This week we had an external examiner come in to our class to ask for feedback about the course and look at our projects.
It was a nice experience, because we were not only able to give feedback about our course, but have a new set of eyes on our current projects and work that we had done so far.
During the meeting we were able to all voice our opinions, clarify a few things regarding our course and it gave me some answers to questions I had that otherwise were either unclear or unanswered so far, but most of all the feedback that I received about my work was very positive and I felt like I was on the right path regarding my life drawing project. Adding to this, I was able to show some personal pieces that I had produced during my spare time that showed my progress I had made with my illustrations thanks to my research.
This post will be about the feedback I had received and thoughts I have about the future so far.
The feedback received about my project was very positive. I am rather critical about my own work and often feel lost in my own mind, being unable to convince myself that I am on the right path when it comes to my work.
One of the questions that was asked was why I didn’t go for a fine art course, but continued with animation. It was a question that I had asked myself many times before and at times still do. But the core of my love for art is a root that is far more present in animation than it is in illustrating. Movements, sketches, story telling belong to both animation and illustrating, but cinematography has been and continues to be an addition that doesn’t necessarily apply to illustrations but does to animation. It’s alright to have love for both, there are many animators who are on this path where they animate but also create illustrations for a living. I am still new to the whole world of ‘art’ and I’m still finding myself and what it is that I -really- want to do. With my animation degrees I am not stuck in one skill set, I can change in the future to become a full time illustrator if I wish to be whilst I do think that without the knowledge that I obtained through my animation course, having a BA or MA in Fine art it would be far more difficult to become an animator later on in life. So it was nice to have this question asked and be able to go through the thought process with someone else to come to the conclusion that I have made the right decision regarding my study.
I was able to show a few pieces of my life drawing, which were from both my life drawing classes in university and the ones I have done at home. The feedback from this was very positive and motivating. The examiner pressed the idea that I had to continue with this. He could see that I was becoming more comfortable with my line work and that I was trying to put more weights to them. With comments regarding my observational skills growing he urged me to continue with my work and was glad to hear that I realized from the beginning of this year that this wasn’t a project, but something I wanted to continue and had to continue after this course had ended. The learning path that I had set was also regarded as a positive and this all combined with my feedback on my personal work motivated me more to continue as I am.
I had the opportunity to show some of my personal work, my old pieces and my newer pieces. Through this he was able to see the process I had made thanks to my current project. I often get the feedback that I only draw fantasy, which is said in a more negative manner than a positive one, but not this time. I was able to explain that with me drawing fantasy, I am able to learn more because I am drawing things that I enjoy. He supported this idea and gave me a few points which I can work on.
Mostly it was about my personal work, which then could also apply to my project depending on how I am going to present my final piece.
I was in the market of buying a new sketchbook (which I have done now!), but he told me to always and -always- have my sketchbook with me. That I should draw people as they are in life settings. But not just people, also their surroundings. By doing this, I will constantly feed my imagination and will be able to pull scenes that I had seen earlier that day, week or month, that I had put into my sketchbook and take them into an illustration.
“If you see a bar and draw that in your sketchbook, later on you can put one of your fantasy characters in that setting, in that scene. Suddenly there will be a story behind this character.”
“Try new media.”
He noticed that I had been drawing with charcoal, graphite and pencils, but he wanted me to try out more permanent media, such as markers or pens. This way I will start to approach things differently, because I can’t smudge it out or erase the lines as I could do with what I was working with now.
“Series of 12 drawings.”
Another note he had for me was the idea of drawing the same model, in the same pose, but this time I would circle around the model, drawing them over and over again. Taking one step at a time, until I have 12 drawings. When those are done, I can scan them in and place them in one of my animation programs so I will have a collection of drawings which will make the character turn around completely.
“.. And it doesn’t matter if one drawing is larger than the other. Once you scan them all in, you can adjust them digitally. The idea behind this is that you will suddenly create this 360 view of a model in 2D.”
“Backgrounds to drawings”
This was feedback to my personal work, but one that I will take in to my project as well.
When I draw something, I usually do quick drawings, just to get something off my mind or to just draw for the day. But, because of this most of my drawings have no backgrounds which I never minded until now.
“Adding a background to them will add to the character. Now, these aren’t bad, but.. they are almost generic, there’s no story to them, there’s no background.”
I completely agree with all that he said.
Trying new media will help me be more confident with my lines, but I also will have to rely more on what I have learned instead of second guessing things. A pencil will allow me to second guess, a pen won’t. When the line is there, it’s there and I’ll have to work with it.
With my sketchbook, I thankfully had some sketchbook pictures online, but even Glenn Vilppu said it “This exercise is particularly useful when you don’t have your sketchbook with you (which shouldn’t happen)” on page 8 of the Drawing Manual when speaking about the observational skills, it’s stupid of me to not have it with me.
The 12 drawings are something I want to do and add it to my final submission for my project. I think it would be a great way to show my progress and apply it to an animated form.
Backgrounds and drawings, whilst I will do this for my personal work, I will also try and put this idea in my project’s work. Often when I am doing a 2hr life drawing session on either line of action’s website or croquis cafe, I have time left once we hit the 1+ min mark for drawings which I take to either rest or re-check my drawing. I will try and use this time to add something to the background, even if it’s simple black background that has some lights play through it, just to add something to the back, so it won’t be a stand alone form in the middle of empty space.