Vanquish Studio


Leave a comment

The Three Types of Practice

The biggest thing any new artist will hear, or anyone else trying to improve their craft, is  “you need to practice.” Practice isn’t just plugging away and drawing anything. It should have direction and focus, otherwise, you will lose sight of the end goal and procrastinate. Or worse yet, draw and draw and see little improvement for a lot of work! In my opinion, there are three types of practice: inspirational, intentional, and reflective.

INSPIRATIONAL PRACTICE
Inspirational practice is the easiest of the three. This is where you look at other people’s art, read books, watch movies, or do anything that gives you an idea for a project. Draw inspiration from everyday life. Look at other people’s sketchbooks, read magazines, check out Art Station or other online galleries, look at comic books, manga, anything to give you ideas! Take the time to research styles and artists. Inspirational practice can take place anytime, anywhere.

INTENTIONAL PRACTICE
The second form of practice is intentional practice. What I mean by this is that instead of just drawing anything, have a plan, an intention. Specifically target areas that you need to work on. For example, I find drawing the male figure infinitely easier than drawing women. Why? It’s difficult for me to make women look muscular but not manly. When I practice, I women1would draw a preliminary sketch and then look at it. Next, I would examine the areas I need to work on. DON’T CLOBBER YOURSELF! Use constructive criticism when critiquing your work to keep it helpful and positive. Negativity will only make you want to quit.

If you look at the sketches to the right you’ll notice I need to work on my construction and my proportions. Now that I know what to draw, I can do it with direction and purpose. I can draw women’s bodies and concentrate on construction and anatomy. I now have a direction for practicing.

During practice time, I’ll draw just the construction of the form: spheres, cubes, cylinders. I can practice using comparative measurement to check my proportions. I also know that I need to work on my anatomy. Since I have trouble drawing women’s hips I know to practice anatomy specifically concentrating on the torso, legs, and hips. Once I feel comfortable with those elements, I can move on to other elements like arms, hands, foreshortening, etc. My point is, I have a specific intention when I practice. I’m not drawing endlessly with no focus.

REFLECTIVE PRACTICE
The last type of practice is an important one and often times overlooked, or done hastily, and that is reflective practice. That is, after you draw critique your work. Don’t rip it to shreds. Instead, be realistic and practical. Use constructive words to describe your art. For example, don’t say, “My women suck!” That doesn’t help you to improve: too negative and not specific. I like the stance of each character (in the sketches above) and I think that my figures are looking more fluid and less stiff. I do, however, need to get better at basic construction, specifically proportion and foreshortening the arms and legs. Being reflective helps you to pinpoint what you need to improve and not get discouraged. Remember to be constructive in your criticism; stay accurate and objective.

Look at older art you drew and compare it to your newer stuff to see your progression. Look at other people’s art that you admire and compare it to yours: What’s alike? What’s different? How can you adjust your drawing? Always remember to really look at your art after you create it and reflect on the process as well as the end result.

GOOD LUCK!


Leave a comment

New Coloring Page – Super Girl!

This year at the Tucson Comic Con I have two new female character prints: Rey and Harley Quinn. For some reason, the ladies never sell as well as the male comic book characters. Maybe because there aren’t as many female characters as the men or maybe because they don’t get as much play time? I don’t know. Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn are always popular but the others not so much. Regardless, here is an old Super Girl I dug out of the archives. Enjoy and Happy Halloween!

Super Girl Coloring page

supergirl-coloring-page

TCC_2019


Leave a comment

Digital Coloring – Flatting

Flatting is a very important but sometimes tedious part of digital coloring. Its the part where the colorist lays in the basic colors for composing the image. When I flat, I look for colors that divide the shapes of the picture plane for maximum ease in deciphering the main subject. What does that mean? Make sure the colors you choose for your image define the spaces that make up that image AND make sure those colors do it clearly. Many times, beginning colorists choose colors because they like them. Which is fine. But do they go together? That isn’t necessarily going to make your image readable to the viewer. Choose a small palette of colors and don’t choose anything too clashing (unless, of course, that IS the look you’re going for!)ReyFLATS

I’m currently coloring a new Star Wars print for the Tucson Comic Con, Rey. Her costume in the movie has very similar values and tones. Her skin tone is also very similar to the tones of her costume. So we have a lot of similarity.

For the readability of the image, I flatted it using contrasting values since the colors are really too similar. For example, the staff, belt, shoes and hair are darker values. The pants, shirt, and coverings as well as the skin tone are lighter. This variation of lights and darks helps to break up the space. I don’t have large variations in the colors: ochre to burnt umber. But luckily, the yellow-orange like color of the covering is a close complimentary color of the background (blue) so it works. Remember, you don’t need a large palette to make your image effective.

