Drawing - Glenn Vilppu - Online Articles Compilation
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Never Underestimate the Power of Life DrawingJune 01, 1997 By Glenn VilppuIt always comes as a bit of a shock for students and artists preparing portfolios for animation industry positions that, almost without exception, what the studios first want to see are figure drawings from life. They don't want to see caricatures, cartoons, or copies of the studio's characters. They want traditional, classical figure drawing. Why traditional figure drawing? First, let us look at what skills are needed in good animation drawing. At the top of the list is the ability to communicate movement and personality through drawing. By using simple lines an artist should be able to give a figure a real sense of life and individuality, not just an action pose or stereotypical expression. Next on the list is to be able to draw three dimensionally, to make the characters feel like they are not only individuals, but that they exist in a real world. Since the characters we create and work with are products of our imagination, the animation professional has to be able to draw from his imagination. Next on the list is the ability to consistently draw the same character using the same forms, proportions and details in the particular style that has been set for the production. As you can see, the list is asking for a high level of skill, and we haven't even touched on imagination, story telling and inventiveness yet. Modern Renaissance Drawing So, how do you know an artist has these skills? Figure drawing has been the standard measurement of an artist's skills for hundreds of years, probably from the moment we first started capturing the living world around us. The Renaissance artist was judged by much the same standard as the animation artist is today. The great masters of the past were first story tellers. They had to be able to create figures that the viewers could empathize with so that stories were brought to life with a sense of realism and believability. "A "Renaissance" style" life drawing by glenn vilppu. Animation drawing is, in essence, the closest thing we have to classical Renaissance drawing today. The Renaissance artist primarily created figures to fit an ideal of perfection using simple volumes to construct figures. The constructions of Raphael are no different than many model sheets you see for classical animation. In traditional drawing, this is referred to as plastic drawing, or "using synthetic forms". This allowed the artist to create fantastic imaginary worlds peopled with figures, in the most part, drawn from imagination. The beginning compositional sketches of all artists are more similar than they are different. The goal is the same, to capture the sense of the abstract total. A compositional notation by the Glenn Vilppu.Mannerist artist Tintoretto would fit in quite well with rough layout and story sketches from our current major studios. The artists of the past are the inspiration and yard stick of quality that we still use. To draw the human figure well from imagination you must first be able to draw the simple forms of construction -- the sphere, box, cylinder and cone -- from memory, in any position and combination. The famous Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens said that "you can draw anything using a sphere, box, and cone." These simple volumes are the foundation of good figure drawing, and are the fundamental tools of figure construction. These "tools" not only help you to draw the figure from imagination but to see the forms of the model. A portfolio will almost automatically be rejected if the figures inside do not have a clear sense of volume and unambiguous space based on model observation. Form and Technique It is important to understand the difference between animation drawing and drawing for illustration. As I have already mentioned, in animation we draw almost exclusively from imagination, and hence need to be able to construct a figure from the mind's eye. In illustration, the artist will generally acquire a model or use photographs to work from if needed. The illustrator also only needs the one particular view that he or she is going to use. As such, the training tends to develop a strong ability to copy a model as well as different techniques for communicating the image. In my Figure Drawing for Animation classes, I am continually telling the students that we don't copy the model. We analyze the model. As for technique, the animation artist must focus on describing form with as little individual technique as possible. An animation is a collective work from many artists. Each artist's work must blend in with the direction of the total production and not draw attention as an individual style. Geometric volumes are the fundamental tools of good figure drawing. Drawing by Glenn Vilppu.Of course, another reason for requiring a degree of skill at human figure drawing is that a lot of animation is based upon human characters. The ability to change real forms into animation forms requires knowledge of the former. You cannot draw something if you don't know what it looks like. Consequently, an animation candidate's figure drawings must show a fair degree of human anatomy comprehension. Problems while drawing from a human model, bring into question not only the artist's understanding of the figure, but also the ability to be able to follow a model sheet. As humans, we are so tuned into the subtleties of our forms that a high level of skill and development are needed by an artist to create forms that may seem childish. In fact, this feat is often the culmination of many drawings of the human figure by a talented artist whose skills have been fully developed. Of course, there are many exceptions to the above. We have all seen the success of characters created by artists with very little formal training. While our industry is better for these exceptions, I, personally, would bet my career on my artistic skills while I tried to develop that next Saturday morning superstar. However, keep in Gesture sketch by Glenn Vilppu mind that whenever asked a question about a particular drawing, my late friend Don Griffith, the former head of the Disney layout department, would first tell you what he would do, and then he would invariably shrug his shoulders and say, "Its your career!"Vilppu Drawing OnlineChapter 1: GestureJune 01, 1998 By Glenn VilppuIntroduction This is the first in a series of articles on drawing for animation. In these articles I will be presenting the theory and practice of drawing as a "how to" instructional series. The lessons are based upon the Vilppu Drawing Manual and will in general follow the basic plan outlined in the manual. This is the same material that I base my seminars and lectures on at the American Animation Institute, UCLA, and my lectures at Disney, Warner Bros. and other major animation studios both in the U.S. and in their affiliates overseas. Each lesson will also have short video clips of me demonstrating the material discussed. Drawing, as it is practiced in the animation industry today, most approximates classical drawing in the tradition of Raphael, DaVinci, Pontormo, and other great draftsman of the past. The drawings of the past were used primarily in planned stages toward the creation of paintings, sculptures, and murals. As such, they were practical pragmatic steps in representing ideas. The classical approach of constructing forms in an effort to create the ideal perfect form, along with the desire for clarity, transition, and ease of understanding, are the same requirements of good animation drawing. The main difference is in the ideal of the form created. 'Drawing from imagination toward a conceptualized ideal is the norm in animation.' Drawing from the imagination toward a conceptualized ideal (the model sheet) is the norm in animation. The drawing that we do from the human model is research that helps us to better understand the human form and its movements. Unlike the illustrator, learning to copy the model has very little value for us. Rarely do we work from the model except in training situations. One of the primary requisites in order to create is the ability to draw from our imagination. Understanding and being able to create believable attitudes and movements, i.e. bringing our characters to life with our acting, is the basis of our art. A child, learning to speak, starts by mimicking the sounds that he hears and slowly develops the relationship of sounds and meanings that we call speaking. This is unlike most training in drawing given today that teaches to mimic nature without an understanding of the elements of visual communication. Of course, there are those individuals who through an innate talent have developed this ability of communication in the same way that there are accomplished musicians who do not read music.Alexander Marshack was commissioned by NASA in 1963 to write a book in collaboration with Dr. Robert Jastrow "to explain how man reached that point in science and civilization to make it possible to plan a manned landing on the moon." The research led to his book The Roots of Civilization. Marshack draws the conclusion that one of the basic elements that distinguishes man from most other animals is his ability to think in sequence. He uses the analogy of sending a man to the moon; in his discussion he talks about how impossible the task of sending a man to the Glenn Vilppu. All drawings in this article are by and Glenn Vilppu. moon is when considered as a whole, but taken as a series of small steps or problems, it becomes possible. As each step is broken down into even smaller steps, the impossible becomes possible. The main element is the building of one step upon the previous in a time factored manner. The pace of learning of any given subject, after the initial rapid advancement, seems to move upward in ever shortening steps, while the time between those steps seems to stretch out longer and longer until we begin to wonder if there is any movement at all. Everyone talks about being on a plateau, or hitting a new level, or experiencing the learning curve (a classical example), without actually understanding that each level of development is, in effect, a level of complexity that must be absorbed before one advances to the next level. Trying to skip levels of development only slows you down and creates frustrations that jeopardize the achievement of your long-term goals. Yet to accomplish anything complex there are three basic elements that are required. First, you need a plan or approach; second, you need the knowledge to put the plan into effect; and third, you must have the spirit to carry it through to completion. 'Each step being broken down into even smaller steps, makes the impossible become possible.' The basis of my teaching is the development of an approach that allows you to acquire knowledge and visual skills in a systematic way, building upon your understanding and abilities in logical simple steps. I have made a real effort at trying to keep each step as simple, clear, and logical as possible. In fact, many of the steps in my basic approach seem so simple and basic that quite often the student tends to ignore developing these fundamental skills, feeling that he has advanced beyond them. My experience has shown me that the majority of students' problems in drawing are with the basic elements, or tools of our trade. If you think of all the possible visual elements that you must learn as keys on a piano, the more keys you have, the wider range of possibilities you can enjoy. Of course, you can make music with just a few keys, but that should be based on choice not limitations. Since the basic approach that I use in teaching is one where we analyze the model, and not copy it, the approach itself helps us acquire the knowledge needed about our subject. I use the word subject, not model, because the basic elements of this procedural approach apply todrawing anything, be it a tree, interior, or figure. You cannot really draw something unless you know what it looks like. The more knowledge you have of whatever it is that you are drawing, the better off you will be. An extremely important element of knowledge is that we must develop our ability to use our emotions. Probably our most important skill is to be able to communicate our feelings through our drawings and to draw upon our own emotional experiences at will. One of my favorite sayings is: 'You have to be emotional about your intellect and intellectual about your emotions.' A particular difficulty I have in teaching such a systematic approach to drawing is that the end result can too easily be a mechanical and boring formula. I continually have to keep reminding the student that there are no rules. What I am teaching are visual tools and strategies for approaching the figure, a means for helping students to understand what they are looking at. In the end, it is up to each individual to bring to his drawing that spark of life. You will find me stating over and over again,'There are no rules, just tools.' Visual tools are fundamental concepts used not only to aide us in drawing but in seeing. These, in some cases, consist of procedures and, in other cases, elements such as the box and sphere. A large part of this course is in fact the development of these tools. I will end this introduction with my favorite quote by an artist which exemplifies the pursuit of drawing excellence that we can only hope to achieve. "From the age of six I had a mania for drawing the shapes of things. When I was fifty I had published a universe of designs. But all I have done before the age of seventy is not worth bothering with. At seventy-five I have learned something of the pattern of nature, of animals, of plants, of trees, birds, fish and insects. When I am 80 you will see real progress. At ninety I shall have cut my way deeply into the mystery of life itself. At a hundred I shall be a marvelous artist. At a hundred and ten everything I create, a dot, a line, will jump to life as never before. To all of you who are going to live as long as I do, I promise to keep my word. I am writing this in my old age. I used to call myself Hokosai, but today I sign my self 'The Old Man Mad About Drawing.'" (The Drawings of Hokusai, Introduction by Stephen Longstreet, Borden Publishing Co.) Lesson 1: Gesture The action of a figure is usually expressed as "gesture." It means the movement and attitude of the figure. It is body language and all of those subtle differences that characterize individuals, whether they are human or animal. In this regard, when I refer to the model, I mean not only a model posing for short poses of thirty seconds to three minutes, but also people who are not posing and are in real life situations. We use essentially the same learning procedure in what is referred to as the "quick sketch." It will be assumed that for the sake of learning, at this point,they are the same. Other terms used for what we call gesture are "attitude" and "body language." 'Gesture is the single most important element in the drawing.' No matter how well a drawing is rendered, without that feeling of individuality that we experience in looking at real life, the drawing is nothing more than an academic exercise. Long before we can actually see a person's face, we can recognize him by all those elements that make up that individual, such as his general bearing, proportions of his body, how he dresses, how he walks, and holds his head. I am going to present this material in a series of steps stopping to explain and clarify points as I go. In reality, of course, it is never quite this neat or simple. Many of the steps are actually done simultaneously. The total is a summation of the action in simple terms and is essentially what this lesson is about. The illustrations are examples of this total which is what you should, in a sense, see before you start the drawing. 