Thursday, 25 June 2015

A drawing table, early attempt at gesture drawings and the force finally awakens

Working under a tight budget necessitates hunting for deals in places where you wouldn't think to look. Initially, my search took me to obvious locations such as the local malls as well as various Home/Decor/Furniture exhibitions. Results were disheartening as most drafting/drawing tables ranged from a high price of RM1,500 to an even higher RM3,550 (about USD400 to USD950). Then, the missus chanced upon an old stationery shop located almost right smack in the middle of Kuala Lumpur's Golden Triangle. With its heydays sadly long behind it, this shop stocked old-fashioned draughthing instruments that predated the digital revolution. And on the window display was an inclined table on sale for RM500 (roughly USD135). Just like that, my long search was over.  

A drawing table at last ... and a value budget buy to boot
Putting the table to use for the first time ... hopefully this will help me solve proportion issues when drawing portraits

One problem I persistently face is a skewed perspective which results from having to draw on a flat table. Using an inclined table should theoretically negate this issue. Having the paper positioned nearly perpendicular to my line of vision means I get to see and draw things as they are. But this also means I can no longer blame the table if any of my portrait drawings are wrongly proportioned. Oh well, I guess I could always point the finger at global warming. (That's tongue in cheek ... as a huge fan of Sir David Attenborough's work I despair at the ignorance abound on this topic.)

A selection of figure drawing books collected over the years

Early attempts at gesture drawing
In addition, I have started to self teach myself how to draw dynamic figures. Luckily, I have accumulated quite a stack of 'How-To' books on this topic over the years. Some of which include:
(a) Figure Drawing for All It's Worth by Andrew Loomis (e-book)
(b) Figure Drawing - Design and Invention by Michael Hampton (e-book)
(c) Drawing the Head and Figure by Jack Hamm
(d) The Complete Guide: How to Draw and Paint Anatomy by Imagine FX
(e) Incredible Comic Book Women by Tom Nguyen
(f) Drawing Beautiful Women - The Frank Cho Method by Frank Cho
(g) Drawing People - How to Portray the Clothed Figure by Barbara Bradley
(h) Drawing Manga - People and Poses by Ryo Hirata
(i) Colossal Collection of Action Poses by Buddy Scalera

For now, a lot of time is being spent on simple gesture drawings with inspiration drawn mainly from books (b) through (g). My approach is basically to learn the different techniques used to draw figures and assimilate them before breaking out from the existing rules to find my own style or voice.

Currently I find gesture drawing easier if I combine the Industrial Design Method with Michael Hampton's technique
Keeping in mind those S-curves which are essential for a dynamic figure
Trying to capture dynamic gestures of a figure in repose

And the force finally awakens
Meanwhile, after 12 years of trying (although I am guessing that flying toy Tie-fighters over a baby crib and going pew pew pew doesn't really count) I have finally gotten my son to watch the original Star Wars trilogy. And I think he finally gets it. Really gets it ... the Star Wars universe that is. Now he is itching to see the seventh installment of the movie franchise i.e. Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Join me, and together we can rule the galaxy as father and son

My son's exposure to Star Wars is helped by sarcastic force gestures (accompanied by the humming of a Star Wars theme synonymous with Luke Skywalker) from his mom and I whenever he asks us to get him objects that he could very well reach himself. Character building the Tatooine way. With a shared interest in console gaming, my son and I are also excited over the upcoming EA online multiplayer release on the PS4. Thankfully, we have five months to save up for this console game.

Upcoming release of Dice's Star Wars Battlefront has gotten my son and I excited

An onset of the flu has seen my hobby activities seriously curtailed these past week. I can't wait to shake this illness off and resume painting and drawing. Being prevented from doing what you love makes you appreciate it that little bit more. And I will be glad to start doing what I love once again.

14 comments:

  1. What a find, that desk looks superb! As for gesture drawing, I am afraid there is no substitute to drawing from life. The books will be invaluable with regards to understanding anatomy, but in many ways just doing line drawings of people walking by whilst you enjoy a coffee will just as beneficial.

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    1. Thanks for the advice Michael ... much treasured and appreciated. Many books also advice drawing from real life and to be honest I won't truly understand that advice until I try it. There is never an A-ha moment if we do not try. I believe (and I am just guessing) it has to do with training your mind, eye and hands to be able to take info in quickly, memorise it efficiently, think quickly and subsequently draw quickly. It's something I've to figure how to do discretely without eliciting stares of suspicion ... the times we live in and all.

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  2. It's always great when the other half helps out in support of our hobbies. XD

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    1. You are so right. It's great when the other half understands and supports our hobbies. All good relationships require a give and take attitude. Always. ^_^

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  3. Great find on the drafting table. Perfect for your needs at the right price.

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    1. Yes indeed. I'm very happy at the find. It was still not cheap but for the price it's an investment worth taking.

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  4. Seems to be indispensable for a talentuous man like you!

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    1. You are too kind Phil ... but I am more persistent than talented. To a certain extent my stubbornness overcomes my lack of talent. :)

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  5. Trick I've learned when trying to draw portions. Flip the image you'd using as reference upside down. Forces you to pay attention to shade and line, vs nose, eye, and mouth.

    Setup looks great, and I really like the gesture drawings!

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    1. Great advice Greg, thank you. I've read something along these lines too. It has helped me to an extent that even if I don't flip the drawings as often as I should, I now think and draw more in terms of shapes rather than what my mind thinks I should. That being said, your advice still holds. Sometimes flipping the page completely eradicates any preconceptions your mind might impose on your drawings.

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  6. Congrats on your find! I'm sure this will help you to improve even further.

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    1. Thanks Moiterei, I certainly hope it does.

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  7. If you were already good at drawing, I can only imagine where your limits are going to be now. Cool! The Force is strong in you... :D

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    1. Ha ha ... if only I had the force. Morals be damned, I would use it to eradicate all the evil people in the world ... oops wait a miniute, that would mean the extinction of the human race. :O XD

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