Archive for August 2012
Snowboy on Whiteboard
I taught a comics & cartooning class here in Plymouth last month - had a great group of talented and engaged kids. We covered expressions, character design, story and storytelling, as well as many other drawing and comics basics. Always lotsa fun for me, and while the young artists work away I got to draw my li'l snowboy on the dry-erase board, each maybe a foot or so tall.
10:30 last night, and I was a little pooped. Wanted to relax and watch something, but my daughter wanted us to draw. I didn't feel up to generating the mental energy, but I'm glad we did. It was easier for her as she'd napped at night and got a second wind. "I don't know why people always have to sit in front of the TV instead of doing something productive...." This after she'd watched several episodes of Parks & Recreation earlier in the day - LOL!
Anyway, it was fun to just doodle for its own sake - fill up a page with a brush, especially after like eight jobs this past week.
Doodling like this, I'm not fulfilling the needs of the client, not designing or developing a character, not practicing drawing women, not working on specific techniques. Just drawing, just 'cause. The brain works differently then. Many times I've a general idea of what I may draw and it evolves on the paper; others I just start making marks and see where it leads. When drawing with a pencil one can explore and scribble, build up a drawing. Here, with a brush I work fast but choose my marks somewhat carefully, chiseling form and shadow like a figure from clay. Sometimes it's not about choosing what mark to make, but what not to draw.
I did do a few explorations of my li'l snowboy, who I've missed drawing. And I notice the lighting by default usually comes from my upper left - gotta switch that up and do more varied light sources.
Another Attempt at GraceAs my results the other day in drawing Grace Kelly were moderately successful, I took another stab Sunday, jumping straight in with a brush again. Better this time, I think - balancing hard line, fine features, expressive dry brush and likeness. I did some minor re-touching in Photoshop.
A writer friend of mine has said that thinking is not writing - writing is rather sitting down at the paper, typewriter or keyboard and doing the work, the actual writing. There is something to this. Many folks talk about writing, think about writing, but until they set something down, build up the skills, it's just talk. I've done my share of avoiding the hard work of writing. But once you've got some under your belt, some of the best bits of plot, character development and structure can come at unlikely moments - while showering, making a sandwich, mowing the lawn, lying in bed. Creators must be ready to snatch those gifts when the muse visits, record them before they vanish. But creators must also nurture their craft - the more one writes, sketches, plays or sings, the more supple and sparkling their creative mind will be.
Gene Fowler said, "Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead."
I guess that's the trick - to know when to stop staring at the blank page, jump in and get busy, and when to take a step back and just think.