Sketchbook: The Nezumi Works Sketchbook (Can I take it to the Bridge, man?) - Page 4
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Thread: The Nezumi Works Sketchbook (Can I take it to the Bridge, man?)

  1. #91
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    Hi, thanks for all the crits on my characters facial study in the Studies & WIPs section.

    As for clouds and smoke and things, I've tried doing those before and I guess drawing them convincingly has something to do with the wind direction, altitude and the source its coming from (if its smoke).
    I see you've tried to get a shape out of the clouds with a circular base, although to be honest it makes them look like floating rocks. One way of getting around that is to shade a seperate patch of tone along the lower middle of the cloud for its base.

    By the way in your perspective work I think some of the structures are too thick in places, like on the chair legs in the last one. Introducing thinner lines in the background and thicker lines in the foreground will create depth too.

    Keep up the good work

    Last edited by flurry; November 7th, 2008 at 08:50 AM.
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  2. #92
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    The clouds would be so much easier if we were permitted tone. However, they have to be line art only for the final submission, so I'm rather limited. I am thinking of making more of a line of thinner clouds heading towards the lower right, to bring the eye to the edge of the gully, which should bring it back up to the foreground element again.

    The chair leg bothered me to start with, but I was running under a bit of a deadline. If I had given myself more time, I probably would have been able to fix it.

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  3. #93
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    Of course theres always using the ol' reference, for instance finding a photo with a cloud in it you like, then putting it into photoshop and increasing the contrast. You might be able to get some crazy shapes outta that.

    By the way I forgot to mention, but your hands in your last life drawings were getting very good, have you done more since? I'd love to see more.

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  4. #94
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    More from Layout class. The standing stones one turned out better than my expectations, although the forest one is a bit disappointing. I'm thinking of revisiting it over the holidays, see what I can do with it.

    As to character design, I'm going back to Loomis to try to overcome some of my difficulties. Hopefully I'll be able to post some poses and such tomorrow.

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    Something from my Life Drawing class. Don't mind the messy scan, it's hard enough getting an 11x14" sketchbook to go on a standard flatbed scanner in the first place.

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    They're hard to their students: clouds without shading or toning o___
    Short of old-comics-like blob masses or super-stylized pattern drawing, there's little hope.
    There is one thing though that conveys some information about volume:
    light lines on the light side and bold lines on the shadow side,
    if they allow you that, that is.

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    Bit of a cartooning exercise, we were asked to do six facial expressions. However, at the beginning of this week, I was TOTALLY inept at drawing faces at all. Trust me, bad as this is, it's an enormous advancement for me.

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    My first character turnaround, well, ever! It's full of enormous flaws, I know, but at the same time I'm extremely proud. It's probably the best character work I've ever done, and I feel so much more confident for the next time.

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    More sketchy stuffs. This is for Digital Photography class, strangely enough. The assignment is to design a character, then do a series of poses based on reference photos that we take. I've been working on my underlying structure a lot lately, you can probably see the Loomis there for the lower body work. I need to get a bit further before I have anything I'd really be willing to call a design, but I'm getting closer.

    Legs need to be spread further, head shape and neck length need tweaking, posture needs a bit of correction and don't even ask WTF is up with that left arm. But it's coming along. I'll post the version I pass in here, so y'all can see.

    I should post some more of my mannikin/gesture stuff, just for fun. Maybe sometime over the weekend.

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    My life drawing final assessment for the term. Two 2-hour poses, and the bottom is a 4-hour pose, all with the same model.

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  11. #101
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    A bit of character design, my last assignment for the semester. I'm clearly getting better, but it's by far not my best class of all. I totally need more work.

    Gonna be spending the next three weeks until classes start again trying to improve.

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  12. #102
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    Yeah, still working hard! Let the studies flow in!
    Maybe train putting characters in a simplified environment, I've discovered it helps shaping them better for the situation.
    And in anticipation for your comic project, have a look at the storyboarding ring in my signature.

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    I'm a ways from working on comics just yet, but I am going to get there. I've got a lot more work on figures before I get to that stage, though. I'll keep your links in mind though, since by next summer I should be able to really get working on my own projects.

