01 October 2010

visiting artist

Pins, 2006.

Sterling silver, steel, magnet wire,
and electronic components,
1.5 x 7 x 4.5 inches. 
Kinetic: eighteen steel sewing pins
strike the wearer on the neck
and vocal tract as she speaks.

Visitng artist Erica Duffy-Voss will give a presentation about her work on Monday, October 4 at 10:30 am in Applied Arts 210.

Duffy-Voss teaches in the Metals area at the University of Northern Iowa. She will be showing a four-screen video installation "stutter"  in the larger of the Furlong Galleries October 4th - November 12.

While the Installation that she is exhibiting is video, her work is quite diverse, and her presentation will include metals, video and sculpture. Her website: 

Erica Duffy-Voss

23 September 2010

critique ~ 22 september 2010

Wednesday was our first critique day of the semester in Life Drawing II. The LD II students had three drawings due: a 3/4 front view of the skull, a 3/4 back view, and a profile. We met in small groups to discuss issues of anatomy, space, planar analysis, etc. of the drawings. Later, in the large group meeting, we talked about the idea of moving the drawings beyond accuracy, about the need to impart a sense of life in the drawings.

evan b. discussing katy's drawings

dan k., pal, xai, and sarah: small group critique

why life drawing

this article is reposted from Vilppu Store

Why Life Drawing?
"Analyze the model, don't copy the model"

Never Underestimate the Power of
Life Drawing

Master teacher Glenn Vilppu muses on the importance of life drawing in animation.

By Glenn Vilppu
This article first appeared in Animation World News, June 1, 1997.

It always comes as a bit of a shock for students and artists preparing portfolios for animation industry positions that, almost without exception, what the studios first want to see are figure drawings from life. They don't want to see caricatures, cartoons, or copies of the studio's characters. They want traditional, classical figure drawing. 
Why traditional figure drawing?
First, let us look at what skills are needed in good animation drawing.

  • At the top of the list is the ability to communicate movement and personality through drawing. By using simple lines an artist should be able to give a figure a real sense of life and individuality, not just an action pose or stereotypical expression.

  • Next on the list is to be able to draw three dimensionally, to make the characters feel like they are not only individuals, but that they exist in a real world.

  • Since the characters we create and work with are products of our imagination, the animation professional has to be able to draw from his imagination.

  • Next on the list is the ability to consistently draw the same character using the same forms, proportions and details in the particular style that has been set for the production.
As you can see, the list is asking for a high level of skill, and we haven't even touched on imagination, story telling and inventiveness yet.

Modern Renaissance Drawing
So, how do you know an artist has these skills?

Figure drawing has been the standard measurement of an artist's skills for hundreds of years, probably from the moment we first started capturing the living world around us. The Renaissance artist was judged by much the same standard as the animation artist is today. The great masters of the past were first story tellers. They had to be able to create figures that the viewers could empathize with so that stories were brought to life with a sense of realism and believability

"Animation drawing is, in essence, the closest thing we have to classical Renaissance drawing today." 

The Renaissance artist primarily created figures to fit an ideal of perfection using simple volumes to construct figures. The constructions of Raphael are no different than many model sheets you see for classical animation. In traditional drawing, this is referred to as plastic drawing, or "using synthetic forms". This allowed the artist to create fantastic imaginary worlds peopled with figures, in the most part, drawn from imagination. 
The beginning compositional sketches of all artists are more similar than they are different. The goal is the same, to capture the sense of the abstract total.  A compositional notation by the Mannerist artist Tintoretto would fit in quite well with rough layout and story sketches from our current major studios. The artists of the past are the inspiration and yard stick of quality that we still use. 

To draw the human figure well from imagination you must first be able to draw the simple forms of construction -- the sphere, box, cylinder and cone -- from memory, in any position and combination. The famous Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens said that "you can draw anything using a sphere, box, and cone." These simple volumes are the foundation of good figure drawing, and are the fundamental tools of figure construction. These "tools" not only help you to draw the figure from imagination but to see the forms of the model. 

"A portfolio will almost automatically be rejected if the figures inside do not have a clear sense of volume and unambiguous space based on model observation."

Form and Technique

It is important to understand the difference between animation drawing and drawing for illustration.

  • As I have already mentioned, in animation we draw almost exclusively from imagination, and hence need to be able to construct a figure from the mind's eye.

  • In illustration, the artist will generally acquire a model or use photographs to work from if needed. The illustrator also only needs the one particular view that he or she is going to use. As such, the training tends to develop a strong ability to copy a model as well as different techniques for communicating the image.
In my Figure Drawing for Animation classes, I am continually telling the students that we don't copy the model. We analyze the model.
As for technique, the animation artist must focus on describing form with as little individual technique as possible. An animation is a collective work from many artists. Each artist's work must blend in with the direction of the total production and not draw attention as an individual style.

Gesture sketch by Glenn Vilppu
Of course, another reason for requiring a degree of skill at human figure drawing is that a lot of animation is based upon human characters. The ability to change real forms into animation forms requires knowledge of the former. 

"You cannot draw something if you don't know what it looks like." 

Consequently, an animation candidate's figure drawings must show a fair degree of human anatomy comprehension

Problems while drawing from a human model, bring into question not only the artist's understanding of the figure, but also the ability to be able to follow a model sheet.  As humans, we are so tuned into the subtleties of our forms that a high level of skill and development are needed by an artist to create forms that may seem childish.  In fact, this feat is often the culmination of many drawings of the human figure by a talented artist whose skills have been fully developed. 

