It's difficult to go from 0-60 right off the bat and expect to be producing your best during that time. The solution is found in warming up first.
I started up a new habit of warming up for an hour before diving into my freelance work. I agree with Bobby Chiu and consider warming up before working on a project as important to artists as it is to athletes. The emphasis in warming up before a sport or any physical activity is very high, even critical to most. Doing so will get the blood flowing to all the proper places reducing stiffness and preventing injury. Easily comparable to artistic challenges, we creative types need to get the blood flowing through the brain to fire up all the creative centers found within. This will hopefully prevent both stiff lifeless drawings and injury to the ego caused by drawing crap on the page.
Instead of just drawing the usual anatomy studies or spheres
& other mind numbing subject matter I decided to make warmups fun & challenging. I chose to a topic I love: monsters! Drawing monsters just plain makes me happy. Unfortunately I have very little spare time these days with my current project coming to midway point and in crunchtime from day 1...so I cannot justify devoting a few days to painting up a gnarley creature or a giant ogre with detailed armour and weapons just for the fun of it. Thus the idea of 1 hour monster was born.
The exercise is simple. I take 1 hour to draw a monster, broken up into 4 sections.
I begin with a timer set to 15 minutes, during which I sketch as many thumbnails as possible. This stage is all about quickness & variety. Meant to open the mind up to any possiblities that may land on the page. The sketches are kept very non-descript intentionally to allow room for creativity during the next stage. The imagination usually fires up during the 7 minute mark as I tend to see more and more possibilities form out of each new sketch-some look like heads-others full bodies-some get a little more specific in which case I pull back a bit in the following sketch. This is a fun stage and 15 minutes can fly by in no time!
The second stage is set for 30 minutes. During this phase of the game I select one thumbnail and begin fleshing it out with some grey tones. Pulling and pushing with lights and darks revealing the beastly creature hiding in the dark silhouette. Things slow down here as I try to allow my mind zone in and focus on what it wants to create. As I dig further and further the forms become more obvious and I'm just filling in the details that my mind's eye sees.
When the timer buzzes I set it again for 14 minutes leaving a minute for the small details and a chance for me to adjust the contrast etc. During the 14 minutes I usually dig into the face and hands, as those are some of the most important features of a character. I heard a saying that went something like "get the hands and face right and the rest will be forgiven". I obviously agree and so I make sure these 2 areas have the love they need - especially the eyes! windows to the soul as they say.
So there you have it-my long winded explanation of the 1 hour monster. I've posted 3 here along with one thumbnail page. I will be doing more of these and will post again soon, but right now I've gotta get back to work!
feel free to take the thumbnail page and try the exercise yourself-better yet start with your own thumbs! If you use mine I humbly ask for credit and a link pointing back here :) also lemme know if you do so I can check it out!
until next time
*EDIT UPDATE! the Montauk monster shown in this post has been featured by the "Dark Minds" horror feature on Deviant art! so cool X)