My New Toy

My good friend graduated last semester, and gave me the light table her husband built for her while at AAU. A great piece of equipment expertly constructed. No surprise, as her husband is an engineer.

He built it using two pieces of pre-cut plastic, and three pieces of particle board that he sawed himself.

Inside he attached a fluorescent bulb that is easily replaced.

And used household screws and little soft discs to keep the table from scratching surfaces.

Beautiful. Simply beautiful. And free!

Around Town Drawing Extravaganza

This week our homework assignment is to draw people from life. In other words IT IS THE BEST HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT IN THE WORLD. I am being graded on doing what I normally do – albeit with winter break thrown in the mix.

So instead of sitting at home at the drawing table, I explored the wonderful world of the city.

Ocean Beach:

These kids were awesome. The little boy and his sister walked around with a metal detector, stopping every few seconds to dig for buried treasure.

(And here are some fun photos as well):

Millbrae Library:

This guy realized I was drawing people and I could tell he was visibly upset. Too bad I finished drawing him thirty minutes before he realized what I was doing.
Heh heh.

The San Francisco Zoo:

Penguin feeding time. The Animal Keeper stopped to answer peoples’ questions.

John Flynn works with Savannah, a 23-year-old bald eagle who weighs 11 lbs. She was shot by hunters when she was 3 weeks old and brought to the zoo. Now she gets to hang out and amaze people.

Union Square:

The worst place to draw. Art Vendors set up shop every day so I thought Union Square would make the perfect place to draw people. Wrong. People only look at art for a grand total of ten seconds before walking briskly away. Tough. Fortunately, this guy decided to take a breather. He reminds me of Skeeter from the Muppets with his satchel, glasses and hair cut.

Fortunately, this young lady was lost long enough to stand still.

And she needed to call someone.

In hindsight, I got some good drawings out of this place. But at the time it was aggravating. People move too fast.
And of course, Starbucks:

Same girl, different poses.

Lady standing and listening to her friend. And that same girl again in the corner.

Why so many places? For starters, I had no desire to sit in Starbucks everyday for a week for hours on end. Second, the more places you go, the more opportunity to view different types of people engaged in more activities than talking on their cell phones. You think people talk on their phones a lot? Try WATCHING people. Everyone is connected to some type of electronic device. We’re becoming more and more like those folks in “The Matrix.”

Excellent First Week Back At School

First week back at school and I am loving it already. This semester I’m taking ANM Figurative Concepts aka Life Drawing for Animators. I have an excellent professor who worked at Disney for a number of years, so I am psyched to be in this class.

We learned some important concepts for drawing the form, mainly – STRUCTURE is everything. No amount of detail can correct a badly structured drawing. When you think of structure, think of the skeleton, or the support beams of a house. Or this quote that our professor passed along from the great artist Henri Matisse:

“You have to build up the figure like a carpenter builds up a house. Build up with parts but create a unit. Everything must be constructed. A tree like a human body, a human body like a cathedral.”

Today we focused on creating the proper structure by learning about standard proportions and focal point. A focal point is where your eyes naturally travel to when you are looking at something. For a portrait, the focal point is most often the eyes of the person in the painting. This is why it is imperative to capture the correct likeness. The focal point is the highest contrast between light and dark and the sharpest point of the drawing or painting.

Below are my drawings using the concepts that we learned in class. I am happy to report that after a month away from drawing nudes I have not forgotten how to draw. Life drawing is like riding a bicycle it turns out.

First drawing – 15 minutes. The form is alright, although the face is off.

This is a ten minute drawing. Starting to get the hang of things.

5 minute drawing. Much better. It’s coming together now.

Page o’ 1 minute drawings. This was fun.

15 minute drawing. Our professor challenged us to draw with our opposite hand. I drew with my left hand. It came out quite well – I expected a scribbly mess.

I believe this was 20 minutes. After the left handed experiment things got looser. My professor gave me some tips for improving the facial features, mainly by drawing the shadow shapes first.

20 minutes with shadows.

10 minutes. Started going off the rails…

But returned with this much better 10 minute pose.

And finally this 20 minute pose.

This semester I will intensively practice faces and hands. Onward!