Category: Drawing Techniques and Processes Class

Drawing Class Lesson 8: Figure Drawing

Today we will be drawing from a model. Figure drawing is one of the oldest methods for improving drawing abilities. It provides an endless amount of problems to solve and there are many different facets to take into consideration. I understand it is impossible to teach everything about figure drawing in one session, so I’d like to go over the basics first before we begin.

Before starting a drawing from a longer pose it is important to loosen up. This is done by what’s called gesture drawings. Gesture drawings are quick drawings, generally completed in 2 to 3 minutes which capture the gesture of the figure. A gesture drawing serves only to catch the overall feeling of a pose or an object. Whether it is animation, character design, or painting and graffiti, gesture drawings serve as the whole upon which the rest of the drawing is hung. It’s a loose skeleton to be refined at a later stage.

In this tutorial below you can see how a professional character designer warms up with gesture drawing.

Gesture drawings all convey a sense of rhythm abd movement. It is at the heart of graffiti. Which is why the first step to learning how to spray, is to start with tags.

Anatomy can be taken into consideration however isn’t a necessary component for figure drawing. However, the more you know about your subject, the better that you can draw it.

Gesture drawing is also at the heart of character design and comic book illustrations.

Figure drawings can also be based completely off the interplay of light and shadow on the structure of the human body.

Drawing Class Lesson 9: Color Theory

Introduction of Assignment 3:

What is the correct color wheel for painting? It has been hotly debated for over a century, and everyone seems to have an opinion about what the “real” primary colors are. In the following post I hope to educate you about some of the theories about just which primary colors are the best to be used for painting, and why. Of course I also offer some of my own personal opinion based upon my own studies of color as well as my experience as someone who loves painting in oils.

The first problem we run into when looking at the various color wheels which can be used for painting involves something called Tertiary Colors. Tertiary colors are created when one mixes a primary color (Red, Yellow, Blue) with one secondary color (orange, violet, green). Generally these are the colors located next to them on the color wheel.

They often have specific names which can get quite exotic such as Sea Green, or Azure. This is because often designers want to come up with a cool name for a color so they can market it better. For various reasons painters have been taught and told to use the RYB color wheel. A few reasons include the fact that artist materials which are available now used to have toxic compounds in them. Now with the advent of dyes it is easier to synthesize a color such as cyan. The one thing to remember however when using these colors is that dyes will fade with age, while real pigments (such as cadmium) have already stood the test of time for centuries.

First we will be focusing on the Red/Yellow/Blue color wheel which is most often used by painters. In the color wheel above the Tertiary Colors shown are Yellow Green, Blue Green, Yellow Orange, Red Orange, Red Violet, Blue Violet, and Blue Green. This was widely believed to be standard colors to use for quite some time, and is still often used in Art Education up to this day.

An RYB color chart from George Field’s 1841 Chromatography; or, A treatise on colours and pigments: and of their powers in painting
Back in the 18th century the theories surrounding color theory were cemented in the idea that the RYB (Red/Yellow/Blue) was the way to go. These theories have since changed over the years, however the RYB color model is still often used in teaching painting, and color theory up to this day.

These theories were enhanced by 18th-century investigations of a variety of purely psychological color effects, in particular the contrast between “complementary” or opposing hues that are produced by color afterimages and in the contrasting shadows in colored light.

During the 18th century the theory of the RYB model was furthered by two great thinkers. They were Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and Michel Eugene Chevreul. They were both transfixed by what is called the Psychological effects of color, and obsessed with how our eyes perceive color. One of the main things they observed was how complementary colors (that means they are opposite each other on the color wheel) created afterimages in our brains when they were “burned” into our eyes. They were also interested in why shadows in colored light would create contrasting shadows. You can download Goethe’s The Theory of Colors here as I’ve uploaded it to this site. It is in the creative commons so there it has no copyright and is in the Public Domain.

After Goethe and his treatise on color, scientists moved away from the RYB color wheel and shifted towards a color wheel which most everyone sees every day. This is the Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) model which still dominates a lot of media to this day (Hint: It’s how your TV works). To understand how this color wheel operates we need to go back to the previous lesson, and further examine how different lights makes different colors as opposed to how pigments (or physical mixtures of color) differ.

