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2006 June Archive at ART+STORY
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Monthly Archive for June, 2006

Post-It Doodles

doodles29Here’s a change of pace. Some Post-It Doodles! Also check-out the previous Post-It Doodles post here.
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April Figures: Dynamics, Part V of V!

The last of the April Figures and Dynamics series, I promise. Then I’ve got a little stack of post-it doodles to post …it.

More of the whole image with detail(s).

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April Figures: Dynamics, Part IV of V?

Still not done. I think I should have one more post from the “Dynamics” series after this one. Here are a few more drawings of Clay from Karl Gnass’s drawing seminar. I tried something new with these images, giving you a full drawing and a detail of that drawing in each.

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I exaggerated things a little on this last one.

April Figures: Dynamics, Part III of IV?

Now here’s a hodge-podge. A quick sketch of the class skeleton, a character doodle, and some anatomy notes squeezed in, alongside a “serious” drawing of Clay.

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And a quick portrait sketch I sneaked in between taking notes from Karl.

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April Figures: Dynamics, Part II of . . .

Well, so I lied. There will be more than two parts to this “Dynamics” series. I’ll just be posting them as I can get them composed into jpegs. These are from the second half of Karl Gnass’s seminar. We had a female model before lunch and a male model after lunch. This is Clay. He’s a lean, mean, modelling machine with lots of definition. Pretty interesting body-type and lots of great poses. More to come…

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April Figure: In Color

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I did some color experimenting with one of the drawings from my previous post. A bit overworked, maybe, but I thought it worth the post.

April Figures: Dynamics, Part I of II

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figures200604_05fThese are drawings I did in a day-long drawing seminar with Karl Gnass, titled Using the Force: Dynamics of the Figure. The dynamics we concentrated on were, as Karl explained, not the dynamics of Burne Hogarth, which are more about dynamic action poses and drawing the figure with lots of really well-developed muscles all working simultaneously. Perhaps if you’re drawing a superhero lifting a car or a locomotive, it might be appropriate for every muscle to be engaged, but for anyone else you might draw who isn’t a superhero, it’s an unnatural and, in several respects, non-dynamic way of portraying the figure.
Karl defines dynamics as opposing forces working together. So, for example, if you are reaching up with your right arm, your left arm is hanging down and your feet are pushing into the floor. Some muscles are stretching and pulling and others are dropped or relaxed. There is a push and pull, a give and take in the body. The dynamics reveal themselves in the anatomical elements, or stage 3 as described previously — in the muscles, bones, and joints — and so we concentrated a bit more on those elements in this seminar. Attention was still given to the first two stages — gesture (which gives you vitality) and conceptual forms (building a 3-D model of the action, not a stiff) — and their importance in describing the dynamics of the figure, as well.

Beach Sketch: In Color

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Here’s one of the beach sketches from my previous post… in color!

Beach Sketches

I drew these this afternoon while at the very crowded Corona Del Mar beach, California.

April Figures: A Couple More

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These were drawn when I sat in on one of Karl’s evening painting classes and so it was quite a long pose. It had been a while since I’d had this much time with one pose, so I had a little fun getting into the superficial details. I’m referring to the one on the left, of course. The one on the right, I drew just in the last few minutes of the same pose and from a different angle. It’s perhaps not as pretty a picture — it doesn’t have those dramatic cast shadows or the weight of the first — but it may just be a more successful study of gestural, three-dimensional, and anatomical form.

April Figures

It’s been a while since I’ve posted some figure drawings. There are a lot of them, so I’ll post them in increments. Here’s the first batch. I think all of these are from April.

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The above drawings were short poses, I’m not sure how long, from Karl Gnass’s class. Karl teaches us to concentrate on three main levels in drawing the figure.

  1. Gesture (What is the Model doing? What’s the Story? The “Spirit of the Pose.”)
  2. Conceptual/Volumetric Forms (Spherical, Cylindrical, Conical, etc.)
  3. Anatomical Forms (Bone, Ligament, Tendon, Muscle.)

There are more levels beyond these three and of course, more that is involved with just these three, but these are the main ones, and the ones we start out with. They are three aspects of drawing the figure that we may examine separately or simultaneously. However, if we separate them and move through our drawing in the order of these three stages, we can begin to pinpoint our weaknesses. The goal in the end, I think, is to have each of these three support the other. You should not have anatomy which does not reinforce the gesture or help tell the story, or anatomy that does not describe volume or three-dimensional form, for example.

I found, in examining these stages, that I wanted to skip over the second stage. I didn’t like conceptualizing the forms of the figure into cones and cylinders, etc.. I felt like I was turning the model into a mannequin and anyway, I knew I could draw well enough to get those nice curves of the anatomy. Why mess around with this kid stuff? Well, what I realized was that although I understood a fair amount of the 3-dimensional forms in front of me, how they took up space, that’s not what I was drawing. Or rather, that is what I was drawing, but that’s not what I was communicating. I relied very heavily on the contour — the outline shape of things — and on duplicating those details, albeit in a stylized fashion, which seemed to be describing the form in front of me. Perhaps ironically, simply drawing what is in front of you is not the best way of describing what is in front of you. Now, to be honest, I did have some capacity to describe the 3D forms of things, but I was pretty lazy about it, really.

