Thursday, September 22, 2016

How Not to Be a "Cover Band" Visual Artist

Artist Michael Mentler is know as The Bone Doctor for his knowledge of the human skeleton. He recently came to mind as I was struggling to draw the skull in the Watts Head drawing curriculum.

Awhile ago I downloaded an iPhone app of Mentler's book but the drawings and his handwriting were too small to be of any real use.

But after checking online, it turns out that he has a book and a video focusing on…THE SKULL!

Talk about synchronicity!

I immediately bought both and watched the section of the video related to drawing a frontal view of the skull (the video starts with the profile but it makes more sense to me to start with the front.)

This video shows clips from the lessons:

I'm still amazed that I found this just as I was struggling with this same topic!

The beauty of Mentler's approach is that he's taken the lessons of George Bridgman, Andrew Loomis and Robert Beverly Hale and combined them into a process of measuring accurately the drawing of the skull and skeleton, a method that works for him. Per Mentler:
"If you take any one master and try to follow that person exclusively, you become nothing more than a cover band for that artist. I don't care how well you play The Beatles, you're still a cover band for The Beatles."
Thanks to Mentler's skull measuring method, I am no longer aimlessly trying to learn how to draw the skull. Instead, I'm learning to draw the skull deliberately.

Since I have found no other method for accurately drawing a skull, I recommend Mentler's approach.

Do you have a method for drawing the skull? If so, please share in the comments. Thanks!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Watts Atelier Drawing Curriculum Temporarily On Hold

Working my way through the Watts Atelier Drawing Curriculum, I completed the Fundamentals section and eagerly started the Head section.

And immediately hit a wall!

The Head section begins with drawing the skull from various angles.

The problem I'm having is that the lack of a measuring system for the skull. I know how to measure when placing features onto the face but I don't know how to measure the placement of the parts of the skull to ensure that they're in the right place.

Since Watts is $99/month, I was happy to see that there's the option to put one's subscription on hold which I've now done.

Now I need to learn the skull.

I've been drawing from the model I have but there's been a nagging concern that I'm not really "getting it."

That's when The Bone Doctor popped into my head!

Michael Mentler aka The Bone Doctor

More about The Bone Doctor in the next post!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Artist Andy Griffiths is a Creative Illustration Fan!

Comic artist Andy Griffiths of made this video extolling the virtues of Andrew Loomis's "Creative Illustration."

Actually, Griffiths recommends ALL of  Loomis's books!

Watch his demo of Loomis's informal subdivision done in Manga Studio:


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Part 02—Andrew Loomis's "Creative Illustration": The Functions of Line

From Andrew Loomis's "Creative Illustration."

Something for we artists to meditate on:

Are you working to improve your drawing? Tell us about your art journey in the comments! Thanks! 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Part 01—Andrew Loomis's "Creative Illustration": The Form Principle

I love Andrew Loomis’s books. His knowledge and skills are undeniable. His diagrams and illustrations are dense with visual information and important lessons. All of his books are deserving of intense study.

There seems to be a lot of interest out there in Loomis's books and methods. Since I have either physical or PDF versions of all of his books, I'd like to share some highlights of his teachings from his book "Creative Illustration."

"Creative Illustration" begins by outlining the basis of Loomis's approach, The Form Principle. Here are the pages from the book explaining the principles that are explored throughout the book (I own a copy of the actual book. These pages were taken from a free pdf download.) Future posting will be animated versions of his teachings:

How do you feel about Andrew Loomis's teachings? Tell us in the comments! Thanks!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Combining Watts Atelier and Proko Drawing Practice

With a limited amount of time and a lot to learn, it's important to be strategic about drawing practice.

The last post provided specific ways to improve one's drawing quickly and correctly.

Here's some of my practice:

I start with the Watts Atelier drawing fundamentals warmup, freehand circles using a conte charcoal pencil on smooth newsprint:

After the circles, I do free hand ovals/ellipses:

After the ovals are straight lines and curved lines:

Next it's applying tone. This is a challenge because if the pencil doesn't have a good taper from the wood to the charcoal, it leaves streaks. Becoming proficient at this is definitely going to take some time:

That concludes the Watts warmup.

Here I've combined the Proko lesson of reducing bones into basic shapes with the Watts lessons of negative space and drawing through the forms. Hopefully by doing that I'm learning twice as much in half the time!

Are you working to improve your drawing? If so, how? Have you considered taking the Jazza approach? Post in the comments below. Thanks!