Mission accomplished! The month of February is over, and I've finished both the Big Art Project and Figuary 2021. Much to celebrate!
Piece #4 of the Big Art Project is finished! Here are a few previews.
Life this week was extremely busy. The Art Project was one of many deadlines I had to meet; plus, I left the hardest art piece to the last, and Art Piece #4 had a bit of a tough start. I don't think I would've been able to finish it while juggling all my other RL responsibilities, if not for a new development that happened last weekend: I acquired a drawing buddy.
Every day this week, this online acquaintance and I met up at a set time every day through private messaging on Discord (chat server), and we did at least one cycle of four Pomodoros together to reach our individual drawing goals. I'm usually pretty good at managing my time independently, but having an accountability partner is doubly good because their presence helps me maintain my productivity focus, and prevents me from slacking off around the edges.
So I finished Piece #4 on the back of daily Pomodoros -- and comfortably ahead of the project deadline too. With such a busy week, I don't think I could've managed to stay focused on my art project without the help of this drawing buddy. Many thanks! :) And it worked out so well that we're going to keep at this drawing practice every day.
Big Art Project and Figuary continues apace. And I bought a bunch of art instruction books!
The books are: Figure Drawing for Artists by Steve Huston; Color and Light by James Gurney; and Imaginative Realism by James Gurney. Gurney's books have been on my wishlist since the day they were published (hey, can't have too much of his artwork). Steve Huston teaches figure drawing courses at New Masters Academy, but I'd rather have his instruction book on hand.
That just about covers all the art instruction books I want to buy. (I still want John Howe's Fantasy Art Workshop but that seems a bit harder to find.) I've been reading Huston as I'm doing Figuary, and it's been extremely informative. More about this, possibly, in a future Dispatch.
RL was quite busy this week, but somehow I managed to make progress on that Big Art Project, more-or-less keep up with Figuary 2021, and even draw a bunch of other stuff!
Lovelifedrawing's Figuary month of figure drawing has been great, even though I was playing catch-up from the start and still haven't caught up! I've already learned a new gesture drawing technique -- the block-in method, from the Figuary tutorial playlist on YouTube. I used to begin figures with the head and the line of action, but the block-in technique begins with the torso. It's a good paradigm shift: I think it's helping me improve on my proportions, and build more 3-D form into the whole body.
I'm doing the Figuary practice poses in batches of about 2-3 videos, the sustained practice helps me consolidate the techniques better than doing one video every day.
Some Figuary gestures, in pencil (top) and pen (bottom). I prefer doing them in pen, but might switch between both to get the hang of the different tools.
Progress on my Big Art Project continues. I was quite worried last week that I wouldn't be able to recover easily from the impostor syndrome -- and while recovery wasn't easy, it only took a few days before I could get back onto the art train. The last time impostor syndrome knocked me down, I took 2 months to get back up. So a few days down is definitely a win!
I finished the first out of a planned 4 pieces. Continuing and finishing art is a major breakthrough -- especially for a project under deadline like this one.
The full Piece #1 will appear later, so in the meantime, have the supporting documentation.
Preliminary thumbnailing of the full image.
The "scratch file" where I drafted various ideas before committing them to the actual image.
A few glimpses of the finished work. On A4 sketchpaper, includes a pencil tip (sharpened with scalpel) for scale.
Well - this was a most interesting and not too comfortable week, where I had to contend with more mind games threatening to derail my quest for an art life. Or is this just part and parcel of the quest itself?
But first, this week's art.
I only finished one full illustration this week - more fan-art for the Anthem videogame that I play (official website here).
In Anthem, Freelancers are human adventurers and mercenaries who wear exo-suits called "javelins" (like Iron Man suits, or mecha) while exploring a perilous science-fantasy world. The Scars are an enemy faction: they may look humanoid but are actually a mysterious species of swarming insect that form intelligent, mobile hiveminds when they swarm together.
The human Freelancer in this javelin (known as an "Interceptor") may have destroyed the body of this Scar sniper, but the hivemind is escaping...
I'm happy with how I rendered the two figures and the insect swarm; not so happy with how I managed values in this illustration. Everything looks busy without a clear focal point to look at. I tried to make the Interceptor stand out but it's still lost in the mess of details. I'm still figuring out how to use my pencils to express values, but I'm reaching a point where I have to purposefully study image composition, maybe do some value paintings/sketches of photos. More things to learn!\
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Last week's "mind games" (issue #6) are well and truly settled. I was able to channel all that dissatisfaction into practicing the techniques I was most weak at. And I'm pleased with this week's results! So that was a lesson learnt.
Of the new art supplies showcased in issue #6, I've started using the Reeves-branded sketchpad. I'm no sketchpaper expert, I noticed it receives graphite more readily than my previous Strathcore sketchbook, so pencilmarks can get darker than what I'm accustomed to, and it's less forgiving to accidental smudges. I'm also getting used to how it handles thick, dark layers of graphite. Indeed, sketchpaper can be as important as -- perhaps more than -- the pencils you use, because it influences the kinds of marks you get.
Speaking of pencils, I've been sharpening mine with a blade for some time already, and the new sandpaper I bought takes sharpness of tip/smoothness of sides to a new level!
I use 2H, F, HB, 2B, 4B and 6B Staedtler pencils.
Of the flaws in last week's fanart of the character Tassyn, her face was the biggest one. I had plenty of references for her (screenshots and videos made in the videogame), but couldn't get her facial structure correct. Then again, I hadn't practised drawing heads since my refresher on the Loomis technique in December (issue #2). So it was time to do some photo studies.