Saturday, March 21, 2009

Squash, Stretch, Inflate

No one says you have to draw exactly what you see when you’re making studies on location. I was sitting in a museum drawing cars and trains, and I wondered what they would look life if they reared up on their hind wheels or inflated with a big breath of air.

Being on location lets you see the objects in three dimensions, walk around them, peer under them. That’s the first step to understanding their forms so that you can transform them any way you want.

A tip: try a little thumbnail sketch first before you leap into a larger drawing.

19 comments:

Giovanni Pasini said...

coool!

Michelle said...

A little random, but the train in the upper right reminded me of the animated train in the opening to "Soul Train." In a way, they were applying a lower scale version of squash and stretch in the animation of the dancing train.

Maria said...

Looks like fun...it's always nice to find different ways of thinking about observational drawing!

ruuhkis said...

excellent!
what did you use to get those whites?

Susan's Scribbles said...

I've been experimenting with cartooning lately so really enjoyed this post. Love the use of the colored paper here. Great idea to try the technique while in front of the objects too.

Jeanie W said...

What fun!

Kendra Melton said...

Oooo these are GREAT! I always have issues drawing industrial objects, things like cars and get board with all the angles, this would be a great way to keep it more fresh and interesting. Thanks for the idea! :D

dwilson said...

James, this is a great use of one of the animation principles-simply named called "Squash and Stretch." The distortions give the illusion of life and motion to an inanimate bunch of charcoal on paper-always amazing to me.

Thanks for your great sketches and explorations. Your eagerness to be an eternal learner is inspiring.

All illustrators, animators, gallery artists can benefit from the exercise you suggested. When my painting/drawings get stale doing charicatures like these always helps loosen up again.

kev ferrara said...

These are very inspired, Jim! Love em!

Also great to see Travis' stuff again!

kev

Jon Hrubesch said...

These are great! I've got to get me some off white paper or just start using paper bags to do some drawings. I love the highlights.

Dorian said...

damn these are awesome - you continue to amaze me!

S. Weasel said...

Whoa! Where did you get that great dark brown sketch pad? Nothing I get is dark enough to show good whites.

(Oh, and very nice drawings, too!)

James Gurney said...

Hi, Gang,
that sketchpad is just a bunch of brown kraft paper...the cheap stuff they use for wrapping fish. I like it because it doesn't make me nervous. I had the guys at Kinkos make a sketchbook out of it.

The white is a blob of white gouache that I used with a brush and a film can filled with water. The darks are marker, which have faded a bit since I did the drawing. Thanks for the encouragement!

Erik Bongers said...

Completely off-topic, but a reply to the previous comment:
I'm glad to hear that I have been right in never to use markers.

About using cheap materials to avoid getting nervous: I use photocopy paper for thumbnails but that's it. Any more elaborate sketch needs a better quality paper for me.

The thing is...if I don't trust the quality of the paper I can't motivate myself to do a decent drawing!

So, it's 'being nervous' versus 'being motivated'.

As the famous saying goes: "The coin of quality of artists' materials has two sides."

badbot said...

nice sketches!
that reminded me the design of the "gafomobile", the car used by Gaston Lagaffe, the character created by the french strip cartoonist Franquin!

S. Weasel said...

Ah. I love kraft paper. You don't have to be precious about it and it's a great surface to work on. And these days, now that pretty much everything gets scanned and goes digital right away, I'm not hoity toity about permanence, so I don't feel guilty using it (or nice rough newsprint).

I never thought about having some bound into a book.

Ken said...

Great sketches Mr. G!

J. E. Morris said...

These are terrific!

Jen Z said...

I see everyone enjoyed these sketches. All of them remind me of the old school animation of the nine old men, perhaps because they're all vintage vehicles, done on seemingly vintage paper. It's a great exercise, and makes me want to read some of my old Bill Peet books. :)