Today will start with an introduction to the course and the aims which we wish to achieve.
This course introduces students to a wide range of materials, techniques, and concepts
involving traditional painting. Materials to be explored include Watercolor, Acrylic, and Oils. The three different mediums will be used in relation to the first, second, and third weeks of the course. There will be a heavy emphasis on color theory and traditional paint application techniques as well as composition and design. In addition to teaching a variety of materials and techniques each lesson will also introduce the work of one painter whose work will be examined at both a technical, as well as a conceptual level. Students will learn how to work from a sketch to a finished piece in each of the aforementioned media. It should be noted that this is not a class in how to “paint flowers” ( although we do look at nice paintings of flowers ) or which is focused on one specific technique, since we are limited in the amount of time we have the class is designed to give a foundational background in both how to use 3 different media, as well as give the student some solid theory which can be continually practiced during the week, and in the future. The class will focus on achieving the following Learning Outcomes
L01: Demonstrate the ability to understand and apply the basic principles of design and color as well as the strengths inherent in a variety of painting media.
L02: Demonstrate the ability to use a variety of painting techniques and media to achieve specific aesthetic intents.
L03: Evaluate the use of ones own as well as others painting materials and techniques.
L04: A functional knowledge of the evolution of painting traditions, techniques, and conventions.
L05: Demonstrate the ability to apply the skills needed to take a work from concept to finished work.
L06: Demonstrate the ability to synthesize drawing and painting.
Once we’ve covered the overview of what we will be focusing on for the coming weeks we’ll go straight into the basics of color theory. Since we are starting with watercolors lets look at one of the most important aspects as it concerns good watercolor paintings, and that is contrast.
This part’s featured artist is Andrew Wyeth
Andrew Newell Wyeth was a visual artist, primarily a realist painter, working predominantly in a regionalist style. He was one of the best-known U.S. artists of the middle 20th century.
Contrast in Painting
There are many different ways we can depict Contrast in Painting, and because of this, this lesson will need to be split into different parts so we can go into each different type of contrast in depth. But first let’s get into exactly what contrast means.
The dictionary definition is as follows:
Contrast: The state of being strikingly different from something else, typically something in
juxtaposition or close association.
Synonyms: opposition - antithesis - opposite - contradistinction
So I think we all have a pretty good feel of what something is when it is in contrast with an opposing element. But how does this relate to painting and color? In what different ways can we show contrast simply by using different colors?
You may be asking “why is contrast so important?” and the answer is simple. Our eyes love contrast and it is how we make sense of the world. If you want to highlight a certain area of a painting then this is the area which should have the highest amount of contrast. Our eyes are naturally drawn to these areas, and it is easy information for our brains to process. When making a two dimensional representation of the three dimensional world we need to take advantage of how we see, in order to translate this to a believable painting.
Let’s start with Contrast of Hue and what exactly this means.
Contrast of Hue:
This is the simplest of the different types of contrast that painters often use. You should remember that the term Hue just means a color which has not been diluted in any way. It is color in its “purest” form. When we put multiple different colors up against each other we will see a very strong contrast between them. For starters lets look at this painting by Ellsworth Kelley which is a simple illustration of the strength of contrast of hue. He uses the three primary colors in their purest form and paints each individually.
All three of these primary colors are in strict opposition to each other. So much so that there doesn’t seem to be any relation to them at all. Each color stands alone as if it were its own entity altogether. This is what I mean by contrast of hue. So how can we take this out of the square minimalistic boxes and start applying it to more complex compositions? I believe the next painting by Mondrian takes a step in that direction and we can see that not only can we work with these elements as if they stood on their own, but we can also integrate them into a larger composition.
And now let’s take this idea a step further and apply to a composition which has some figural elements as well. In the following painting by Matisse we can see that he used only contrasts in hues, and black and white to create an entire composition that includes both a figure in an environment, but also a small landscape in the window. There are a few other types of contrast occurring in this painting but we’ll get to those later.
When dealing with only Contrast of Hue we can see that many of the paintings take on a youthful or even joyous feeling to them. Which is one reason why many of the Fauvists decided to use these colors to enhance the meaning of their exuberant paintings. But these types of examples of Contrast of Hue aren’t only from the 20th century. Painters have used this rule of painting for hundreds of years to create an atmosphere of intensity. One can look at Raphael’s Adoration of the Magi for an older example of how Contrast of Hue was utilized hundreds of years ago.
