I don't understand this assignment

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  1. #1
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    I don't understand this assignment

    Well, today during class we had an assignment to take a cool picture that an artist had made (strong poses mostly)...and...trace the silhouette then change what was inside it to something else.

    The teacher said it was to help us understand strong silhouettes, but the entire time I wasn't even noticing the silhouette under my tracing paper... I was just focusing on not going out of the lines.

    I kept thinking "wouldn't it be better to sit down and analyze why the silhouettes in the picture are strong"? I could see that actually helping me understand that aspect of design (breaking it down to exactly why something falls flat, or why it pops based on its silhouettes).... but just doodling (thats exactly what he said we should be doing) inside the lines was just ...crazy?

    Apparently we were told to think of something else, not about what we were working on (WTF?! I am constantly told by concept artists that you need to think about EVERYTHING when designing the details of a concept... thinking about why this part is there, how it connects, what is it made of... everything).

    And then there is the issue that this method of doodle detailing down the entire figure from top to bottom also goes against what I have been told about working "big to small". Working out the bigger forms, then working out the medium ones...and finally at the very very end start messing with the tiny details.

    It seemed like the entire assignment was either A) completely not helping in the aspect it was meant to (silhouettes) or B) was actually going AGAINST everything I had been learning about how to draw up till that point.

    Is it me? Is there some hidden something that I am missing? Or is it just a crazy method that I will mess around with for a couple days and then throw it away because...well.. it's not a very strong way to approach designing?

    I really really don't want to be one of those artists that can only create by ridding the backs of other real artists (ripping off their composition and silhouette understanding). I want to learn how to do really do it... not how to fake it and hope no one notices how little I can really do on my own....

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  3. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivory_Oasis View Post
    ripping off their composition and silhouette understanding
    How can you rip off someone's understanding...? I'm pretty sure that it's physically impossible to understand something the exact same way as someone else, and if the path to learning how to do something has been tried and true for generations of artists beforehand, why change it?

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    The assignment, I think, was just a way to help you see the strength of the silhouette (as in, it reads even if filled with nonsense doodling). It was not about what you put inside the silhouette at all, you're overthinking it.

    It's like saying 'I don't get blind contour drawing, am I not supposed to build structure first, and stuff': no, you're not. It's an exercise to make you SEE, nothing more. It probably won't even take you more than ten minutes.

    When you'll actually have to insert a silhouette into one of your works, you'll make sure it reads as the pose you meant even without filling in the inside with the figure.

    Last edited by Ariel9; January 30th, 2010 at 04:39 AM. Reason: Deleted the double post, sorry!
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    As the above poster spelled out (twice) the assignment is designed to teach the compositional importance of a powerful silhouette: The idea being that it retains its gravitas and compositional effect regardless of what has been placed within it, whether it happens to be photorealistic or truly mindless scribbles. Th power of the image is in the placement of each element rather than the intricate minutiae. THis is what you must learn through this assignment: The power of grand shapes as opposed to minute doodles and details. The power of a well-thought-out composition.

    CRITIQUE AS YOU WOULD BE CRITIQUED
    http://conceptart.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=59
    THE ABOVE LINK IS ALL YOU NEED

    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=200044 <- Sketchbook - filled with unhappy things.
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  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ariel9 View Post
    The assignment, I think, was just a way to help you see the strength of the silhouette (as in, it reads even if filled with nonsense doodling). It was not about what you put inside the silhouette at all, you're overthinking it.
    Hmm, I can see that as a valuable thing to learn... I just question the way it is being taught.

    Blacking out the figure entirely and just examining the silhouette would have accomplished the goal of showing how interesting a picture can be just based on its silhouette.

    Or taking a bunch of silhouettes and talking through each one to identify where they went right and where it was off....then trying to put it into practice by creating our own silhouettes.

    But, doodling inside someone elses silhouette (not even thinking about the silhouette) for 3 hours...and then taking it home for homework and coloring it in to finish it (another couple hours)... all so we can sit back and go "yup, a good silhouette is important...you were right teacher!!" ? I don't get it. No one in the class is saying silhouette isn't important... so, why not actually teach us how to do it instead of a lengthy drawn out process to "prove" something everyone hopefully knows?

    Hmm, I guess that is the part that bugs me the most.

    The biggest issue is the class isn't even scheduled to actually dive into the aspects of silhouette later!!! So he proves a silhouette is important and then just moves on?? We are moving onto other "production tools" next class! Like doing the same tracing on a street corner and then changing parts to make it our "own" street corner.

    Is it just whacky that I actually want to learn how to do this stuff and not just trace over someone else who really knows it?

    How can you rip off someone's understanding...?
    By taking the product of their understanding and copying it. By taking the work of a painter with GREAT sense of composition...and just tracing over everything he did and inserting your own subject.

    I sure don't learn the aspects of great composition by doing that. I just rip of the guy who put in the work for a single piece...and then the next assignment I have to do I'm still at square 1 with little understanding about how to actually do it myself.

    I would rather actually attempt to do it with some guidance and make a crappier piece (but be a step ahead from where I started) than just trace off someone elses work and be at the same place when I was finished....

    This is school... I'm here to get better, I'm not here to just get the work done. In a work environment, growth is secondary and the product is primary. But in school, the growth is completely primary!!

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    It seems like your just having problems with the way it's being taught. Best advice is to suffer through and learn everything you can from the process. Good or bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivory_Oasis View Post
    This is school... I'm here to get better, I'm not here to just get the work done. In a work environment, growth is secondary and the product is primary. But in school, the growth is completely primary!!
    I think it's been proven that school doesn't automatically give growth. It's a place to learn. So learn everything about the picture's silhouettes and practice with your own pictures. That's where you see growth. In your own time, not in your teacher's lessons.

    SECONDS: Do you work from life of photographs?
    FRAZETTA: I work from my head.

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  8. #7
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    You can always take assignments and make them fit into the realm of your interests. If you don't take the assignments and add your personal goals to them, school is going to suck very hard and you won't learn anything. Not every assignment is going to cater to your specific plans for growth.

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