Thursday, May 27, 2010

Flattery will get you everywhere!

I got me a flattr button!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Life restarts!

Yesssssss! Exams are over for another year and my 3 month vacation begins ;). I'm finally getting back into drawing, aikido (going to my first training session in over a year) and tin whistle practice, while also flirting with the idea of getting my bagpipe playing back up to par. Ahh, freedom, I've bulked up a fair bit, (since I spent so much time at uni going to the gym was trivial), gotten past the 530 kanji mark and can finally start ratcheting up my study of those too :D.

I know my drawing skills have blunted significantly since I got into this the beginning of this year and my memory of the lessons have also faded somewhat so I'm going to review from scratch all the lessons and refresh myself before I plough on through the rest of the lessons. God DAMN its nice not having to panic about uni anymore! WOOT!

Friday, August 31, 2007

It seems life has finally caught up with me...

Well, not exactly. I'm busy as hell just not doing drawing (regrettably), my time is filled with uni (naturally), tin whistle practice, copious kanji memorisation, (I'm up to 470 WOOT! ;) ), and seriously bulking up again, at the uni gym that I had stopped doing earlier on in the year. With all this I have simply not had much time to squeeze in any dedication to sketching. This is not to say the passion has died, its just currently plateaued for the time being, maybe when i've memorised all 2000 kanji I'll have time to resume serious sketching but that might be a long while off, either that or I wait 2 and 2/3 months until uni has finnished again for the year but I don't like that idea either. Hmmm, gonna have to think about this for a while.

In my rather weak defense I have been doing SOME sketches but it has mostly been practice of what I've already done, I think maybe its time to put the kanji book away every now and then and alternate between sketching and kanji practice, I gotta admit though, I'm powering through the kanji without looking back, I've knocked over more than 200 in the last 3-4 weeks :) The book I use to practise with is pure GOLD I tell you! :D. Stay tuned, I WILL return, hopefully sooner rather than later....

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I'm back, FINALLY.

Well, so much for my 2-3 weeks. I have hardly drawn since my last post, uni has been driving me around the bend with all the work and exams I've had to do, I swear at one point I was ready to melt down but I got through it without needing therapy afterwards so we're good. Well, after all this time of not drawing I have forgotten things, it was pretty much inevitable and was confirmed a few days ago when I put pencil to paper, that said I reckon I've retained at least 2/3rds of what I've learnt so it certainly doesn't mean I'll be starting from scratch. It DOES mean I've got to do some fierce reviewing. The next couple of posts will probably be just that, mainly the face muscles and the extremities of the skeleton. Most importantly the arms, legs, feet and hands, with a big emphasis on the arms and hands. I've had about 2 weeks rest from pretty much everything so its time to start busying myself again (and get ready for my next semester of uni :| ).

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Just to let you know I haven't given up.... yet.

just so you know, no I'm not dead (although I wish I were at this point in time) I'm just completely overloaded with work. So I have absolutely no time to draw damnit! Will be starting back up with a vengence in about 2-3 weeks time (probably 3). By then exams will have finnished, lecturers will be marking most of my answers wrong, and I will (If I haven't already) be in the process of having my second meltdown. :| can't wait to see how all this turns out.... wish me luck.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Lesson 95 - 103 -ish

Another week has passed and I've done virtually no sketching in that time apart from a few sketches from life. Since I think they're crap and badly done I won't be showing them here, BUT I have done a fair few SOM lessons. This time we're looking at the face front-on and moving from the muscles to a near finnished product. I remembered to take progress shots after each lesson, it looks pretty impressive and I'm fairly pleased with the finnished product. The face I drew however wasn't a carbon copy, It seems I have a habit (good or bad, I'm not entirely sure yet) of drawing faces that are longer and narrower. It looks pretty nice, though I think the nose and ears are slightly too small, its hard to tell if that is true though. The pictures of my sketches don't do the real sketch justice though, the picture quality is, pardon the pun but looks sketchy, judge for yourself. I went a bit into lesson 103 just so I could add the eyes but didn't finnish the rest. The rest dealt with the side view so I'll leave that for the next blog post.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Lesson 91-94 The ears, lips, and moving the mouth.

Well after more than a couple of weeks filled with uni work, I've finally gotten back to the lessons. Practice in the intervening time has been little to nil so I have virtually nothing to show for it (although I DO have numerous assignments and tests finnished that wern't done crappily so I feel no guilt). I have been so frustrated with the eyes I just haven't had the will to pick up the oh-so-expensive-clutch-pencil and try to nut it out alone. This was probably a bad idea but I just couldn't bear the fact that I kept on fucking it up (I hate failure btw). So I left it alone and now that I have free time and am a little less stressed about it I have started soldiering on with lessons 91-94. The ear, lips and mouth movements. This is the last couple of lessons before it starts on another faceplate session of about 8-10 lessons so I figured I should take a couple photos now. The ears and lips were pretty easy to understand, no probs there. The ear seemed like it might have caused problems but shes all good. Lips are another that was easy to get down fast which I'm happy with.

