Friday, September 30, 2011

Figure Drawing - Gesture Dump

Some gesture drawings done over the past week.  I opt not to ramble today and let the drawings speak for themselves (I should probably do that more often).

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Self Portrait Emotion Chart

I was brainstorming some ideas to take a different approach to self-portraits and came up with doing a mini-emotions chart of myself.  It's been much more challenging than I initially thought... not just because I'm trying to make each drawing consistently look like me, but also because I'm dealing with raw facial expression.  Even if I were to nail each drawing with perfect form and proportion, I feel the slightest hitch from the expression within the brow, lips, eyes, etc can cause a drastic impact and falter the intended emotion.

I think I struggled a little too much with these... which means I need to study my facial anatomy.

I'm not really digging the quality... will re-shoot later (the charcoal combined with pencil makes light bounce off in a chunky way when I take pictures... need to figure something out =_=).

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Visiting Ringling

This past weekend was one of the most surreal and amazing experiences in my life... I visited Ringling College of Art & Design and finally set foot on campus.  I first arrived right before meeting my good friend JoAnn (who is now a freshman) there in the evening, where I stood in the quiet courtyard with barely a person in sight.

It was like a damn dream.

I remember thinking to myself, "God... this is where Nick Pitera and Lindsey Olivares studied... this is where they drew in their college years."

As I mentioned, I am super fortunate to know some current students who are from the Chicago area, so I got to do more than just tour.  In a nutshell, JoAnn introduced me to some of her dorm-mates & fellow CA friends and Mike showed me a bunch of great artists to take inspiration from & took me to FEWS (the school's figure drawing club).  The new people I met were so nice that they let me shadow them in one of their classes.  I could go on and on into great detail about what else I felt and experienced just being on campus, but I've described it enough.

Gestures from FEWS

I also got a bit of a portfolio critique from the admissions office.  Now I didn't show them what I thought would be my final portfolio, but instead showed them nearly everything I've done in order to see which pieces they particularly lean towards and to pinpoint my recurring weaknesses.  They seemed to like some of my drawings and said I'm on the right track, but in order to really secure a spot, they want to see better compositions in my still lives and more environments around figures incorporated into my observational sketches.  I was thinking that "You're on the right track" is code for "You're showing us everything that we want to see in portfolios, but they're still not up to par."  JoAnn and her friends keep telling me that I'm fine though and to stop tweaking out, but I'm still definitely going to keep chipping away.  I feel like maybe my bad drawing habits are definitely a contributor, so it's also about tackling them head on.

Below is what would be, for the most part, my overall Ringling portfolio as of now with a few of notes from admissions here and there (I will probably add the FEWS gestures to it as well).  A good chunk of them are reposts, which is also because I didn't really add any sketchbook drawings just yet because it's been really tedious scanning/photographing them just right and it really kills my creative mood.

They said this had a nice contrast and render, but another still life with better composition would definitely help

Said to include this one.  Tis a keeper but would be better if I got those darn feet in.

Also said this was nice.  I figure this would be a good inclusion to help me stand out since I haven't seen many people include skeletal sculptures in their portfolios

Didn't get to show them this one for whatever reason, but there's always national portfolio day

I believe they said this is nice because it shows character exploration outside of the exiled submission subjects of anime, unicorns, and fantasy stuff.

Dragons?  Nope.  Check.

They said this one would be good to use since the sketch shows them I'm thinking about environments and layouts
I didn't get to show this one to them, but if environments are what I need, this should serve a a good enough stand-in for now.
They liked this self-portrait, but if I really want to make my portfolio stand out, I should do another one from a different angle.  Taking a photo for reference to get a more dynamic view they say is certainly acceptable.

Even though it was just a visit, being at Ringling was definitely one of the best experiences of my life... the memory is definitely something to help keep me motivated to get in and improve.  National Portfolio Day is coming up on October 23rd, so I have another set milestone to work towards.  Below are some more sketches from the trip, with more notes accompanied as well.

Trying to incorporate those environments to help tell a story.  Even though stuff like perspective isn't really accurate, it definitely makes the image more engaging than a page full of my gestures (as important as a practice as that is).

A new sketchbook exercise picked up at FEWs - make a bunch of small boxes and fill it in with a gesture to practice composition.  It's already helping my sketchbook look more like a visual diary, and I am definitely going to need to utilize this practice.

Gesture from the Figure Drawing Class I shadowed in
More Gestures from the class

Drawing at the terminal

JoAnn's roomate, Dionne

PS - I haven't really been updating that much recently because, as I mentioned before, it's been tedious documenting my work via scanner or camera accurately without using photoshop.  I've done a lot of sketches that I want to analyze and dissect my thought processes about, but it's been a real killer for my creative groove.  I will most likely end up making up for it by writing longer entries such as this one.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Bristol Renaissance Faire

Ma wanted to take my little sister and I to the Renaissance Faire for the labor day weekend and I couldn't think of anywhere more fun to sketch!  It was definitely some of the most fun I've had throughout the summer and am definitely stopping by again next year.  I wish my drawings looked good enough to just scan whole pages in and upload them, but I just took some of my better sketches and opted for a mashup instead.

Gesture of the Faire's exterior entrance done while waiting for tickets

"Why William, I do believe we are being immortalized!"

Ext. of the weapons shop.  I think I put in a little too much time and detail to really call it a gesture

Aaand this one needed a bit of digital tweaking since I drew so light and the scanner made things more difficult, but this will have to do for now.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Breaking old habits by starting new ones

I really enjoy drawing portraits - the face is the most visually distinguishable aspect of a person's identity (thus being one of the first things the viewer sees and reads) and it is one of the few things of the human body that I feel I can draw semi-accurately.  However, it is also the thing I feel I am most comfortable drawing - just look at my sketches throughout the summer and you will see most people I draw are depicted from the shoulders and above.  I need to break out of that comfort zone.

I've already done a few minor studies of everything but the feet over the summer, so I thought that would be a good starting point into unfamiliarity.  I tried to learn the foot's basic shape and visual idea from the analytical figure drawing blog I usually go to, but its flow and structure still felt incredibly unusual.  I decided I needed to delve into its bones since they're not only the structural basis, but all movement derives from them as well (as does everything else within the human body.)

Please forgive my scanner

Which brings me to my next conflict - gesture drawing.  I recently started reading Walt Stanchfield's Drawn to Life, which focuses on capturing the essence of the pose to tell a story.  Anatomy is still a crucial factor, but it seems like capturing correct proportions takes a back seat in order to better depict what you are trying to say with the pose - in other words: exaggeration (one of the 12 principles of animation).  This really clashes with what I'm learning as a fine artist in my Developing a Visual Vocabulary class (where we sculpt sacrums and other bones in order to truly understand form).  In addition, I'm not sure if I'm even doing gestures correctly.  I'll have to ask some of my old teachers their thoughts as well as the Ringling advisors when I visit the campus later this month.  However, the more I read, the more my instincts tell me that Walt Stanchfield's teachings on gestures are the bridge between character animation and what we learn as fine artists about the human body.

Some notes on the left page and gesture-ish chicken scratches on the right