Thursday, December 23, 2010

Life Drawing II - Fin

Well, the end of the semester has reared its head, and Life Drawing II comes to a close. It's been a good semester, and I'm happy with what I'm taking away from the class. I've created some of the best drawings in my life, and strengthened my skills in other areas of my field of study (for more on that, see my previous blog post). Here is a link to my Life Drawing II portfolio.

Life Drawing has greatly helped my other areas of study

I've mentioned more than once that I took Life Drawing I and II mostly to benefit and supplement my learning in my 3D design work. When building a 3D model of a human character, it's vital to have a solid understanding of the human form, as well as the skeletal and muscular systems. In an earlier post, I described how working with the skull helped me while modeling a human head. When I finished the head, I moved on to creating the body. My knowledge of anatomical anatomy again helped me during this endeavor. While creating the basic shape of the body, I was continually thinking about proportions, attachment points, and other things I learned during Life Drawing I and II. After I finished building the base body, I had to go in and add a bit of muscle detail. The things I learned from the Manikin activity in Life Drawing I aided me the most here. Numerous times, I pulled up the pictures of my Manikin and referenced the muscles on them (I have yet to go in and add finer detail to the muscles, but when I do, I will again have my Manikin photos guiding me). When enrolling for Life Drawing I (and especially Life Drawing II), I really hoped that the classes would help me in my other work. At the end of LD2, I can undoubtedly say that they really have. My skills across numerous areas of my field of study have greatly been improved because of both Life Drawing I and II.

Here are a few images of the gladiator that I have been modeling in 3D. I've reposted the head image for reference, and the image on the bottom is the most (but not entirely) completed version that I have to date.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Final Skeleton Drawing

As mentioned earlier, we spent the last few weeks of the semester working on our large skeleton drawings. We then had a show to display our work. For a while, I was a bit worried about how quickly my drawing was coming along, but I was able to get it done. I'm very happy with how it turned out, too.

I struggled a bit after the first day of drawing. My lack of progress was mainly attributed to a short attention span and continual wandering, but I'll just attribute those things to the fact that I couldn't really get a feel for how I was going to go about creating the piece. I wanted so badly to make a drawing that I would be proud to put in the show and that would impress viewers; I was hesitant to just get cracking on it and hope for the best (that was my approach for a couple of the portraits we drew, and I'm not incredibly fond of the way they turned out). This resulted in me not getting much done throughout the first few days.
I had to spend a lot of time during the final week of classes in the Life Drawing room. I went into the room in the evenings and spent a good number of hours in there. Besides the fact that I knew I had to get the drawing done, I actually found that I much preferred this drawing setting. There were never more than a few people in the room, and that made the area much less crowded. I was able to focus more on the skeleton model and my drawing (as well as picking my own music to draw to, which definitely helped get me "in the zone"). I pulled through, and create a piece that I was, indeed, proud to put in the show.

My final skeleton drawing

I think I can say that this is one of, if not the single, most successful drawings I've ever done. To put it simply, it looks good. Everything came together very well, and I'm very happy with the proportions, lines, and shading. One comment made about my drawing was that it has a rather somber, "deathly" feel about it. This was meant as a positive critique (seeing as it is a skeleton.. which is dead), but that made me think of something else. While the lines and shading are quite clean overall, I'm not sure if they portray the sense of life and movement that we have talked about over the course of the semester (as well as in Life Drawing I). I also can't decide if the lack of visual motion and life in the piece is acceptable in the case of a skeleton. Or maybe the contrasting feel of the alive, moving lines on the drawing of dead subject matter would add to its appeal?? Anyway, I hope that those who view my drawing appreciate it, no matter what the reason.

Monday, December 6, 2010

LD2 - Week of November 29th

This week, we began working on our final skeleton drawings. We have a total of 6 classes plus an equal amount of work outside of class to get them done. Unfortunately, I missed Wednesday's class, so I have a bit of making up to do.

Anyway, I've posted below a picture of my progress from the first day of drawing the skeleton. I'm pretty pleased with how it's turning out so far. I'm getting better at sizing up proportion (although I used a ruler when making measurements for the skeleton), and was able to get that done without too much trouble. I think the proportions have turned out well, and I shouldn't have to adjust them much throughout the rest of the process. The biggest issue present in my drawing so far is the placement of some of the bones. I have a continuing problem of drawing lines and forms too vertically, so I have to work on that (you can see that I am in the middle of angling the leg in on my drawing). Also, the arms are too close to the body, so my next step will be to move those out a bit. Other than that, I have no complaints as of now. I'm eager to see how it turns out and to see how much I've been able to absorb throughout my two semesters of Life Drawing!

