Monday, November 14, 2016

Teacher Caricatures

We are working on teacher caricatures. At this point we have mastered our teacher's likeness and have interviewed them to find out who they are, where they are from, and their likes. Our job is to make an entertaining drawing of how amazing these instructors are and what they do that makes them special. 

Tight sketch Critique on Friday, November 18th!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fear Factor

In order to gain success we have to push through our fears of failure. As an extended jumpstart we are to draw something we are afraid of. The reason is that as artists, we are creators, who are in control. Your fears can't  harm you if you are creating a controlled environment for them. You can even make them silly. 

The point is that students are being taught that many of the things we feared when we were small we no longer fear because we learned to gain control of those things in our lives. Such as, if you fear the dark, when you get older you simply turn on the light switch. The light switch we are using in our classes is our minds.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


The hand is one of the most complicated features to draw on the human body. However, the hand is essential to visual story telling. In addition, the mark of an experienced artist is often judged by how they use hands. Hands can seem scary, but they don't have to be.

I have heard the joke a million times, "I do art, but I can draw stick figures." My reply is if you can do stick figures... you can draw. We need to approach the hand as a stick figure drawing. Think of every joint as a circle and the bones connecting the joints as stick figure lines. 

Below is a sample of basic hand shapes and anatomy. 

Again keep thinking of the hand as basic stick figure shapes and lines. 
Male hands tend to be more angular. Think boxes. You should start with male hands because they are more forgiving in regards to making mistakes, and can be easier to draw initially. Start with trying to use the most basic shapes possible.

Note not all fingers are the same size. Look at your own hands. Always look at yourself for reference when you are trying to draw people. Notice that not all your fingers are the same size.

See how you can use stick figure drawing and basic shapes to help you create a complex image. Think of these lines as bones. Everything thing has an inside structure... and an outside structure. When you look at a house you see the outside not the support beams inside the walls. Without that support your house would collapse. So draw your supporting lines and create your "contour" walls around them,

See how the guidelines are used! Use them for yourself and will be surprised how much easier drawing will be and accurate.

The hand simplified. 

When you move your hand different position how does the anatomy react?  Think of Isaac Newton's 3rd law: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Look how the pads of the hands respond to the movement of the fingers.

Find shapes that are familiar to you to assist in your drawing. 

As fingers curve when they are extended they also do so when in a fist.

When drawing women's hands start with ovals or ellipses instead of blocks. Women's hand tend to be smaller and more nimble. 
Start with circles. Next connect rough contour lines over your stick figure lines. Lastly, refine your outline (contour.)

When grasping objects your fingers tend to overlap.

For more information...

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Composition: How do we piece our images together

Creating a good image doesn't have to be blind luck or mystical talent. Just as there are rules in science to explain solar system, such as gravity. there are rules to art that assist our visual universe. But before we get to the rules, let's talk about visual storytelling. Write what you think is happening in the picture below.

The story above could be scary, but it could also be hopeful. Someone could be trying to survive a flood, or they could be in the process of being rescued by a lifeguard. This is a matter of perspective. What is missing is context. How discover the context is by asking the journalistic questions...

Almost every news story answers these questions before going into detail so that the audience will have a clue of what is going on and why they should care. As an artist if you don't know the answers to these questions, then why would your audience care about your work?

Below is a picture by the illustrator Howard Pyle. Pirates never really had to walk the plank, but the were marooned, which is the title of this piece. What I would ask the viewer is how did Pyle use his placement of the Pirate to convey the feeling of forever alone?

When beginning your image you should ask these questions to help answer the journalistic questions for your image.  These questions will help you think about what elements should even be in your picture. time for the RULE OF THIRDS!!!

Rule of thirds: Note how the horizon falls close to the bottom grid line,
and how the dark areas are in the left third, the overexposed in the right third

Also, the rule of thirds helps us not put the horizon line dead center. A horizon line dead center will be boring and make your audience try to decide what is more important the sky or the city. No one really wants to do that so they just won't appreciate your image as much as they could. 

Great, I get the RULE OF THIRDS helps, but how does it work?

What if I don't use it? Then the picture belows happen. It is static, and used it's spacing poorly. The composition is bad because the focus is dead center so all the space around the seagull is unnecessary. 

However, there is hope! The rule of thirds can help you solve your problem. Use the grid to your advantage to place your seagull, and your image will come to life.

But what about the 3 bears? Well first we need to talk about hierarchies and focus. Hierarchies are what elements you decide are important for your viewers or audience to focus on. 

Chances are your story has more than one element. So we need to prioritize what is important. This will help you decide what to make the largest element in your picture and how to place it.  So we call the different sized elements the 3 bears to easily remember that size can emphasize order of importance. 

There is a trick to figuring out how to decide what is the Papa, Mama, and baby bears. Simply write a sentence. The first thing you write is usually the Papa bear and so on. Why we do this is that it puts the burden of problem solving on your subconscious versus sitting for hours trying to figure out placement. If the image isn't working simply rewrite the sentence.

Can we see the the Rule of Thirds in action? I thought you would never ask. Here is an image by legendary illustrator John Howe.

This is "Howe" he is using the Rule of Thirds and the Three Bears,

Monday, September 26, 2016

Animal Caricature

These are animal caricatures by Blair Bailie. Take particular notice with how he is incorporating human characteristics into his animal illustrations. How are you doing it?

Our final projects are due Monday, October 3rd. Remember gesture is critical to this assignment!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Gestural Thumbnails!

We are working on animal caricatures. Part of the development process is developing thumbnail drawings. Artist, Peter De Seve, has published extensively his process work. His examples give good instruction on how we should proceed on our approach for animal caricatures.

Every picture that looks like this has a start from somewhere. This image was built from thumbnails many concepts. Here is an example that helped De Seve get to his final illustration, but has an idea he didn't ultimately use. 

Thumbnail drawings are about exploration. Allowing yourself to make mistakes and make discoveries. What doesn't work can be as informative as what does work. It is through this process that we artists have those eureka moments like a scientist discovering something new. 

I want at least 10 thumbnails for us to explore with and examine for possible outcomes. However, it may take many more to make something worthwhile. You will know when you are on to something great because you will find yourself emotionally responding to it. 
As you explore a character and how it develops, ask yourself these three questions...
  1. How do you relate to this character? 
  2. What is this character supposed to be for the audience? 
  3. How does this character relate back to what you are trying to say?