Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Final Post

Whew, the semester is over. It has been an intense last few weeks but I am pretty happy with where I ended up. Life drawing has been a great class. Admittedly, much better than I had originally thought. I mentioned in my midterm post that I am not very confident in my drawing ability.  This semester has really helped me become more confident and I think my work has really made many improvements. I did a self-portrait in Drawing 2 and the one I did for this class is so much better. I have been blown away at the depth and form I can create by effectively using contours.  Moreover, it is exciting to see how much movement gestures can take on. I am thrilled by the energy that some of my gestures expel (namely gesture 4). That said, I am very slow drawer. I am not entirely sure why, but I tend to be very slow and timid. While gestures have required me to shed that a little bit, I still feel it is my biggest problem. I am leaving with a number of drawings that I am extremely proud to have done. My lateral drawing of the skull turned out really well I think. With an angle that doesn’t show depth all that well, I learned a lot about exaggerating it to give it some physicality. I am also very happy with long drawing 7. While it isn’t without its problems, I think it was one of my first really successful use of contours.

I honestly didn’t think that the manikin would help my drawings. Or at least, wouldn’t influence them as profoundly as it did. I initially thought that the manikin was simply academic rather than utilitarian. And in fact, it is both. It was really cool to be able to build the muscle in clay, see it on myself, and see it on the model while drawing. I had a lot of trouble with the arm muscles on my manikin. But I think doing them over and over really helped me understand the form.

I am taking digital characters next semester so what I learned in life drawing will undoubtedly be instrumental in that class. But as I mentioned above, I am coming away with a bit more confidence in my drawings as well as a renewed interest in the traditional arts.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Whole Body

Wow, I really cannot believe the semester is done. But as it is, it comes as no surprise that we are now combining everything we have learned. The past couple classes have been all about the entire body. I did a few drawings on Tuesday but we mainly focused on drawing on Thursday. I was pretty disappointed with my work, but hopefully that changes on Tuesday (the last day of class!). I don’t really think it was bad because we are combining everything, but rather because it was a bad day. Well, at least I think that’s what it was.

My manikin is in rough shape. I need to redo about 8 of my arm muscles and tweak some of the leg muscles. Thankfully, I think it should make my manikin look a lot better. But, it kind of sucks to see him torn up.

I have begun my self-portrait and it is going all right. I really struggle with facial features, which I will probably start tomorrow. I hope that my ability to draw the structure will kind of hide the fact that I suck with everything else. I am hoping to really work on it over the summer though. In addition, with digital characters next semester, I hope that I can really get better. I think I am going to have to hold myself back from using shading. I just need to use my contours effectively.


I tried to find an image of the face that used contour lines to describe form. I think I found a pretty good one. Not only that, but the nose is really great. And the eyelids feel like they wrap around the eyeball. Overall, I think it is a nice portrait. Hopefully, I can apply the same technique in my self portrait!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Eyes, Ears, and Mouth

This week we learned about eyes, ears, and the mouth. Out of all of them, I have found the eyes to be the most challenging. There is so much information you have to pack into such a small place. I think what was the hardest part was giving the eye lids some depth. It was also hard to make them wrap around the eye and go back in space. The ears aren't too bad. They were a little complicated, but not difficult. I think they will be much harder if I try to draw them without any reference. And finally, we drew the mouth. The mouth was probably the easiest part of the face to draw. The only thing that tripped me up was getting the lips to pop out and feel "solid". Otherwise I think it was quite successful. 

I am not looking forward to starting my self portrait. Despite not having too many big problems with the ears or the mouth, I did have a really hard time drawing the face as a whole. I am not sure what it is, but when I try to put all of the pieces together it just doesn’t go very well. I am hoping to put enough time into the self portrait to help get over this problem. We will see I suppose. 

I found a drawing of an eye that I thought did everything I was having trouble with. The artist did a nice job of giving depth to the eyelids. Moreover, the folds in the skin have a nice physicality to them. The brow also has a very nice presence. It definitely feels like it comes out further and sort of encompasses the eye. All in all, it is a fantastic drawing and it employs many of the ideas that Amy has taught us.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Skull

This week in life drawing was a good one. We focused on the skull, and after an hour lecture, we actually got to drawing. I was pretty happy with how my drawings turned out. It was cool to break the skull down. I love all of the planes and it really makes sense why this was saved until the end. In order to really render it well, you need to employ many (if not all) of the techniques we have learned. This includes planes, contours, and varying line weight. It has really helped me with creating (relatively) realistic dimensionality. We were given the assignment to do three long (around 2 hours) drawings of the skull. We have to draw a ¾ view from the front, ¾ view from the back, and a profile view. I am really looking forward to doing my last one.

