Monday, March 2, 2015

Illustration Lesson #1

Welcome back kids! As a brand new feature on this blog, now that I've reached the milestone of all the illustrations being complete, I thought I would start giving back a bit and share some tips and advice for my fellow artists, illustrators, animators and other creative types who may be following along or stumble across this online. Some of these tips may be pretty obvious if you have any good amount of art training, or they may not be, depending on your background, so for the sake of wherever you are at as an artist, this is my way of just sharing a few of the things I try to remember or think about as I draw. With practice, many of these things will come naturally and just be part of your drawing vocabulary. I'll do a few more of these over the coming months as I continue moving towards the book being launched.

For this first "lesson," I'll just say a few simple things about composition, using this illustration for the title poem Gnomes of the Cheese Forest as an example.

All through middle school and high school I took drawing and painting classes with an amazing artist from Detroit named Nancy Prophit. She has since passed away, so it's my honor and privilege to share with you one of her many tips that's always stuck with me. Mrs. Prophit taught me that if you have several objects in a picture, particularly if it's a plural number of the same object, it's always best to group them in odd numbers. Avoid having too many even numbers of things in your picture, as this will make things look rigid and symmetrical. Odd numbers will appear more pleasing to the eye and more natural.

For example, in this illustration there are 5 "cheese trees", 7 gnomes, 3 goblets, and 5 rock "clusters" (meaning one rock or a larger/smaller rock grouped together).

With scenes/pictures featuring multiple characters, also try to find some variety in which direction they are facing. The two gnomes on the left are drawn facing each other, the next two gnomes facing away from each other (with one of them slightly further away in the background), and the next group of three are all facing inwards in a semi-circle.

Try to frame your background elements around your characters so they frame them in interesting ways, avoiding tangent lines and simply trying to find ways to make everything fit.

Anyway, I hope that helps! Happy Drawing!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Ken - was just googling my mom's name and came across this blog post. So happy to see that my mom had a positive influence on your art. I miss her every day!