'You are not only learning to draw but to see.' Practice looking at your subject and then drawing it from memory. When doing gesture sketches, you do not usually have the luxury of models holding still while you draw. Practice this skill continually wherever you happen to be - on the bus, watching television, or in the shopping mall. In looking at the action, or gesture, it is important to try to grasp the total before you put a line down. Practice looking at your subject and then drawing it from memory. This exercise is particularly useful when you don't have your sketchbook with you (which should never happen), or are in situations where it is awkward for one reason or another to be drawing. When drawing in your head, go through the same steps and use the same imaginary lines you would if you were drawing on paper. You draw with your mind, not your hand. Then when you can, redo the drawing on paper. With practice you will be amazed at what you can do, but it takes practice. The Basic Procedure You should do each drawing using the same series of steps until it becomes second nature to you, like how driving a car becomes almost automatic. Start the drawing with simple lines that take in the total action of the figure, without worrying about the shape. A simple sequence of steps is indicated in the following examples. Remember, there are no rules, just tools! Step One Start with a simple oval for the head, imagining a central axis so that the oval clearly represents the tilt and lean of your subject. Use a simple "dot" on the top to indicate when the head is tilting toward you, and possibly an ellipse for the eyes to help show more clearly the action of the head.Step Two Draw a line from the head, representing the neck. This line is not necessarily any actual contour or line that you see on the model but a general feeling of the attitude of the model. Continue this line, representing the neck, pulling from the head, into the upper body down to the hips. You should be more concerned with the how the lines show the action of the model, rather than any actual line that you see on the model. Look at the examples on this page to see the variety of ways that this can be accomplished. These are not the traditional stick figures that you see in many basic books on drawing. They are lines that show the flow of the movement and relationship of the parts in a simple way. Step Three Continue in the same way, drawing the legs. Notice that all of the lines do not have to be connected. Remember, there are no rules, just tools. It is important to remember the simple fact that what the viewer sees is the lines you put down on the paper. The lines have to convey the sense of action in your subject by themselves. To give a sense of movement and continuity, you must draw each line in such a way as to have one line lead you into the next. Step Four Now, add the arms and hands in the same manner that we drew the legs. Again, they do not necessarily have to be attached but must indicate the movement and general placement. In practice, these steps should take you a maximum of 30 seconds with 10 to 15 seconds being the average. You should practice these simple steps as often as you can. In a regular day class I will have the students doing this lesson for six hours. Continue this simple first step in feeling the form, then go a step further and start pushing outward with your lines. "Feel" how forms contract and stretch, pinch and expand. Look at the sample drawings.The hardest part of this lesson is to overcome the desire to copy the model. Remember, we never copy the model but analyze it.Chapter 2: Spherical FormsAugust 01, 1998 By Glenn VilppuLesson 2: Spherical Forms Now that you've "mapped out" the action of the pose, the next step in the process is to define your figure in 3-D space. Learning to see your subject in terms of simple shapes and forms along with values is one of the basic elements in learning to draw. I refer to this ability to see and use basic forms as visual tools. These visual tools, like any tool, help you to Glenn Vilppu. All drawings in this article are by and Glenn Vilppu accomplish certain tasks. Without the right tools, doing anything becomes much more difficult. This course is designed, step by step, to give you those tools and basic skills in using them. However, the design of a course does not guarantee that you will learn those skills automatically. You have to put in the time and effort to do the learning. To do anything successfully you must apply three basic elements: first, you must have a plan of attack or approach; second, you need the knowledge to put that plan into affect, and third, you must have the tenacity to carry it through to completion. "First, you must have a plan of attack or approach; second, you need the knowledge to put that plan into affect; and third, you must have the tenacity to carry it through to completion." These first lessons are the most critical and are the most deceptively simple in appearance. Through experience, I have found them to be the most difficult for the student because of this apparent simplicity. Everything depends on your putting the time and effort into these initial lessons. Lesson one was a good example of what seems to be simple but is something that in reality is only truly mastered after a lifetime of effort.Let's Get Drawing! Start by drawing a series of spheres on your paper: first, singularly, and then, in pairs, overlapping and changing in size in relation to each other (See Illustration No. 1). Combining two spheres as one complete form but still having, clearly, two parts gives the form a sense of life (See Illustration No. 2). Have your form walk, bend over, be curious, meet other forms like it, and create relationships. In short, bring it to life.Through all this, you must maintain the sense of volume. What is a sense of volume? The use of the term "volume" in drawing generally means three dimensional. Having a "sense of volume" in a drawing is to give it this three dimensional quality. There are many different ways of creating this three dimensionality that we experience as volume in a drawing. Illustrations No. 1 & 3 demonstrate overlapping, the most basic way to create a sense of form existing in space. Illustration No. 2 also uses overlapping but in this case the forms are connected and the overlapping does not completely separate the parts. In Illustration No. 4 "A," "B," and "C," you can see how important it becomes to decide carefully which lines overlap. In Illustration 4: "A," the forms go away from us; in "B," they come forward; and in "C," they create a twist. Still, just making forms overlap in itself will not ensure that the drawing will exhibit this sense of form. The most elemental skill is the ability to sense these basic volumes on the flat paper as if they were actually existing, being created by you as you move your pencil over and around their surfaces and through the magic space of the paper. Some people have a natural affinity for doing this and others have to work hard and long to achieve it. Keep Practicing... Drawing should be an everyday part of what you do. Look at other artists of the past and see where you can find applications of these lessons. The drawings on this page and the following are examples of ways that you can use spherical forms. The important thing is that you practice drawing them. Don't feel pressured into feeling that you have to do fancy detailed drawings. Being loose and feeling the roundness is the important thing at this stage of your development. Create characters out of your imagination, draw familiar things around you, applying the various lessons to what you draw. Copying or drawing from other artists is an accepted traditional approach to learning in conjunction with drawing from observation and creating from your imagination. Each lesson will build upon the previous one, so spend the time on each one and don't rush to the next until you feel comfortable with the current one. Don't hesitate to go back to the previous lesson. Each individual is different and there is no set length of time that it should take to acquire the material in these lessons. Most importantly, have fun with your drawing!Chapter 3: The BoxOctober 01, 1998 By Glenn VilppuThe box is like the sphere in Lesson 2. It is a critical form that you must learn how to draw if you are serious about developing your drawing skills. The ability to draw the box is a necessary basic skill. If you don't have a complete mastery of this, it will hinder your development as an artist. Spend as much time as it takes to become proficient at drawing them at any angle or in any combination. Part One All drawings in this article are by and Glenn Vilppu. Start by drawing a series of boxes freehand, i.e. not using a straight edge. Think of the box tumbling through space (see Illustration No. 1). Approach it as if you were animating it so that each drawing is a progression from the last. Be careful that you maintain the feeling that the corners are at right angles and that you have a sense of foreshortening as the sides recede back in perspective. If you have no knowledge of foreshortening or perspective, or are having a difficult time with this, you should acquire a good book on perspective and take some time to study it. This is a skill that is absolutely necessary in your development as an artist. Part Two Now let's take this box we have been drawing and round off the sides so that it looks like a bar of soap (see Illustration No. 2). Start by tumbling it through space as we did in Part One. After you feel comfortable, I want you to see if you can give it life and a personality the same way we did in Lesson 1 (see Illustration No. 3). Have it bend, twist, walk and meet other boxes. Think of fat boxes, thin boxes; in short, become master of the box! If it helps, set up some boxes. You could suspend some from the ceiling by string or wire. It would even help to make a box mannequin to draw from, using blocks of wood and wire. It is easy to relate houses, cars, and other inherently box-like forms to our simple box. Look carefully at the other examples on these pages to see how the box was used to help draw them. Sometimes we use the box as a starting point when drawing difficult angles. Remember, there are no rules, just tools. The sphere and box are tools that help you to understand complex forms and enable you to depict them Illustration No. 3 Illustration No. 2 Illustration No. 1successfully in three dimensional space.Chapter 4: Introducing Material and ProportionDecember 01, 1998 By Glenn VilppuIn Lessons Two and Three, we developed our skills at handling spheres and boxes, manipulating them, and giving them personalities. In this lesson, we are going to combine them and at the same time introduce two new elements. Part One Start by placing a sphere over a box; they should be roughly equal in size (see Illustration No. 1). The next step is very important. Draw Illustration No. l-A again, but this time do it as if it were covered by some form of material. Feel the form underneath. Feel where it leaves the surface of the sphere and stretches over to the edges of the box (B). Now make the material be a little tight or elastic so that it comes in at the waist (C). It is important to be able to feel the form underneath in order to draw it. Try to imagine that your pencil is on Illustration No. 1 Illustration No. 2the surface of the object rather than on the paper. Now let us start to work with these new forms in the same way we did in Lessons Two and Three, bending, twisting and giving them personality (Illustration No. 2). Notice the pinch and stretch as the forms bend and twist. Don't forget the use of overlapping forms in creating the feeling of volume. Again, this is one of those exercises that you should spend a lot of time on; the simplicity of it looks deceptive. Part Two Now let us introduce some variety into what we are doing and at the same time open up the possibilities. In Part One, the sphere and box were roughly the same size. Start introducing proportion into the drawing in a controlled manner. Proportion is the relationship of various elements in a drawing which includes sizes, tones, textures, quantities and differences that give expression or character to the work.Proportion can be the size of the head to the body or just simply a large form to a small form. Artists have spent their whole careers trying to find ideal proportions in their work. We will look more deeply into proportion in a later lesson, but for now I want you to have fun trying different possibilities with our simple forms. Be as creative as you can be. Remember, there are no rules, just tools. Try stretching the distance between the forms. You should be starting to feel a certain amount of flexibility and confidence in drawing without a model by now. In the next lesson, we will expand more on this before we start discussing drawing from a model.Chapter 5: Drawing EllipsesFebruary 01, 1999 By Glenn VilppuIn the first four lessons we have basically been dealing with the torso of either human, animal or cartoon characters without actually calling them that. In this lesson we want to expand on that direction by adding appendages to these basic forms. The primary skill required to do this is being able to draw cylinders. A cylinder is essentially two ellipses connected by straight lines and, of course, an ellipse is a circle in perspective (Illustration No. 1). Let's first develop some basic skills for drawing ellipses. To start with, you need to rely on drawing more with a total arm movement than with your fingers. Practice drawing ellipses that begin with a straight line and come to a full circle (Illustration No. 2). Visualize a cross section of a hose, or a simple computer wire frame of a cylindrical form. Albrecht Durer (1471 - 1528) in his Dresdon sketchbook shows many variations on an analytical, constructive approach to drawing the figure. (Albrecht Durer the Human Figure, Dover Publications, Inc., New York.)