Each summer I work on an illustration or design project. For 2018, that project is “Build a New Fantasy Illustration Portfolio.” It’s been several years since I’ve done much genre illustration, so I’m basically starting from scratch, with sketches and practice renderings. In a few weeks, I’ll move into actual illustrations. In the meantime, here are some of last week’s sketches.
These are all creature heads. Some of them are studies of real-world animals. Some of them are new. They’re based on the “Big Game Trophy Heads” exercise from Marc Taro Holmes’ book Designing Creatures & Characters.
It’s the first week of the new semester. We’re getting set up for classes and starting new projects. Daily sketch prompts will resume in 2 weeks, once everything is in place.
Each day this week, pick a product that sits in one place for most of its life. Imagine how that product would change if it could move around, and sketch the new product. Here are some examples:
- A refrigerator that could wander around your house
- An alarm clock that could fly out of reach when you won’t get up
- A desk chair that could take you underwater
Each day this week, choose a product you can comfortably sketch in 10-15 minutes. Place that product under a strong light source, and position it so you can clearly see areas that are in the light and areas that are in shadow. Then sketch the product, paying close attention to the lighting. Since these products should be relatively easy to sketch, you’ll have plenty of time to focus on the lighting.
If you have trouble with light and shadows, focus on the major forms. Ignore the surface details and make sure the overall form looks correct. When your form is mostly a cylinder, then shade it as a simple cylinder first. After that, you can go back and add-in the details. The same goes for boxy forms, spherical forms, and just about anything else. Read More
Choose a space that includes several different, but related, products. It could be a small space, like a kitchen cabinet full of dishes, or a large one, like a parking lot full of cars.
For each of the first four days this week, draw a different product from this space. Depending on your product, you may need to adjust its complexity so it fills a 30-minute sketching session. If you’re drawing simple objects, like plates or drinking glasses, you may want to stack them up, or put a few of them into a group. If you’re drawing complex objects, like cars and trucks, you may want to ignore most of the surface details and focus on the major shapes. Read More
Each day this week, sketch a set of identical (or nearly identical) products. Choose simple products, like a group of pushpins on a desk, a set of wrenches on a workbench, or a set of kitchen knives in a knife rack.
Arrange your products in an interesting way. For me, the easiest way to do this is to have most of the products doing the same thing, with 1 or 2 products doing something different. This will draw viewers’ attention to the differently-positioned products, so you might want to add a little extra detail there. Read More
Good lines are clear. The viewer knows exactly how your product looks in the real world. When they look at a line they can tell immediately whether it is the edge of a form, or something on its surface. They never have to guess what a line is showing.
Bad lines are vague. The viewer has trouble imagining your product in the real world. They can’t tell product edges from surface details. They may have to guess where the important lines are and what they are showing. Read More