Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Answer to a question...

One of my faithful blog readers, Sean, after reading Quick Sketching with Ron Husband commented on how I was able to capture the "life and energy of my subjects". 

He inquired, "How do you construct a sketch? Do you start with the head or body...do you use some sort of gesture line to capture movement?"

The answer is that it all depends on the action being drawn.

The majority of my sketching focuses on people and animals in movement. Observation plays a key part in any drawing, more so in true quick sketching (my book gives an in depth definition).

The general rule is to get the head over the weight bearing foot or triangle shape for a balanced sketch. You have to work at this for it to become 'second nature' to you.

Sean, here are a few suggestions with examples...

Examples #1.
I usually start with the head and drop a line (visually) straight down to the foot that is bearing the weight.

As an example, the below man is carrying a weighted object (baby in basket).  You'll see his head is directly over his weight bearing foot and counter balanced by the arm away from the body.

As another example, below is a man holding a small boy- both their heads are above his right foot, yet he feels on balance because the boys torso (weight) is centered over the base of the triangle base formed by the two feet.

Example #2

When sketching sports action the idea of head over weight bearing foot does not apply as most activity is 'in the air' or in an extreme pose. A gesture line or basic shape is what I look for.

For really fast action as in these skateboarders (below), I use whatever it takes to capture the pose. After a period of time spent observing arms, heads, bodies in contorted shapes and all at break neck speed and in constant movement trying to stay balanced upon a small rolling board, I'll begin the sketch.

A gesture line here, foot placement there, deciding what shape this pose represents is about all I can do to put this action on paper in a split second of time.

Below is a Long jump series.  Starting with a backward c shape, into a forward c, and landing as a triangle (my interpretation).

By the time I finish these three sketches, the jumper is walking away from the long jump pit.

Zoo sketches-
Animals also have to feel on balance. Weight over feet (paws, hoofs, claws).

In quick sketching try to choose a subject(s) that is engaged in some activity, that makes your sketches  interesting and fun to look at.

But remember to spend some time observing your subject in action BEFORE you put pen to paper.

For more information and helpful hints on Quick Sketching, check out my book on Amazon.

Until next time...Happy Thanksgiving!  

Friday, October 9, 2015

Canada 2015

Ottawa, Canada
The path that led to this past week's trip to Canada began in June when I was interviewed by Mr. Cory Tibbits and Mr. Myles Rourke, co-hosts of the pod cast, End Credits.

At the end of the discussion they invited me to come up to their territory to do a session before a live audience.  Of course I said,"yes".

A few months passed as Cory and Myles worked out the details and then I got the call, "It's a go.
Pack my bag. The trip is on!"

The itinerary said I needed to be at the airport three hours before my 11am flight.
There were at least a dozen people in line ahead of me. I soon discovered the line was not moving because there is no one at the counter....about forty minutes later, the attendants finally appeared sipping large Starbucks coffees.

Check in completed.

Waiting to board the plane gave me time to do a little sketching....

This guy on the far right had a heavy backpack which allowed him to assume an extreme lean forward...keep your eyes on alert, you never know what unique sketching opportunities await your pen:-)


Five and a half hour, smooth flight up and good night's sleep propelled me into my first Canadian adventure.

11 am...
Cory picked me up a my hotel and we headed for the famous Byward Market. Street after street lined with outdoor fruit stands, shops selling all kinds of wares, assorted pubs, eateries and much, much more.

I was assured, "Haven't been to Ottawa if I have not tasted a 'Beavertail'..."
Too good to try to describe. Anyone who has ever eaten one will attest, it is delicious.
If you are ever in the Ottawa, make your way to the BeaverTail stand in Bayward Market.

(Enjoying the Ottawa favorite at the BeaverTail stand)

1:30 pm...
Still in Byward Market, Cory and I split a pizza for lunch, the best I ever had...the 'Carnivore' from Fiazza Fresh Fired on Murray Street.

(above) Canada's Parliament in the background...

 (left) Posing at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

3:00 pm...
We walk a few blocks down town to the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC)  for a live radio interview.

We arrived a few minutes early. I see an opportunity to sketch while waiting outside the building.

My view of the happenings on the street.

Waiting inside (CBC) to be interviewed...

