Monday, April 11, 2016

Motivational Monday Blog #4: Expanding your horizons

So what exactly do I mean by this in relation to art? I mean, Ian, seriously bro, what does this have to do with me growing as an artist? Well let me tell you. It actually has a LOT to do with growing as an artist. This weeks blog is sort of a continuation of last weeks blog which I spoke about having the humility to be willing to learn and grow. Exploring your horizons has a direct correlation with a willingness to learn.

As an artist, I had thought that I would always just want to do cartoons, and comic book characters as my form of art. I never imagined that I would ever get into still life drawing, portraiture, even more, exploring new and different mediums of tools. Now being a beginner artist at the time, I made the mistake of wanting to learn for one reason. That was to make more money. WRONG! If you are expanding your art skill for money, you might as well go back to what you were doing before. Because again, it takes patience, and time. I was fortunate that I decided to keep going, because this work taught me something.

It taught me that I was able to create my own voice. My own style by learning and imitating the skills and techniques of different types of art that would in fact help me to to IMPROVE in my current passion of cartoons and comics! This is so important because some artists, not all think that delving into another form or type of art will handicap them, or make their abilities in another art form diminish. Which can be true if you don't keep practicing. It's like not riding a bike for years and then finally riding again; you have to get your bearings back. You may still remember, but you find yourself having to review again and remembering those basics.

The key to expanding your horizons, is to help you get better at your passion. Believe it or not, learning new art styles and techniques when applied to what you already know can open doors to ways of doing your art that you never knew were possible. Or if you are already attempting to try something, focusing on that aspect of that education will help make your attempt that much easier.

My personal goal is to become a versatile artist. I want to be able to create anything I want, whenever I want, and have a unique style and voice artistically because of it. I appreciate the things I have learned in my art education. And as you continue to learn and try new things as an artist, you will see that have a great impact on what and HOW you do your artwork as well.

So go out there, be humble, and learn something new and apply it to what you know. You will be amazed at the results!

Until next week,

- Ian W.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Motivational Monday Blog #3 - The Importance of Learning

I have come across people in my life that have the desire to learn to draw and really want to learn how. This goes for things other than drawing as well. What I always find funny though, is that most don't want to take the time to start from the basics and work up to the level they want to achieve. It's like they expect that when they utter the fact that they want to draw, they should be able to pick up a pencil, or whatever it is they are wanting to do, and do it automatically. And even times I admit because of my skill set and the amount of time, I have fallen into that trap myself.

I remember years and years ago in high school taking on an assignment using charcoal. I figured because I had been drawing comics and cartoons, that this was simply another progression that would come naturally. Well to my dismay, not only did my charcoal look like something a 5 year old totally trampled on, my experience was horrible, and I stayed away from charcoal medium for years. Even though I knew that it would expand my versatility as an artist, something I really wanted to do, I avoided it like the plague. So now fast forward 15 years later, and I'm back living in my hometown. I took a beginner's art class at the local junior college. Even though I was far advanced than most in my class, I always believed that getting a refresher on the basics would be a good thing for me, and put my artwork on another level. 

But can you believe it, the final project of the class was to do a full charcoal portrait of a non-family member. I was dreading it! But one thing about me, is that if I have do do something and really have no choice, I decided to buckle down and learn and get it done. Well, six weeks later, and over 30 hours of hard work, I completed my very first full 100% charcoal piece. I couldn't have been more prouder of myself! Everyone around me marveled and loved the art portrait I had done.

So what is the lesson of this story!? Well it is this. Whether we are starting out in something, in this case art, we need to have the humility to learn the basics, and start from zero and go up from there. You can't get worse than knowing nothing... So plant your feet and be willing to learn. Be patient and you will be amazed at what you are capable of doing. Never assume that if you are at a certain level of skill that you can't learn and get better. Again, you will be surprised at what you don't know. Even if it's from learning to hold a pencil correctly, be humble about it, and learn it. Don't say nothing, not even to yourself. Just learn it.

The keys to learning anything in life is this...

1.) Humility
2.) Willingness
3.) Patience
4.) Persistence 

If you remember those four things, you will be able to learn and should you choose to, master anything your heart desires! I hope this helps you artists out today! Get to drawing, and I will talk to you all again soon!

- Ian W.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Tutorial Thursday: Drawing the Nose

So it's another week, and as you can tell I'm going to be taking the time to show you guys another one of my simple methods of drawing. The feature I am going to be doing this week is The Nose. Now in my opinion, the nose can be tricky as it is one of the most versatile features on the human face. I wont go into a full anatomy lesson on the nose and all it's parts. That is something that you all can do in your personal studies through observation, and studies of photos.

But in this, simply observe the drawn diagrams that I have put together, and use them as guides in this tutorial. With that said, lets get to drawing some noses, shall we!?

The Front View: In my opinion, the hardest view to draw. I say this because depending on the character, and other factors, if it doesn't look right, it will completely throw off the entire drawing. Features are very important.

The bulb of the nose is first, which is a simple circle. Second, draw two smaller circles on both sides of the main circle, and add sad face at the bottom to represent the nostrils of the nose. The bridge of the nose then is added in the third step as two lines going up the face going toward the eyes.

A simple way to look at this, would be drawing 3 small circles, and a triangle. These are the very basic shapes of the nose. If you follow this formula, then you will see how much this simplifies drawing this difficult feature.

The Side View: Next lets look at the side view. This in my opinion is the easiest view of the nose to draw. In this instance, there are only two circles, and one triangle. it starts again with the bulb of the nose, and one smaller circle on either side of the main circle depending on the direction the face is being drawn.

The only difference with this view is the placement of the nostril, which is a sad face between both circles. A line is then drawn from the top of the bulb of the nose back toward the back of the nostril. It's a good idea to add a few lines over the top of the bulb to identify the top bulb of the nose to indicate mass and shape to the nose.