Contrast of Value:
This is another rule of color theory which is fairly easy to grasp but which is often ignored. When speaking of the contrast of value we are talking about the lightness vs the darkness of certain colors. The easiest way to illustrate this is to first deal with only black and white as it is the easiest way to see a difference in value. In the video below by EmptyEasel we see a very clear representation of how we can use simple dark and light contrasts to create certain effects which create a more believable depiction of the 3d world on a 2d surface.
In the following drawing by Seurat we can see how a contrast in value achieves similar effects as the video outlined above. Notice how each edge has a sharp contrast in value against the other edges. This pushes certain elements back in space and allows for other elements to come to the forefront. It should be noted however, as stated in the video above, that it isn’t bad to sometimes have your values “bleed” into each other as this causes a composition to have linkages which give it an overall feeling of unity.
Now lets look at another example but this time working with color and the different values that colors have as well. In the following painting by Rembrandt look at how he effectively uses Contrast of Value to bring our eye right to the most important feature of the painting.
Assignment 1 : First start out by mixing a 5 step value scale using only black. You will be controlling the darkness of your color by the amount of water you add to it, thereby making the color lighter as you add more water. Obviously you can do the same with all of your colors and therefore make a value scale with any color which you have. Don’t fuss about making perfect squares of color, just play around on some scrap paper with the different types of values which can be created. If you get too much water mixed with your color take some toilet paper and daub it out until it is more pure again.
Now that you’ve created some value scales with one color, we will move onto making value scales with two colors. Pick two two colors (three if you wish to include white) and practice making some 5 toned value scales. For instance you could go from green to yellow, deep red to orange to yellow, or violet to blue to light blue (by adding white). Once you’ve found a value scale which can be easily replicated and is pleasurable to the eye it’s time to move on to assignment 2!
Assignment 2: Now that you’ve played around with some basic vale scales it’s time to jump into the first assignment which is to create a watercolor portrait of a person ( I know, we move fast dont we?) Before we get into this assignment it is important to remember that we do not have time to make finished pieces, so we just need to jump into each assignment and move forward. For this assignment you need to learn how to see value shapes and paint them. For more tutorials and exercises in drawing feel free to check out the drawing section of my other site Painting-Course.Com.
First lets start with what value shapes are. Simply put, values (the darkness or lightness of how the shadows fall on an object) determine the way we see the everything. With painting we want to be able to copy (or sometimes exaggerate for our own desires) value shapes which can be read by a viewer.
Commonly we see different value scales quite frequenlty in vector graphic imagery such as the image below.
For this assignment you will be working from one of the following images which can all be found here.
And I want you to try and copy the photograph as closely as possible using the same colors you created in your monochromatic value scale. If you can’t see the value scales clearly then squint as much as you can and you’ll begin to see that the world breaks down into simple shapes quite quickly. If you don’t get it, or want to recap this method then check out this video.
Nice, now you can see the value shapes better. Now it’s time to jump into your watercolor portrait.
Here’s some more inspiration to check out.
If you have time try some of these exercises out during the week, and further investigate different types of contrast in painting.
Cold Warm Contrast:
In this type of contrast we are looking at the perceived temperature of a color. These should be pretty straightforward to everyone. In class when I ask about which colors are warm and which colors are cool I’ll generally get the following responses.
Green – Cool
Blue – Cold
Violet – Cool
So how can we use these differences in perceived temperature to our advantage? Well, the easiest way to begin to depict the differences in Cool/Warm Contrast can be seen in many landscape paintings. When one looks at a landscape we will notice that things in the far distance take on more of a cool bluish tone (this was first observed by Da Vinci who named this phenomena Atmospheric Perspective). So it is fair to say that cooler colors tend to recede into the distance, while warmer colors want to push to the front in space. In this painting by Corot we can see this in action. Notice how the cool colors near the horizon recede into the distance while the warm orange tones of the ground naturally seem closer to us. The same can also be seen in the Van Gogh painting as well.
But once again, this rule not only can apply to landscape paintings to achieve a sense of depth. It can also be used in figurative works much in the same way as Contrast of Value to direct the viewers eye to certain places. In the image below by Odd Nerdrum we can see how Contrast of Warm and Cool colors makes the figures stand out against their background, but also if we look really closely at the flesh we can also see a lot of warm vs cold happening in shadows vs light areas of value as well.
Assignment: Mix up six different colors both of which are examining the ideas of cold and warm colors. For instance Orange, Red, and Yellow for warm, and Green, Blue, and Violet for Cool. Then create an inverted city landscape where the cool colors are in the foreground, and the warm colors are in the background. This will create an immediate sense of tension (something we convered in Gestalt Principles of Design) and create an interesting dynamic. If this sounds too hard for you to grasp you can take a look at how a third grader interpreted this assignment. If a third grader can do it, so can you.