Also, don’t be afraid to use shortcuts when needed. I didn’t bother rendering the sky or the sand. For the sky I used an image file and for the sand I also used a file but this time for texture. Time-savers are NOT cheating. They are time savers!

Finally, keep in mind that you will be rendering OVER the flats so you may not even see them in the finished artwork! If you look in any gallery on this site, you’ll notice that in my chibi style I pretty much DID use the flatted color and added very simple highlights and shadows. NO MAS! In the new art, I’m going for a more rendered look to update my stock.

Stay tuned!

TCC_2019

 


Leave a comment

New Coloring Page – Rey!

The Tucson Comic Con is right around the corner and I need to get going on my new Rey. Well I finished the inks which means a new coloring page for everyone! This one is going to be colored and made into a print for the con. Enjoy!

Rey-Coloring-page

rey-coloring-page


Leave a comment

How to STOP Procrastination!

Are you one of those people that wants to learn how to draw but it just seems like there is soooooo much to learn that you can’t do it all? Guess what, you can’t! Not all at once at any rate! That would be too much to ask anyone. Think about exercising, when someone starts to lift weights with chest presses you don’t put 500 pounds on the barbell their first time on the bench! You’ll kill ’em! You gotta build up that strength and eventually you have it. The same is true of drawing and practice, if you try to do too much you will feel overwhelmed and be more likely to quit and not even start – procrastination. Start with a small goal and work from there. I’m having trouble drawing comic book hero heads and faces. My style is chibi so it’s really quite a turn from drawing big over-sized heads to that of correct proportional heads. Regardless, I need to get it done for my comic book I’m writing.

DO YOUR RESEARCH
I’ve started with reading a book about drawing the head by master illustrator Andrew Loomis. It’s called
Drawing the Head and Hands. You can find it in any library for free or if you feel like paying get it on Half Price Books. It’s an invaluable resource for proportions and has practical, usable advice.

loomis1After reading the book, I need to practice. Let’s all be realistic, instead of expecting a perfect drawing within two seconds, I need to set realistic goals and expectations. I’ve decided to draw the head at least three times this week for a minimum of 30 minutes each day. That is a small start that I can handle and I should still see results because its enough drawing time. Of course, if I choose to draw longer than 30 minutes, I may! Sometimes, though, it’s quality and not necessarily quantity of practice time that one strives towards. A good artist knows the difference.

My point is that often times people procrastinate because they simply just don’t know where to start. Quality or quantity, if you don’t know where to start, you won’t!

HOW AND WHEN TO PRACTICE
Choose an area you need to work on and create a schedule. That should help with the procrastination because you have a narrowed target, its a much smaller more reachable goal. For myself, I need to draw men’s heads. Specifically, I want to make them more masculine and draw more consistent with realistic proportions. I commit to drawing at least three days in a seven day week, and I will see results. If I feel the need to practice more, I can change my time to 60 minutes or add another 30 minute day. Flexibility is what helps people stay on a schedule. Don’t overdo it! Start small. Add those weights to the barbell, little by little.

Once I’m good at one target I can choose another one – female heads. I’m choosing small, manageable pieces instead of the whole. Once I have my pieces the way I want them, then the whole will come together by itself.

Does that sound “The Zen of Art” -ish enough?

 

practicing3


Leave a comment

The Loomis Method part 2

I can’t believe that I went through school and never heard the name Andrew Loomis??!! This is the second installment of my Loomis series on YouTube. I meant to publish the video tomorrow, on Thursday, which is when I usually publish but I pressed the wrong button. So here it is today. Anyway, this video explains how to measure the face and find the placement of the hairline, brow, bottom of the nose, and chin. It’s invaluable when trying to draw comic book characters; a very helpful method of measuring.

Let me know if it helps in the comments!


Leave a comment

New You Tube Video: Drawing the Head

I’m extremely new to making You Tube videos and it’s really quite more difficult than people may think. I’m trying to make informational videos about drawing but I don’t want to go over a certain time period either and have the videos drag. I recently discovered an old master who has been around for awhile! Did I learn about this person in school? NO! I have no idea why not but, hey, better late than never, right? I made a video introducing Andrew Loomis’ method of drawing the human head. He is an absolute GENIUS when it comes to figure drawing. I definitely recommend reading his book Drawing the Head and Hands.

Let me know how I can improve my videos with a comment! Enjoy.