Moving the mouth..... well, lets just say it works better in theory than in practice. My ear on the side view was a little small and a bit wonky and my yelling/screaming face's mouth muscle was a bit skew-wiff but hopefully practice will make it a little better ( the face is meant to be smiling btw). Some good news is that on these attempts my eyes don't looked bugged out and abnormal, here's hoping I can keep it up.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Lesson 90: The eyes, 3/4 view, What nightmare is this?!???

Well, the eyes...... &^%$^#$!@#!@*$^@%$#$!!! Putting these fuckers on the head was a fucking nightmare. This is probably the first time I have actually been lost since I started these tutorials. Riven didn't explain any method for placing the eyes depending on the angle or any some such just suddenly there were eyes. I just couldn't figure where or how to place the damn eyeballs in the skulls eye sockets. After over a dozen failed attempts I followed Riven in the video and tried to put them exactly where he did. I figured out that he seemed to put the center of the eye halfway between the top of the nose hole and the beginning of the brow (sort of) it definitely wasn't a little above the centre line, it may have looked ok on the side and front view but in 3d it just looked squashed and shit. And even though I tried really hard to do the eyelids while keeping in mind they must be thought of carefully as 3d shapes it was hopeless unless I simply copied what Riven did. Breaking free of the front perspective when it came to drawing the lids was extremely hard and my study displays that quite evidently, its piss poor and I hate it. There is no way I can use it as a decent study really, These damn eyes should have had more than two lessons allocated to it, sure they went for 15mins each but these are the EYEs, y'know gateways to the soul! one of the most important sensory organs of our body! *sigh* oh well, I guess I have to work with what I got, much more practice is going to be in order for this one, brings back memories of the front view of the skull, practice, practice, practice, if only I didn't have so much damn uni work atm. You'll see what I mean about all the problems in it when you see the picture.....

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Lesson 89: The eye, front and side.

The eye, a little complicated but not as bad as I thought, will need some practice though so I don't mess up the top and bottom eyelids, they require some particular curves.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Lesson 86-88: Some Introspection & The nose

Since I've been looking back on all my work recently it has been quite exhilarating to see how far I've come in such a short time. If you hadn't noticed, all the blogs previously were done over a period of 3-4 days to help catch up on the work I had done so far. From here on I will try to write my blogs as I progress through my "Structure of Man" lessons. If you've read this from the beginning , it must be fairly interesting to see how far I've come, if not, well, nothing much I can do about that eh? :). As I said, its amazing to see how far I've progressed. I started on the 13th of February and it is now the 21st of April. That's a period of two months and just over one week, (or 9 weeks). And I've not been doing these lessons every day to make this happen, sometimes periods of 3-5 days will pass before I look at anymore lessons, sometimes I'll watch 8 or 9 in one shot, it all depends on how psyched I am, what part I'm working on, etc. Throughout this period I've become more and more comfortable with my work, so much so that I have critiqued other peoples work with regards to anatomy and proportion because I now understand much better what, and how the body is doing things (that said I never profess that I know everything about the human body, just that I have a much more in depth understanding compared to others that have probably been drawing for years).

Introspection aside, I now present to you all the nose. Surprisingly simple and easy to execute on a muscled face, a few well placed lines and BAM! one nose. :) Even the nostril is easy to put on, doing it in 3d is only slightly more difficult, my nose here is a little wonky but after some more practice I'm sure it will come together. I also did a side view head and added the ribcage and humerus to see how things are looking with regards to the face, I gotta admit its looking pretty cool now :)

Please note also my work will probably be slowing for a while since I have a proverbial manure load of Uni work to do, but be sure that when the holidays arrive things will pick up :)

Lesson 75-85 The muscles of the face

Well after long last we are moving onto the real in depth parts. I'm afraid there are no progressive shots of my work so what you will see below is just a huge lump of progress. This work took up to about a week, each lesson outlined 1-3 sets of muscles up to a total of 16 (22 if you consider that most were doubled up cos they appeared on each side of the face). Riven conveniently named each muscle from A-P to help keep track of them and the order they should be done. This helped immensely with regard to not missing any and alot of the letters helped to associate with certain types of muscles, eg. the L muscle on the chin looked like a 90 degree "L" as a "V" shape. Extremely useful stuff.