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    hey there Nemuzi! nice work. Just leaved through the whole thing; wow, those rooms are so precise I cant' find anything wrong with it. of course, I'm usually so messy and quick that I wouldn't.
    about modeldrawing maybe I can help you a little; I really like the way you bring mass to you figure. with the round, leading line describing the mass. putting the figure down in the right proportions wiht a few thin straight strokes first can save you a lot of trouble later tough; I get the idea you dont do this, or at least dont pay enough attention to this.
    also, I always do 3 quick figure drawings of 2-5 minutes before doing 20 min poses or anything. the first 3 drawing are failed by default anyway; at least for me ^^. try it; it gets you into the right mindset without wasting time.

    about gestures; I love those little hands you made with all the different possibilities. when added to a whole figure I think you're forgetting some things though. stance of the shoulders, neck and torso alone will give you a strong feeling of gesture; I'd start from those and then work my way down to the secondary fields of face and hands. not that they are less important, but I feel they follow from the gesture& feeling set from the body mass.

    ohh dear ^^ long post. well, anyway, hope to see some storyboards or comics to comment on here soon too.

    Last edited by ashess; December 18th, 2008 at 04:01 AM.
    >>SKETCHBOOK. you'll visit me. I'll visit you, we'll have a tea party. with arts and shit. it'll be dreamy. stop by.
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    That's all good advice, ashess. I've totally got to work more on having the body parts work in harmony with each other. As I mentioned on the storyboarding group, I'm taking your lead and looking into Bridgeman's style, which seems to be a better approach for me than Loomis'.

    I've tried doing the "few simple strokes" thing, and find that I don't have much control. Probably a matter of practice and experience, and I definitely should work on it more. I've got another 15 weeks of twice-a-week life drawing coming up, so I'll be able to put it into practice more. As tot he leading line, I really took to heart an idea from Nicolaides that one of the most powerful lines you have is an outline that turns into the figure, defining the masses. The more I do life drawing, the more I see that in practice, and that's definitely a good thing.

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    model drawing 2ce a week; lucky you! bridgeman's pretty neat; def try it' takes a lot of time for me to distill, but hey.
    outlines are lovely, and they're a versatile tool; go and have fun with them. but don't forget that inside line either; it's got its moments!

    >>SKETCHBOOK. you'll visit me. I'll visit you, we'll have a tea party. with arts and shit. it'll be dreamy. stop by.
    >>mah tumbr
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    Haven't updated in far too long, but I haven't been productive either. Basically, I'm finishing my three-week Xmas break from school and have learned a very important lesson.

    I can't keep my mind on work when I'm at home.

    But school has started again, and I do feel refreshed. So I'm going back to basics and taking Vilppu's advice by picking basic shapes and becoming intimately acquainted with them. Namely, the cube. Or boxes, at any rate, since nary a one of these are perfect cubes. I'm beginning to feel good about them, and you can see a bit of Bridgeman-style block bodies in there as well, which I'm also studying. It's good stuff, and certainly makes me feel more productive. More to show when I've got it.

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    Today's crop. We're working on a project in the style of Snow White in layout class the next two weeks, so I'm starting to work on stuff like stonework and buildings. A bit too cartoony yet, but I'm pretty happy all the same.

    Yeah, and more boxes. Lots and lots of boxes.

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    More.

    That house just won't sit still.

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    New character this time, designed for my History of Animation class. His name is Ed Wannamaker, and he's awesome. Really, he said so himself.

    Assignment was to make a character in the style of the classic 1940's/50's animation like Tex Avery and Bob Clampett, and I think it worked pretty well. I'm certainly getting more confident with the three dimensional forms I need to work with, as well as ellipses and the like. But since the break I've been drawing a LOT more than I had been. I figure if I keep this up I'll have some seriously good portfolio stuff by April.

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    If you have never seen his work, check out Bill Mudron at: http://www.excelsiorstudios.net

    Your 1940's/50's work reminds me so much of his Anne Frank Conquer's The Moon Nazis work which was in the same style: http://www.excelsiorstudios.net/comic.html.

    He stopped doing Anne Frank though, and some of those links now refer to pages of his Pan comic, but you can hopefully still get some inspiration from it.

