Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thought of The Day Dec 31, 2009

Last Thought of 2009: 

I really don't know what 2010 will bring, I have a few ideas but not 100% sure, which I find terribly exciting. 

The best thing about being a well-respected sociopath is what I call: "the expected uncertainty". So true to my contradicting self, instead of a Happy New Year, I wish you the same things I wish for myself:

A year full of happy accidents, obvious discoveries and art related epiphanies.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Thought of The Day Dec 30, 2009

Add these to your list of New Year resolutions, no need to thank me: 
  1. I'll stop being a worshipper and a fan and I'll become my own man (or woman).
  2. I'll fill up at least two 80-page sketchbooks this year.
  3. I won't lie to myself.
  4. I won't think in terms of style or confuse style with technique.
  5. I'll attempt to solve my design problems instead, through keen observation and practice.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Thought of The Day Dec 29, 2009

If you are currently over 18 years of age and really have no talent for figure drawing, it's OK. 

Don't feel bad. There is a lot of ugliness in this world already. Besides, you could save a few trees if you stop now. 

If all you want to do is express yourself, write a long e-mail to yourself explaining why it is so important for you to keep on lying to yourself, but don't send it.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Thought of The Day Dec 23/24, 2009

As my profile says, I think religion sucks but I do believe in Love and I believe in the power of Art to foster true friendship and unity. 

Of course, I'd prefer if people would love each other all year round rather than to wait until the end of the year but I take whatever I can get. 

I won't be here tomorrow so I'll say it now: Much Love & Art to all of you, regardless of your faith!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Thought of The Day Dec 22, 2009

I was surprised (but not shocked) to learn that most working artists in the US don't keep a sketchbook. 

I admit that as passionate as I'd like to think I am about drawing, I never made it into a habit. I've always bought them hoping to fill them up each time but never really did, until 9 years ago. This I regret to no end, so in 2010, I wish you all a sketchbook full of lovely doodles.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Thought of The Day Dec 20, 2009

Being negative and pretending you hate everything you draw gets old pretty quick. If you really hate what you draw so much, try knitting sweaters instead (or learn how to draw).

F.U. Being self-critical is great!! That is what I have been advocating all along. I am not talking about painting, painters have a whole lot of other issues to deal with. Before I start to paint I want to learn how to draw. 

When you are learning to draw, It is imperative that you observe and practice. when this is done conscientiously, progress is inevitable. 

In my personal opinion, If an artist can not find anything in this process to enjoy or to like, if new forms of expression, however minor, are not encountered, if there are no 'eureka!' moments at all; then the whole exercise is fruitless and useless. Go drive a truck.

If someone (other than you) after seeing one of your drawings, says to you: "It sucks, I hate it!" you might reply: "Hey, man, wait a second! be more specific, what is it that you dislike?, what is it that you hate?, you just can't generalize like that" 

You might even be offended by the comment. Unless, of course, you knew all along that what you presented was a piece of shit, in which case why bother?

Likewise, you wouldn't say this to yourself. That's how you become a better artist, you may not like it, you don't have to like everything you do but you simply cannot hate everything you do.

 Ask yourself questions about it, find what is wrong and fix it. There might be things about it that you don't like and such but if you really hate everything, end it all, there is no use.

There is nothing wrong in drawing something you will eventually hate, that's actually a good thing because it may mean that you are moving beyond that particular piece, that you are better now than you were then. Perhaps you felt if was great, OK or just sufficient at that point in time but now you have grown. 

You can not continue to beat yourself over your own progress or lack of it. That is not constructive if it's really the way you feel about it and if you are lying to yourself, it's even worse. 

If you can't avoid being negative or you can't find anything positive about what you do then what is the point in continuing? I may be wrong but to me it says you either need professional help or Drawing may not be your thing.

I always generalize for effect, otherwise 'The Thought of the Day' wouldn't fit on the bumper sticker but I'm sure you guys know what I mean.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Thought of The Day Dec 19, 2009

Art School did not end just because you graduated; now it gets tougher than ever because you only have one teacher left: yourself!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thought of The Day Dec 17, 2009

This was posted in response to a fellow artist asking for advice.

"I want to have my own style. And I'm not quite sure how to develop that. I wonder if I should copy the greats for a while? Or if I should start all of my drawings with a grid for now?

Do you ever use a grid to start a drawing? I'm sure you've tried it ... but, what I'm wondering is: Will using a grid keep me from naturally distorting things? I like drawings that show a love for the medium, have a sense of realism but also have a bit of playfullness in them too.

So, grids or no grids?

Copying the greats? Frazetta, Kirby, You?


"Drawing from the right side of the brain" and its exercises ... drawing stuff upside down and what not ... what do you think of that book?"