(Illustration No.2)Now try some drawings where you make these tubes cross each other and intertwine (Illustration No. 3). In drawing a cylinder, the two most important elements are the angle or axis of the cylinder, and the beginning and end of the cylinder. Illustration No. 4 shows a basic procedure for approaching the drawing of a cylinder. First, draw a line indicating the centerline. Then, draw the ellipses defining the ends of the cylinder.Illustration No. 4Do a series of drawings, adding cylindrical forms to the ones that we have created in the previous lessons (Illustration No. 5).In some of the following drawings you can clearly see the use of the cylinder as a means of construction. In others, it was used as a means of understanding a complex form and influenced the way in which the form was used. Again, there are no rules, just tools!Chapter 6: From the General to the SpecificApril 01, 1999 By Glenn VilppuIn the first five lessons, we have gone through the basic elements, or tools, that we use to create form. All of the work we have done so far has been on the presumption that we were doing a procedural drawing where one element was built on top of the previous rather than a direct type of drawing where each line essentially was the finished line. A Plan of Action In this lesson I will outline a basic procedure showing how all of the elements that we have discussed so far fit in. The essence of this approach is that we go from the general to the specific, and that you essentially concentrate on one thing at a time. What we are talking about is a general plan, not a set of rules, but a plan that has to be responsive to the situation or needs of the drawing. As I mentioned in the introduction, there are three elements necessary to accomplish anything. First, you must have an approach or plan of attack. Second, you must have the knowledge to accomplish the task, and third, you must have the spirit to carry it through to completion. Drawing is essentially a logical and practical process. As I have already mentioned, the basic structure of this approach is going from the general to the specific. In drawing terms, general means the "total." In drawing the figure, this means the action or attitude or, in another words, the gesture. Artists throughout history have done gesture drawing in many ways, this being determined by their personalities and the prevailing styles for any given time. Yet they all have essentially done so in a similarly logical manner. What is important at this point is that you concentrate on communicating the action in its totality, and not get sidetracked into copying details or becoming preoccupied with specific contours unless they somehow assist in communicating the overall gesture. A fundamental truth that seems to get forgotten is: the lines that you draw are what the viewer looks at. This may seem obvious and simplistic but it is true. This was the point of Lesson No. 1. Illustration No. 1 gives you more examples.Illustration 1. Looking Back to Move Forward At the beginning of the drawing the primary concern is the total action. In Illustration No. 2 I have tried to show how the kinds of lines you use and the forms that you emphasize affect thefeeling that your drawing communicates. Look at the differences between drawings A, B and C. Each drawing has a difference in the feeling it communicates. In "A," the lines, in general, go with the direction of the forms; one line flowing into the next. The general feeling is one of rhythm and grace. In drawing "B," we have a much sharper feeling and, in a way, "jerkier," if you can think of a drawing as having movement. The sharpness of the corners give it a bit more "bite," as we say, and perhaps this harshness is easier to understand. In "C," where the concentration is on the contours, the actual gesture becomes secondary to the flat shape created. "A" and "B," though different in feeling, still convey the sense of the movement (since the movement or gesture was the subject), while in "C," the subject was the contour and not the flow of the forms (the gesture, in this case, if captured, is a secondary consideration to the shape). This is not to say that shape is not important. In fact, it is very important, but at the beginning of the drawing, the primary concern is the total action. Examples "A" & "B" of Illustration No. 2 are exaggerations of two very common basic approaches to starting a drawing. "A" is exemplified by drawings of Daumier and "B" by the preliminary pen sketches of Peter Paul Rubens. These are the two extremes; you will find many artists who combine elements of both. Again, remember, there are no rules. Illustration No. 3 gives more examples of the approach shown in example B. Illustration No. 4 shows the second step in the process, clarifying the basic volumes, or masses. This can be carried to the extreme of cylinders and boxes, as we did in the first four lessons, or can be incorporated into the drawing in a less obvious way, as they are in Illustration No. 4. The study of boxes, cylinders, and spheres is the means and tools that help you understand in a simplified way what it is you are looking at. Again, there is every extreme inbetween. Putting It All Together Illustration No. 5, as well as many examples in previous lessons, give you a little bit of the feeling for the variety that this step can take. In general practice, the artist will often do a drawing in several layers. This layering is done in numerous ways. In the Fifteenth Century, it was common practice to do all of the preliminary drawing we have been discussing in a medium that could easily be erased, such as a soft charcoal, chalk, or graphite, and afterwards, going over the drawing with ink or wash. At this point, the preliminary drawing would be erased and further development of the drawing would be continued. Today we use light tables, tracing paper, and opaque projectors to do the same thing, still using the same materials and methods of the past. Remember, we are discussing a procedural approach to drawing, not direct drawing. Although all drawing is, in a way, direct, the point is that the sequence allows you to concentrate on one Illustration 5.element at a time and go from the general to the specific. This is a general method, or approach, to help you organize your efforts. It is not a rule, but a tool. Illustration No. 6 exemplifies this.Illustration 6.Chapter 7: The Landmarks of AnatomyJune 01, 1999 By Glenn VilppuIt is a truism that you cannot draw something unless you know what it looks like. It is also true that just because you know something very well, it does not mean that you can draw it. I have taught many medical personnel, including doctors, nurses, and various specialists, with much more understanding of anatomy than myself. In fact, it took a while for me to realize that you cannot draw something unless you know what it looks like, but knowing anatomy would not make me draw better. What I needed was a method of understanding anatomical facts, so that I could use these landmarks as tools of communication and expression, without violating basic anatomical reality and thereby, detracting from what the drawing was trying to communicate. Anatomy 101 Let us first start with some basic landmarks and simple facts about the figure. One of the most basic and useful facts about the figure is its symmetry. The symmetry of the figure is an obvious tool that is too often overlooked. In Illustration No. 1, drawings "A" and "B" give us the basic landmarks that we need to understand and use. From the front we have the line created by the pit of the neck, sternum, naval, and pubic arch, giving us a center line. In the back, we have the spine itself as a center line. The ends of the shoulders are basic landmarks from both front and back. Moving down the Illustration No. 1 front, we have the corners of the rib cage at the bottom of the thoracic arch, and the corners of the pelvis at the end of the iliac crest. Going down the back, we have the lines of the scapulas, and the ends of the iliac crest where it meets the sacrum. Now let us see how we use these basic landmarks. Thinking of the center of the form is the key to using symmetry. In most cases, (with the exception of the shoulders which have considerable independent movement but which generally conform to the basic concept), the landmarks are at right angles to the central axis of the form. When the central axis of the form changes, the landmarks move with it and, generally, exaggerate the change. Study Illustration No. 2 of the torso and notice how the landmark move with the change of the form. Notice the compression and stretching that takes place when the fixed landmarks move with the changing central axis. While achieving a clear understanding of the action by amplification of the shift in the central axis, we bring into play fundamental dynamics of reality as well as basic design elements. By simply shifting the weight to one leg, we automatically create a curve in the torso, as we generally shift the rest of the torso to compensate. This shifting doesn't stop there, but extends to the neck and head, going up, which tends to move in the opposite direction again.Illustration No. 3In this simple shifting, you have the basic elements of a classical rhythmic arrangement of forms combined with the twist that was the hallmark of Renaissance aesthetics. Look at Illustration No. 3 and take the pose yourself. Try standing with your weight equally balanced and then slowly shift your weight from one side to the other and see what happens. If you try to maintain a basic vertical position rather than leaning to one side or the other, you will look like Illustration No. 3. Notice how one side of the body is stretching and the other side is compressing. The accordion in Illustration No. 4 is a diagram of this action. The basic design element involved here is the fundamental concept of opposites, the most basic of design principles. The use of opposites is a tool that not only creates visual interest, but each helps to clarify the other. The Italians called this pose "Contra Posto." Looking at Limbs The limbs have their own landmarks that we look for and use as tools to help us understand and describe an action. As in the torso, symmetry plays a key role and, of course, is defined by the central axis of the form. The most useful clarifying elements are the ends of the bones at the various joints. First, let us look at the elbow. The uniqueness of the elbow joint creates a very practical means of showing the direction of the form. Illustrations No. 5A and 5B show you how this joint is formed.Illustration No. 5A The end of the ulna along with the epicondyle of the humerus create three clear points that you can use in your drawing. When the arm is straight, these points create a straight line. When you bend your arm, the tip of the ulna drops. This triangle then becomes the end of the cylinder of the forearm. The axis created by the line behind the condyles defines the orientation of the cylinder in space. Since the radius has the ability to twist independently of the ulna, the wristis often best described as a squared shape due to the flatness of the radius on top. Again, this is an observation that becomes an excellent tool.Illustration No. 6The shoulder is a little different in that we do not really see the humerus clearly. Here we must use the way in which the deltoid attaches in a semicircle to the scapula and clavicle. The acromion process at the end of the spine of the scapula becomes the point that we use in drawing the line across the shoulders. The line created by the spine of the scapula is also very useful as is the lower corner. Study Illustration No. 6Illustration No. 7The knee is used very much in the same way as the elbow in that we concentrate primarily on the epicondyle of the femur and condyles of the tibia. It becomes quite useful to see this joint rather squarishly to help show the direction of the leg. The patella functions in much the same way as the end of the ulna does in the elbow,helping to give direction to the leg. Study Illustration No. 7. The way the fibula and tibia fit into the foot in a front view gives a clear indication of which way the foot is going. Study Illustration No. 8. You will notice that in these illustrations I have included diagrams that show the flow of the lines created by the basic forms. These "rhythms" have a corresponding use to the basic structural landmarks in helping us see the total action more clearly. You should look at these landmarks as ways of helping you see what you're looking at and not as rules. The point is to develop a strong systematic approach that frees you creatively. In Part Two (Lesson No. 8), we will discuss further some of the major anatomical masses.Chapter 8: Seeing Anatomical MassesAugust 01, 1999 By Glenn VilppuIn the last lesson, we concentrated on the specific landmarks of anatomy we use with the symmetry of the figure to help us see and draw the action of the figure. The next step in using anatomy is learning to see the large anatomical masses. In the first four lessons we laid much of the groundwork by concentrating on simple forms as a means of analyzing the figure as a total. This lesson is a continuation of that procedure, breaking those larger units into smaller units, while at the same time adding a new level of believability to our drawings. Of course, we are also adding to the complexity of our drawing. It is important to remember that these new forms that we add should not distract from the readability of the action. Any additions of detail should help to clarify the action and add to our understanding of the subject. Remember, do not copy, but analyze the model. Exercises in Form First, we need to look at some basic ways that forms connect. Illustration No. 1 gives you some of the basic situations in which forms interact. The primary ingredient in achieving any success at this hinges upon your ability to analyze form. There are two main All drawings in this article are by and Glenn Vilppu. elements of this analysis. The first is to be able to see the total, which has been the primary concern of these lessons up to now. The second is to develop the ability to see the surface of the form. This will be a primary ingredient of the next few lessons. Illustration No. 1A shows a simple raised area of a form. It is important that you develop your skill in analyzing this simple kind of form. One way to start doing this is to take some kind of striped material and drape it over an object or just crumple it up. Now take your pencil and follow a line going up and down and around, following the line until you reach the end. Do this for each stripe until you have a clear picture of the surface of the form. This is no different than a computer generated wire frame drawing of an object. See Illustration No. 2A. Illustration No. 2B may look different but the way the lines go over and around the form are actually very similar to 2A. The main difference is that the lines are not as mechanical in feeling or application.Many art school exercises that have become art forms in themselves are based upon dealing with this basic problem. To achieve success at this you must visualize your pencil as actually being on the form that you are drawing, reacting to every nuance of change in direction that the surface of the form takes. When I was in school, I had an instructor suggest that you should pretend that you were an ant crawling over the surface. At the time I thought how ridiculous this was. What I wanted to do was draw like Michelangelo, not like an ant walking across an arm. The imagery may have seemed ridiculous but the attitude and skills developed by the exercise were not. In fact, looking at the great masters, including Michelangelo, you will notice the incredible level of skill they had in being able to describe form, be it a building or an arm. Finding Volume Now let us look at some of the basic elements that are represented in the examples of Illustration No. 1. When you are drawing form you are primarily involved in showing the change in direction of a form. That is why it is so important that you understand and can clearly describe the surface of the form you are drawing. In Illustration No. 1A, the way in which the small form overlaps the larger form gives a strong sense of relief or 3D. Look at Illustration No. 3 and compare the different ways the drawings were done. Notice how the overlapping and feeling of going behind aid in giving a sense of volume to the form. Conversely, notice that by not overlapping or by creating tangents the form tends to flatten out. Illustration 3. Illustration 4. Illustration 2.Study the drawing below and the details to see how overlapping helped to give a sense of volume.Then compare it with the same drawing at the bottom of the page without many of these same tools that help to create a sense of volume. Basic Anatomical Masses Explained Let us start going through some of the basic anatomical masses we deal with in the figure. Keepreferring to Illustration No. 4 as you read this explanation. Of course, the basic form of the upper torso is the oval of the rib cage (A). This is the foundation on which we build. The neck is a simple cylinder (B) and the head another oval (C). In Part One (Lesson No. 7), the clavicle and scapulas were some of the landmarks that we discussed in our initial stages of the drawing. Now visualize these two elements as a yoke that slips over the neck and rests on the rib cage (Illustration No. 5). Next, from the front, look at the pectoral muscles (Illustration No. 6). They attach to the rib cage and to the clavicles at the top, the sternum in the center, and pull over to the arms from the rib cage. Do not lose sight of the round mass of the rib cage.Illustration 5. From the back, notice how the scapula floats on top of the rib cage (Illustration No. 7). The muscles of the scapula (infraspinatus, teres minor, and teres major) build on top of the basic scapula form. We, at this