30 September 2010

blogging questions

If you are having difficulties with blogger, or are wondering how to accomplish certain actions on your blog, you can check blogger help.

For example, find out how to post a picture.

You do not need to "follow" other students per se. Although you can. Following is mostly about using a Feed Reader (such as Google Reader). If you follow someone, their blog updates will show up in your Reader so that you are notified whenever they post something new.

What you do need to do is to make sure as the semester progresses, that you are commenting on at least one other student's blog (from your section of Life Drawing I). You will need to comment at least once on every other student's blog during the semester. You are responsible for keeping track of whose blog you've commented on.

To comment on someone else's blog, first find a blog either on the left or right column (labeled art 301-001 ~ fall 2010 [right column of blog] and art 301-002 ~ fall 2010 [left column of blog]).

Then click on that blog, browse through that person's posts, find something that sparks an interest or question in you and then click on the link that usually says "0 comments," or "3 comments," etc.

You will then be able to post your own comment. Ideally, the other student would then offer a response to you--even something simple such as, "thanks for your comment." 

Blogging is a way to build a community of readers and writers, a way to connect beyond the classroom.

I will spend most of my time looking at the blogs when I grade portfolios. During other times of the semester, my assistant (a graduate student) reads them every week and gives me a report to let me know how you all are doing--if the posts are long enough, thoughtful enough, if you have posted a good-quality image, etc.

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28 September 2010

23 September 2010

why life drawing

this article is reposted from Vilppu Store

Why Life Drawing?
"Analyze the model, don't copy the model"

Never Underestimate the Power of
Life Drawing

Master teacher Glenn Vilppu muses on the importance of life drawing in animation.

By Glenn Vilppu
This article first appeared in Animation World News, June 1, 1997.

It 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

"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 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.

Gesture sketch 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 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!"

Glenn Vilppu teaches figure drawing at the American Animation Institute, the Masters program of the UCLA Animation Dept., Walt Disney Feature Animation, Warner Bros. Feature Animation and Rhythm & Hues Studios. 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.

20 September 2010

opportunities from UW-Stout Career Services

uw-stout career services, career conference

You have all received an email from UW-Stout Career Services about the upcoming Career Conference (October 5 - 7). This is simply a reminder of that information.

Tuesday, October 5 - Game Design & Development

Wednesday, October 6 - Art (Graphic Design, Interior Design, Industrial Design, and Multimedia Design)
Art Education

How to identify employers looking for your major
Employers Interviewing On-Campus

UW-Stout students have also been invited to attend the Government Job and Internship Fair taking place on Friday, October 22, 2010 from 10 a.m. -3 p.m.

If you would like to meet with a Career Service counselor to discuss this or any other aspect of job searching please call 715-232-1601 to set up an appointment.

19 September 2010

animation road show

great animation blog, resource for those interested in animation

Figure Drawing Design and Invention by Michael Hampton

18 September 2010

blind contour, continuous-line contour

During the first full day of class (Tuesday, September 14) we drew from our seashells. The shells will serve as objects from which to work for homework assignments, especially since it is difficult to impossible to arrange life drawing models for homework. Shells make great Life Drawing subject matter: they are bone-like in their hardness and texture and in their concave/convex movements in space. They are also muscle-like in their spiral natures and fluidity. They are easy to hold and move around in one's hand while drawing, as to get a more three-dimensional view of the object.

We started the class with Blind Contour drawings--making drawings looking only at the object, not at the paper. The objective here is to learn how to ignore or subordinate the outcome of the drawing in order to concentrate on the object's form, to learn how to focus intently on the object as your eyes move across it and your arm and hand follow your eye's movement. The goal is not to reproduce a likeness of the shell, although if one observes the shell carefully and draws the contours slowly, there will be a sense of a shell, or a shell-like image on the page, even if it is not proportional or "realistic."

blind contour
blind contour drawing of shell (30 minutes)

The second drawing we worked on was a Continuous-line Drawing of the shell. This time we could look at the paper as we were drawing, but still tried to maintain the careful focus of the blind contour drawing. The rule for this drawing is that we were to keep the feel of a single line moving across the shell and the page. We were to keep our drawing tool in contact with the paper at all times (or putting it back exactly at the point from which we removed it if our arms needed a break). The idea here is that you want to trace the shell's form constantly with your eyes and hand, not skipping over difficult or "boring" parts, but moving along every part of the shell, seeing the ins and outs of the form, and revealing that careful path in the drawing.

continuous-line contour
continuous-line contour drawing of shell (30 minutes)

Students met in small groups after completing these drawings to discuss the qualities and attributes of line in the drawings, and how line was functioning on the picture plane. They described such line characteristics as: value, thickness, angularity, curve, speed, precision, layering, etc. For each drawing, they also had to address the question: how carefully observed was this shell? and what gives that impression?

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17 September 2010

Getting Back to the Phantom Skill

drawing by James McMullan
A New York Times article:
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16 September 2010

studio mysteries

nice artistic anatomy posts on this blog:
studio mysteries

image from studio mysteries

new american paintings

UW-Stout Studio Art graduate (and Life Drawing student), Nathan Vernau, is featured on the cover of the current issue of New American Paintings. What a great example of what Stout students can accomplish!! Visit Nathan's website here.

New American Paintings, #89 (cover by Nathan Vernau, UW-Stout gradate)

13 September 2010

add/drop reminders

Tuesday, Sept. 14, the fifth day of classes, is:
  • the last day to drop first quarter classes without mark of “WS”
  • the last day to add first quarter classes and choose CR/NC grade option

Tuesday, Sept. 21, the 10th day of classes, is:

  • the last day to register for semester classes
  • the last day to drop semester classes without mark of “WS”
  • the last day to add semester classes and choose CR/NC grade option 
  • the last day to drop a full semester class and get a full refund
Drop cards must have instructors’ permission and signatures and be delivered in person to the Registration and Records office, Bowman Hall room 109.

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