- Lesson details
In this unique course, Mark Westermoe, the creator of feature film posters for blockbusters like Braveheart, Total Recall, and Home Alone, teaches you how to design a movie poster. This course will teach you how to go from developing ideas for your poster with thumbnail sketches, through preliminary drawings, all the way through to a finished poster. Mark will cover the business side of designing movie posters, including how to get into this rewarding field of work. You will also learn the history of advertising illustration, and learn many insider tricks and finishing techniques.
In this lesson, you will learn how to properly sort and organize your work materials, such as photo references, head designs, and thumbnail concept sketches. Mark will explain the importance of being organized for meeting deadlines and cover the labeling requirements. He will also introduce a workflow of drawing a montage composition and show the difference between tracing and designing heads and figures.
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has got a really huge emphasis on
how to organize your reference materials
and your drawings based on those materials
and how to
size some of the heads and other elements that go into
each particular composition,
improve the design of the heads.
I'll go over one compositional - one
comprehensive sketch items. Sean has developed about
12 of them and he's the in house student who's doing the whole project
so I'm gonna go through all twelve of those and
show you how you organize with a separate folder each set
of ideas for each comprehensive sketch
and how he cross referred his drawings and his photographs
so that they could be retrieved quickly. That's
one of the killers in this job is you have so much material for each
idea and it's the easiest thing in the world to get it all
combobulated and confused with each other.
So we need to learn how to organize and we need to learn
how to do a process. Otherwise you'll quickly
see it seems - and actually will be - impossible
to get this stuff done on deadline.
You'll find also that as much as 40
percent of the time you've got will be spent
on doing these preliminary drawings for inclusion in the comps
and doing research for those actors and
actresses as well as any other materials that
would go into it such as the city setting maybe that it takes places
in and so really
organization is the key for tonight's lesson.
After this I think you'll be much more efficient
than you may already be and efficiency is the
key to having more time to do excellent work and
also obviously at bare minimum to meet your deadlines.
So with that we'll get right into it.
he just went out, picked up like an accordion file
opens out like this
you can all see that. And inside it
he has his various concepts.
He's got twelve concepts. So what he's done
is he's made a folder for each one of those concepts.
Let's see what we can find here. This one
has some generic research -
not generic, I guess, specific but I'll show you.
So in here he's got one called head designs and photo
references. Because when you're doing eight or
more of these, things can get pretty spread out
and you're looking for something for one of your concepts
and it could take you 20 minutes going through all your materials but if you
get organized, you can do it quickly.
Here Emily Blunt is the actress
and this is the photo reference we're dealing with
pulled off the internet.
And this is his first little bit crude
head indication. But it needs to go farther than that.
And I will show exactly what I mean. So
I went over some of what he had done
and took it to the next level.
So here are a couple of the heads
Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr.,
And then each one of them
has at least three views. A front view, a three quarter,
and a profile. And if there's something that really
emotes and might be usable, then
go ahead and get those two. None of the blood, not
even the water, it's just the anguish on her head. Works well.
he did a simple
design to a better level of Emily Blunt.
Here I think I did
this one a couple weeks back of John Malkovich
that can be used. The other ones are
too crude, they need to be developed. Here.
Here's a Robert Downey Jr. You can see it's a line
drawing but I've also expressed using edges, several
strokes in a row usually indicates a modified edge like a
soft edge or a firm edge. Now a single
stroke would indicate a cast shadow like that.
So they're line drawings but they're
a step past that. And
This one I think he just put it
on the photocopier and reversed it, so he's got
Robert Downey Jr., three quarter, facing
port ways. Here's one
and it's a little better photocopy as well.
Here we are. This is the
Emily Blunt seen from the front.
Then I showed - do you have this one? It's one of the last ones shown.
So okay. There's a rendition using
line and some edges.
It's actually a very harsh photocopy, I believe he
has softer photocopies elsewhere.
And then he's retained
the drawings themselves.
So I mentioned that he has a softer version. This is
the original drawing for it.
It's much more nuanced.
So as he develops his concepts, he'll probably
put it on a photo setting instead of a photo text setting
and he'll adjust the
sharpness control and he'll photocopy this down
to whatever size - I doubt it needs any bigger but -
wherever else it might be used in one of his comprehensive sketches.
