December 28, 2011

This week: Recommended animal anatomy video

You all should all already know about this week's topic, which I heard about on James Gurney's blog, because I've told you many a time about how great and useful James Gurney's blog is. I post things from it all the time, it's in the links sidebar, and any of you who aren't subscribed to it are fools shooting your artistic education in the foot.

So, being as you already read this post this morning when it popped up in your blog reader, I'll skip to saying that it intrigued me so much that I bought the video and found it to be worthwhile enough to recommend that you do the same.

Yes, I know, it's 39 bucks. Yes, that's a lot of money. Last year was the first year in three years I had to even file income taxes, having made an average of $8,000 a year after gross adjustment in those years, and this year I'm a clerk working for $9.75 an hour, so I don't wanna hear any clamouring about anyone else's budgetary constraints, especially not from anyone with a smartphone, or who buys coffee with any regularity. For 39 bucks you're getting more information than you'd get in three decent hour-long collage classes, from a very gifted professor, for way, way less money than you'd pay just for the lecture time, let alone the cost and time expense of putting together the graphics for the videos. These are worth the cash, if they suit your needs.

The videos do for basic animal anatomy what I endeavored to do for human anatomy in my anatomy posts (and will continue to do, several more coming at an undetermined time), but from someone much more expert and gifted than myself. His insights into simple but profound differences in quadruped and biped anatomy were revelations to me, in that way when you hear someone perfectly articulate a concept you've only barely understood by instinct. After watching these videos, I will look at animals and my approach to drawing them on a wholly different way.

I have a small issue with his basic shape exercises. I notice that he has a tendency, like many instructors, to assign beginner students different basic shapes for learning anatomy than they themselves use when drawing, which I feel hampers rather than enhances understanding of shape and ability to construct. However, he makes up for it by reversing the usually backasswards process I see in so many well regarded and in my opinion useless how to draw books by encouraging you to start with a gestural sketch, and use basic shapes to help you true the parts that seem off. Or, to use them as a separate intellectual exercise altogether. He's also very clear that you may use any basic shapes you like that help you understand your drawing better.

He's a gifted instructor, and it shows in his student's work, which is sprinkled all through the videos. You can tell he's taught them to really SEE differently. The music in the videos is ridiculous, but evidently it was composed by his son, so what can you do.

If you're someone who's ever had trouble drawing horses or realistic cats, which is everyone if we're not lying to ourselves, you really should invest in this tutorial.

Speaking of horses, I love these drawings from Fabio Moon showing the thumbnail drawing for a panel and the final artwork. This is what it means to take an adequate composition and push it into a good one.

Mark Kennedy posted this great analysis of how one out-of-place element in your art can throw your entire reality out of whack. Seriously, what was the artist thinking with those damned stars?

Finally, Kate Beaton did some great holiday comics. Yes, I know it's redundant to day she did some great anything.

See you next week!

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