More Sketches

I did more sketching from yesterday. I chose to focus on hands and feet this time. There were some very tough poses, but I had a lot of fun doing these. Here is a very small selection:

5 minutes:

point copy

Sometimes if I’m not pleased with a drawing I’ve done, and I still have time, I try it again.clasp copy This was very difficult to draw. I think the front reads quite well, not sure about the back though. And I used a lighter coloured pencil, which doesn’t help at all …

30 seconds:


(part of) 11 minutes:
foot copyThis was my third attempt at this foot in that time, and I went on to try another. So somewhere around 2 minutes.


Blast from the Past

I have been clearing out my room (this seems to be a permanent occupation) and recycling old schoolwork, university work, articles, and old drawings and stories by me that just aren’t worth keeping anymore. While doing that, I found these:Peter copy Peter, my family’s first budgie.

OliverTwist copyOliver and Twist were our third and fourth budgies (of many more … ) and were brothers.

Most of my drawings from high school art are not great; I was very timid with mark-making. However, about ten years ago I had my first life drawing classes and my drawing rapidly improved. Then for some reason I gave up art as a subject, and then pretty much stopped drawing entirely for four years. These drawings were not done after that period, and I’m almost certain they wouldn’t have been drawn within that time. I think, then, that these were sketched from photographs during the time I was taking life drawing classes at school. There’s a confidence in the lines that I think I’ve only gained back recently – what a shame! I’d be pleased if I drew these now!


Yesterday I found a link to the site which has photographs of people, animals, expressions, etc. that can be viewed as “classes”. This morning I tried out a 30-minute figure drawing class, followed by a 30-minute animal class. There are different things to pick from – clothed, nude, horses, birds – but I chose the most general options. The classes both began with several 30-second poses, followed by gradually lengthening poses. What I really enjoyed about them is that they replicate the drawing-class feel. It’s hard to keep track of the time I spend drawing sometimes! I would recommend checking it out: the site’s free, and though the photographs used wouldn’t be great for very long, high-detail drawing they are great for quick gestures.

Here are some of the drawings I did. My animals ones were generally better (perhaps because I’d spent most of the figure class warming up). I added the colour later.

30 seconds:

Wombat copy Horse01 copy Dog copy Rabbit2 copy

5 minutes:
Dog3 copy Elephant copy Horse copy Dog2 copyI’ve been thinking I need to do some drawings with figures AND background … I seem to usually do one or the other …

Mount Hood

Using some family holiday photographs for reference, I painted Mount Hood (vaguely based on it) for my father’s birthday present. I used gouache and a stencil made from paper which gave interesting gloopy results, especially each time it was reused. Here are the final results below, in the order they were made.Hood1_01 copy Hood2_01 copy A close up, below: a wet wash underneath created these wonderful splodges. This is the painting I chose to give to my dad.Hood2_02 copy At this point, the stencil began to disintegrate.

Hood3_01 copy

Here I flipped the stencil over and used it to print with as well.Hood4_01 copy

Animating a Horse III


Previous posts: Posing and Breakdowns.

This is actually the hardest stage to describe, I think; there are so many small things that I do it’s hard to summarise them. But I’ll give it a shot!

I normally don’t use the graph editor all that much before the polishing pass as I know I’ll have to come back to it again anyway. What I do is pick a point on my character (in this case, illustrated by the horse’s head).

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 13.03.27

I then open the graph editor to see how the head moves. As seen by the graph below, the curve begins and ends smoothly but in the middle it changes direction quite sharply with the points all over the place.

Graph_01 What I do is adjust the points until the whole curve is smooth. I try not to make it perfect, otherwise everything will move evenly. The idea is to keep the general shape while smoothing out the kinks.Graph_02

It’s at this stage that I make sure to get rid of all evenness and stiffness in the movement. I adjusted the horse’s feet so that the hooves don’t lift off the ground all at the same time, and so the hind legs don’t kick out at exactly the same time. I adjusted the tail so it follows the movement of the body. The ears were looking pretty stiff, so I added a little flick in there – hopefully just enough to keep them alive. If you look really closely, you’ll also be able to see the horse briefly open its mouth.

There are many things like that which have been tweaked and adjusted since the last video I posted. The aim is to recreate life, to make it believable – an illusion people want to believe. By rolling the body from one side to another as it lifts and lands, I’m making the horse look like it has real weight.

As seen by the graph editor, smoothing things out is important. This is also seen in the arcs of the character – how the hoof moves across the screen, for example. Below I’ve used Maya’s handy sketch tool, Grease Pencil, to examine how the left fore leg (on the right) picks up and then sets down. I’ve already adjusted this leg in terms of timing (slower as it lifts and falls, faster in the middle) and the arc is getting there. You can see by the purple line that it is quite straight in the middle, and wiggles around at the end.

GreasePencil_01 Using a different colour I add another line to my sketch – this is the arc I want the leg to have. (The leg is now on the left.) I’ve picked out the keys I want to change the position of: 16 needs to be slightly raised, 18 needs to be shifted quite significantly to the right, and 19 needs some adjusting to fit between the new 18 and the final key. Once these are changed, I’ll get that nice smooth arc.GreasePencil_02It is possible to use Maya’s editable motion trail, but I prefer the old-fashioned way because then I can measure the arc against exactly what I want to, in this case the point of the hoof.

Here, then, is the final animation:

The problem with the polishing stage (and 3D in general) is the ability to go back and revise and revise again. Even while making this post I discovered more things to change – and I certainly can see many more things in previous animations I’ve done! However I’m pleased with this little project and I hope to use this rig again.

Previous posts: Posing and Breakdowns.


Desert copy

I got some new paintbrushes for Christmas, so I played around with gouache this morning!

Close-ups below.

P1050532 copy P1050539 copy

Up ↑