What I’ve learnt so far
In my BTEC class I had, we had learned how to draw using perspective and different types of perspective that can be used to achieve the look of your concept sketches that you create using this method. We learned that there had been more than one way of creating angles and viewpoints of drawing backgrounds that you want to make for any purpose, perhaps to plan for architecture or for upcoming movie projects. Either way I knew that these techniques that we had gone through in class would help me grow bigger as an artist as well as develop my skills and abilities linked to that class. Along with that we had practiced observational drawings along the first weeks of my course. Our tutor even showed how animators use storyboards to visualise how there animations may turn out and also develop their storyboard as well.
There were few exercises that we had practiced do to with observational drawings. These exercises helped the tutor to see what we were capable of. We were even told to draw with our non-drawing hand. Some of the tasks that we had been doing through the beginning of the course had been familiar to what I had learnt through my previous GCSE Fine Art course.
At the time we had done some of these observational drawings was within the first week of the course.
Above was the first drawing exercise that we had to complete for the tutor. Each of us had to take off one pair of our shoe and place it on the table. Seems simple, right? But he wanted us to only keep an eye on the shoe in front of us at all times, never looking at the A3 paper that we had to sketch on in front of us, obviously. If we were caught, trying took at our paper with the tutor around. He warned us that he would make us crunch our sketch up and start from the beginning. It was fairly tempting to take a peek most of the time as it aggravated me that I couldn’t look to see if I made any mistakes (which I clearly did from the image above). It was odd how some of the shapes are correct, just not in the right position from the lack of hand coordination I had with that exercise. It was nice to try a different approach to observational drawing.
In the next exercise, with our new A3 sheet of paper to sketch with, we had to swap our shoe with somebody else next to us on our table. The good news was that we were able to look at our paper whilst we sketched, but unfortunately we had at least a minute to memorise our new shoe before putting it under the table to begin sketching. I will say that it was much easier as far as drawing goes, but what did make it difficult was the fact that I needed to keep the image in my head in order to understand how the shoe looks so that I can sketch it. Since, I wasn’t born with a photographic memory, I couldn’t get a detailed image in my head to draw from. Not to mention that I’m quite forgetful at certain times so I can easily forget small details that don’t seem to be a big deal, but can be important sometimes. Because of this, I couldn’t get all the details of the shoe, let alone the proportions.
This time for this exercise, we had to draw with our non-drawing hand (in this case, my right hand as I’m left-handed in writing and drawing). Now this task wasn’t too bad, given that I could complete this task how you do any other observational drawing task, but with the exception of drawing with my right hand. Now the only thing challenging from this was that I had to focus my hand and keep it steady on the sheet of paper since I find it quite awkward to hold it in my right hand and I’m already not so good with writing, but drawing didn’t make this any better. But on the bright side, practice makes perfect, doesn’t it? I know others were irritated with having to draw with the hand that they practically never use for drawing or writing to begin with. At least I have had more experience with my right hand. With attempt after attempt, we all get better little by little, don’t we? Most of us, including me, can forget this.
Now with this drawing, we had express our emotions with our lines and curves we create with our pencils. The tutor wanted each of us to channel our own feelings through our observational drawing. Now I had no clue how I could have done so at the time as I wasn’t used to doing different sorts of line art. I felt the need at the time to make my work presentable to my tutor. Oh, how the desire for perfection has hindered me in my objective. I hate to make my work look untidy or even an abomination. I wished that I could have more self-confidence in myself in my art and more knowledge on various art styles that artists have even used, though everyone has their own individual art style. Perhaps, I could gain more experience and knowledge to widen my horizons.
For this particular exercise, we had to create a storyboard for a story that we had to make up to visualise. Our tutor showed us a few storyboards made by other concept artists and animators for planning on how they would bring their animation to life. Of course, everyone had creative story-lines to use for creating and designing the layout for their characters and backgrounds. I was more visual in presenting my ideas as you can see from the comparison between my storyboard and my mind map. I can have difficulty putting my thoughts and ideas into words as I tend to have a short attention span when it comes to topics relating to writing/typing. It was much simpler to scribble away to keep the idea recognisable in my head and remember it much more clearer than to read little to nothing and to practically remember nothing at all.
From the next lesson, our tutor had introduced a new topic in the class that I had little experience with practicing in the past. This was perspective drawing. He showed us how perspective was needed to create accuracy in making proportions correct for concept art for a film, architecture or a manga comic. Honestly, I have had little experience with drawing in perspective from looking up tutorials and teaching myself to draw with perspective, but that’s easier said than done. Our tutor reassured us that many other students, like us, had struggled with this, but progressed as they practiced more and more in the course and their free time. This made me feel better, knowing that I too had a chance to improve my own work that I had done. He also showed us that some artists didn’t use the principles of perspective and instead created their own spacing when creating backgrounds. Medieval artwork is a good example of this. Back before perspective was invented, artists would unintentionally make the proportions out of place. It doesn’t seem as proportioned as most of the concept artwork that we see today. We were also taught the principles and one and two point perspective for our task to complete.
