Vanquish Studio


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Why Draw from Life?

A lot of people ask me how to get better at drawing and the answer is always the same, keep drawing! The only problem is that people don’t know exactly what TO draw. I look around my house and find everyday objects as my subject. This helps with a very useful and much needed skill if anyone is going to improve their craft. Drawing from life helps to train your eyes to see in three dimensions but create that same optical illusion on a two-dimensional surface: paper. Truthfully, when you are recreating the physical world on to your paper, you are creating the illusion of depth because the image doesn’t really recede into space, it’s a flat piece of paper. Or you create the illusion of light with values because we all know there is no light inside the image. This is the trick to drawing believable forms in your art.

As you draw from life, look closely at the lines, textures, values, and shapes that create the image. You may need to draw it a few times before you get a sketch that you are happy with, so don’t get discouraged! Drawing from life is NOT as easy as people may think. Many people work from photographs which have already flattened the image for them. It’s a good habit to draw from life and not just from photographs.

In this video, I make a quick sketch from a houseplant. This may seem silly or simple but it actually helps with looking at the shapes that make up the plant and . Go find a houseplant, some paper, a pencil, and an eraser and get started! Walk around the plant, look at it from above, place it on a shelf and draw it from below. There are a variety of ways to draw plants which will help hone your sketching and drawing skills.

 


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How to Get Better at Drawing? Draw from Life

One of the best ways to get better at drawing is to draw from life. The experience of putting a three dimensional object within a two dimensional space can’t be ignored. The more you draw, the better at it you will get. The only problem is that most people ignore the things around them from which to draw. I suppose people are looking for a magical moment to capture not realizing it is the artist who makes that moment. There is an abundance of subject matter from which to draw inspiration and improve observational, drawing skills.

Draw from Life

Look at things around your house that you can draw. But don’t just look at them as things, look at them and break them down into the elements of art. For example, in the video tutorial below I draw curtains. Curtains are, undoubtedly, a boring subject. But a better way to look at drawing curtains is to ask yourself how can I also use this knowledge when I’m creating comic books? Capes come to mind: big, flowing, back lighting against the moon, capes! Now it isn’t just curtains, it’s a study for drawing clothing, specifically, capes.

Pets, counter tops, furniture, houseplants, etc., there is a plethora of objects around the house that can help any artist hone those observational drawing skills.

Drawing with Intention: Guided Practice


Another thing I like to do when I sketch is to choose two or three elements of art to emphasize. I let the subject dictate which elements would be best suited for the sketch. For example, if I’m drawing draperies in my house I’m going to look at the lines that create the folds. I would also focus my attention on the values (the lights and darks giving the folds their form). So for my first sketch, I would focus on line and value. For my second sketch I might focus on space, the distances between the folds. For my next sketch, I would choose two other elements. It always helps to have an intention when drawing. Why? It gives the artist direction in sketching. You can use the subject to guide your decision making while drawing.

curtains
DrawingfromLifeDraperies

Watch the video, download the worksheet, and practice drawing draperies and draped fabrics. You can print as many copies as you need of the superhero worksheet.

Practice, practice, practice.

 

 


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New Coloring Page Series!

I’m writing the tutorial downloads for my videos but I still haven’t bought my new cord. That is forthcoming. I DO have a new series of coloring pages. This time it isn’t really a movie or comic book as much as a series inspired by video games. I used to play them religiously when I was much younger. Dare I say it, I’m from the Atari 2600 generation. Yes, that old! I witnessed the evolution of video games from Atari to Nintendo to Sega to PlayStation to Wii and beyond! It was fantastic and I’m grateful to have lived through that epic time in history.

On another tangent, I’m also making some more tutorials. Here is a preview video of what you can expect in the coming weeks.

 


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Look for More Tutorials

This past weekend was a three-day-weekend for my school district so, of course, I took advantage of the time. I was writing and editing tutorials and  I was ready to re-shoot some video and I noticed my cord to charge my camera was chewed! Yes, my dog ate the cord. Can you believe that excuse? But it’s true! ARGH! So I’m on top of that emergency and will be looking for a replacement cord.

As for downloads, my nine-to-five requires my utmost attention and, incidentally, it pays the bills. It’s also where I do a lot of my research FOR my tutorial downloads! I get a lot of good data to use and then revise my videos. Anyway, I’m working on a program to help people focus their efforts when practicing. Yes, it’s a download that aids in the structuring of drawing practice which isn’t as easy as it sounds. How many times have heard you just need to practice but then no one tells you exactly how or what TO practice? It can be frustrating.

