Page 46 – Bear Blood
Welcome back! When I set out to do this scene my fear was that at two pages a week it was going to feel extremely long because only a little bit happens on each page. The action moves fast, but the story slows down. So far it seems to be going well though, either that or you guys are really good sports.
I thought I would answer this email I got from Benjamin for the benefit of anyone else interested. Benjamin asks:
…I was wondering if you really recommend getting a book on figure drawing. I don’t have a book now dedicated just to figure drawing, but was wondering if I should. TenNapel seems to recommend practice more than anything else. Anyhow, I was wondering if there are really enough things in the book that it is worth buying. I mean, from what you showed it seems that the basic idea is to draw the body as a bunch of basic shapes first, then fill in the detailes of the shape, and then further details. This as opposed to drawing every curve around the outside perfectly. I have been trying to do this more, and it seems to be working. This way I don’t worry too much about getting every line right, as it is more of about getting the general shape first. Is this all his books are about, or is the other useful stuff in them that make them worth getting?
You should definitely study the masters, at least a couple of them. To just practice the body will help, but what you are doing as you learn to draw the body is to draw simplified versions of the parts and learning how it fits into space. Many greater artists before you have studied this to death and we have the benefit of their hard work. There is no reason not to take advantage of it. You also run the risk of getting stuck in bad habits if you are not checking your work against better work. Besides all that, you aren’t just learning to draw the body, you are learning how to make black and white lines represent a body. That in itself take a lot of studying and you are better off building your own technique off of the work of masters and not trying to invent your own method out of thin air. Is it possible to do it without studying? Sure, but probably a heck of a lot more work. You want to get to telling stories you need to get your figures down, and the quickest way there is to study the work of guys like Bridgman, and I guarantee Doug would tell you the same.
Did you know that sports records set in the Olympics long ago are now regularly reached by high school athletes today? How is this possible, are high schoolers today really that much more athletic? No, what they have done is they have built off of the training and techniques handed down over generations. Short cuts, efficiencies and methods that have helped each generation tighten up and build on what the previous generation could do. Humble yourself before the masters and respect what they built for you. When you engage in studying their work, you not only benefit, but you take part in that great generational building up of technique. You become part of the legacy and you not only benefit from the footwork of your chosen master, but you also benefit from all those who he studied and who those before him studied. To ignore that is the definition of arrogance. I’m not accusing you of being arrogant, only saying that disregarding the work of masters like Bridgman would be an arrogant move. Those works are a great gift to use wanna-be artists. Don’t take them for granted!
In other new, I did an interview over at FlightPath. Part two goes up on Thursday. Also, !Blog did a cool write up as well as BizzaroCentral. Big thanks to everyone who is promoting and sharing Bearmageddon!