Annie modelled at this week’s session. There were some really wonderful poses, and lots of interesting hands and feet!
The first two drawings, in charcoal, are from a workshop on an artists’ retreat back in February. It was (just) warm enough to sit outside, though I remember my hands freezing. Both charcoal sketches were drawn half looking at the paper, half looking only at the object. The top one has several under-drawings that have been rubbed back. I wouldn’t normally draw in this way but it was a good exercise.
The final sketch I drew in my garden yesterday, in glorious sunshine.
Here are some quick pen studies of the views from the train today – mist in front of trees, stubble in the snow, hedges, ploughed fields, footprints, snow melting.
Last week I had a good life drawing session with lots of dynamic and interesting poses. I drew in conte pastel for the first half, which was an attempt to shake me up a bit and loosen my drawings. Though everything felt a bit messy I think it was good as an exercise. I’ve noticed I’m getting much slower: I need to get back in the habit of regular gesture drawing to counteract this!
Recently I taught some animation workshops for groups of mainly high school aged children and youth. This is the first time I’ve taught animation in any depth, though I ran one workshop on pixelation a few years ago. My main goal was to give a basic framework for people to think about animation in a different way, and teach skills that they can use themselves.
In the two and a half hour workshop everyone drew a character or object on a piece of animation paper. This became a key frame. I gave a very brief overview of key frames, breakdowns and in betweens and explained charts so each person could add a chart to their key frame. Using the chart, everyone then created breakdowns and in betweens to morph between their key frame and the next. For anyone who is unfamiliar with 2D animation, this blog post may help if you want to learn a bit more.
I ran two of these workshops, and you can see the results of both in the video above.
At the end of the workshop, I gave everyone paper and clips to make flip books. I left the direction of these completely open, and the results were varied and brilliant.
The final session I ran was a day and a half long specialism workshop, where I began by going much more in depth with the technical aspects of animation. I showed a few short animations as inspiration including The Illusion of Life, which is a brilliant little video summarising the 12 principles of animation in a clear way. As individuals and as a group they worked through a couple of exercises exploring timing and weight. I was impressed with the way people picked up on some of the principles from the video, thinking about squash and stretch and anticipation in particular.
After drawing thumbnails for their ideas, they began animating on paper. I encouraged everyone to key out their animation, using their thumbnails as poses. The group really thought about how many drawings they wanted between each key, and after the exercises they’d learnt a lot more about breakdowns and in betweens, especially the fact that they don’t have to be exactly halfway between one drawing and another.
Given that there was only one lightbox I pushed everyone to learn to flip the pages, and seeing people pick it up in only a couple of hours was incredible. Flipping the entire scene was also fantastic. I think there’s something really tactile and fun about animating on paper, and I’m glad I could share that.
The films that were created are far beyond anything I anticipated. Real thought went into the making of them, and everyone made an effort to put into practice principles they’d only just learnt. The end results are beautiful and funny. I’m thrilled to have been a part of it.
I keep mentioning on this blog that I want to do more drawing from life, so when the stable I’ve begun riding at advertised an informal show jumping event I went along to sketch the participants. At the beginning it was hard to put more than a couple of lines down, but after a while I relaxed and sped up and managed to capture more detail.
One thing that was great fun to draw (though not so good for those riding) were the refusals and run outs. I felt I was able to create drawings covering a huge range of personalities and action.