Sketchbook updates this week. Enjoy!
Remember that Deep Sea RV Trailer?
Yesterday you saw the drawing of the man moseying along through the depths of the ocean via his deep-sea RV trailer.
The fun thing is that, if you’ve been following along with my class posts, now you know how I did the drawing. Let me put it all together for you…
Shapes in Storytelling
One thing I love about working with a silhouette from the outset is that it gives me an opportunity to focus on the two most important aspects right off: the underlying concept and the overall design.
The idea at the beginning was to create an underwater place to live—I chose a cottage.
For a couple of hours I just sketched up dozens of ideas. Most of the sketches were downright failures, but a few were worth exploring.
Somewhere along the lines I got hooked on the idea of having the underwater cottage be mobile.
And then I liked the idea of having it pulled by a school of jelly fish. Why not?
Developing the idea
Of course, any self-respecting underwater mobile cottage must have a bubbling chimney on its back.
And it also must be driven by a pleasant cheeky old man.
Here’s our final silhouette:
Just like we did with the Shapely Plants, it’s time to put some white on top of those black silhouettes, and see if we can’t further develop the shape.
In my UVU class we’ve taken to calling these drawings “WOTs,” short for “white-on-tops.”
From the WOTs image higher up above in the post, I chose the WOT on the lower left. Take a look here and see if you can find the few changes I made between the WOT and the final.
What do you think—is there one of those other WOTs that you also would like to have seen? And what are your thoughts in general? Let me know in the comments!
Come travel with me in the deep blue sea…
♪♫ Ber-de-ber-de-berr ♫♪
(Click image for larger)
Taking another look at shapes that evoke emotion
I love this exercise, and I would love to do it as often as I can. It embraces the core of visual storytelling.
Alas, we could only take time in our class to do it once more for practice.
Just like last time, go ahead and guess in the comments section below. I’ll include the answers in the next blog post.
(Remember, as an audience member, you cannot guess wrong. It’s up to me as the artist to try to find the right way of describing an emotion to you via shapes. So put me to the test!)
Also, let me know which ones are your favorites!
Here we are, emotional shapes revisited…
What to do with those emotional shapes?
Now that we’re telling stories with nothing but shapes, how do we use it in design?
In my UVU concept art class what we did next was to create eight new abstract shapes that we really like, purely in the design sense.
We took those eight shapes and mixed them together to create two different plants.
From the outset we understood that the plants would be nonsensical—that was part of the fun.
But, as you see when you look through the next few pictures, we didn’t just stop there.
Once we had those plants designed, we used them as a base for drawing more designs within the black silhouettes—this time with a white pen drawn over the black.
This is a way for artists to plan out the smaller shapes that reside within the design.
Take a look below, see if you can pick out the building-block shapes above with the final results.
And, as promised, here are the answers from the last blog post:
1 & 2: Centered
3 & 4: Vigorous
6 & 7: Vulnerable
8 & 9: Hatred
10 & 11: Panic
How did you do? Let me know in the comments section how close I came to capturing those emotions for you.
Abstract emotional shapes from my UVU Concept Art Class.
All in all, this is a really fun activity.
This assignment I thought up as an opportunity to use shapes—in their purest sense—to create emotion and stories. Shapes are the building blocks of all solid design, so by cutting out the narrative element of shapes—that is, not worrying about making the shapes resemble anything we might recognize—it’s easier to focus on just making stuff that’s neat, no matter the context.
We started with a list of a dozens of different human emotions—such as pain, fear, melancholy, etc.—and then together we came up with shapes that we felt described those emotions.
We all brought these emotional shapes to class to show to each other, and everyone made guesses as to which emotion each shape was supposed to evoke. If everyone guessed the correct emotion, then the creator of the shape knew s/he was on the right track.
Here are a few from my attempts from the first pass at this exercise.
Can you guess the emotions? Let me know what you think in the comments.
(I’ll post the answers with my next blog post)
How hard is it to create rock and cloud silhouettes that are fun and interesting?
I’m teaching a class on conceptual art at Utah Valley University right now (and teaching is one of the most fun things I’ve ever done!)
Because the assignments I’m giving the students are so much fun, I couldn’t miss out on all the action. So, here’s one of the assignments that I did along with them.
The task is is ultra simple: create silhouettes of ultra simple objects—in this case, rocks and clouds—in such a way as to make them interesting.
Working with these rock and cloud silhouettes challenges the artist to tell a story with rudimentary shapes.
