Monday, May 31, 2010

I think I just had an apostrophe...

Here are some of the more finer sketches from the last week a mixture from going to the block and camping out at a local Panera's. Really trying to focus on getting looser and more efficient with line use.

And recently I picked up a Gnomon Workshop dvd that teaches how to characterize and sketch the human head, definitely a lot more fun than being stuck in realistic proportions. Always been a little scared to venture out of it but now not so much. So with the one last sheet of drawing paper from last semester's life drawing class I drew an something of a caricature of James Hook.

Skateboarders are really fun to draw, but quite difficult if the mechanics aren't understood. Unfortunately without the ability to stop time a lot of physical activities become difficult to draw. For instance I've tried drawing soccer players and noticed its very difficult unless you've actually learned how to handle the ball properly. On the other hand martial arts poses are a lot easier to draw because I just started wushu/kung fu about two years ago and have had the body mechanics of kicks, punches, and jumps broken down for me along with practice.

It kind of raises an issue with me, how is someone to become a successful animator, illustrator, or artist in general if they only draw what they are looking at and not what is seen? If a studio a large studio needs to put out a scene that involves another art form such as dancing, martial arts, or even sports they usual give the artists a break down of the basic techniques so it looks fundamentally correct on screen. For instance, Avatar: The Last Airbender had kung fu consultation, Happy Feet had professional tap dancers doing motion capture, and in the upcoming Toy Story 3 Spanish dancing fundamentals are given to the animators to give Buzz and Jesse a more authentic dancing scene.

Personally though I don't think art students are being pushed enough to explore different art forms. The more I explore different arts the more I'm starting to notice that there are no real differences between the fine, performance, musical, and martial arts. Basic shapes are no different from basic steps, chords, or stances. Strong fundamentals seem to make for great aesthetics, or at least as far as I know...which is still relatively little.

It seems that aesthetics aren't being valued as much as they should though, posted are two examples of wushu forms.

Nandu, an advanced division of wushu focuses on doing the most difficult movements possible. It really draws a crowd because most of the stunts done usually by film characters like Raymond Park's characters Darth Maul and Snake Eyes. It's more of an athletic display, and that's where it really suffers because this seems to be where a lot of wushu practitioners stop treating wushu as a martial art and it becomes solely a competitive sport. Take notice that most competitor's forms overuse front slap kicks and hammer fists along with a ridiculous amount of posing. Here's one example of that. Sure it looks cool and bad-ass at first but after only two years of doing wushu seeing forms like these bore the hell out of me. It becomes a display of physical capability than a competition of artistic creativity because the athletes make their own form in the advanced levels.

Take this routine for example, a lot of the movements are reused over and over but the combos (which are separated by pauses) are well proportional to each other in length. Long combo followed by short followed by long and so on. It's to be noted that proportion is a principle of design in the fine arts, and that that the less variation the proportions of (in this case) combo length the more stale it becomes. If I could draw this routine it would be a lot of circular shapes that vary nicely compared to one another.

Here's another nandu form, mistakes and multiple usage of hammer fists aside, its much more appealing because the movements have much more variety. The combos contrast a lot more too, perhaps a little too much if one movement can be called a combo. If I could draw this routine it would be a lot of different shapes, some incredibly large and some barely visible.

I'm starting to appreciate the older forms a lot more than the ones now. The movements are a lot more intricate. If this form was a drawing it would be much more variation in shape and colors than the other two, but the contrast in proportions would be a bit more subtle.

This being said I just wish a little more creativity would be put in the majority of personal forms. Similar combos are being used when they have complete creative freedom when making their forms.

Most art students get the fundamentals crammed down their throats so its a little difficult to compare what is tending to happen between wushu and art now. But if I had to it would be like back in high school when everyone was trying to imitate an anime style (which is best compared to a disease) and everyone's art was starting to look the same.

That being said I am still learning a lot about what makes art 'beautiful' or 'ugly', and a lot of what I just wrote is just a current view on wushu forms from what I know using principles of fine arts.

On another note I saw the Prince of Persia this past weekend.
Fun movie with a lot of action film cliche's, definitely worth watching, especially if you play video games. Still just intrigues me why Disney, of all companies, decided to make a video game movie. After all, they tend to have a notoriety of...well, not being good (Super Mario Bros, Street Fighter, Tomb Raider) I won't go into cultural accuracy only because I haven't studied a lot of it, but the one thing that bothered me about it was the way some of the Persians were portrayed as was similar to the Immortals from the movie 300. Kinda makes me wonder if ancient Persians will be portrayed as anything else other than pale and scarred sub mutants with superior human strength and agility. All for the sake of entertainment I suppose.

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