Expert Speaks: From Model to Model Sheet
From Model to Model Sheet
Be it classical animation, storyboarding or comic book art, there is one inevitable jump without which these careers can never start. Yes it is a jump from “Model” to the “Model Sheet.”
Every art is in some way reflection of reality. There is no doubt we will have to start learning from reality. Spending lot of time with the model is the only way to gather well needed knowledge of gestures, form and anatomy.
An illustrator, pre-production artist or animation artist would need to draw lots of gestures, forms and anatomies, believably realistic or designed on reality, incidentally without any model in front of them. What they would have in front is just a “Model Sheet”.
Some students find this jump just too difficult. They would draw whatever is in front, but when it comes to the need to draw from model sheet, their faculties fail.
Right kind of training can take the student through this transition very smoothly. Joining the art teaching techniques of Masters – Kimon Nicolaides, Walt Stanchfield and Shamus Kulhaine has given us sure shot formula to this.
a) First of all if your way of drawing is “natural way to draw” as recommended by Nicolaides, half the battle is won. Because with this way, you are not copying from the model, you are “creating” from the model.
This is the biggest trick. The students who have the habit of copying all lines from the model in front have the toughest time making this jump.
You should practice this natural way to draw. You never copy superficial lines, you experience the model in front, its gesture, its contour, weight and form and then react to all these on paper. Its just a wonderful experience.
You can learn this by doing 16 schedules of Kimon Nicolaides.
b) With the above done, you are already in a habit of first getting the gesture clear in mind and on paper within a minute and then putting form on it. This is what it needs when drawing from Model Sheet.
Now you should include the exercises taught by Walt Stanchfield at the Disney Studios every Tuesday and Wednesday night. Sit in front of the model and also keep the model sheet of your character in your vision. Now pick the gesture (or the story, as in Stanchfield’s language) from the model but apply it to your own character. This will be bit difficult at the beginning. But for those who have practiced structural imagination exercise of Nicolaides it will come naturally. Give yourself atleast 1 hour for each attempt.
Follow Nicolaides workflow only, first report gesture on paper, then convert it into extended gesture using structrual imagination by keep looking at model sheet.
Spend atleast 20 hours in total with one character, that mean, 10 sitting of 1 hour.
MODEL SHEET given by Shamus Kulhaine
Again putting some examples of these exercises done by me sometimes ago. They may not be perfect but illustrates the exercise. Here expressive poses for animated movies have been taken instead of the acting model.
c) When you have developed enough familarity with the character. Convert the above exercise into gesture exercise. Do the above, but now do it in the spirit of gestures only. Give yourself not more than 5 minutes for the above exercise. This was quite prevelant in Stanchfield’s class.
d) Once you have done the above exercises, you are almost ready for outpouring of gestures totally out of your imagination for your character as done by Shamus Kulhaine. That also with no model in front, just the Model Sheet.
This is ecstatic experience. Just convert the half hour regular gesture study from model to this exercise. Keep the model sheet in front. Imagine your character in a particular situation and start putting down the gestures on paper, each one in less than 60 seconds. This will open up the huge bank of imagination and would produce so unique and fresh gestures for your character you could never think of.
Later you can convert any or all interesting gestures into finished drawing by converting to extended gesture using structural imagination. Then clean it up by the sensation of contours.