In the previous lessons we have talked about Additive and Subtractive colors. Forgive me if I wasn’t clear enough before, but these lessons are meant to be sequential, and therefore sometimes I will withhold information so you can absorb it at different rates.

To put it simply, Additive Color is created by adding color. How do we add color? Well, by using light. That’s why if you get up close to a TV set you will see tiny little bars of Red, Green, and Blue. Learning about additive color is particularly important for those who use a computer to create their imagery, as they are dealing with a medium that is essentially based upon the glow of a computer screen. Now, what happens when that person decides he wants to print out the image on his screen? The answer is that he will need to deal with another color wheel when the image is printed from a computer screen onto a piece of paper! This is because a piece of paper doesn’t glow, it’s reflecting light from a light bulb or the sun. As we discussed previously, an object doesn’t hold a certain color because it reflects it, it is a certain color because it absorbs all the other colors in the spectrum. Hence the term, subtractive color.

So we, as painters, aren’t painting with light, we’re painting with paint. Hence, we need to use a color wheel which is specific to our needs. Let’s take a look at the two different types of color wheels. Check out the first one below. This is a classical color wheel which utilizes Red, Yellow, and Blue as the primaries.

There’s some nice oranges and violets in there right? Oh? What’s that, you want them to be brighter and more vibrant? Well, then you can use the Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow color wheel below. CMYK is the color wheel which is utilized in printing, and has generally been regarded as the “true” set of primaries.

But there’s a few problems with this color wheel. Mainly, it doesn’t exist in nature (as in, natural pigments) as readily available as the colors which have been used for thousands of years. However if you want to oil paint with Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow then you can. But if you believe that oil paints will mix similarly to a printing machine then you’re fooling yourself. As you have probably already learned, different colors and different pigments have different strengths and weaknesses.

By this I mean every color has different properties. In the printing process CMYK(K stands for black) are often used in transparent glazes. For instance, in order to make red in in CMYK printing you first print a tiny little magenta dot, and then on top of that dot is a yellow which is semi transparent. That’s how you make red. Now with oil paint let’s say that you want to paint a giant red object. If you were painting by utilizing the CMYK printing model you’d have to first paint an entire layer magenta, wait three days, and then on top of that you would glaze a bit of yellow on top of it to get your red. So yes, it is possible to paint with CMYK, but the simple answer is that it would simply take FOREVER to finish a painting, because we’re not machines, and paint takes a long time to dry.

So what do we do as painters? Which color wheel should we use? I would suggest that you (that’s right, you) find a palette that you enjoy working with. Limit it to no more than 10 colors, and get used to it. It takes a long time to learn how to properly mix and see color so find a palette that you feel comfortable manipulating. I know for me I like to use Cadmium Red Medium, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Pthalo Blue, Pthalo Green, Alizarin Crimson, Yellow Ochre, Ultramarine Blue, Raw Umber, Permanent Violet Medium, and Titanium White. And that’s what I’ve used for numerous painting tutorials that I’ve done. It’s a hybrid of both CMYK as well as the Old RYB models. With RYB it can be difficult to make a nice brilliant violet as well as green. So what do you do? You buy them And if you want to try to paint with Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow then you can. These colors are generally referred to as Process Blue, Process Red, and Process Yellow. They’re dyes so they won’t last as long (meaning they’ll fade faster) as the classical pigments but they could be interesting to experiment with. For me? I’ll stick to Cadmiums, Ultramarine, Titanium, and Cobalt. There’s a reason why they’ve been around for thousands of years.

Drawing Class Lesson 10: Natural History Museum

Today we will be visiting the Natural History Museum to draw. Bring your student IDs (as this will give you a discount. I believe admission is 80Kc) . Also bring your sketchbook and drawing materials. We will be spending the entire class drawing different animals.

Your exercise for this class is to pick two different animals and combine them in one drawing. This is called a Chimera. Take a look at the video below to see how this can be done.

Chimera’s have been around for a long time, and we can find them in many different cultures around the world. Here’s a bronze statue of a chimera from China.

They also still pop up in popular culture all the time. Such as this concept art sketch from Clash of the Titans.

But above all else. Don’t forget the basics of form, gesture, and planar surfaces when drawing animals.

