Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Week 12 (11/21/2010 - 11/27/2010)

   Yet another short and interesting week for us in Life Drawing I. Since Thursday was Thanksgiving, our only "class" was on Tuesday, which consisted of a field trip to visit the Walker Art Center and then the Bell Museum of Natural History. After waiting over an hour past the time our bus was supposed to leave, we were sent another bus and were finally on our way.

   Because of this little delay, our stay at the Walker was a short one, although, I didn't exactly mind. I didn't realize before getting there that the Walker was home to mostly conceptual art pieces meant to represent or convey an idea, thought, or feeling. The results, in my opinion, were underwhelming. We were charged with finding a piece that we enjoyed within the Walker and then writing about it in this very blog post, a task which took me a considerable amount of time given how uninterested I was in most of the museum's interior stock.
 In the end, I found a photograph by Alec Soth almost tucked away in a corner down in the main lobby. Its name was a series of numbers and I honestly couldn't find it anywhere online, but it definitely caught my interest, and I remember it well- it was a photo taken somewhere in the American Southwest. The subject was an under-construction home that was being built right into the side of a red rock formation. I mean, someone was literally building a house within a ground-level, excavated portion of a rockface, with the interior walls of the cave acting as the walls and ceiling of the house itself! Having spent a lot of time in Arizona during my teenage years, I used to look at the red mountains of Sedona and imagine dwellings similar to this one, which is why this photo abducted my interest so immediately. Now that I know they actually exist, I'd love to eventually find one of these tunnel/cave houses and venture inside.

   Now, the Bell museum, on the other hand, with its taxidermy dioramas, various bones, and actual living creatures, was definitely more up my alley of interest. Our assignment here was to pick one of the aforementioned subjects and draw it as we would usually draw a model in class. There were so many choices and so much cool stuff to look at that I ended up spending a majority of the time walking around. When it was about an hour to 30 minutes before we had to go, I figured it would best to get started, so I looked for a good bird with its wings open and happened upon a diorama of several sandhill cranes with one such bird exhibited.
 I had more trouble with the feathers than I thought I was going to, but they actually turned out a lot better than I thought they were going to. Overall, I'd give it a 6/10, maybe a 7. Take a peek for yourself...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Week 11 (11/14/2010 - 11/20/2010)

 Since this was yet another short week in Life Drawing, and we did virtually nothing other than experiment with ink washes, the results of which I feel don't merit being put up on the blog, I'm going to take a detour for this post and explore something a little more personal in the way of drawing. Just like any artist, as a video game artist, I base a number of my skill aspirations on the works of others. One site that I frequent, deviantART, exhibits the works of many amazing artists, and there are a few that I would probably kill to have their amount of talent and skill. Let me show you what I mean... 

 This is a piece titled "Amala of Sanctified Edge". The artist's username on deviantART is takaya, although you can see that his whole name is Takaya Lee just by looking at the signature at the bottom- right. If one needed an extremely brief summary of what I aspired to eventually be able to do as a game artist, all I would have to do is show this image. I mean, this is fricking IT! The actual human form in the center is beautiful enough, but the armor she's wearing is just phenomenal. I can't even imagine the amount of understanding of form it would take to be able to create something like this from your head. Seriously, what is all that even made of? It looks like some kind of bone/metal composite, but you can't really be sure. The color is what gives it this fantastic ambiguity, though, and what truly brings the picture to life. The whole thing was digitally painted, which is a skill I have very little expertise with but desperately need to learn, especially if I ever want results like this. The only elements of this work that I can learn in Life Drawing, though, is the human figure aspect, as well as form in general, which is why I so value dynamic poses like the one Amala is giving us here.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Week 10 (11/7/2010 - 11/13/2010)

 This was certainly a very unique week (heh, that rhymes); not only was it shortened because of Mid-Program Review, but we critiqued our second shell drawings and drew feet for the first time!

I'm going to admit right off the bat that I'm not as happy with Shell 2 as I was with Shell 1. That was also the general consensus among those in my critique group, though not to my extent of distaste. Although they weren't as awed by Shell 2 as they were with Shell 1, most of them still really liked it. One of the main issues, I felt, lies with my use of dark lines; it worked perfectly in Shell 1 to create a sense of depth, but there's just too much darkness concentrated into one area on Shell 2. Everyone else thinks it works fine, but I still get the sense that I overkilled it. I do like the top-most area of the operculum (the shell's interior), I guess, because of an innate sense of realism I get every time I look at that exact spot. All in all, Shell 2 looks decent enough,  but I know I can do better. Guess I'll have to not rush the next one like I did this one...

After the critiques, we had an extensive lecture on the bone structure of human feet before actually sitting down/standing up and making our first attempts at drawing them. On a side note, this marked the first day that Katharina posed for our class without disrobing. That didn't make things any easier, though; feet and hands are my personal nemeses when it comes to drawing people, and I could feel the old frustrations coming back as I laid charcoal to paper. Surprisingly enough, though, I did pretty well, especially in spite of the facts that she didn't change the positioning of her feet once and that, therein, I only had view of a single good foot to draw. I craved variety like you couldn't believe, but it was this very limitation that forced me to focus on the details and actually create a pleasing product.

Week 9 (10/31/2010 - 11/6/2010)

   As I stated in the week 8 post, this post for week 9 will include a combination of the works I did in class during both the 8th and 9th weeks, since I kind of forgot which drawings go where. Also, as a first, instead of just saying a whole lot in a few paragraphs and then lumping all the drawings together at the end, I'm going to go into detail about every individual drawing, so you can get a better understanding of what's going on in each...

