From Bleached Bones

John Lee's Illustration Blog
Posts tagged sketching
Anonymous asked:
Awesome answer to not being a perfectionist in sketchbooks! Now part of the question for me is what kind to use, and it always becomes so hard for me to find a brand and start. thanks you xx

image

Oh, this question is so, so old and has fermented in my inbox! My apologies.

I kind of don’t really care? Like, OK, I don’t necessarily defend one brand over another, and I’ll generally just use anything. I’ve used lots of soft and hard-backed books, leather-bound ones, some with fancy Fabriano paper, some with glorified bond paper. Remember, I tend to have a quantity over quality outlook on sketchbooks

That being said, I primarily just use these Moleskines nowadays, because for the life of me, I haven’t been able to make one fall apart. That can’t be said over some of the other books that I’ve used over the years. I know there was a big fiasco about them crowdsourcing their design work awhile ago, but dang it, they make solid books.

My books get dragged around all over, thrown on tables, drenched in beer and coffee, abused with wet media, torn, stuffed with receipts, etc. They don’t lead glorified lives. 

I do have a couple of dedicated wet-media books, and those are generally whatever I can find at my trusty local art store. So Moleskine, Handbook, Pen & Ink, etc. 

All of this came to mind because I saw this company, Baron Fig, floating around social media. Some of the copy makes my eyes roll around so hard in my head, that they’re doing de facto backflips:

The approach we take with our products is straightforward: we take the types of books and tools that we already use and are familiar with, and reimagine them from the top down to better suit our—and your—needs. 

I get it. It’s a notebook. That lays flat.

But! Like I said, I’m willing to try anything. What else is out there? What do you guys use?

Anonymous asked:
Why is drawing so important for an illustrator? What about paintings? I see mostly illustrations in color. Is there a certain phase illustrators go through, like master drawing and then master color?

image

I like this question a lot. Mostly because it makes me think “well, why IS drawing so important?” I like drawing, and I’ve drawn almost every day since I was like 6, so I’m biased. But here’s what I think:

Drawing is the most immediate way to visually manifest ideas. Everyone from architects, to UX/UI designers, to jewelry makers, etc. utilizes drawing at the beginning of their processes. It’s that whole “scribble on a napkin” idea. Get it out of your brain and onto the page. I get a kick out of all of these apps that somehow think they’re aiding productivity by adding a step.

As illustrators, your primary job is to manifest things visually; and not just a building, or a website or whatever, but everything and non-thing under (and beyond) the sun.

Dean Cornwell said “The measure of an illustrator is his ability to take a subject in which he may have neither interest nor information, tackle it with everything he’s got, and make the finished picture look like the consummation of his life’s one ambition.”

While I personally don’t think that’s the only measure of an illustrator, I get what he’s saying. Illustrators have to convey information in a way that is representationally or emotionally convincing in order to be effective. 

That’s probably 75% of the reason that I am constantly drawing. At a minimum, I always have one of those small Field Notes (seen above) in my back pocket, and a pen. For me, to draw something is to understand it. I can look at a photo that I took a few years ago, and completely forget everything about the circumstances under which it was taken. I can look at a drawing that I did in the same time frame, and remember everything from smells, to who I was with, to temperature, or conversations that I had. The other 25% is to maintain my drawing skill set. Art making knowledge is experiential, but it also dulls without use.

However, I think primarily what you’re asking is why drawing is so important to the final image. 

Your brain processes value (or tone) separately from color. Physiologically, the way we understand depth and space is linked to our processing of tonal values, not color—which is important when we’re trying to create a simulacrum of a space within our image area, right? Additionally, our brains process information in large chunks rather than constant chains, so it’s important not to overload your viewer with too much information. This is why large shapes and abstractions are so important in your basic compositions. 

Ideally, your drawing should address all of these things, as well as any specifics like perspective, proportion, visual specificity, etc, BEFORE you slap that first coat of paint down (I slap paint down because well, I can’t paint.) Sargent said, “…you can’t go on indefinitely until you have solved a problem.” 

Now, that’s not to say that color is any less important to an image than the drawing/value statement. I just think of it as a house (which, I know nothing about load bearing walls so this is probably a stupid analogy). A good image needs all of these elements (for our purposes here, composition/placement, value, and color) working in conjunction with each other in order to stand. 

One more caveat: please don’t think that this is THE only way to illustrate. I’ve said early and often, that “voice” is so important to your identity as an illustrator. How you end up doing things may be radically different than how I do things. Take guys like Chris Sickels, or Eric Carle (one of my favorites) for example.

