Because having “making art” as a hobby can sometimes feel overwhelming, I thought it might be a good idea to break the year into themes. Each month I’ll work something different. We’ll just pretend I’ve been doing this since January.
I’ve been reading Force lately, a book I bought many months ago but have only now started to dig in to. It’s interesting, though a little light on actual instruction. It’s more about examples and teaching you how the artist was looking at the subject when those examples were drawn.
The forceful images in that book reminded me how far I have to go in figure drawing. I’m better than I was a few years ago, but I’m still not where I want to be. I’ve been stepping around the idea of a real anatomy study for so long. I had two reasons for that: First, I draw in a cartoonish style, so maybe I don’t need the full biology course. Second, I’m lazy and I know studying anatomy would be a GREAT thing for my art, but it seems like a lot of work.
So I’m going to start working on it. It might be just for March or it might be several months. I’m going to star with women. I don’t draw women often and need to get better at that. Also, according to Force, they’re more balanced than men (their center of gravity is lower), so they can be easier to draw.
Here is a sketch I did a couple months ago of a lady from one of Ben Caldwell’s art books. It’s pretty much an exact copy with a few small differences. I’m not crazy about doing copies like that, but sometimes they help you understand a form. I’m always trying to work on my exaggeration skills, because I feel like the truth of an image gets clearer the more you can push yourself to exaggerate.
My females this month will be less exaggerated, or more depending on the image. Should be a fun and challenging month.
UPDATE: Been working on some more sketches. The first is of Lara Croft. Been playing the new Tomb Raider and I'm really enjoying it. I've never cared for Lara Croft as a character. She was smarmy and unlikable, with few real attributes beyond her...uh, assets. Even as an adolescent boy, pixelated boobies did nothing for me. I wanted a character, not jiggling polygons with absurdly short shorts. The reboot has shaped Lara into a survivor through a Katniss Everdeen-like trial. She's an actual character now and it's been a pleasure to take part in her adventure (aside from the ludonarrative dissonance, but that's an issue for another blog). Anyway, here's a sketch of her I did.
And here are some sketches I did from Force, the book I'm reading that started me on this path. These are just reproductions of what are in the book (poor reproductions, in the case of the second image). A few more of these and I'll probably branch out into my own images. All of these (including the Tomb Raider) were done over the past couple days at the table while my son ate breakfast and watched Yo Gabba Gabba.
Finally, here's a commission I did last weekend. I had to recreate a pic someone sent in and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to put some of the things I've seen in Force to good use. I tried to find the line of force and follow it. It starts at her shoulder, curves down through her arm, then moves from her thigh to her calf. To my surprise, it turned out to be much easier to draw the pose when I concentrated on the force and the rhythm it created. Instead of thinking about each body part individually and then connecting them together (as I sometimes do, and yeah, that's a bad thing, it gives figures a "snapped together" LEGO man look), I just thought about where the force was going, and the rest took care of itself. Awesome! I'm really pumped to try more.