    Always admired his mastery of a pencil!

    . t h o s e . w h o . d r i n k . t h e . d a r k .

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  23. #112
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    Thanks for the heads up on Muldoon, I like the style a lot as well as the audacity to write a story like that. Pity he just abandoned it, though. Can't say Pan looks very thrilling to me, it seems to pretty much match a hundred other "dark and gritty update of beloved children's story" attempts, although I guess he was going to get a bit more ambitious later.

    I think I like this style though, I might play with it a bit more when I get a chance.

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    Technical + Improvisation = A more unique piece!

    Nezumi Works,

    I like how your work is coming along. I can see you've got a disciplined mind when it comes to working out details in your drawings.

    Now, I'd like to suggest a few things. I think you need some 'loosening up' in your work. I see your figures' linework to be v-e-r-y c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y a-p-p-l-i-e-d, which gives the impression that your confidence level isn't yet as strong as it could be. I'd like to see you try to be more deliberate with your lines, in a way that demonstrates that the lines you put down were meant to be there, instead of looking like you were too afraid you would make mistakes as you apply your linework.

    Another way of saying this is, your work looks very hesitant.

    I'm not talking 'good' or 'bad' here. Your perspective work is far stronger than your organic and figure work. I'm saying that if you bolster up your confidence more, then you'll be able to produce work that looks more solid, more alive. Also, things will look more like they come from your specific interpretation of things.

    One way to get confidence is to vary the time it takes for you to do things. Sometimes the faster you work, the more you have to rely upon your instincts when it comes to how you draw things. I'd like to see more mistakes in your work. I'd rather see something that looks like you've breathed some life into it, rather than to simply admire your technical skill.

    I think this applies to your perspective shots, too. I see how really good you are with the technical stuff, and there are SO many people who just DO NOT GET IT when it comes to understanding how to dimensionally represent things. I see you do get it, and that's a great foundation for bounding upward and onward! But what I'm hoping for you is that you're able to somehow step into the realm of being more... interpretive. More innovative. More... gee, how to explain... more...

    ... more YOU, when it comes to your drawings! The more you're able to push yourself in directions that are definitely uncomfortable, the more you're able to force yourself to make decisions that are YOURS, instead of decisions based upon what you think is technically correct, or the safe route.

    What I'm saying to you is that you've got the chops ALREADY RIGHT NOW to take this leap! You're good enough to start pushing the envelope, testing yourself more and more!

    Now, I'm not saying to avoid learning anymore technical stuff. I'm not saying to avoid drawing things safely, because it's good training to acquire a steady hand when doing precision drawing, especially for organic stuff. However, I'm saying that I think it's time for you to start operating on a more advanced level. The only way you're able to do that is to step outside your comfort zone on a regular basis.

    This is why I suggest to people to sketch every day what they see IN INK, because that forces you to make immediate, deliberate decisions in your drawings. You don't want to do a bad drawing, so this exercise will make you try even harder to make the right decision the first time. It's a great way to employ discipline and innovation in your drawings.

    Especially with perspective! By doing this (along with shortening your sketch times), you will come to find, more and more, that you're now drawing YOUR INTERPRETATION of what you see, rather than the technically correct monotone version of what you see.

    Sometimes you must do those technical drawings for your assignments, but out in the real world, you have to STAND OUT with your work! This is one excellent way to be able to accomplish this.

    Also, I don't get the sense that you're doing much underdrawing in your work. I see such precise-looking things, I don't get the sense that you're allowing yourself to GET MESSY with your compositions first.

    I have a few examples, of which I'm attaching several things for you here. First is a quickie tutorial that demonstrates what I'm talking about with the perspective:

    ONE - Sketch what you see in your mind's eye, keeping in mind where the vanishing points are in your head, and not so much on the paper. This is where my suggestion of sketching in ink works for you, as it gives you more confidence to be able to do 'eyeball' things on the spot. This is a good way to show your unique point of view.

    TWO - Once you've done this, then take the two most extreme perspective angles (on each side of the drawing), and THEN find the vanishing points, and draw them out. When you do this, you'll find that you've done an almost 'organic' interpretation of a room (or city, or whatever), that when you now apply the perspective lines from the vanishing points, you'll only be tightening up your initial (and much more interesting looking) composition. If your initial sketch composition was mostly accurate, then this will correct the small percentage that's not.

