Friday, November 19, 2010

Ink on the original pencils?

art by Jack Kirby, © DC

Brittany emailed me asking me to clarify what I had said about inking on the originals. Here's my reply:

Hi, Brittany,

You can ink on your originals. It's just very important that you get good xeroxes of them first.

If you don't want to ink the originals, so that you can show both original pencils and inks side by side, then you need to get a scan of your pencils and use Photoshop to make it so that the black lines are blue. You need to have the info palette visible, with CMYK selected in the Info Palette Options. Then in the pulldown menus, select Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation. Put Hue slider to the middle of the scale (not critical to hit an exact number), Saturation to 100, and Lightness to whatever level will make very darkest area is no more that 60% cyan (C). This lays down a pretty heavy blue, one that doesn't quite pick up as black on MY scanner when I scan the inks in bitmap mode (which is how inks are best scanned). You would want to go a lot lighter to get the look, for example, of the inking-exercise boards with the waves, trees and so on that Mick Gray does for his kids. The original will look cleaner if you go for that lighter blue too. But you do want it dark enough to see the details! And be sure to ink with your xerox of the pencils nearby.

You'll need to get it printed out on an 11x17 printer. Most can handle 2-ply bristol just fine. There is even a thick paper setting on some printers, either in the Print dialog box or on the machine itself. Such a printer is a great thing to have, and they are about a tenth the price they were several years ago.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Demo of reflections set up

Oooops-- I meant to post this to my Drawing from the Imagination blog. Comics students may ignore this. 

Note that, as always with 2-point, you must have one or both VPs well outside the borders of the final composition, and neither should be more than a little bit inside the picture, ever.
The oval mirror idea I suggest in the video is not a good idea for this assignment because you have to show three objects in addition to the queen. "Dean of Perspective" Joko suggested to me once that if you draw the reflected objects in the mirror first and then use the methods in the module to place and scale the actual objects in the real world, you can eliminate any trial and error.
Sorry for the video quality. It looks much better playing on my Mac than through the Blogger interface for some reason. I think you can still follow it though.

Here's an impressive version of this assignment by a past student. Sure, it's kinda lame that the room isn't reflected in the mirror (I told you that was a common failing), but she had drawn everything else (except for the head) so beautifully that I let it pass.

This, btw, is the sort of super-competence, like Chad Weatherford's Civil War drawing last week, that entitles you to a certain amount of rule-breaking. If you're not making fairly steady A's, just do the assignment as written, please...


Thursday, November 04, 2010

What to watch for in clothing folds

Here are a couple new videos to help put you touch with the mechanics and aesthetics of drawing clothing folds. Then, a magnificent new illustration by the immensely talented and personable Andy Kuhn. It shows how, once you have some feel for the mechanics of folds and know how to make them follow the form, you can beautifully describe clothes just with outlines, buttons and the shadows under the rolls. Notice how nicely, in this minimalist style, the square ends of the lines serve as those "turnarounds" when a roll doubles back going into a "Y"and the shadow under it stops. Wow!


Monday, November 01, 2010

Rad How-To Blog

This drawing blog, done by a guy named Rad, has got me thinking: Do I teach too much by picking on people's common misperceptions about how body parts are formed? Does that approach favor surface result too much over process and understanding? And if so, am I short-changing you guys by teaching in a more superficial way than I ought to?

Or, on the other hand, would a deeper approach prove too analytical and intensive for today's students? Too much like the year of drawing plaster casts that used to feature as a prominent and fundamental part of classical art education? (Considering that almost all drawing errors are some combination of misreading the evidence of senses and failure to deal with the implications of 3D-ness, I think more and more that art schools were on the right track a hundred years ago. My biggest knock on current students is that they want to be shown a recipe, a video tutorial, even for things that aren't cut and dried enough to work that way.)

Either way, please check out Rad's blog, which is a sublime combination of sharp-eyed analysis and a heightened feeling for not only figure drawing, but shape design and storytelling. As such, it is very useful to both illustrators and concept artists. And animators really need this stuff as they spend years moving beyond a superficial, shape-driven apprehension of the world.

You know a guy's got a lot on the ball when he's willing to show you his class notes.... Go now, go now!