Friday, January 11, 2008
Core shadow exercises
In the comments under my last post I mentioned Core Shadow exercises, which have greatly strengthened my drawing/painting skillz. So I thought I'd post some of them. This was the result of a training exercise I participated in maybe a year ago on Conceptart.org (fantastic site). There's an instructor named Ron Lemen who was kind enough to devote a lot of unpaid time there doing these workshop type things, where he'd give assignments and then grade the results. He really stresses the importance of learning to see and depict the "core shadow", giving solidity and form to an object... something a lot of students miss. Rather than try to repeat what he said, I'll just link to a Core Shadow Tutorial he put up at Anticz.com, which explains it very nicely. Here's a brief excerpt: "The problem most everyone seems to have with painting the human head is they paint colors that they see them in a photograph, but they don't paint a guy, a 3-dimensional man. The construction is substituted by fancy colors that matched the photo, with a lack of understanding as to why these colors were being painted in the first place."
The pic above is the beginning of my attempt. He recommended finding pictures from Getty Images, a free image resource.
Here's a later stage. This is actually just about my first attempt to draw in photoshop. A mouse is not a very good drawing implement!! Anyway, the point is to depict the forms of the head, ignoring the details like eyes, mouth etc. Just the basic forms. I'm not sure I really understood cpmpletely... I don't think I was supposed to depict the nose so realistically. And I probably shouldn't have put so much detail in the hair and clothes etc, but I couldn't help myself. Oh, the little patches of value alongside the image was what I used for my palette.... I'd just dip in with the eyedropper tool when it was time to select the next value. Works beautifully.
Coming along. Here you can really see the jaw area was getting lopsided. and I was sort of making it into more of a caricature than an actual portrait. I was doing that a lot at that time.
Here is the final result. I was pretty darn proud of it! Like I said, not sure I did it exactly right, but it still helped me immensely. Now when I draw or paint a face this exercise is always in the back of my mind, and my rendering of form is much stronger because of it.
Here's one I tried in pencil. Wow, it's a lot harder in pencil than digitally!! Again, it's more like a caricature (I don't have the original reference pic anymore, sorry). But still the form comes through powerfully.
I always find every time my skill develops dramatically it's after a period of intense study like this. sometimes it's a serious study of anatomy, sometimes techniques like this designed to strengthen drawing/visualizing skills.