In this case we are looking at how complimentary colors (colors opposite one another on the color wheel) activate elements in a composition and create a contrast. If you recall during the Color Wheel for Painting lesson we extensively went into exactly what complimentary colors are and how they work. Complimentary contrast is often also used to create a sense of contrast and highlight certain objects. It is also many times used to give a painting an overall feeling of harmony as our eyes naturally see the compliment to every color which we perceive (see Properties of Color for further reference).
In the painting below by Monet we see how complimentary contrast can bring life to a painting and can be used effectively to convey harmony across the entire composition.
Notice the interplay between all the complimentary colors in this painting. The blues happily reside right next to the oranges, and the shadows are filled with both violets as well as yellows. But it is important to note that there are numerous shades of each color, and that much experimentation had to be done to get the colors to harmonize. When working with complimentary contrast it is important to understand that one must also manipulate the value of a color when laid beside another in order for the painting to be read correctly. Simply put, this means that the painting should still work as a drawing if a black and white photo were taken of it.
Assignment:Using some source material (either a photo or a sketch) make a portrait painting of a person in which the subject is the complimentary color to the background. Remember as always, the places you want to highlight the most should have the most intense complimentary contrast in the whole composition. You can take a look at this self portrait (after he cut off his ear) by Van Gogh for inspiration.
Now things start to get a bit trickier as we delve into types of contrast which aren’t as clearly defined as the previous ones. Simultaneous contrast identified by Michel Eugène Chevreul refers to the manner in which the colors of two different objects affect each other. The effect is more noticeable when shared between objects of complementary color.
In the image here, the two inner rectangles are exactly the same shade of grey, but the upper one appears to be a lighter grey than the lower one due to the background provided by the outer rectangles.
This is a different concept from contrast, which by itself refers to one object’s difference in color and luminance compared to its surroundings or background. Basically it is important to always remember that whatever color surrounds the color you wish to depict will change how we perceive that color. For this reason you’ll see that many artist palettes are grey which gives the least amount of interference with the color which is being mixed.
Assignment: Using Simultaneous Contrast create an abstract composition where the same color is used in different places throughout the composition but appears to be a different color when viewed overall. This can be achieived by first working on a large “background” of your painting first, and then painting in small sections of the same color in different selected small sections of the work. You can look at the painting below and examine how the same color has vastly different qualities based upon the colors surrounding it.
Contrast of Saturation:
This refers to the contrast present when more than one instance of a saturated color are present. We previously covered saturation and intensity, and by using Contrast by Saturation we can achieve an effect which gives us contrast based solely on the saturation (brightness) of a color. In the image below we can see how different colors change when their saturation is changed. Generally this can be easily achieved by adding more white, black, or a colors compliment to the color which is being mixed.
In the following painting by Matisse we can see how he used different saturations of the same color to achieve contrast. The pipe is the most saturated color in the painting, and also the place where our eye goes first. By doing so he has led our eye in the right direction by using a more intense/saturated color up against less saturated colors.
Assignment: Start with a very saturated color and make it less saturated by adding black in successive amounts, then do the same with white and make five different variations of tints. Then mix it with it’s compliment and make five different variations of the color. Using this single color as a base make a painting based upon a sketch or photo while thinking about which area should be the most important (saturated) and which areas should be the least.
Contrast by Extension:
Think of this as seeing the overall color theme for an entire work first. Looking at the painting by Breugel below we can see that the painting has an overall feeling of being very blue and cold. While the animals as well as the people are contrasted against the larger environment. Essentially you are contrasting a large amount of canvas against a very small portion. In order to achieve this effect you must also use other types of contrast which we have already covered such as Warm/Cool Contrast , Or Complimentary Contrast. The idea being that large areas will effect smaller areas, and if these smaller areas are in high contrast against the larger whole a balance can be achieved and the smaller subjects can be seen as more important.
Assignment: For this assignment you will first create a landscape which has an overall color theme to it (cool colors work best such as green and blue) and then you will create a figure to put into this environment which is out of tune with the larger color theme. You will notice immediately that the figure stands out in a very extreme fashion to the point where it may not seem like it should fit. If this is the case you can lower the intensity of the figure by lowering the saturation of the color.
John James Audubon was a French-American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter. He was notable for his expansive studies to document all types of American birds and for his detailed illustrations that depicted the birds in their natural habitats.