point, also have the latissimus dorsi muscle which lies over the bottom of the scapula, pulls up into the arm at the top, and goes down to the pelvis at the bottom. These forms pull into the cylinder of the arm. The top of the cylinder is the deltoid we discussed in the previous lesson. Notice how the pectoralis major, the teres, and the latissimus dorsi give a strong sense of 3D by their overlapping. As the pectoralis and teres muscles fit into the arm, you should be seeing them as parts of simple cylinders. You should not miss any opportunity in using lines that go across or around the form to describe volume. It is also important, at this point, to look at the trapezius muscle. First, the trapezius helps us see the end of the neck as it fits into the skull. As the muscle comes down to the shoulders, it comes around to the clavicles and attaches around the arc of the clavicles and scapula meeting the end of the deltoid and continuing down the spine of the scapula. The critical area in drawing this muscle is the transition across the shoulder to the neck. Don't think just anatomy, but try to use your understanding of the anatomy to create form. Illustration 7.Moving down the back, we have the two large muscles that go along the sides of the backbone (sacrospinalis), coming from the sacrum up along the back bone fitting into the ribs. Again, notice how the basic volume of the rib cage is still the dominant element into which these forms fit. The buttocks muscles, the gluteus maximus and medius, attach to the sacrum and the illiac below the crest, and insert at the hip bone (the trochanter of femur). Depending on the model, these forms lend themselves to simple spherical forms or boxes. The main point is to look for the inside corners of the form and pay particular attention as to how they connect to the leg. As we start around toward the front again, the external oblique, or flank pad as it is called, is the dominant form. The bottom margin is the iliac crest of the pelvis. The top fits into the ribs interconnecting with the muscles coming from under the scapula. At this point, Illustration 9. concentrate primarily on the basic shape and how it works with both the pelvis and rib cage. This is the form that we most often see, stretching and compressing or bulging out. It is important to see how the rib cage fits into it. From the front, the primary muscle that we work with is the rectus abdominis (Illustration No. 9) which is attached at the top of the rib cage, and at the bottom, to the pubic arch. The main elements are the clear boundaries on the sides and down the center. The tranverse line created by the interrupting tendons are what give the characteristic shape of well-developed stomach muscles. The planes created by similar lines on the sides, those that separate the rectus abdominis from the external oblique, are important elements in understanding the major forms of the front of the torso. In looking at the connection of the legs to the torso (Illustration No. 10), it is important that you remember that the large muscle in the front, the rectus femoris, does not attach to the iliac crest but goes between the tensor and the sartorius muscles. The "A" shape created by the tensor and sartorius are part of the corner of the box shape used in seeing the pelvis. The rectus femoris, along with the vastus lateralis and vastus medialis, are the main elements of the cylinder of the leg from the front. In the back of the leg, the biceps femoris, along with the semimembranosus and semitendinosus, are the main elements of the cylinder. Notice how the adductors pull Illustration 10 from the pubic arch area and complete the triangle from the pubic arch to the knee. In the back of the knee (Illustration No. 11), the gastrocnemius, or calf muscle, goes inside the tendons of the biceps femoris, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus, to create the characteristic squarish shape of this connection. In looking at the connection of the legs to the torso (Illustration No. 10), it is important that you remember that the large muscle in the front, the rectus femoris, does not attach to the iliaccrest but goes between the tensor and the sartorius muscles. The "A" shape created by the tensor and sartorius are part of the corner of the box shape used in seeing the pelvis. The rectus femoris, along with the vastus lateralis and vastus medialis, are the main elements of the cylinder of the leg from the front. In the back of the leg, the biceps femoris, along with the semimembranosus and semitendinosus, are the main elements of the cylinder. Notice how the adductors pull from the pubic arch area and complete the triangle from the pubic arch to the knee. In the back of the knee (Illustration No. 11), the gastrocnemius, or calf muscle, goes inside the tendons of the biceps femoris, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus, to create the characteristic squarish shape of this connection. In the front, the corners of the knee (Illustration No. 12) are created by the patella with the quadriceps tendon and, to the sides, the epicondyles of the femur. The angle across the calves is high on the outside and low on the inside. However, at the ankle, the outside is low and the inside is high. The arc created by the tibia and fibula is a primary line showing the connection of the leg to the foot in front. (Illustration No. 13) In the back, the achilles tendon attaching to the calcaneus, or heelbone, is Illustration 12. the characteristic look. Try to view the foot as simply as possible in the beginning, focusing on simple volumes. In looking at the arms (Illustration No. 14), try to see the overall simple masses of the forms as you study the anatomy. It is very easy to get so involved with anatomical detail that you lose sight of the whole. In drawing the wrist, remember as we discussed in the last chapter, that the radius rotates and the ulna is stationary. The wrist is more simply seen as a box form. In teaching the drawing of the hand (Illustration No. 15) I have found that if you first start by developing your skill at drawing the simple forms of the animators' hand and then slowly introduce the real anatomical hand, it is easier to control the complexity and develop a method to draw and understand the forms. Illustration 14.Chapter 9: Seeing The Figure As A 2D ObjectOctober 01, 1999 By Glenn VilppuThe reality of drawing is that we draw on a two dimensional piece of paper; the drawing is not a three dimensional object. Up to this point, our efforts have been almost exclusively concerned with creating that three dimensional illusion on a two dimensional surface. We used a series of tools and procedures that didn't necessarily rely on the model, but on an analytical and constructive approach to drawing the figure. In drawing from the model, i.e. reality rather than from imagination or an ideal, we must develop a set of visual tools to help us make that translation from the real three dimensional world (3D) to the flat two dimensional world (2D) of the paper. In many ways, this is much simpler than what we have been doing. In general, the fundamentals of the approach based on direct observation of the model are the same as the widely used academic method of copying, one of the methods taught in the studios of the artists of the Renaissance. In this lesson we will use this method to assist us in placing the forms that we have learned about in the earlier chapters. (Much of what we are now discussing has been introduced, in part, in earlier chapters.) The drawback of this approach is that you need the model to do the drawing. In practical application, the camera has come into use as a substitute for having a model pose for hours while the artist does his or her drawing. Early Inventions Before the invention of the camera, both Leonardo Da Vinci (1452 - 1519) and Albrecht Durer (1471 -1528) and many other artists of that period invented drawing machines to accomplish the same thing. Let us look at Da Vinci's and Durer's machines as a basis for understanding the approach. Both artists created essentially the same machine with slight variations. The basic elements were a frame with wires stretched over it dividing it into equal units, or a piece of glass with lines drawn on it sitting upright on a table and a piece of paper having the same equal divisions on it as the screen. The artist would look through the screen from a fixed viewpoint, either a peephole or some form of brace, to keep the head from moving. The artist would then copy what he saw in each square onto the corresponding square on the paper. In 1727, the great anatomist, Bernard Siegfried Albinus (1697-1770) started his great work on human anatomy which was to take him 20 years. The following quote is from Albinus On Anatomy, by Robert Beverly Hale and Terence Coyle published by Dover Books 1988 (reprinted by permission): "Albinus overcame the problem of obtaining correct proportions between the parts of the body in the drawings of his artist by using grids or nets made of cords and divided into squares. These were placed at selected intervals between the artist and the skeleton. One grid was placed almost in contact with the skeleton by which the artist could draw from a distance of up to forty feet for the drawing of detail, a second grid with the squares greatly reduced in size, was placed four feet in front of the first grid. The artist would look through the grid and place himself so that the cords of the two grids lined up with one another on his view of the skeleton, and could check his accuracy by means of these lines and their intersections."This is essentially identical to an artist today taking a photograph, squaring it off, and transferring it to a canvas. The usefulness of the approach is in its mechanical nature. We incorporate basic elements of this approach any time we draw from nature. In the previous lessons I have been incorporating the use of many of the basics, without making specific mention of the procedure as a whole. The Approach The basic elements of the grid are vertical and horizontal lines, plus angles and measurements. These are the tools of this approach. Spheres, circles, box/squares, along with arcs are additional aids in seeing the placement of forms. A key element in academy training is the length of the pose. Since a prime requisite for doing this kind of drawing is very careful observation, the poses were, by necessity, very long. The student normally would start his or her training by first learning to draw from plaster casts, as is still done in many parts of the world. A pose, using the model, could last for a day, several days, or a week. An hour pose was considered a quick one, used for learning how to start a drawing. In this lesson, as in the previous lessons, the drawing is primarily done in line. In a true academic approach, the use of tone would be a major part of the drawing. Each step being a gradual build-up of values with careful consideration of the direction of the light falling upon the forms. In the following three lessons we will be discussing tone, but in a more constructional and analytical approach. In this lesson I am using the academic approach as a way of carefully translating the three dimensional forms of the model, as we have developed them, to the two dimensional surface of the paper as accurately as I can. As in earlier lessons, the most important point is to get the total.To Begin... We start first by establishing where we want to place the figure on the paper. To do this, we must establish the limits of the model and where these are to be placed on the paper. In "Illustration A," you will notice that the seated figure has a horizontal axis and the standing figure, "Illustration B," has a longer vertical axis. This is not always quite so obvious, so it is important that you carefully measure to see which lines are longer and place the figures on your paper accordingly. Notice that I have used a series of straight lines to "block in" the rough placement of the figure. Straight lines are essentially easier to see and make judgments with compared to irregular lines. You "block in" the figure by "eye-balling" it, in other words, by making simple unassisted visual judgments prior to actuallymeasuring. As you develop your visual skills, the simple act of making a mental notation is usually sufficient. Now we have reached the point where we start to place the various elements of the drawing more accurately. Very carefully using the head as a basic measuring unit, find the center of the drawing both vertically and horizontally on both the model and the paper. At the end of this chapter is a simple explanation of how to measure if you are not familiar with this procedure. It is essential that you be very careful in doing this because everything you do from this point on could potentially reflect further errors. It is a good idea to take a separate piece of paper or a ruler to help make sure that, in fact, you have actually marked the center on your paper. From this point on, the process is essentially one of creating a grid by breaking each section down, measuring, and progressively making smaller units. It is important that you pay as much attention to the width of the forms as you do to the length. Make diagonal lines and extend them to see what other forms they hit. This is the same as checking your vertical and horizontal alignments and adds another means of checking your placement. The use of the arc works in the same way as the diagonal line and, again, is another tool in the placement of the forms. On the next page, you will see a visual summary showing the basic tools of the approach we have discussed so far. The accuracy of your drawing will depend on how careful you are. This approach has very little to do with talent, relying primarily on careful observation and patience. Once you have all of the major elements in place you can start to break the larger units into smaller units. The limitation of this approach is only in how small a unit you are willing to create. I have seen artists who work this way carry it down to the finest highlight in the eye. This approach is, primarily, one of surveying and putting everything in its proper place. The value in this form of exercise is developing the ability to reduce your subject to two dimensional observations.Recognizing the Elements Let's look at some elements related to this approach. Since you are reducing the subject of your observation to 2D elements, the openings between forms and the space around the forms become equally important. These are called negative shapes. You could, in effect, draw your subject by drawing the space around it, i.e. the boundary between the positive and negative space. The 2D contour of either the positive or negative space gives us the same information. Some basic art school exercises to develop this skill in observation include cutting out the shapes with a pair of scissors the way children do with a silhouette drawing in grade school, copying photographs upside down, drawing with your left hand to make you look more carefully, and drawing a specific contour without looking at the paper. The point of all of these is to teach you to see 2D relationships while looking at a 3D object. It is extremely important that you develop a high degree of skill in doing this. It is this 2D shape or silhouette in your drawing that is needed for a clear reading of the action. The shape is also the area that most clearly reflects the basic design of your drawing. The shape of the form is equally as important as the volume. In measuring, unlike most drawing tools we have discussed, there are some basic rules. First, measuring is not difficult but you must be consistent and careful or it will work against you. The standard unit of measurement is normally the size of the head, although it could be any convenient unit that you wish to use. The width of the head is another popular basic unit of measurement used by many artists. We are