Never more! Vanquish Studio is adding more tutorials soon on everything from sketching to inking to foreshortening! Here is the new trailer for my YouTube channel. I post the videos there and then stream them on to my website. Hey, it saves space for other media I put on my site.

STAY TUNED!


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New Art on the Horizon

Looking forward to May! Why? Well, I am a teacher and the end of May signals summer vacation so that is exciting. More importantly though, May brings Vanquish Studio’s signature event: Phoenix Fan Fusion!

This year should be even bigger and better and we have three new prints to debut. We have decided to retire Harley Quinn. We have had that same Harley Quinn since the start  of our showings in 2013. We need to update our selection. The Suicide Squad Harley is on the way. Another fan favorite that is going to be retired is Batman. I’ve loved that one but it is time that a new Dark Knight protect chibi-Gotham. Armored Batman will be the replacement which should be a lot of fun to draw. And finally, you already know that we sold out of our last Groot so we decided to make Baby Groot! He is just too cute not to do and I’ve already done the inks.

There you have it, three new prints for Phoenix Fan Fusion. Join Vanquish Studio’s journey towards the Fusion Zone has begun!

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Two Ways to Stay Motivated!

Two things that really help me to stay motivated in drawing is: 1) Don’t forget to use your strengths and 2) Schedule time to draw! It’s very easy to get discouraged or think that you aren’t improving if you don’t forget to fall back on what you are good at drawing. It also is a great help to plan time to draw so you can hone your skills.

Use Your Strengths to Stay Focused

I’m using a guided portfolio to teach myself how to draw women’s heads and, yes, I get frustrated with myself and I can’t concentrate. I try to make the images look the way I think they should look and do they? Not yet! Discouraging. Why not go back to what I do best, chibi! If you are trying to teach yourself how to draw and find yourself experiencing those same feelings, go back to something you are good at! Don’t think that you have to continue at something that is clearly getting frustrating. Step back. Breathe. Clear your head. Find something else that you are good at, and reward yourself with a success! Give yourself something positive to do so you can go back to your more challenging drawing with a more positive attitude and approach.

Since I started teaching myself a more fusion, comic-book style of drawing I have experienced a few set backs. So instead of continuing (which I will do, just not right now) I decided to draw a few chibi ideas. Why? I’m good at it and I need the pep talk!

ACreedI’ve been sketching originals to show at Dev Fare which is coming up next month! This is Ezio from Assassin’s Creed. I’ve gone back to the stuff I’m good at so I can treat myself to a success. A win! A positive thingy! Whatever you want to call it. Even though you may be challenging yourself to grow as an artist with developmental practice, don’t forget to go back to what you are good at and draw that! If you excel at landscapes, do a landscape, cartoons, do some cartoons, if you draw still-life really well, draw those. Don’t think you are locked into one type of drawing style or subject. Do what you do best so you can remind yourself that you are talented and can draw!

Finding Time?

Another thing that many people forget is that you don’t find time to draw, you make time to do it. Choose a time, maybe just 15 to 30 minutes a day, and draw. Try to pick a consistent time period and commit to drawing, like every day at 6:00 pm. It really doesn’t matter if it’s doodling for fun or serious developmental drawing like a guided portfolio, just draw!

I drew a Skeletor to match my He-Man coloring page that I released a few weeks ago. I decided to draw in chibi style using some of the ideas that I’ve been reading about in my research. I actually think this Skeletor turned out better than if I had drawn it my old way (which is to draw the head first instead of drawing the body first). I read that it’s easier to draw a more fluid and natural pose if you draw the torso first. So I did.

BUT, would I have discovered that if I didn’t draw on a regular basis? Maybe? I make an effort to draw at least 30 minutes, 4 times a week. After all, things do come up and you may not be able to put in the time. Plan for flexibility. Don’t set up an impossible schedule like every single day for four hours, make it reasonable. You are more likely to stick to a schedule if it’s manageable and practical. Always allow for a little wiggle room.

Skeletor

That’s it, those are my two big recommendations for staying motivated: draw to your strengths and make the time to draw.

Now the only thing is to find something to draw!

 

 

 

 

 


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Using a Guided Portfolio

Yes, I’ve been practicing drawing the female head and face. In fact, I’ve been researching two books about figure drawing. The first is Drawing the Head and Hands by master illustrator Andrew Loomis. The second is Dynamic Figure Drawing by equally talented Burne Hogarth. Both are EXCELLENT books for researching how to improve your drawing. I think my drawing skills are improving with research and practice.

Here is a video I made about practicing. I’m going to make more videos focusing on the female figure and drawing hands, since that is what I’m attempting to improve upon. Let me know in the comments if these videos are helpful or informative.