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As I've explored deeper and deeper into art, I've realized I have many flaws that need remedied. I just recently was accepted into the Art Institute of Pittsburgh for Game Art & Design and instead of starting this Summer, I chose October. The reason I chose October was to spend the entire Summer tuning my skills and getting ready for the school. I have no idea how the school will be and I'm damn scared about it.
Since September, I believe, I've been working diligently on figure drawing. I've purchased and read books, expanded my horizons on different mediums and have drawn like a son of a bitch only to find that without a reference, I can't draw the human figure for shit! This has been the biggest let-down for me yet because though I can see almost perfectly as an artist, I cannot see from within my imagination let alone the human figure. What do you suggest I do to remedy this problem? Are manikins any good for this situation? I have a cheap little one I picked up for $5 but I have yet to use it. I imagine its purpose is for proportions, right?
Well, another flaw of mine is I lack expression in my art as well as the ability to step into the abstract world. I feel like I've learned a great deal about art in the few months I've been heavily studying it but haven't had the courage to make something non-representational especially since abstraction's main life is animated through color.
So basically I'm just fearing a lot of things. One would be lack of knowledge about color, another the fear of wasting time, another a fear of wasting art materials and so forth mainly because I don't get money too often. To keep my creativity the first priority, I've stayed out of the workplace. Though I know I will eventually get a miserable job that I know I'll hate, I'm pushing that the furthest into the future as possible.
I dunno, it's 6 in the morning and I can't bring myself to draw or anything out of fear of losing motivation and displeasing myself. Though I could shock myself by drawing from a reference, that's not my goal anymore.
people like you find it easy
naked to see
walking on air
I think the thing that you have to remember is that the kind of vissual developement that you're after isn't possible to gain in a short amount of time (usually). How long it will take you to develope a certain skill or ability is not something you can easily quantify. It takes time an repetition to learn to draw out of your head. As far as I know, to draw out of your head you will have to understand anatomy(what are the parts of the human body, what are the shapes of these parts, and how do they function; mostly you need to study the skeleton), you need to understand gesture (this is the movement of the human body, the way the body ballances its self with regards to gravity, and the inherint rythems of the body which are the repeating shapes and angles found in the composition of the figure), form (the sillowette, 2d shapes. 3d contours,3d shapes, and major planes of the body), composition (the way space is devided outside and inside the human body), and perspective (the way things are percieved in 3d space). You could add lighting and color to those topics too but I think that perspective and form kind of lend themselves to that. So, that's a pretty tall order. Not something you could expect to get down in a couple of months. When I first started figure drawing, I thought I'd figure it out in a couple of classes. My first teacher sat me aside and told me that if I wanted to learn how to draw the figure out of my head, that I could do it, but that it would take me about ten years of hard work. He might be right, but I'm willing to be patient. Now you might be saying to yourself, well damn, I don't want to be some kind of master artist I just want to draw comic book cartoony kinds of characters, anything, just out of my head, why should that take me ten years? My answer is that you're right you might be able to learn to do that a lot sooner, but to do it well how soon? If a decent masterry of the thing will take ten roughly, then how long do you think you would need. At least two years right? Something like that. So, my advice is to keep doing what you're doing and set realistic goals and not beat yourself up for not meating your own unreasonable expectations. Be good to yourself dude, cause the artist in you will die if you keep spanking it. You have to be patient but pationate and persistent. I think perspective is very important to drawing things convincingly within an enviornment but I think that gesture and composition are more important because they give the figure life. So, if you haven't already get the e-books by andrew lewmis and work on little gesture studies of people around you and dvd's that you pause draw and then skip forward a couple of frames. Try to get an animators sence of expression and motion with the body. Try to memorize proportion and do lots of master copies for form like norman rockwelll, dean cornwell, or j.c. lyendecker. The most important thing you could do is to draw from master copies for like an hour and then draw from life every day for 1 hour. You'll relate the ideas better. So first work on gesture/proportion/sillowette or 2d shape of the figure. I hope that helps.
I couldn't finish reading Wilsons response...my ADD kicked in and I noticed the room I was in had some lights and walls...but I did read most of your post. My advice for you, depending on your goals, is to get out of going to the AI. I can't speak for pittsburgh or wherever...but here's my story. You get out of your education what you put in. And you have to decide for yourself what you want to do. I went to the Art Institute of Seattle having NEVER drawn before. its an 8 quarter program here (2 years) and I didn't start drawing until my 2nd quarter. There were a few good teachers, but half, if not 3 quarters, of my classes were absolutely worthless. Not to mention, the education was so broad, it really hampered my ability to focus on what I wanted to do. To be honest, I worked my ass off. After a year and a half of taking my work, my education, and art seriously, you can see the results at my website. My understanding of anything like color, light, volume, shape...is very small. my understanding of Animation is decent (and I was told by my acedemic director that I should be able to get a job at a game company being an animator. Several other relevent teachers (including an art director at microsoft, and a few other industry guys) told me I should have been able to get a game animation job) but I decided (and decided from the start) that I didn't want a job working at a desk behind a computer all day long. At the AI, it's all about placement rate. They want to put as many of thier graduates in the field as possible, and so they teach the tools as many and quickly as possible. The whole logic behind it is ass-backwards though, because they don't teach fundamentals, they teach software. I'm not saying it can't be done, but they don't make much effort to make you a better artist. (AIS has about 5-15 people graduating per quarter calling themselves "Texture artists" who have NO DAMN CLUE how to paint a thing! why?!") In any case...feel free to look at my work and see for yourself what an Art Institute can do for someone with absolutely no skill and 110% desire to learn. Good luck in your journey. its not easy.
Regarding manikins, I don't think they're that great. I've found certain toys to be more poseable than this $12 manikin I have. If you need a reference to some pose I recommend looking for GI Joe, Stikfas , or those Gundam model kits. The Stikfas and Gundam need some assembly of course. I don't think the Stikfas take long to assemble, from what I've seen it's really simple. Personally I've been wanting a Stikfas for while, those things are cool and very poseable.
I hope that link works. It is the best mannikin money can buy. IT is an 18 inch spiderman action figure withevery articulated joint possible including the fingers and thumb, and shoulders. IT is a bit stylized like a cartoon, but if you can work through that, you have a great reference tool.