It was a challenge to work with physical media for a bit, but I’m glad it got me learning how to work with the brush pen. I’ve carried around that pen with me every day for two years so it’s about time I got some use out of it.
It’s been good to pick up a slightly larger following on Instagram as well and see what people are up to over there. It’s definitely not just for selfies, though there are a lot of those too.
The return of AAAAAAAAAAAAAA
I’ve got a quick and dirty “mouth foley” soundtrack happening for AAAAAAAAAAAAAA, finally. Like many 1980s kids, I thought Michael Winslow’s character from Police Academy was awesome and tried to copy what he did.. and I’ve never really stopped making weird noises with my face since! 🙂 It’s certainly a helpful skill to have for stubbing out funny sound effects quickly…
The soundtrack is a little bare right now but I wanted to share it anyway because I really like how those monks sound. The pyramid shot’s working nicely now that it has sound.
Happy little beeps
To finish off this week, here’s a few happy little beepboops from DASYRAC. The rack is getting pretty close to full up now which means having to make decisions about how to use the space I’ve got, and whether I want to free up existing space to put something else in. There’s also a couple of misbehaving modules which could use some troubleshooting, but I don’t want to make too many more changes. They get kind of expensive!
Here’s a lovely sound I got out of DASYRAC last night. It uses the hard sync on the Befaco EvenVCO driven by another oscillator sitting at a constant pitch to turn a little pentatonic melody into an Underworldy drone. I like it. 🙂
I ran out of hands to copy on page 29 of “Cartoon Animation” so I turned back a few pages and copied heads instead. Original designs are by Preston Blair. Also today I tried drawing some caricatures from “The Rules of the Game” but I don’t like those at all.
Inspired by the admonition that copying a superior artist’s work is part of a good art education, I’ve been drawing Preston Blair’s hands from my copy of Cartoon Animation. I’m spending about 25 minutes with each one: I try to sketch an overall shape and work detail in, suss out its proportions and how it all fits together. I usually draw my own hand in the same pose after a couple of attempts, and this is useful because I can see how the fingers are actually oriented. It makes the bumps and curves and other things in Preston’s version make a great deal more sense.
Slightly to the right of the middle of that bunch of hands, there’s a vertical fist with the fingers making an E shape and the thumb sitting on the right. That was one of the hands I attempted today, and I’m absolutely buggered if I know what that hand is meant to be doing. I almost stuffed my wrist trying to copy that pose, I can’t make sense of it.
Copying these hands can be frustrating – Preston Blair was really bloody good – but it’s sharpening my observation skills something fierce. One semi-downside is that I can’t let myself get away drawing crappily anymore – I can see all the mistakes and cheats and laziness in my own drawings, and I’m motivated to improve.
So, uh, turns out digital painting is a whole barrel of fun that I had no idea about. Big ups to Krita and their MUSES training DVD. Well worth getting your hands on. Suddenly I’m way less bothered by the idea of texturing.
A short film from the universe of “The Quiet One” could soon be on the cards. Plotwise it’s the oldest story in human history – protagonist must overcome obstacle, failure to do so means grave consequences. Not that original maybe but I want to keep this brief. No more accidental feature-length projects. Learnt my lesson.
I’m still drawing cartoon hands. I tried some figure drawing again for variety and noted that my observation and anatomy skills are much stronger than before. The old art skills are coming together – very slowly, but perceivably. Improvement is nice to see, but I’ve got a long way to go before I’m where I want to be. Also getting more comfortable with that whole overhand pencil grip would be good too.
A lot of times, asymmetry will bring energy and movement to a pose or composition. More specifically, I feel like breaking the symmetry of a character’s expression is key to bring interest to it. Of course, there’s always a situation where there’s a need for symmetry. On top of my head, I can think of depicting a character who has an authority role, or the “undefeated champion of something”, or the “cold stone killer”, etc. So, a symmetrical facial expression usually means the character is: supremely bored, supremely confident, has no emotions, has a poker face, or is dead. Did I miss one? Symmetry in framing is also quite rare, but when handled by a master (Kubrick, Anderson), it’s undeniable. (If you have time, watch this: http://vimeo.com/89302848)
Now, back to asymmetry in facial expressions. In general, it’s a great way to flesh out a character’s thought process. What is he/she thinking about? What’s their goal?
I’m just touching the tip of the iceberg here. Way more tips to come in the future. Maybe next time, I’ll start to cover GESTURES.
Completely unrelated to the subject, I recently read a list of tips from movie director Sam Mendes. Here’s my favorite: “Try to learn to make the familiar strange, and the strange familiar. …”