Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sketchgroup Adventures: Anatomy, Online Meetings, and Sausage Hands of Doom

So last week's Sketchgroup entry is being posted this week. Tried to get it up earlier, but failed - I was up most of the night finishing a project and experimenting with a new technique (going to post on that later), so the blog went by the wayside.

Sketchgroup met online last week. We met on the usual day, but everyone in the group was pressed for time, so we just did the entire thing via msn. Not really sure what to think of the new meeting format - it has its pros, I guess (convenience is one of them), but I'm not really a fan of having to explain things online. A lot of the information given when describing new techniques gets lost in translation when there's no demonstration to see.

Because it's January, the focus was still anatomy. Even when the month is over, we're still planning to do a pose per week, just for the sake of practice. Sketchgroup seems to be working really well: even though I didn't make any major improvements (it would have been nice if I had). Others in the group did an amazing job, so I was pretty pleased that our experiment seemed to work out.

Here's my pose for last week: the shoulder gave me no end of grief:

Stick-to-block figures for this week's pose. 

Anatomy and top of Hand overlays

While we still devote a certain amount of time to poses, last week's particular focus was on the hands. 

I love drawing hands, so I enjoyed the assignment, even though my overlay isn't the greatest. My individual hand sketches are kind of lacking, too. I think I have a tendency to draw the fingers like sausages. But my fingers are kind of fat, so I guess we all draw what we reference most, in the end.

Hand positions, Page 1

Hand Positions, Page 2

No one in Sketchgroup managed to finish their conceptual sketches last week, so it was just moved to this week's meeting. That's all I have to post for now.

(Also, I've got to get around to posting links to everyone else in the group. We've got a new member joining us this week, so really happy about that.)

World of Hair Sketch (Complete)

Finished the World of Hair concept sketch, from the opening week of Sketchgroup. Or mostly finished it. Who knows; I'm always fiddling around with stuff long past the point where I should stop.

Pencil in Moleskin Sketchbook

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sketchgroup Adventures: Anatomy, Stick Figures, and Endless Amounts of Hair

Second semester starts in a couple hours. Holidays are over, and I wasn't as productive as I would have liked when it comes to illustration, but it wasn't a total bust: I did manage to get a couple things done (like actually starting this blog).

I've got a huge obsession with Steampunk illustration right now, and using collage as a medium. Not sure how long the collage thing will last, but I've always kind of had a thing for Victorian and Steampunk-inspired design, so of course I've got to obsessively apply both to everything and anything. That includes things as mundane as the cover of my agenda:

Front n' back of my agenda cover, laid out flat.

It's kind of a pointless thing to collage, but I can't seem to help myself right now. It's become some sort of a bizarre, compulsive behavior.

A couple friends (all from OCAD) and I started up a sketch group over the holidays. While we all like OCAD (more or less) there was a general consensus that our university isn't really focusing as much on the technical skills as they should/we would like them to be, and that it's going to put us at a disadvantage in the long run. Panic + pressure = creative ways of compensating for loss. Hence, Sketchgroup was born out of a mutual sense of anxiety and perfectionism! I think its a good thing.

Each week we give ourselves assignments to complete, focusing on a particular area of technical skill that needs some serious work. January is anatomy month; for the first week we just concentrated on overall anatomy, and getting proportions correct. We used a basic stick-block-flesh method, except we added muscle in as well to the final overlays, to help familiarize ourselves with what's underneath the skin. I honestly think it helps.

Anatomy practice, steps 1 and 2

Final anatomy overlays, including basic muscle structure.

And of course, because I'm obsessed with Steampunk and collage, I had to decorate my sketchbook too:

Front and back of new sketchbook, minus the spine.

I'm really into aging things right now, so after I finished the exercises I tried aging the pages:

Stick figures from the 1st pose of anatomy exercise.

I'm not really sure what I think of the result, or if I'm going to continue trying. I think it's probably another redundant exercise on my part, since aging takes forever to dry.

The final part of our Sketchgroup assignment for the week was to do a concept sketch, based around the phrase "World of Hair" Apparently mine was depressing and bleak. I like to think it's witty:

The caption reads "I looked out on the world, and saw nothing but a desert of split ends, and the coarse fibers of time".

It's still a WIP, so I'll post the finished sketch later on in the week.

An Introduction of Sorts

So this is the first entry on my illustration blog.
I've been meaning to get up a blog for ages, but I've kept putting it off for various reasons, most of them superficial (couldn't think of a good name, just generally bad at updating, etc). I'm not quite sure what I'm going to post here (besides the obvious), but my general thoughts on the matter are that blogs should be used for writing and documenting in a more informal manner than a website. I tried writing this entry in a more formal tone, but it failed miserably, so I'm not even going to try: I just come off sounding awkward and fake, and that's the last thing that I want. I'm a big fan of using your personality to shape who you are and what you represent, being honest and above all really believing in what you say, whether its through visual mediums or just the written word. Some people are going to disagree with me on this viewpoint, but that's fine.
At the moment my blog is looking kind of ugly and nondescript, but I hope to rectify that soon - cookie cutter layouts drive me insane. I'm planning to get up a portfolio website sometime in the near future, but there's a good chance that I won't get around to it until the semester is over. So for now, this blog will have to do.
Alright, that's enough of me babbling for one night. Entry is now closed.