Though there was so much to keep track of with the face hopefully it won't be as bad with other areas. It certainly was a eye-full :) but finally getting into the muscles has been really awesome, this is all one step closer to a final product. One last thing to note is that since I've been doing these lessons I have learned so much about the body as well as about drawing, especially the concept to drawing 3dimensionally from 2d elements (that said though, I have been reluctant to push into that area in case I stuff up or learn bad habits). Though the road has been at times rocky and up and down, I have never given up because it was too hard, gotten stuck on something or anything like that. If I had, I certainly wouldn't be up to this point now.

Leeson 73, 74: Completion; The basic structure of man discovered

This was more than just a eureka moment for me. I was almost afraid to finish the complete skeleton. Don't ask me why but a tiny part of my mind said to me that this achievement was never meant to happen. After calm reasoning with my inner demons I told the little voice inside me to shut the fuck up, did lessons and drew my skeleton in its entirety. Riven at this point didn't really need to tell me what to do and as you would know I didn't really need to listen either. It all came together in about 15-20 mins. I did mess up the hand at first on the side view but there was no panicking, I simply drew on the formulas that said the length of the hand was a little less than the height of the head and a little wider and just did it. I was almost too calm about it for my liking though, that's not to say I felt bored or that the achievement was mundane. More that my eyes were looking over the horizon to the next part of the tutorials, the muscles. It finally hit me that though everything previous was great in its own right, in reality I had only just begun, all I had achieved so far was the scaffolding for the human being. I could hardly draw an outline around my skeleton and call it a day, there was still some serious learning to be done. In one sense I was secretly dreading it because maybe I wouldn't get up to par, but on the other hand I was bouncing on the inside, almost like a weasel outside a chicken coup (if you recall loony tunes), I want the meat! :D

Note: On this picture I screwed up the radius and unla, one is back to front but I don't know which one! :(

Lesson 67-72: The hand

To say I learned alot from these lessons is an understatement, I enjoyed every second of these lessons. Even though the hand was quite complicated, it just all came together so easily, the formulas were very simple for the kind of complex structure that the hand is. After I drew out a study of my first hand I was quite shocked at how similar it looked to a real skeletal hand, I may be over exaggerating the point maybe, but when I looked at it I saw a skeleton hand, I didn't have to piece it together and use my imagination. Like when I did the skull for the first time I sort of experienced the same kind of thing with the hand. I went hand crazy.

Maybe you will understand the why more if you are in the same position. You've seen hands all your life, touched them, used them, you have them. But when it came to picking up a pencil and drawing them it was a lost cause. Then suddenly you are given the power of being able to draw them, what would YOU do with said power? ;) Admittedly, the hands I drew were not perfect every time, since I never really understood intuitively how the hand moves I drew quite a few hands in what you would call "illegal" positions. My biggest trip up was the fact that I imagined the fingers were able to somehow bend horizontally at joints away from the palm. You'll know what I mean when you see them, believe me. To catch on this I actually used my own hand alot to model "legal" poses before and after, in hands that looked a bit screwy I tried to pose my hand the way I drew it and found alot of them fucking hard to pull off, to make some of the poses I would actually have to break my fingers :).

Lesson 65 and 66: Flow

I couldn't actually find any sketches to show for this so just take me on faith. There wasn't much to show anyway, it was simply a new way of approaching the eight head formula at views other than front on. I'm pretty sure this is to prime me up for drawing in 3d at any angle but I was sort of too busy champing at the bit to get to the hands. It was valuable stuff though and I still followed along but I just want to get to the hands!

Lesson 61-64: The radius and Ulna

Though these bones may seem innocuous and easy to follow they're on par with understanding the pelvis in my opinion. Drawing these things in the right fashion has been a hard slog. Since each bone is wider and shorter at different ends it has been hard to pin down in my mind where each goes, coupled with the fact that the buggers twist when you move your hand and such. The way it is set out is that the wider part of the radius attaches to the hand from the side where the thumb is, and the ulna is widest at the elbow end, I think. I have yet to find a simple method of remembering which goes where, I'm very pissed off with these bones, it has probably been the first time that I have actually had to guess where each bone goes and I'm not happy about it, since that leads to symbolism, errors, and reaching frustration levels, as Riven puts it. And I ain't having no frustration levels thankyou!