I haven't seen any of your drawings so I don't know whether you need to develop your own style or if you need to learn how to draw from scratch, I mean, basic drawing, anatomy and such.

Searching for a style without at least understanding the fundamentals of how to draw the human figure makes absolutely no sense to me.

Since I don't know, I will attempt to answer your questions assuming you have a basic understanding of the female form:

First some sermonizing: In my opinion, style is a natural byproduct of years of relentless practice, observation and problem solving, it is a set of personal responses (solutions) to the many challenges an individual artist confronts while attempting to depict his/her subject and his/her individual needs. Style is by definition something unique to the individual. Copying someone else's "style" without first developing your own ways to solve designs problems, via your own personal experiences, careful observation and obsessive practice, is a counterproductive measure.

What I'm saying to you is not new, people way more qualified than yours truly have said and wrote pretty much the same stuff for as long as I can remember, it's common sense to me. Nothing qualifies me as a teacher so I will tell you this as a fellow student.

I don't advice anyone to copy other artists in order to develop their own style, maybe you can do that for fun if you are a child but for a grown man such as yourself, copying from comic books is a useless exercise. I am not a moralist so this is not an issue of theft or dishonesty. Copying from other artists just doesn't work as a learning tool when you're 41 years old.

Whenever you copy others you are only furthering their cause, not yours. If you, for instance, are successful at faithfully copying the way Frazetta draws, your drawings will inevitably look like Frazetta's, which may seem fine by you since he is such a great artist but people will see only Frazetta in your drawings, they won't see you and more importantly YOU will not see you.

You would, in fact, be perpetuating Frazetta's legacy, not your own. If you don't have a problem with that, perhaps you and I have less in common than you think.

To be influenced by others is not an excuse to become a clone, all clones are losers, they hide behind the word "influence" as if it's something to be proud of, when in fact, it's quite the contrary.

Another huge issue with mimicking someone else's style is that whatever flaws the original artist has, which are read as intrinsic parts of his/her unique character, are in a sense, camouflaged by his/her 'style'.

In your case, however, you would be copying his/her mistakes and flaws as well as his/her idiosyncrasies, without having arrived at them through the natural process of personal exploration and discovery. By doing this you will be amplifying his/her mistakes, which would then become more blatant, so that what may seem whimsical or cute in his/her drawings, in yours may be perceived as awkward, contrived and even grotesque.

This is true in any artistic endeavor, music, acting and such. If you are not serious about learning to draw, then discard all I said here and go have fun copying at will. Just don't ask me for advice again. There are some how-to books by Christopher Hart that can serve you better.

I say this with nothing but fondness and good will towards you.

Instead of copying someone else's style you should find artists who are great at drawing (interpreting) aspects of the figure which you have trouble depicting.

Let's say you have trouble drawing hands, then observe and study how other artists draw them by copying just their hands in an effort to understand how they are put together. You could do the same with other elements (body parts) such as feet and hair.

The best artists have already spent ungodly amounts of time, talent and brain power studying and decoding the human figure, their shapes and lines are streamlined and the complicated things are stripped to the bare essentials, that's why the best artists need just a few lines to explain complex objects, If you must, copy these elements, again, not to pass as your own art but to help you learn how to solve this issues in your own drawings.

On your own you should do lots of life drawing and plenty of keen observation. For example, pay attention at how women differ from men, even though we basically have the same skeleton and muscle structure; find the differences and exaggerate them. For instance, women have shorter torsos, which gives the appearance as if their legs are arms are longer and more slender, so make their torsos shorter and the extremities longer and thinner. Hips are wider so make them even wider, shoulders are narrower and so on and so forth. It's not rocket science but it takes lots of observation and practice to get these things right.

Observe how fatty tissue defines a woman. For instance, If you want to make a woman look younger, give her a rounder face, bigger eyes and a big head. Observe how women move about, how they stand, how they talk and what makes them so uniquely female. A woman accumulates more fatty tissue than a man in certain areas, like the back of the knees, the back of the arms (and other less obvious places) and slightly accentuate them. Women themselves do not appreciate this extra fat but you must live by it.

Once you have learnt these differences, visualize and identify them on every woman you want to draw and amplify them, rather than just copying what you have in front of you, whether live or photo reference.

Get familiar with your subject matter. If you have a wife or a girlfriend, treat her kindly, make her your goddess and your muse. Whenever you get a chance, run your fingers softly all over her fatty tissue and her extruding bones (and everything else) as if you were sculpting and molding the finest of clays so that when you draw her, your mind can make that emotional connection. If you don't know what a real woman feels like and smells like, there's no way you could ever learn to draw an imaginary one, convincingly and with confidence.

Now regarding the use of a grid— I don't see the point of a grid, unless you are transferring or scaling a drawing.

