A few years ago, I found an old TV at my Granny’s house. I tried to turn it on, but the technology was so out dated that there wasn’t even a power socket to connect. It seemed a shame to throw out. I really liked the look of it and wanted to give it a new life. The desplay screen on the inside was like a giant lightbulb, and there were no imput holes to plug in a computer. I’m not a trained electronics person to mess with that stuff, so my next thought was to install a small tablet on the inside and keep the TV box shell for cosmetic purposes.
However, there were complications with the screen I bought, and I wasn’t able to use it in the end. After thinking for a while, I realised that I had a lot of crystals in storage from when I used them as decorations at the book launch for my novel “The Wish Bringer”. I realised that I could use the TV shell as a display case to store the crystals. First I removed the electrical components, cleaned all the parts and spray painted the case red (to match my other red decore). Using recycled cardboard, I made a small ramp to place inside and covered it with fabric, that way the crystals at the back can be seen, and placed some battery powered fairy lights inside to complete the look. The batteries run out very quickly, so maybe in the future it would be wise to change them out for outlet ones, but other than that, I’m very please with this project. It’s been a few years already since I made this cusomisation. However, everytime I look at it, it gives me joy and pride for making such a one of a kind piece. It’s also a good example of repurposing something that would’ve been thrown away and making something inspiring out of it.
Drawing backgrounds and different angles are often challenges for artist, which include animators, storyboarders, comic artists and mangaka to name a few. I’ve come up with 3 easy ways to help and take your art to the next level. Using Dolls and Toys, Making Paper background Models, and Using Digital 3d software and games
This article is accompanied by a video tutorial:
Using Dolls and Toys
When wanting to draw characters from different angles, it’s useful to use posable dolls as reference. In the example below, I wanted to draw a cut where a knight was charging towards another knight on his horse. I also wanted the ‘camera’ to pan around the character as he ran to make the shot more dynamic. Drawing the charging scene itself is a challenge, because horses are difficult to draw for most people. However, drawing a camera pan really adds another layer of complexity to the design.
I got a posable Harry Potter doll and sat him upon a horse statue with a pencil in his hand, placed them on top of a Lazy Suzan turn table and took videos from different angles and positions. I then used a dragon shaped piggy bank over to the side as scale reference.
This is solution is extremely easy and cheap to re-create. I didn’t need reference for details, so it didn’t matter to me what kind of toy I used as long as I could move the limbs to the position I liked. Artists are known for using the wooden mannequins as pose reference. However, some toys have a lot more articulation and have the added benefits of coming with face, hair and clothes, which gives you more points of reference.
After that, I can import the footage to my computer and watch it in slow motion to study the poses. Depending on your artistic style, you can copy the poses in your own style, or draw directly over the videos and rotoscope it.
Making Paper background Models
When I was a little kid, I remember making paper doll houses with my cousin Stephie. The process was extremely easy, all you had to do was fold paper to make boxes and trays. This became the inspiration for the next process.
Drawing backgrounds to scale is a real skill. I’ve read plenty of books and know the formular of how to draw perspective, but let’s face it, drawing accurate perspective is BORING. Haha, (soz background artists :p). Here is another very easy way to create reference that you can use multiple times for backgrounds and settings.
In this example, I wanted to draw the inside cloister of a cathedral. The architecture is very repetitive in that there are arches, symmetrical windows and columns. While it is possible to copy photos and have a still background image, what if you want to walk down the halls or see the corridors from different perspectives? The answer is having a 3D model where you can go around it from all angles!
To do this, I went into photoshop and made an A4 canvas (the size of my printer paper), and on the long plane, I drew the basic shapes of the corridor. I drew an arch with symmetrical windows and columns and copy and pasted them next to each other. Using the ruler tool, I made rectangle and square shapes as guides. That way I could print out the shapes, cut along the dotted line and glue the parts together. I made several of these rectangular cuboids and placed them in the position I wanted. I placed the models on top of my cutting mat, which had a grid on it. Using the grid can be useful too because it shows the lines moving towards the Vanishing Point, which can be an extra point of reference. After that I used a Go-Pro type camera with a warped fish-eye lens to go down the corridors. (You can just as easily use your phone or webcam to do the same thing.)
In the same method above, you can export the footage to your computer and use the shots for reference by copying the footage or rotoscoping it.
BONUS TIP: If you want to draw a scene in different times of the day, or with special lighting, you can position desk lamps around your models and study the way light and shadow hits them.
Using Digital 3d software and games
This method is a bit more difficult, because it depends on having extra skills and computer software. If you know how to do it, you can create 3D models on a digital animation software and use that as reference. I personally, I can’t use 3D software, because I get motion sickness. Instead, I use the Sims 4 to help create scenarios. In the Sims you can create houses and buildings and have your Sim character perform actions like dancing or eating. You can either take screenshots or using a screen capture software, record what’s happening. This can be useful for everyday life scenarios. However, if you want something more complex, like a plane taking off, you wouldn’t be able to do that seeing as there are restrictions within the game. Though, if you are making a fantasy type story, you could always use a fantasy style 3D game as reference too.
WARNING: I’ve noticed that a lot of Webtoon/ webcomic artists have been using Google Sketch Up in their comics. However, instead of using it as reference, they have been tracing over the shape in such a precise way that the backgrounds end up looking very boring. I would suggest that you use these methods as guidelines, but to
Last year, I was facinated in painting unconventional items, such as instruments. In December I custom painted this adorable tamborine inspired by Stevie Nicks. The video below goes through a very detailed process, which includes: masking and priming the surface, transfering the design using carbon transfer technique, painting the design using acrylic paint and paint markers, fixing mistakes and damaged areas, and sealing the paint.
For those that are familiar with my Youtube Channel, I normally post videos showing digital art. In comparison, painting real objects needs a lot more time and space to not only prepare the materials, but also to prepare the space and lighting to record. Because of these extra factors, I created and used a special camera rig to use with recording traditional art and physical objects. I make blog post earlier on how I designed and made it, if you’re interesed in making one.
Please CLICK on the video below to see the full tutorial on how I painted this tamborine.
I’ve been using Adobe Character Animator CC to create a virtual vtuber avatar of myself to record myself speaking for some of my most recent videos. I think it’s great and really fun to use. For me, I get really nervous recording myself directly in front of a camera, (and it’s even worse having to edit the footage). Therefore, I think it’s amazing to have the opportunity to use my art to create a character of myself, which eliminates some of the stress, and lets me focus on the more important stuff – sharing my art making process and techniques with you guys. This speed drawing video is about how I designed the background art, based off my real desk. I hope you enjoy it!
Please CLICK on the video below to see the drawing process on how I created this background, which includes spoken commentary.