Archive for the ‘instruction’ Category

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Instruction: Composition- How To Make Pictures

John Kricfalusi recently posted a series of great articles on composition and layout on his blog…

Composition For Layout And Background Artists: Framing
Composition 2: Intersection
Composition 3: Clear Staging
Composition 4: Staging Groups of Characters
Composition 5: Negative vs Positive Space
Composition 6: Asymetricality
Composition 7: Poses Working Together
Composition 8: Form vs. Detail, Lettering, Reference
Composition 9: Study Other Artists
Composition 10: Contrasts
Composition 11: Organic Shapes
Composition 12: Contrasts in Texture and Spacing
Composition 13: Scale
Composition 14: Form Over Detail
Composition 15: Form in Clouds
Composition 16: Flair
Composition 17: Reference and Inspiration
Composition 18: Scene Planning For TV Part One
Compostion 19: Scene Planning For TV Part Two
Compostion 20: More Inspiring BG Layouts

Famous Artists BooksFamous Artists BooksSeeing the fantastic examples by Mary Blair, Milt Gross and Jack Kirby reminded me how UN-designed many animated films and print cartoons are today. Mark Kennedy has a great post on Rhythmic Composition that you’ll want to check out too.

When I went to design school, I don’t remember any real serious analysis of compositional techniques beyond the most basic principles. Compositions were critiqued with “gut reactions”, which might be helpful in identifying a design that isn’t working, but it doesn’t help an artist trying to figure out how to improve and strengthen his work.

I dug through my reference shelves and pulled another invaluable lesson from the Famous Artists Course. This is lesson three from the Illustration Course this time. In methodical fashion, the famed illustrators Albert Dorne, Norman Rockwell, Al Parker, Peter Helck, Austin Briggs, Ben Stahl and Fred Ludekens team up to break down the nuts and bolts of what makes a picture work.

COMPOSITION: How To Make Pictures

Composition
Composition
Composition
Composition
Composition

THE FOUR MAIN ELEMENTS OF COMPOSITION

Composition
Composition

1.) PICTURE AREA

Composition
Composition
Composition
Composition
Composition
Composition

2.) DEPTH

Composition
Composition
Composition
Composition

3.) LINE

Composition
Composition
Composition
Composition

4.) VALUE

Composition
Composition
Composition

Famous Artists BooksFamous Artists BooksThe Famous Artists Course was created in the mid-1950s by Norman Rockwell, Rube Goldberg and Albert Dorne, among others. The correspondence lessons and educational materials are still available at www.famous-artists-school.com. Books from the three courses: Painting, Illustration/Design and Cartooning turn up on eBay as well. I highly recommend these great resources to students.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

INSTRUCTIONINSTRUCTION

This posting is part of an online series of articles dealing with Instruction.

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Instruction: Willy Pogany’s Drawing Lessons

Pogany's Drawing Lessons

Willy Pogany was one of the most important book illustrators and designers of the first half of the 20th century. His Rime of the Ancient Mariner and books based on Wagnerian opera are masterpieces, to say nothing of his editions of Mother Goose, Alice in Wonderland and Faust. While other illustrators were confining themselves to an occasional tipped in plate buried among page after page of identical text blocks, Pogany broke the mold, designing elaborate pen and ink illustrations that surrounded the text, ornate capitals for the beginning of each page and calligraphy that turned the words into art. He is probably the artist most responsible for establishing what we think of as modern children’s book illustration.

Pogany's Drawing Lessons

He was also an author and teacher, with three books covering drawing, oil painting and watercolor. Today, I am presenting two sections from his book Willy Pogany’s Drawing Lessons. The first is titled…

FIGURE SKETCHING

Pogany's Drawing Lessons

One of the most fascinating subjects to draw is the human figure. The fine proportions, beautiful modeling and delicate balance, and the infinite variations in movement and repose are such that there is no other living thing to compare with it. Through countless ages artists of all races have drawn, painted and modeled the human form.

Pogany's Drawing Lessons

If you have never done any figure drawing, I would suggest that you start to draw the human figure in its simplest pose with little or no foreshortening. This is an upright standing position with arms close to the body and feet together.

Make up your mid before you begin, how large you want your drawing to be and mark on the paper the total length desired. Your drawing must be exactly the size that you have indicated on your paper.