Then what he does is he keeps these
in a separate folder so when he needs
them, he's got them.
Here was his first rendition, and it's not bad,
of the Emily Blunt front view.
Let's see the two. But it's harsh. Can see the two.
The lines are angular, the hair looks dry and cracked.
Okay so give it a little rhythm
as appropriate to the subject. If this were
Nick Nolte or something like like that in an action film then all this chiseled
form might be great. But not on Emily Blunt's head.
So we have to think about those things too.
Okay and he still has about four
or five more heads to design. He's got this one of Emily.
He's got this one of
Malkovich. And he keeps
the photo with it so when he designs it he knows what he's looking for.
Look at the lighting too. He doesn't have to use that
lighting but if he changes it it'll make it more difficult and this is probably
appropriate for the subject. Okay.
He's got this one of Malkovich
which I think is so close to the other one I just did
that it's redundant to do it. So he'll probably do one.
He's got this one but not both of these.
A head of Robert Downey jr.
This is front lighting. He has another head of
Robert Downey Jr., which is much more film noir.
You can see the form lighting, very dramatic. I recommend you do
one of these. And you can see his rendition of it.
But it's still too linear. It's not quite like the one
I showed you which were more refined and which he'll be doing
for all of his actors. By the way,
each one of his actors, he puts a letter of the alphabet
so he knows that if he's
in his file if he writes down.
D.A. that means
photo A of Downey.
If he writes D.C., that's the same. So he would do the same
on his here.
D.C. Believe me
you can fly through these if you follow an organized
process. Draftsmanship, good skill in
draftsmanship, even I dare say in composition is literally
just the ticket to enter. It doesn't mean
that you're gonna do great work but because you have to be organized.
And otherwise, you could draw like Michelangelo but
if you're not organized you'll not make your deadline.
On the other hand, you could draw like somebody who's pretty
okay but you get the point across and that
person, if they know the process, they'll meet their deadline.
So we're gonna put the head designs back in this accordion file.
This file also contains a few other important items.
There's a folder called
concepts. You may recall I did some very crude
thumbnails. They don't even correspond to the six by nine or
two by three format very well but at least
they explain what's going on. So I'm gonna focus tonight
on how to take the heads that he has already
designed and he's even sized them for eight by nine
and we're gonna use those. This is the concept
number 101. These are
100, 101, and 102, because he doesn't think he'll draw them.
He's got more concepts than he needs and that's a good
So I'll put that one back in its place.
Okay you may think this is no fun, I'm not drawing. Well
this is the guts of how you do this work. And if you were doing
a graphic novel like Jean-Claude Claeys, you would
do the same thing. There's a lot of research and preparation.
I always call illustration you build an illustration
you don't just make or draw and illustration.
There's a lot that goes into it.
And that goes even for finished posters, magazine covers, whatever.
You have to build it, it takes time to do your research and
if you skimp it shows. The famous
artist course, which was current between the early 50s and the
early 70s, there's a chapter by
Norman Rockwell and it's called the importance of detail.
Well who better to write that?
But we're not talking about going crazy with detail here
but we still need to have research.
Look up any of the people's names that I've
given you. Al Parker, David Grove.
David Grove used to make his own automatic weapons out of cardboard
and then he would
paint them, make them absolutely just as real as they could be
because they weren't legal to have.
You could have these just be careful don't hang around police
helicopters with them. And then he would do his illustrations - he'd do the same
with an old phone that he couldn't find. That takes time
but it pays off in the illustration. We don't have much time
on these types of projects.
Ultimately you get paid just as well over the course of doing it as if
you were doing a finished work of art, illustration,
or poster or magazine. You get paid
as much. It's just a different pace.
I think of it as gears in a car. You can have a fifth gear
and a first gear and in between. And you have to
use the gear that's appropriate for the project. So he took
those horrible little thumbnails, which you'll typically get
all the time and he did this.
Has 12 pockets in this file and in each pocket
he put a concept, one, two, three, four, all the way to 12.
And each concept - let's start
with this one. Actually let's start with
the next one. This is concept -
well I'll go ahead - concept number one.
