Friday, July 31, 2009

Quantity vs. Quality

Part of the reason for this blog is to test my theories on drawing. Here is the first one.

Quantity is more important than Quality.

Let me qualify this statement by saying that as long as you are learning from your mistakes, and focusing on your weaknesses, you will be better off by doing more drawings.

Sure - I have seen a lot of sketchbooks filled with bad drawings (including a few of my own. ha ha), but it's probably fair to say they were done by folks who weren't really paying attention to their mistakes. They were having fun, but didn't really think about what they were doing.

My first goal is to draw a lot. Then when mistakes happen - try and notice them so that I don't repeat them again. At least, not too often. In order to make the most of the 1 hour drawing sessions, I don't plan to erase too much or try and correct too much. Rather I hope to draw as much as possible, using the principles of construction. Then, the next time I draw a similar subject, try and avoid doing the same errors I did on previous sessions.

By following this process, I hope to achieve quality through quantity.

Quantity First.
Quality 2ND.


This is a personal blog, that I hope will achieve a couple of goals.

The first goal of this blog is to get me drawing again. As the manager for the Labyrinth book store in Toronto, as well as a professional in the animation industry my free time is seriously constrained.

Over the past 7 years, I have worked primarily in 3d animation, as well as book sales, such that my drawing skills are not where I want them to be.

I often advise, would be artists, that the secret to being good at drawing is doing a lot of it. The 2nd piece of advice I give is to copy a lot, because it's fast and allowes you to build a volume of work easily and quickly. The argument is that when you draw from your brain, it takes a lot of energy and time to come up with a drawing, so that ultimately you get less work done.

For example, if a person wanted to draw their own original character from their imagination, they first would have to figure out what that character looks like, what expression they have, their pose, their environment and so forth. All this thinking takes time. Time that could be spent drawing. Sure you can do exploratory drawings, but its still an inherently slow process.

When you copy, all the design elements have been figured out for you, so all one has to do is focus on structure. This means you can get more drawing done in a shorter period of time. Anyone that has ever done 1 minute or 30 second life drawings knows what i am talking about. There's no way, most of us could have done a drawing every minute out of our brains. Copying from the model made it possible.

Now, having mentioned Life Drawing I would like to say; YES - I have done Life Drawing and while it can be fun for some, it's really not why I got interested in drawing. I got interested in drawing because I loved Comics and Animation. I love funny drawings, fantasy stuff and fantastical locations.

This is why instead of using Life Drawing to get me where I want to go, I will be using comic books and art books instead. Copying from artists I admire, and characters that I enjoy will be key to keep me interested as I work to build up my skills to a point that I am happy with my drawing abilities again. Copying from books also means I can draw when I want and not have to attend scheduled sessions when I am crazy busy. Oh and don't forget - IT'S PRACTICALLY FREE. Sure you need source material, but if you buy the books, you can keep them, re-sell them, or give them as gifts in the future. When you pay thousands of dollars to go to school, that money is gone!

At the same time, when you "copy" from artbooks and comics, you can learn different styles and approaches to solving problems (like how to draw hair, eyes, fingers,etc.. in different styles) .

QUICK ASIDE: "Copy" is such a dirty word - but I hope when I start demonstrating what I do, you will think a little differently. There's plagerism -where you copy someone elses work and pretend its yours. And then there is copying for the purpose of study or understanding. In the old days, young artists would often copy the works of the masters to learn their trade.

Copying is not a bad word - if you are using construction and thoughtful methodology to build the drawings you are studying. More will be said on this later.

Under normal circumstances - I don't recommend people show these 'copy drawings' to other people. These are meant to be done as an exercise. Not to show off. Having said that - this blog is about me drawing a lot. Selfish - I know. Still, I figure that by making my goal public, I have a better chance at success. (It will look bad if I don't do what I promise to do. wont't it?)

The 2nd Goal of this blog is to get more people drawing. I hope that by demonstrating the process that I go through, I can help young artists out there discover a method that might work for them too. If after reading this, you feel like you want to try it along with me, I would be more than honoured.

It's been said that we all have 1,000, 10,000 (pick your number) bad drawings in us and the sooner we can work them out of our system, the sooner we can reach the good drawings. With that in my mind, I intend to do 1 hour a day of drawing from books or comics.