I see no point in just drawing what’s in front of me. Drawing is about making decisions, no matter what. Using lines or paint or any tool is a decision by itself. How you use these tools is personal as well.
I’ve always been interested in using life drawing to compliment and adapt to what I’m interested in (animation/character design/storyboarding). I feel like most of the design and animation principles I know can, and should be reflected into my life drawings. Same goes for life drawing instructing how I approach my “regular work”. In a perfect world, they should all inform each other. Easier said than done.
The problem that I’ve always had is time constraint. It’s easy to say: “think about line of action, squash & stretch, silhouette, volume, caricature, anatomy, weight, etc when you draw from life.” It’s especially hard to think about and apply those principles in real-time, in poses ranging from 30 seconds to 10 minutes.
My simple answer is: “Do as much as you can given those time constraints.” But, really, find what’s most important, and then build from it. For example, it’s impossible to apply a ton of critical thinking when sketching poses in 30 seconds. In 30 seconds, you should be able to at least draw a quick gesture, without worrying about details and specific anatomy too much. The more time you have, the more principles you should be able to apply. Most basic principles should be reflected in a 5 minutes pose for example. At 10 min, a more fleshed-out, toned version is something that can be achieved.
Honestly, there shouldn’t be any benchmarks, but you should always try to aim for something, even if it’s one principle, within each pose. Sometimes, a certain model (or real-life situation) might inspire you to explore a specific principle.
The more you do it, the more certain things will become second-nature. You can then apply more layers to your work and make it shine.
Thank you for this wonderful question. It’s a the core of what my mind is going through these days. There’s more to be said about how to balance figure drawing and design, but I will continue to explore this idea in upcoming Tuesday Tips.
Steve Rude’s Wonder Woman <3
Oh hey, this is something I think a lot about, actually! So when I started making comics (15 years ago this month, haha), I was really terrible at drawing. And I wanted to do, y’know, GRAPHIC NOVELS, with fairly realistically drawn characters and backgrounds and things that are hard to draw. Things that I didn’t really have the skills to draw at the time. So I’d draw my comics and the art was generally pretty terrible. But I was comfortable with writing, and that helped me keep going with making comics, because I enjoyed the storytelling aspect of them so much.
It’s hard when you feel pretty okay about your writing but your art doesn’t measure up. I kind of feel like my art still doesn’t measure up to what I want it to be (mostly right now I want it to be Hiromu Arakawa, which will never happen, no matter how much I practice), but I’m very comfortable with the writing part of comics, so I look at that as my great strength in my work. It makes up for where my art is lacking, and I work hard at writing to make the sum total of my work better than if I was just writing or just drawing.
I mean, the absolute best thing about comics (to me) is that you don’t need to be a spectacular artist to make really great, involving comics. I’m not an amazing technical artist. During my down times, I don’t draw gorgeous illustrations or do amazing paintings (I kind of dislike doing that kind of thing, to be honest). I will never be Gillian Tamaki. But I’m good at storytelling, and I’m good at interpreting emotion and drawing that on the comic page. So I work to my strengths, which is making stories about engaging characters, and laying out scenes where there is a lot of emotion running through them, and people who like my comics don’t seem to mind that my art is not as great as Gillian Tamaki or Hiromu Arakawa.
Comics aren’t just art or just writing, they’re the two combined to make something new and wonderful. They are more than the sum of their parts. So work hard to because a decent artist with a good grasp of storytelling basics (this is super important!), and work harder to become a truly excellent writer and storyteller, and you can quite possibly make great comics! It worked for me. :)
CINEMATIC MILES MORALES COSPLAY
Yo! My name is Nikolas A. Draper-Ivey…This is cosplay as Cinematic Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider Man. This suit was made by Jesse Covington( Writer and Costume Designer) and sewn by Sasha Williams ( Fashion Major graduate). Photos were taken by Pierre BL Brevard I specifically would like to thank Marvel Comics Artist Sara Pichelli for designing this character. I’m also very excited to see Olivier Coipel's work on Spider-Verse!
(Full shoot will be shot in New York itself just in time for NYCC)
The return of Batman and Bear-Robin!
This time the dynamic duo faces off against the diabolical Penguin! :)
View their last adventure here:
Mulan model sheets