The Artist does this as well is Leonardo Da Vinci. He was well-experienced with the principles of perspective in general as he had years of practice in Mathematics, Design and Civil Engineering. He had designed different sorts of architecture in perspective. This way I would get a good view of different perspectives to look at and practice in my own free-time. I was able to take a look at how he handled the proportions realistically to fit in depending on which he would draw it in.
We had to create three/four drawings using one point perspective. We put the vanishing point in the centre and drew lines from the point to the edges of the paper. This was used as a guideline for when we would measure the proportions for walls and other objects in the background. We needed to create three observational drawings using perspective as a guideline. Being the day-dreamer that I am from a lack of focus, I had created the first drawing from my imagination instead of observing an actual room. I wasn’t too disappointed when my tutor told me what I was really supposed to do. I was more creative and imaginative in creating my own sketch without any reference. Luckily, I didn’t make the same mistake again with the other two sketches. I only made three drawings at the time (from terrible time management).
The image above was the first of the three drawings that I didn’t make the right way from how the tutor told us how we should draw them. I made a plain ordinary room, except for the odd-shaped door that’s bejewelled. It was simple enough for me to draw as well as the other two images at the bottom. I will say that I would have liked to added more detail and proportion. I know that my drawings are up to quality on proportion and detail in some places, especially the second and third drawing as I observed them. I did rush to get them finished, not being bothered to get much detail. I didn’t have a lot of patience when I did this task. Hopefully, the next time I do a task like this, I can patiently complete the work as I understand one point perspective better.
This last drawing involved two point instead of one point perspective. For two point perspective, we had to place two vanishing points (one on each side) and drew lines from different angles to the centre. This was suppose to help us in creating a different viewpoint for buildings in backgrounds. In this task, we had to draw a building or a series of buildings. The image above was drawn from my imagination once again. I can see that the buildings aren’t proportionate in size and I acknowledge that I had been struggling with getting the scaling as accurate as I could, but failed anyway.
Proportions and Marking in Observational Drawings
These were a few observational drawings that I had done by measuring, marking and scaling the proportions of each items that I had to draw. This was good practice for my observational drawing skills. I have noticed that I improved and have gotten better at scaling and marking where I can draw each item.
This drawing was made from using charcoal for the first time to be honest. Even when the tutor gave us a few quick tips on how use the edges of the charcoal to create straight or curves to make the shapes of the objects, similar to a pencil. I thought this image was drawn well for using charcoal for the first time.
For the last two observational drawings, we had the original A3 that we each sketched ourselves and the A4 copy that we had to shade the empty holes (of the objects) and the outside to show the negative shapes.
Our tutor showed us how artists would cross-hatch and would use light and tone to create folding of clothing or fabric. This was new for me to do as I haven’t cross-hatched any observational drawings before and this was surprisingly an interesting task to do. I was surprised that I didn’t struggle too much.
Each table had a cloth covering a few objects above the tables. Our task here was too draw and cross-hatch the cloth from observation. It was hard for me to get the shading and proportions right for this drawing as I’m not very good with multi-tasking so I had put some improvisation into this drawing. I am pleased that I managed to do as I was asked for this task. But I do think that I should improve on how I shade and focus more on the light to dark direction of where I shade. My tutor told me this as well. The first drawing that I created look a lot more like a rock than a piece of fabric.
The tutor wanted us to try a second drawing of folded fabric. After wandering around the college for a good 12 mins, I decided to try and draw someone else’s sleeve. It didn’t seem too difficult to complete nor was it difficult in the process. I still had to use the techniques of hatching and cross-hatching from the first drawing. The second piece of work is an improvement from the first drawing that I did. I didn’t mess up the proportions of the arm too bad this time and I managed to show off the fold on the fabric much better than the first so that it actually resembles fabric.
Studying the Human Form
For this topic, we were studying the proportions of the human head and look at how the human head is structured realistically for a human being as opposed to a cartoon character you see in a TV show or a comic. This was good practice for semi-realism, which is when you attempt drawing in between cartoon style and realism. Most of these tasks involved having partners taking turns in performing the task required.
Vincent Van Gogh was an artist who had made many portraits of people with precision and accuracy. Seeing his work did make me more motivated into practicing and getting the proportions as accurate as I could. It was useful for referencing the three-quarter view for drawing human portraits.
