Saturday, August 2, 2014

Advice for Mark

Andrew Loomis
Mark asks,
"I'm off to university next month and am trying to learn as many techniques as possible, I'm currently going through the Andrew Loomis books at the moment and was wondering what is your process for drawing heads/bodies/objects/environments, etc?"

Hi, Mark,
Wow, those are kind of a big questions. Well, you can't miss with Loomis. His book Creative Illustration is one of the best sources for information about painting technique, color theory, and composition. Figure Drawing for All It's Worth and Drawing the Head and Hands is also full of valuable information, so it's no wonder they've been classics since the 1940s.

A more recent book that's great for composition, especially if you're interested in film, comics, storyboarding, or animation, is Marcos Mateu-Mestre's Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers. For learning about process and environments, I would just go around your world with a sketchbook.
Stan Prokopenko

If you want to learn to draw heads and bodies, and you like learning from videos, check out Stan Prokopenko's YouTube channel. Stan has produced a lot of free videos that break down head and figure drawing into clear and helpful steps.

If you like those, Stan has just released a 5 DVD set of his recent figure drawing series that I can recommend. It's great for beginners or pros who want to brush up on their knowledge. If you prefer streaming content you can purchase premium access to his website [correction: his courses] where there's a lot of content added to the YouTube stuff. Don't just binge-watch these; actually do the exercises, and you'll make amazing progress.

I don't know if you plan to study art at the university that you're going to, but if so, I would recommend you read the recent editorial "Is De-Skilling Killing Your Arts Education?" on Huffington Post (Thanks, Bryn).

When you get to the college, "kick the tires" before you sign up for any art classes. Go right to the head of the art department as a new freshman and tell them about the kind of art you really like (Loomis, Rockwell, Bugs Bunny or whatever it is). If they sneer, don't sign up for art there. Use your college time to study English, science, history, and other subjects, which will enrich you as an artist and a person. Study art through channels that will feed you with the knowledge and skills that you want. (That's what I did, for what it's worth).

Oh, and don't worry about learning as many techniques as possible. You don't need to play all the instruments. Get comfortable with a drawing medium, perhaps charcoal or pencil, and a painting medium, such as acrylic or oil. then try to let technique and style happen naturally as you put your focus on nature.
Adolph Menzel
When the great draftsman Adolph Menzel was asked the same questions you asked me, he answered with a single sentence: “Alles Zeichnen ist nützlich, und alles zeichnen auch" which means "All drawing is useful, and drawing everything as well."


Lindsay Gravina said...

I wish I had read this before I went to art school.

Luca said...

While it's super cool to go to an art school (my only life regret is that i didn't go to one of them), after that you are forced to find an art related job, or little temporary jobs while you build your artistic career (and it's not so easy, i think). If you study art by your own and something else at university, you open yourself 2 career opportunities, since an art director wants a stunning portfolio, not a stunning degree. And given the times we live in, it's not so bad to have a "Plan B". Besides this, being self taught you can study what really interests you, to develop your own style. Maybe it tooks more time, you have to do 2 things in the same time and it's not so easy,but on the long time i think it's a better least, it's my humble opionion... :)

Unknown said...

Just wanted to let you know I do read your daily newsletter, and enjoy it! Great article, and some helpful links for books etc. Thanks.

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing all the resources! The 'de-skilling' article was interesting. I wanted to go to art school, but all my research of those available in New Zealand led me to the conclusion I would be wasting time and money. So I'm currently doing the best to learn everything on my own.

broker12 said...

This is top-notch, crackerjack advice. It crossed my mind that you might have mentioned ateliers. On the other hand, I have heard a mild complaint about them, the gist of which is that while in most of them, the training is excellent, students come out almost as clones of the person(s) running the atelier. In my opinion, you have hit two of the best teachers there are in Loomis and Stan P.

Carol said...

There's this:

Tiffany Miller Russell said...

George Bridgeman is my favorite, with his treatment of anatomy by contrasting basic shapes and forms, and comparing simple mechanical machines to bone and muscle structure. His style is very poetic and wonderful to study.

Unknown said...

Tiffany ,I totally agree!