    THREE - Then hit it with a kneaded eraser, knocking down the lines you initially placed, which will THEN allow you to go to finish. THEN you end up with a very interesting drawing, which actually will look like something you came up with, instead of just a technically correct interpretation.

    The second is something I did as a preliminary to a piece I'm working up. It's totally done freehand, where I'm 'eyeballing' everything in the way I suggested above, including tightening up the perspective after my initial compositional pass. I already see lots of things that don't work in the drawing, and some other things I'm going to change. That's okay, because it's like I'm 'building an onion'. This is just one of the many layers I'm applying, until I get to the final look.

    DON'T BE AFRAID TO BE MESSY WITH YOUR INITIAL COMPOSITIONS AND DRAWINGS! This is where you work out the kinks and bad ideas. This is also a great place to experiment with pushing your perspective lens to its limits! In other words, this is where you can really open up with your work, be it organic or technical!

    Just like in those American Idol auditions, where you see someone who sings technically well, but they just don't seem to 'have it', whatever that 'it' is that can catapult someone to greater professional (and marketable) heights... well, I think you have the great potential to have 'it'. I'm just trying to give some suggestions on how you can go about achieving it.

    I hope some of this has been helpful.

    Good luck!

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  26. #114
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    Wow, thanks very much, Magnut. There's an awful lot of information there, so it'll probably take me a couple of days to really absorb it all, but there are a few things I'm going to take away right off the bat.

    First is the advice to sketch in ink. I've seen you give the same advice a lot, and I totally agree with it, and seeing it one more time I really should start applying it. The way my schedule is right now, I have almost two hours between getting to school and starting classes on most weekdays. I've been mostly filling that up with pages like the box sketches a couple of posts above this one, but I really should start doing a lot more ink sketching of the room around me and the people I see. I usually sit in a sort of lounge/cafeteria area, so there are lots of things to draw all the time.

    Second is more about layouts, and I'm inquiring about methods. Am I right in reading your advice as suggesting rough, hand-drawn underdrawings rather than assembling grid rooms and planning out the whole thing in a more mechanical fashion? I've been mostly working out things like floor plans and gridding things out so far since that's how I was taught, but if it's better to do a freehand rough, then do my more ruler-based work over that, it might come out a lot better. I'm not sure if that's what you mean, though.

    As to confidence, you're absolutely right, and I suspect the only way to really overcome this is through my teacher's favourite phrase. Pencil mileage. Draw, draw, draw some more, then keep drawing, and when you're done doing that, draw. And to be fair, I am drawing a hell of a lot more than I did even a few weeks ago. Hopefully between that and your pen advice, I should be showing a lot more improvement over the next few weeks. Which would be very important, since I've only go three months left to assemble my portfolio and prepare for the program's open house. Lots of pressure, and progressively more difficult projects.

    Thanks for the good advice. I realize you try to avoid commenting on people who aren't serious about their art, and that means a lot. Hopefully I'll be able to keep you interested. =)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nezumi Works View Post
    First is the advice to sketch in ink. I've seen you give the same advice a lot, and I totally agree with it, and seeing it one more time I really should start applying it.
    My constant suggestions about ink sketching has more to do with forcing you to be more innovative, confident & deliberate with your linework. Not to mention economical in the way you approach your drawings.

    All those interesting Tex Avery-type things you're doing... try doing those in ink, and you'll see what I'm talking about. When you have no choice but to do the right (ink) line in the first place, it makes you (eventually) come up with your own style. THEN you can apply this confidence to your pencil drawings, knowing you have the discipline to KEEP your style, and not lose yourself in your sketchiness.

    Too many people use a pencil as a means to be afraid while drawing something, then they erase, then they draw, then erase, then they scrub/rinse/repeat, until they sort of/kind of get in the general neighborhood of something resembling what they think was kind of in their minds. Boy, how tiring! The ink sketching is supposed to help you be confident enough to try to get things right the first time. Knowing that any really good drawing is going to take many layers to get to the finished product, can you imagine the countless more layers you'd have to do when you keep second-guessing yourself?

