Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Stick Figures and Mannikins

Gesture has a sister and her name is stick figure/mannikin!

The examples of gesture from this post include aspects of the stick figure/mannikin. They're actually inseparable elements.

Here are some sources from which I learned the stick figure/mannikin:

1. How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way—Stan Lee & John Buscema:

2. Figure Drawing for All It's Worth—Andrew Loomis:

3. Famous Artists Course:

4. Peter Cox (painter and Arts Students League instructor):
I took Cox's artistic anatomy/figure drawing class in the '90s and learned a lot. One of his methods that I especially liked involved getting the figure down quickly by concentrating on drawing its "major masses." There are only three parts of the skeleton that are solid and inflexible—the skull, the ribcage and the pelvis. Cox taught us to get those three parts down first during the short poses section of the class. The remainder of the skeleton flows from those three parts. I still use this method today when doing gesture drawings. The red lines in the gesture drawing below show where I placed the lines of action (I always start a figure drawing with a line of action) and the major masses before building volumes and clothing on top:

Monday, July 15, 2013

Kill Your Fear, Be Successful

Afraid of being laughed at?

Afraid of making a mistake?

Afraid of failing?

Afraid of succeeding?

Afraid of being uncomfortable?

There can be ZERO success until we kill all of these fears. Every self-improvement book I've read, published from the turn of the last century to the turn of this century, has hammered home this one major point: you must kill your fear if you are to have any success in life.

Don't get confused. As Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a graduation speech, take risks but don't be reckless.

The following two blogs discuss variations of the same theme.

Addicted2Success says don't play it safe.

zenhabits says get out of your comfort zone.

We artists need to listen to this advice, then live it.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Shoutout Sunday: Terrence Walker

Terrence Walker holds the top spot of influence in my development as a DIY filmmaker. His work was made me realize for the first time that being an indie animator was possible. I devoured his first blog and continued reading his successive blogs, fascinated by his travels from California to live and work in the Philippines, Shanghai, Japan, Korea and Hong Kong. Rarely are Americans fearless enough to leave this country to pursue their artistic dreams abroad but that's exactly what Walker did. 

Walker's bio from his Studio ArtFX website:
Terrence Walker is a published manga artist and animator having written the global manga World of Hartz for TOKYOPOP and responsible for the independent animated short films Shadowskin and Understansing Chaos, which changed the indie animation world forever. He also worked as a 3D digital artist, in Hollywood, for studios such as Sony, Warner Bros. and NBC/Universal on multiple television and feature film products.

Terrence Walker

I own several of his DVD's—the short films "Understanding Chaos" and "Shadowskin" and his making-of DVD "Anime: Concept to Reality" which contains the two aforementioned films—fascinated by his process and can-do attitude. Walker also sells (often at discounted prices) in-depth tutorials covering a wide range of topics, some of which I've also bought. Walker gives the buyer a lot of content for their money.

Back in April, he was interviewed for a podcast by another successful DIY animator, M dot Strange (the topic of next week's shoutout.) It was a treat listening to two guys who've drudged through the muck of indie filmmaking talk about their experiences.

Terrence Walker has given up a lot of his time to share his expertise and experience with people like me and to create useful content. His insights have been invaluable. It's because of guys like him freely sharing so much that they've not only saved me time and frustration but have inspired me to keep pushing. 

Thanks, Terrence!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Luis Escobar's Draw Fu

In my constant search for distilled drawing knowledge, I stumbled upon Luis Escobar's The Drawing Website and blog. Combining his martial arts studies with his vast drawing experience that includes storyboarding The Simpsons, Escobar makes a point that's worth repeating often: drawing is a skill that can be taught and learned. His drawing instructions are clearly presented in easy-to-digest portions.

For those of us struggling to improve and in need of some beginner basics, I recommend subscribing to Escobar's emails at his website and getting his free ebook "The Art of Draw Fu Beginner Level."

Friday, July 12, 2013

THE Secret

I don't know what Rhonda Byrnes's "The Secret" is exactly but it appears that she's collected centuries of wisdom from various sources and combined it into an accessible system. I can't speak to the value of "The Secret" book or movie but I do know that I've come across what I consider to be The Secret. Here it is for free:

Control Your Thinking, Control Your Life.

THAT is the secret to human existence. I came across this "secret" while reading Charles F. Haanel's "The Master Key System." Published in 1916, this book tells you the secret on page two instead of dragging out the mystery for 200 pages.

The secret is that every human being has the ability to create what he or she wants through their thinking.

It's that simple yet incredibly hard to execute.

I highly recommend that you read "The Master Key System" and read this post from the Addicted2Success website.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Get Sh$t Done

Image courtesy of

Struggling to get stuff done? Read these tips from the prolific Joss Whedon.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Austin Kleon's Book Creation Process

Image courtesy of Austin Kleon at

Austin Kleon is definitely one of the few blogging artists that I think every DIY creator needs to follow. His advice is succinct, accurate and realistic.

His "Steal Like an Artist" was manna for my creative soul and now he's working on a new book, "Show Your Work!." I can tell I'm going to love it just based on the title and some screenshots of his writing process that he shared on his blog here. I love seeing his creative process!

How important is Kleon to me and my work? By simply reading the first item on his list above, "Think process, not product," I've relieved myself of the huge self-inflicted pressure to complete this film quickly. Kleon validated for me that rushing through the creation of my film is not the goal. The goal is to learn from the process of making the film so I can apply that knowledge to future projects.

I'll be talking more about Kleon in an upcoming Shoutout Sunday post.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Figure Drawing Step One: Gesture

Studying figure drawing involves learning, as Glenn Vilppu says, "tools not rules."

The first tool is gesture. Here are some excellent explanations of what gesture is and how one should approach it:

Stan Prokopenko

Glenn Vilppu's Drawing Manual

Some of my daily gesture drawings done from photographs of active poses:

Monday, July 8, 2013

Gag Cartoon

Wouldn't it be great to get a gag cartoon selected for publication in The New Yorker?

I used to think that until I researched how that actually works. Since I'm not interested in waiting months or years to be chosen, I'll just put my cartoons up here.

Here's my first. The gag is VERY dated and not original. BUT the point of this exercise is just that: to exercise my drawing skills, cartooning skills and gag skills while creating a body of work.

And that's why we do what we do, isn't it? To create our own bodies of work.