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Putting it in Perspective

Dear Winterites,

Up until now, my weeks at school have been focused on Animation Drawing. This week, however, we had our first week of Animation Design. Full disclosure, I think the design week should have been first. And I didn’t enjoy most of it. Alas. I'm sure it could have been great, but there were too many frustrations.

Let me begin by stating that I am a mimic. To learn, I need to watch someone else do, and then I go and do likewise. As I watch various people using their skills, I pick up bits and pieces from all of them and slowly mould them into something that suits my personality. As a student, I learn similarly. I need to be shown how to do things, especially since this is an art-based program that is focused on actually doing, and absolutely all of the programs are new to me. It also helps me greatly when there is a teacher present to offer assistance when I just really don’t understand. To help me understand, I like to know the ’why’ behind things. When I understand the why, I can then understand how to better accomplish a set task.

Okay. Now that we know my learning style, let me tell you this. That is not how design is taught. Well, to be fair, it’s half taught that way.

We begin with a lecture. Nothing too long. Just going over what’s expected for the assignment. Fair enough. Then we get sent about our tasks. First thing, download a bunch of videos. Second thing, follow the instructions in said videos.

Except don’t. Because half the instructions in the videos are wrong, none of the movements are fully explained, and they’re made with outdated versions of the programs we’re training on. Not exactly the most helpful. I spent over 4 hours just trying to make a 1-point grid because I had to keep researching the actual steps in the hundreds of jpegs and pdfs we got explaining the assignment. And yes, I’m exaggerating, but honestly, not by much. I also had to go back to find the additional how-to videos for using Photoshop because that's another new program for me. Lots of videos, lots of wasted time. If I wanted to learn through video tutorials, I would have just gone to YouTube instead of spending money on schooling. Just saying.

Now, maybe it sounds like I’m complaining. And you would be correct. However, when almost everyone else in your class feels the same way, maybe there’s a deeper issue. Personally, this is how I would do things (because I like it when things are organized). I would compile all the important information into a single document with an easy-to-follow step-by-step guide on how to complete the assignment. Then, I would make the video tutorials (if you need to go that route) following the step-by-step guide EXACTLY! That way, there’s a much smaller chance for confusion. There’s also a lot less files to swamp the students with. Again. Just saying. Always looking for ways for things to be improved and more efficient. That’s all.


Now that I got that off my chest, here’s what I managed to accomplish during our first design class. Oh, wait. I got nothing done beyond downloading files and reading over materials. I spent the remainder of my day outside of class hours working on the assignment instead. #studentlife am I right?

(Managed to get the floor grid figured out after many headaches. And at least one box has made its appearance.)

Wednesday was more of the same.

(More lines. More boxes. All coming from a single vanishing point. Voila. We have one point perspective.)

Thursday is like the happy little break day in between to allow us to turn our focus on other things lest we drive ourselves insane staring at the same lines for hour and days on end. It’s the busiest day, but it’s also super fun. This particular Thursday (September 29, if you’d like to know), was one of the more enjoyable, probably because the rest of the week had been so frustrating.

In Life Drawing we focused on drawing negative space. If you don’t know what that is, it’s the empty spaces around an object. So, instead of drawing the object itself, you would draw the nothing. The result is something like a silhouette.

Before diving in, the first thing we do is always gestures. I am pleased to say that I have improved since the first week! My art instructor came over to give me some helpful tips and even demonstrated one gesture for me. Super helpful! My lines were much less tense after that. I really am excited to see how much more I’ll be able to progress before the semester ends!

**Warning, as it is a life drawing class, the models pose nude. If that triggers you, please ignore the photos or stop reading here.**

(I realize none of the images are drawn with any great anatomical detail, but the disclaimer still stands.)

(As you can see from the pictures on the left to those on the right, I was able to relax and have a bit more fun with the lines after the example from my prof. Yes, I had more time, but the first drawings are very tense in comparison with the later ones that are looser.)

My negative space drawings aren’t the greatest. And that isn't a bash against my talent for anyone who thinks I need reassurance that, "Oh no, you're so amazing!" Again, this was my first time practicing this technique, so I allow myself room for error. It's not the greatest because it just isn't. I will get better. It’s just another thing I look forward to developing along this new journey.

(The image to the right were my first attempts at drawing negative space. Yeah, that first image . . . what even is it supposed to be? I know because I was there, but if I hadn't been, I would be very confused. The second image is more obviously a stool. Cool.

And the image to the left was my long study for negative space. It worked out well enough. I'm not displeased.)

Our second class, Enviro, is always a great time. I got there early, as did the prof, so we sat in the hall and chatted while we waited for the classroom to be made available to us. Not that we stayed in the classroom long. Our side quest today was going out to hunt down rocks with the most interesting personalities and capture their likeness in graphite. Is that sort of like drawing them with their own blood?

I’ll be honest, I don’t have the patience for taking the time to draw rocks well. Mine are absolutely atrocious because I rushed through them. I simply don’t have the eye to see what other artists see. I don’t see the form of an object to be able to imagine it’s completed 3D shape. I see in stories. If asked, I could probably whip up a short something for each of the rocks I drew, but I just couldn’t see through them. Again, something to work on.

(Image 1 has a face. Poor guy looks confused or just unhappy. Image 6 looks more like one of those organic soap bars, and image 8 looks like a roast of some sort. Number 3 could be a pencil case. Some of my travel companions drew absolutely stunning rocks. Not me. Stunning would only be a word I'd use if any of these rocks got thrown at somebody's head, though perhaps from a fair distance. Otherwise, the description might have to be changed to "drop dead gorgeous.")

I’m not mad at myself. I’m not bashing myself. I’m simply analyzing how I view things to determine where I excel, and where I could use a bit more practice. I'm putting myself in perspective to see what could still use some shaping and polishing.

I’ve been viewing the world around me through the lens of an author. Now, I need to shift my focus and see through the lens of an artist.

Friday was back to Design. I nearly got done everything. Had to stop though and save the rest for the weekend so I could get away from my computer. The assignment got completed on Saturday morning, so I was still able to enjoy my weekend.

(This is the grid of a hundred lines for constructing two-point perspective boxes. After the difficulties of figuring out one point perspective, this ended up being easier, but still took a lot of time because . . . ALL THOSE LINES!)

(And thus, the boxes took shape. Are they perfect? No. Are they finished? Yes. That's all that matters.)

Thus, the week reaches its conclusion. As does the month! Wow! Time sure does fly when you're keeping busy. I'd say having fun, but some days. . .. Let's just say,

The adventure continues.

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