Monday, June 21, 2010

Cartooning Class #3-- Drawing...

3. Don't take drawing for granted. It's deep. It can blow your mind if you let it.
Please know that I respect other approaches to drawing. I just go with what I think is best. It follows that to me, my way of drawing and thinking about drawing is the best. But that’s just me. I say that because I know I’m going to get a little heavy-handed here.


Remember that the drawing BEGINS in your mind, so don’t limit yourself at the beginning by small thinking.

Drawing isn’t really about rendering something in 2 dimensions. I haven’t seen anything in the real world that is totally and completely flat (don’t argue with me here, I’m trying to make a point). Even a “flat” piece of paper becomes a dynamic form when you pick it up off the table. It bends and moves. Everything exists in some kind of space, and since the human imagination has the capacity to deconstruct and transcend what we know as “reality” we ought not limit ourselves to two dimensions-- especially this early in the game.


Draw a balloon, but:
Don’t draw a circle. Think “a spheroid kinda squishy, shiny balloony thing” and then draw what you’re thinking.

Draw a man running, but:
Don’t draw a body, arms and legs just positioned in a certain way-- think “RUNNING” and then draw the ACT of running.

Your pencil is not just traveling across the surface of your paper. It’s moving through three dimensional space and giving form to three dimensional ideas. See the horse exercise below. A lot of times, the “how to’s” you’ll find on drawing will start you off with some shapes to which you add arms heads and legs to. This isn’t helpful. Let the subject exist as fully as possible in your mind.

Apply this to things you take from life. You’re not drawing shapes, you’re drawing three dimensional forms that have their own energy or essence--whether it’s a rock, a cloud, a man beating his dog for crapping on the rug for the 3rd time that day. Understand that because that’s what you’re communicating-- qualities of being and not just shapes on a page. Let your drawing become empathetic. Feel what your subject feels (on some level at least) and communicate that through your drawing.

It’s ok. I know it sounds pretty dang kooky, but it goes through my head automatically when I work. Plant it in your brain down to the deepest parts. I could feed you and burp you and help you along every little step of the way, but I’ve got more respect for you than that, and I think you can handle this.

It's not my intention to do a whole "how to draw" course on here. There are a bunch of folks out there doing it already. One of the ones that I think you'll find most helpful is Rad Sechrist's. He's super good and really get's down to the nitty gritty. Check out his "how to" blog here.


Jake Page Illustration said...

Hey Stephen - I've been secretly following you for a while now and I just saw your updated site (great look) and your blog (which I will henceforth be checking back on regularly...) Thanks so much for the drawing tips..frankly, it served as a much-needed encouragement for me today. Thought you'd like to know. :)

bluntcakes said...

I love this. Nice post.

stephen said...

Oh man, thanks guys. I've been so busy I didn't notice anyone had left any comments. I'm super glad you were encouraged, Jake. That encourages me to continue this stuff.

Nicolás Uribe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicolás Uribe said...

I haven't heard your voice in like 10 years, but as I read what you write, I'm listening to you all over again. Absolutely wonderful. It must be a joy to have you as a teacher...

well, either that or education has gone down the drain...