You'll notice that for the first time I am starting to pose with the arms (since we have enough bones now). This is very nice but I'm sort of itching to do some real posing with my figures without majorly fucking it up. There is nothing worse than toiling for an hour or two on a figure and realising at the end that it was a piece of rubbish. So i've refrained from jumping ahead of Riven's tutoring and followed his guidence fairly strictly, eventually figure drawing will come into it, hell, I still don't even have a full skeleton yet! Small steps Ferret, small steps.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Lesson 58, 59, and 60: the foot 3d, clavicle and humerous

I decided to group these three together since I drew most of them on the same piece of paper and its a bit time consuming making a separate post for each. Drawing the foot in 3d was pretty cool, Riven pretty much outlined the approach for drawing anything in 3d once you have a front and side view of an object, its was a very powerful yet simple technique to make any front and side view into a 3d object, very cool. You will notice i tried to do this ahead of schedule with the pelvis since I consider it one of the most difficult objects to produce so far with limited success but it does seem promising, needs much more practice though. The clavicle was a damn walkover, 10mins and I pretty much knew all I'd need to know about that bone. The humerus however was another story, a simple bone it ain't. Outside of the lesson when trying to reproduce it I have to think real hard about where everything goes, the ends, particularly the elbow tripped me up more than once when I drew the front instead of the back and vice versa.

Lesson 57: Another milestone, the eureka moment.

As the post implies its another milestone and this time for very good reson, we now fave a full body , standing skeleton. This only leaves the arms and hands! Just thinking about the last parts makes me salivate :) It all comes together so well, some of you may be thinking, meh, you're just drawing whats on the monitor in front of you. Untrue. All my lined paper sketches are done without reference, just sitting in an auditorium with the lecturer going on about coding. Those especially aren't copied, I use the formulas I have learnt from my lessons and apply them in a way that allows me to draw any size and shape, naturally I draw most often in normal proportions, the proportions that Riven originally teaches but there is nothing to stop me drawing outside of those measurements :) thats the wonderous thing about these techniques, I am not bound by a certain style, the formulas are very dynamic and flexible (check back to the "Suddenly, skulls. Millions of them!" post and you'll get my meaning). :)

Lesson 52-56: The foot

After taking it easy for a week or so and just consolidating what had been learnt so far, I got back into it and started focusing on the foot. The foot in itself took about a week of practice to get used to. Like the pelvis, it was a funny looking thing and you will notice it is almost nothing like the foot bones of a human, it is instead a blocky foot. The squiggles in the middle were probably the most difficult to get down along with proportion but after I had done it enough times it began to stick a little better. A big problem early on was getting the proportion right when you didn't have a head handy to measure from. That entailed drawing the outline of the head first then making the measurements needed for the foot. I will admit the foot was a chore, there was nothing really simple about it and took a longish time to consolidate to memory but its now there in my head and as long as i draw will be there indefinitely (with luck).

Lesson 48-51: The tibia and fibula

The tibia and fibula were pretty easy to get under my belt. After lesson 47 I was getting pretty psyched to get the rest of the skeleton finnished. At this point of the process of drawing the skeleton I really wanted to get more of the skeleton done but my mind was always wary of new things, it seemed that as soon as I'd learned to draw something new I'd get pushed out of my comfort zone (which stinged) and my brain would have a slight panic attack and then start to calm down until the next new thing arrived, lather, rinse, repeat. Because of that I decided to slow it down a little and not watch so many lessons at once, having my head meat in a constant flutter was not a good thing but that said, It was managing to retain and perfect alot of the stuff I'd learned, but unfortunately at my pace I was starting to forget some of the formulas and methods that told me WHY and HOW I was drawing so some revision and chilling out was in order at this point, besides that, uni was about to really get interesting (work wise) so I needed to lay off the intensive learning for a bit.

Lesson 47: O_O Is my pencil dancing on the page??!!?

Lesson 47 deserves a special mention all it's own. Lesson 47 blew me away. Riven introduced a way way of approaching drawing, and that was not drawing while listening to music but more drawing in the moment, taking the stimulus from your ears and drawing like you're singing, using the external stimulus to drive the pencil in your hand. I could not compliment Riven enough for doing this lesson. So instead a simple thank you will have to do. Thanks Riven :).

I wouldn't say the technique is groundbreaking by any means but the choice of a high energy catchy song and simply focusing on a small portion of the skeleton done so far (so as to not drag it out) really hit the spot (besides it is always good to take a break and consolidate what had been learned over the last 10 odd lessons). It took what was becoming a little monotonous and repetitive and injected new vigour into it :). After drawing the main torso of the skeleton so many times already, it was really good to push the envelope and enter a speed sketching mode.

I watched this video several times and was sketching on par with Riven in no time with the same degree of quality, on average I could speed sketch the front, side and back in a little over 5 minutes. 5 minutes to sketch all that, :D I was grinning eagerly for days after that. Often my fingers were itching to just put pencil to paper for no reason that because I could. hehe.

