Tag: drawing

Styles of Drawing

So you have been drawing for months from life. You have piles of worn Bridgeman and Loomis books piled up by your desk, and you still suffer from a simple problem. You don’t seem to have anything close to a personal style developed. Fear not. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Developing a personal style consists of two main components, 1 is to draw as much from life as possible as this builds up what is called your Visual Library (This means that if you draw a guitar 20 times from life, you’ll have a better chance of drawing a realistic one from memory), the second component is to understand and get very familiar with the type of symbols you generally use to convey certain features (or other objects). One must first get familiar with the different styles of drawing first in order to get a good feel for your visual vocabulary (symbols) .

So what does it mean to understand the symbols which you use? You have already been taught not to use symbols but instead use abstraction to create the illusion of depth. And this is fine if you want to make paintings like a traditional painter. However, a large group of people don’t start drawing from life in this manner when they are 14 or 15, they start by drawing from cartoons, comic books, and from their heads. And these early symbols we make for a nose (for example) stick with us for all eternity, or so it seems. Let’s take a look at just how eyes are handled in three different cartoons in the image below.

In all of these examples we can see that the symbol for an eye can vary greatly, but still depict an eye. This is what we generally refer to as someone’s style. The nuts and bolts of someone’s style is based upon the symbols they use, and the techniques which are used to represent them. So we can look at the image below, and see how different symbols are also further stylized by the techniques in which they are depicted.

So how did Ralph Steadman find his personal style, and how did that differ from Todd McFarlane and Bill Plimpton? Well, in order to see how these people draw, we can simply dissect the way they construct a drawing. In the top drawing by Steadman we can see a lot of importance is given to the gesture of the figures, and this is followed by a very methodical and technical series of dark cross hatching marks. The line is fluid and wild, and this is then kept in place by the very meticulous cross hatching. Therefore we could safely say that if we wanted to develop a style similar to Ralph Steadman we should do loads of gesture drawings, as well as practice how to crosshatch. In the second drawing by Todd McFarlane we see highly developed and structured figure drawing in outrageous poses. These drawings were most likely done in pencil first and are heavily dependent on drawing the figure from memory. So in order to draw more like Todd McFarlane I would suggest studying the figure from life, as well as drawings from memory and building up compositions slowly. Starting with sketches first of multiple characters, and then resketching these onto a larger composition, and then finally finishing them with pen and ink. In the third drawing by Bill Plimpton we can see that his depictions of form are very painterly and that his mark making is fluid and free. So in order to draw more like Bill Plimpton I would suggest working with colored pencils (because of their ease of use in depicting large areas of value) and then slowly building these values up and finishing the drawing with darker marks to place the features of the face. Then, when working with pen we will treat the ink in a similar manner as the colored pencil and gently shade in large value shapes with a pen.

So, so far we have distinguished two important aspects of how to develop a personal style. One is the symbols which are used, and the second is the techniques which are employed (ie. how someone handles the medium). But by going through the different ways these artists constructed their drawings we also added a third important aspect which needs to be considered. And that is the ability to look at drawings (preferably by an artist you admire) and take apart how they are created. Every artist on the planet is influenced by other artists. The simplest way to say this is for you to find out what you think is cool. Once you have identified your favorite artists you should then do what I’ve done in the preceding paragraph, and that is to take apart to the best of your ability how their drawing were made. Now, you shouldn’t just bite their style, you want to create your own, but the good news is that a style will naturally come out after years of drawing and multiple attempts at recreating a variety of other styles. In fact, you may already have a style now, it just might be a really generic and crappy style. So ask yourself, how do you want to improve it? Is there an artist which could be influential? Are you interested in creating commercial work? Or work for animations or comic books? Well, then you’ve got to create a style which already meets commercial expectations. Which means that straying from the accepted commercial norms will be looked down upon (this can even be the case for well established Comic Book artists). Otherwise the sky’s the limit and by using the tactics outlined above (and with a lot of practice!) you’ll be able to create a personal style that not only satisfies you, but others as well. Just remember that these things don’t come over night!

