Monday, January 18, 2010

Good Sketches--Your Guide to a Great Beginning

Hey guys!
To get you all started on your first assignment, I've gathered some examples of how to do good sketches, and what I expect to see from you next week. Yuko Shimizu, a wonderful illustrator whose work you've all probably seen (and if you haven't, take a look!) put up a great article on her blog about her work process. It really is the best way to work as an illustrator, and to read the whole thing, go here. I recommend reading it and exploring the rest of her blog/site when you have the time. The sketch process I will be outlining here is basically the same as what Yuko recommends and she has some great progress images.
Yuko's thumbnails from her blog post:

Jillian Tamaki is another superstar illustrator (one of my favorites, for sure) and a great learning resource. She did a progress post herself on her blog, with some of her sketches and her final product. See here! She also frequently contributes lovely/funny little doodles and sketches to her blog in addition to her finals.

SO! First, you'll probably want to start by drawing some thumbnails, like the ones above by Yuko Shimizu-- rough, tiny, really-quick sketches to help you generate your ideas for your image. The more the better! You don't even need an eraser with these, just keep doing them until you have a few you like.

Look at reference! Sometimes you'll need to look at reference before you do your thumbnails, sometimes after, but it's almost always helpful. Besides the internet, Decker Library is a great resource and photocopies and scans are cheap! Reference may be anatomically related or stylistically related to your image, but remember not to take too much from any one image. The worst thing an artist can do is copy someone else's photo or illustration and try to pass it off as their own.

Next, pick several (5 for this assignment) of your best ideas and take more time with your sketches. These sketches should be clearly readable to the viewer and communicate approximately what you want your final to look like. In the professional world, these are the sketches you send to your client, and in my class these are sketches you bring to class!
Here's some examples of my own sketches that I have used with clients of mine. You are not required to add color or tone to your sketches like I have chosen to:

These are the resulting finals:
(with this one, the art director liked all the sketches, but ended up telling me to take my third sketch and expand on it. Thankfully, he was pleased with the result.)

When you come to class, please bring in the thumbnails, sketches, and any reference you feel was important! Seeing all the different steps you've taken in your image helps improve the quality of critiques and lets me see how much you've been working on the assignment (even if you feel you are having trouble with it.)

I'm looking forward to seeing your photoshop work on the blog and your sketches in class next week! Experiment, and don't sweat it!
HAVE A GREAT WEEK and let me know if you have any questions!

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