not talking about inches or centimeters but relative sizes. Let us use the head size as an example. To find the center of the figure, or any other point on the figure, hold your arm straight out. You must keep your arm straight. Any variation in distance between your hand and eye will give you a false size relationship. Study the illustration below. The top of your pencil should be at the top of the head, the tip of your thumb at the bottom of the head. You can now move your arm down, turn it sideways, diagonally, placing it visually anywhere you wish on the figure to establish any point or size relationship in comparison to the size of the head, i.e. the navel three heads down, or the shoulders one head apart in this particular pose.Proportions have been an integral part of the artist's education for thousands of years. The study of human proportion has taken two distinct directions: the real or normal proportions and the ideal proportions of man. Real proportions are, of course, average proportions and should be taken as such. As individuals, we all exhibit slight variations on this norm, but, in general, we all do fall fairly close to the average. This average is a good starting point from which the student to work. The proportions that I have presented here are a seven and three quarters head high male figure and a seven and a half head high female figure. These are in line with the seven and a half heads of Richter, the famous French anatomist, and the idealized eight heads of Michelangelo, the famous Italian Renaissance artist. Many artists have used greater extremes in both directions. These extremes, or ideals of proportion, are used for expressive purposes. The three head high figures in animation and cartoons create children's cuteness. Some of the Mannerist artists of the past, contemporary fashion figures, and super heroes of the comics create ten high figures. First, get a sense of the real so that you do not make accidental proportional statements that contradict your intentions. Then use proportions to make your statement. In the next three lessons the emphasis will be on the use of tone to describe forms in space.Chapter 10: Using Tone To DrawDecember 01, 1999 By Glenn VilppuIndirect Lighting and Modeling Tone The first half of this manual has been primarily concerned with creating form using line, emphasizing the need to visualize the whole form and to draw across the surface of the form to show its volume. In learning to see spheres, boxes, and cylinders, we focused on seeing the corners of forms and used these basic visual tools to help us see the orientation of the forms in space and to draw them. In reality, we see things primarily in tone, not line. I have used tone in many of my examples to define the forms without explaining the usage. In this chapter, and the next two, we will discuss three distinct methods of using tone. The three approaches, which are indirect lighting, direct lighting, and atmospheric perspective, are distinct but generally used in varying degrees together. For the purpose of teaching, I am focusing on each one as a separate and distinct approach. As you will see, they can be used as separate Illustrations A, B, C & D. All drawings in this article are by and Glenn Vilppu. methods though they are generally used together. The clarity of an edge of a form is defined by what is behind it. The greater the contrast the clearer the contour. A solid black object against a white background can appear quite flat without a light source defining the interior corners and the parts that come forward (see Illustration A). To create a strong sense of volume it is necessary to emphasize these internal corners that come forward and subordinate those that recede back in space. Illustrations B, C, and D demonstrate the fundamental elements of the indirect lighting approach. The part that is facing you is the lightest and the form becomes darker as it turns away from you. Notice that I said, "Turns away from you." The important point here is the angle of the form in relationship to you. In Illustration C, the outside contour has also been softened to make it recede even more. "What faces you is in light; what turns away from you is in tone."What faces you is in light; what turns away from you is in tone. Another way of thinking about this is to imagine yourself as the source of light. Illustration E gives an example of this basic principle. Remember, it is the angle that a particular surface plane faces that determines its value (degree of light and dark), not how far away from you it is. This use of tone, or value, is usually referred to as a "modeling tone." We model the form using the tone to define itself in space in the same way a sculptor does. Since our main concern is to describe form, you must look at the basic procedure as a tool rather than a rule. We use the tone to push the sides back on a form. Let us modify the basic concept now to read: "What faces you, relatively, is in light; what turns away from you is in tone." The word "relatively" is very important. Study Illustration F. This is actually an optical illusion. The forms can be seen going in or coming out. The parts of the forms that are in light do not actually face you, but, relative to the forms that are turned more away, they do. Notice that there is no difference between those forms that are close to you and those farther away. Of course, in reality, there is, but for the moment concern yourself only with the angle that the plane of the form is facing. The Importance of Values Before we go any further, you need to develop some basic skills in working with values. One of the most fundamental skills that you must develop as an artist is to be able to recognize and put down values with control. The illustration gives you examples of a few basic exercises that you should do. As a working artist, with over forty years of experience, I still feel it necessary, at times, to do variations on these exercises today.It is important that you develop the skill in being able to put down a flat and even value. We are interested in seeing the value, not the technique. "We are interested in seeing the value, not the technique." Every irregularity or change in tone communicates a change in the form. Do not draw dark lines between values. A line between values will distort the relationship of one value to another and make it difficult to see their relationships. Each degree, or step, of contrast between values should be equal in contrast. Do not underestimate the difficulty or importance of this exercise. It could take hours to do it right.An example of the gray scale. Practice drawing simple forms from imagination. Redraw some of the forms created in Chapters Two and Three, using tone, but no line. Remember, we are using a specific approach to modeling form. We are not copying the patterns of light and dark that we see on the model. We are analyzing the forms of the model but are not necessarily using the tones that we see on the model. As I have said repeatedly, "Don't copy the model; analyze." "Don't copy the model; analyze." Adding to the Basics... After you have become comfortable using the modeling tone, as we have discussed so far, you can start adding some variables that will give your drawings a more natural look. The first of these variations is to make the tone stronger on one side or the other consistently. Look at the spheres at left to see the difference. The far left is the way we have been doing it; the other is an example of emphasizing one side to give a feeling of a light source other than from directly ahead. A light source from directly in front is sometimes referred to as "flat lighting." In general, you will find that favoring one side or the other will give a stronger feeling of relief. In essence, you are shifting the light source to one side.Look at this drawing and try to see it as a series of simple spheres with the tones pushed to the outside receding edge. We started this lesson drawing with no distinction in the distance of a form from you, concentrating on the angles of the various planes to establish the tone. In the beginning of this chapter, I mentioned that we will be discussing three distinct approaches, "indirect lighting, direct lighting, and atmospheric perspective," and that, in practice, we usually use all three methods together to various degrees. In that context, we are now going to use some of the basic elements of atmospheric perspective in conjunction with the modeling tone. In Chapter Twelve we will bring in many more elements of atmospheric perspective than we have discussed in this chapter. The basic concept of atmospheric perspective is that the farther something is away from you, the more atmosphere there is between you and the form. The closer something is to you, the sharper it will be, the more detail it will have, and the greater the contrast will be; the darks are darker and the lights are lighter. As the forms recede back, the lights and darks become closer in value and you lose contrast and detail. See the illustration on the right. A foggy or smoggy day gives you a perfect example of this concept."A foggy or smoggy day gives you a perfect example of atmospheric perspective."The forms do not have to have great distance between them. A simple overlap can become an excuse for using this concept. In Oriental landscapes, as well as in Cubist paintings, this approach has been used as a basic method of showing space and separating forms. Here you see several examples of this. Look at the details on the right taken from the drawing on the leftand notice how this simple idea helped to separate forms and give a sense of depth to the drawing.Using the concept from the simple forms, try creating the sense of depth with more complex images. Notice the way this idea is used in these simple forms. In a continuously receding flat form, the leading edge should be darker. This idea is carried over into drawing boxes and cylinders. On this page and following pages are various examples of the basic ideas we have been discussing. Study them to see how they have been modified and used. In the next lesson, we will be discussing direct light. To use direct lighting, you must first have a good understanding of indirect lighting. Practice creating forms from imagination and rendering them until you have a thorough grasp of the elements discussed.Notice how the leading edges in these examples are darker.Chapter 11: Getting a Handle on Direct LightingFebruary 01, 2000 By Glenn VilppuDirect Lighting In the last chapter, we discussed indirect lighting, the modeling tone, and started on atmospheric perspective, which we will be dealing with more in Chapter 12. Direct lighting is what we normally see when we have a strong single light source. Sunlight on a clear day is an example. The basic elements of direct lighting are highlights, halftone, core, reflected light, and cast shadow (see Illustration No.1). The luminosity of a drawing is affected by how the reflected light is surrounded by the core and the cast shadow. In thinking of the reflected light, each surface that the light reflects from is, in essence, a light source. In practice, it is generally a good idea to use only one reflected light and one direct light. It is important to always keep a clear distinction between the direct light and the reflected light.Illustration No. 1All drawings in this article are by and Glenn Vilppu. "Try to visualize the forms as simple sylinders and spheres."The core tone, which is created by the area between the direct light and reflected light that does not get any light, is a potent tool in describing how forms fit into one another. The core functions as a broad tonal line that helps delineate the form's surface with its changes in sharpness (describing the suddenness of change in the surface). The core helps to emphasize the corners of the form. As you move the light sources, you will see how this core describes the form in conjunction with the reflected light. The cast shadow works hand-in-hand with the core. The primary difference is that the cast shadow has a sharp edge and the core has a softer edge since the core is created by the turning of the form, while the cast shadow is created by forms blocking light from other forms. The cast shadow changes in relationship to how far it is from the object that is casting it. It is sharper and darker closest to the object and softer and less intense as it moves away from the object. It also functions as a line that describes the contour of the form. Be careful that you don't give the core a sharp edge unless the form has a sharp edge. Conversely, keep the cast shadow sharp next to the form that is casting it, slowly softening it as it moves away from the source. Look at cast shadows as opportunities for making lines going over the form, describing the surface."Notice how the core clearly defines the corner of the form without being a straight line." The highlight should vary like the core, being broad when the form is broad and sharp when the form is sharp. The accent of the highlight can be used to show the pressure of a bone pushing to the surface, and the sharpness of a crease. It also becomes a useful tool in showing the bottom of a fold where the form changes direction. In the drawing to the left, the core and the edge of the cast shadow on the face have become the main elements of the drawing. The shadow side is completely left out, with the exception of minimal descriptive line. In the drawing below, notice how the core clearly defines the corner of the form without being a straight line. The lines, in general, correspond to the surface describing the form. Notice the variation in the thickness of the core.The simple basics of boxes and spheres is the foundation for developing clear tonal drawings. If you do not understand the three dimensional qualities of the form, you cannot successfully render the form in tone.Chapter 12: Using The Idea Of AtmosphereApril 01, 2000 By Glenn VilppuAtmospheric Perspective In the last chapter, we discussed direct lighting, and in chapter 10 the modeling tone. Atmospheric perspective is normally discussed in conjunction with landscape painting since its true effect is primarily seen in nature in conjunction with great distances in space. The figurative artist has taken this sense of atmosphere and developed it as a strong tool of expression by abstracting the main elements and learning to use them while describing form. In the last two chapters, I have already indicated some of the main elements involved in atmospheric perspective. First, the graying and loss of detail as objects recede in space due to more atmosphere coming between the viewer and the object. Second, the use of this phenomenon in a formulaic manner by artists to separate forms. In this chapter, using the idea of atmosphere will be expanded upon to include its use as a basic element of design in the drawing to enhance the action of the figure and to clarify the three dimensionality of the form.Illustration No.1 All drawings in this article are by and Glenn Vilppu.In Illustration No.1, notice how the tone expanded upon the basic rhythm of the figure. Compare diagram A and B in the illustration. I refer to this usage of tone as amplifying the action. The tone in "B" emphasizes the action and makes it feel stronger. The use of "atmosphere" in this illustration would generally be referred to as "just tone." The main point here is that the atmosphere around the figure is being manipulated as a compositional element to enhance the action. In "C" you will notice that the "core" part of the dark and light pattern is also an element in making the action stronger.Let's look a little closer at our example. Illustration No. 2 is a close-up of the hip area. Now you will see that the tone from the background actually moves over the hip and in combination with the accent and fading of the line separates the forms of the hip from the waist. Illustration No. 3 illustrates the same