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!

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