This week our model was Alexa.
Danna modelled at this week’s life drawing session. Her poses were often unusual and pretty challenging to draw!
I set myself an additional challenge this week of drawing the longer poses in colour. I’ve done a few digital studies from photographs recently, but it has been a long time since I’ve used colour in a live class. I had mixed results, but it was refreshing to try something different.
Last week I drew some gesture drawings of dogs from Line of Action and here are a few of the results! I enjoyed trying to capture the attitude of each dog.
Most of these were drawn in 30 seconds. The ones with more detail were done in two minutes.
Last year I came across this tweet, which challenged me to start thinking differently about how I draw through the week.
Most of the time I only draw whatever I feel like, or what I’m working on. Life drawing has been the only regular study I’ve done since school. I pick things up here and there when I need to, but I recognise this slows me down in many areas. So I came up with a plan of my own:
Over the last few months I’ve being doing a bit of this. Some anatomy study here, some perspective there, some animal gestures while working on a project with animals. However, I want to create good habits. When I was studying at VFS I had regular colour theory and perspective classes, plus many more. It helps me a lot to think about it in that way: this is a class I’m skipping. I need to keep going!
So here’s a little look at what I’m trying do; what I don’t normally post online. A lot of these drawings are unfinished. There’s always work I never show that’s purely done for me to grow as an artist.
Life drawing helps a lot with this, but it’s important to take a look at the underlying structure (muscles and bones) too. I’m weak in this area.
When I first started life drawing I was taught to draw the bones of a live model using printouts of a skeleton. So I’m doing something similar with the torso studies above, sketching a range of poses (this is a sequence from Bodies in Motion) and then drawing the muscles on top. For the muscle reference I’m using an app called 3D Anatomy for the Artist. I’m hoping that as I go my studies will become more accurate!
This is something I have been pretty good at keeping up with, but I want to do more gesture drawing.
I also want to think more about exaggerating the pose and caricaturing reality.
Finally, I want to spend time doing longer studies. The one below is still pretty quick at ten minutes. It would be good to start using colour, too.
When storyboarding I almost always guess the perspective, but occasionally create little models or research online to figure out how the characters work in an area. To refresh my understanding of perspective I’ve gone back to the beginning, using Draw a Box’s exercises.
Shockingly, I haven’t done any studies from films for a while, so here’s an old one from Jaws. My intention with this area is to study composition from films and paintings.
Landscape Studies and Colour Theory
I plan to make this section a mix between colour studies – focusing on a photograph or, hopefully, real-world landscapes – and then applying what I learn to colour made-up objects and environments.
Like with life drawing, I’ve been fairly good at drawing animals regularly. However, I want to spend more time studying how they work.
There are some areas I’d like to find more resources for, particularly animal anatomy and colour theory. With animal anatomy I’d love to have detailed images or models of muscle structure. For colour, I’ve struggled to find simple exercises that put the theory into practice. If you have any recommendations, please let me know below.
But I realise today I’ve been writing about all this, rather than drawing … I’m off to remedy that now!
Sue modelled at the final life drawing session of 2019. It’s hard to believe it’s a new year, let alone a new decade!
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11
This was a really fun little project I worked on this autumn. I was asked by Trinity Digital to create an animated logo intro for Cornhill Scotland. The logo is a dandelion head with seeds blowing away, so they wanted a figure blowing on the dandelion to lead into the still logo.
My initial pitch
I pitched two ideas at first, one traditionally animated and the other with less movement. In the end it was decided to combine these elements, to have the movement of the traditional animation with the final graphic look.
In my storyboard I drew out the key poses of the animation. As part of the compromise between drawn animation and motion graphics, less of the character’s face was shown.
Colour and design proposal
At this stage I did some research and gathered reference photographs and videos. The final look of the video was also decided. Next, I began animating.
Animated Logo process
Storyboard / Animatic: I timed out the storyboard panels in an animatic, to give a sense of the final video.
Keys / Breakdowns: Once the animatic was approved, I animated the keys* and breakdowns* for the different elements (head, hand, seeds) to show the movement of each.