point and is also an example of using alternating tones of light and dark to give depth and separate forms. Illustration No.2 Illustration No.3Illustration No.4Illustration No.5Illustration No. 4 (above) is a more standard use of atmospheric perspective. The shadow areas have been combined by bringing the values closer together and simplifying detail. Notice how the core and cast shadow have been used to show the roundness of the forms and to contrast the sharp accents with the subtleties of the shadows and reflected light, thus giving a luminosity to the whole. Illustration No. 5 shows how the overall tone is wrapped around the form, giving the feeling of form emerging from a fog.Illustration No.6Illustration No.7Illustration No. 6 is an example of strong usage of tone as atmosphere. The tone is not realistic but gives a strong feeling of form. Remember that we do not copy the models but use them for information. This drawing, though drawn from a model, is primarily conceptual in the use of tone, relying on concepts of rendering and analysis that we have been discussing. Illustration No. 7 has an even stronger sense of atmosphere than No. 6. Notice how you feel the tone coming between the shoulder and the hip, making them both come forward while pushing the waist in. The same is true for the head and shoulders. This next series of examples, done with various materials, uses the ideas discussed so far. Study them and see if you can discover which concepts were being used. Closing Words of Advice One of the most important ideas that I hope you have acquired in these twelve lessons is something I have not given to you: a set of rules. Though artists as a whole have more thinks in common than separate them, it is the differences that are more often noticed. All artists, in a sense, have the same list of elements that they must deal with in their creative work. It is the hierarchical arrangement of these elements that creates the differences.These lists, made up of the elements that we use, are not only visual but intellectual and emotional as well. To one artist, shape is the most important; to another, color or tone; and a third may feel subjective implication or symbolic relationships are the most important. It is the priorities chosen when putting these lists in order that later constitute the differences between one artists and another, as it does for one epoch or culture and another. Using The Idea Of Atmosphere (continued from page 4)This course has focused on the fundamentals of describing forms and basic procedures. It is important to keep in mind that these fundamentals, i.e. boxes, cylinders, spheres, atmospheric perspective, etc. are tools. As tools, these basic elements can be used in many ways in the service of your needs. As the tools and basic procedures become part of your thinking pattern, you transform them into a personal language of communication. A basic drawing course is, in essence, a basic visual-thinking course.This manual was designed as a twelve week course in basic figure drawing. When I teach in the classroom, my students take this course many times, some even taking the basic course for a number of years. My goal is to give you the tools to keep studying whether in a class or on your own. For many disciplines it is a simple truth that the more advanced you become the more important the basics are. It is no different when you learn to draw. Remember: knowing the basics provides the tools for expression. Using The Idea Of Atmosphere (continued from page 5)Let's Sketch on LocationJune 01, 2000 By Glenn VilppuThis is the first in a new series of bi-monthly articles about sketching on location. The articles are based on my Sketching on Location Manual.The manual was developed as a series of lessons that I use on my guided sketching tours of Europe, and that I use as material in my regular drawing classes. As such the lessons can be part of a regular course or can be used by individual students as a practical learning guide. These lessons are meant not only for the beginner. More advanced students and possibly professionals will also find useful tips, new approaches and reminders of old ones neglected. Each lesson in this Sketching on Location Manual is a practical approach that will help you get more enjoyment out of your sketching, improve your skills, and give you more of an understanding and appreciation of artists of the past. The lessons are not only "how-to instruction," but are actually a series of visual tools that help you organize what you see in ways that create drawings that are interesting to look at and express your feelings for the subject at hand. You will see a variety of materials and techniques used. There is no one correct way to sketch, as there is no one correct kind of individual. There are no rules, just many tools that can be used in as many ways as there are artists using them. These eleven lessons are organized so that each lesson builds upon the skills of the previous one. Initially, these lessons were developed for the students that accompany me on my sketching tours and regular classes of eleven or twelve weeks that I teach. Now I also have in mind the many students around the world that have the Vilppu Drawing Manual and have asked not only for material related to sketching figures, but landscapes as well. As a professional artist the approaches that I develop in this series of lessons are the same as those that I use in drawing from imagination, the first lesson being the exception. The rough quick indications, the use of ink and wash, the contrasting of textures, and all of the other elements that I discuss are methods that have been used by artists for centuries.Point to Point Point to point is one of the most fundamental developmental and useful skills for sketching anything, be it a still life or the interior of an airplane. The main skill you are developing is being able to reduce what you are looking at to a simple two-dimensional image that can be drawn. In doing this, you sharpen your perceptive skills by having to judge angles and lengths two dimensionally from three-dimensional objects. Since this is the first lesson, and much of what follows is based upon it, I will give several different examples explaining and demonstrating the approach. I am presenting this approach in the context of making a sketch where you are trying to capture a specific subject before you. The experienced artist may approach his subject using the exact same method, incorporating concepts of design and composition. The selection of what elements to put in or leave out becomes the element of individual expression. In later lessons you will also make these considerations, but now I wish to concentrate on the point to point method. On a sketching tour the first place you generally find yourself is at the airport, in planes, trains and coffee shops. Step One Pick a specific point of what you are looking at. In this first example I am starting with the ear of the passenger in front of me. In drawing your object there are several levels that you can approach the drawing from. You could draw the total ear as a simple shape or you could start with just a line showing a fragment of the ear. Regardless of which degree of detail you decide upon, the approach is the same.Look at your subject as if it were a photograph that you were tracing. You need to see each line that connects to your original line. Look carefully at line two to see its relationship to line one. In teaching students who have never drawn before, I sometimes ask them to look through clear plastic sheets, and with grease pencils, draw on them as if they were tracing a photograph. In chapter nine of the Vilppu Drawing Manual, I give a basic historical discussion of the process related to drawing the posed figure.In the drawing above I started with the ear of the seated figure on the left. The numbered drawings on the right and next page show the steps that I went through in doing this drawing while we were waiting for the plane to depart at the Rome airport on one of my sketch tours. The important point in this approach to sketching is that you pay careful attention to the angles of your lines and their attachment to the previous ones. Continuously compare each line by either holding up your pencil horizontally and vertically, or use a convenient line of comparison in the subject itself to help you see the angles you are drawing. The drawing may look complex, but the process is simple. Some More Tools Below is a simple check off list that will help to remind you of the points you should be looking for. In time, these points become second nature as you draw, in the same way as driving a car becomes a normal process. (In chapter nine of the Vilppu Drawing Manual there is a more complete discussion of the use of these reminders.) All of the following drawings were done using the basic approach of this chapter. While doing these drawings, I never knew how much time I had to do them. People, cars and any number of unforeseen situations arise, from curious observers standing in front of you to see what you are doing, cars moving or simply lack of time for drawing. I try to approach the drawing with the attitude that the point that I start with is what I'm after and any additions I can make to it are frosting on the cake. Getting the scale of objects is a critical element in the drawing, so it is always important to keep looking at the lines you draw comparing any object in relation to the objects that it is touching two dimensionally.In the drawings on this page, the point to point method that we have been using has been changed; as I was drawing, I extended each line as I went, so that I got a more general feeling for the whole. In doing this, my main concern was to try and understand the flow of the rhythm that Michelangelo had gotten in his sculpture. I was trying to capture the feeling of the sculpture rather than a pictorial duplication of a group of figures. In a sense, it was like a gesture drawing with my subject holding still.In looking at these drawings, keep in mind that they were done while standing in a crowd.More examples of this technique are available in the following page.Chapter 2: The Thumbnail SketchAugust 01, 2000 By Glenn VilppuMoving On... In the last lesson we used a point to point method of drawing. The main purpose was to reduce your subject to a series of two-dimensional observations starting from a single point. This lesson is similar; now the main thing is to be able to see your subject in simple two-dimensional shapes, only this time in the context of the total picture. The first step is to decide the limits of your drawing; in this sense we are doing the exact opposite of the previous lesson. Instead of starting from a part and building outward, we are starting with the total and going to the parts. All drawings in this article are by and Glenn Vilppu.There are many ways to establish a beginning context for your drawing; in other words, to set the outside limits or framework that you are going to be working within. Two right angle paper corners with a paper clip holding them together is a simple method. A small clear plastic rectangle also works well; likewise, putting up your hands with thumbs extended creates a frame. With practice you learn to establish your picture limits easily without any external guides. Doing a series of simple "thumbnail sketches" to try out your ideas gives you the opportunity to see what your sketch will look like before committing a lot of effort. The thumbnail sketch also brings into play the idea of "drawing-as-thinking." You make choices and selections, not just copy an arbitrary view. To Begin Start by making a frame out of the borders of your paper about 1 inch deep by 2 inches long. The proportions, of course, can be any you wish to make. Now in looking at your subject, select two or three simplified major lines in your subject. Ignore any detail and, as in Lesson One, pay particular attention to the basic angles and lengths of these elements. Look at the examples and notice that you can get a general sense of what the picture will look like, yet there is no detail. These thumbnail sketches can be done in any medium, from a carpenter's pencil to paint.All of these drawings are reproduced actual size. In the drawings on the left you will notice simple diagrams that I did trying to think out the formal elements of the composition, primarily dealing with visual balance. The paintings on the next page are also reproduced actual size, though the originals were in color. These were done directly without any preliminary drawing, yet were done as thumbnails, drawing the simple shapes directly with watercolor.The above drawing was done with a fountain pen; the wash was added by bleeding the ink with water. This, again, is reproduced actual size.This drawing of the piazza of Orvieto with the duomo combines both a thumbnail and a detail of the thumbnail.The drawing below is of the local citizens later arguing politics on the steps of the duomo. In doing the drawing of the detail above and the figures below, I used the approach discussed in Chapter One.Now, in these thumbnail sketches, I have employed many of the elements we will be discussing in the following chapters. A strong component in the drawings is the light and dark pattern. In fact, some of these drawings were done with brush and wash where the only thing drawn was the pattern of the darks. Look at the variety of materials used: pencil, pen, as well as watercolor.Take Note Sometimes to aid the memory, it is useful to write information about the colors, textures and materials that you see. This page is a general visual exploration of a location which includes drawings of detail, compositional possibilities, and notations. These drawings were used while painting in the studio months later.The camera, of course, becomes a great aid in recording detail. Yet drawing from the subject itself is still the best way to get the sense of what you are looking at. View more examples on the following pages.Chapter 3: Organizing and Creating SpaceOctober 01, 2000 By Glenn VilppuA Sense of Space In the last chapter we developed the "Thumbnail Sketch," now that we have learned to reduce our three dimensional world to two-dimensional shapes for a two-dimensional surface, we will develop a series of ways to create the illusion of three dimensions on a flat surface. The first step in creating this sense of space is organizing it. The most universal approach is to separate the various elements into foreground, middle ground and background (see figure 1 and 2). This is similar to the front of the stage (downstage), the middle of the stage (midstage) and the background (upstage) in the theatre. Start with thumbnails like we used in the previous lesson, but now separate the elements into planes, as they are usually referred to. To show these planes, we can separate them by actually using different materials for each one -- pencil for one, ballpoint for another and ink for a third. Look at the following illustrations to see the effect. This concept of planes will be a basic element in the next lessons. A plane parallel to the picture plane, in contrast to planes that recede into the picture, is one of the basic elements in discussing periods of art and individual works within these periods. The thumbnail can now be expanded, blocking in the overall composition, and then developing its parts and organizing the space by the use of planes. In the examples, I have separated the planes by using different materials for each one. In the first example, I have used pencil in the background, ballpoint pen in the middleground and a fountain pen in the foreground, as I suggested earlier. The different colors in the originals give an even greater degree of separation than the illustrations indicate. In figure 3 I have taken the previous illustration and simply outlined the middleground and the foreground to give them an even greater degree of separation. This