The first thing that Steve Silver ever told me was that Art School was the biggest waste of money any sad sap could ever spend. He told me this as I was preparing to graduate from art school. If I recall correctly, one of the girls in our group cried.
But seriously, he was right. It’s been 4 years since I graduated, and I don’t work at Disney yet. Matterfact, I’ve spent a lot of time doing underpaid freelance for approximately $2.50 per hour, after figuring in all of the client complaints, delays, and downright cheats, AND my bachelor’s degree has kept me from getting a minimum wage job, where I could be making at least three times what I’ve made doing freelance. Isn’t art school a bitch?
CUE MR. SILVER.
Steve has worked in the industry since before I got my first wacom tablet – nay, my first paintbrush not made by crayola. He teaches a character design class through Schoolism – It’s an amazing deal for a whole lot of knowledge. I urge you to sign up for it immediately (unless of course, you ARE Steve Silver and you’re reading my blog). After a couple of online classes with real, experienced industry professionals, I feel like I’m learning so much more than I picked in four years at the Art Institute.
(If my Ai character design teacher is reading this – I’m sorry. I’ve replaced you. But you’re still a cool dude.)
This is week one, before we actually watched any of the lessons. This drawing was just meant to gauge our skill – at the end, I believe I’ll be redesigning this man.
Usually, our models will pose with a stick, or if they’re feeling really creative, two sticks. Today’s model raided the other art teacher’s room and came back with a deer head, two deer-less sets of antlers, a mirror, a viking hat, , a couple of paper mache heads, and two halves of a broken mannequin. Needless to say, this pose kept me occupied for longer than most.
The pencil sketch took about 40 minutes, and the coloring took about two hours more. The lighting was entirely from imagination, but the drawing actually matches the layout of the stage pretty closely.
This model was fun – he raided another art teacher’s room and came back with a viking hat, among other things.
Usually, my class will continue drawing one pose for two hours or more. I draw faster than the rest of the students, so I’ll usually hop around the room, drawing the model from several different angles.
This model had no facial hair, and no head-hair. I took some liberties.
I tend to draw my women with pretty bulky thighs. A couple of students in my anatomy class comment on it frequently, and one good friend even went so far as to say, “You’ve got that Chris Sanders thing going on.”
Disclaimer: Chris draws sexy, big-thighed women. I draw flabby, big-thighed women.
We had a rather dainty elderly model in class last week. She looked like a stray breeze could blow her away. So of course, my friend Tahn issued me a challenge. “Draw this woman with some BIG-ASS THIGHS.”
The first image is closer to her actual figure. Image #2 is her in Leggy Mode. Same pose, different angle.
This semester has been a challenge, to put it lightly. A lot of people wanted to jump on this project at first, so I promised a really ambitious deliverable to the teacher. Then everyone who was going to help with character design, modeling, rigging, and level design either dropped the class or developed a siezure disorder – yes, he’s doing fantastic now. The enormous plus side to this is that, having committed to having several finished animations with original characters, I was in a position where I had no choice but to teach myself how to do all of the modeling (small challenge) and rigging (bigger challenge) before I could do any animation. The downside is that, with only two weeks left in the semester, there’s no way in hell I’m even trying to do environments, and I might have to settle for only 3-4 animations instead of the lengthy game trailer I’d wanted in the beginning. All in all, I probably spent a combined 60 hours modeling and rigging him, and about 6 hours on the animation.
This is the first animation test! Since doing this test, it’s pretty clear to me that I’ll need to repaint some weights in his midsection and add some more controls for his legs. And unfortunately, something went terribly wrong with the blend shapes that were supposed to let me animate him speaking. But he isn’t a smart character – he doesn’t need to say much.
Talk about getting this done last minute. These should have been done last week, but between house-hunting, the last minute surprise move, the death-threats from our old landlord, and the mysterious case of the vanishing coolant from my car, I didn’t get to work on getting these prints done until yesterday. In fact, I didn’t finish painting one of them until yesterday.
Yesterday’s disappointing trip to the print shop ended with all of the paintings cut off by the feet – I don’t think the woman who helped me was very familiar with the printer. I’m a bit spoiled, though – I have this super-experienced graphic designer I can call up for help (“hello, mom?”) when the print job looks crappy and the prints are due the next day. “Oh, and let me clean those up for you, I can rescan that to fix the colors and make those brush stokes look better too, OH, and let me give you two separate versions for print and web. Would you like to stay for dinner?” Goodness, I am the luckiest girl in the world.
The first one is my favorite – That’s the only original I’ll refuse to sell.
These are a few of the rough sketches I’ll be cleaning up and painting for the Art Show. These ones were done on cheap paper with extra-cheap crayola colored pencils in a coffee shop. Next time you see these, they’ll be transferred to nice watercolor paper, and they’ll be significantly more colorful.
I took an AP Art History class in high school, where we spent a few days studying the surrealist movement. One painting in particular that stood out to me was “The Lovers” by Magritte.
I loved the slightly creepy visual of these people with the cloth over their face. I had a fleeting thought that I’d like to do something with that idea – a series of elegant figures with covered faces. That was eight years ago, and the idea never quite went away. It feels good to be finally getting around to it.