Soon, I’ll also write a post (read it here) with an extensive review of my friend’s awesome course: Chris Oatley Academy, Painting Drama 1. This course is one of the best I’ve ever taken and I can’t wait for you to see the best paintings I’ve ever done (still working on them as we speak). But first, I must show you the results of Chris’s recommendation to “crank out” life drawing. Here are the steps I took to improve my figure and facial drawing and I hope they help you do the same:
1. Sign up for the Drawing Tutorials Online email list! This gave me access to the sites AWESOME FREE drawing from your memory videos. Beyond that, he has tons of awesome drawing content you can pay for. Nudity warning: the drawing tutorials site does contain a lot of it, but there are ways to carefully avoid it if that bothers you. With the free video series, if you ONLY watch the FIRST video on the page you should be safe for the first nine videos. If there is a second video on the page, it shows Matt drawing over the photo of a nude person. I personally did not feel I needed to watch those videos as the other videos were SO informative.
2. Draw hundreds of figures! I know there is no substitute for drawing a real figure, but drawing photos is the next best thing. And for me, having a busy schedule, it was the fastest way to learn. Pixelovely.com has a great collection of reference and you can filter out the nude models if you need to. I personally dragged all the pictures to my desktop, compiled sheets in Photoshop, printed them and drew away. After having done these exercises, I forsee having a need to draw live models. A great option for those of us who don’t have classes nearby would be to draw our family and friends. I would personally feel uncomfortable asking a friend to pose nude, but swimming suits, shorts, and tight clothing could certainly ease any awkwardness.
I also made sure to remember the principles I learned as an animator concerning gesture drawing ( a loose drawing describing the energy of a pose). Gestures are almost more important to capture than anatomy as focusing just on anatomy can lead to stiff drawings. To learn more, check out the fantastic Drawn To Life Books.
3. Draw along with the Proko facial drawing series. My feeling is that his step by step tutorials are great, but the videos on structure are GOLD! They really helped me to understand dimension/depth while facial drawing. When you go to this website, scroll down and start at the bottom of the videos.
4. Draw hundreds of faces at various angles. If you have a low budget I’m sure Pinterest and Google image search will do. but the best resource I’d found (for a variety of faces, expressions, and angles) is Mark Simon’s two book series: one of children to teens and one of adults. I’ll soon be posting more drawings here as I improve.
5. For cartoonists: I’ve found it helpful to find a person in those books or online, draw one or two sketches, and then draw a cartoon version. I’ve also found animation artists who’s facial drawings I admire, and re-sketched their drawings for learning purposes. I recommend Mike Kunkel, Brittney Lee, Pascal Campion, Chris Oatley (of course!) and anyone else you care to learn from. Characterdesign.blogspot.com is a great place to discover new artists.
6. Repeat these steps – that’s what I’ll be doing! This goes for not only drawing humans, but also for drawing everything else. Our only big challenge is to commit a period of time and effort. After that, we need only find high quality resources and sketch away!
Thanks for reading and I hope this was helpful. If you have anything to add, let me know in the comments below. Until then, I’ll continue to work on my next post on the wonders of Painting Drama!