Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Thanks to everybody that wrote nice comments about my last post. Great to hear from everybody! I love posting like this, and I will keep it up, but always remember: don't ever sit and wait for me to post so you can learn something. You have the power to figure all this stuff out for yourself.

For a variety of reasons, I never really worked with a great mentor that taught me a whole lot. I had some great, great teachers at CalArts that put me on the right road, but at that time I wasn't ready to hear all that they were saying. So later, when I was ready to learn, I had to go figure a lot of stuff out for myself...which any artist has to do, great mentor or not.

So the best thing I can ever tell you is this: you absolutely have the power to learn everything you want. You are surrounded - practically bombarded - by access to great art and movies like no other generation in any time in history. Cool, huh?

So here's the secret: every piece of art you see, book you read, movie you watch is full of CHOICES. The artist made choices at every step.

So next time you see a great drawing, ask yourself: what makes it great? Why did the artist draw the arm this way, why did he tilt the head that way, why did he use this shape for the foot? If it was done by a great artist, he will have a definite reason for all of those choices.

And if you see a drawing you don't like, ask yourself: why does it fail? What choices did the artist make that you think are wrong? What would you do differently?

Nobody ever told me any of this stuff I'm saying about Bill Peet's drawings. Heck, a lot of people would interpret them differently than I have. And who am I to speak for Bill Peet - how arrogant can I get anyway? But I just looked at the drawings and started writing what I saw. Writing it down is good because it forces you to come up with SOMETHING. And then the ideas just start flowing. So try it yourself! Look at a great drawing and start writing about what you see. Or look at a great drawing and copy it. You'll learn a lot, I promise. That's pretty much the way I learned all that I know, and that's how I continue to learn all the time.


Scott LeMien said...

i kinda know what you're saying. but I guess I have a different, more fatalist conclusion (hehe). I've been stockpiling tips and tutorials, and I sorta know in the back of my mind, I still have to make all those mistakes in my own work first before I figure it out.

BTW--I love your blog, I wanted to consider trying to get some storyboarding samples in my portfolio--any suggestions on what would be a minimum amount to show to pursue commercial storyboarding work? sorry if this is too generic of a question.

Emma said...

Yeah, what Scott said - people can tell you the same thing a million times, but if you're not ready to be educated, it doesn't help... and if you are ready to be educated, you're well on your way to figuring it out yourself.

A weird kind of paradox going on there.

(also kudos to your blog, almost every time I visit it's been updated, which is really kind of frightening actually)

Benjamin De Schrijver said...

This is just what I needed.

I'm always hesitant to copy other drawings, though. Somehow, I always end up "scanning" it too much. I wish there was an easy way to find out how the artist started, what part he drew first, what quick sketch is beneath it, etc.

Maybe this together with the 30 sec life drawing class is a good time to post a Glen Keane life drawing? ;-) You said before you might be able to get a xerox of one, and I think it could be great study material for me. Doesn't matter if you don't, though, I understand, and your blog's on the top of my list anyhow. Hope you can keep up the amount of posts you make! Thanks!

mark kennedy said...

Scott- Quality trumps quantity in any portfolio. One good short test that is well-drawn and has a little humor and a little drama is all you need. Does that help?

I agree with you that you have to make a lot of mistakes before you can get better - I wasn't saying otherwise. But the more you go through those handouts, the more you practice, the more mistakes you make NOW the less you will make later.

emma-I agree with what you say - what I was getting at ws that you can learn more by looking at good art than you can by waiting for someone to analyze it for you. How do you know that my analysis of Bill Peet's stuff is "right"? everyone should have their own opinion about what makes his stuff work...or not.

Benjamin - I don't have one to post, and I kinda feel weird asking for one. But I will post a page about life drawing soon from a book that Glen told me about. Glen is a great artist but you won't necessarily learn more from looking at one of his drawings than by looking at someone else's. there's a lot of great artists out there who you can learn a lot from and books of their art are readily available. I've learned a lot looking at Rembrandt drawings, myself!

Benjamin De Schrijver said...

Cool, thanks!

Kevin Deters said...

Well said, my friend. Keep up the great work!

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