The worse type of cut to get is a paper cut. Hard to believe that a flimsy piece of paper can make such a fine deep cut that could bring the biggest man to his knees in pain. Paper has been around for centuries, and still going strong. Some people thought it would come to a end once the computer age came, but people print more than ever.
What was your favorite toy you got for Christmas? I must have been good in 2014 because Santa treated me very well. I got a table saw for my work shop, a product to make bacon bowls, and a light box for my art studio.
The light box is great. It is small and thin, so it does not take up a lot of desk space. The light is LED it is bright without putting off a glare. In case you have not use a light box before, it is used for many different purposes in art. From just being able to trace onto almost any type of paper or canvas to old school animation. Before there was computers, animators would have to draw each cell by hand. It would take almost 100 drawings to have a character take one step. To achieve this, animators would use a light box to trace some parts of the body and to make sure the character looked the same in each cell.
So the light box would be my favorite Christmas gift. But, it still may not be my favorite art tool. That would be my art brush. No, this is not some sort of brush I use to paint with. A art brush is a tool that I think few people know what it is and know how important it is. A art brush is used to keep the drawing and drawing surface clean.
Most artist will get in a bad habit of after erasing to use the side of the hand to wipe off eraser dust. This does two things; one, it may cause a smear depending on what the drawing is created with, like charcoal. The other thing that happens is that the oils from your hand may be absorbed onto the paper and this may cause unwanted results. Color pencils may not blend correct or paints my not adhere well to the canvas. The art bush is used to basically sweep like a broom.
So even though I love my light box, I still like the art brush a little bit more. When I used the light box I was tracing with a freshly sharpened pencil. Sometimes what happens with pencils that are too sharp is that when pressure is applied the tip will break off. If the side of the hand is used, what will likely happen is that the broken tip will roll with the hand and leave a streak across the drawing or, worse on the new light box.
The art brush, which I have had for at least over 20 years now, is used to clean the new light box. Nothing like having a trusty friend around.
Below is a simple slide show of how I created a drawing using the light box for my finished product. First I did a rough sketch of what I wanted to draw. Then I drew out my first pencil draft of the picture. Finally using the light box I traced the pencil draft onto the final media I wanted and added some simple color. Note the paper I did the pencil draft on was 80lbs and the final media was 90lbs. Not sure what that means, go to a art store and check out the different paper they sell or check back here next month.
Ever been stuck in traffic. If you need to go home or to work in Atlanta, then that is a daily thing. You just sit there, waiting and waiting to move an inch. Then when things feel like they might start moving, you are stuck again. Why? Maybe an accident or just bad drivers. In Atlanta it is because of the overwhelming amount of people on the roads.
What does any of this have to do with art? Well a traffic jamb in Atlanta is very similar to artist block. Artist block is equal to writer’s block, where nothing is getting through to the paper. My theory is that this happens, not because there is nothing inside you to draw. But, like a traffic jamb in Atlanta, you have so much stuff to draw or want to draw nothing is able to move out. How do you get past this? Letting one car out at a time.
Every person wanting to be a great artist should have two things with them at all times. A pencil and a pad of paper. I do mean at all times. Have one next to your bed at night to write down or sketch out a quick idea, in the car (but not while driving, you do not want to be the one who starts traffic) while waiting for your coffee or lunch in the drive through lane, even in the bathroom (you are sitting down anyways.) I recommend a pocket size to carry around easier. I tell my wife, when in doubt for a gift for me, get me a sketch book. I can go through them quickly. I have tried to make it a habit to draw during commercials when I am watching TV or on my lunch break. It is great practice and helps me keep the ideas flowing.
Here’s the thing, if you get it out of you and on paper while it is fresh on your mind it will not block the other ideas. So instead of having 5 or 20 things in your mind, struggling on what and how to draw first, you sketch them on paper right away. Do not be accurate or try to make it a finish project, just get it down on paper. Then you can go back through them and sort out the ones you like, throw out the ones you don’t, maybe save a few for later.
If you ever get an opportunity to look through someone’s sketch book, it would probably make no sense to you at all. Some things will look like a 5 year old did it, some will look like they could be hanging on a wall. Here are a few pages from one of mine. It goes from doodling a picture of an old women I saw at the beach, to practicing drawing super heroes, to working on a kitten for a possible children’s book, and to some new logos for myself I might change to. Totally random, but at least they are not jamb up in my head.
After being married for almost 6 years, I have learned certain looks. There's the; I will always love you look, the I need your help look, and the dreaded you just said the wrong thing look. It's all in the eyes.
When drawing a character most of the emotions will come from the eyes. Just watch your favorite movie again and pay closer attention to the actors eyes.
If you can conquer the eyes you are half way there to drawing great faces.
The following are some tips when creating a character to keep for your records.
First I am going to keep it simple and just do a basic Mr. Smile face, watch as all that changes are the eyes.
Some things to noticed;
Happy or positive emotions the eyes normally will be wider and arch up.
Sad and negative emotions the eyes may be wide, but will be sloped downward.
Angry emotions have narrow eyes that slant toward the nose.
