There are a lot of amazing production art schools out there. Places like Gnomon, Art Center and FZD are great places to go to and come out industry ready if you work hard enough. A lot of them take the approach that anybody can be an artist. It is a good sales pitch that doesn't alienate anybody's wallet, but it also happens to be true. It is about clearing your head of "I can't" thoughts and putting in the time to draw for hours on end. Lessons learned are strengthened, or sometimes, only fully understood after taking them on over and over again.
Fellow artists and co-worker Max Hudetz decided to look into Feng Zhu School of Design in Singapore. He suggested I do the same. We then quickly realized the financial reality, that shit ain't happening. So after looking through CGMA, Gnomon, FZD and miscellaneous tutorials we decided to dissect there techniques and school ourselves. We live in the age where the internet provides countless resources. So we grabbed tutorials, dissected student work from said schools and included old fashioned practice techniques. Over the course of 4 non-consecutive weeks we are going on life drawing outings with different focuses. Tackling areas we feel we need to be stronger one by one. Drawing with traditional materials and swapping techniques. We then assign ourselves digital homework along side tutorials to watch as well.
This post is my homework for Week 1. It is a form study sheet and additional form through color study. The approach for the Komodo study was inspired by an FZD assignment. The idea is to draw but do so with careful attention to form through the breakdown of simple shapes, so detail isn't the most important. I then reinforce the forms with lines across the mass. It also exercises changing details of reference to challenge yourself with using your imagination to fill gaps.
(These studies exercise the ability to define perspective, breakdown complicated forms into their basic shapes and also develop presentation skills. In addition, you pick up great information that you might have overlooked that could be utilized in future imagined designs.)
I have adapted a new approach, rather than start a sketch and follow it through one at a time, I now work on various drawings in layers. For this sheet I did very rough sketches of most of the different elements, giving each a good amount of time but still moving around more than usual. Once the rough sketches are all done I then progress them through a state of cleaner line work and so on. This keeps things fresh and reinforces the exercise of visualizing something in my head from multiple angles in 3D space. It promotes a better understanding while at the same time keeping my line work loose and fresh. It cuts down on any issues of tunnel vision or obsessing over a drawing.
(This was not only a color study but I also challenged myself to define perspective and form with out line work or defining grids. I dropped paint on the canvas and moved it around. Overall I feel good about it but there is some distortion in the perspective that was due to a bit of tunnel vision. I needed to take more frequent steps back to review.)
For color studies are start simple, color picking the few defining colors in the image. I get as far I can with limited pallet, I then start introducing some one accent colors. However, I try to color pick as much from the colors mixed on the canvas before introducing new tones and hues. I made a point to find an image where I could move the composition around. The original image was a 1:1 resolution ratio. I changed it to a widescreen format and moved around some of the background elements while giving the colors a slight nudge in a bolder direction. This helps give the image some pop which distracts from the loose feel and even some of the errors.