This week was my last at London Fine Art Studios before my move to Huang Hai University in Zhumadian, China.
My Foundation 1 students did their first 3 hour charcoal drawing. It was a big step for them and will take a few more attempts before they are confident in rendering a drawing.
My Foundation 2 students continued their first 12 hour drawing. They struggled with it as I expected. I mainly gave them the task so they could experience the frustration and emotional rollercoaster of attempting to finish a drawing. Preparing yourself for the psychological difficulty of finishing a drawing is as important as understanding technique.
In my Anatomy class we finished drawing skeletal anatomy and caught several students who had been absent. At the end of class I passed the flame – or in this case, human skeleton – to Michael Gallone who will be running the show from now on.
I’ve been looking to upgrade from my Wacom Bamboo I bought as a student for a long time now. I finally settled on the Microsoft Surface Pro so I could get the added benefits of having a portable device. I bought a used, refurbished Surface Pro 3 i5 with 4GB RAM since I’m a cheap bastard. Here’s my thoughts...
So far the Surface Pro can handle all the files I’ve worked on with ease. I haven’t worked on anything bigger than 5mb yet, but there has been no lag in any of my brush strokes. The pressure sensitivity is great and I was able to turn off the annoying pen cursor.
The 12 inch screen size is surprisingly more than enough. With the amount of customisation that Photoshop has I’m able to always have enough room to work by zooming in and out. I was surprised to find out just how little space my hand needed for drawing.
The battery life is solid. I’ve been drawing for up to four hours before having to recharge. I would expect this if I was just browsing the internet, but not for working on Photoshop.
The only real downside I’ve seen so far is the limit to customisation of the pen. Microsoft has a very limited set of built in options for the buttons on the pen. I had to download Event Ghost in order to change the pen to the settings I was after.
Overall at the price I paid I’m happy with my purchase, but I don’t think I be able to justify a brand new model. The below sketches are from life and done on the Surface Pro.
Over the last few weeks I’ve continued taking my Foundation 1 students through the basics of drawing and proportions (see the below demonstrations). On week for we moved on to shading and modelling. The first attempt is always a shock for students, so I’m sure I’ll have to go through a demonstration again next week.
My Foundation 2 students started a 12 hour drawing. This will be their longest drawing yet, and at the moment they are very unsure about how they could draw something for 12 hours. I have a feeling next week will be mostly about learning how to push through the drudgery of polishing a drawing.
I did something slightly different with my Anatomy students this term. When we begin our 8 week project, we start by measuring the points where bone comes to skin. I find that most students struggle with this, so we spent a day going over how to measure. Following this we started our 8 week project and have begun working on skeletal anatomy.
Winter Term is in full swing at London Fine Art Studios. I got a new batch of Foundation and Gesture and Anatomy students.
This week I took my Foundation class through the basics of line...
...and the encajar system.
I’ve got a new exercise planned for my Gesture and Anatomy students next week. Let’s see how they handle it.
Today was my last class of the term at London Fine Art Studios. I gave my foundation students free choice of their still life compositions. A few of them really pulled it together for their last class. I was very impressed with a couple of my students.
My anatomy students finished their big anatomy project a week earlier, so I had them begin experimenting with gesture drawing. They didn’t understand the concepts straight away, so I gave them an exercise where they could only draw the figure using geometric forms. They did much better following the exercise but need a lot more experience.
My Foundation students continued studying colour. After their long three hour paintings last week, I had them attempt four 30 minute paintings. See my above examples. There was a huge improvement in the energy of the classroom. My students stepped up to the challenge and the development from their first to last painting was obvious.
Here’s the incredible work from my student Sophie Williams. Throughout the term I have been greatly impressed by her ability to learn quickly and willingness to take risks. This painting is a great example of her understanding of painting with mass, material handling and colour.
My Anatomy class finished their long project today. I think more than anything they learned just how much there is to learn. Many of my students want to do another term dissecting the figure.
The term is flying by an we've already moved on to colour! This week I had my Foundation students work with a limited palette. Every term students can't wait to get to colour. But when they do, they are shocked by how much more they really have to learn before they will understand it.
My Anatomy students continued with muscles of the torso this week and will be moving onto muscles of the arms next week.
My first comic conventions, the MCM London Comic Con and the London Film &Comic Con were hugely disappointing. I would call them pop culture festivals and were more about buying branded superhero merchandise than comics. I mentioned this to an exhibitor and his advice was to go to Thought Bubble in Leeds.
I went for the first time this last weekend and the festival was everything I could have wanted. There were hundreds of artists, great speakers, feedback and a perfect example of how amazing the comic community is.
There were amazing talks by artists on their work and the industry. It’s always great to see how humble and down to earth most artists are. I got some great advice on establishing myself in the industry and making a profession out of comics.
Speaking to artists and writer was an incredible resource. I learned some tricks of the trade and think I’ve been sold on the program formerly known as Manga Studio. Photoshop is just too cumbersome for the pace that I need to work.
The feedback and insights I got from established editors and publishers was invaluable. I had my portfolio reviewed by Shelly Bond of Vertigo and got to watch portfolio reviews from the 2000AD art competition.
There was a whole host of other workshops, fringe events and more that I would have gone to were there more hours in the day.
Basically Thought Bubble is everything you want and need in life if you’re into comics. Go!
My Foundation class moved on to oil paint this week. I haven’t oil painted in three years and didn’t realise how much I missed it until I put my brush against the canvas. Here’s my first painting of the day.
My anatomy students moved on to muscles this week – and they thought the skeleton was hard. Ha!