Thursday, 30 May 2013


I have noticed that some of you are getting too caught up in trying to copy the style of my work in the tutorial (probably without realising it) rather than looking at the expression and pose and seeing it for what it is, just a simple pose. So  I  thought it might be  helpful for some of you to revisit some of the  basics in drawing the human face (some artists call this, cartooning the face), stripping it down to  very basic line work. 
There have been times when I have been drawing from reference material and I have not been able to see the wood for the trees. Sometimes trying to draw everything  that makes up the whole can render a drawing overworked , too cluttered or confusing and the best way to tackle it is to remove the clutter and strip things down to the very basic shapes or ideas. The can  be applied to machinery, landscapes, figure drawing and even something as simple as the human head. So I am posting a few images that have the notes written on them so you can download them and print them out , and not have to copy and paste all the words etc.
I appreciate that this may seem monotonous, but the more you practice , the better you will become. 
Have some fun exploring different expressions

If this is still  not working for you, step back even further to basic cartooning. Keep it simple. Notice how a simple line can create a look and convey a mood.
 When I get  script to storyboard I often draw rough scribbles in the side columns of the script or on some loose sheets. Below is an A5 sheet with some rough workings for frames for a script. Notice that that even though these are extremely rough, using very basic line work, they manage to capture action and expression. After producing a number of rough ideas for frames , I will decide which are the best angle for content  and drama etc. Many will end up in the bin, but that's ok, it's all part of the creative process.

Saturday, 18 May 2013


Apologies for the absence on the blog, facebook and class. My health took a nose dive last week and I was able to fulfil either of those commitments.
So, I think we'll continue l with some of the basics  that you may find helpful before moving onto some  of the more advanced  exercises we will cover later during the course.
But, before that, one of the things I stress at the beginning of each term is, do not try and copy my style of drawing, but , just follow the process. Although I am competent at drawing, I would not call my self an expert.  I am simply passing on how I manage to put together the drawings I produce. I saw a post recently by  the highly acclaimed comic book artist Adi Granov, of which I will copy and paste the first paragraph here:   

The questions I get asked most often are about the tools I use. I dislike these questions not because I am keeping a secret, but because I feel that following my advice might lead people down the wrong paths. I change my process with every piece I do, I discover new things, or decide something isn't working, etc.; it's all a part of being an artist. It's a very fluid process, and rigidity and sticking to a specific tool will do more damage than good, especially to someone starting out. It shouldn't be about the tools, it should be about the knowledge and skill and personal preferences.

Adi, did actually continue the post with a detailed breakdown description of  a current piece of art .

I agree with those words. I learned to draw from reading comics and  mimicking  John Romita Sr., Gil Kane and Gene Colan, and then later learned that  I needed to start again and learn the basics. I was following another artists development and style without the foundations.

Here's another  thing, I'm not a great artist, I just happen to be able to draw better than my clients can. They employ me to do a job they do not have the time or inclination to learn, and for that I am fortunate.

So, to recap what we looked at in week 2 and 3:
Drawing the human head.
There are two basic ways of drawing the human head that I know of ( I have seen a few other approaches used but these are the ones I often use) and they involve  an oval or a sphere and a cube. The one I usually use by default is the oval.

I usually just draw the eyes in  and go for what feels right. If in doubt, divide the width of the face into 5 equal parts, this will  roughly give you the positioning for the eyes so that they are not too far apart or too near each other.

Notice that to gauge the width of the nose and mouth, I draw a rough triangular shape from the bridge of the nose.

I always  go for uncomplicated shapes when drawing the hair. If  I try anything too complicated, initially, it always goes wrong.
 With all the  workings out still prominent, face is not looking attractive  and o bit on the harsh side.
Remove the guidelines and begin to soften the features , making the eyes, nose and mouth  prominent. Notice that I have reduced the amount of lines for the nose. I often find going too heavy with the line work for the nose can often age the look of the  character.

I adjusted the curves of the hair to what feels right to the eye. Well, my eye, at least.

I learned about  keeping the hair simple form watching Disney cartoons,

and later ,  by studying Bruce Timm's work.

Once you feel confident arranging the components that make up the face, try  capturing other ethnicity's by adjusting the eyes, nose and mouth, and jawline.

Another way of looking at constructing the human head is by using a sphere/ball shape and a cube.

The face in the first exercise above can be created using a sphere and  cube.  The eyes  positioned using the 5 equal space  sitting on  a line roughly halfway down the sphere.

As I mentioned  earlier, I keep to simple , uncomplicated shapes for the  hair.

This is how I  generally approach drawing the human head, but you don't have to take this as the only approach, there are plenty of books out there, for example:

Drawing the Human Head (Practical Art Books) by Burne Hogarth

Drawing the Head and Hands by Andrew Loomis

both of the above books are recommended. There are also some good  tutorials (as well as a lot of bad ones)  youtube. 
Whether or not you like David Finches style of drawing is irrelevant, his foundation work is solid.

One last thing I will leave you with until next time,  do not draw to impress others, draw to impress yourself.