Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ten-Minute Drawing -- LIVE!!!

Streaming Webcams - solution by Camstreams

Well well.... It seems that if you have Windows Media Player working on your computer (sorry for all non-windows users...) you can watch my screen live and talk to me through the meebo chat on the sidebar. There's about a ten-second delay for my audio/video so I'll seem a bit laggy. If you see me online in the chat you can pop me a question and I can turn on the screen-camera. This wonderful webcam relay service was provided free by Camstreams. Ain't technology wonderful?

Anyways, I can't have it going at all times (it's gotta be turned off while I record episodes and surf the web or play games but I'll try and stay in the chat app as much as possible)

Episode 203 - Defining and constructing in space

Oops. Ran out of time. Next episode: a demo of drawing a room with some furniture in it!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Season 2, Episode 2 - Points In Space

Moving on... how can we get that feeling of depth with nothing but points?

Next up -- we'll use this technique to construct an environment.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Season 2, Episode 1 - Introduction To Drawing

Do not adjust your set... I restarted the series because I found better ways to explain drawing which made all the previous episodes rather obsolete.

I'll still leave them up for people to watch, though. I'm also recording all of these at NTSC resolution so that when I have enough episodes to fill up a DVD, anyone who has donated $30.00 or more will be entitled to a signed copy.

Of course someone will probably digitize and upload the DVD to a peer-to-peer file-sharing network. Oh well. I can hardly make rent as it is these days so I'll have to find other ways to stay alive. I'm thinking of setting up an online mentoring service, or maybe I can find schools that would buy the DVD in large quantities or start a webcomic and sell a hardcopy paper version of it...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Episode Reboot...

I came back from Italy with a very different outlook on drawing, and I suddenly feel that all of the current episodes are outdated and overcomplicated. I won't bore you with stories of my internal struggles but I'll share my points of view with you so that you can view the information from the existing videos in a new light.

*Takes a deep breath*

Every blank sheet of paper contains an alternate universe. These universes are empty, and waiting for us to fill them. Although it's only a mere layer of paper, the barrier is enough to stop any physical object from penetrating into the alternate universe. However the mind, aided with the eyes is capable of passing through the barrier and living in the imaginary universe contained within the paper.

The purpose of Drawing (or many other visual mediums like television and movies and video games) is:

To make the audience forget about themselves and what's going on around them in mundane reality.


To immerse them in the alternate reality that we create.

At least, that's my ultimate goal, and what the series is here to help you achieve.

Drawing itself is:

The act of selecting and structuring situational information according to a specific point of view.


Presenting that structured information to others via optical illusions on flat visual mediums.

Oo. Heavy. Let's have that in ENGLISH!

Right now I'm sitting in my studio in front of my computer with my shirt off and the air conditioner roaring at full blast on a hot summer's day. I'm fully aware of my current situation in mundane reality, but only because of information gathered from my senses of sight and sound and touch, etc. etc. I can't possibly know EVERYTHING that's going on around me because my senses only tell me so much -- so if I want to recreate my experience for another person, I must select and convey ONLY the information gathered from my perspective and NO MORE!

When you start TELLING people bits of information that can't possibly be experienced from the point of view that you've chosen, then something will feel off and people will fall out of the existence you create and land unceremoniously back in their own mundane existence. This is what happens when you try and draw both eyes on a head when the head is turned at an angle where only one eye is visible. Sorry Picasso. That's one of the reasons Neo-Cubism and the way children draw is less than convincing.

Now you also have to structure (or arrange) that information according to how it will be perceived from that same point of view. This is what we call Drawing Things In Perspective, and it's where we take into consideration the spatial position of things relative to one another AND include our own spatial position in the equation! Everything MUST be drawn in perspective. We MUST be aware of where things sit in space relative to us or things will look out of place and break the illusion and our imaginary universes will collapse into a totally bogus un-magical flap of paper with pigment smeared on it. Painting and shading and rendering are all ways to reinforce that illusion, but if you do a bad job, they can serve as ways to break that illusion.