    You just really have to make a choice and to stick with it. After your drawing/sketch/illustration is done, then you evaluate. Then go from there for the next one, and the next, and the next...

    Quote Originally Posted by Nezumi Works View Post
    The way my schedule is right now, I have almost two hours between getting to school and starting classes on most weekdays. I've been mostly filling that up with pages like the box sketches a couple of posts above this one, but I really should start doing a lot more ink sketching of the room around me and the people I see. I usually sit in a sort of lounge/cafeteria area, so there are lots of things to draw all the time.
    Ohhh, that's a good place to practice (in ink) your quickie 5-10 second gestures. It's great to concentrate on the exaggerations you can come up with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nezumi Works View Post
    Second is more about layouts, and I'm inquiring about methods. Am I right in reading your advice as suggesting rough, hand-drawn underdrawings rather than assembling grid rooms and planning out the whole thing in a more mechanical fashion? I've been mostly working out things like floor plans and gridding things out so far since that's how I was taught, but if it's better to do a freehand rough, then do my more ruler-based work over that, it might come out a lot better. I'm not sure if that's what you mean, though.
    I think the underdrawings really help you work out all the toxic crap in your composition, your perspective... everything! Get loose with it, get visceral with it, get messy with it, GET PASSIONATE with it! Hey, I'm trying to avoid the overtly sexual metaphor, but I think you get my drift...

    It's a very 'freeing' feeling.

    There are drawings that are only very technically correct. Depending on your assignment/client, that's a good thing. However, if you have the great talent and passion for -

    Oh yeah, I don't even know what your career goals are. Oh well, I'll just make wild assumptions, and assume you're headed for the highest of heights.

    - a great talent and passion for drawing architecture, and you might have aspirations of doing set & environmental design for film, TV & video games (amongst the many other talents you have), then you want to do environment illustrations that COME ALIVE!

    Hm, what do I mean by that?

    Here are some examples of set/environmental design that looks 'alive'. When you look at these illustrations, you'll feel as if you're IN these environments!

    The work I'm showing you here is of a man named Michael Spooner. He's about the best example I can think of how you can use the technical aspects of perspective and make environments COME ALIVE! This (and so many other examples of his work) is how professional-level illustrations are used to sell entertainment properties:

    http://theartofmichaelspooner.blogspot.com/

    God, I wish I were one-tenth as good as this guy.

    I developed (being that I never went to art school, unfortunately) this 'backwards way' of checking my perspective (see my above quickie tutorial). I have a decent 'eye' for fleshing out things dimensionally, but I found that I was producing rather boring, unfeeling-looking perspective drawings. I would trap myself by drawing my horizon line and vantage points first, which would result in things looking too stiff and lifeless. But when I started to freehand things (with as much accuracy as possible), I found I would get much closer to my intentions.

    One day I had a drawing that looked almost right, but I couldn't really figure out why. It wasn't until I then checked my vantage points, which allowed me to 'tighten up' the perspective. I suddenly had a drawing that was both technically correct, but also had the look of being... convincing. Believable, in the way that a candid photograph might be.

    Another way of talking about your work being too technical-looking, is to also say that your perspective stuff may be trying to look 'too perfect'. There are always imperfections in even the most exactingly squared-off interiors. The more 'alive' you can make your drawing, the more it would look lived in. The big challenge is to make your environments something that has character!

    Assembling your grid rooms and planning all the technical aspects is good, but why not add your innovative aspects to this process? I believe you'll end up with much better results.

    John Byrne is a comic book artist. He's been around for decades, and he's very good at what he does. He uses grid rooms all the time in his work. He has an array of grids that he uses for his backgrounds, and for someone who must produce a large amount of work on a regular basis, it's a good means for him to save time. My personal opinion is that his work of late has that 'sameness' feel to it. No matter what perspective backgrounds he draws (be it sci-fi or New York City or any kind of interiors), the array of standard angles he utilizes just all kind of looks repetitive to me.

    So now you have good examples of the contrast from John Byrne's solidly good repetitive backgrounds, and Michael Spooner's very organic (even in a sci-fi setting) work that makes you feel as if you're in a whole different world.