Here's a sample of one of my speed sketches, most others I did have been drawn over or lost.

Lesson 44-46 The femur

These bones were fairly easy to lock down and remember. No problems with this at all I'm happy to report. Sometimes the natural like curve can be hard to get down right but its not really a big deal, just making sure where the bone joins the pelvis is important. Keeping an eye on that is the most important.

I'm doubling up on posting some photos because I've reused the paper for further work but bear with me.

Lesson 38-43: The pelvis

The pelvis was a funny bone to work with, especially if you've never familiarised yourself with it beforehand. Considering that I had hardly ever seen a pelvis bone, either in pictures or in real life it was a bit of a struggle trying to get my head around what I was drawing. In retrospect, I'd have loved to get my hands on a pelvis bone so that some of the mystery was removed. That said I still managed to draw this, "thing". After a while I got sick of not knowing exactly what I was drawing and hit the net for some pictures of the pelvis, they helped somewhat, a hands on model would have been fantastic. Seeing this all come together with everything else was very satisfying though :) Ladies and gentlemen, we now have a whole torso! Now all I'm missing is some arms and legs and then we'll be on our way to getting some muscles! :) In the words of kronk "Oh yeah, its all coming together"

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Lesson 30-37 The spine, ribcage and sacram.

OOOkay. I'm taking a bit of a leap here because I found that a few of these lessons built up on each other, ie. the previous lesson's work was used as a foundation for further work. This was a good thing otherwise I would have been fiddling around with ribs and spine and all sorts would have been getting in the way of the real learning.

Just a quick side note, it is at about this point that I stopped watching the videos online and could start watching my own set of videos that I had ordered online, the price I figured was meagre for the value it would add in other areas, but there was a snag during the switch over, firstly the DVDs were late, and second the online videos had been pulled due to an advertising campaign. I understood the reasoning and it was stated the videos would only be online as an introduction, I was just unlucky it seemed. In the mean time, while I waited Riven was nice enough to let me view some of the videos to tide me over until I got my set, thanks again Riven! In the mean time I spent a whole two weeks eking by one or two drawings every 3-4 days while I waited.

Anyway back to the drawing, the spine was pretty simple stuff, 7 segments from head to base of neck, 12 for the ribcage and 5 down to the sacrum. And I quite enjoyed it, the tougher bit though was the ribcage, there were 12 of the fuckers I had to measure up properly otherwise it would look crap so it took alot of effort and as you can see by all the line drawing but naturally this would take a long time if you're stepping your way through it but I got there in the end, by the end of it all it was starting to flow much better and you tended not to think about the little mistakes because honestly, they're only ribs :) as long as I stuck to the outline that I know by heart you couldn't really go wrong.

The sacrum however was a different creature altogether, this sucker had to be carefully measured up using the formulas Riven gave. Also special consideration for the spine's width at certain points had to be adhered to so it sometimes looked closer or further away, important stuff that, otherwise it looked...... weird, from the back or front it was important to always be mindful of that. See what you guys think, unfortunately there are no progressive sketches since they all naturally built on each other and I never stopped halfway through :) When I finally looked at the milestone (Note: Riven does milestone lessonsevery 10 or so lessons which is essentially a recap of previous lessons to bring all the new elements learned together with the rest of the skeleton) I was really stoked, the ribs were looking awesome, my sacrams weren't looking too gay and the spine was coming out reasonably well, The milestone is the last picture.

THIS is the milestone, awesome aint it? :D (you can tell I'm proud)

Lesson 25-29: The scapula, fitting it to the chest cavity.

So far my labours have been focused, passionate, but inevitably hard, until this point. The scapula, to put it simply, is a pleasure to draw. This is the first point during all this drawing that I slipped into drawing something purely for the pleasure of it. Its strange, there were many occasios that I just took up a pencil and started drawing the scapula, just for fun :) Riven makes mention that all these formulas take away all the guess work and "you can draw with bliss" as he puts it. So far this is the closest I have gotten to bliss since I started. Its sort of startling how these seemingly complex bone plates have wonderful symmetry and very artistic curves. I started noticing alot of people's scapulas too, mainly girls' though since their backs were exposed more often, and they're much prettier that guys ;). I did have one little hitch at the beginning when I was learning the shape of the scapula and that was which way the bottom of the scapula angled in, I kept mixing it up and doing it back to front but I got past that after a while by remembering the bottom of the scapula angles into the body when it gets to the bottom. Like I said before, a pleasure to draw :)

You'll notice a few lined pages here, they were sketches I did while I was in the lectures, uni can get boring sometimes.