It's labeled, it contains:
template - where is it - should be in here. There right there.
So he's got the template at real size.
Real time size. And then he sized
his concept, which was totally taken
from a book of illustrations done 50 years ago
or more. Here we're gonna have Emily
here we're gonna have the clown, silhouetted dark, and here
we're gonna have Robert Downey Jr.
To fill out the poster format we have some extra space so
we'll slide these apart so there's more room for the
he doesn't even maybe even need to get a photo shoot
for this, it's simple, flat, ambient lighting.
He happens to have one particular shot of her that's like this.
I think this is a really good idea, as simple
as it is. He has not sized the heads for it
because he has not yet finished a head for her
three quarters. But when he does, he'll take
it to the photocopy machine and whatever size his original design
drawing is, he will do a different percentage so that it matches
that size. Then he'll put that
in the folder. And he'll number it.
This will probably be B.C. Emily
Blunt, letter C. And I showed you he has a file of the heads
all of them labeled like that. So he'll know
which head to refer to when he does the finished drawing.
Oh and by the way, nobody ever taught me this,
this is hard work that I developed over
little bit of time so I'm condensing it all for
you guys. I'll go back to the comment that my
movie poster friend said, you know, Mark
I think it's great that you're teaching like these figure drawing classes that are amazing
and look at the improvement with the students, it's great. Just please don't give away
any trade secrets. Well that's - I'm not
giving them away but you guys are taking classes and you're getting the trade
secrets. Concept number two.
Let's see what it is.
It's pretty simple.
But yes and no. The template
is here, you'll notice the concept does not follow
a two by thee format. It doesn't have to.
He sized it like that do it fits
horizontally into his six. The nine -
no it doesn't - we still have extra room
here. Great. And you put your title here. Or
we lower it and you put it up here.
Less likely but maybe. All we have to do now
is size the head of Emily Blunt and size the head of
Robert Downey Jr. Well that's what he's done.
Remember the drawing of Emily Blunt? Well he
reduced it to the size
that's appropriate for the comp. He did it on a
another one, another option. Maybe he wants to make her more in the foreground.
So he did somewhat larger percentage.
You'll develop a sense of guesstimating
percentage decreases or increases that you need to make on your
photocopier. You can do it on a computer with a printer too.
It might take a little longer but either one works.
I have a really simple photocopy,
I have another one that's more
complicated but for these projects it cost me $88 for that machine.
It was at Staples or Home Depot
or Office Depot I think.
And it's worked like a charm for -
I got it about four or five years ago. Concept number three.
I like this one.
So he took
again this is inspired by, well shall I say swiped
from, a book of illustrations.
But that happens every day. And by the way the
illustrations are 55 years old. And -
but here we have Emily.
He still doesn't have a three quarter head so he hasn't sized this
and here is her therapist, Robert.
So we'll need to size one of Robert's heads.
In fact I know we have one already. And then
perhaps, ghosted here,
you know, is the clown.
Or maybe not even in this picture, it could be something completely
different. Or he could be woven in here. There's a lot of
options. But the core of it is right here. Notice
it's not long enough for the
six by nine format. That's no problem,
just lower her and put your
title treatment up here or here or
even easier, just raise her.
And then you can put your title treatment across the bottom, against the dark.
That would work real well. So
he hasn't sized the heads for it but that's his next step.
The bodies I really like. They're just simple,
they're black, why not just go with it.
They don't look dated in terms of the apparel so
save yourself a very brief photoshoot.
But they add up. One brief photoshoot after
another and your deadline isn't moving but
you're gonna have a hard time meeting it.
Concept number four.
I don't know, this is kind of an obvious solution so
if I were he I might not use this concept, I might use something else.
But in any case here's his thumbnail.
It's a back view of
Emily and in the rearview mirror of her car we see
part of the clown's head. So for
this one we don't have a back view of Emily. So you're just
gonna have to learn how to make certain things up. That's easy,
just go into any book of heads
photographed of women. or you'll get back views if you look
at women's fashion magazines. Or you'll have a friend who will just sit there while
you snap a shot. This head we already have of
Malkovich so he'll just have to size it to the rearview
mirror. And the whole thing has been
now adapted to the size you see here
of the format. It's not quite
as long, see all that extra space. That's fine,
drop this down, make it dark, back of the seats,
and put your title here. So each one of these is
a problem for you to solve.
