Monday, February 20, 2012

Drawing Machines Vs Drawing People

Back to basics again. Looks like a kid's toy, which is appropriate, since I'm still working out the ABC's.

Used a perspective grid and construction lines this time, but I find that even with a grid, I still have to manually adjust things by eye to make it "look right", tho only just a little bit.

But overall, drawing machinery is straightforward: follow the guidelines, connect the dots, and voila, it's done.

Like a covert operative.

Here are your instructions. Your mission is clear. Execute.


FAR DIFFERENT from drawing people, where I'm mostly relying on a library of memorized shapes, using rendering tricks, guessing by eye, or "feeling" my way through.

FEELINGS. So much uncertainty. Where am I going, what am I doing? Does my butt look fat?


Mission Possible VS Fat Butt. That in a nutshell, is the difference between drawing machines, and drawing people.

That's why foreshortening the human figure is so challenging, where guesswork, memorization, and feelings fall apart against a need for perspective accuracy.

In those situations you can't GUESS. You have to KNOW. You have to do it the "hard way", while retaining the feelings that make people LOOK GOOD.

Personally, I can't stand when characters are out of perspective with a scene, but in the past my experiments with figure drawing by construction have ended in failure.

But back then I only had a BASIC understanding of perspective, and NO understanding of form drawing. Eventually, I ended my construction experiments with a strong suspicion that my gaping ignorance of perspective blocked any improvement in that area.

Maybe when I'm more comfortable drawing machine forms in perspective, my ability to draw "people shapes" in perspective will improve. I'll put that to the test soon enough. However, I've noticed that really skilled product designers don't draw people well, and vice versa for "people" artists. One skill doesn't seem to help the other.

Although theoretically it SHOULD.

Theoretically I should be able to break down the human figure into manageable machine shapes to solve any perspective problem. Why hasn't this translated for other machine artists?

Don't know, but I'm on the path to figuring it out for myself.

Machines or People, it's like you have to make a choice.

Some artists draw both well, but of those I've only seen a very small handful who don't copy or fake it, who can draw any design, human or otherwise, by construction,

guys like Moebius:

or Michael Golden:

It's no coincidence that these guys are among the best.

I've also noticed that when I'm drawing machine shapes, which is mostly plotting out coordinates, I have NO DESIRE to draw people, and when I'm drawing people, which is mostly feeling my way through, I have NO DESIRE to draw machine shapes.

Might be a left brain/right brain thing.

Don't really know why.

But I've always felt that if I could do both well, that I'd become one of the best.

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