Monday, October 21, 2019

How to Get More Emotion and Feeling Into Your Drawings

"Why is it when we draw. sometimes the drawings just feel like we are just drawing and nothing is happening?  You fill a sketchbook and you say, 'Okay..I filled a  sketchbook but look, nothing's there.  What's wrong?!  Why isn't there anything happening here??' Part of it is that you are not making judgments when you are looking at something.    When ever you see something you need to be asking yourself questions".   - Glen Keane 

So what are those questions we should be asking when we look at something to draw?  Glen Keane at a  CalArts lecture gave an example of drawing at the zoo.  We can draw a monkey at the zoo and then eventually the stereotype depictions of monkeys start creeping into our drawing.  It might have some interest because of the pose of the monkey, but the problem is you are not making judgements about the monkey.  How does the monkey before you make you feel?  

If you observe his arms as looking wire-like but powerful that is information that should be influencing your drawing.  Actually write "powerful" and "wire-like" on your paper to help keep that image or feeling on your mind as you draw.  

The trick in getting drawings that express something, is to get in touch with what we observe emotionally rather than just what we can see literally.  

Actors before they perform, like any other trained athlete do warmups before engaging in their action.   It might help us too to do some warmups.  

Free your mind a little and think on a more emotional state.  Get some ice from your refrigerator and hold it in your hand with your eyes closed.  What does it feel like??  What does COLD feel like?  Sharp?  Unpleasant?  Unwelcoming?   Whatever emotions you feel write that on your paper and then draw it as abstract shapes, rhythms or tones.  

Okay, so how does this relate to drawing the figure??   

When you draw the gesture (THE most important part of drawing), emotion is what should be root of what influence your line.  

The pencil is not just an extension of your hand but also your mind and your heart.  As the great martial artist Bruce Lee said, "Don't think!  Feel!"   Use the root of your emotions to guide your hand.  Draw emotion not just information. Use your instinct. 

This may sound  esoteric or even poetic...but this is a mind exercise that is just as important as studying human proportions and anatomy when learning how to draw the figure.  It will be hard at first....especially if you are not accustomed to making judgments, but the more you do it, the more comfortable you will be with it. 

Below are my suggested artists to study: 

Heinrich Kley :  
Note the feeling of SICKNESS in this poor dragon.  Have you ever felt this way before?    Remember that feeling.  Try drawing it.  

Or perhaps you remember the feeling of PULLING something HEAVY.  Draw it! 

Remember that feeling of being SURPRISED??  Draw it!

John Buscema:  
I hope you din't fight, but if you are human you must have felt the feeling of ANGER and the wish to STRIKE physically.  Don't shy away from that feeling.  Use it.  Draw it. 

Not many of use have muscular proportions like a superhero, but you can feel the WEIGHT and POWER in this figure's back.

Wilhem Busch:   
Have you ever felt VAIN before?  We all have.  Draw it!

Or LAZY on a weekend afternoon?   Draw it! 

I chose these examples for their looseness and purity.  These are qualities that will help your drawings be more expressive rather than literal.     Have fun!  See you next time!  

Thursday, August 15, 2019

BASIC KEY LANDMARKS for Figure Drawing - 人物画のための基本的なランドマーク

Landmarks are keys that can help you plot your path from beginning to end when drawing the human figure.   Whether you start drawing using the head or the torso or the leg, these points can help you lock down positions when you are constructing your figure.


THE TORSO  (Front)

The torso is my favorite place to start since it determines so much about the figure. 
As noted in the diagram  the 10th rib, and the points of the iliac crest on the pelvis are excellent points to use.  

What's great about these two points is that they can help show how the body is twisting or bending in space. 

上図から分かるように、第十肋骨(10th rib)と、骨盤の腸骨稜(ちょうこつりょう:iliac crest)は大きな手掛かりです。


The sternum and the 10th rib points form a "Y" form on the front of the body. The distance between all these all basically the same length.  

Note in the first torso illustration,  the two points on the iliac crest are helpful for determining the center of the body by drawing a triangle down, and a line upwards from below the pubic arch.  This will always give you the perfect position of the navel.  

