Archive for November, 2012

How to draw characters.

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Let’s begin by getting your mind and psyche in the right space.

If you use my tutorial I want you to:

  1. Sketch a little bit everyday, for at least a month.
  2. Allow the sketches to be crappy.  In fact, I give you permission to make crappy drawings.  How’s that!
  3. If you are sensitive about your work then don’t allow anyone to see your practice sketches.
  4. Repetition is more important than perfection with my tutorials.
  5. Use bold long pencil strokes and give yourself permission to lose control.
  6. When you let yourself lose control you are actually pushing your boundaries.  You are learning new things.

 

 

 

Here it is super quick:

  1. You know those generic cartoon expression images  in “How to Draw Cartoons” books?  Copy them over and over until you’ve got them memorized.  Be able to draw them without looking at your samples. ( You can find a bunch of sites on-line that have these cartoon expressions.)
  2. Now collect images by your favorite artist and copy them over and over.  And, while you’re copying ask yourself questions like:  What makes this character  so cute?     How does this artist handle eyes or hair or the body?     How does this artist show emotions with his/her character’s face and body language?  Study the art!

      3.   Draw your favorite artist’s characters over and over until you can draw them by memory.

       4.   Now play! Sketch and sketch.  Make cute images, silly images, and sad images over and over. Don’t second guess yourself.  Allow yourself to make horrible drawings.  Use idea’s you’ve seen in other peoples work.  Or maybe start with another artist’s character and change it.  Morph it into your own charater. Got a stupid idea?  Draw it.  Wind up drawing something you like?  Save it but keep drawing, and drawing, and….

If you do these exercises you will learn a lot about the vocabulary of character design and at the same time teach yourself what you want to see in your own characters.          

 

Here are some of the people I have learned from:

Hyperbole and a Half – (This site proves that you don’t need to be the most realistic artist to be awesome)    http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/

Patrick McDonnellhttp://muttscomics.com/default.aspx

Bill Watterson – (He doesn’t seem to have an official site)   http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/

Peter Reynoldshttp://www.peterhreynolds.com/dot/

Looney Toon Cartoons.  You can find many of them on YouTube.

Here are some of my favorites:

What’s Opera, Doc? – (Sample ) http://youtu.be/KTYQmHr9Myg

Witch Hazel – (Sample)  http://youtu.be/gYtgsLnEl38     (Sample)  http://youtu.be/Wej1LoOzaLY

Drip Along Daffy – (Whole Cartoon) http://youtu.be/FhS-n9qpWRI

The Unfinished Tiger. How to loosen up your drawing style.

Monday, November 12th, 2012

A lot of artists/illustrators wish that their style was looser and more fluid. They want their characters to be expressive. I might be able to help or at least let you know what I do to add life to my art subjects.

Draw from memory. I know that sounds scary but it works.

Let’s take the tiger I am currently working on. I’m still not satisfied with him but he’s getting closer to having the right feel. I first started by studying photos of tigers. I do some basic sketches so that I understand what a real tiger looks like. Second, I study how other artists have handled their ideas of what a tiger is. Have they drawn their tiger with a big forehead or little?  Small eyes or large? etc… When I think I understand which characteristics I might like to have in my tiger then I start drawing without using any reference except what I have collected in my brain.

The drawings I do are fast, but clear. I only work on one pose at first. I don’t worry about different angles or poses, because I am just getting to know who my character is. So I draw and draw and draw, the same pose over and over making minor changes. Because I am drawing the character over and over my pencil lines become more relaxed. My pencil knows where to go.

So far I am not satisfied with my tiger. Sometimes it only takes a couple pages to get what I want, but ones like this tiger I ‘ve done at least 20 pages of sketches. Often I get tired and can’t “see” the character in my head anymore so I take a break. I will also review what I have already created and it’s not uncommon for me to spot things that I like in early sketches. I will try to incorporate anything that I liked into my next sketches.

Once I have gotten the character just the way I what it I will continue to draw he/she several times to memorize every detail. By this time my lines just flow with confidence! It’s time to start drawing the character in various angles and positions. But by now I really have the character’s image deep in my mind and it’s easier for me to feel that they are real.

Does this work for “realistic” work?  I think so.  Instead of relying on tracing paper to copy and redraw a image, try just drawing it over and over.  Make changes as you go until you get what you want. Because you’re getting to know your illustration so well your sketches will show increasing confidence.  Increased confidence will create fluid lines.  Fluid lines give life to a character or scene.

One last tip.  Spend some time drawing from memory with NO model at all.  Draw a person, a room, a toy,  etc…  It doesn’t have to be perfect, just keep drawing it over and over making corrections.  Keep trying to draw from your memory and see how much you can remember.  Two things will happen, first you’ll be surprise at what you can tease out of your brain. Second, your work will take on a look that is true to your personality.  Pretty awesome!

 

Fat Cat Embroidery Pattern

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

      I know what you’ve been thinking.  You’re thinking,” Hey, I’m the owner of a large morbidly obese cat and I don’t think that the embroidery pattern community is meeting my embroidery pattern needs.”  Well I heard you, loud and clear.  So shut up already, you got your dang pattern.

Now on sale at my Etsy store : http://www.etsy.com/shop/badbird?ref=si_shop

 

The Owl and the Pussycat, a NEW embroidery pattern!

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

   I had a client suggest that I create a Owl and Pussycat embroidery pattern.  It had been a while since I had worked on my embroidery designs so I jumped right on it.  I worked on it like a Demon too.  She contacted me yesterday afternoon and here it is the middle of the next day and the pattern is done.

This pattern is now on sale at my Etsy store.  Here is the link:  http://www.etsy.com/shop/badbird?ref=si_shop