But no matter what you end up doing, I think you’ll find that drawing will be an important component, for any number of the reasons above.

ps- Merry Christmas everyone!

drawclubnyc:

8/14: CHINATOWN/MANHATTAN BRIDGE
Ok, we’re set. This Wednesday we will be drawing in Chinatown and/or on the Manhattan Bridge. I’ve heard there are some great views from atop the bridge, so keep your fingers crossed for good weather!
We will meet at YaYa Tea Garden located at 51 Chrystie Street at 6 pm. Not sure where we’ll meet back up again at 9, so if you are going to come late, send me an email with your phone number and I will let you know where we’ll be.
This is our last Manhattan draw location! Can you believe it? Let’s make it count!
questions: eb@ebaddeley.com

OK, so last time I kind of lied about Roosevelt Island. I got there late.
But I’m definitely going to this Draw Club! I’m good for it this time, trust me. Really.
New Yorkers, come out and draw in Chinatown!
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drawclubnyc:

8/14: CHINATOWN/MANHATTAN BRIDGE
Ok, we’re set. This Wednesday we will be drawing in Chinatown and/or on the Manhattan Bridge. I’ve heard there are some great views from atop the bridge, so keep your fingers crossed for good weather!
We will meet at YaYa Tea Garden located at 51 Chrystie Street at 6 pm. Not sure where we’ll meet back up again at 9, so if you are going to come late, send me an email with your phone number and I will let you know where we’ll be.
This is our last Manhattan draw location! Can you believe it? Let’s make it count!
questions: eb@ebaddeley.com

OK, so last time I kind of lied about Roosevelt Island. I got there late.
But I’m definitely going to this Draw Club! I’m good for it this time, trust me. Really.
New Yorkers, come out and draw in Chinatown!
Zoom
Info

drawclubnyc:

8/14: CHINATOWN/MANHATTAN BRIDGE

Ok, we’re set. This Wednesday we will be drawing in Chinatown and/or on the Manhattan Bridge. I’ve heard there are some great views from atop the bridge, so keep your fingers crossed for good weather!

We will meet at YaYa Tea Garden located at 51 Chrystie Street at 6 pm. Not sure where we’ll meet back up again at 9, so if you are going to come late, send me an email with your phone number and I will let you know where we’ll be.

This is our last Manhattan draw location! Can you believe it? Let’s make it count!

questions: eb@ebaddeley.com

OK, so last time I kind of lied about Roosevelt Island. I got there late.

But I’m definitely going to this Draw Club! I’m good for it this time, trust me. Really.

New Yorkers, come out and draw in Chinatown!

(Source: drawingsofnyc, via mfaillustration)

Anonymous asked:
Hi! I was just wondering what your process is for quick sketches...whenever I try to do something quick I always harp on details

Do you mean like in these ballpoint sketches? Or these ink wash ones? Or these digital warm up ones?

I’ve found that whatever medium you use for sketching usually dictates how caught up you get in the details. So, for example it’s easy for me to get sucked up into linework with the ballpoint pen, while when I’m doing ink wash stuff, I can lay in big swaths of value. One answer is if you find yourself getting too caught up in little details, simply switch to a larger brush/pen/stylus whatever. 

The correct answer, however, is to switch up how you’re thinking about sketching. When you’re sketching from observation and you have limited time, remember that you’re trying to capture the overall suggestion of a thing, not render completely as if you had a camera behind your eyes. Remember the old Cezanne maxim: “I have not tried to reproduce nature, I have represented it.” 

So generally that means you have to be kind of smart to capture a scene efficiently and quickly. One illustration truism stands above all others here: larger statements are more effective than smaller ones. 

image

So whether that means you simplify and group values, and consolidate your objects into larger shapes…

image

…or distill poses and gestures down to a few simple lines, either on the outside contours or within a figure’s main path of action, always try to pare down what you’re seeing and translate that into the most efficient expression.

I’m a firm believer in taking a second or two to process what you’re actually seeing in a scene before sketching it. Pay attention to the nature and quality of light, as well as the emotions and gestures of the people you’re drawing. These will dictate your drawing decisions.

For more examples by artists who do it way better than me, see James Gurney and James Jean

Anonymous asked:
Hey, first off, great illustrations... Secondly, I always feel very self-conscious when trying to do public sketching on the metro/at the mall/wherever. Do you have any advice getting over that? What do you say if someone comments on your drawing? Or asks to see it and its awful? Thanks!

Thanks! There’s a couple of ways you can go about it: 

Be super stealthy: prop up your sketchbook so that it’s only visible to you, keep it at eye level, and only glance up really fast. When you make inevitable, awkward eye contact with your subject, quickly look away as if you were just checking out that super interesting subway map behind them.

-or- 

Just totally rock it. Show them your drawing if they inquire, tell them that you’re an artist/illustrator/whatever, and talk about why it’s important for artists to go sketching all the time. Show them the rest of their sketchbook, and explain to them how you’re going about drawing.

I find that the more public the situation, the more gregarious you can be. If it’s a quiet little coffee shop or something, then obviously you need to be more discreet. 

At the end of the day drawing in public isn’t really that weird and is generally socially acceptable (generally). You’re also doing it to better your observational and perceptual skills so, you know, eff what anyone else thinks. But lastly, I’ve found that the public more often than not finds drawing to be a super interesting and laudable endeavor. You’ll hear things like “wow I wish I could do that” or “I could never do that!” a lot. 

Also, I guarantee that you’ll be better at drawing than the public at large, so you should never worry about it being bad. My documentation on this very subject is well known.

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