Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Kick in the Head, Part Four

Will Finn did a great post recently about tangents. Great stuff.

These are some great handouts from Glen Keane that he handed out while I was at CalArts about drawing three dimensionally. These are high-res scans of my original copies; they can be printed on 8 1/2 x 11 or 11 x 17 paper if you're so inclined.

These say it all way better than I ever could. Again, this is an easy thing to get undisciplined about and let go. Nobody ever confronts you and says "hey, you stopped drawing three dimensionally, cut it out with all the flat drawing". Like a lot of things in life, if we can get away with something, we will. People won't usually go on a diet until their pants get too tight.

I think that drawing digitally (like in Photoshop) has made this problem more prevalent. The reason I don't like drawing in Photoshop is that I have to do a rough of each pose and then keep drawing over it with a new piece of paper each time, trying different things, and then finally I place one last piece of paper over my rough and do a more finished version. My roughs are too rough for actual storyboards, but that's okay, I like the roughing out part because I can experiment and it's easier to draw three dimensionally when I know I can just be drawing rough.

But that's not as easy with Photoshop. It's hard to look through more than one or two layers at a time in Photoshop (for me). I think it's hard for everyone else too, because it looks like most people go right to the cleaned up finished drawing in Photoshop because the roughing out and drawing over stage is very hard to do. I really think the drawings I see these days are cleaner and more polished but also more stiff and definitely not as three dimensional as they should be.







Why is this important?

Well, a drawing that works three dimensionally is always more solid and will always be a stronger drawing, for one. Obviously, if you're animating in 2D it's extremely important because as you animate your character needs to feel like its sitting in real space and if you can't draw your character from every angle then you'll never be able to turn them around as they move. But as more and more people animate in 3D this is becoming a lost discipline, I fear.

You could storyboard your whole career and never actually do a fully dimensional drawing. But I think there's a subtle effect that drawing solidly can have that makes your drawings feel more compelling and real to the viewer and really helps the audience buy the conceit that a drawing is thinking, feeling and having emotions. So I think drawing three dimensionally can make storyboards work better and connect more successfully with the audience.

I'm a bit of a crazy old crank though. I hate to blame Photoshop for everything but I think it's having a negative effect on drawing in general. Also I think I saw it buying cigarettes for minors once.

22 comments:

CrowPie said...

Great post, thank you for sharing this!

ESDIP said...

jajaja cool ending :D thank you once again

SKS said...

I'm a Photoshop junkie myself, so much I hardly pick up a pencil anymore. The only real detriment I've noticed is, when drawing with pencil, I'm less sure of my lines. In PS I can easily edit an arm that's too long or an eye that's too low, but in pencil I'm more hesitant. It seems to be the opposite for me compared to you. In PS I feel freer to be rough and loose and messy, but in pencil I feel like I have to be more controlled. Not sure why. Probably because it's harder to take back that line you put on the paper.

I'd love to see examples of what you call "flat drawings" compared to the examples you posted. I like to see the good examples along with the bad, otherwise I wonder if I haven't been doing it wrong all this time myself. XD

Thanks so much for another insightful post!

Jeremy said...

Yeah, it's a good point. Some programs, like tvpaint, seem to be getting better at the rough out stage but at best it still feels awkward. There always seems to be a disconnect in digital work and it's not as easy to emotionally invest and allow that expression to show in the final loose but solid drawing. Thanks again for the observation!

Mike Moloney said...

great post, i love your point about having trouble seeing through layers with photoshop...

I do a lot of drawing/animation in flash/photoshop and when your mind jumps between navigating the program and being creative, it stunts your creative flow. On the other hand, once you have a good working method down, where you focus on the creative first, then the technical second, the results are great.

Also i was the kid photoshop bought those cigarettes. The jerk used a lens flare filter and ran away with my money!

Jessica said...

This is a problem with a lot of younger people drawing in the "anime" style, and photoshop is definitely a part of that, although other things contribute too. Everyone makes out like Photoshop is some magical program, and people end up thinking that having photoshop, and/or a graphic tablet, will make their art instantly improve without them putting in any effort.

I also experienced this when I was younger. A few years back I got my first ever graphic tablet, and immediately began drawing in photoshop, rather than on paper. My art was terrible, flat, stiff, had horrible anatomy which I somehow didn't see, and I ended up switching back to sketching on paper a year or so later thanks to a friend telling me so. My art improved a lot more after returning to paper.

So to be honest, I think your feelings towards photoshop are not without merit. Besides, it's nice to have drawings in a physical form, and there's just many reasons why drawing traditionally is nicer.

I'm really enjoying the kick in the head series, by the way, thank you for it. There's all these things I never think about. I needed this particular kick, too.

Scott C. Gwynn said...

This kick in the head is for me. I need to get back to thinking three-dimensionally.

Ryan said...

You gotta keep doing more of these "kick in the head" posts - they're all amazingly helpful.

Daryl T said...

Please keep posting more of these. They are so helpful. Thank you.

Sam Nielson said...

I think the real problem here might be impatience---people want to get results quickly, and they don't want to have to redraw anything if they can avoid it (I am guilty of this almost every day).

In this way I'm not sure that photoshop is so much the culprit as the facilitator for bad habits that people trend toward anyway.

You're fighting the good fight though; these posts are currently doing more to help me be more careful and patient than Photoshop/Painter is doing to ruin me. Like you said, with 3d animation people might lose the sense of 3-dimensionality in their drawings, but as long as people like you are pushing to make it a priority at least some artists will try to keep their skills fresh.

sketch seven said...

Fantastic series of posts, really appreciate you sharing them all. Thanks.

Blake Himsl Hunter said...

I worked for several years as an art instructor and have seen too many students shun traditional hand drawing skills for computer programs and then wonder why their work is lacking. Working with a pencil allows for faster mistakes and corrections in my opinion. I know I always have to careful when inking my work that I'm not taking the life out of my drawing.

chromasketch said...

great post

Tim Finn said...

These are most helpful and I look forward to giving them to my students next week, but I note that the files are only 9" x 14" @ 72dpi. Is there any way you can post the larger ones you referred to? Thanks so much.

mark kennedy said...

Thanks for all the comments everyone...more to come soon.

Tim - sorry, the files are a lot smaller than I realized. I will re scan them when I can.

Kirk Hodges said...

I love the bit about cigarettes for minors. Awesome.

darby said...

you are an excellent writer, i enjoyed reading your posts. thank you for sharing. (..my doodles are always better drawings than my computer illustrations)

Gary Mahonri Hogue said...

The Photoshop thing really is an issue and something that bothers me too. So, I recently started using layers, filled with white and then drop the opacity some so that it looks like paper and I can see through to the previous drawings... Then, I do my drawings on a layer above that, then repeat... This makes it feel more like my traditional process and it seems to help me think about it the same way too.

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Sou Desenhista. said...

I liked to read this post.I`m still feel the great diference in 3 dimension when ddoing only in Photoshop.I`m feeling very dificult to use the real pencil.

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