Posts

Showing posts from August, 2008
Image
.
.
.
.
My class is studying the rendering of facial features in light and shadow this month. Grouping and simplifying is usually more effective than excessive rendering. Especially in the eyes where too much rendering can leave them looking like symbolic hieroglyphics.

THE LANGUAGE OF FORMS

Image
I love this picture from an old reference book about birds.



The anonymous artist could have presented the same basic information a thousand different ways, but he chose to emphasize the design. When you look at the shape, the colors, the negative space, you know right away: this was an artist who understood the language of forms.

In previous posts about the enduring importance of design, I have shown pictures from the Museum of Modern Art or recent graphic novels that are not as concerned with design or other aesthetic qualities. For example, one famous graphic novelist wrote, "if one tries to look at my strips as 'good' drawings... they're not, but ... I'm able to write with pictures without worrying about how I'm drawing something."

I always thought it was the job of an artist to be "worrying about how I'm drawing something," but my narrow minded attitude has only provoked scorn from readers who believe that "good," well designed pi…
Image
.

Something I did many years ago to figure out how to use india ink.
.
Image
.
..
.


This is a scene from the Prince of Egypt. It was designed by layout artist Guillaume Bonamy. I did the preliminary color sketch (top) and the final was painted on acetate cells by three of us (we would occasionally split up big paintings like this to reach a tight deadline). The background was painted by Bari Greenberg, the temple on the right was painted by Donald Yatomi and the foreground was painted by me.

Copyright Dreamworks animation SKG.
.

WILLIAM A. SMITH

Image
During World War II, the illustrator William A. Smith was sent by the OSS to China, where he spent time behind enemy lines working on the propaganda war. It was an eye-opening experience for a boy from Ohio, and he drew everything he saw.



He drew soldiers on a bumpy flight in the back of a C-47 aircraft. He drew Chinese children playing in the street. He drew vanquished japanese prisoners in camps. You can see his thirst for knowledge in these wonderful drawings.














I find it uplifting that, in the midst of war, an artist retained such curiosity about the world around him and such sensitivity for his subjects. There is a lot of humanity in these drawings.


It is especially interesting to contrast Smith's personal drawings with the propaganda drawings he was doing at the same time (caution: some of these are a little raw).









Smith's personal drawings were clearly an educational process. He learned a lot from keeping his eyes open. On the other hand, his propaganda drawings demonstrate n…
Image
.
.
Brandt. Gouache in a craft paper sketchbook.
.
.

Composition Workshop on Saturday August 16th

Image
,
If you're in the LA area and would like to refine your composition and painting skills, you're welcome to join me for an upcoming event.

On Saturday August 16th I'll be giving a workshop on pictorial composition for subjects of all kinds including landscape, figurative and entertainment design. Here's what we'll cover:
Lectures on the fundamentals of effective picture making. Discussions on the creation of mood and environment.Principles for organizing complex scenes into pleasing arrangements.Strategies for solving compositional problems quickly and effectively.Composition exploration exercises.Painting from a costumed model.We'll spend the morning with slide shows and lectures and spend the afternoon doing the compositional exercises and studies from a costumed model.

To enroll contact the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art at 877 LA-Atelier. Their site is www.laafa.org.

Hope to see you soon.