"Drawing from the right side of the brain" is for people who are not serious about drawing. This book is perfect for children with ADD, weekend hobbyists and ladies who live alone with at least 6 cats.

I'm going to post this reply on my blog, because I get these same questions all the time. Hopefully this will save me from typing this again :).

Have yourself a wonderful holiday season!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thought of The Day Dec 15, 2009

For those of you non-artists who love comics and have no talent whatsoever but still want to learn how to draw like professional comic book artists. Let me suggest the Christopher Hart line of 'how-to' books available at any Barnes & Noble These are the instructional art books most comic pros use, (that's why they all draw alike). No talent, no problem, let Chris Hart guide your hand and caress your brain.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Thought of The Day Dec 14, 2009

As you all know, I no longer work for a living, my investments in Exxon/Mobil have paid off —rather handsomely I might add— but when I freelanced as a graphic designer, I was horrible at pricing my work. I used to wear all black to the negotiations, I got that bit of advice from Jay Vigon; he felt wearing black would give him an edge. Try it, it may be all psychological but it works.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Thought of The Day Dec 13, 2009

Today I had a burst of crazy thoughts, at least seven in a row!

Normally I only think of one thing and one thing only, which I won't mention here because there are children present. I should call this segment 'Thoughts of the Day', really.
Anyways, it occurred to me a way to export my revolution to South America. I'm working on the details.

More on that later.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thought of The Day Dec 11, 2009

What is love?
I don't know and I don't care
but you're going to tell me anyway.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Thought of The Day Dec 9, 2009

A distinctive style in drawing is nothing more than a collection of comfortable fixes, lazy shortcuts and ignorance driven mannerisms. All of which develop when we're too busy to be searching for a distinctive style.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Thought of The Day Dec 8, 2009

When drawing the female figure from photographs REMEMBER: You draw with your mind, not with your penis. Don't let yourself be overwhelmed by the apparent sexuality of a pose, pick full-body poses. It's OK if the vagina opening is not visible. Make sure appendages are not hidden and that there's plenty of negative space.

This advice is just for men, women artists are good at picking poses to draw.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Thought of The Day Dec 7, 2009

Drawing the human figure is backwards engineering of the most sublime kind. Which means deconstructing and interpreting things creatively or how I like to say: "improving" on nature, not copying what you see verbatim.

Life drawing affords you the unique opportunity to become a problem solver, something that can be of great help If your life is a big mess. I should know.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Thought of The Day Dec 6, 2009

Some believe we should find out where our strengths lie; I say that's easy to do. I propose you also find out what your deficiencies are and work around them. Why not just conquer them? Because if you 'simply' overcome them you will never become resourceful and a resourceful person is worth ten determined people.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Thought of The Day Dec 5, 2009

I solved the mystery of life again, earlier today. All of the sudden it all became crystal clear. My wife was cooking with her back towards me, "The Jeffersons" was playing on cable (channel 90 here in NY), but all I could hear was the fridge humming. She had no clue I'd been watching her nonstop for a good 20 minutes or so. The second she turned around, it hit me like a runaway freight train.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Thought of The Day Dec 4, 2009

With some drawings, I can feel the purpose, the will and the intention of the creator. I can sometimes visualize the electricity bolting through the pencil lines, touching me and curing me of whatever ails me at the moment. No different than when I envision the healing elements in my own blood being pumped at dumbfounding speeds.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Thought of The Day Dec 3, 2009

To enjoy drawing something you like can be difficult when you know you're getting paid for it. If you truly want to take pleasure in it, don't take the money... Or, take the money and redraw it later while enjoying the tasty meal you bought with the money you just got paid.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Thought of The Day Dec 2, 2009

Fuck all self-proclaimed fans and the hobbling goats they rode in on.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Thought of The Day Dec 1 2009

People are fans, artists are admirers.

F.U. Well, look around you, this place is full of fans, I truly like what I wrote because is the most intelligent thought I have ever had (and the Lord knows I don't have many intelligent thoughts, my balls usually do the thinking for me, as it should be due to the nature of what I love doing) The crickets have spoken, just a few people "like" that post for a good reason. This place is nothing but a gathering of fans of some sort or another. You do understand the meaning of the word 'surrender'?

The minute you declare yourself "a fan" of a fellow artist, regardless of his/her relevance or stature, you surrender your dignity and free will. There's nothing wrong with admiring someone or something someone creates or does but being a "fan" is artistic suicide.

Fans are drones, fans follow blindly, fans do not question, do not reason; fans, in their true form, can not muster the courage to challenge (intellectually or otherwise) the object of their devotion. To become a fan is to grow into the opposite of what an artist should aspire to become. I don't have an issue with people being fans, people are dumb and their nature is to follow like sheep. Art is something else altogether.

Fuck all self-professed fans and the goat they rode in on.

You are a true artist, you're no fan!