Your next step is to draw a straight vertical line connecting the two marks. This will indicate the imaginary line of gravitation running from head to foot.

Now mark the center of the body by dividing the vertical line into two equal parts. Mark your proportions.

Draw in the oval of the head.

Pogany's Drawing Lessons

Measure the width of the shoulders compared to the length of the body. Draw in the shoulder line. Do the same with the hips.

To measure, use a pencil in your outstretched hand, first getting the width, then measuring vertically the number of times the width goes into the total length of the body. Now proceed to draw the masses of the chest, hips, legs, etc.

Pogany's Drawing Lessons

To check on your drawing, watch the shape of the background that surrounds the figure. See if these "left spaces" (or negative shapes) correspond with the outline of your drawing.

For instance, whatever the position of your subject, watch the shape and size of the space between the arms and the body; between the tilted head and the shoulder; between the two legs, etc, etc.

These will be your left spaces. Special attention to them will be of great help in making a correct drawing.

Pogany's Drawing Lessons
Pogany's Drawing Lessons
Pogany's Drawing Lessons
Pogany's Drawing Lessons
Pogany's Drawing Lessons
Pogany's Drawing Lessons
Pogany's Drawing Lessons
Pogany's Drawing Lessons
Pogany's Drawing Lessons
Pogany's Drawing Lessons
Pogany's Drawing Lessons
Pogany's Drawing Lessons

Cartoons are about things that aren’t real- pure imagination. But even here, it’s important to have balance… A friend of mine, Louise Zingarelli once told me, “You can’t draw crazy things until you can draw perfectly straight. Wonky perspective all over isn’t weird or interesting- it’s just ugly and dumb. You’ve got to have both, working right against wrong… just like working warms against cools in colors." The second section of the book we are presenting today illustrates these points.

POGANY’S SKETCHBOOK

Pogany's Drawing Lessons

Willy Pogany was a children’s book illustrator who specialized in fantasy subjects. At the end of the book, after the lessons, he presents a selection of his work sketches. Pogany was particularly eloquent, with a huge library of shapes and forms in his head. He also had an amazing sense of balance- making the fantastic seem real. This is truly great draftsmanship.

Pogany's Drawing Lessons
Pogany's Drawing Lessons
Pogany's Drawing Lessons
Pogany's Drawing Lessons
Pogany's Drawing Lessons
Pogany's Drawing Lessons
Pogany's Drawing Lessons
Pogany's Drawing Lessons
Pogany's Drawing Lessons
Pogany's Drawing Lessons
Pogany's Drawing Lessons
Pogany's Drawing Lessons
Pogany's Drawing Lessons
Pogany's Drawing Lessons
Pogany's Drawing Lessons
Pogany's Drawing Lessons

Drawing is a language, and it requires building a vocabulary to be eloquent. Students should carry a sketchbook with them wherever they go and draw everything they see- from people’s heads in a late night coffee shop to fireplugs on the street. Everything you draw becomes part of your dictionary of imagery in the future.

Pogany’s classic drawing lessons are still in print under the title, “The Art of Drawing”. Pick up a copy at Amazon for your reference library.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

INSTRUCTIONINSTRUCTION

This posting is part of an online series of articles dealing with Instruction.

IllustrationIllustration

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit spotlighting Illustration.

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Exhibit: Carlo Vinci Shows Us How To Pick An Animation School

National Academy of Design 1931

Today, I read a post on Cartoon Brew titled When Angry Animation Students Attack. Apparently, an animation student became frustrated by the poor quality of instruction at his school, so he crapped out his final film and ended it with a credit for his professor that read, "Thanks for nothing."

This particular post resonated with me, because the most common question I’m asked by young artists is, "How should I pick an animation school?" They always expect me to recommend a specific school, but my answer usually surprises them.

Carlo Vinci Artist and AnimatorCarlo Vinci was one of the most talented animators who ever lived. When he passed away in 1993, he left behind a remarkable legacy. But of particular interest to students of animation was his collection of student work. Tucked away in a closet was a portfolio full of studies that chart his education. Vinci’s family is generously allowing the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive to document this material with the intent of reconstructing his education as a model for current students of animation.