Drawing Class Lesson 1

Today after a quick introduction to the course, we’ll get straight into the first assignment which is to create 3 views of a character which you will later animate in your Animation Techniques program. The first hurdle to overcome is to give our characters some 3 dimensional qualities.  Many times in the past these characters have come out looking quite flat and we want to avoid this. Therefore we will be trying a 3/4 view along with the frontal and side view.






Shapes often look flat when we use symbols, such as a symbol for a sun, or other early shapes which elementary school children use in the creation of their drawings. The first thing we need to understand is that drawings can have form, and more often than not, form is more important than anything else in the creation of a realistic looking 3d Object. Take a look at the eyes below, in the first drawing they appear very flat, whereas if we think of the eye balls as two large spheres we can begin to carve our forms out of the space.



So today we will be working with some very simple sketches of our characters, and attempting to add an element of 3 dimensional space to them. This is a required part of the assignment, so keep your drawings for later submission. In general it is very important to get a sketchbook or something where you can keep all of your drawings, because in the first half of the semester you will be creating many drawings which you will later have to compile into PDF files for submission.

This tutorial on how to draw Loomis Shapes can be helpful for review.


And here is a nice step by step about how Loomis suggest you make a head for a cartoon.



Welcome to Drawing Techniques and Processes.

During this year you will embark on 4 different assignments designed to make you better at drawing, as well as develop a better understanding of color and how it’s used.

So how does drawing relate to Interactive Media, and why is it important? Well, for starters, Drawing is involved in some way in every major program which you will be studying with perhaps the exception of sound. A better understanding of drawing will help you in virtually every area of study which you choose to pursue in Interactive Media.

If you have a tablet, and prefer to work digitally, then that’s fine. I have no problem with it. In fact, as you’ll notice throughout the year, all of your assignments can be completed in a variety of mediums and this class is much more open to experimentation than you may think.

While the technology and tools have changed over the years. The basic principles stay the same. That’s why I’m interested in what you want to create, and why you chose to study in the Fine Art;Experimental Media Program.

The important thing to note here is that while methods and processes of drawing have changed greatly over the years. That new programs, and brushes are simply just tools. If you are thinking that this class, or this program will merely teach you how to use certain programs (such as Flash, Aftereffects, 3dsMax, etc.) then you are sadly mistaken. Don’t get me wrong, you will learn all of these programs during your time here, but these are just tools. Tools which millions of other people know how to use, and which you can teach yourself how to use just by watching YouTube Tutorials. What I’m interested in in this class is how you plan on making your mark, and how that mark will be different from others. If you’re not sure about what you want to focus on then that’s fine too! This is a place for experimentation and discovery.

Drawing Class Lesson 4: Personification


For this lesson you will be assigned an object as well as an emotion which you will have to combine to make an illustration of the object exhibiting the trait which you have been assigned. For instance you could make a thoughtful tree, as the one above, or a happy car, as the one below.  Once your initial drawings/sketches are finished we will then work through them again putting emphasis on line variation and some examples of weighted lines will also be introduced.

PDF Of all Exercises and Drawings covered in today’s class.

Introduction of the First Assignment which can be downloaded HERE.


Personification is the process by which you give an inanimate object (such as a desk lamp) human like characteristics. This can be achieved in a number of ways. One could make an object seem human by changing the posture and the movement of the object, such as in Pixar’s intro. Notice that the light bulb naturally seems like an eye even though there isn’t any eyeball. Sometimes less is more, and if you can personify an object just by using gesture and movement then you’re on your way to being a great animator.

Or Personification can be when we give inanimate object human features. Such as in Beauty and The Beast.

For this assignment you will all be given different object which you must personify. A few good source materials to use would be this are different expressions and how they are drawn.

Here’s a brief video tutorial on how to draw some different expressions.

