An Animator's Journey

Simple exercises to help with the arm/wrist pain that many artists get.  Always a good idea to stretch!

I’m taking a Clothed Figure Drawing class, and needless to say, it is hard.  For the first time, I have to draw clothing quickly (5 minute studies), but make it believable.  After wanting to throw my drawing board out the window, I decided it was time to find some inspiration, and remind myself why I am doing this; that it will be worth it.

This is Glenn Keane, former Disney Supervising Animator for characters such as Arial, Beast, Aladdin, and many more (but basically the good guys).  He is considered to be part of the “new nine old men”, and I wholeheartedly agree.  Not only is he a great animator, but you can see the passion he still has for the medium after about 40 years!  If that isn’t inspiration, than I don’t know what it.

Atelophobia; The Fear Every Artist has.

Atelophobia is the fear of not being good enough.  I don’t know a single artist, or creative type, who doesn’t suffer from this.  Artists are trained to the definition of perfection (i.e. proper proportions of the body, face, etc), and to be able to identify when those perfections are off so that we may deliver a more accurate likeness of our subject.  So, it only makes sense that we identify everything that is wrong with our work, and when finished, we usually see the things we want to still change instead of the beautiful work that has been created.

My assistant manager also draws, though she has never been to an art class.  She gets frustrated because she wants to draw, but ends up so overwhelmed and intimidated by other artists, that she gives up before she even got out her paper.  

Intimidation is part of the gig, and from speaking with other artists, it never goes away and becomes a normal part of life.  I remember hearing Andreas Deja speak about Ollie Johnston while working, I believe, on The Rescuers.  Ollie had finished, essentially, a large chunk of work, and gave it to his assistant to finish.  Being that it was Friday, the assistant decided to take the work home to work on over the weekend.  She got all of her things, grabbed Ollie’s drawings, went to her car, and drove home… It was only when she got home that she remembered that she had left the drawings on the roof of her car.  On Monday morning, she timidly went to Ollie’s office to show him the mangled drawings she was able to find out on the street near the studio after she drove back Friday evening; Ollie knew he had to do all of that work again, but he procrastinated.  He would wander the studio lot, he even went to go see his friend Frank Thomas who looked at Ollie, and asked, “Don’t you have a scene to go work on?”

My point is that intimidation is a normal part of being creative.  We’re trained to have a careful, and judgmental, eye that criticizes everything no matter who makes it.  We just have to be able to stand up (or rather sit down at our drawing desk/board/table/etc.) and get started, trusting that it’ll come out in the end. 

artist-help:

Pushing poses by Shermcohen

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Beautifully stated.

(via beneaththeshelterofthetrees)

Finished the 2nd commission in a series of 7 for my chiropractor.  This is the “Healthy Spine” that will be teamed up with my “Scoliosis Spine”.  I’m relatively pleased with how it turned out… I just hope he will bee, too.

My first commission is completed… but I’m nowhere near done.  My chiropractor is paying for seven drawings of spines; four to give away as gifts, and three to hang in his office (two of the spines are to have scoliosis, so yes- the spine above is supposed to be shaped like that).  Needless to say, as I still have six drawings left to do, there’s very little time for much else, but I’m pleased with how this one turned out. 

I do find myself having trouble starting the next one, but I know that if I keep going, and don’t let those feelings of inadequacy through, I will be able to do it.

This week, we were studying the human head. For an assignment, we had to draw about five studies of facial feature- eyes, nose, mouth, ears… I may not have had time to get to the mouths, but I will get to it as this assignment helped me understand the structure of the facial features a LOT. I was very surprised at how these turned out (especially the eyes), and was even more pleased with how quickly I was able to get them done. I was, honestly, so intimidated by the assignments that anytime I would think about doing them I almost went into a panic until I finally told myself to do it, and if they suck… who cares? This is just a study, it’s not my final.

I sat down in my chair with the references, and began. I can’t explain what it was like, but once I started- I felt confident, I didn’t care when I made a mistake; I just kept going. I think this is what it feels like to be an artist… You know- the non-tortured kind.

This last week, we did an exercise that is very basic… but I was surprised at how much it helped.  Anyone who has done a drawing class has broken the object they’re drawing down into the basic shapes, and gone from there.  To be honest, I didn’t think it would help that much, and I was even more terrified as we had to draw from a female model which I seem to be having a lot of trouble drawing. 

I did a quick gesture to get an idea of the body position, made the body of cubes and cylinders, and combined them all… and I wasn’t dissatisfied!  It was the fastest I had ever drawn a person, much less a female, and I didn’t want to pull out my hair!  It was such a satisfying feeling!  It was the encouragement I needed to keep going.

The fall semester has officially begun. Along with an art history, I’m taking my first figure drawing class which is very intimidating. The pictures above are some gestures I did for our first assignment, and I’m relatively pleased with how they turned out.
It’s strange- when I don’t have my drawing board, I want to draw with every ounce if my being… But when I then come home, sit down at my desk with my charcoal in hand- I freeze, terrified that it won’t meet the criteria needed. I guess that just part of the human experience.