Tuesday, September 5, 2017

MASTER DRAWING JAPAN - Aaron Blaise's SUMO Sized Tokyo Seminar - Summer 2017

Apologies to everyone for not posting this sooner. Those who follow Master Drawing Japan are well aware that this summer, its biggest and most ambitious seminar to date was held.

Aaron Blaise, veteran Disney animator of over 20 years,  film director, illustrator and wildlife artist was our guest in Tokyo for an amazing 13 days!

In partnership with CG World / +ONE Knowledge, Master Drawing Japan invited this animation heavyweight to share his priceless knowledge with the aspiring artists of Tokyo.  During that time Aaron held two seminars on animation, creature design and an additional two intensive masterclasses on character design and human/ animal comparative anatomy.

Well over a hundred students and professionals came in attendance for Aaron's first teaching seminars in Japan.

Aaron covered all the essentials of animation and design.  A very interactive instructor, Aaron designed the lion above with direct guidance from the audience.

And Aaron went on to animate the lion as seen below.


For his next trick...! The Creature Design segment of the seminar , Aaron designed and completely rendered this amazing dragon from start to finish right before everyone's eyes.

Aaron graciously greeted everyone and left a lot of happy faces behind..

But this is only half of the story....

With still two more masterclass seminars to go, Aaron generously offered everyone interested to join him at an open drawing day at Tama Zoo



Aaron hailed Tama Zoo as one of the BEST zoo experiences he has ever had.  Coming from an animal illustration master  like Aaron, that's a huge compliment!

The last two days of Aaron's teaching tour ended at the Sokei Academy of Fine Arts with two masterclass seminars on character design and comparative anatomy.  Sokei has been a very generous sponsor of previous seminars for Master Drawing Japan.  Notably with one of Aaron's previous drawing instructors, the venerable Glenn Vilppu

It was an amazing experience and unforgettable adventure in art, design and illustration. Thank you Aaron, it was a great honor having you.  (P.S. Have to give s shout to Nick Burch - thank you too Nick! You were the rock that made sure that everything was steady!  You're a great guy!)    Looking forward to seeing you again!  

If you want to see more about Aaron's experience in Tokyo go to his YouTube channel: The Art of Aaron Blaise or look at Master Drawing Japan's blog on the experience!

Sunday, August 27, 2017


"What is the character thinking and why does he feel that way?"
- Ollie Johnston

- オリー・ジョンストン

You might be asking, what's wrong with my drawing?  Why isn't there anything happening?  The anatomy is correct, I've rendered it completely, I have used perspective but why isn't alive?  The answer might be in the question above.

こんな疑問を持ったことがあるのではないでしょうか。自分のドローイングはどこが悪いんだろう?  どうもピンと来ないのはなぜだろう?  アナトミーは正しいし、陰影もしっかりつけたし、パースもちゃんとしている。それなのに、生き生きとしていない。

"A drawing that doesn't convey an emotion or a state of mind isn't a good drawing."  


Make judgments about what you are putting down on paper.  Just don't copy.  We have cameras and digital photography for that. Your job as an artist is to convey a character.  Tell a story.  Your audience is paying you (with either money or time)  to show them what you, see. 

Don't be afraid to put what you feel in the drawing and even exaggerate what the character is doing. you can always "scale back" if you need to.



I have used scribbles and stick figures for clarity and simplicity. 

A.  Shows a person running, yes....but how does it compare to the attitude and feelings of B. and C.?


Use abstract lines to capture the movement and push the feeling.  Think abstract.  Not literal!   


Monday, July 31, 2017

Squash and Stretch(スクオッシュとストレッチ)


- フランク・トーマス、オーリー・ジョンストン著『The Illusion of Life』(Disney Editions刊)

- スクウォッシュ・アンド・ストレッチは、アニメーションだけの概念ではない。

- ゴムのように自在に形を変えるアニメーションのような、大げさな表現は必要ないが、

-  誇張にも使えるし、人物の輪郭の明確化にも利用できる。 

- あるいは、人体にかかるフォースの方向を明確するためにも利用できる。

-  スクウォッシュ・アンド・ストレッチは、明確化を助けてくれる。ダイナミックでドラマチックなアクションをいっそう際立たせてくれる。

Good Old Squash and Stretch

"Anything composed of living flesh, not matter how bony, will show considerable movement within its shape in progressing through an action."

- Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston,  The Illusion of Life

- Squash and stretch is not purely an animation concept. It has existed since primitive man was able to draw figures.  It has been used by the old masters.

- We don't have to go into gross caricature seen in rubbery animation but it can inform the spirit of our drawings.  

-  Some use it for exaggeration. It also can be used for clarity in the contour of the figure.  

- It can also clarify the direction of forces in the figure. 

-  It aids clarity.  It emphasizes dynamic and dramatic action! 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Intelligent Scribbles インテリジェント・スクリブル(知的な落書き)

" Why do life drawing?  Because we learn the normal to have authority with the fantastic.  We learn where the weight is. We learn proportion. We learn where to place things. We learn clarity.  It broadens our range.  It's like working out in order to get fit. And we don't want fancy drawings----we need intelligent scribbles"
-Richard Williams

「写生をする理由は何だろうか? 標準を知っている者には、奇想天外なことが許されるからだ。ウエイトがどこにあるか。比率はどうか。明瞭さとはどんなことか。すべてのパーツがどのようにつながっているかを理解できる。これが分かれば、ずっと幅が広がる。健康でいるために運動するのとおなじことだ。上手な絵を描こう、素晴らしい絵を描こうとするのは、無用なことだ。私たちが目指すべきは、知的な落書きだ」
 - リチャードウィリアムズ

These works by German illustrator Heinrich Kley are perfect examples of drawings that have weight and clarity.  His ink illustrations are loose and have a vitality showing clear gesture or line of action.  


Kley found gesture in large, bulky creatures such as elephants and maximized the obvious gesture in the long "S" curve bodies of alligators. 


Walt Disney was a collector of his art after being introduced to it by Disney artist Joe Grant. The influence of Kley's work in Disney's Fantasia segment, "Dance of the Hours" is undeniable.  

Kley's chaotic, but fun artwork should be an inspiration to loosen up and go to the heart of the gesture found in figures. The scaffolding of the working parts of the figure  (whether it be an elephant or a damsel) can be attached and cleaned up later. 



If Kley can successfully find the fluid gesture in a turtle, we should be inspired to at least find it in the human form!