Friday, July 31, 2009

Tom poses, phase 1

I'm a little nervous about this post!

Firstly because I finally am doing some of my own poses and while I've been doing my own goony cartoons my whole life, they've been relatively flat and didn't really strive for anything in particular but my own gratification. I'm trying for 100% constructed poses, informed by principles.

Unfortunately, since that's a lot to balance, it not only took me several weeks of trying to get comfortable with the idea, but I also had to compromise some ideas. I tried to do much harder stuff but I figured that I'm not letting myself off too easy if I try to make very conservative drawings at first. I need to understand, and it's more important that I do that than try to wow the world with anything faux-original.

Anyway, so here goes. I'm imagining they'll get reworked before I put any sort of finish on them, but here's the basic construction.

ASLO: aren't empty eyes so creepy? I figured I'd draw the sockets in clearly so that I could wrap the eyelids around them in a way that made sense, but right now he just looks so wide-eyed and strange. Haha.

That eye on the right doesn't wrap quite right. Will fix in the next versions...

(Ignore the weird scaling/blurriness on this one. Blogger shrunk up the thumbnail, and I stretched it a bit so it wouldn't look so ridiculous with the others)
Last one is probably the weakest. It has some problems I can't quite articulate. The fact that it doesn't have wrinkly details also sorta might be lending itself to some feeling of woodiness. I dunno.

Next: More work on these, possibly some Howie Post practices.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

And now for a total waste of your time and mine

So I was grocery shopping at an expensive yuppie organic-type store like a good art student does on a small budget, and my boyfriend, Jory, noticed a bright, fetching box!

Here is a recreation of the scene, only totally without Jory. He had teeth pulled a couple of days ago.

Wowzers! I want to buy this just because it doesn't make my head spin with nonsense by looking at it!

I don't even really like corn type cereals, but hey! I like a good impulse purchase as much as the next under-budgeted art student!

Ooh, wait! What's this?

I-I-- Wait! This fun-time cartoon looks... familiar!

Well, boy howdy! You couldn't steal $3 away from me faster than this!

I apologize for the "Myspace" nature of these photos. Know that neither my head nor bust are as large as implied. I initially enlisted the help of my roommate for documentation, but it was a frustrating mess. You can actually see me getting angrier and angrier in the reject photos. In fact...


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Hierarchy bric-a-brac

John told me that I should articulate some of my thoughts on what I've been learning about hierarchy! So pardon some image reposting, here.

When I start out doing a construction/hierarchy study, I start by printing a couple of black and white copies of the image I want. Not only does it make the work portable (and easier on the eyes), but it allows me to doodle ALL OVER the original image! I don't really do this for reference, but to get acquainted with the image. You can't really see the marks too terribly well on the cheapo prints I get at the library, but it helps me understand the basic shapes to draw over my reference picture. I can tell what fits, I get a decent sense of proportion, and I can make notes about where relationships in the image are. Usually the biggest musts are the line of action, the cranium, the body shapes, etc.

With the basic shapes well understood, I take out a fresh print of the reference image and start my own drawing! Line of action, pears and spheres to start. After I feel like I've gotten the major shapes in (mitts for the hands, limbs, etc) I scan the image for the first time and compare it with the original. Does it all fit in? Only when the bare bones fit do I let myself move onto the next level of hierarchy, with things like the hair mass.

I am going to admit that my early drawings are very messy. I can understand what's going on in them, but I know I need to keep things cleaner. Be a better student than I am and make your drawings neat and orderly!

Anyawy, so, with everything larger in place, I start building the next level down-- larger details. In this drawing's case, the shape of the hair curls are a good example-- that strange tube-like shape that falls, connected around the main hair mass. Here is about where I start checking, rechecking, and correcting myself over and over again! There still aren't the smallest details, though. No things like individual hairs until VERY LAST!

I spend the most time here, like I said, because I check and correct, etc. The first drawing is obviously different from the rest because it's the messiest. I was more concerned with figuring out the hair shape, first, I guess. Do not let yourself get away with mushy drawings like that!

Anyway, when I started out doing the obsessive checking/rechecking stuff, I was scanning my drawing seriously dozens of times. I'm now down to about 5 for this stage, and I need it less with each new study. Not letting myself get away with errors, insisting that they are fixed before I move on, I think has allowed me to become more of an acute observer. With these four drawings above, you probably can't see much of a difference, but I can see where I am pushing and pulling the hair curl and other larger details.

I want to explain, here, though, that I don't just overlay my drawings when I check them. What I like to do is line the drawing and the ref up in photoshop, put keep my drawing, the top layer, on full opacity. I hit that little layer eye over and over again, checking to see the way the difference moves. It lets me see the mistakes better. This is why when I have drawings riddled with correction arrows, they are more "directional thrust" corrections than anything-- if moving from my drawing to the original makes a finger shrink, for example, I tend to draw a little arrow that "pulls" the finger outward, indicating that I need to take it further out. I don't know if that makes a lot of sense to write out, but thinking about it like a movement works better for me than just overlaying. Maybe I will make an animated gif some time of what I mean.

Well, anyway, after I feel satisfied with the basic structure of the drawing, putting the details in is just like draping a cloth over a table I just made. Everything fits pretty snugly over top. The once-complicated-looking curls of hair? They are just details that wrap neatly around that strange and complicated shape I took great pains to reconstruct! They just follow along the preexisting contours and if you haven't cheated, details are the EASIEST part, even if they look complicated.

After all the details are in, I go over my blue lines with a regular pencil. I correct any tiny errors I've just then noticed and I'm done!


Shapes like the abdomen, legs, arms, hands. No clothing, no hair. The hair right now is just a mass as far as we're concerned!

Smaller details. Clothing (gloves, frills, sleeves with wrinkles), hair.


Took me long enough

Yikes! The second job is still going, but it is definitely done after this week. Just in time for me to have to run back to Illinois for my family reunion next weekend.

The feet are too small, and the one on the right isn't so great in general. It does not seem solidly constructed. The finish is less gratuitously thick on this one, too. Not perfect, but closer to decent. I also left out a couple of small details in the hair because I didn't understand how they wrapped. Am I missing something? How do those little strands work? Should I have drawn them, only making sense to me? I dunno, I just omitted them instead.

I also just noticed that I botched a detail on the left side of the hair, right above the curls. I think I may have just forgotten to correct it. It doesn't wrap at all, it's just a dumb, stray line as it is.

I also went over some of the construction lines rendered invisible.

I want to practice painting real soon. I also am looking to try doing some poses of my own for characters, but I must admit I am a little intimidated! It's so weird, I used to do it all the time as a kid (of course badly, back then). Anyone have any requests of favorite classic, cute characters that I can try or poses they could be doing? No promises, but I'd love suggestions to get me thinking.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009