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!