Today, I’d like to share a brochure with you… This is the course outline for National Academy of Design, the art school that Carlo Vinci attended… I hope you take the time to read over this material carefully, especially if you are a student looking to pursue a career in animation. It will help you know what to look for in an animation school.

National Academy of Design 1931

The Academy believes firmly in the development of individuality but denies that such development is helped by the ignoring of the universal heritage, the heritage of the graphic manifestations of Man’s temperament and impressions. It therefore approves careful consideration of the Art of the past and its correlation with the Art of the present. It encourages progressive experiment admitting the vitality of real Art under any form and condemning only ignorance, insincerity and the contempt which is born of them.

National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931

The students have at all time free access to the Academy’s large and valuable collection of standard and rare books on every branch of the fine arts… Of especial advantage to the student is the easy accessibility of the great collections in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Historical Society, New York Public Library, Brooklyn Museum, the City Hall, the Hispanic Society, and the galleries of innumerable private collectors and art dealers in the city, where the best American works and art treasures from foreign countries may be studied to better advantage than anywhere else in America.

REQUIREMENTS

National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931

SCHEDULE OF CLASSES

National Academy of Design 1931

The class schedule runs six days a week from 9 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon. First year studios in drawing from sculpture, life drawing, portrait painting, still life painting, and composition run from two to three hours apiece. Second year courses consist of life drawing, sculpture from life, portrait painting, etching, composition, and mural decoration. And three hour night courses are offered in sculpture, life drawing, drawing from sculpture and composition.

First year students receive lectures in anatomy, perspective and art history. Second year students attend lecture classes in color theory, various printing techniques, stained glass, mosaic and the history of art and architecture.

COURSE OF STUDY

National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931

Note that students first draw from still life and sculpture, and only when they have proved their abilities, are they allowed to advance to drawing from life.

National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931

INSTRUCTORS

National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931

HISTORY OF THE SCHOOL

>National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931

PAST GRADUATES

National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931
National Academy of Design 1931

HOW DO I PICK AN ANIMATION SCHOOL?

Here’s the surprising answer… You don’t! Schools that specialize in animation as a trade do a lousy job of preparing you for a career in animation. While you’re a student, you should focus on your core art skills- drawing, design, composition and color. Look for a school that can give you a solid classical art background. Avoid ones that just teach computer programs. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to learn Maya!

Carlo Vinci was one of the greatest animators who ever lived, but he never took a class in animation. Instead, he spent three years of intense study to learn to be an artist. With the experience he gained at the National Academy of Design, he was able to learn animation and advance quickly on the job. It was the same for great animators like Marc Davis, Chuck Jones and Frank Thomas who studied at Chouinard on the West coast.

IT’S A LOT EASIER TO LEARN ANIMATION THROUGH SELF STUDY ONCE YOU’VE BEEN TAUGHT THE CLASSICAL ARTS THAN IT IS TO DO IT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. Start with the general skills and work your way towards the specific ones.

National Academy

Students at the National Academy of Design
around the time Vinci attended.

You have an advantage that the Golden Age animators didn’t have. Personal computers and inexpensive animation software make it easy to experiment and learn animation on your own. You have amazing resources on the web, like the $100,000 Animation Drawing Course, Mark Kennedy’s Seven Golden Camels and John Kricfalusi’s invaluable blog, All Kinds Of Stuff. You have no excuse for not learning to animate.

You can’t buy an education, but you may be able to buy a degree. Students graduate without any marketable skills from good colleges every year. But that isn’t the schools’ fault. Your education is your own responsibility. It’s not your professor’s job to MAKE you learn. Learning is a life-long occupation. Apply yourself.

If you can’t afford a university degree, you can still obtain a first class art education. Attend classes at your local community college and pick up copies of the Famous Artists painting, commercial art and cartooning sets on eBay. Self study is the key to becoming a great artist. Once you start to master the fundamental skills, THEN apply yourself to learning to animate.

If you follow this advice, you’ll never have to make excuses for your lack of skill as an animator, and you’ll never need to blame anyone else for your lack of education. Best of all, your education will form the foundation for any creative endeavor you undertake.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

INSTRUCTIONINSTRUCTION

This posting is part of an online series of articles dealing with Instruction.

TheoryTheory

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit entitled Theory.