The manikin is done! Well, almost. All we have left are a few muscles on the neck and then clean up. But, we don’t have any more big assignments. This will be a huge help, because my other final projects are going to be big. All in all, I am pleased with how my manikin turned out. It will certainly benefit from some cleaning and smoothing, but for the most part, I think it came out nicely.

Skull 1

Skull 2

The first view I decided to draw was the ¾ view from the front. Because we had not covered the face at all, it is not quite as polished as I would like it to be. I really need to go back in and add some depth via planar information. I am, however, very happy with the second skull. Amy was able to help me really push and exaggerate the planes of the skull. I think that really helped it become more tangible.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Well, the hands weren’t quite as bad as I thought. Were had to draw two hour-long drawings, one of a skeleton hand and the other a person’s hand. My skeleton hand turned out awful. I chose a really, really bad angle and all of the fingers were overlapping. On top of that, I generally have a really difficult time creating straight, clean lines (this is very clear in the drawings I posted last week). So it turned out to be an unrecognizable mess of charcoal lines. The other drawing was a bit more successful. It still has its problems. I think it is a bit elongated and the perspective is a bit off. Overall though, I think it was a great learning experience.

My manikin sits in my locker, untouched since last week. I am hoping to finish the muscle assignment tonight, but we will see. I have been hearing horror stories of this last muscle group. I fear that they will take me way longer than I would like them too. Ah well, what can you do. I do think the tendons look pretty cool once they are put on. And the arm as a whole really interests me. I am looking forward to polishing everything up this next weekend. As it stands my clay is very lumpy and unsightly.

I chose to include two of my drawings from last week. The first is an hour-long drawing of the whole body. It turned out pretty well, except that her knees changed position after the first half. So the knees look a little weird I think. I also decided to include my second hand drawing. I was having a hard time with the thumb. It kind stuck in, then the tip came back out at me and the whole thing twisted.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Arm!

This past week was another short one. With advisement day on Tuesday, we were left with a single class for the week. It was a productive class though. We began with some gestures, which went alright. I was able to draw the entire body within 30 seconds (which is very, very new to me). However, I need to begin adding definition and volume to the limbs. Currently, I show an arm and a leg as a brief (and often ill-conceived) line going in an approximated direction. I hope to improve my gestures over the next month. Which reminds me, we only have a month left of the semester. This blows my mind! It seems to have flown by. Thankfully, I feel like I have accomplished much over the semester. I am relieved to feel this way, too often I feel like I haven’t improved nearly as much as I should have.

As the semester begins to come to a finish, so does my manikin. With only a few assignments left, the flaws in my muscles seem to have compounded. I have so much to fix and so much to do. I think my clay gun (thing) will help in the creation of the tendons that run from the forearm to the hand.

Ah yes, the hand. Oh God, the hand. I mentioned this in my last post, but I tend to skim over the hand (by skim I mean I don’t draw anything really). I am really, really dreading the day we cover the hands. From what I gather, most people find the hands to be challenging. While this is reassuring that I am not along, it also reinforces my apprehension.  They can be beautifully drawn though. I am particularly interested in the range of motion we can do with our forearm. So, I decided to show a few studies done by an artist named Colleen Barry. She shows a wide range of motion and each drawing is rendered immaculately.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Shoulders and Arms

This last week was kind of tough for me. I am not entirely sure why, but I just wasn’t drawing very well. We continued to work on the shoulders and collar bone then moved on to the arms. On Thursday we ended up doing an hour and half drawing. So it was a pretty drawing intensive week (which is great). I can’t believe how helpful the collar bone is when trying to define the shoulders. And, as I mentioned in the previous post, I was able to draw a back view. The left shoulder blade wasn’t very visible, but the right one was really obvious. I was having some trouble really showing how much farther it stuck out than the rest of the back. But as I mentioned in the first sentence, during the longer pose on Thursday, I just could not get anything right! And while it is usually true that the first half of a drawing is usually pretty bad, it didn’t seem to get any better. Hopefully next week proves to be a bit better.

Amy also was able to point out some of the muscles we recently completed on out manikins. It was pretty cool to see how visible the shoulder muscles are. Sadly, I had a lot wrong with the last assignment. A lot of my muscles were either too big or too small. Thankfully, our latest assignment doesn’t seem to be that involved.

Since I haven’t posted any of my own work in a while, I decided to take some pictures of my more recent drawings. Both were hour long poses and all in all I am happy with how they turned out. On the first I think the foot is a little too small and on the second I made her hand a little too pointy (and a bit too generalized).