moustache, I'm fairly happy with this one.

There's something about the forehead on the female portrait I did that I'm not happy with - I think it's too vertical. And the chin isn't quite right. I could've added more detail to this, but I again gave myself a lunch hour to complete this. My shading can't compare to Leonardo's, but if I'd had longer, I might've done a better job on this one.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain - Profile Drawing

At lunchtime today, I drew this portrait - one of the exercises in the book, "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain". Although the instructions indicated that a live model was supposed to be used, I didn't want to ask anyone to sit for me. Maybe one of these days I can work up the nerve to do that.

The book was very helpful in describing how to correctly place features on a person's face when drawing it - in the past, I'd just drawn features as I went along. I'm pretty happy with this one, considering it took about 45 minutes to do. A couple of minor complaints: again, I've cut made the drawing too large for the page and have cut off the back of the man's head; I used a 2B pencil, which I'd never done before, and ended up smudging the nose and mouth area a bit; I'm not too happy with the shading on the cheek and neck area, but I was hurrying to finish, and thought I'd leave it as is, since that was the end of that. Still, I'm happy with the likeness of this man, whoever he is.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Lesson One: Construction of the Head - Rodents

I actually like how most of these look, and I think the confidence I feel is starting to come through in the drawings. For the most part (except the first one), I think they match Preston Blair's drawings pretty well, but you can always see some differences.

Lesson One: Construction of the Head - Horizontal Egg Head

I think I did much better on the vertical egg head than this one. Trying to get the shape of the egg outline right when looking at the egg in 3/4 profile was tricky, and I don't think I did very well.

Lesson One: Construction of the Head - Elephant

This one was fun, because I liked the design of the elephant, and it was challenging to figure out how far his trunk and ears stuck out.

Lesson One: Construction of the Head - Bulldog

This one was hard. The dog's head has so many things that bulge out, like the jowls, the teeth, and the eyebrows, that made it difficult. I don't think I did so well with this one, and realized only on the later ones that the jowls should wrap around his head. It was also hard to picture what his ears would look like from below.

Lesson One: Construction of the Head - Barney Bear

At this point, I abandoned the graphite pencil, because I was much happier with the non-photo blue pencil drawings before I did the final outline in graphite. I thought it made them look much worse in general, and I think that from this point on, the drawings look better.

I found a model sheet on Goober Sleave and realized that this character was Barney Bear. I thought he looked familiar. If I'd seen these before doing my drawings, that might've helped me envision him better, but I guess I did OK. Still, I had a little trouble getting the shape of his head right, because I was starting to realize that even though these are all based on the vertical egg shape, they aren't exactly egg-shaped - Barney's head is certainly rounder than an egg.

Lesson One: Construction of the Head - Old Lady

This one was fun, but it was difficult mostly because I couldn't for the life of me figure out what the back of her head looked like. Was that hair on top of her head? A hat? A hair net? For some reason, I first pictured the hair on back of her head to be flat, then more curly in the later drawings. I also couldn't figure out what was up with her earrings - where did her ear end and where did the earring begin? And just how far out did her nose stick?

Lesson One: Construction of the Head - Moustache Man

Here's the first character to draw "in every position using the above egg as a guide". This to me seemed to be the most important part of this lesson. You are given a character and you have to envision it in 3-D. You need to know what the back of his head looks like, how his hat sits on his head, how far out his nose sticks, where his moustache separates from his face - it's hard! I had the most difficult time envisioning what the hat would look like from different angles. I even took a little hat and put it on one of my sons' toys to try to picture it.

Lesson One: Construction of the Head - The Egg

I'd never drawn an egg before. It took me several tries before I started to get the shape right - the first examples of the egg drawing I think are either too narrow or too fat. I'd never worked with construction lines before, but it really does help with the placement of features on the drawing.

Lesson One: Construction of the Head - Bear

I've never drawn animation-style characters before. Whenever I've drawn in the past, it's been more "realistic" stuff, like the Karloff sketches. And since I've never had any art training, I've never actually followed any principles like the ones Preston Blair describes. They sure make a lot of sense - they not only allow you to place features in the correct spots onto a head, but they also allow you to see what is a 2-dimensional character in 3-D terms.

It's taken me a while to get through this first lesson, but that's because I'm following John K's and Preston Blair's instructions quite literally. I intend to learn from this course, not just try out a couple of sketches. What surprises me is that I have found very few people doing these exercises actually follow the instructions on PAGE ONE of Preston Blair's book: "draw these heads in every position using the above egg as a guide". To me, this was one of the most challenging parts of this exercise. You have to take a drawing of a character and then imagine it in 3-D. This means that you need to envision it so that you can draw it from 10 different angles. So, from the initial drawing, you have to know things like what the moustache man's hat looks like from above, how far out his moustache goes, and where does it disconnect from his upper lip. You have to know what the old lady's nose looks like from above, below, and the side, and have an idea just what her crazy hair looks like from different angles. This stuff is hard, and I couldn't always get it right, but I tried.

Anyway, here is the first part - the bear.

It'd been a while since I'd actually drawn anything, and I could feel my confidence growing with each bear. The first ones are more sketchy and aren't very good, but by the end, I was starting to get the hang of it. I don't believe any of these exactly match Preston Blair's, but for me, this was a warm-up.

The other parts of this exercise are being posted separately.

ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive: Meta: The $100,000 Animation Drawing Course- Lesson 1

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Where to begin

I used to draw sometimes. I'm not an artist, just a guy who as a child thought he had the ability to draw things pretty well. I used to draw all the time. It wasn't until later, when I read "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" that I realized I had been "sighting" the things I was drawing just as Betty Edwards described in her book. Drawing for me was fun - I enjoyed the experience of drawing, and I usually liked how the final products came out. Here are a couple of examples I drew maybe 15 years ago, both of the late Boris Karloff:

For some reason, I've recently been thinking about drawing again, so I checked out "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" from the library (my copy got lost somewhere), and I've been doing the exercises on my lunch break. I've also been following John Kricfalusi's $100,000 Animation Drawing Course, not because I want to be an animator (according to John, I'm already too old anyway), but because it was one of my inspirations for picking up my pencil again. I really enjoy John K's lessons and the principles included in the Preston Blair book are really great.

I'll post my work as I go along. Hopefully there will be some improvement along the way.