November 1, 2014

Goals Gone Wild

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If you’ve been following this blog at all, you might know that one of the recurring themes here is practice and process over goals and achievements.  This insight does not come from some great font of retrospection or wisdom that wells up from within me, but it comes from me making some stupid mistakes that […]

How to Make a Good Drawing Great

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If you’re anything like me, you decided to become an artist because you picked up a comic, or watched a movie, or saw an album cover that knocked your socks off. It spoke so profoundly to you and touched you so deeply, that you had no choice but to dedicate your life to understanding how […]

7 Ways to Study Another Artist

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A great piece of art can offer a treasure trove of information on how to draw.  Here are seven studies I did of the cover of Invincible 98, by the inimitable Ryan Ottley. The original:     There are so many subtleties to what makes Ryan’s work great, but here are just a few ways […]

The One Rule to Drawing Ellipses

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There are a lot of harrowing challenges to take on as an artist: learning human anatomy, figuring out perspective, drawing hands, ect.  But of all of the epic quests of artdom, none deserves more respect than learning how to correctly draw an ellipse. It is a task that can stop the otherwise enthusiastic art student […]

3 Drawing Skills You Should Master

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Every drawing skill you want to learn can really be organized into 3 big categories. These are your areas of attack. To continue to grow as an artist you’ll want to make sure you’re studying a subject from one of these big categories regularly. Here they are: Construction Construction Is the most fundamental skill of […]

How to Practice Drawing

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A while back, I thought I’d put down some practical ideas about how to practice to get better as an artist. It’s become one of my most popular articles, but since that time I’ve spent some more time workshopping my own process for self-improvement, and I’ve refined my approach to getting better at drawing There […]

In Defense of Snobbery

Sir Reginald Snobbington the Third

Okay, I’ve got a sure-fire formula that’s guaranteed to make you the most annoying guy (or gal) this weekend: after watching whatever movie you and your friends, your wife or your family wants to see, talk about why you hated it afterward. And don’t be general, make sure you go into all of the specific […]

Engage the Audience: Mystery

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Although I don’t have a good citation for it, Carl Dreyer is supposed to have said that the primary role of a director it to engage the audience. What does it mean to engage the audience? It means to give them something that makes them want sit on the edge of their seat and keep […]

An Appeal for the Epic Character

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The other day I watched Tim Burton’s adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and while there was much I enjoyed about the film (particularly Deep Roy) something just didn’t sit well. Although the visuals were stunning, it didn’t have the same feeling of awe and mystery that the book had. I think there were […]

Action Can Be Good: Part 2

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As promised, this week we’ll be continuing our discussion on what makes a good action story. Last week we talked about the fundamentals: grounding the story, raising the stakes, and giving characters urgency. This week we’ll be talking a bit more about choice, as well as spectacle and slowing down. Let’s start with choice: 5. […]