Sunday, 28 April 2013


A good start to the new term this week. I noticed some positive developments with some of you. Jake and Paul , the muscle definition in your figure drawing has improved. Good work.
However, I notice some of the old  habits creeping back in with  most of you, so I think another intense figure drawing session is in order.
Hellen and Abdulrahman, as first time students, I think your first drawings were actually very good. I picked up on your self doubt and frustration in the limitations of your current level of ability, but trust me, it WAS a very good start.

I think what will help not just Hellen and Abdulrahman, but all of you, is to practice loose, sketchy (scribbly , even) figure drawing  and try to caption form and movement. 
Below, is a sheet of loose sketches. The sketches are all various sizes, some complete and some full figure, but all that matters is that the figures have proportion and balance. 
 These were  drawn on an A4 sheet of paper. The sketches are quite small which means you can cram loads of drawings onto a sheet. Don't confuse this exercise with creating  nice pieces that you are going to hang on your wall, these are purely  a training exercise, in the same way an athlete will work out in the gym or test their technique on the track or court. This is how you perfect your drawing skills. And , hopefully, it should be fun doing it too.
One of the common flaws I see in a lot of students work is the off center leaning of their figure work. In most cases (though there will be exceptions to this) the figure must look centered and balanced  You should be able to spot the center line that balances the figure in just about every stance. Have a look at the sheet below and notice the red line indicating the center.
Notice the second figure from the left, swinging the sword.  Although he is stood on one leg, mid movement,the body is balanced over the the leg in contact with the ground. The body leans out towards the left in the direction of the swing of the blade but also curves back in to the right to counter-balance the swing action. In reality, if this were a stationary pose, the figure would surely fall over to the left, but as this is capturing a freeze frame of continuous movement, in reality, the majority of the action will momentarily  be on the left and follow through to the final thrust of action on the right. The central fiure with the axe  looks a little off center with both feet grounded, so I looked at making it a mid flight pose, with the rear, propelling leg being the only part of the figure grounded.
If you have time before the next class, have another attempt at this exercise.

Everytime I produce an exercise for the class, I begin by producing a collection of loose thumbnail sketches to arrive at a composition that I am happy with and that will also provide you, the students, with an exercise that is within your capabilities but at the same time wil push them forward.
Notice in the loose thumbnail I produced here that the figure is centered.

Notice in the figure below, the figure forms a triangular shape, further enforcing the balance of the sketch.

In the diagram below I have isolated the torso and the legs  in a very basic stripped down shape.

Adding the arms completes the figure.

Finally, I added some shading to identify the light and dark areas of the composition

When I drew the mushroom, I had the dancing mushrooms from, Walt Disney's Fantasia, in my head.

I saw Fantasia  at the cinema (I was just a child back then) back in the 60's and the visuals have stayed with me ever since and often find their way in to a lot of my work. 
Fantasia was among one of my first introductions  to fantasy art. I still think it is a magical movie to watch, even now.

Another point of reference for me is the master fantasy artist  Frank Frazetta.
Even if you are not particularly a fan of his work, studying his creative process to his paintings will surely give you  something to think about when creating your own work.
Below are some photos of a couple of books  currently available  focusing on Frazetta's creative process. In my opinion, these books are just as important, if not more, than a book such as ICON or LEGACY.



 We may have a go at one of these later in the term.

Ok, that' all for now. I will try and post some links  to the best art shops before tuesdays class, so keep checking back.

PS.  Don't forget, we all have to start somewhere. I wasn't born being able to draw.