I WAS SITTING AT MY COMPUTER a few days ago, as the machine rendered out a 3d scene. I was on a deadline–I’d be up most of the coming night– but I just sat, did nothing, and watched it create a “painting” pixel by pixel. It was a large scene and would take about an hour to render out into an image. As each little square was rasterized, I saw beautiful things and ugly artifacts appear out of the white background on my LCD screen. I had spent all day struggling with setting up the scene, and untold hours learning to do that, but still, it was odd to just sit there as a spectator as Vue did it’s mysterious but astronomical calculations and created the resulting image: my artwork.
The image was surprisingly sucessful partly due to luck and some good default settings, since I am still learning this. And the good parts even had a painterly feel to them–just what I wanted. Even in a digital creation like a 3d rendering, it’s those areas that look like a beautiful pencil line, or brush stroke that I look for.
I had just reached a certain level of technical sophistication that was so far beyond where I had started as an artist that I an epiphany of sorts. I had completed a painting without touching paper, brushes, or any traditional art materials. Was it a painting? Or what? It spiraled me right back to the time before I took my first beginning drawing class in college. I drew pictures for fun.
Also this week, an illustrator friend gave me the link to James Gurney’s blog, gurneyjourney. I had always been a fan of his imaginative realism, most famously, Dinotopia.
Gurney reminded me that, as technically advanced as our media may become, the fundamentals do not change. Down there at the foundation is:
And I don’t mean drawing talent. I mean skills that anyone can learn. If you happen to be very talented, you may go farther and get better than the average person. But any Joe can learn to draw that six-pack. It’s been proven.
But it was another book on Gurney’s site that caught my attention: a new edition of the 1921 classic, now out of print and forgotten, Drawing Made Easy, by Edwin G. Lutz. James said he had learned from this and other books at an early age.
Here is the new edition. You can order it on Gurney’s page. This is the book they didn’t want us to know about in fine art school.Now it’s been given back to us. Anyone from a child to a Michelangelo can get something useful from of this book.