The problem actually can be a little more difficult than you think now because
you are drawing your own thumbnails, which is good, it gives you
an idea of how you have to think. But in the real world
you're gonna be given the thumbnails by an art director. Sometimes
by several at once. And you have to then
do their ideas and adapt it. So now this one
concept number five, you see he's sized several heads
for it. This is a really cool concept, there's
really simple though notice that doesn't even resemble the format of a
two by three movie poster.
But you can size it so it's the right width.
Now this is based pretty much loosely on a
movie poster that's copied or
inspired others, it's David Grove's famous
montage for The Outsiders.
And so he's done this.
Remember one of the concepts - at least one - should be
I think this one,
let's see - maybe it's this one I think that he
sized it too. No that's too big. So it's
this one. Well in any case, he decided to do
this. He took a head, the kind of
anguished shot of Emily Blunt and that is the
center head. So he gave himself a number
of sizes for that head. Like he could do
one - here's your format, always
keep it in mind and at hand. He could do one like
this. Where she's the center figure. And then
the other montage characters could be Downey.
But a couple scales on Downey too to the side.
And then the Malkovich head.
What have got? He did several sizes here too.
This one's a little smaller.
This one's smaller still. So it could be down here.
These heads, they
don't have to relate to each other particularly, it's just a three shot.
A montage. And in the foreground,
depending on where he's setting this film, which hasn't
been determined yet
have to do the strip shot of the city, something like that.
Here, I did this because the
poster by David was
set outdoors and so he had like a water tower or something
and it was int he countryside I should say. But this might be more
of an urban setting, what have you. So we'll design that.
And then the heads will be above it and if you put that
on your format
you got plenty of room in the foreground for an
interesting title treatment. Some of you might even want to
put together a title treatment for your film. So you already had
your title but you can make up your own
typography. There's a lot of stuff you can do or you can pull it off
of the internet. Or you
have all kinds of different fonts maybe. So at some point
we're gonna wanna do at least one of them that's carried to
a nice finish and it'll have to have a title treatment,
a billing, and it'll have to have a tag line.
I would like. I don't think he has a tag line
for his movie. Tentatively he's called it Big Top
but I think that's a little misleading because it sounds like a circus film.
So - and by the end of the class
I'd like to have each of you who's doing this project from
start to finish come out with 13 by 20
actual print out of a movie poster that you've done.
That would be a really nice thing
for your portfolio. You know when you do this project
if you're ready and you feel you can replicate
the whole process, if you put your portfolio
out there you better be ready because you might just get someone who says let's do it.
Well if you do,
it can also be used for other types of
subjects. So you might find an editorial
art director who wants to do something with you too.
This one concept is labeled of course.
Concept number six. And so this too
should be labeled number six.
This one is a simple idea, it's just an interior.
Here are a couple nice ceramic pictures on a shelf.
Here's a light, maybe this is outside the kitchen
and then you have your family photographs.
And so you've got her, you've got her mom,
you got her twin brothers and grandmother.r
And then one of those family pictures is
Now some of these ideas are starting to get heavy on Malkovich
when actually he's not the one who sells movie tickets.
It's much more Emily Blunt and Robert Downey Jr. So
we have to work those kinds of elements
more strongly back into the entire set of 12.
But that's something that will be done as he finishes these concepts.
This is a very easy one, I mean you don't - you really just get
some generic people. It could come straight out of a magazine.
Remember, these are comprehensive sketches. They're going to a
studio that's selling them to the design studio as ideas for the finished
poster. Nobody sees them except you and the art director
and you can use
anything you want without worrying about copyright. So if you want
to find a shot and you've got this perfect head of a grandmother from
Good Housekeeping or whatever, take her,
or use her, don't worry about it. You certainly don't have to go around knocking on doors
and finding somebody who looks like that or wasting the time
of one of your own relatives. Just get it done.
This is very simple. The figures are just incidental.
