First of all, hello to new followers! I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that people are digging my work. Now on to business…
I’ve been thinking about posting more of my process on here, but with reblogs possible, I never wanted to cram posts with too much writing or images. So I figured I’ll post the final illustration and then a second post with more info about the piece later on. I’ll post whatever stages I have, so you can learn a little more about how I work.
With the urge to experiment more, I’ve started this year playing around with my technique a bit along with working on more concept. First with Chump and now this. I’m not sure what initially caused it, but I got this craving to draw Pandora. While reading through my copy of Bulfinch’s Mythology *pushes up glasses* and I came across an interesting take on her story…
Pandora was created by Zeus, not as a punishment to Prometheus for stealing fire, but as a blessing towards man. Every god in heaven contributed something to perfect her. Aphrodite gave her beauty, Hermes persuasion, Apollo music, etc. And instead of evils, each god also placed a blessing into a jar. Eager with curiosity, Pandora slipped off the cover to look inside, when all of the blessings started to escape. She tried to close the lid as quickly as possible, but was only able to keep hope from escaping. That’s why, whatever evils we come across, we’ll always have a sense of hope in our lives.
Reading through her story, I didn’t see a box ever mentioned- only the jar. Turns out that box is a mistranslation! The original greek mentions it as a “pithos” or jar. But that was later translated to “pyxis” or box, by Eramus of Rotterdam in the 16th century. THANKS ERAMUS.
With the evils of the box gone, I tried my best to instead capture her curiosity. To try and get that peeking look, I used Alphonse Mucha’s photography as reference. Bending her back down, eye level with the jar, taking a quick look at the wonders waiting inside.
And now that I’ve talked your ears off, I’ll wait to see if you all want more of this. If you’d like to share just the image without all of this rambling, you can go to the original post
And now whenever someone uses the phrase “It’s like opening Pandora’s Box” you can slap them across the face with a white glove. Even challenging them to a duel, if you’d like. I don’t care. It’s your glove- do what you want with it. It’s in your hands. Or should I say ON your hands! Do you get it? Because it’s a glove? You wear them on your h- ok I’m gonna get going.
Drawing from films
Drawing from films is a ridiculously useful exercise. It’s not enough to watch films; it’s not enough to look at someone else’s drawings from films. If you want to be in story, there’s no excuse for not doing this.
The way this works: you draw tons of tiny little panels, tiny enough that you won’t be tempted to fuss about drawing details. You put on a movie - I recommend Raiders, E.T., or Jaws… but honestly if there’s some other movie you love enough to freeze frame the shit out of, do what works for you. It’s good to do this with a movie you already know by heart.
Hit play. Every time there’s a cut, you hit pause, draw the frame, and hit play til it cuts again. If there’s a pan or camera move, draw the first and last frames.
Note on movies: Spielberg is great for this because he’s both evocative and efficient. Michael Bay is good at what he does, but part of what he does is cut so often that you will be sorry you picked his movie to draw from. Haneke is magnificent at what he does, but cuts so little that you will wind up with three drawings of a chair. Peter Jackson… he’s great, but not efficient. If you love a Spielberg movie enough to spend a month with it, do yourself a favor and use Spielberg.
What to look for:
- Foreground, middle ground, background: where is the character? What is the point of the shot? What is it showing? What’s being used as a framing device? How does that help tie this shot into the geography of the scene? Is the background flat, or a location that lends itself to depth?
- Composition: How is the frame divided? What takes up most of the space? How are the angles and lines in the shot leading your eye?
- Reusing setups, economy: Does the film keep coming back to the same shot? The way liveaction works, that means they set up the camera and filmed one long take from that angle. Sometimes this includes a camera move, recomposing one long take into what look like separate shots. If you pay attention, you can catch them.
- Camera position, angle, height: Is the camera fixed at shoulder height? Eye height? Sitting on the floor? Angled up? Down? Is it shooting straight on towards a wall, or at an angle? Does it favor the floor or the ceiling?
- Lenses: wide-angle lens or long lens? Basic rule of thumb: If the character is large in frame and you can still see plenty of their surroundings, the lens is wide and the character is very close to camera. If the character’s surroundings seem to dwarf them, the lens is long (zoomed in).
- Lighting: Notice it, but don’t draw it. What in the scene is lit? How is this directing your eye? How many lights? Do they make sense in the scene, or do they just FEEL right?
This seems like a lot to keep in mind, and honestly, don’t worry about any of that. Draw 100 thumbnails at a time, pat yourself on the back, and you will start to notice these things as you go.
Don’t worry about the drawings, either. You can see from my drawings that these aren’t for show. They’re notes to yourself. They’re strictly for learning.
Now get out there and do a set! Tweet me at @lawnrocket and I’ll give you extra backpats for actually following through on it. Just be aware - your friends will look at you super weird when you start going off about how that one shot in Raiders was a pickup - it HAD to be - because it doesn’t make sense except for to string these other two shots together…
I also recommend watching film noirs!!! They have a lot of great perspective (atmospherical), churoscuro, lighting, and camera angle…I haven’t watched a lot of film noirs but I recommend The Night of the Hunter, The Visitor (1946 version), Battle of Algiers, and Citizen Kane