For our first task, we had to draw an observational drawing human head of the person sitting on the opposite side of our table. The aim of this task was to create a proportional front view of the person’s face. The main issue I had was to get the proportions as realistic as I could. I made the face look younger than it should be (considering most of my class are in their late teens), but I do understand that a lot of us may not always look our age. I often let my influences of watching anime/reading manga get the better of me as it can effect my performance on how I draw which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but can hinder the purpose of my drawing assignment such as this task. I honestly wouldn’t worry too much on the lack of detail that I’ve got for this sketch as the tutor did tell us that putting detail for this exercise wasn’t really needed, but accuracy.
Soon, we had to draw our partner in a different position that roughly fits in a 3/4 view and had them stay in that position for as long as we had to draw their face again. For this drawing task, there was a limited amount of time for me to quickly sketch since my partner had sketched me to begin with. From the image above, you can see the quick sketch that was made. I didn’t manage my time very well and so had very little time to add any facial features on and practice the proportions for that angle.
In this second drawing I made, I had more time on my hands to add more features onto the face, but I focused too much on getting the details for this drawing that I had less time for tweaking the proportions for the sketch. Even though drawing hands at nothing to do with what we were learning, I wanted to practice drawing proportions for this body part. At the time, I wanted to try and draw other body parts as well as the head and since we weren’t allowed to do that yet, I thought that it would be good practice for me to try and sketch my own hand. I still had problems with making both the head and hand realistically proportional.
After we finished our observational drawings, our tutor wanted us to practice different angles and facial features to practice our anatomy, in this case, drawing different heads of different people. Only this time, we had to improvise how each head can look as we had to develop and improve our anatomical skills for the future when we eventually draw the rest of the human body.
This drawing was nothing more than a simple doodle to experiment with different drawing styles and putting them in comparison. I wanted to see how I draw in realism and manga style. it was a fairly quick attempt to do in the little time I had left in class back then.
Drawing the Human Figure
For this lesson, instead of the human head, we’ve looking at how we can draw the human body in proportion using the wireframe technique to construct the body parts carefully and we still didn’t need to consider the need for putting in detail for practice this as this is done for developing and improving how we currently draw the human figure as of this moment. I was experienced since I had practiced drawing with this technique in the past and has proved to be useful for getting the body stances and poses as anatomically accurate as I could than to just doodle the figure off the bat and have a load of errors. For our task of this lesson, the tutor wanted us each the volunteer as a model and pose in any position we wanted to pose in and use them as a reference for constructing the wireframe figure according to the model’s pose.
With the first model, I tried to sketch the rough proportions of the person who had one foot on the chair. When I was sketching this, the tutor wanted us to start from the feet and work our way up to help us get the rough anatomy as correct as I could get it, but the technique didn’t work out well for me when I couldn’t get the rest of the proportions correct from observation. I generally would work my way down, measuring my down to the torso and head to get the limbs proportional and other objects around it as well. I guess it can’t be helped when you can be put off by something new that can get you in a pickle.
Unlike the first drawing that I had done, this time I had sorted out the proportions so that they have improved more and also seem to be in place in terms of the pose that the model was in. I’m quite pleased that I managed to fix this and fit the posture and measurements as best as I could for this. If I had anything to say about this, it would be the fact that I still used the same body frame for the wire framing technique. I was having trouble with working around the rest of the frame when I constructed the frame this way.
I was beginning to get the hang of using the wireframe structure in this sense. It was nice to draw the wireframe and have more control over how I position the torso, head and limbs. I decided to try and draw the same technique in different steps, instead, by starting by the head and torso and work my way up there. I didn’t bother with the umbrella being drawn correctly since I wanted to focus more on drawing the body proportions.
I soon tweaked my wireframe to make the body proportions much easier to follow and work around and even started marking the positioning of the body limbs by using geometric 2D shapes to be able to make them more evened out rather than drawing the whole body off the bat and having it look scribbly and wonky. I wouldn’t want that for my sketches for my coursework.
It’s quite impressive how we can generally improve little by little, even though I would like to get something in a flash. Sadly, that’s impossible to do, but that’s at least it’s better than nothing. I have noticed how much I have gotten better at using the wire framing technique to position and manipulate the posing the human body to see where I can place objects around the human figure.
Through practicing the same technique every time with a different model doing a different pose every time. Although, it helped me to get the hang of understanding the wire framing technique for drawing the rough proportions of the human figure, it was quite repetitive for me to do since after a while of doing this exercise, I was slowly losing focus on getting the sketches done and also losing interest.
But I have acknowledged how useful this technique can be when you want accuracy and proportions in place whether you want it for realism, cartoons or you own style. This has become really useful for when I do more anatomy practice in the future.