    As you get to do professional work, you may be more John Byrne than Michael Spooner. Maybe your work is Spooner-level, but all you can get is Byrne-level work, because that's all that's hiring.

    It's good to be able to have a great range of abilities, so you can be able to pay your rent & bills no matter what.


    PLEASE TAKE NOTE: Look around you in school, you'll find lots of people who can't make a commitment to a specific professional direction in their life. Do they become a painter? Graphic Designer? Work in animation? Advertising? Lots of these people will refuse to go in a direction that isn't their life's desire. Or, if they're not good enough to go in that very specific direction they ONLY wanted to go, they refuse to go in any other direction, to do any other kind of thing that they have the talent to do.

    Sometimes, you have to take the jobs that are assigned to you. I can easily say that most of the jobs I've done in my life I have not been thrilled with. I have not liked a whole lot of them, and many of those I downright hated working on.

    Boy, that sounds really cynical, doesn't it? Why the hell am I doing this, then? Because, on my worst day, with the worst job, I'M STILL DRAWING PICTURES FOR A LIVING. And that's pretty damn good!

    But many people (especially the young naive ones) can't wrap their brain around that. They'd rather do nothing at all if they can't do the very thing that will bring them whatever glory and happiness they think that one thing will bring them. To do anything else would be beneath them, so why bother?

    Here's why: BECAUSE YOU'D STILL BE DRAWING PICTURES FOR A LIVING! And it bears repeating, that is a very good thing!

    Unless you are one of the LUCKY FEW who have a secure staff job, of are someone whose work is popular enough that you've got constant never-ending freelance work for years and years, you must realize that FREELANCE WORK IS SEASONAL.

    You simply must be prepared to transition from doing one kind of job, when the other has entered a dormant stage. If you are one of the lucky few who has a staff job at an animation or video game company, it's good to have those extra skills. Companies love to hire people who can work on multiple levels. Those people are very cost-effective.

    The good news is, with your skills, you can go in one of a hundred different directions with your career. The REALLY GOOD NEWS is that every one of those directions can lead to all the other directions, too!

    I'm just hoping that you'll be one of these people who's better prepared for the real world and its disappointments, in addition to its great benefits.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nezumi Works View Post
    As to confidence, you're absolutely right, and I suspect the only way to really overcome this is through my teacher's favourite phrase. Pencil mileage. Draw, draw, draw some more, then keep drawing, and when you're done doing that, draw. And to be fair, I am drawing a hell of a lot more than I did even a few weeks ago. Hopefully between that and your pen advice, I should be showing a lot more improvement over the next few weeks. Which would be very important, since I've only go three months left to assemble my portfolio and prepare for the program's open house. Lots of pressure, and progressively more difficult projects.
    Pencil mileage? Okay, I'm stealing that phrase.

    Your teacher is right. Sometimes I forget that, because I work so much, I forget to practice or just do drawings for fun.

    I assume this 'open house' is something where professionals come to evaluate your work, yes? If so, then I suggest you start writing a list of excellent questions for these professionals. Don't just say "thank you" and let them move on. And when someone doesn't have a good review of your work, then you must ask them what you need to do to improve. Pick everyone's brain, take notes when you see others get critiqued, really pay attention to these things.

    When the time comes, I would love to know how that all worked out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nezumi Works View Post
    Thanks for the good advice. I realize you try to avoid commenting on people who aren't serious about their art, and that means a lot. Hopefully I'll be able to keep you interested. =)
    Well, that particular twit I gave advice to (wait, is that too harsh? no... she was definitely a twit) decided to be so self-centered, more concerned about treating this forum as her own little vanity exercise, that she didn't want any actual criticism as much as she wanted to blather her bullshit rationale as to why she actually didn't need anyone else's point of view, because hers was all she needed in the first place. And then she would go on about her personal philosophies that had nothing to do with anything other than to see her own words in type.

    Makes it a very lonely thing for her to claw for such insubstantial attention as she wastes everyone's time. Frustrating for me to have wasted my time on that one.

    I do look forward to seeing more of your work! I like to see how people think on paper, and I'm enjoying what you're coming up with.