When it comes to figuring out just where to place things relative to you, you can act on your internal sense of placement. You have this sense and use it all the time (well if not, you'd be ramming into obstacles all the time and we might as well give up all hope of drawing if such is the case). You can shut your eyes and sense how far away the walls are from your head. You can probably hear things going on around you and sense where they are, relative to you. You can sense mosquitoes buzzing right past your ear and sense where cars are passing you on the street.

So when you must imagine where something is placed on the page, you have to invoke this same sense and try to imagine where this object is sitting relative to something else in paperverse and where everything is sitting relative to you. You have to be situationally aware at all times when drawing, and that means aware of what's going on around you in the paperverse.

Every time you draw, you're creating an optical illusion for the purpose of engaging the viewer in a transaction of sorts. You're feeding information into one of the senses so that that person will forget about their own situation and get sucked into yours, but if you do something unexpected and disobey the rules of the transaction, bam. Bogus paper. Try not to tax the good-will of the audience by arbitrarily introducing flaws into your work.

And the final thing I want to say about drawing is that it should never be arbitrary or random. I see people doing this all the time (and I keep catching myself from bad old ingrained habits) and that's making forced strokes. That's like throwing handfuls of darts at a dartboard to try and get a bulls-eye. Even if one dart hits the mark, the hundreds of other darts peppering the outer parts of the board and the wall and floor and innocent bystanders are not going to generate the impression that you are a marksman. If you don't know what you should be doing, look at the rest of the drawing to see what needs to be added and WHERE it needs to be added. I try and make it a point not to stare into blank voids on the paper, instead focusing my eyes on something else I've already drawn and then using my peripheral vision to sense where the pen is in relation to that one object.

That's the problem with these drawing videos. When you watch me draw, I'm pretty much in the dark as you guys are as to what the final image will look like except only I know what I'm trying to accomplish. I have to explain the reasons for my actions or they'll seem arbitrary. After all, you can see what I'm doing, so there's no need to explain THAT. How many times have I seen drawing videos where the guy draws a head and says: "I draw the head" then he draws a torso and says: "then I draw the torso" etc.... graaghhhh it makes my blood boil just a little.

Anyways I really want to get started with the new series soon so thanks everyone for all your input... I have a lot of people I have to get back to so maybe tonight I can do that. Until next time!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Free Toronto Seminars/Lectures

New email address:

tenminutedrawing AT moat-dd DOT com

New facebook group

You can join and post images for critique -- not for the faint of heart! I won't mince words, but I'll do my best to help you in the right direction.

Things are moving along smoothly with the International Academy of Design and Technology, all the papers are in order, with my first class starting July 9th, 2007. Before then, I'd really like to get some dry runs in teaching groups of people so I'm offering free drawing seminars and lectures to people in the Toronto area.

This is not the usual "drawing-get-together" type meeting as I will be giving actual lessons and live demonstrations. You only need to bring a reliable writing/drawing utensil (I suggest a ballpoint pen that gives a steady line or a fountain pen or a fineliner -- pencils tend to smudge and working carefully obviates erasers.) and a pad of 8.5x11" paper or a sketchbook. Portable chairs are a good idea for our days outdoors, and you can get good ones with a seat back (don't get armrests) at MARATHON OUTDOORS for only $20.00 after taxes. A wide-brimmed straw hat does wonders for sunny days and it'd be a wise thing to have some strong sunblock with you.

I have yet to select a location, but for everyone's sake the lessons will be held at night or on the weekend and if there's daylight and good weather (It's summer, after all) we may draw on the University of Toronto campus or along the lake shore or the beaches. If it's at night, or the weather is awful then the lectures will be held at Chapters or in the Eaton Centre or some place indoors with a lot of space and places to sit without being harassed by security guards.

Join the facebook group to learn about upcoming lectures and maybe we'll be able to vote on a place and time for the seminars.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Back From Italy...

Hey guys, I just got back from a 12 day trip to Italy... My head's stuffed full of ideas regarding structure and composition, and how to draw landscapes and scenery from the imagination.

In other news, I had a rather successful interview at the International Academy of Design and Technology and will start teaching concept art and programming (and other various subjects) for their video game course in Mid-July. The job itself is a part-time engagement, so I feel that Ten-Minute-Drawing Techniques will not suffer in any way. Rather, it'll help me to hone the lessons a little better.