   I'm guessing the day the I drew this, it was one of the first, if not the first, attempts we made at adding the pelvis to each of our figures. Gesture drawings as these may be, I still found it difficult (and still somewhat do) to figure out the placement of the pelvis in relation to the ribcage, as well as its general shape in any given position. I will admit, though, these do look rather lively.

   I got a little help from Amy on this one, but it illustrates my as-stated-above difficulty with proportion and placement of of the pelvis. That damn triangle thing always throws me off.

   Now this one is unique in a number of ways. The primary reason was that it was our first full, 2-hour drawing, meaning that it was also Katharina's first time posing for a full 2 hours, with breaks every half-hour our so, of course. The pose is also personal, since during the afternoon class period the previous Tuesday, I happened to be the model and had to endure this same exact pose... for 2 freaking hours! Obviously, just sitting in a chair isn't exactly tough work, but good lord was it boring, especially considering I couldn't move any of my body parts. Katharina was actually in the class that I posed for, so she knew what was coming.
 I actually like how the drawing itself turned out, despite it not being picture perfect after looking at the pose for as long as I did. In fact, Amy said that she didn't want us to even try for a perfect drawing; it was all still meant for practice and learning, so we were prompted to draw the ribcage, pelvis, etc. and leave them there. I was happy that the length of time permitted me to draw the head and face, for a change, which really brings the whole piece into another reality.

  More pelvis gestures here. I started to embrace the concept of "stick" limbs this time around, since I noticed a lot of other people had good results with it. My favorite one is the top left figure in the lower right quadrant. See how I bent the arm sticks to create the illusion of shoulders? I love little things like that.

   This was another long pose, but thankfully not 2 hours. Our focus for this one was learning how to foreshorten, and I think I hit the mark pretty well. The chair Katharina was sitting on was raised up higher than normal upon boxes and stacks of books, so trying to figure out the proportions of the surrounding objects relative to the actual figure was my primary issue. I spent too much time trying to figure out the shoulders, so I decided to concentrate on the legs more, which is why they stand out so much. We hadn't tackled feet at this point either, so I largely ignored them. It's not that I couldn't have drawn them if I'd wanted to, it's just that I hate drawing feet, so I didn't.

Week 8 (10/24/2010 - 10/30/2010)

Ok, we have a small issue here, but not too big of one- you see, I can't exactly remember what I did during this week. By looking at some of my drawings, I can get a pretty good idea, but I'm still not positive, so I'm just going to take all the drawings that I did during weeks 8 - 9 and just lump them all together in the week 9 post. Here, on the other hand, I'm going to do what I did with my week 11 post and comment on other artists who already have the skills that I desperately desire...


 This lovely little gem is the creation of South Korean artist Kyoung Hwan Kim, who goes by the name tahra on deviantART. It has a simple title,"Illustration", but good lord is this thing beyond simple. I might as well get it out of the way now before I go any further, but yes, the girl in the picture is cute and has a considerable bust, both of which are alluring, but this work is definitely not riding on those features alone. One primary aspect of tahra's drawing technique that really sucks me in is the subtle line work he uses; if you look closely, the shading and form-shaping lines that he uses during the sketching/drawing phase largely remain behind after the digital painting phase. Far from accidental, its these lines that give the whole piece a unique texture with its own weight and grit. I love it! I won't even go into his use of color, since that would take me forever, but I have to at least touch on his knowledge of human form, which is especially prevalent in the girl's elbows and hands, but I feel I need another image to really explain what I'm getting at...

Yea, check this thing out. This one's just called "kick", and boy is it ever! Obviously, the subject has been drawn stylistically and exaggerated, but her motion and anatomical form are still completely believable. I guess it's true what they say, "you have to learn the rules before you can break them" otherwise you won't be able to fudge them anywhere near as good as this.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Midterm Review

Although drawing the human figure is possibly my favorite art subject, as well as one of the only subjects of study I went into teaching myself, I've always known that there was far more I could learn and that I could do so much better. Therefore, I enrolled in Life Drawing I in order to better understand the human figure and how it can be moved and formed.

Over these past several weeks, I have indeed learned quite a bit- not only about human anatomy but also how to express different forms through the use of dynamic lines. I used to look at the great anatomy drawings of others and wondered how exactly they were able to produce those kinds of lines. Since I've been in this class, I've actually learned how that is possible and have begun to execute the technique on my own, which essentially requires varying the thickness of the lines while surrendering most of your control over how you make them. This greatly expands the interest of the picture as a whole, especially when creating cross-contours.

Although my understanding of the human figure has increased dramatically, as well, I still feel there is much more I can learn. Starting each drawing with a spine and then adding a ribcage and pelvis has helped; I've learned before this class how to break the figure down into its foundational components, so that already makes sense. However, I still think there's something I'm not catching onto, especially where proportions are concerned. I feel that my gesture drawings are suffering because of this, since I follow the proper steps but still have the figure usually come out looking like nothing after I'm done. Whatever the issue is, I hope to resolve it during the next quarter, as well as improve upon the skills I've already gained.

Although I'm now double-posting this drawing, in my opinion, it's the best that I've done thus far.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Week 7 (10/17/2010 - 10/23/2010)

I can honestly say that I'm actually very excited about this week's post- were assigned to make a very large drawing of our shells, and I'm extremely pleased with the results! Pulling this off was extremely labor-intensive and required concentration and a lot of patience... a lot of patience. The only thing that I overstepped the boundaries slightly as far as criteria were concerned was in how much foreshortening my drawing included- too much apparently, but it still worked out great in the end, especially since I made the closer lines darker and further ones lighter. I've noticed lately that, ironically, the less control I give myself over each individual line the more interest I create within each, which is an issue that a lot of other people still seem to struggle with. Since this is just the first of five shell drawings we're going to do, I can't wait to see how the next ones are going to go!