Sunday, August 23, 2015

Starting With Thumbnails

When my mom taught herself to draw she started with the simple things: portraits and still lifes. Her favorite by far (and mine too) was portraits. She learned to draw the right eye first and draw the rest of the figure in proportion to that -- a method that's not wholly wrong, but proves problematic when applying to illustration.

The good part of this method is that one learns how everything in the body relates to everything else. Using the eye's width one can determine the width of the nose, the distance between the eyes, and the basic shape of the head. Read Jack Hamm's "Drawing the Head and Figure" to learn more about this and other important aspects of drawing the figure. It's very inexpensive (about $10-$13 usd) and is an excellent reference.

There are many problems with starting with the eye in Illustration. For one, you usually don't have a perfect model to work from. Even then, if you start with something as small as the eye you won't be able to place the figure correctly on the page. To correct this I start by creating thumbnail sketches so I can get an approximation of where everything goes on the page.

If you are a writer think of a thumbnail as a story idea you get in the middle of the night. You scribble it down quickly so you can go back to sleep. Thumbnails aren't perfect -- especially mine. It's okay for these to be sloppy since no one will ever see them. Unless you write a blog post and display the sloppiness on your blog! Note: I have much sloppier thumbnails for my dummies, but couldn't show them here.

Check back soon for more information about how to make laying out the page and making better images. I will be writing about gesture, character design/emotion, and anything else I can think of this week. I will also be having a few other people with posts to help you get thinking about Smart Dummies!

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