is a simple device that has been used for hundreds of years. In the Uffizi gallery in Florence, Italy, look carefully at Michelangelo's oval painting of the Holy Family and you will see that the group of figures has been carefully outlined to separate them from the background. The Art Nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha, and the many artists he influenced, give us other good examples of the use of outline to separate elements within a picture.The above drawing (figure 4) was done using a ballpoint pen for the background, fountain pen for the middleground and soft charcoal for the foreground. In the animation industry this simple method, which uses different materials, including colored pencils, is employed as a way to separate various levels of animation in the developmental stages of designing scenes.Other Techniques In figures 5 and 6 I am not using different materials to separate the planes. In the one below, notice that the foreground plane is distinguished by the table that recedes into the background, and yet is not parallel to the picture plane. You still get a strong separation of elements created by the scale differences of the foreground and background figures. In the drawing above, besides by the emphasis of differences in scale, you also get a strong feeling of depth by the way the shadow and general tones pass behind the foreground.In the drawing above (figure 7) I have used the strong concentration of light as a way of separating foreground from background, in addition to using the well-defined horizontals to give a sense of overlapping depth. In figure 8, the sense of scale between the figure in front compared to those in the back effectively separates the planes. In figure 9 and 10, I have used large open spaces to create depth and separation between the planes. In the drawing on the top of the next page, you see the combination of the strong diagonal of the wall with a horizontal shadow, plus a large empty space which gives a clear separation of planes. The segments of the wall along with the strong perspective carry the viewer's eye from the foreground to the background. In figures 11, 12 and 13, I have used the basic elements that we have discussed earlier for creating and organizing space, with the exception of using different materials for the planes. In the above, I used scale, where a row of figures has passed behind the foreground figures. In the drawing here on the left, there is a clear separation of foreground, not only by scale but also by the use of clear empty space between the planes. In the drawing on the right, space is produced by strong horizontals created by the separation of the water and the bank, as well as by the dark shadow passing behind the figure. This alternating dark and light pattern (as I'm sure you have noticed in the previous chapter's thumbnails and in this drawing) is a strong instrument for creating space. In the next chapter we will go into this further.Chapter 4: Light and Dark PatternsDecember 01, 2000 By Glenn VilppuDark and Light Patterns Now that you see your subjects as a series of planes in space, one of the most dramatic and useful ways of expressing them is by seeing them as alternating in darkness and lightness. Visualize shadows being cast from outside of the picture, throwing these planes alternately in shadow and light. This is one of the most useful and traditional means of creating depth in your picture. Look at the examples and compare the drawings with shadows added to those without shadows. The example in figure 1 is the drawing of an abandoned church from the previous chapter.In the two other examples (figure 2 and figure 3), you will notice that I changed the order of the light and dark pattern. Instead of going from dark to light, I went from light to dark and then light again. Remember, "There are no rules, just tools." The point is to create a sense of depth by separating the planes in space by the use of shadows. Be careful, and don't confuse dark shaped objects with shadows.Figures 4 and 5 are another set of examples where I have used different patterns to separate the planes. You don't have to accept the way the light is on the subject; you can make the light come from any direction you wish. These drawings, as well as the ones in figure 1, 2 and 3,were done in line only, with the wash added later. When I did the drawing in figure 6 and 7, I was giving a lecture to explain the use of planes and shadows which create a more dramatic and spatial picture. Compare these drawings to see how the tone adds depth and gives a more complete feeling. Go back and look at the drawings in the previous chapters and see where I have been using this tool. This is one of the most practical and useful tools an artist can have to give the illusion of space.Glenn Vilppu teaches figure drawing at the American Animation Institute, the Masters program of the UCLA Animation Dept., Walt Disney Feature Animation and Warner Bros. Feature Animation, and has been sent to teach artists at Disney TV studios in Japan, Canada and the Philippines. Vilppu has also worked in the animation industry for 18 years as a layout, storyboard and presentation artist. His drawing manual and video tapes are being used worldwide as course materials for animation students.Chapter 5: Texture as Planes in SpaceFebruary 01, 2001 By Glenn VilppuBringing in Texture Another widely used way of separating elements and organizing your picture is through the use of textures. The basic principle we have been using is that contrast applied to planes organizes the elements of the picture. The use of textures serves the same function. Pierre Bonnard is a good example of an artist who consistently used them as a way of organizing his paintings and drawings. A texture can be the fluffiness of a cloud, the gravel of a walkway, the variety of shapes of leaves, or the peeling of paint on a All drawings in this article are by and Glenn Vilppu. wall. We don't have to make up textures for they are all around us. Every good gardener employs this concept in organizing how the flowers in his or her garden will look, one against another, and as a whole. Photographic books are full of artists' depictions of one texture against another. In drawing we make deliberate contrasting marks to show clear differences. While the subject itself gives us the direction to take, at other times, it may be necessary to create arbitrary marks with our pencil or pen to clarify an object's place in space. In looking at the examples, notice the variety of textures used. The use of contrasts or differences is a fundamental element of artistic expression. Reducing your picture to a series of stripes, each different in size, texture, quality of color and value is an incredibly useful tool in picture making. Consistently looking for these contrasts will also give you much more enjoyment and appreciation for what you see. While doing these drawings, I applied many of the ideas we have discussed in the previous chapters, particularly the alternation of darks and lights in the planes stepping back into the picture. It is not necessary to see this dark and light pattern as just a product of shadows. Pushing the differences between one plane and another is the important thing. View more examples in the following pages.Chapter 6: Pencil TechniqueApril 01, 2001 By Glenn VilppuPencil Technique One of the most useful tools for sketching is the soft broad lead pencil. A pencil and a sketchbook are the fundamental tools of an artist in the field. With a simple graphite pencil you can capture almost any subject, be it a cityscape or a careful portrait. All we have to do is to look at the drawings in pencil by Ingres, Degas, Sargent and Mentzel to see the possibilities of the pencil. The 2B pencil has a good general purpose range of values if you are just using one pencil. The HB and 6B pencils will give you a bit more flexibility, All drawings in this article are by and Glenn Vilppu. but for myself, having had for many years pockets full of pencils, I now carry just one, a 2B. The next point is that you need to sharpen the pencil properly. By sharpening "properly," I mean that you need to be able to make both broad tones and thin lines with the pencil. Essentially, this requires that you have a fair amount of lead showing and that you blunt the end at an angle so that you have the ability to use the side as well as the tip to make strokes. Look at the diagram to get an idea of the way the end of the pencil should look. I carry a pocket-knife for the sole purpose of sharpening my pencil when I am out in the field. To get the flat side, almost any rough surface, from the sidewalk, a stone, to an extra piece of paper will work. You will quickly see why this is referred to as the "broad pencil technique." In lesson five we dealt with different textures. In this lesson we will continue to use different textures and also incorporate the use of contrasting darks and lights in both defining planes and creating patterns. You will find it useful to practice creating different kinds of textures. In a rather short time, you will build a repertoire of useful kinds of strokes to indicate a variety of surfaces and materials. Look at the examples and see how varied the strokes can be. In doing the drawing, try to think of each stroke of the pencil as if you were putting down a brushstroke. Remember, "There are no rules, just tools." View more examples on the following pages.Chapter 7: Drawing Groups of FiguresJune 12, 2001 By Glen VilppuAbove, you see the figure with which I started the drawing. When I decided to develop the drawing further, I quickly added the wall and step behind her as a solid reference point in case she left. All drawings in this article are by and Glenn Vilppu.Then I started drawing the seated man behind her. At this point she got up and walked away. Since I had the figure behind her giving me the scale for the other figure and the wall in reference to her, I was ready to continue adding to the picture. The difficulty in composing a picture this way is placing other figures and elements in the drawing in such a way that they seem natural and unposed.The two main points that I tried to look out for were, first, to get differences in the spacing of the figures and, second, to get a natural feel to the arrangement. As the crowd was passing by, I would pick out figures that I could use in the drawing. Since they were walking for the most part, I had to do most of the drawing from memory imagining the figures as types. As I added each figure, I paid particular attention to place them so that they had a natural feeling among the group. The architectural elements in the background were used to tie the figures together and help in getting the proper scale of the figures, one to the other. The addition of the paving stones helped to give a sense of space. Look at the completed drawing at the beginning of this chapter. The final large figures in the right foreground of the first picture, help give depth to the whole. Using Compositional Concepts The drawing on the next page was done quite differently than this one. The location was at the Los Angeles Zoo where I often go with my animal drawing class. While you are out sketching, you will often find situations that have a natural sense of order to them and suggest formal compositions. In this drawing I was able to use several traditional compositional concepts, so, in a sense, the total was set from the start, contrary to going from point to point (as I did in the drawing just discussed). I still consider this drawing a sketch as it was done rather quickly. The overall design of the picture was conceived more by recognizing it, rather than creating it. Then it was completed by improvising on the main idea. As I added the elements to the drawing, I worked in much the same way as the previous drawing, except I had formal compositional elements into which to fit the parts. While the people and the animals were rearranging themselves, they gave me opportunities to work them into my decided ideas about the composition.The first thing that caught my eye was the way the seated figure in the foreground was leaning to the left and her drink was leaning to the right. This suggested to me the idea of using the playof opposites as a theme for the drawing. Also the clear division of the foreground, middleground and background, as we have been studying, was already clearly defined.Next, there was a general strong vertical and horizontal structure that I would develop further if I were to make this into a painting. In a more developed composition these divisions would be very carefully worked out.Part of this basic structure was the way the foreground figure led into the tree and the figures directly in front of her. The umbrella gave a further direction to the movement with the tree heading to the left in a play of opposites. The leading of the eye by the forms described above and the interaction between the movements of these forms is what I refer to as "composition," rather than the mathematical breakup of the space. The dynamics, or play of the parts, one against the other, and the orchestration of the whole, is what interests me.Now look at how the head of the giraffe has kept the movement going.In the diagram above, I now indicate opposite elements. Below I indicate yet another set of opposites. Throughout the drawing I have tried to find a variety of contrasting elements: darks against lights, complex against simple, etc.Using these elements of composition in the sketch gives the drawing a feeling of completeness. Though this drawing was loosely done, it was guided by fundamental ideas of composition. In a future manual I will develop more compositional ideas along with a general study of traditional figure composition. View more examples on the following pages.Chapter 8: The Quick SketchAugust 06, 2001 By Glenn VilppuEverything we have done so far can probably be called "quick sketches." In this chapter I am using the term to describe the capturing of an individual or group of figures as quick notations. In the classroom we might call it gesture drawing. When drawing in the field, the quick sketch is more than just capturing the gesture of an individual. There is usually something about what we are drawing that grabs our attention. This "hook" can be any number of things: the tender way a mother is holding a child, a funny clown in the park, or the romantic couple at the table next to you. The late Isabel Bishop almost made a career out of drawing people walking. It is what catches your eye and interests you that counts.All drawings in this article are by and Glenn Vilppu. Another Approach As usual, there are no rules. What I am presenting in this chapter is another general procedural approach to drawing. The first step is to identify to yourself what the subject of the drawing is. By subject, I'm referring to that particular element that has caught your eye. The subject can be a particular pose or action, an interesting shape, or an expression. The next step is to capture the totality of that element as broadly and as quickly as you can. In doing this, you must make your point as clear as possible. I have found that if I try to exaggerate what I see, I usually end up getting closer to reality. Below are a few examples of this first stage of the drawing.Above you will see a variety of approaches for indicating the subject. Notice how loose and open the drawing in the upper left corner is. Compare it with the same subject to the right. These two drawings were done when my wife and I were at the airport in Toronto, Canada, and she was doing a little last minute shopping. The one on the left is very general, but it still captures the basic attitude and shapes, plus a suggestion of the background. The second one goes a bit further by the development of the shapes of her raincoat, luggage and display case. Its evolution was determined by the length of time she was standing there. Both