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Sent on: Jan 2, 2022

The Newsletter: Issue #12

Figure drawing discovery, utilising your original characters backstory and discovering your art hero's influences

Hey hey!

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Happy 2022!
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Let's kick the year off with some thoughts around figure drawing, consistency, focus and character design for this weeks edition of my top resources, thoughts, 'aha moments' and announcements directly from my brain to yours.

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- What I've been reading this week

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Art related...

ā€‹Michael Hamptons 'Figure Drawing, design and invention'ā€‹

I've been going through Michaels book again this week, it's one of those ones that's just an absolute staple for figure drawing, simplification of forms and understanding how to 'build' the figure as opposed to copy from life or photos that I'll revisit time and time again.

It has just enough anatomy to get the job done, without becoming a medical text book. I love this book!

I also did some digging and found out he has a youtube channel (mentioned below). It's invaluable to actually hear and see his explanations that he mentions in the book.

One nice little take away to took from it this time is that he's only ever using a variation of one of these 3D shapes

  • Cube
  • Sphere
  • Cylinder

And only uses three types of lines

  • ( | ) <- straight
  • ( S ) <- S curve
  • ( C ) <- C curve

This greatly reduces the complexity when building the figure and is one of those things I didn't pick up on until I picked the book up again!

Take a look at his work and study the living daylights out of it while keeping in mind the above, and you'll be surprised that it truly is, just simple forms and shapes, built on top of one another when you break it down! (Easier said than done mind you).

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Non art related (Art Adjacent)

ā€‹Indistractable - Nir Eyalā€‹

This one is a great little read, haven't finished, but got some nice little nuggets none the less!

It focusses on how to be less distracted in an increasingly distracting world.

Being less distracted can also be seen as a competitive advantage as well, which piqued my interest.

As a product designer and developer I loved one of his other books 'Hooked, how to build habit-forming products' so I was keen to check this one out.

One little nugget I found useful...

Identity pacts

One of the best ways to change your behaviour is to change your 'identity'.

Little alterations in the way we see ourselves can have a dramatic effect on future actions and you tend to align your actions with how you see yourself.

Basically, if we see ourselves as the type of person that does or doesn't (fill your desired habit/behaviour) we're much more likely to follow through with that.

Something to keep in mind, especially when it comes to the inner self talk.

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- Videos/ Resources

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ā€‹Proko + Morgan Weistling -> How to draw like a painter ā€‹

A great little video by Painter Morgan Weistling how he goes about drawing Proko, and how he believes that drawing is basically painting, and painting is basically drawing.

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Michael Hampton

As mentioned above, I've been doing some deep dives into Michaels content, and I'm in love with it! Go and check out the links below for all the figure drawing goodness.

ā€‹Michael's Youtube Channel

ā€‹http://figuredrawingdotinfo.blogspot.com/ā€‹

ā€‹An amazing video on constructing the hand ā€‹

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- Thoughts and musings of the week

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Consistency

I've come to the conclusion that the number one habit/character trait I want to keep for the rest of my life is consistency. It's definitely not 'easy' but it does take less effort over time the more (consistent 'pun intended') you are with it.

I'm always trying to figure out ways to remind myself to stay on the path, to do the thing I said I was going to do, and follow through on personal, work, study and health goals.

This doesn't mean I'm not going to adjust, tweak and change as I go and try different things that might better align with my goals, but whatever I do choose, it's consistent or nothing.

Consistency is the key to building habits... they're a powerful thing, that's why building and love learning about them!

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Researching new artists and digging to find who their influences are

This was mentioned in the book Steal like an artist that when you look or find people that inspire you, it's often a good idea to dig a little deeper and see if you can figure out their influences as well, and then find their influences etc etc.

It's a great way to find how that particular artist came to develop their style, and might open your eyes up to other artists as well!

For example, In this last week of Michael Hampton deep dives I found out that he recommends 'Human Anatomy for Artists' as a book to reference (although very dry) it has all you need to reference muscles, bones etc to start to make figure drawing connections yourself.

Another example was when I found in an interview with Shiyoon Kim (Character designer at Disney) that he was fond of Milt Kahl (a Disney animator and one of the 9 old men), which sparked another investigation.

I'm finding it to be a great way to explore new ideas/artists and make connections myself, so I can start to build my own style, using the same influences as my art hero's!

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Character design and really thinking about their traits/daily life

Something I've not thought too much about, but seems super obvious after listening to Michael Mattesi talk about in this video.

When you're trying to create a character from scratch, try and think about their profession, what they do all day, and how their body would adapt to those things over time in the real world .e.g. cyclers will have huge quads, archers large backs and forearms, gymnasts slender, lean body types etc

It can help create more believable characters and just taking that little bit of extra effort, can really go a long way.

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Over the holiday break, I've been hacking away at the blog, it's coming together, trying to do a couple of cool things that'll take it up a notch from a regular old blog and more of an ever growing resource for myself and you. Can't wait to show you!

Anyway, that's all from me this week.
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And as always, stay consistent, use reference, have fun with it and remember; it's only pixels baybee!

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I'll be seeing you in the next one.

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Cheers,

Ben

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