This part of the class we will forget about the broad brushstrokes to create entire landscapes and change our perspective to studying foliage and painting it with watercolors. Immediately your senses will shift from focusing on a photograph and you should see the benefits and complexities of working with a real leaves, twigs and branches in front of you.
But how to start? For this section we will not be doing any preliminary drawings, but instead will be working directly on our paper with watercolors. So as to not go into the task without any background lets first look at some common ways to construct leaves and trees with watercolors.
The key to painting foliage with watercolors is to combine both your wet in wet (that means adding wet paint to an already wet surface) and wet on dry techniques. As we have already covered you must have a good understanding of the value scale which you are using in the painting before you even start painting. I would suggest limiting your palette to about 8 variations of yellow to green to to dark green/blue.
First we will be working with just generating some brush strokes, and from there we will begin constructing a tree starting with bright lemon yellow (don’t worry if you don’t have the exact color, any bright yellow will work). With your yellow start with the top left of your tree, then before this yellow is dry you will be adding just a little bit of light yellow-green to form the bottom of your tree.
Remember to leave some holes for the sky to peek through.
Then, while this is all still wet start dabbing a few deeper colors into the tree to represent some darker values.
Go darker, and darker towards blue-green at the bottom right hand of the tree.
Then let everything dry (you’ll notice that watercolors get lighter as they dry)
Put in a few last dashes on leaf shadows ( LESS IS MORE! )
Then mix up some ochre/brown and make a dab for the trunk making sure that the trunk vanishes under the leaves and doesn’t appear to be on top of them.
Now that we have created this tree we will be moving on to the foliage in front of us on our desks (If it’s nice outside we can also go to Riegrovy Sady park and paint there. ) Using the same methods (working from light to dark) you will be creating a watercolor painting of your plant, leaves, stems, twigs, and flowers. For this you should make a very VERY light contour line sketch detailing the different values present.
Josef Albers was a German-born American artist and educator whose work, both in Europe and in the United States, formed the basis of some of the most influential and far-reaching art education programs of the 20th century.
Today we will start exploring acrylic paint. Acrylic paint is a creation of the 20th century (1934) and after it was seen to be very durable as a artist material it was extended for use in homes and industrial products (mainly as latex paint) by the 1950s.
For this exercise each of you will be assigned an artist. But you are not going to be copying the artist’s works, but instead the colors they use. As we have already established a wide variety of colors can be created just from red, yellow, blue, and white. To the best of your ability you will be “color matching” the tones used in famous paintings in small squares on your canvas (done in a style similar to Josef Albers if you wish, or some other abstract/non representational painting). I’ll be helping you individually and see exactly what colors you should be mixing. This can be a very difficult task and frustrating as all colors will yield slightly differing results (using Pthalo Blue as opposed to Ultramarine Blue for instance) but the goal is to get these colors matched as closely as possible.
David Hockney, OM, CH, RA, is an English painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer and photographer. He lives in Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire, and Kensington, London.
During this part we will be focusing on creating a portrait painting done in acrylics with disregard to what is commonly referred to as “local color”.
Painters often refer to something known as Local Color. So what is it exactly? Well, there is a very simple explanation. Local Color refers to the color of an object if it is unhindered by shadows and highlights. Still don’t get it? Basically it is what the actual color of an object is. Take for instance a Tomato, now most people would agree that tomatoes are red, however that’s just part of the story and the way that our eye perceives colors. In reality if we really examine a tomato we will see all sorts of different tones and highlights. Take a look at the image below and you will notice the myriad of colors which are created just by one tomato. There’s pinks, violets, browns, and reds. Simply put, when painting any object we must consider all the colors and many times it isn’t intuitive to see the light violet colors because of our preconceived ideas about the local color of the object, which is red.
When it comes to painting it is very important to be aware of what the local color of the object is, however it is also vital that we delve further into the more nuanced colors that appear as well. This is even more important when we have multiple objects of different colors placed closely together. The light bouncing off of one surface can create a reflection and influence the surrounding areas. Therefore, if we look at the top of the tomato we can begin to see that the green vine above it is effecting the colors of the shadows as well. For this reason it is very common for painting instructors to say that students need to start examining what colors make up the shadows in the objects they paint. There’s a whole rainbow of color hiding in the shadows. This was most evident in the Impressionists’ works as they would commonly use blues, and even reds in their shadows.
