Thursday, February 24, 2011

Drawing (almost) everyday

As mentioned in an earlier post, I am attempting to be more consistent in my drawing. The goal is to draw everyday. I've been relatively good with this the past few weeks. In my work, I've been doing digital painting as I'm finishing some card art, so its nice to start my day by warming up with some pencil work. I think the trick is to do it first thing before starting the day's main work, because if you leave it until after there is the chance you might be tired or not get around to it.

I've never been the best draftsman. I've been quite inconsistent with my drawing: sometimes wielding great skills and other times drawing terribly. Its not a skill you can just assume proficiency with if you have done some good drawings in the past. I think this has been my main undoing: not keeping it up because I assume I can do it. Drawing is a mental and physical skill; there is brain visualization and hand dexterity working together with brain connections and experience. If you stop, you'll get rusty and you wont draw how you used to... let alone improve!

Anyhow, I'm about a year and a half into being a full-time fantasy illustrator, and I know I need to keep building my drawing skills to both keep my place and move up the ladder in this field. My past career as an all-purpose video game artist was usually frustrating in that these essential skills were needed but not able to be exercised. I did alot of technical work which took the place of the drawing stage like utilizing 3-d models.

In my mind I need to keep working on these 4 things to build necessary drawing skills:
  1. Practice dynamic poses and angles. Draw solidly-felt characters interestingly.
  2. Practice creative conceptual design. Create novel and believable new designs.
  3. Draw from life and from reference. Build the visual vocabulary.
  4. Draw compositions and multi-figured scenes. Develop skills dealing with complexity and simplicity.
As I'm getting warmed up into this routine during the past few weeks, I'm getting comfortable with the mechanical pencil. I'm of the current belief this is the best tool for the things stated above: The fine line forces precision and control. I've also ditched using sketchbooks, and now draw on a pad of paper. The pressure of "messing up" a nice new sketch book and filling every page with something good was debilitating. Now I just tear it off and trash what isn't working.

I've come to the realization that my current impulse is to draw some generic figure on some rocks. These daily drawings aren't meant to take a long time, and there is no planning or experimentation stage, so this is natural. What I have learned is that I need to practice #2 the most, as I've gotten rusty from not doing much concept art in a long time. It probably takes drawing alot and taking an overview of your production like this to accurately gauge where you're at.


Cher Newsome said...

Mike You have inspired me to pull out my comic illustrator books, and do the same thing. draw a little bit every day....I write every day...why not draw? (especially when the internet is down)
Thanks talented friend...You rock!
Cheryle G

Jonathan said...

Wow, thank you so much I really needed to hear that from another artist.

Jonathan H

Alex Ashby said...

Haha yeah that's the stuff, drawings wayyyy harder then painting!

I think forceing our selfs to do studies everyday is very important to advance.

If your finding your having trouble in some area of your work the next day spend an hour doing a study that tackles it. Being a study from a photo, life, another artist or what ever. As long as it adresses your problem.