I do slip and mess up in some of these sketches and I often like to nitpick too much for my own good, but I think that it can be good for me to nitpick to spot any mistakes and take a look at how I can improve for when I practice anatomy from time to time.
Fleshing it out in 3D
Soon the tutor showed us examples of geometric 3D shapes that have been commonly used to help sketch out the basic structure of the human body and how they can help us ‘flesh out’ the base of the human figure to draw over in more detail afterwards.
It was good to be more diverse in referencing different poses from different models to create interesting body poses.
The fight scene wasn’t too difficult to create as I’ve been familiar with watching fight in action or martial arts films/anime. This sort of influence helped me to position the wireframe figures before filling them in 3D shapes. I did have a little trouble with the proportions.
Drawing the human figures in sitting position took some getting use to. I don’t often draw sitting positions or poses, just general poses in my own style (art-wise).
The image above me is my gesture drawing. It was made using a whole pencil stroke to create this pose. Unlike all the previous drawings of the human figure, this drawing didn’t require me to use the wire framing that the previous sketches needed. For this task, I needed to try to roughly sketch the human form and also put on the detail without taking the pencil off the paper. It did irritate me that I would always be close to taking the pencil off the paper.
This fist drawing was irritating to do as I couldn’t hold the pencil normally so I had less control of the pencil when drawing lines and curves.
We had been set a task by our tutor to create some concept artwork for a story line we’ve made at the beginning of the course. Most of us had carried on from our original story concepts and developed them into ideas for the characters and the settings for the story to take place.
From the current mind map that I had before, I was able to develop more on the setting of my characters and setting that I had originally planned for the story that I wanted to create for my concept artwork before I create the final piece.
I quickly sketched out of my imagination as to what the characters would look like in my final composition. These had started out as doodles out of procrastination, but soon I wanted to put this into my concept art.
I doodled more concept art involving the three characters in my storyline with each of them in different poses to make it more dynamic. I thought that shading it in would improve the appearance of the sketches.
These are only some more sketches I made to explore the different poses and angles of my characters involved in my storyline. It was good practice for using different poses I’m unfamiliar with.
Here I had sketched some concept artwork of my environment of where my story is set in. This wasn’t done using a reference of sorts, which is why this appears to be in a cartoon style. The second picture below is more a remake of the first image containing my concept artwork.
Here is a page of doodles with an outfit change for my character to see how they’d look with a beanie (inspiration from my common clothing style) from which I thought was a nice change to look at, despite the repetitive fashion sense I have given the character.
Alternate Universe (A.U.)
Our tutor wanted us to come up with different ideas that still include the original concept that our own story/idea had contained. I was struggling with coming up with different concepts for an alternate storyline with the same characters.
I had concepts which included the main character having an older sister that was being stalked by a demonic entity in the real world to the point where she driven to paranoia and depression. The demon often causes supernatural destruction to places and people she comes by or visits.
I also have an idea of the same boy (likely older) becoming a demon slayer. The concept may need some more development, but at the time of coming up with alternative ideas for our story, I thought that this story would work (even if it’s seems cliche from watching Blue Exorcist).
Both the sketches of the swords and the dog have been referenced for a guideline to draw realism as on option. It had been roughly sketched in minutes. I had searched through different images on google images to look for different types of sword and breeds of dogs as well.
For my mood boards, I made sure to research images linking to dogs (the main character’s pet), swords (possible weapon), demons (for the alternate universe storyline), spirits (minor characters). Looking through google images for pictures have been useful for me to develop m concept art more and along with that I would be able to create more realistic artwork or maybe manga style artwork as they have realistic elements.
Ideas for final piece
With all the development of the sketches of the setting, characters, references and influences which had benefited my series of sketches of my own concept story, I had managed to get inspiration and develop ideas of how I may have wanted my final pieces to look (based on the concept artwork I had done). I wanted to try different ideas with different types of media since I felt that it lacked that area in most of my concept art that I had produced through the whole unit that we had been doing.
To hopefully sum it all up, I have been developing concept art and taking references which would have helped me through my time of creating other designs for the settings of where my story was set and create concept art for my alternate universe ideas for my story. I managed to look at references from the environment and using google images to help in creating a variety of different art styles for my characters. It also helped when I had made a mood board containing different themes that link to my story environment/characters such as castles, forests, demons (antagonist), dogs (protagonist’s pet dog) and swords (weapon). Though I had made plenty of concept art and final pieces made from different types of media. I felt that may be I should of made some more clothing designs for the character rather than developing artwork with the same clothes the main character wears every time. The tutor did show us examples of concept artwork where there are different costume designs for the same character. I managed to create my artwork from using different references and using my mood boards to gain inspiration for new ideas.