Drawing Class Lesson 11: Self Directed Project

Click To Download Assignment Brief

Today you will begin preliminary research about what artists will influence you, and the materials you will need to begin your final Self Directed Project. You will be given the entire semester, and 13 total class times devoted just to working on the project of your choice.

This means that you are allowed to create your own assignment, and your own schedule to create a project which will help you in your future goals. In the past I’ve had students make comic books, sculptures out of plastaline, character design, traditional painting in oils, digital painting, ZBrush, Flash, Stop Motion Animations, Paper cut out animations, studying anatomy, Toon Boom Studio, Blender, etc. Basically if you think it involves drawing somehow, then we will discuss your project ideas and I will say whether or not they are acceptable. However as you can see I’m very open. The most important thing is to set goals which we can work together on. At the end of your project you will be giving a presentation of your work, as well as research into both technique, as well as process which should be documented in your sketchbook.

For this assignment you must submit the following. Research on an artist in your field of interest. This can be done digitally and submitted on a pdf, or you can print out images of the work, and paste them into your sketchbook. There must be no less than 15 pages of research.

Your sketches and preliminary stages must be shown. This will vary depending on the medium you choose.  There must be at least 15 sketches showing the progression of your projects. If working with digital media it will be important to document the step by step process of the creation of your work.

The final work.

Your Calendar and Statement of Intent


Your statement of intent should cover logistical concerns. Materials needed, programs needed, etc.

Writing a statement of intent may seem like a task which has little to do with your work, when in reality, it actually has everything to do with your work. It is important to overcome technical limitations of your work, however, it is also important to learn how to synthesize your ideas and make sure they also relate to the work which you are creating. Some things you can start to think about include. Your intended work should have a concept and thought process behind it and answering the questions below will help you define what your FMP will be…

  • What are your major interests and why?
  • What do you want to communicate, and what other artists/designers have been successful in communicating the ideas which you are interested in to an audience/viewer?
  • What is the subject and/or content of your work? In other words, what is it about?
  • What kinds of things inform your work? This can include other pieces, politics or society, and your own experiences.
  • What materials do you use and why?
  • What is your process and how does it affect the way you work?
  • How do you want your audience to view your work? Do you want them to react in a certain way?


It is important to differentiate between writing an Artist Statement, and writing a statement of intent. As they are two different things. However, by looking at sample artist statements we can begin to examine the thought process required for formulating a statement of intent. With an artist statement the work has already completed, and the artist is attempting to sum up in words, what was the intent of the work to communicate it to the audience. You will be formulating a statement of what you intend to create and the ideas which you wish to explore.


Your statement of Intent MUST Include the following:

1. What are your creative intentions.

2. What materials are you going to use? Why does this medium lend itself to the concept you are trying to explore?

3. What techniques are you going to use? How does technique effect how the piece will be read by a viewer?

4. What processes will be implemented and why?

5. What methods are you going to use to record your review progress and outcomes? This means that you must have a schedule you are following in which there are deadlines which must be met.


Here’s some inspiration for possible avenues to pursue.

Paper Cut Illustrations

Working in Blender/3dsMax/Maya or any other 3d program.

The Spine by Chris Landreth, National Film Board of Canada


Traditional Painting

Character Design


Sculptures with projection mapping


Drawing Class Final Lesson: Presentations

Download the brief for the presentation assignment HERE.

Today we will be having final presentations by every student in the class. Since we are a large class I’m going to limit each presentation to 10 minutes. This means that you must have everything made in your PDF beforehand and not jumping around in a lot of different folders searching for an image while you are presenting.

Once the presentations are complete you will hand in your assignments to reception. On this disk you will need to include all of your images from the year and a self reflective report. Remember the more you document, the better your grade will do. So don’t be afraid to include a lot of preliminary sketches and anything from the year as it pertains to drawing in this class.

After everything is submitted anyone who wishes can come join me in Riegrovy Sady Beer Garden to celebrate the end of the year 😀

Self Directed Project: Example

Predevelopment & Research
My work for this assignment is actually also a final piece in a series of my previous work, and it is actually their culmination – it is what these previous works were supposed to represent. From the start I wished to create a piece of light-art, but also with a mix of a kinetic scultpure or object. I wished to combine these two elements to create a visual instrument that is interactive.
In this respect, I was influenced largely by the works of Olaffur Eliasson, who although is not
creating very similar object is very stemmed in the experience itself. He works a lot with
geometrical shapes, and the properties of objects themselves. He creates his art by playing with
forms and light in order to create stunning experiences. It is hard to comment on his direct work process though, as he employs a studio full of people who help him complete his amazing works.


