Monday, October 28, 2013

Ask "Stretch" - October bonus

Hello, everybody and welcome to a special bonus edition of "Ask Stretch"! Today, I'm going to look at and answer some more questions that have been sent in by you, the audience.

1. Hey, Stretch, I want to be an artist but recently feel unmotivated to draw! I sit down to a blank piece of paper and nothing comes to me. Eventually, I get frustrated and then nothing gets drawn. What can I do to stay motivated?

Answer: Good question! What motives us all to do something differs from person to person. Was it something really delicious that we ate? Perhaps a new movie or piece of media that differs from the norm? Maybe it was an event or discussion with friends or family?

I find that continually having new experiences or at least mixing up the order one does daily activities is great for keeping those creative juices flowing. Learning new things is also very helpful. (this includes topics already explored and topics that still need exploring) Taking a story that is commonly known, such as "The Three Little Pigs", and redesigning the characters/scenes is always fun. What's critical here is to never get complacent or too comfortable inside your own box. Surrounding yourself with peers also helps stimulate the mind with healthy competition. Setting goals can be helpful if you're a goal-oriented person. If you happen to be someone that avoids daily routine like the plague, then just draw something, anything, at some point in the day. If a new sketch each day is overkill, then have something new by the end of the week. The creative process has to flow in a way that suits "you". Otherwise, it just gets stressful as opposed to being fun. Also, consider drawing in new styles that you haven't attempted before. "Variety is the spice of life!"

By the way, if you're stressed about being productive, taking a few days to rest and/or recharge is healthy and will help you return to the creative frame of mind.

2. I'm hearing that the only way to draw is by using digital programs like Adobe Photoshop and a drawing on paper dead?

Answer: I wouldn't go so far as to call drawing on paper "dead" per se. Digital software is great, don't get me wrong, and so is drawing on a tablet. Studios in general are mostly or completely digital these days. Most artist cubicles have a computer fully armed with digital drawing/painting software and a large tablet to go with it. However, there are still many artists that draw on both paper and the tablet. Often times, the rough design will be on paper and then clean line and color are done on the computer. (I work this way too) There's a certain something that can only be felt drawing on paper. Plus, a paper sketch book is much more portable than a computer in most cases. Maybe one day we will carry high tech small tablets to draw with but until then, the paper sketch book remains king. Also, keep in mind that digital creative software is a tool as much as traditional drawing utensils. A tool is only as good as its user at the end of the day. Plus, drawing on paper is much more cost-effective as opposed to several hundred to thousands of dollars that's required for a digital set-up : )

That does it for this bonus episode of "Ask Stretch". Got a question about the creative process or the  creative industry itself? Please send me a message and I will do my best to answer your questions. Take everyone and see you all next month!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Ask "Stretch" - Ocotober

Hello everybody! In light of resolving computer issues and the lack of new posts, I thought now would be a good time to do this month's "Ask Stretch". Hope everyone is well as we get deeper into flu season over here in the western hemisphere. Hm, wonder if the eastern hemisphere has a flu season?....Anyhow, let's have a look at a question sent in from you, the audience:

1. Hi Stretch! I was wondering why do you draw in blue and red? Do all character artists do that?

Answer: Most character designers will draw in blue specifically as it is tradition dating back several decades. Typically, it's a blue col-erase pencil that is used. These are blue colored pencils with an eraser on the end. The blue is a nice, erasable, easy-to-see color and for quite some time, scanners and xerox copies had a hard time picking it up. It's only recently that scanners can see and pick up the blue. The knowledge back then that the blue would either be little seen or not seen at all gave animators/illustrators the freedom to draw loosely. These loose drawings resulted in better posing for characters specifically. When poses and designs were approved, then a more permanent tool could be used such as regular pencil lead, paint or micron pens to name a few.

In my case, as a concept artist, I use blue colored mechanical pencil lead to design out the first rough pass of  the structure of any one concept. Afterwards I go over my lines with a more permanent medium or scan it into my computer and do color rendering in digital software. The red is also colored mechanical pencil lead and I like to use it for the character costumes or props in a background layout for example. The differing colors allow my mind to stay more organized when I'm designing. Sometimes I'll be working on a design and there are so many layers of detail that it comes out as looking like a rainbow rough!

As technology improves, artists find more and more ways to design using different processes. Some artists prefer the old blue pencil and others sketch out with pen or markers. Most schools will teach their student through traditional methods first but some have converted completely into a digital curriculum. Instead of starting on paper with pencil, they straight into Adobe Photoshop, Corel Paint or into 3D software such as Autodesk Maya. This has lead some into thinking that 2D animation/design is dead but I can say that all designs begin on paper first as the 3D world is built off a strong foundation of 2D skills. I firmly believe that if one wishes to be an artist in the animation field, 2D or 3D, one must get the 2D design skills under their belt first.

This wraps up October's edition of "Ask Stretch". Got a question about the creative process, the industry or just being an artist in general? Shoot me a message! Keep an eye out for a bonus "Ask Stretch" later this month. Until then, take care everyone!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Female mechanoid

Trying something new is important to keep oneself from getting too comfortable designing one thing or genre. I love the "Mega Man", aka "Rockman", video game series so I thought I'd make a character to fit into that universe. Pardon the somewhat less quality of the scan as my computer decided to die the other day so I'm roughing it on a different machine until a replacement can be found/built.