Final Life Drawing Class

April 25, 2012

‘Final’ probably makes it sound too extreme – like I’m going to the moon – either way, today’s session will be my last at the college.

I couldn’t say exactly what kind of impact these classes have had on the quality of my work, but it seems a fair bet they’ve been a positive influence on some level. If nothing else I thoroughly enjoyed them and it seems only fair that I thank our tutor Melodie for keeping them varied and challenging along with our model Cherie for being so incredibly patient with those poses.

I’d definitely like to keep doing life drawing in future if at all possible but with the MCM Expo bearing down upon me at terrifying speed and the end of MA within sight it seems likely the it won’t be happening for a good few months…

Practice Needed…

January 26, 2012

Returning to life drawing today I have to say my output was distinctly poor; I found myself lagging behind on the quicker poses with very few approaching anything near finished, the one above being the nearest to something complete. Ack.

On the bright side though I’m sure this is good for developing my technique, I feel like a lost touch with observational drawing over Christmas (among other things) so now’s the chance to take it up as regular practice again. Like the class tutor Melodie explained, it’s more important to identify and try to correct mistakes than to make pretty pictures.

I’m getting things wrong, but at least they’re wrong in a productive way…

Page 13 + More Life Drawing!

November 20, 2011

This page pretty much continues in the stylised vein the last one did, so much of the composition and its colour choices are for the same reasons. However, as usual there are a few noteworthy additions and decisions.

The pace has slowed dramatically and what I’m covering here in three to four pages arguably could have been summarised in one, but still I feel it’s worth taking a pause here. The focus of this scene is upon two things: Curt’s rising fear of cyborgs and Scratch’s imposing, steely demeanour, both of which will be of increasing importance to the central theme of the narrative as it progresses. While previously there was a lot of information imparted through dialogue, here I want the visuals and mood to do all the talking for a moment.

Considering the technique itself; while I normally pencil and ink all my linework by hand I do clean it up digitally after scanning and occasionally correct mistakes, with the first panel here I tried something a little different as an experiment. Having penciled the panel in rough I scanned it in and worked over it in Photo-Paint, beginning with a purely black overlay set to 50% transparency and cutting out the highlighted areas. This wouldn’t have worked were it a well-lit scene featuring cross hatching rather than heavy shadow, but in this case the results weren’t half bad inadvertently having a slightly Geoff Grandfield quality. I’m not changing over to an entirely digital production process anytime soon, but I may well dabble in future.

My favourite panel is probably the fifth taken from POV, mainly for its simplicity. Being almost symmetrical with the shadowing connecting into a surreal whole it has a sort ink blotch feel slightly reminiscent of a Rorschach test card. There’s something surreal and unsettling about it which taps into exactly the kind of mood I want.  The weakest panel meanwhile is easily the last one. The way the light splashes across Curt’s chest turned out okay but the hands just look too small, even after I reworked them.

…And on the subject of weak anatomy, a spot of good news is that I’ve gotten back into life drawing this week!

Despite having the same model as last year the new classes are run quite differently; favouring a series of short three-minute poses alongside a longer one (above – I won’t post the quickies since they’d burn your eyes). Fast drawing is not one of my strengths, but for this very reason perhaps being forced to do so will prove good practice in the long run.

Regardless, it’s another step in the right direction to refine my technique and help reduce my anatomical embarrassments.

Success through little failures: Life Drawing

February 4, 2011

I’ve made scarcely any mention of it on my blog but last year I did a fair amount of life drawing at my college and have just begun attending again for the new year.

Being completely honest; my sketches in these classes have been at best mediocre and at worst, terrible. As presentable pieces they’re pretty poor and it certainly highlights my weaknesses in observational drawing. Making comics has likely furthered my artistic skills in many respects, but it’s also resulted in a procedural habit of making up details as I go along, filling in the gaps with my imagination and exaggerating as required.  This isn’t exactly a bad thing, but as I got back into life drawing I found myself instinctively approximating details rather than actually looking at the curves and shapes in reality.

Excusing my work by saying its ‘stylised’ can only be taken so far. In my final graphic I don’t intend to go for straight up realism, however even the most abstract art tends to have an element of reality to it. What it all comes down to is the danger of playing it safe, failing to push myself and admit that I can do better.

The drawings above aren’t particularly great – the fact that anatomical differences on the same model are so evident is testimony to this – but it’s uplifting to see that there’s a marked improvement over what I did last year. On the smaller scale I could consider these to be failures, but it’s my hope that they’ll assist in my long term success.

Look at it this way, the more mistakes I make now the less I’ll make in the final project…