Of course, there are many exceptions to the above. We have all seen the success of characters created by artists with very little formal training.  While our industry is better for these exceptions, I personally, would bet my career on my artistic skills while I tried to develop that next Saturday morning superstar.  However, keep in mind that whenever asked a question about a particular drawing, my late friend Don Griffith, the former head of the Disney layout department, would first tell you what he would do, and then he would invariably shrug his shoulders and say, "Its your career!"

Glenn Vilppu teaches figure drawing at the American Animation Institute, the Masters program of the UCLA Animation Dept., Walt Disney Feature Animation, Warner Bros. Feature Animation and Rhythm & Hues Studios. Vilppu has also worked in the Animation industry for 18 years as a layout, storyboard and presentation artist. His drawing manual and video tapes are being used worldwide as course materials for animation students.

20 September 2010

opportunites from UW-Stout Career Services

uw-stout career services, career conference

You have all received an email from UW-Stout Career Services about the upcoming Career Conference (October 5 - 7). This is simply a reminder of that information.

Tuesday, October 5 - Game Design & Development

Wednesday, October 6 - Art (Graphic Design, Interior Design, Industrial Design, and Multimedia Design)
Art Education

How to identify employers looking for your major
Employers Interviewing On-Campus

UW-Stout students have also been invited to attend the Government Job and Internship Fair taking place on Friday, October 22, 2010 from 10 a.m. -3 p.m.

If you would like to meet with a Career Service counselor to discuss this or any other aspect of job searching please call 715-232-1601 to set up an appointment.

16 September 2010

new american paintings

UW-Stout Studio Art graduate (and Life Drawing student), Nathan Vernau, is featured on the cover of the current issue of New American Paintings. What a great example of what Stout students can accomplish!! Visit Nathan's website here.

New American Paintings, #89 (cover by Nathan Vernau, UW-Stout gradate)

14 September 2010

student work, skulls

life drawing two ~ fall 2009
skull, profile; by sara g.

Tilted Skull
life drawing two ~ fall 2009
tilted skull; by ryan l.

Study of the Skull
life drawing two ~ fall 2009
skull, 3/4 anterior view; by kaitlin a.

13 September 2010

coming back to the skull

image reproduced from digital artform

In Life Drawing I, we had a brief introduction to the skull and facial features. In Life Drawing II, we will begin the course with in-depth study of the skull via gesture and long drawings of the skull--first in standard position, then in various positions from several points of view. One of the objectives I have for you with the skulls is to be able to draw it from memory from any position.

image from Stan Prokopenko's blog

Here are a few links that address this drawing problem:

Stan Prokopenko (How to Draw the Head from Any Angle)

Feeling the Form - Loomis and the Planes of the Head

painting fanatics locked in an attic

Society of Figurative Arts Board Index > Life Forms > The Human Form + Figure Studies + From Life or Imagination + (C) Skulls: Open Post

add/drop reminders

Tuesday, Sept. 14, the fifth day of classes, is:
  • the last day to drop first quarter classes without mark of “WS”
  • the last day to add first quarter classes and choose CR/NC grade option

Tuesday, Sept. 21, the 10th day of classes, is:

  • the last day to register for semester classes
  • the last day to drop semester classes without mark of “WS”
  • the last day to add semester classes and choose CR/NC grade option 
  • the last day to drop a full semester class and get a full refund
Drop cards must have instructors’ permission and signatures and be delivered in person to the Registration and Records office, Bowman Hall room 109.

08 September 2010

welcome & first assignment

Welcome back to you all! I am excited to work with each of you this semester and am looking forward to watching you progress with your drawing skills and understanding of artistic anatomy.

This blog (http://www.lifedrawingtwo.blogspot.com) will be our home base for the semester. Check out the Pages section (a link to each page exists right below the blog header) for the syllabus, final exam times, info on your own class blogs, etc.

Have both of these assignments completed by Saturday, September 11 by 11:00 pm.

Your first assignment for the semester is to create a D2L profile on Learn@Stout. Please include
1) a photo of yourself, and 
2) fill out the website info with your blog's url. 
3) send your blog's url to the Life Drawing II dropbox on D@L.  Do this even if I already have your url from Life Drawing I.

This will help everyone in the class know better who you are and enable us all to find each other's blogs as we need to. All the other information on the D2L profile is optional. Feel free to fill out some/all of the questionnaire about your interests or leave it blank... that part is up to you.

Your second assignment is to read over the syllabus and the blog pages--you will find these near the top of this blog.  

1) Then set up a blog on blogger.com. You can use the blog you used for Life Drawing I and simply continue it, or you can set up a new one. I would like everyone to use blogger this semester, so if you have used another blog service in the past, you can set up a new blogger account or import your former blog into blogger. I am asking this because it makes it easier for everyone to comment on blogs and for all of us to help each other with any blog issues that may come up.

2) Create your first post for Life Drawing II (about 300 words, minimum two photos). You made an introductory post in Life Drawing I, but I'm sure much has happened since then. Update us: what is your concentration? why are you taking Life Drawing II? what do you hope to learn? what are some other projects/artworks you've completed recently? what travel or internships have you done?

Then... pick up any supplies you still need and come ready for drawing on Monday, September 13. Skulls!