I had originally planned to sell the painting of this little guy. When he first showed up that was all I could think to do with him. I usually don’t paint stuffed animals. Then I noticed that he kept popping into paintings and doodles–the little guy is everywhere and SO determined to be involved in everything I do. Then hubby fell in love with him and requested that I NOT put him up for sale.
Not only did he not want me to sell the painting but he started writing him a story. A sort of Milne-y/Dr. Seuss-y kind of story. Have I ever mentioned that his father was a real, honest-to-goodness, published poet? No? Well he was and hubby has a huge portion of that same spirit plus being incredibly FUNNY. Oh my goodness, so very, very funny.
So, our little bunny is getting a great little story to go with him. And each painting is leading to another stanza of the poem and another painting, and it cracks me up. We are having such fun with this little guy.
We don’t know what will happen when we finish–Shamus would like to try to get it published but we shall see. (Which is why I am not sharing the actual words he has written.) In the meantime we are taking it one painting at a time and the story is still growing.
Have I mentioned that prints and cards are now available of this little guy? Yup, you can get him here:
Now that we know what we already know we can start to learn more about the body and its proportions.
If you know anything about horses you have probably heard of a horse being measured buy how many hands tall they are. Artists use a similar measurement when measuring people. You can measure a person using their head (unlike horse measuring “a head” is not a specific height, it is the height of that individual’s head). You can “eye it” (use your eye to estimate how many heads tall) or you can use your pencil and thumb like a ruler to figure out how many heads tall and wide a person is.
Look at your person again (if you are in the room with someone else it will be better if you actually walk over to them and a piece of paper or pencil to measure their head then how many heads tall they are.) Also measure how many heads wide they are at different points. How many heads wide are they at the shoulder? At the waist? At the hips? How many heads wide is one leg? An arm?
If there is more than one person in the room (or in the magazine if you don’t have a person) do this test on the others. Compare them. Keep in mind the person’s age when doing it. Is the person a child, a baby, a grownup?
Notice the difference between a baby, a child, a teen, a grown-up. A baby is about 3 heads tall, as she grows she gets to be about 4 heads tall , then 5, and once she is grown up she will be about 6 heads tall. A boy may end up being 7-8 heads tall. Width also changes as a child grows. A baby is only about 1 and a half heads wide, moving to about 2 heads wide as a toddler until adolescents. A 10 to 12 year old girl starts to widen slightly at the hips and by the time she is grown she will probably be about 3 heads wide both at the shoulders and the hips. A boy on the other hand will probably be about 2 heads wide at the hips and 3 at the shoulders.
Yes, everyone is different which is why this is a general rule. It gives you something to go on and will help you figure out proportions when drawing from the imagination AND when drawing from life. It will also help you if you want to draw in another style–for instance comic book illustrators tend to exaggerate certain proportions to make a point and manga/anime artists exaggerate them in a different way. If you know the general rules for real people it will make learning to draw other styles easier.
This week I would like you to draw a family, it can be your’s or someone elses. You can use stick figures or draw realistically if you like but I want you to use what I just explained about figuring out a person’s proportions using their head. Draw people of different heights and ages.
A while ago I did a portrait with a little girl who was holding a bunny. I guess that little bunny got a hold on me because I noticed that he showed up in another recent painting and now he got one all to himself. I had planned to have him sitting there all alone but somehow he looked so downtrodden and sad sitting there that I decide he needed some cheering up and gave him some tea party things and a paper crown. It doesn’t seem to have made much difference. Poor thing. I honestly don’t think anything would cheer him.
You know how some kids can get all sorts of bumps and bruises and never care a bit? My son is not one of those. He worries about the slightest bump crying, “Mom, I have a bleeding cut!” at the slightest scratch. He happily worries over each of his injuries, checking beneath the band aid to make sure it is all right. You can imagine what happens when he falls from his bike.
Not thrilled with this portrait–not exactly what I was going for but I have done worse. This was done without the benefit of pictures to work from since the kids are away today. I did it on my new watercolor block–8″ x 11″–very different from the sizes I usually work with. Not sure I call it finished but we shall see if I mess with it anymore.
A test run for a possible illustration later on. This is much wider and more filled in than anything I have done up until now (unless you count the unicorn in a field of flowers that I did for a contest when I was in 4th grade and which got passed over for a prize because another kids mother was the judge of the contest and she picked HER child’s art. Stupid art contest. ;P) This isn’t exactly what I am going for but it gave me an idea of what I could accomplish if I went this direction.
More IF’s at Illustration Friday.
A lot of artists work in a studio–I work at my computer desk. I used to have a studio space in the basement and in the garage when I was using oils but nowadays I am working with watercolors and find that working at my desk with a photo on the monitor does the trick. I also carry a small watercolor tablet with me so I can do my doodles when I am out. Usually I don’t paint it or ink it until I get home though I try to keep my ink pen and a small case of watercolors with me, just in case.
The kids often sit on the floor nearby while I am working, working on their own watercolors or in work books. They also run in constantly showing me their latest projects. (Shamus’ desk is behind mine, across the room. Poor guy gets to deal with our constant interruptions while he is trying to concentrate.)