胸骨(sternum)と第十肋骨(10th rib)は、胴体前面にある"Y"字です。この3つのラインは基本的に同じ長さです。

最初のイラストの腸骨稜(iliac crest)を見てください。腸骨稜の2点を底辺にした逆三角形と、恥骨から上に伸ばしたラインによって、体の中心が分かります。こうすると、へそを置くべき場所がしっかり決まります。

TORSO (Rear)

The 7th Cervical Vertebra is the small bump at the base of your neck.  This is the position where the neck ends and the spine begins to curve in the opposite direction.

第七頸椎(7th Cervical Vertebra)は、背中側の首の付け根にある出っ張りです。ここが首の終わりで、ここから逆向きのカーブを描く背骨が始まります。

 The scapula on the left and right side of the body are excellent landmarks as well as the lower part of the torso's sacrum which holds the "Dimples of Venus" .



Arms and legs can be handled rhythmically.   However, if more anatomy is to be applied it can be handled as a series of interlocking shapes.

The arm I drew here are a little idealized but it is good to know what muscles are working underneath. 



Note how the forces of the deltoid (1), go into into the bicep (2), go into the elbow (3) into the supinator of the forearm (4) and finally out the wrist (5). 


In the leg in its simplest form can be handled from the curve of the outside of the leg (1) to the inside of the knee (2), to the outside of the calf muscle (3) out to the inside and outside peaks of the ankle (4 and 5)  and out to the curve behind the big toe (6). 

The sartorius muscle and the tensor fasciae  latae create a useful upside down V shape that straddles the quadricep muscles.


縫工筋(sartorius muscle)と大腿筋膜張筋(tensor fasciae latae)は逆V字型をなし、その下に大腿四頭筋(quadricep muscles)が挟み込まれています。

Please remember these are just landmarks to help you get from start to finish in an easier way.  Don't be a slave to anatomy.  These are just tools to help support the gesture and design of your drawing.


I have included some artist examples in fine art, illustration and cartooning. Can you locate where the landmarks are?


Have fun drawing!

Glenn Vilppu

Alex Ross

Glen Keane

Frank Frazetta

Peter Paul Rubens 

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Drawing the Female Form - Part 2. - Using Appealing Design - 女性を女性らしく描く - Part 2 – アピール(魅力)のあるデザインを使う

As I described in my previous blog: Straights Vs. Curves   the compliments of straights and curves is what we want to use for a more graphic and animated quality when drawing the human figure.

以前のブログ記事「直線 VS. 曲線」(で説明したように、補完し合う直線と曲線の組み合わせは、グラフィック調あるいはアニメーション寄りのクオリティで人物を描くときに使うと有効です。 

Gesture is still the most important aspect, but we can combine our foundation understanding of capturing the figure using appealing graphic shapes.


One of my favorite and most reliable tools for figure drawing using the 'rice bag' (or the flour sack in the USA)  as a shorthand model for the human pelvis.  (See past blog:  Your Friend: The Rice Bag)  A problem however is that the rice bag is somewhat male in design.

人間の体幹を「コメ袋(小麦袋)」としてとらえるのは、私のお気に入りのやり方であり、人物ドローイングで最も信頼できるツールの1つです(過去のブログ記事「Your Friend: The Rice Bag」参照:。しかし問題は、コメ袋がやや男性的なデザインであることです。
However as you can see above, we can modify it to match the small ribcage and flaring out hips of a female.  We can even make this a very graphic form as seen above.  Glenn Vilppu likes to call this a "Schmoo" design.  (Based on the American comic character The Schmoo by Al Capp.)  

上のイラストをご覧ください。コメ袋を少し小さくして、小さい胸郭に合わせ、腰を広げることで女性に合わせられます。さらに、これをグラフィック形状に簡略化することもできます。巨匠グレン・ビルプ先生は、これを「シュムー」デザインと呼んでいます(Al Cappによるアメリカのコミック「The Schmoo」の主役です)。

But if you want we can break it down even more graphically to simple shapes using straights and curves.  


Look for more examples of this in the videos and examples below!  Give it a try in your own drawings!  You'll see results soon! 


Alphonse Mucha


Frank Cho


Jin Kim


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

How to Do DYNAMIC FIGURE Drawing - 人物ドローイングをダイナミックに

So we have acquired some skill in drawing the human figure.  We understand anatomy, how to measure and use perspective.    But why isn't our drawing leaping off the page?  What is missing?

ある程度、人物を描けるようになったとしましょう。アナトミー、パースについても理解しました。それでも描いた人物が紙から飛び出してこないのはなぜでしょう? 何が足りないのでしょう?