Those are the basic, but what about sarcastic or flirty? Play around with those and remember the eye brows are part of the emotion.
Knowing this, do the same thing with character you designed. This way you have a reference if this is a character you will use often.
Bonus tips. Use tracing paper on top of your drawing to create different eyes before doing the final drawing. The more you have on file, the quicker you can complete your drawing. View the slide show below for a sample.
I jokingly tell people I am in shape, the shape is round, but a shape. Shapes are something we begin to learn before our first day of preschool. Thank you Sesame Street. Shapes are how we recognize and identify things. It is also essential to designing and building our everyday items we use. Remember Geometry class? Tangents, angles, radius, etc. all used everyday in the engineering world. Thank goodness in art all you need to know is just three basic shapes; the triangle, circle, and square. If you start with these three basic shapes, you can draw anything depending how you stretch and combined them together.
Lets do something simple like this doll. You can probably already see the shapes involved. But one of the important things about beginning your drawing with shapes, is that it will help keep everything in proportion and how it will be laid out on paper.
First lay out the primary shapes. I like to start off with the largest shape first then add on to it. In this case it would be a triangle for the dress. Then the head, arms and legs.
Second, Begin to what is called flesh out the drawing. Start adding a little bit of detail around the shapes to mold what the drawing will look like. Think of it as adding muscles to a skeleton.
Third, Add more detail and outline the drawing with ink or a think line. At this point you can erase any unwanted lines or use the methods shown in previous post using Grids and/or tracing paper.
Fourth, Finish the drawing as desired with color.
Then add more detail and background.
Very simple, I recommend taking photos from magazines and draw the shapes on top of them to kind of reverse the process. After a while it will become second nature to look at something and see what shapes it took to put it together.
Have fun getting into shape and check back here for more tips.
Everyone is on the Grid today, meaning you can find almost anyone with the internet. Just google yourself and see what comes up. Back in the day when I was in school, the grid was normally associated with grid paper. Remember that stuff, the sheets of paper with a bunch of squares on it. Probably at one point you got bored and started to fill in the squares to see what kind of designs came out, even though it was used to graph formulas or maybe draw a quick floor plan to a small scale.
I was taught this grid technique from the Art Instruction school, and have loved it ever since the first time I used it. I have a sketch book almost wherever I go, so if I get bored or get an idea, I can get it on paper before I forget. Sometimes I get the sketch exactly the way I want it and just want to enlarge it on another piece of paper. To repeat the same drawing twice and have it look the same is very hard, add to it that it needs to be enlarged makes it more complicated. So the steps below help achieve this.
* The drawing you want to enlarge
* piece of tracing paper (optional)
* drawing tape
* media for final product
So one of my current projects I am working on is pictures for a nursery rhyme book. I did this sketch of the cow jumping over the moon. I liked the placement of the cow with the moon and the proportion of the two together. I didn't think I could duplicate it for the final product.
The first step is to take some tracing paper (or you can do it right on top of the sketch if you don't mind putting line work on your sketch) and create a grid. Make sure it is square and a size you can enlarge on another piece of paper. I recommend either 1/2” or 1” squares. I like to do my grid on tracing paper so I can use it for other drawings and not have create the grid every time. If you use the tracing paper method, make sure you tape it down on your drawing. You don't want it moving around later on in the next steps.
Take the media you want to use for your final product or a piece of paper of a similar size and create another Grid that is double the size or however much you need to enlarge it by. I just needed to enlarge mine 1.5 times. So since my original grid was 1”, my grid on my paper needed to be 1.5”. If I needed to double the size I would have made it 2”. I know, artist do not do math. Go get a calculator. FYI, this also works if you want to make the sketch smaller. You just make the Grid on the paper you are drawing on smaller than the grid over your sketch. Do not worry, I am not going to do anymore math.
This is like connecting the dots. Also, this will help you learn how to see negative space as well. Draw on your grid paper so that the lines you are drawing intersect at the same place visually like the grid on the sketch. Also, the lines within the squares make the same negative shape (notice the gray areas in the image below and compare them to the image above). Try not to look at the picture as a whole, but draw one square at a time.
Continue step 3 until sketch is complete, now is the time to make any changes. I transferred my drawings onto another piece of paper using the method from last months tutorial (http://www.jason-miller-design.com/1/archives/06-2014/1.html). Or you can erase all of your grid lines when your drawing is complete.
What does “Hey Diddle Diddle” mean anyways?
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Ever do a great sketch on a scratch piece of paper and not be able to replicate it on a final drawing? Or maybe you spent hours getting a drawing correct only to sit back and notice all the eraser marks, smudges, and lines that didn't quite erase. Yes I have done that plenty of times, but the following steps has helped me start off with a clean outline of a drawing and an almost duplicate of the original work that was done.
This method is similar to what a seamstress will use to transfer a pattern onto fabric or what a tattoo artist does to lay down the outlines on the person before applying the ink. The only skill that is really required is the ability to trace.
The materials needed are: Tracing paper, 2b pencil, color pencil, and artist tape. And of course the picture your want to duplicate and the medium you want it to transfer to.