And just in case you’re still in need of some inspiration. Here’s some of Towelie’s best moments from South Park.

Drawing Class Lesson 5; Squash and Stretch


Today we will be working on a quick series of keyframed drawing which will illustrate the principle of squash and stretch.

What’s a keyframe? A key frame in animation and filmmaking is a drawing that defines the starting and ending points of any smooth transition. The drawings are called “frames” because their position in time is measured in frames on a strip of film. A sequence of keyframes defines which movement the viewer will see, whereas the position of the keyframes on the film, video or animation defines the timing of the movement. Because only two or three keyframes over the span of a second do not create the illusion of movement, the remaining frames are filled with inbetweens.

Although this is most commonly known as “tweening” in Flash. Keyframing has been used in animation for over 40 years. This video, produced in 1971 looks at some of the early attempts at key framing for animation.

So. Since you are not going to be creating a full animation (although if you want to do a short animation you should). I want you to just draw 3 different key frames. This must involve changes in a character. So I don’t want to see 3 different positions of a ball. The keyframes should also demonstrate the animation principle of Squash and Stretch. One drawing will be of the ball (object) resting, when will be squashed, and one will be stretched.

Squash and Stretch was described in The Illusion of Life as being “by far the most important” discovery that the Disney animators made in their pursuit of excellence in animation. Only lifeless stiff objects remain inert while in motion. Any living object will tend to change shape, though retaining overall volume. One example is a flexed bicep, another is a human face – while talking or chewing it will tend to extend and compress. The principle is often used in conjunction with another principle of animation which is “slow in, slow out”

During the 1930s the Disney animators competed amongst themselves to exaggerate the squash and stretch in their drawings, making their poses ever more extreme. The important thing was to maintain the overall volume of an object so that it did not appear to change size as well as shape. To this end they devised the half-filled flour sack, showing that even if dropped on the floor or stretched out by its corners, its overall volume would never change.

The animators consulted the sports pages in the newspapers and found in the photography endless examples of the elasticity of the human body in motion. Using these poses as reference the animators were able to start “observing in a new way”.


The classic preparation for the training of Disney animators began with a bouncing ball. The ball would change shape, compressing (squash) as it hit the ground, then extending (stretch) as it bounced up again.

Here’s a video tutorial of how to squash and stretch a ball, and the dramatic difference it has on an animation.

And in these drawings we can see how squash and stretch is applied to a character.

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 😀

How to Capture a Likeness in a Portrait

In order to achieve a high degree of likeness in a drawing one must pay attention to what is called the facial triangle. The facial triangle is a term which refers to the brow, cheek bones and the nose. One may notice that this doesn’t necessarily make the perfect triangle due to the shape of the head so it’s better to think of the shape as the image which can be seen below.

Look at the features of the face and see how they are unique. In the image above the features are pretty generic on this woman. Practice drawing and looking at the minute differences that occur in every facial triangle. While the mouth and jawline are also important factors to consider in completing the drawing, the best tactic is to focus first on nailing the facial triangle and then letting the rest fall into place.

So. How does one construct the rest of the face after the facial triangle has been completed? Well the next most important feature is going to be the overall shape of the head. And these head shapes can be comprised into a multitude of categories. Take a look at the gallery below to get a feeling for all of the different shapes that the head can take on.

There are different ways to tackle a portrait with pen and ink, or pencil. The two most popular methods are to either first go for the overall shape of the head, and then fit the facial triangle inside of that shape. Or to first work on the features present, and then add the larger facial shape around them. Neither way is “correct” and it will be up to you to decide which method works best for you.

Caricatures can be a great place to look at the multitude of different features on a face since they are all exaggerated in these drawings and therefore easier to see. When drawing an accurate portrait one will actually use a method similar to those used by caricature artists. And that means that in addition to looking at the facial triangle, and facial shape, that small exaggerations should be made to prominent features in order to make it quite clear “who” a drawing of a person is.

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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