At the end, we then picked a couple of the silhouettes and turned them into full drawings.
Here are some of my exercises. (Maybe, towards the end of the semester, I’ll ask my students if it’s okay to post a few of their assignments on my blog.)
Two “celebrity” caricatures of ladies who stopped by my booth at the farmer’s market today.
(I say “celebrity” because they both are missionaries for the LDS church and live in Provo, UT—which town has perhaps the highest density of members of the LDS church in the world. So they get treated like celebrities, whether people recognize them by name or not.
Throughout the time we spent drawing, there was a constant presence of people behind me saying, “Hi Sisters!” “Sisters!” “Sister missionaries!” “Want to come over for dinner, sisters?” “Have a great day, sisters!”
I love small towns. 🙂 )
Salt Lake Comic Con – 2014
From Nausicaa of the Valley of The Wind Rises: Why We Love Hayao Miyazaki
Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 was great. My favorite panel on which I spoke was, “From Nausicaa of the Valley of The Wind Rises: Why We Love Hayao Miyazaki.”
A little back story to my reason for being on this panel…
When I was fifteen my friends and I randomly heard about this animated film from a great Japanese director. The film was playing only in “select theaters,” which meant we would have to leave our small town and travel to the big city.
(…a.k.a. Salt Lake City—it was huge in our heads, okay? 😉
For restless teenagers, going to see this film was more a reason to get out from under the authority of our parents than anything.
We arrived at the theater long after dark, finding our seats not long before the movie screen filled with a painted background of a misty forest and a deep voice began,
“In ancient times,
the land lay covered in forests,
where, from ages long past,
dwelt the spirits of the gods.
Back then, man and beast lived in harmony,
but as time went by, most of the great forests were destroyed.
Those that remained were guarded by gigantic beasts…
who owed their allegiance to the Great Forest Spirit,
…for those were the days of gods and demons.”
I don’t know at what point during the film I felt my life changing forever. All I know is that from the moment the film ended, I was forever obsessed with visual storytelling. (To be fair, there were three other pieces of art I saw that moved me into becoming a visual storyteller for a living, but, as far as I can remember, Hayao Miyazaki was the first one with whom I became obsessed.)
Trailer for Princess Mononoke
Fast forward seventeen years and I have great things in the works for next fall…(hint hint).
Miyazaki has been a constant source of inspiration throughout my life, and when the panel schedulers for Salt Lake Comic Con asked me about which panels I wanted to attend as a speaker, Miyazaki’s was one of the first I chose.
It was SUCH an honor to sit in that room speaking with other fans. The room was packed to the last row. There were a few attendees even dressed as Miyazaki characters.
Anyone could see that there were many people in the audience who knew at least as much as I do about Miyazaki films (and that is seriously saying something). And throughout the event I simply felt lucky and bewildered to be the one with the microphone, sharing my experiences, and hoping that what I was saying was somehow worth their time!
Great, great experience.
Oh, and by the way, Miyazaki’s first film, Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro, is streaming right now free on Hulu. Check it out!
There are many rumors that when Steven Spielberg saw this film at its release at Cannes Film Festival way back in the 80’s, Spielberg called it, “…one of the greatest adventure films of all time.” And, apparently, he also said that the car chase scene (after the intro credits) is one of the best of its kind.
Give it 20 minutes or so, as the style is very, very old.
Still drawin’ away at the Provo Farmer’s Market on Saturdays. I’m getting the hang of things, and also continually finding new ways to improve. The price is $10 per face (quite affordable, considering what you’ll pay elsewhere). Do come and take a seat!
If you are interested and don’t want to come all the way to the market only to find that the line is too long, come in the morning. People usually don’t want to commit to anything until awhile after the market starts (the market opens at 10, but I’m usually free until 11). So, I often end up just sketching in my sketchbook for the first hour or so, and then all of a sudden I have a line that lasts for up to an hour and a half after the market is over. Come early, and you’ll be sure to get a seat.
Recent fun with a charming young chap by the name of Luke.
No. 9: Heaven Surfing
Part of the series, 100 Vines in 100 Days
Posted on Vine here: http://vncl.co/wa4sMK2WXtb
So, remember how a while ago I said that I might have some big news? And I was just holding my breath on posting any details about the whereabouts of the stories on my table until I was sure?
Well, that news has come true!
I will let you know what it is real soon.
In the meantime, this big news is going to put this “100 Vines in 100 Days” on hold. There are still 91 days left, and we’re right on track. I should be back on this come November.
More to come!