Inbetweens: The change made at this stage was to add in more time for the dandelion seeds to be blown. I also animated them slowing down so that the eventual pause was not so abrupt. Finally, I inbetweened* everything.
Still of colour builds
Colour: I exported all the animation drawings and opened them in Illustrator. There I drew out and built the final graphic shapes for each frame. Next, I edited these into the final video.
The final animation
In the end it was decided to change the colour of the character to keep more attention on the logo.
I really enjoyed being able to traditionally animate this video, and I’m very pleased with how it turned out.
* Keys, breakdowns, and inbetweens are names for different drawings (or images) in animation.
Keys are extreme poses, in this case the closed mouth at the beginning (F1), the mouth open (F25), and then the open mouth, mid-blow, (F36) at the end.
Breakdowns show the movement from one key to the next. For this drawing, (F21), I wanted to show how the corner of the mouth stayed fairly still while the front of the mouth opened wide.
Inbetweens are the drawings ‘in between’ all the others. They are usually made halfway between those on either side. These fill in all the gaps in the movement, so it’s smooth.
Sophie, an acrobat, modelled at life drawing this week and held some unusual poses! I also did some sketching as she warmed up.
Last year I had the pleasure of designing the wedding invite for friends of mine. I’m really pleased with how it turned out, so I thought I’d share a little bit of the process of making it.
To start with I was given the theme of succulents and hexagons. It was fun trying out different compositions, some more traditional and some less so.
I also quickly realised that a sketchy succulent (in this case a Mexican Gem) can look very similar to a sketchy rose.
I started with quick sketches exploring the theme
Once the preferred designs were chosen I painted some quick mockups using digital watercolours to give a feel of how the final image would look.
Rough studies of the selected designs
At this stage preferred fonts were selected, and I began painting the final design. I discovered that painting a pale succulent onto a dark background gave a kind of ghostly image which didn’t work very well. The design was reworked to feature a single plant.
In the final stages I created mockups with a kraft paper background to match how it would be printed.
Mockup and final design
It was a lovely project to work on. Plus, I got to see my work in real life when I received one of the invites through the post!
David was the model for these sketches.
It’s been about two and a half years since I last updated my drawing portfolio (!) so I thought it was time to give it a refresh. What’s been exciting about putting this one together is that it’s all new – nothing from the last portfolio is still in it.
You can take a look here!
Silvi modelled at this session.
Way back in August, after finishing on Klaus (I’m hoping to post more about my work on that soon), I took a day to visit Edinburgh Zoo. Thankfully the weather was pretty good and I was able to see, and draw, a lot of animals.
The first life drawing session of November was modelled by Zaneta.
I’ve got behind with uploading my sketches from life drawing again … I’ll upload them soon! These drawings are from late October, modelled by Lydia.
Following on from my photos of Spain, here are some from a recent trip to the West Highlands of Scotland.
Maxime was the model on Tuesday. It was great to be at life drawing again; it’s been a long time.
And now for something completely different … I don’t think I’ve ever posted any of my photographs on this site, but I’m pleased with some of the ones I’ve been taking recently so I thought I’d give it a go.
In early October I visited Spain for the first time. During my trip I spent a day in Segovia, the old city centre of which is a World Heritage Site.
For the last month and a half on my job in Edinburgh (I should be able to reveal what I was working on soon) I stayed in a flat near Arthur’s Seat. One evening I took advantage of the sunshine and spent a while drawing in the park. Here are a couple of my sketches!
For the third year running I’ve taught animation workshops at a creative arts holiday (ages 12-18) over the summer. The last two years I’ve focused on morphing workshops, but I decided to try something a little different this time. I introduced the idea of emotions in characters and how to translate that clearly to an audience. To to this, everyone animated a character changing from one emotion to another.
The children grasped the concept and ran with it, creating funny and inventive pieces.
I also ran a specialism, which gave participants free rein to do whatever they liked. After going into a bit more detail about weight, timing, and movement (I even introduce charting!) the children storyboard an idea. Over about five hours they then draw their entire animation. With my help it’s photographed and edited, ready to play to the rest of the group that evening.
You can see more videos from workshops I’ve run on my Workshops page.