Friday, June 19, 2009

Animation Lesson 5: Drawing Creatures - Concept Art

In this Drawing for Animation lesson, we looked at drawing creatures. Specifically for 3 basic genres: Sci-Fi, Medieval and Horror. These are some of the tips we were given: 1. Sci-Fi (Aliens) In the early days, sci-fi creatures were generally hybrids or humanoid, then they became reptilian in nature, and lately they are based on, or mixed up with, insect types. I'm not sure I've watched enough Sci-fi movies to be able to tell you if this is true or not. These creatures are usually sleek and clean in a futuristic kind of way. I'm guessing robotic creatures would fit into this category somewhere but I think (hope) we do a separate lesson on drawing those. 2. Medieval (Dragons, Trolls, Orcs, Knights and swords) These are creatures from the Warrior era, and Mythology. The creatures are typically massive so that the hero can appear that much more heroic. No glory in squishing a cocroach with your foot (unless you live in MY house). 3. Horror (eg Zombies, Vampires, Ghosts) The point of creatures in horror movies is (obviously) to frighten people. So what do people find scary? Well, things that make them uncomfortable and are disturbing (like the sweet innocent child that goes around killing people, or the 90 year old guy with the limp, wheezy voice, and the extremely long fingers). Also scary are dead things that come back to life, because we just know that's all kinds of evil (Pet Cemetry scared the bejeezus out of me), Zombies with rotting flesh, etc. But the scariest thing of all, is your (my) own imagination - so the girl with no face, the dark shadows, the footsteps following. And the creature you don't actually see. I used to have one of those in my bedroom when I was growing up. Sometimes it would lurk in the passage when I got up to go to the loo. Mostly it hung out in my closet or behind my curtains. Trust me, those aren't fun. We did a little exercise sketching some of these and then we did another exercise combinging different genres, for instance Horror and Sci-fi, or Western and Sci-fi. A bit tricky for someone like me, with a fine-art background, who is particularly good at drawing what she sees in front of her, and not so well practiced at drawing the things her silkworm moths turned into that late night in Std 5. Then we had a look at how to draw "animalistic creatures". Here are a few pointers for anyone out there that cares: 1. Work off a reference - use a real animal as a starting point 2. Start by drawing the basic shape of your reference creature (then release your creature back into the wild, or the zoo you stole it from) 3. Think of the goal that the animal has - what does it eat? what climate does it live in? So, if for example, your creature eats elephants, then it may have to have a really big throat or neck, or a really big belly. How can your creature be killed? What is it's weakness? Working with your basic shape from before, change the relevant properties. 4. Exaggerate things 5. Think of what "skills" your animal has. Is it fast? Then it must be streamlined, possibly lightweight. Is it strong? Then it must be muscular or bulky or heavy. Draw accordingly. Combine animals with similar skills. Colour according to surroundings and predators. And voila you have your creature. Here's mine. Crits welcome.

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