    If I've not answered any of your questions properly, let me know and I'll give it another shot.

    Good luck!

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  29. #116
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    Holy crap, Magnut, don't you explode from keeping all that great info inside you? I picture you wearing steel braces, just to maintain yourself.

    Okay, first off I should explain the Open House and school. I'm what they euphemistically call a "mature student" (i.e., I'm twice the age of my classmates), and I've got a failed career behind me as it is (home care isn't so good on the knees). So I've got a very good idea of what's riding on my improving a lot in the next two and a half years. So I'm in college aiming to become a professional at what I've always dreamed off but blew off as impossible. I'm in an animation/illustration prep course right now, and I'm looking at entering the actual animation program next year, should my portfolio be up to snuff. And if I keep following up on advice like yours and really starting to push myself, then I'm pretty sure it will be.

    The Open House is an annual event for the pre-animation students, and a number of other prep courses at the college. For our part, we not only have a table with our portfolio and other work, but we also each have a 4' x 8' piece of foam core with a character of our choice on, that we've been working on through the second term. That's the cheery fellow up above, although he'll be revised at least twice before I start transferring him to the larger version. I'll post a photo after the event, for laughs. Anyhow, aside from the general public, families and the staff/students in the animation program, a number of local pros will definitely be in attendance, most notably from Fuel and Mercury Filmworks, but there are bound to be others. I'm a pretty chatty person, so I'll probably be talking with pretty much anyone who comes around, definitely including anyone I can pick the brain of. I'd be a fool to miss the networking opportunity.

    As to the rest of your post, again it's a lot. Spooner is totally blowing my mind, and the more I can incorporate that sort of ability into my work, the better off I'll be. To be perfectly honest, I'm far more comfortable working with a couple of vanishing points and running with it, rather than working out a full grid room and floor plan. I'm working on a layout right now, with a Tuesday deadline, so hopefully I can do something with it. I guess the best answer to your suggestions and help will be to actually show you work, so as soon as I have something scanned I'll be dropping it in here. Sound good?

    Again, and I sound like a broken record, thanks tonnes for the help. It's blowing my mind, in a good way.

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    Oh, bah. I just spotted the paragraph where you ask about my goals. Well, my true goal is comics and/or graphic novel work, but if I land a job in animation that'll do nicely. But visual storytelling on the page has always meant a lot to me.

    Of course, I'd be totally happy doing layouts, illustration, design (I love design drawings and sketches more than finished pieces, honestly), and especially storyboards. I really need to get more into the habit of pausing movies and doing off-the-cuff storyboarding, too. I imagine doing it in ink would help even more, we'll see how it goes.

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    "Skill is the result of trying again and again, applying our ability and proving our knowledge as we gain it. Let us get used to throwing away the unsuccessful effort and doing the job over. Let us consider obstacles as something to be expected in any endeavor; then they won't seem quite so insurmountable or so defeating." - Andrew Loomis
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    So this is my first layout trying Magnut's suggestions. Unfortunately, due to some poor time management on my part, I had to get it out under rather tight constraints so it's not as good as it really could be. But as a step in the right direction, I'm pretty happy with what I came up with.

    The point of this particular assignment was to get the concept of reflection, which I sort of did, except that props are a real weakness of mine. Going into the next few weeks, I want to really push that side of my work, get a bit more convincing on stuff like the beer mugs and other rounded objects. It was also supposed to be in the style of an existing animated film, so I chose Laputa: Castle in the Sky.

    I'm going to put a lot more preliminary work into my next one, which is due two weeks from today. We'll see how it goes, and I might upload some of my studies.

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    Nezumi Works,

    I must say, this last piece you did has a bit more of a 'feel' to it. Meaning, it has the feel of something that was done from your point of view, and not (as much) like you were trapped between two pre-laid vanishing points.

    I spent about a half hour doing a version of what you did above to make a few points about density and clarity. What I did (as a drawing) really sucks, but I thought it would better represent what I'm going to suggest for you.

    When every line you do is the same monotone line weight, then you're going to have a flat 'wallpaper' effect from foreground to background. Also, you're using the same kind of detail on everything in the background as you do in the foreground, and that's just not necessary.