3:30 pm...
The interview started off blaring Paula Abdul singing  'Opposites Attract'.   The host and I had a good laugh about it's popularity. Hadn't heard or thought about this slice of my life in a while. Of course, he questioned me about my involvement...

Circa 1990...
 my room mate at the time Jaques Muller said, "Let's go over and pick up some freelance work, after work."

 Chris Bailey was directing the animation for this award winning video. Other Disney animation artists were working on this project after hours, too.

We arrived at an apartment and were handed model sheets, exposure sheets, photo stats (Paula dancing on film) and discussed the business of the scene.

(If you have followed this blog, you know I depend on thumbnails, a lot.)

My thumbnail drawings to work out mouth shapes for MC Skat Kat's dialogue...

More thumbnails working out 'business' of his walk...

and ruff animation of walk.


Thumbnails of MC Skat Kat dance moves...

Thumbnails of  Kat reaching for PA...

ruff animation of the action...




finished animated cell with photostat.

 More ruff stuff...

My jog down memory lane complete, Alan the interviewer turned the discussion to animation, my book and other art related topics...

The short interview ended with an on the air plug for tonight's speaking engagement which I'm sure increased attendance.

7 pm...
Got a chance to encouraged and inspire a few hundred young artists and their teachers.

The end of my presentation brought a short break, followed by an interview with Cory and Myles and  then a Q&A session with the audience.

10 pm...
The session moves to the lobby and I finish answering questions that did not get answered inside and  signed some autographs.

11 pm...
Security is giving us the eye...time to go.

All questions addressed, ticket stubs, backpacks, sketch books, laptop covers and two copies of my book (giveaways) signed, it was time to get back to my room.

It did not take much for me to fall asleep this night .

8 am Oct. 2...

Back to the airport.
And a little sketching in the terminal before my flight to Southern California.

until next time...

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Into 1998


At the end of 1997, The Little Mermaid was re-released and was a cause for celebration and reminiscing with cast and crew...

(Invitation to the gathering of cast and crew...)
(The gang that made it happen.)

Also during this time, to sharpen their drawing skills, I led a group of young Disney animation hopefuls on a sketching safari to the LA Zoo.

Little did I know I'd be sharpening my own skills in communicating with others. Eventually I would teach drawing at various institutions and the art of Quick Sketch would be the subject of my first book.

In March 1998 we were treated to a soon to be released screening of Tarzan (below)...

The City of Lights...

That May, LaVonne and I traveled to Paris, France to pay a visit to our daughter Melissa who was studying there as a part of her undergraduate work for Spelman College in Atlanta, GA.

(LaVonne and me in front of the lighted Eiffel Tower)

Artists should soak in as much artistic culture as possible and from any source. If you can't get to Paris, Rome, Greece, Africa or any of the other more exotic locales on this earth, the local libraries are full of picture books to feed our imaginations.

While there we did what tourists do - take advantage of the artwork the museums had to offer, the Louvre for starters...

(LaVonne about to enter the Louvre triangle in the background)

(Inside the Musee d'Orsay with Whistlers Mother)

And then to the Musee d'Orsay...

 On another day, we visited the Musee Rodin (Auguste Rodin's residence which was converted to a museum and his bigger than life sculptures in his backyard).

(Marveling at more of Rodin's backyard sculptures)

(below LaVonne and me looking at Rodin's 'Gates of Hell' doors).

Being from southern California, we were thoroughly impressed with the foliage, fountains and overall beauty of the many parks...including the miniature Statue of Liberty in the Luxembourg Gardens.

 Then, we took a side trip to Vesailles, the home of Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette - Talk about a backyard with a view:-)

Culturally enriched, we gathered up our belongings and Melissa,who was finished with her schooling there, and headed across the ocean to return home.  Even today we remain impressed with the beauty of the city, rich in history and the art work displayed almost everywhere we walked.

(I did manage to do some sketching while there. the sketches are reproduced in my book 'Quick Sketching with Ron Husband' pages 334-337)

Back home, a lecture at the Art Center College of Design (below) was also on the menu...

and 1998 ended with the traditional company Christmas Party (above)...

Early in 1999 the Twilight Bark previewed the upcoming Fantasia 2000 and gave a plug to Atlantis as being partially complete.

until next time...