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I also enjoyed the works of a young american artist, Joshua Kirsch who creates interactive lightart/kinetic objects.

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His works, particuarly Concentricity 96 as seen above have inspired me, although the basic shape of my piece was created long ago before I found him. He works with quite advanced mechanics and electronics, standard of which I could not replicate, but anyhow seeing his work I decided that my work should definitely be interactive.
The previous works that this final piece is a culmination of are two objects, one is a small copper jewelry piece, which I call Rotator 1. Its about 10cm in diameter, and it already reflects the basic shape of my future work. Screen shot 2014-02-10 at 3.33.36 PM

Later, I was able to work with some larger metal plates, and so I decided that I could make my work bigger, perhaps prepare a skeleton for further work. The Rotator 2 already was about 1,25m in diameter and made of cor-ten metal. However the whole structure was too heavy. I would not be able to get it moving, and even if so it would be quite dangerous with this mass of metal

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Statement of Intent
In my project I will research several artist and techniques in order to create an object that is both visual and interactive. This piece will be a light/kinetic sculpture with a variety of possible uses – as aninstallation piece/projection area/or a music visualisation. Foremostly
though I like to describe it as a ‘visual instrument’.
It will be made out of wood, I also need a suitable motor and around 3
meters of LED light strips.
The final production will be in the form of photodocumentation and video.

Additional comments
This project has involved a lot of drawing, directly or indirectly. Sketching and drawing were at the center, although it wasn’t usually on paper, but on the woodpieces themselves that would finally be cut.

I enjoyed working on this project a lot because it combined a wide variety of techniques and led me to discover and learn more.

Sketches & Development

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Actual Development
I wished for my piece to be interactive and rotating, so I had several
constrains that I need to solve or get around. The first was finding a
suitable motor that would be powerful enough to rotate my piece, yet
not too powerful to work with.
The solution came quite quickly with the discovery of an old washing

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And so, the very first challenge was removing it from the box.

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The motor needed to be plugged in! Luckily I was able to configure
the original cord of the washing machine.

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And use it to plug the motor into power directly.

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With the motor prepared, I now knew how should I continue with my
production. The motor was a primary constraint, as everything would
stem from it. There were several important things that would be built
on it – the rotating power connectors that would power the LED lights
on the ends and a systém of attaching the whole piece. Next came the
basic designing.

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First, were the ‘wings’. Their size and shape was calculated to be
exact, and to have about 20cm of space in separation.

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In further preparation, the whole shapes was drawn onto a board.

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The wings are cut and put into the prepared shape.

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Next were the middle pieces that neatly fall into place.

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The middle pieces would need to be connected together strongly with
wooden circles and glue.

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Adding the central parts to hold the structure.

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The rotation is achieved.

Gluing process continues.

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In the end only one screw was enough to hold the wings, even when

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The base is done. Down you can see the two wooden plates that will
hold the structure on the end of the motor with several screws.

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Standard and ‘Shuriken’ mode

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The most complicated element is probably the power connection. It
will be led through cables that will touch the rotating rod. On the rod
there will be strips of tape that will both hold and insulate two metal
strips. The curved ends of the woodpieces will be filled with wire that
will touch the metal strips. Cables will lead from the metal strips
( under them ) and connect to the added rotating structure, as they
rotate together with the rod.

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Adding the metal strips.

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Time for the paint-job.

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Paintjob is done. Next : sticking the LED strips. They already came
with 3M tape on the other side, so they were ready to go.

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The connection travels through the wooden pieces through the insulated metal
plates and onwards through cables that rotate with the structure.

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The connection travels through the wooden pieces through the insulated metal
plates and onwards through cables that rotate with the structure.

The rotating power connectors are finished.

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Time to solder the cables to the LED strips. Only one of the strips had
the cables pre-attached.

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The base is finished, time for wiring.

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First connection – it is working!

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Testing the light intensity.

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