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The journal of an aspiring animation filmmaker. Inspiration, Film Analysis, Animation Art, Student Work, Book Notes, Book Store, Composing Pictures, and much more!

Jul 14, 2008

Bridgman

As I mentioned last month I've been studying Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing From Life. This was on the advice of my Intro to Anatomy instructor from AAU. I love Bridgman's drawing style, and this book was so cheap (Only $12!). It's also gigantic, representing the kind of challenge I was looking for. As the cover says the book includes over a thousand illustrations, consisting of Bridgman's entire catalogue of anatomy and figure drawing teachings. I figured there was no better way to learn to draw than to study this tome cover to cover. Over the past few months I've reproduced every single drawing in this book. But these are not just straight duplications, they are studies. My main goal in the end wasn't to gain an in depth understanding of anatomy. Rather it was to improve my line quality and flow while drawing. It was basically a great playground for practicing, and trying to loosen up. I was also interested in improving my sense of the proportions of things when drawing. And if I absorbed a little anatomy along the way, that was a bonus.

In the beginning, I was very tight, and rigid. You can see I was fighting the pages, and really searching. Just basically trying to draw too hard. As I realised what a mountainous task this was, I knew I had to spend more time at the drawing board every day if I really wanted to loosen up. So for the past three or four weeks (In which I've completed most of this book) I've spent no less than an hour a day at the drawing board. Most of those days consisted of 3 or more hours, and some consisted of over 6. When I didn't get the results I liked, I simply tried harder. And I repeated this until I was remotely satisfied. Juggling the hours between life and work was a task on it's own, but I managed to get at least an hour every day, which was essential.

When I look at other artist's blogs, all I seem to see is there best work. I can't really blame them, who wants anyone to see their crappy drawings? But this blog isn't just for me to share my humble artwork and opinions on the animation industry with whoever should choose to read this. It's also a way for me to accelerate my rate of improvement. I can post what I consider my best work today, and think of it as shit tomorrow. This way I KNOW I'm improving, and I can chart my progress. It will also be a great thing to look back on years from now, when I'm as good as I hope I am.

Anyway, presented here are a mere 13 pages from various stages of study in chronological order. The last page was completed yesterday. I can definitely see that I have loosened up a lot. About half way through I bought a gigantic sketchbook and an oil based pencil in an attempt to loosen up and draw with my entire arm as opposed to just using my wrist. These are all learning drawings, and I'm not ashamed to show them. Of course if any of my peers have any advice for improvement, I'd love to hear what you have to say in the comments section.

I think this book is the best $12 I have ever spent on art education. I finally feel like I'm drawing now. I may not be drawing very well, but I have less hesitation when I see the blank page, and I have more confidence in my abilities. I recommend this ridiculous exercise to anyone that wants to improve their drawing skills. Click any of the images in this post to enlarge them to high resolution scans. Sorry for the poor quality, my sketchbook was too big to scan.

I'll now move on Vilppu, and his DVD series.








I was pleasantly surprised to find that the last chapters of the book were devoted to drapery. What a fantastic way to put my newly loosened up arm to the test. While these drawings are very rough, and sketchy, I could not have done then two months ago as well I as I did them yesterday. THAT was the improvement I was looking for.



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2 Comments:

Blogger David Gale said...

Wow! You've got some discipline! I think the young Frank Frazetta may have subjected himself to the same excercise.

While I've spent hours reading/looking at the Bridgman books, I've only ever managed a handful of lazy copies.

Ever look at any Gottfried Bammes, BTW? He's up there with Bridgman, for me.

July 15, 2008 1:01 PM

 
Blogger Dan said...

Wow really? Frazetta is someone I have yet to study in depth. I've just admired his work from a far, and read about him in a few John K posts. That's encouraging for you to mention that, so thanks.

I haven't heard pf Gottried Bammes, but I'll Goggle that right away.

Thanks

July 15, 2008 1:08 PM

 

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