Nov. 10th, 2007


ADMIN: Exercise Prompts -- Week #7

As always, it's okay to post responses to prompts from previous weeks even if new prompts are already up. So if you have tried anything inspired by older prompts, please feel free to still post! And if you have any suggestions for drawing exercises and prompts, or comments/feedback on the ones I posted, please comment.

1. Capturing actions.
Think of some movement, and then how to bring its essence across by choosing the right moment and the right framing, so that the viewer recognizes what's going on (e.g. is someone getting up or sitting down?). This can be in a single sketch or a series of thumbnails trying out different things, whatever you like.

2. Drawing from different viewpoints.

Pick an object and draw it from different, maybe even unusual viewpoints, like from a bird's eye view, or a worm's eye view, or an unusual angle. It doesn't have to be anything complicated, maybe just an everyday object, like a mug or a kitchen chair, seen in an unusual way.

3. Free-form prompt.


Sep. 4th, 2007


ADMIN: Exercise Prompts -- Week #1

1. Drawing humans in motion.

One popular method to get a feeling for how a human body looks in action is to practice by drawing correctly proportioned stick figures, like it's illustrated in these pages from "Figure Drawing Without a Model" by Ron Tiner (p. 54 / p. 55) and these from Andrew Loomis book "Figure Drawing For All It's Worth" (p. 39 / p. 40 / p. 41). Of course if you like some other method to simplify humans better, you could use that, or maybe you are already comfortable with human proportions and mass distribution and prefer to draw solid humans right away. Just draw some lively, interesting looking humans in motion, or maybe displaying emotional poses. Or have your stick figures interact with each other, maybe play out a scene.

2. Drawing expressions.

This is an exercise from Scott McCloud's comic Making Comics, but really it's just a list of emotions to draw. It is intentional that this list doesn't consist of the basic facial expressions that are most clearly recognizable (like joy, sadness, fear, anger, surprise and disgust), but fuzzier ones, that are hard to convey unambiguously, especially just with a face and without added poses or gestures. It's taken from page 127:
Pick two expressions from this list, and draw a face to match each:
  • confident
  • uncertain
  • frustrated
  • hurt (emotionally)
  • flirtatious
  • mischievous
  • tired
Then give the same list to a friend, along with your drawings, and ask him/her to guess which expression you were going for.

We could do the guessing part in the community as well.

McCloud's overview of drawing expressions is largely based on Gary Faigin's The Artist's Complete Guide to Facial Expression, a book that I really recommend, but in case that you don't have either of these or any other reference on hand, Cedarseed has a useful overview and tutorial for facial expressions online that also breaks down expressions into their components.

3. Drawing objects.

This is another exercise from McCloud's book, from page 57:
Test your visual memory. Try making simple drawings of five complex items from memory (examples: a fire hydrant, your favorite skyscraper, a pair of scissors, a sneaker, a game controller...) Then find the real thing or check the web for photos. Study the differences. Then draw the same items again from memory and see if you can capture them more effectively.

4. Using silhouettes.

I'm always afraid to make any area in my drawings truly black, even when black areas would help set a mood or fit with the composition. One way to use black areas are silhouettes. I scanned a chapter from a Wizard How To Draw book to illustrate the technique and show examples for the use of silhouettes (p. 82 /p. 83 / p. 84 / p. 85). So for this prompt, draw something using a silhouette somewhere in the picture.

5. Drawing textures/materials.

Draw as many different textures/materials as you like, whether in realistic styles or with more abstract graphic renderings (e.g. like inking and crosshatching techniques that are "read" as certain materials). Make things look hard and smooth or soft and fuzzy, shiny metal, or reflecting or transparent, wood or cloth or stone, leather or fur...