On a side note, one thing I noticed when measuring out the skeleton was how small the skeleton drawing is turning out to be. With a paper length of almost 5 feet, I imagined the drawing being much larger (almost to scale), but when I went to make the measurements, everything seemed tiny. For example, the skull is less than six inches tall, and that didn't look right at first (I started by sketching in the skull, and after I did, there appeared to be way too much blank paper left below it). I figured that I would just keep sketching out the rest of the skeleton and see what happens. Lo and behold, everything fell into place just fine. Once again, my eyes and brain lied to me about what I think I see!

And yes, my skeleton has a mustache. Why? ...Why not?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Nip/Tuck, beauty and perfection

This semester, my friend Megan introduced me to a show called Nip/Tuck. It.. is.. awesome. The show revolves around two plastic surgeons in Miami. Much of the show deals with the human form (obviously). It's interesting to examine the ideas of beauty and perfection (which I believe go hand-in-hand when discussing the human figure), and the lengths that some people will go to in order to achieve them. I chose to post this picture because its inclusion of the ancient statues demonstrates that this idea of the perfect human form isn't a new phenomenon, and dates back to ancient times.

The whole notion of perfection reminds me of artistic anatomy. When learning how to draw the figure, there is no end-all to drawing perfect people. We learn the "ideal" proportions and measurements, but the fact always remains that everyone is different. At the same time, without the ideals that we learn, the backbone of the teaching process would be lost. It would make it far more difficult to learn artistic anatomy by simply trying to draw what your mind thinks that it sees, with minimal understanding of the form in front of you. I've known quite a few people who show contempt for the concept of beauty and perfection and think we would be better off without it. While some people (such as a number of characters from Nip/Tuck) do themselves more harm than good by obsessing over reaching their idea of beauty and perfection, it is a necessary evil.

Referring back to the Nip/Tuck picture, I love how they placed one of the statues (the Venus de Milo) next to an image of a runway supermodel. The similarities between them are undeniable, and it makes me wonder, are today's supermodels simply an evolution of statues from the past? Do those who look down upon the idea of beauty also consider masterpieces like the Statue of David, The Thinker Statue, or the Venus, to be superficial?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wait, I'm using what I've learned in this class, for other classes?! Awesome!

I had this epiphany while working on a 3D model of a head, which I was creating for my Digital Characters class.

Modeling the head was quite the process. I began by modeling the nose, then the mouth and chin, eye area, cranium, and ended with the ear. Right when I began the model, I found myself thinking about what I've learned over the course of Life Drawing 1 and 2 (hence the name of this post^). I used this knowledge throughout the whole process, from features like the lips and ear to the underlying structure of the skull. It was pretty cool.

I first took Life Drawing 1 because my main focus in the Multimedia Design program is 3D, and I wanted to help strengthen my abilities in the area of character modeling (I continued on with LD2 for the same reason). The amount of help that my knowledge of artistic anatomy provided with my head model shows that these classes have done for me what I hoped they would, which is awesome. I'm beginning to model the body to which the head will be attached, and I'm sure that Life Drawing will continue to leave its mark on all of the work that I do! I'll post an update on that once I'm closer to completion.

Here is the final model of the head:

LD2 - November 2010

I'm not entirely sure where this whole month has gone.. I think we're being messed with, because I swear Halloween was last week. Anyway, here's a quick recap of Life Drawing 2, November 2010.

As discussed in previous blogs, we began the month with an in-class assignment, consisting of drawing portraits of three classmates. Our critique took place in class on November 15th (details can be found in my last couple blog posts). I didn't attend class on Wednesday due to illness, but I gather that we finished the portrait critiques and critiqued some students' senior projects.

To finish up the semester, we're doing two full skeleton drawings, sized to scale. We spent last Monday (the 22nd) preparing our drawing materials and setting up our easels (we didn't have class Wednesday because of Thanksgiving break. It will be interesting to see how I fare with that. I've never drawn the whole skeleton before, but I'm confident that I have a solid enough understanding of the human body and form to get through it without any major issues. It will help that we can draw the bones with flat planes, rather than drawing them as a cylindrical form. More on this later!