So, I am continuing to try and develop my skills of “drawing in the round.” I still think I have a tendancy to fall back on my old ways of seeing the figure and it’s a constant struggle to see in a new way, but more and more when I look at my drawings, I’m seeing little things that I don’t think were there before. That’s exciting. And at the same time, there is a little nagging part of me that seems to mourn the old comfortable way of working. Growing pains.

John Lasseter on The Treatment

Pixar family man John Lasseter was interviewed recently by Elvis Mitchell, of KCRW’s The Treatment. For fans of The Animation Podcast, you’ll find this interview rather short, but it is a real radio show after all and Elvis has to stay within his half hour time-slot. KCRW has listed the interview here. If you have iTunes, use this link. If you don’t have iTunes, you can download it free for Mac or Windows.

I highly recommend you check out other interviews from The Treatment. It is one of my favorite podcasts/radio programs. You get really intelligent conversations with a variety of filmmakers, which are a nice break away from the often superficial dribble and obligatory plugs you get on TV talk-shows.

Shopping List Doodle

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Harvey and Robbie

As I said in my last post, I’m a long-time fan of Harvey Pekar, and obviously that’s what brought me out to the event last night, but I was glad to learn a bit more about artist Robbie Conal ( audio.gif), as well. I’d seen his posters pasted onto traffic-signal control boxes on street-corners of San Francisco, Seattle (I think) and Los Angeles (in that order). You’ve probably seen them, too. Those giant portraits of politicians, drawn in a fleshy, decaying, pock-marked, grotesque, and needless to say, unflattering light.

Here’s a snapshot I took just before things got going and Louise Steinman (center) asked everyone to stop taking pictures.

Harvey and Robbie
Harvey came out to the stage first and sat there alone for a while, silently observing the audience with a subtle facial expression I could not read (although he did look happy). When things got going, his voice was almost non-existant, but it improved over the course of things. Nerves, I guess. I’m going to try to avoid summing-up what was discussed, because letting myself go will result in far more than I’m sure any of you would care to read and would no doubt become a bit trivial. I will just say that it was pretty casual, though well moderated by Louise. We heard Harvey and Robbie give some background information on themselves, their childhoods, how they got started doing what they are now known for, et cetera. Some parallels were drawn between the two of them, including having communist parents and being dubbed “folk legends” among other things. Harvey said some pretty funny stuff. He has a real unique personality and is a tough nut to crack, even with all the autobiographical work he’s done.
Now, for some reason I thought they might be podcasting this conversation, but they only seem to podcast selected ALOUD events, and thus far nothing’s shown up for this one. You can subscribe to the ALOUD podcast here, though, and if anything changes, I’ll make an update to this post or elsewhere on the blog.
Harvey and Robbie
After the “conversation” portion of the event, a line was formed for book signing and such. Jamie got in line right away, and so I was only the second person in line. I tried to bend Harvey’s ear, but it wasn’t easy with the long line behind me, the slight din of voices and the barracade-like desk he was stationed behind. Still, I went ahead: “Hey, Harvey. I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time. When I was 13, etc. … So now I’m a storyboard artist and bla, bla, bla…” Harvey sat silently, looked at me a few times as I spoke, smiled slightly, perhaps, and tried to sign my books. I gave him my card. He put it in his pocket. It felt so rushed, but hey, it’s all a plus in my book.
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Harvey Pekar at ALOUD Tonight

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I was 13. It was 1989. A friend had lent me his anthologies of R. Crumb and American Splendor comix. Until then, I’d only known comic books to be Spider-Man, Batman, and the like. Now, almost 17 years later, I still clearly remember staying up late pouring over these books, as a light seemed to emanate from them and my mind was opened to the limitlessness of the comix medium. It was a major turning point, for sure. I don’t know if I can pinpoint in just a few words, exactly how this sort of seminal experience has influenced me as an artist today, but it’s definitely a bright spot along the sentimental journey of days past. Hey, you never forget your first time, you know. I had been a total virgin to underground comix, aside from a vague knowledge of Zippy the Pinhead, and this was my deflowering. Things would never be the same after that. Stripped from my naive idolation (yes, I invented a new word) of spandex-clad he-men and thrust into the dark, perverse, underworld of the self-loathing antihero. And these things were autobiographical! Well, at least partially. Anyway, these guys really existed!

Or so I’ve been told. I’m going to get my empirical evidence tonight at the L.A. Central Library, when I see Harvey Pekar in a discussion with Robbie Conal. It’s part of the ALOUD series.

More info here and here:

Thursday, June 8, 2006 at 7pm
“Life as Art, Art as Life.”
A conversation between HARVEY PEKAR and ROBBIE CONAL
ALOUD at Central Library, Mark Taper Auditorium
Fifth and Flower Street, Downtown Los Angeles

Reservations:
www.aloudla.org or (213) 228-7025
Admission is FREE