The Downward View: Again, the easiest angle to draw, the formula for this is simply three small circles and a triangle. When drawing the nose from a birds eye view, think of almost a Mickey Mouse silhouette. The sides of the nose are indicated by two lines going up from the middle of both small circles. And that is it!

And that's all! You have successfully drawn a nose from three different angles! Now a tip to consider and do, is to remember that you can apply this simplistic principle to noses of all shapes and sizes. At times, depending on the shape, the circles may take on more sharper or more bulbous appearance. people come in all different nationalities, so I suggest studying different noses and practice drawing them using this technique.

An exercise I would like you to do, is take magazines, and draw the circles and triangles on each of the drawings, This will describe and prove the validity of this technique. You will be able to observe the different sizes and shapes of the nose, and break them down easily. Learn the fundamentals by studying the anatomy of the nose, and the function. When you have a full understanding, you will be more confident in the rendering of the nose and understand why it is such an important feature, and recognize why the nose can make or break a drawing.

I hope you all are able to use this tutorial in further training and teaching yourself to draw. If you have any questions, or comments, I would love to see them! Until next time everyone, enjoy and get to drawing!!!

Ian Walker

Monday, March 28, 2016

Motivational Monday Blog #2: I CANT DRAW!!!

The truth is... Yes you can.

Anyone can learn to do ANYTHING as long as they have the patience, and the mindset to do so. I wanted to do a post like this for my Motivational Monday blog post today because this is something that I hear far too often. And when I hear it, people generally say that they either can't draw at all because they don't have the skill, or if they are drawing already, they are comparing themselves to another established artist, or an artist they look up to.

The key to learning to draw, is to have a reason to do so. In a book that I am currently writing relating to this subject, I make the statement that 'drawing can be used for a variety of reasons'. Personally, I use art and drawing as sort of an escapism. When I was younger, that escapism also included playing video games, and reading tons of comic books. But as I have gotten older, video games left that equation, and comics and drawing have been more of that norm for me. Using art and drawing as a form of escape and an outlet to keep my sanity in this crazy life, it has been shown that during these times is when I create my best work.

If you have a reason to learn to do something, it is human nature for us to put our all into it and do the best that we can do. Remember, when learning to draw, start slow, start small, just crawl. DO NOT commit to trying to create some kind of masterpiece. If you do that, it's not going to work. Just find something you want to draw that is simple, and let it all go on the paper. Don't worry about perfection or anything like that. If it starts as an outlet of something, let it be that, and let your hand and paper interpret that for you.

If drawing becomes something more than just an outlet of some kind for you, then it is important that you take the time and patience to learn the basics and the fundamentals. That means learning the never ending basics of light and shadow, size of heads in a full body, the correct positioning of the features on the human face, learning how to draw the features of the face, and so forth and so on. Without those fundamentals, mastering and studying them the best you can, then you cannot progress. If you want to progress, then practice & patience is the key.

If you all have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments below. Talk to you all tomorrow for Tutorial Tuesday blog post!

Ian Walker

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Tutorial Tuesday: Drawing the Eye

Drawing the eye is something really simple for you to do. But only after studying and learning the fundamentals. This means examining the shape of the eye, the planes, the way the light hits the eyeball, and lids etc...

What I like to do is draw the lifelike version of a thing. After doing that, then I go ahead and study more to learn the simplicity of what I'm drawing. I feel that once you do that, you can be more efficient as an artist. This is especially true when drawing at conventions in an artist alley. You don't have the time to learn to draw the eye and try to get it right. You have to be able to look at something, get the overall shape, and then just move in and go for it.

So in this weeks tutorial, I have a very simple process for drawing the eye. You can apply this process to any eye shape that you come across or study. Again, be very careful to still do observation of the planes of the eye, and the over all shape of the eye. This is very important to catch the likeness. Once you get it, then you will be able to draw and recall from memory the best way to apply the drawing.

Follow the diagram I have created above to draw the eye that I made above, and then continue from there. Nothing is a better substitute than drawing from life or photos to get and understand the real anatomy of the eye. DO NOT TAKE SHORTCUTS! That will screw you over in the end. Take your time, learn, then simplify. Thats all for this week. Until next week.

Leave your questions or comments below!

Ian W.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Motivational Monday Blog #1: Do you... in your artwork.

I am one of the biggest fans of constructive criticism. I believe it is something that will make us all better artists. However, we still need to be careful of where this comes from and take it with a grain of salt. When there are people that throw out unfounded, unproven or untested criticisms based on their limited knowledge of art simply because they believe "they have an 'eye' for art or what looks right' but have never created it or have had the experience going through the process, that is the criticism you need to ignore.

Run back to your studio and continue to make more of what you love to do. I have run into so many people that forget so often that art in and of itself is subjective. Not everyone is going to like it, and not everyone is going to appreciate it or understand it. One of the biggest mistakes I made as an artist was to NOT tell people what I loved to do. And that was create art. I think doing that stifled my creativity in a way, and it hasn't been until recently that I have embraced what I love to do and tell people that I draw without regard as to their thoughts or opinions on the matter.

As artists, what you need to remember is this. Create what you love to create. When you take constructive criticism, be sure to listen to your fellow peers, not armchair opinionated ignorant people who think they know what they are talking about. Even when it comes to taking advice from other artists, take it with a grain of salt, and whatever you think you can use, take it and apply that to your craft. If you walk away from advice and can take only one sentence of that information to make yourself a better artist, then understand that you got advice from a good source.

With that said my fellow artists, I hope this will motivate you and keep you going on your path to create for yourself and others that enjoy what you do. Talk to you all again soon. Have a wonderful day/night!

- Ian W.