Using the artist tape, tape the drawing you want to use with a piece of tracing paper on top onto your drawing table. You want to tape down the drawing so it does not move around during the tracing process. I recommend using artist tape because it is not very sticky and will not tear the drawings. Also it will not leave a sticky residue on the drawing or your wife's kitchen table. They hate that.
Trace over the wanted lines of your drawing. This is a good time to make any corrections you might want to do. Also, no need to trace any shading, but you may want to do the outlines of the shadow and dark areas. Keep in mind this is just a guide to be used for the final product.
You can remove the original art work and file it away for use on another project. Flip the tracing paper over and go over the image with at least a 2b pencil. If you use a pencil on the original side of the tracing paper, you may want to place a scrap piece of paper between the table and tracing paper, because it may leave an image on the table. Even though wives are your biggest fans of your art, the do not want to scrub it off their kitchen table.
FYI, this is also a good time to take a unique look at your art work. If it still looks good as a mirror image, that is a good indicator everything has been drawn very well.
Flip the tracing paper back over to the original side and place it on top of the final medium it will be used on taping it using the artist tape. This can be canvas for a painting or a wall for a stencil or mural. I will be using a heavy stock Bristol paper because I plan on inking this drawing later.
The final step is to lightly go over the lines on the tracing paper with a color pencil. This will transfer the pencil lines on the reverse side to you final medium. No need to press hard or go over lines more than once. Doing so may create indents in your finish product or cause lines to be to dark. I use a color pencil to keep track of which lines I already went over and the color pencil does not create a lot of pressure making the transferred lines light.
The final results may not look like much, but now there is foundation to work with that does not have a bunch of unwanted sketch lines and eraser marks. Now clean off the kitchen table before you get into any more trouble.
Check back here for more illustrations and graphic tips.
Please refer your friends to Jason-Miller-Design for their illustration and graphic needs.
I have loved cartoons from the time I can remember my first Saturday morning. Who didn't waste hours of time with a big bowl of cereal in front of the TV until mom shouted at you to go outside and play. They were more than just some goofy characters that I was enjoying, it was the fact that someone was able to make a drawing come to life.
I consider drawing cartoon characters a specialty of mine when it comes to illustrations. I spent a lot of my childhood trying to draw my favorite characters; Fred Flintstone, Bugs Bunny and Charlie Brown. I still watch them today, from a artistic stand point of course.
There are tons of different cartoon styles. Computers have changed the way things are drawn and also styles change with time. But I also notice that some styles are coming back.
Here are just a few of the styles I sketched out using a cat to show some of the different types.
The Animated Character : This is the fun character that can take an inanimate object and bring it to life with almost human traits. Also, these types of cartoons will get a four legged furry animal up and running around like a two year old on a sugar high.
The Retro Style : This is making a come back from the old magazine ads and original cartoons. It is a simple style based on simple shapes, bold outlines, and flat coloring. This is one of my favorite styles because it is the easiest to draw, but also I think it gives the most silly expressions and spirit.
The Comic Strip : This probably ranks number one of my favorite styles. Something I have always wanted to do is to have a published comic strip. Simple and quick line work that is easy to recognize the character. Plus I am always fascinated that it told a joke in four panels or less.
The Super Hero : Not really what pops up when thinking of cartoons, but what else would you call men flying around in spandex, maybe wrestling.
So what's the point, besides showing off my inner child nerd. I have gotten request to draw something and the client will say they want it in a cartoon style. Even though I love these projects, I have to go through the process of getting the client to tell me what kind of cartoon style. Typically I ask them to send me a sample of what they like or I ask "Do you prefer Scooby Doo or Garfield?"
Be sure to check out more of my drawings at the Playtime Illustration page and contact me if you need a cartoon logo, children book, or other character design.
FYI, This blog is dedicated to my cat Shadow. He was a cartoon in his own way.
The creation of a logo with Jason-Miller-Design is simple. You tell me what you want and I create it in 4 steps, maybe more if the client is picky. I recently just finished the logo to the left. I will walk you through the process to get to the final product.
Step 1, the client told me they wanted a logo for their welding business that they were starting out of their barn. Above their barn buzzards were constantly flying around, which is where they came up with the name Old Buzzards. They said they wanted a cartoon feel to the logo that had a buzzard incorporated into it. So I did some research of what a Georgia Buzzard looked like and presented them with three sketches.
Step 2. The Client commented back and said they like the option with buzzard wearing the welders mask and holding the torch, but they wanted a different look to the bird and sent this picture as an example.
Step 3. I did two drawings on the computer, added color and details based on the clients comments. I also sized the samples down so it can be seen at a small scale that logos are typically done.
Step 4. The client picked the one they liked and made a few adjustments. I added just a few more details. The customer also did my Logo Package and that includes along with a logo design; a business card, letterhead, and envelopes. The easiest part was the whole process was done by one phone call and the rest was e-mails, payments were done by Pay Pal. Ain't technology neat. I do enjoy meeting my clients, but it was also nice not needing to put shoes on to go anywhere.
Fill out the Contact page if you are needing a logo or other graphic need, and check back here for upcoming illustration tips.