Legendary comic artist Jack Kirby is often considered the ultimate master of dynamic figure drawing.  Though he never trained formally,  his figures always felt they were about to leap off the page and hit you in the face.


Jack Kirby called himself a cartoonist but some in the comics industry called him an impressionist and even a genius.  His approach towards figure drawing is still used today in American comics, animation, movies and advertising.


The above illustration of Marvel Comics' Black Panther (created by Jack Kirby) is crude but the dynamic power is undeniable.     Some might  say it's simply "forced perspective".  That might be true, but Kirby really used this tool to push drama and power into his figures. 


This would lead the path for more commercially trained artists like John Buscema.  Buscema confessed he stole Kirby's compositions and sensibility in order to get that dynamic impact into his work when he was assigned to draw Marvel's Avengers or Fantastic Four.   Kirby's tools combined with Buscema's draftsmanship would give results like this:

And this!  


Comic professionals said Kirby's figures are so dynamic their arms and legs would be in two different time zones!  Buscema used Kirby's method but in his own way.  


Ok, enough lauding over Kirby and Buscema.  We know they are great -- HOW TO DO WE DO DYNAMIC DRAWING?  


The keys to DYNAMIC DRAWING are here!
Keys are:


Deep Space
Dynamic Rhythm 


Our magnificent and amazing model this month is the spectacular Utageguruma!   Her uncanny body control and movement is almost spider-like at times.  Perfect for this month's lesson point.


Take for example this first photo.


It's a great pose.  Twists, angles, rhythm.  And maybe in the hands of an average artist we might render a gesture drawing like this:


So what's wrong here?  Nothing,  if the aim was just to illustrate a simple gesture.  But see how even everything is.   Everything seems to be on the same plane.  There is nothing wrong with this approach, but for dynamic figure drawing, this is a "C" grade at best.

何がいけないかって? 単純なジェスチャーを描きたいだけなら、何もいけないところはありません。どこをとっても均一に描かれています。どの部位も同じ平面上に存在しています。これがいけないわけではありません。ただし、ダイナミックな人物を描きたいのなら、これではよくも悪くもなくといったところでしょう。

Now look here.  Now this is more dramatic.  Here the contrast is undeniable.  The exaggeration of the trust in her leg creates more impact.  The use of contrasting size creates a sense of deep space.    Rhythm is of course used to keep the eye moving.  


Bear in mind these are only tools to help inform your work.  How far you want to take it is up to you. 


Mike Matessi, author of the FORCE books, has a great exercise using what he called the "Spatial Bounding Boxes".  It's a fantastic tool to help you see and design your figure drawing and push depth.


See it used here in the previous Buscema example:


Obviously the use of a larger box and a smaller box to frame major elements of your figure helps you to see and push even deeper space into your drawing. 


Recently I am huge fan of the animated film, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.  It's a fantastic film and it's filled with tons of super dynamic and inspirational poses that use the keys to dynamic figure drawing I noted above.  See how Mike Matessi's "Bounding Boxes" can be applied here.

最近見た「スパイダーマン: スパイダーバース」は私のお気に入りになりました。映画として素晴らしいうえに、ダイナミックで印象的なポーズがたくさん散りばめられています。このポーズには、このトピックで説明した秘訣が使われています。以下は、マイケル・マテジのバウンディングボックスを置いた例です。

These are just great.  Bold and dynamic!  




Yes!  Homework!  Try doing your own dynamic drawing using the tools I noted above.  Copy some of the images I posed above, or from my other suggested images below.  Or  you can go to Utagegurma's YouTube or  Instagram page and try some figure drawings from there!   Share your work with me here or on social media.   Looking forward to seeing you at the next Ki Creative Drawing Workshop on April 15th!   Have fun!  

そうです! 宿題ですよ。説明したツールを使って、ダイナミックなドローイングを描いてみてください。このページの上、下の画像からでも、UTAGEGURUMAのYoutube,やインスタグラムをチェックして、何体か描いて僕に見せてください。または、SNSで共有してください。次回のKi Creative Drawing Workshopは4月15日です。お待ちしています。楽しいですよ!!

More examples of dynamic drawing for your artistic health!  


Jack Kirby


John Buscema 


Jack Kirby


Bruce Timm 


Spider-Man:  Into the Spider-Verse - Sony Animation