Possibly been playing too much AC syndicate…?
A while ago I strained this muscle in my foot. It wasn’t one of those sudden, unbearable injuries. Instead, it was the kind that stuck around and crept up on you every time you worked your body a little harder than usual.
After ignoring it for months, I finally waddled to the physio and through the physio sessions, actually learnt quite a bit about how feet are very expressive of other things going on in the body. For instance, every time I tried to balance in a difficult position, my toes would panic and grab at floor. Also, learnt how the strain in my foot was connected to calf and butt muscles that were sleeping on the job and not doing their fair share of work. (A lot of injuries are caused by small muscles trying to do the work that big muscles are supposed to do. Another interesting discussion altogether).
In any case, it just got me thinking about how neglected feet are in general. Many people don’t give them much thought and some (like my friend from work) find them positively ugly. They get the shapeless blob treatment in art work quite a bit as well.
So I took the opportunity while rehab-ing to do a little study and observation, trying to understand something about the structure as well as the aesthetics of feet.
Bits and bobs I found interesting:
I also modelled a 3D foot as an exercise to really help me understand the form from different angles. It was really useful actually cause it helped me fill in the gaps I’d missed when just sketching in 2D.
This is how it went from a Maya base model to a zBrush sculpt.
Always easiest to worry about the big shapes first, then drill down into the details. The foot was kind of fun to do cause it’s a simple shape but full of little subtle asymmetries.
It would be fun to go up the leg and do a study on the next connecting limbs. I mean, I’ve also had a pretty bad knee injury before so maybe it’s high time I looked into that area haha. Suppose we shall see.
Starting to do some colour studies. I was doing backgrounds for our Regency Love game and I felt like the bit I had most trouble with was working out a good colour pallet. The colours either were a bit too saturated or they started to look muddy when I mixed them too much. Then often I couldn’t get the mood right, like it was too blue/green when it was supposed to have a warm feel.
Hence, thumbnail studies, concentrating on getting the general colour and atmosphere right. Found it quite challenging but useful!
Side note: I got this very nice replica skull off ebay. For a plastic skull it’s got a great level of detail and I’ve learnt a lot from being able to refer to it while sketching an actual face. Also being able to hold it and feel all the changing planes from a tactile point of view helps everything sink in.
I’ve been working through some online portrait drawing classes by Gary Faigin on Craftsy. They are really fantastic. Gary Faigin is a very systematic teacher and I highly recommend the classes for anyone looking for a logical approach to portraits. It’s not about creating the closest copy possible. It has more to do with what we notice as humans when we look at a face. The first course in the series is free, a great intro and quite fun to do.
I’ve been taking notes, just to jot down some of the things I found most useful. Will fill this in eventually. The notes are in scribble form at the moment and I’d like to convert them to something I can still understand months later.
There is also a book: The Artist’s Complete Guide to Facial Expression that I hear is a staple reference for digital artists.
So following the previous post on composition, I’ve been trying an exercise designed to help you learn more about composition (although after trying it I think I picked up a lot more than just composition). The exercise involves you grabbing a master work that you want to learn from and painting a copy of it. The copy should be small and in black & white to reduce distractions allowing you to concentrate on observing the light values.
It’s amazing how much you can pick up when you’re working hard to replicate an effect as opposed to just admiring it. Also, because you’re replicating, you’re not nearly as distracted by your creative vision as you would be when doing an original work.
Still got a long way to go but I’m already feeling the results in the way I approach things.
Personal notes after reflecting on lectures from conceptart.org (May add to this later):
Composition is all about creating focus.
Create focus by balancing emphasis & economy
If most of the picture is uniform and then you have even a small point of difference, that point of difference is very noticeable. Strong focus point.
Other things that pull emphasis:
Continuity – Implied Lines