25 April 2012

3-points to happier drawing

 (Insert standard apologetic text about lack in updating Blog, here. Is everybody done with that? Okay, so then we can move on). 

  These are from a 4"x6" Sketchbook I kept jammed in my back pocket for two months. And I've rediscovered a useful habit for sketching; self-critique. 

Actually it's the "nice sandwich" mode of critique I found detailed in a book about sports coaching, where the evaluation is restrained to one statement about what went well, what can be improved next time, and how you've improved since last time. Then, apply what you've written into the next drawing. 

   Take for instance the below two sketches done the same afternoon.

 "I - E = D (Inspiration minus Expression equals Depression, a favorite catchphrase of Walt Stanchfield) 

-Appealing Subject (something good, drawing a cute kid in a bike seat instead of the one-millionth slouching commuter walking by)

- Draw Clearly Otherwise it's a mess of scribbles (what can be improved upon in the next sketch, surely, there are several other points in this study that can be attended too, but since I am an artist of very little brain and critical fortitude, the helpful pointer is just about clarity) 

-Good attention to proportions (the bodily proportions in the preceding sketch were embarrassingly wrong.) "

 "Good Foot plant (ground plane issues seem to keep cropping up in my sketches recently, so it's nice to highlight when I get it right)

 - Far too rigid . There are no straight bones in the body.

-Clear, though! (Which is why this study was executed in silhouette: the acid test of clarity) "

I find verbalising directions for improvement keeps me more engaged with on-site reportage, and that keeping critiques restricted to one point of improvement keeps the process fun.

Just a thought, anyway.

06 April 2012

F*ck off, I'm drawing.

Let's say you're in the park, doing studies of old people and fountains, and a comple stranger wanst to look at what the hell you're drawing.

In "the Natural Way to Draw" Kimon Nicolaides wrote of the techniques described within "The exercise is merely a constructive way for you to look at people and objects so that you may acquire the most knowledge from your efforts."

To improve, you need to practice, and practice a freaking lot! For that, you need a sketchbook.

But wander around a convention floor for a bit, and there's sketchbooks everywhere, either visual autograph books with quick headshots jotted down by 25 different famous people, or published sketchbooks you can buy from famous people, like Dave Pimentel's "Evoke".

Published artbooks can be an inspiration and a joy to look at, and if edited correctly, show nothing but beautiful, finished drawing for the paying public to enjoy. BUT, I find that artbooks (or often, ashcan minicomics) titled as "sketchbooks" give the false impression that every time the artist touches paper, they just throw down a finished drawing.

Which is weird, like assuming every time Orson Wells opened his mouth, he delivered a stirring monolog.

Which brings us to that park analogy. There really feels like this expectation for sketchbooks to be less like a blooper reel filled with doodles, false starts and just bad drawings, and more like a polished, finished product. In truth, a real sketchbook, for personal use, the kind that's so vital to the life of an artist, is PRIVATE.

So Fuck Off, I'm drawing!