drawings captured the whole of what I wanted. In the drawing in the lower left, the whole point of it was determined by the shape of the woman shopper. In the drawing of the standing man, the pose was what caught my eye. The interesting point of the group in the lower right corner was the grouping itself. In all of these drawings you see very little detail. The general overall shapes of the forms tell the story. In the end, what makes the drawings interesting is the fact that they all have an individuality about them. What you see is a traveler shopping, a rather plump middle-aged woman; a man holding a cap over his heart, probably for the flag salute; and students sketching. You are less conscious of the method than the subject itself.To take the drawing a little further, you can take two directions. First, you might want to bring out the subject more clearly and, second, clarify the form in space. Saying this more simply, first, capture the action. Next, develop the form.By developing the form, you essentially make it feel roundish or three dimensional. Look at the drawing above and its reproduction to see where I have diagrammed how I used the simple idea of the cylinder to draw the lines going around the arms and waist. Notice the head where the lines of the glasses work in the same way as the lines on the side of a box, which create the illusion of three dimensions and the feeling of going back in space.Now notice how I have selectively developed the detail in the drawing above. The legs and most of the body are very simply indicated, while the head and the large bag over her shoulder attract our attention. In the drawing below, of the clown twisting balloons, the hands are only barely indicated; it is the expressive shape and overall liveliness of the drawing that attracts us.In the drawing below look at how the lines going around the cylinder of the neck give it volume. You should try to feel the lines wrapping around the form. Try to follow through and make the lines go over the edges of the contours, as if you can see around the corners.A Different Take Another helpful idea, which has often been called the "T" principle, is to create unambiguous lines that make obvious junctions so that we see them as belonging to separate forms and avoiding tangent lines. In the drawing to the left, look at how this "T" principle was used. First, in the visor part of the cap, you see a clear overlapping of the two sides. As the ponytail comes out of the hat in back, I have used the same approach as I did in the above drawing of the neck. The lines go around the hair clearly defining it as a cylinder, and also create clear "T" connections as they go behind. In drawing the shoulder area, the combination of seam, shoulder strap and folds going under the arm all work together to bring a feeling of roundness to the form. Clear examples of the "T" and "wrapping" idea are indicated where the jacket goes around the leg and where the pack and leg come together forming angles. Look at the drawings and diagrams throughout the following pages in the context of what we have discussed. Most of these drawings are shown at actual size.Chapter 9: The Silhouette - Positive and Negative ShapeOctober 17, 2001 By Glenn VilppuMoving On... In the last lesson we discussed the quick sketch. The main purpose was capturing the moment of both individual figures and groups of figures focusing on a logical step by step approach of first capturing a gesture and then describing the volume and shape of the subject. Our ability to recognize someone from a block away (when all we can actually see is the silhouette) is an example of the power of shape in communication. Positive and negative shapes are just complimentary parts of a silhouette. We call the space around something "negative space," but in terms of drawing on a flat surface, nothing is really negative. In the drawing above, the fence was drawn by the tones behind it. Learning to see a simple contour is a fundamental element of drawing. Chapter one and two essentially were directed at learning to see the contour of forms. The ability to see three-dimensional shapes two dimensionally is done by not only looking at the shape of the object's contour, but also by seeing the space around it as form. The emptiness between things many times is as important as the things themselves.All drawings in this article are by and Glenn Vilppu. The watercolor sketch on the above left was painted directly with minimal preliminary drawing, and totally with both positive and negative shapes in mind. On the right, in the watercolor of the boys on the rock, the wave behind the boys is an example of both a positive and negative shape. I used the white of the paper to silhouette the boys and then used the dark of the water behind it to draw its contours.With practice you can develop facility in using the negative and positive shapes in your drawings; however, first, you need to spend time analyzing the shapes themselves.Look at the simple contours of these figures on the right. The difficulty in drawing them was making the shapes clear. The natural tendency is to understate and average things out. I have found out that if I purposely try to exaggerate, I will actually get closer to what the subject really is. The key to seeing shapes is to compare one shape to another. Avoid ambiguous statements. If something is almost straight, make it straight; if one shape is slightly larger than another, make it clearly larger. Even though the simple figures on this page have very little detail, you still get a clear idea of the figure. A slouching woman in a chair, an unusual hairdo, a man with a goatee and a girl with a ball cap are each individual and distinct. In the simple watercolor to the right, the subtle gesture of my wife on the beach, as well as the glare of the sun reflecting off of the water, are both clear shapes without detail. The drawing below was done completely with shape in mind, and the addition of tone was used to give a difference between shapes and textures such as foliage. The tone in the foreground not only becomes a shape as we discussed in an earlier chapter, but it also is a simple means for giving depth.The drawing of the palm trees on the right uses shapes and negative space a little differently. First, notice how I have simplified the shapes as the trees recede into the background. The shapes of the shadows are used both as positive and negative space. In the tree in the foreground I have used the shadow to outline the leaves in front. Now notice how I let the atmosphere come between the first and second tree so that we have a clear silhouette of the shadow side of the first tree. I could have drawn the leaves in the light of the second tree clearly, instead of leaving them white; yet I have drawn the shadow in a similar way as in the first. In the third background tree, the light and dark are simple shapes, both being positive in this context. In the drawing below, the contours of the figures were added to a very loose drawing, thus giving them more shape. The drawing itself was done in the same way as we discussed in earlier chapters, registering one point to the next.Look at the examples on the following pages and notice how I have used shape.Chapter 10: Three Dimensional FiguresDecember 12, 2001 By Glenn VilppuIn the last lesson we discussed "The Silhouette -- Positive and Negative Shape." The main purpose was the use of two-dimensional elements in a picture; contours being a useful tool in expression and as a strong picture-making tool. Let's Get Started In the chapter on quick sketch, we discussed creating volume by drawing over and around the form seeing how lines are able to create a feeling of three dimensions. In the real world we live in, we see volume described not only by the surfaces of the forms which go around, but also by the light and the shadow that distinguish the sides of figures, or the planes, as we call them, artistically speaking. To create this same intense feeling of reality in our drawings, we need to be able to see our subjects as having tops, fronts, sides and bottoms. The simplicity of the box is the starting point for visualizing these planes. The use of the box for simplification is a traditional approach with a long history going back into the Renaissance and beyond. Luca Camiaso and Albert Durer are good examples of artists that used it to great advantage. Look at the examples on the following pages to see the progression from the box to the developed sketch. Our next step will be to define these planes with values of tone that give the illusion of light falling on them. When we are working in the field, the direction of light is usually established for us. As we discovered in earlier chapters, we do not necessarily need to take the light that is given to us, but have the option of making it come from wherever we need to have it come from for our purposes. Although we aren't stuck with the direction of light given, we should try to be consistent in our light source. When working in the field, I find using a simple watercolor wash the quickest and easiest way to create a sense of light that describes form. The tone can also be applied when you get home or at a later time. As you notice in the examples, pencil works equally well. All drawings in this article are by and Glenn Vilppu.In the next chapter I will discuss using the wash more thoroughly. Compare the drawings above to see how the wash helped to show the volume of the figures. Continue on to see more examples.Chapter 11: AtmosphereFebruary 13, 2002 By Glenn VilppuIn the last lesson we discussed "Three Dimensional Figures." The main purpose was the use of tone to create the illusion of 3D form, this was one of the corner stones of the Renaissance and a useful tool in expression and as a strong picture making tool.All drawings in this article are by and Glenn Vilppu.Adding the Unseen Atmosphere, the air around us, is one of the more difficult concepts to understand. Even though the air that we breathe and are surrounded with is transparent, we still need to use it as an element that can be manipulated and made to serve our purposes. The transparent wash is my preferred medium to work with. The simplest tool I have found to use while sketching is the fountain pen, with brush and water. I have even used coffee and wine on occasion for a wash. The fountain pen is my favorite because the ink used will bleed when water is applied to it. When using pens with waterproof ink, an extra color wash is needed, and traditional watercolor, or sometimes even coffee as I mentioned, will work. Many of the drawings in the previous chapter were done with just my pen, brush and clear water.The first method we are looking at is the application of wash to separate forms. Look at the diagrams and examples; notice that the wash is not restricted to the form but is a general tone which comes in between and separates the forms. This is probably the most difficult hurdle for many students to overcome; that is, there is difficulty putting tones or lines where they don't see them. Combining this technique with the use of tone discussed in the previous lesson is a very effective way of working.In the second approach we will use the tone as a compositional element to enhance the action of the figures. This approach can be combined with the previous one. Take your cue from the action of the figure itself. The tone is used to amplify the basic action of the figure and clarify the direction of the movements. It also can work as a complement to the action. Look at the examples on the following page to see which approach was used in each drawing.In these landscapes and some of the other illustrations, the atmosphere is depicted as a fog separating forms. The white of the paper represents the air between the elements.In this drawing using ballpoint pen, the line is used in the same way as the wash going between and around forms.Chapter 12: Using PhotographsApril 10, 2002 By Glenn VilppuIn the last lesson we discussed "Atmosphere." The main purpose was the use of atmosphere to create the illusion of 3D form, this was one of the corner stones of the Renaissance and a useful tool in expression and as a strong picture making tool.All drawings in this article are by and Glenn Vilppu. The Camera As A Tool Many times while traveling the camera becomes the main tool for gathering information. We all have stacks of pictures taken with the intention of one day turning them into drawings or paintings. The professional artist has organized scrap files of not only his or hers photographs, but also photos clipped from magazines and newspapers that could one day be of use in a project. Since its development, many artists, including Degas, Paul Gauguin, Alphonse Mucha and Maxfield Parrish, have used the camera as an integral part of their creative process. Many photographers have started out as painters. Keep in mind that the camera is a tool and, like any tool, there are practical as well as impractical uses for it. My objective in this manual is not to discuss the photograph as an art object in itself, but as a tool and resource for the artist who sketches on location. The camera does a great job of gathering information if you know how to use it. First, the camera cannot be surpassed for speed and convenience in "capturing a location" for future use, but, with the speed and convenience, come certain pitfalls. The biggest difficulty in using a photograph is the natural tendency to copy it as it is. This copying generally ends up giving everything in the photograph equal importance and emphasis. Of course, while looking at a scene and sketching on location, we do not give everything equal weight of importance. Another difficulty is the speed itself. In general, when we draw a subject we spend muych more time looking, allowing interesting details or unusual views to be discovered. Being aware of the difficulties goes a long way to help us to overcome them. This chapter hopes to minimize these difficulties in using the camera while taking advantage of its usefulness as a tool. The key to the usefulness of the photographic reference is to treat thesituation as if you were actually at the location in the photograph. It is important to remember that the drawing or painting is the point of your effort, not the photograph.Don't Copy -- Use the Photograph The first step should be to do simple thumbnail sketches from the photograph. In doing these thumbnails, compose the elements developing your visual ideas; another words, don't copy -use the photograph. In the following pages you will see examples of this approach using many of the elements discussed in previous chapters along with the photographic references. In the following, I have combined elements from different photographs. The places as drawn exist only in my imagination. Working in this manner will give you endless possibilities for creating drawings and paintings. Remember that you are using photographs and should have no qualms about changing their elements. The camera allows you to continue your sketching tour for years as you go through your photographs, remembering the enjoyment of your trip and giving you a chance to do those drawings you just didn't have time for.Glenn Vilppu first wrote for Animation World Magazine in the June 1997 issue, "Never Underestimate the Power of Life Drawing." His drawing manuals and video tapes may be purchased in the Animation World Store. Glenn Vilppu teaches figure drawing at the American Animation Institute, the Masters program of the UCLA Animation Dept., Walt Disney Feature Animation and Warner Bros. Feature Animation, and has been sent to teach artists at Disney TV studios in Japan, Canada and the Philippines. Vilppu has also worked in the animation industry for 18 years as a layout, storyboard and presentation artist. His drawing manual and video tapes are being used worldwide as course materials for animation students.
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