It is the goal of this lesson to get beyond local color and we are going to make sure that there’s no chance it will seep into this exercise. You will be painting a portrait without the use of local color. It is up to you to use your skills in seeing the value (darkness) of a color and by doing so you can still create a believable space which is totally divorced from your preconceived notions about what the local color of the object is. For the first part of the assignment you will copy the painting below and this will give you a feel for how Color as Value works. I’ve included the drawing, as well as the original image (gridded out), and a picture of my palette so you can get a clear look at what these colors look like. Once you are finished with the first painting you will find an image of your choosing and will have to complete a second painting. In your second painting you will once again be looking beyond local color. Really push how intense you can make your colors, and you’ll also start to notice that the temperature (basically how warm or cool a color looks) also influences the way we perceive reality.
1. Source Image from which the painting will be made. Feel free to change the unit of measurement if you wish. One box could easily equal an inch or whatever fits the size of the canvas you are working on.
2. After gridding out your painting surface you will sketch in the big value shapes present in the photo.
3. You will then paint in the value shapes using the value of the color to create an illusion of depth. Disregard what you know about color intensity and local color. Be bold.
4. Remember that your palette should be a representation of all the colors you will use.
5. If possible take a photo of your painting and change it to black and white. This will be an indicator of how good your eye is. The painting should stand up as a black and white image as well as a color one. This is an extremely important aspect of painting. Seeing color as value.
Upon finishing this copy you will be creating another painting on your own in the same manner. Remember to choose an image that has a wide range of values from light to dark.
The artist for today should be looked at before class as today we will be going on a trip to do some painting outside.
George Inness (May 1, 1825 – August 3, 1894) was an influential American landscape painter. His work was influenced, in turn, by that of the old masters, the Hudson River school, the Barbizon school, and, finally, by the theology of Emanuel Swedenborg, whose spiritualism found vivid expression in the work of Inness’ maturity. Often called “the father of American landscape painting”
Today we will be meeting at the school at 9 like normal. From here we will each grab our easels and then walk to Hlavni Nadrazi where we will be taking a train to Cernosice (a 20 minute train ride from Prague. 61Kc round trip) to paint outdoors. Be prepared to paint! Feel free to use the medium, or a combination of any mediums which you are comfortable with. I’ll be meeting with each of you individually throughout the day, and we will be having lunch in Cernosice. This class does not have two parts, but the entire class will be devoted to painting outdoors.
The first step of course is to make loads and loads of drawings. Get into the habit of drawing daily, and then once you’ve found that perfect sketch. Take it and scan it (preferable) or take a photo of it. I always go for the highest res scan available, which on my scanner is 600dps.
Open the image in Photoshop first.
Image —> Adjustments —–> Levels
Play with the shadows as well as the highlights and make the background as white as possible, the lines as dark as possible. This is done by adjusting the black and the white cursors. Make sure preview is enabled and basically just look at your drawing change as you adjust the levels.
Image —-> Adjustments ——–> Contrast
Turn up the contrast and make your lines black. Take down the brightness a bit if you can, to make the lines even darker.
Cool, so now we have a decent black and white image ready for Illustrator. Copy and paste the image from Photoshop, and paste it into Illustrator.
Once in illustrator. Find the button “Live Trace” (as indicated in the image below in the top let corner) and click on the the dropdown. You can alternatively select Object —-> Live Trace —> Tracing Options
Make sure both Strokes as well as Fills are checked under Trace Settings. Then click Trace.
This step can be a bit subjective, so play around with the settings until the desired effect is achieved. This may vary greatly with different images so practice, and use Ctrl-Z frequently to undo any mistakes.
Now that you’ve got your image vectorized. You want to go to Object —–> Expand . This turns all of your stroked, and anchor points into editable vectors.
By Pushing “K” you will activate the Live Paint Bucket tool in Illustrator. Use the paint bucket to fill certain areas just as you would do in photoshop.
I also used the pencil tool to draw in an extra arm, and close off areas as the paint bucket tool will only work in areas which are completely closed off on all sides.
You can now scale the image up, since most websites which print tshirts and other items want to have an image that is at least 3100px wide (This is for sites like Society6 and RedBubble) . Download the template from these sites to ensure you are creating your image for the right size template. You can change the scale by going to Object —-> Transform —-> Scale
Now copy and paste the image back into photoshop, just as pixels. Make the background layer transparent.
Select the white background with the magic wand tool and delete it. You don’t want to have a big white square around your image if it is going to be printed on a shirt.
Now upload the image to the website of your choice for printing tshirts according to the specifications and size which is required. For Society6 it is currently 3300px s 5100px, it is important not to resize your image at this point, unless you are making the image smaller to fit. Never resize an image to be larger in photoshop as it will become pixelated.