    Think of it this way. Your friend is standing in front of you, and she's got very nice long hair like Heather Locklear. You can see every strand of it. She's also wearing a sweater, and you can see very clearly the texture of it. Same with her jeans she's wearing. You can see the pattern of the weave in her pants. You can also see the nice pattern embossed into her dark cowboy boots.

    Now your friend is standing 30 feet away from you. All of the details you saw when she stood next to you are now simplified. So when you draw your friend standing close, you can do lots more detail. When you draw her standing far away, you simplify. Remember, you're not drawing real life. You're drawing a representation of real life, and even so, you need to represent aspects of real life.

    Confusing, huh? I promise you, when you stand in an environment like you've drawn, that means you're seeing more detail on the foreground items than you do on the background items. That being the case, do we really need to see every single wood grain and nail and tiny crack on the back wall? If so, then where are the flies and dust bunnies?

    It is okay to do that much detail if you wish, but why make it as dense in the background as you would in the foreground? It defeats the purpose of representing dimension.

    It's okay to be more dense (with detail and weights) as a representation of foreground elements. Notice that the counter, stools and cabinets have more of a 'weighty' sense about them, due to adding weight to lines and adding more detail. As the planes recede into the background, there is less detail to see. I was still too heavy with things like the bench against the wall and such, but I hope you get my point.

    Also, you're still being way too rigid and unfeeling with your work. Not every line has to connect to every other line. It's a tricky thing to be suggestive with your linework, and at the same time being very detailed, at the same time being very loose where possible.

    Look at Michael Spooner's work again, and you'll see more of what I'm talking about.

    You said you were pressed for time on this piece more than usual. GOOD! I believe that's when you need to get out of your comfort zone and be a lot more deliberate with your work. That way, you might have better luck with those items such as the mugs and stool seats.

    That stool you did was way out of perspective. You need to pick up on things like that, otherwise you'll just blow past very small (but extremely important) things, and you'll just never catch those problems.

    Your skills are impressive, but the biggest weapon in your 'art arsenal' is your ability to know when something doesn't look right. When you are able to hone that ability, you'll at least be able to become a detective, figuring out where you went wrong. If you notice these things, that helps direct you towards a solution in fixing those things.

    But if you can't see it, then you can't fix it.

    Compositionally, your placement of the mirror doesn't serve you well. First, there seems to be not enough room to show the other side of the bar beyond the right frame of the picture. And, where the heck IS the background beyond the bar in the mirror? Is it limbo?

    You have great technical skills. But remember, this is also a craft. So, it's okay to literally 'craft' your details. It's okay to literally 'feel' your way through the details. You don't have to lay down cold monotone lines all the time.

    Again, Spooner's work is the best example.

    Nice work. Keep going!

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  34. #120
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    Thanks for the great critique, Magnut. It's sort of ironic that, as you said, some of the strongest work comes from being rushed and thus relying on instincts, but being rushed removes the ability (for lack of time) to actually fix those problems. For instance, getting the background into the mirror, or fixing the stool. I will take your advice here in a couple of weeks, since I want to re-do a good part of this anyhow, and our study break is coming up. Yes, I'm one of those keeners who actually studies during study break. Clearly, I need the time to work, practice and grow before the next piece is due.

    As to specifics, I have no idea what was going through my head when I put all those details in the background. I know the concept behind putting more detail closer, and hardly any at a distance, so I must have turned that part of my brain off or something. I guess that's where giving myself time, doing studies, practicing and, of course, pencil mileage, comes into play. Oh, and the closer stool in your redraw is exactly what I was trying to do with the one I did draw. Partially out of shot, to give a sense that the room keeps going off to the side. One piece of advice I got from my instructor, which I plan to do, is drop the line of the floor a bit, to give the place even further depth. I think that'd work pretty well, worth trying at least.

    I've been doing pen sketches in the mornings this week, a couple of pages a day, so hopefully after about a month or two I'll be seeing some real differences. I'm practicing gesture more as well, and that's helping with the character side of things, I think. I've got a project I'm doing today, and another due a week from tomorrow, and I'll post what I can as I go.

    Again, thanks muchly.

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