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Feb 11, 2023

The draw through method, speed reading, getting a likeness and just showing up


Heyo!

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Apologies on the lateness with this one, I've been out of action this week with a nasty cold, but I did manage to get a couple of noteworthy ideas/thoughts in for this weeks newsletter (gotta keep that consistency! Albeit a bit late).

Here's your weekly dose of my top resources, thoughts, 'aha moments' and announcements directly from my brain to yours from this past week.

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- What I Read this week

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Warning (not specifically art related books this week, so skip to the next section if you're here purely her for the pixels and pigments)

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- Brilliant Speed Reading

This is an older book I had in my collection and a topic I hadn't visited in a long time. I thought I'd re-visit it and mine for some nuggets of wisdom.

One nice little little reading trick is to use a pencil, pen, chopstick or your finger and a reading guide to follow along underneath each line your read. There's a bunch of sciency stuff behind why this can help you read faster and for a nice explanation, a similar technique is used here by another favourite author of mine Tim Ferris -> Tim's explanation of how to read faster

This book has some nice little study tips as well; but this one probably wouldn't be my go-to for the topic though.

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- Ultra Learning

I read (listened) to most of this one whilst on a long commute; and because I'm a productivity and learning how to learn nerd, I'm absolutely loving it!
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I was hooked when I learned the foreword for the book was written by James Clear (Author of one of my favourite books 'Atomic Habits')

It goes deep into the inner workings of what are called 'Ultra Learners' and the techniques they use to become fluent in languages within months, complete a whole MIT degree in less than a year and how Eric Barone of 'Stardew Valley' fame was able to teach himself how to create games from scratch and turn himself into a millionaire indie developer.

This is one I want to dive deeper into and do a full summary in my blog (coming soon) so stay tuned for that!
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I highly recommend this one for the learning nerds out there.

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- Note worthy learnings / aha moments

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- Using the 'draw through' method to invent things in 3D

As I was doing a couple of anatomy sketches this week, it occurred to me that one of the most important drawing techniques that I've learnt in recent years is to 'draw through' the forms to understand objects (both invented and from reference) in 3D space.

This technique helps with double checking your work, building and inventing forms and a lot of animators use this technique as well to really understand how the character will move/articulate in their 3D world

I'll be doing more in-depth videos on this topic, because it's a super useful tool I've found but feel free to check out my latest instagram reel for a quick example.

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- Overlapping lines to show depth

Another great tool I'm starting to understand more (and use in tandem with the draw through method) is to really show different forms moving in-front and behind each other. Doing this with overlapping lines really helps tell a clear story to the viewer.

This can be used in as big scale as a tree in-front of a house, or the quad muscle laying over the knee joint. Actively looking to describe forms moving in-front of one another has helped the look and feel of my sketches tremendously!

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- Finding the floor plane and perspective between the feet with figure drawing

If I find myself drawing a figure with one or both feet on the floor, it helps to early on; try and nail the floor plane where the feet meet the floor.

This really helps to ground the figure in the scene and help to not have floating figures all about the place. (You'll see I didn't nail the floor plane on the rendered larger male legs on a recent post on legs)

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- Videos
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โ€‹How you should sculpt EVERYTHINGโ€‹

This Awesome foundational video on sculpting (digitally) by J Hill is a great one to listen to because the principles he talks about can be directly translated to 2D work.

I'm thinking more and more about dabbling more into digital sculpting for the purpose of developing my 2D skills, and videos like this will be a great resource.

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โ€‹Understanding how Xi Ding gets a likenessโ€‹

A great interview/demo with Mohammed Agbadi and Xi Ding who is an awesome caricaturist that has a really unique style.
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It's great to hear about his process directly from him and this is the video that I found out about the book 'The Mad Art Of Caricature' by Tom Richmond which is a great one for tips and techniques to understanding how to get a likeness.

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- Thoughts and musings

Just showing up is half the battle

My productivity this week has been all over the place due to having this nasty little cold, but one thing I'm realising is there's always going to be things that will get in the way of my goals, habits, routines etc and the act of just showing up, even if it's just going through the motions is one of the most beneficial things I could do to staying on track with them.
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For example, I couldn't work up the energy to do a full painting this week, so I narrowed my scope to do mainly sketches; was this the original plan? No; is it better than not doing anything? You better believe it!

Another example was trying to get back to the gym this week when I was starting to feel a bit better. Half way through one of my workouts, I wasn't feeling the best, so I called it quits and went home โ€” was that a perfect workout? Hell no! But I'm better off for just going and doing a little bit rather than staying home and playing the old 'I'll do it tomorrow' game.

Don't want to (insert your goal here)?; just show up, do 5 mins and call it a win.

Now, I'm not saying to not take breaks; they're super important too!

But In my opinion it's better to keep the habit/routine and just 'go through the motions' with the thing you're working on rather than not show up at all.

Ramble over...

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Thanks so much again for the support and don't hesitate to reach out. I'd love to hear your feedback on these newsletters!

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Until next week, stay consistent, use reference, have fun with it and remember; it's only pixels baybee!

Cheers,

Ben

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