Now your image is ready, and available with a variety of background colors on both tshirts, hoodies, tote bags, and pillows.
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!
For this class you will bring your completed sequence of frames and begin to do any more post production that you wish to do. This would include things like adding sound effects (which can be downloaded for free from places like freesound.org , or imcompetech.com . If you wish to use some music you can find royalty free music at jamendo.com . Why use royalty free music and sound effects? Well, because for one thing many of you may want to share your animation with friends, and a really quick way to get your video taken down from sites like youtube is to have a famous song as background music. Once you have found the sound effects as well as the music you’d like to include you can then add them using Premiere. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to do that.
Make an animation in Premiere by finalizing all of the frames you have been working on.
Open Adobe Premiere Elements.
Create a new project.
Go to File -> Import, and import and open your video.
Now, go back to File -> Import, and select the audio you want to use.
Open it. It will now appear in the project panel. You can press Shift + 1 if you do not see this window.
You should now see an Audio section on your timeline. Drag your audio to this section.
Your audio will now appear under your video tracks and will sync with it. You can play around with your audio on your timeline. If you want it to come in a few seconds after the video starts, you can move the start of the video a few clicks in.
Other things to consider may be some minor color correction, and setting the contrast and tone. You can edit multiple images at the same time by using photoshop. Here’s a video tutorial on how to do it.
During this class we will be showing all of our animations to the class. Be prepared and make sure to have it saved as a Mp4, .mov, or .avi, so we can easily play it. After we have shown all of the animations we will have a brief critique and then you will be turning them in to reception.
Once you’ve finished your sequences I will begin to start showing you how to animate them in Photoshop. Now, you may be thinking, “Animating stuff in photoshop sucks!” and you’re kind of right. It can be a pain in the ass. There’s a lot of different ways to animate your hand drawn sequences and I don’t care if you use Adobe Premiere, Flash, or Imovie. But, and this is a big but, you’ve also have to be able to do some “Onion Skinning” which is a process where you can manipulate the opacity of each layer so certain elements stay in alignment.
So what’s onion skinning? According to Wikipedia “Onion skinning is a 2D computer graphics term for a technique used in creating animated cartoons and editing movies to see several frames at once. This way, the animator or editor can make decisions on how to create or change an image based on the previous image in the sequence.”
Back in the day this was done by drawing on semi transparent paper, or on a light box.
Now it’s done by taking down the opacity on layers which can be manipulated individually in Photoshop.
Take a look at this tutorial to see how to start using the animation window in Photoshop.
Now that you’ve got all of your frames imported into Photoshop I want you to manipulate each frame and start lining them up one by one. If you skip this step your animation will look bouncy and you won’t achieve a proper flow.
If you are still having trouble figuring out how to onion skin and animate in photoshop check out this great tutorial here.
The drawings can be scanned at school, however be aware that with 12 students, each of which will be scanning multiple drawings that this will take quite some time. If you’ve got access to a scanner then scan them at home.
Planes are flat surface areas which depict contours of the face in a flat manner. The technique of breaking down objects into simpler forms is at least 500 years old, and is still used all the time by 3d animators today.
In the popular digital sculpting program ZBrush you can create virtual sculptures, and in this video tutorial you can see how the artist looked at each plane of the face as a starting point to model an entire face.
In the following illustration we can see how Loomis simplified the face into flat planes.
And here we can see how Paolo Uccello did so with a vase drawing he made nearly 500 years ago.
Planes of the face can have simple variations in value which can distinguish where a plane ends, and another begins.
And planes can help simplify cartoon characters making it easy to draw from multiple angles. Such as in this step by step guide by Loomis on how to draw cartoons.
But why is this an important skill as it concerns 3d modeling? Well, for starters it isn’t that difficult to model an extremely complicated looking character in a program like ZBrush. However the more vertices present, the slower a character will perform in 3d. That’s why all 3d characters are simplified down to more efficient characters.
In the tutorial below we can see how simple objects are even simplified down to easier planar shapes in Blender. We are going to be doing the same, except with drawing.
For todays exercise we will be working from photos of animals and humans, and your task will be to redraw these images in a much simpler way. As always you are welcome to use a tablet to draw (not trace!) the images.
If you are looking for more inspiration, and are interested in using Blender I recommend starting with this set of tutorials. Blender is free to download and there are hundreds and hundreds of tutorials online which go from very basic to (as seen in the video below) quite advanced.
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.