Couldn't be easier. Some concepts easy, some
not. I like to, once I've got all of these
designs approved by the art director, I'm ready to go, I like to
do the easy ones first. That's an easy one.
Here's concept number seven.
Turn it around this way.
Let's see what he's got. Oh I like this idea.
This one shows
Emily on a city street
in a shopping district. And he's got a nice, big window
and it's reflecting the other side so we'll show a little
reflections of the other side of the street. She's walking along, she's got
her purse, it could be winter time so she could be dressed
like that. It could be spring or summer
but we clearly see her and as she's walking by, we notice
that her reflection in the window is actually
Malkovich. Just a big head and then fade off.
And then her feet and everything, instead of casting a
shadow, which you can do, they probably just reflect
on the sidewalk. Sidewalks reflect, they don't just take
shadows. So I like this idea,
it involves taking Malkovich's head on the
computer probably and adjusting it so that it looks like it's in
perspective. Then it'll look doubly
extra cool and then for her, you'll probably need
to get a friend of yours who - and she'll have to
wear what she would wear if she were out shopping in a nice
shopping district. And then she'll have the pose
and you have the heads already of Emily, so
he sized the whole thing already, look here.
So she'll be this big. The head
will be that size. But he's got heads of hers so he'll just size it.
Put them there. he just needs the body. This one
he's got. He just needs to put it in perspective. Back when I did
these things, we didn't have the computers to do this. So
I would just do a drawing of his head
and I would lay it on my drafting table flat
at any angle like this.
And then I would shoot it with a polaroid camera
and it would come out like head looking like it's painted on a facade
in perspective. But you can do it more easily now.
So I think it's a nice idea,
certainly involves her, it doesn't get much of Downey
but that's alright.
Concept number eight.
So you see how each one
is a small production.
Somebody's in charge of making sure all the furniture, all the props
are ready for every scene in a film
show, what have you, stage play.
This is concept number eight, this is the one where the dealer is
dealing cards and I think it's not so good because it just
has Malkovich and, you know, these hands are the dealers hands
so don't relate to Downey or to Emily but
in case he were to use it he sized it like this
it could be done but I don't think so because, remember,
he's got 12 to 15 ideas that he came up with
so that means he's gonna edit them and use the strongest 10 or 12.
Even eight is enough.
Quality is more important than the quantity.
Alright concept number nine here.
This one I like. This is the
people shot. Now here
the concept is we're looking down so that's good,
you're doing a down shot. Really easy to do.
And these are people out at rush hour, whatever.
On the city street or gathering for something.
So he took the drawing and sized
So in the foreground
as with these figures who recede into
the distance and become smaller. Just head and shoulders are all that
mostly visible. A few other things but - and we could have
Emily and we could have Robert Downey Jr.
or vice versa or place them a little more here and here.
But they're just done - it's outside,
it's either a sunny day or it's
a gray day so you don't get a lot of high contrast
on these people. The rest of these are generic
heads. I've actually done this concept for a couple films but -
and by the time I'm passed this first row I'm just kinda making
up the heads. But if you feel more comfortable
you can have heads that you've found in magazines and so on.
Just don't get repetitive so it looks stupid.
You have your main characters here and here in the crowd
and you have Malkovich too. But Malkovich
drawn in darker, deeper values. That kind of a thing.
Or all three of them
could be drawn in the darker, deeper values and the crowd around them.
So for this he would have to size a head of
Downey, a head of Blunt, and a head of Malkovich.
No problem. This is a
pretty easy one in the scheme of things.
That's nine concepts
Concept number ten.
This is another one which I think is kind of a weak concept
but, you know,
he did size it, it's Emily and
she's received a piece of mail and
or a package or something and the postage stamp is actually
the figure who constantly
dominates, you know, what should be a happy life
but is Malkovich the clown. Not very good,
doesn't show her off very well, doesn't include Downey,
and it's just kind of a cool little concept, almost more
editorial than advertising.
So I wouldn't recommend
carrying that one to a finish. Okay.
Concept number eleven.
This one's a little bit weird, I kinda like
it though. here we have
it's not the movie The Exorcist but in a certain way
using the term loosely, she has to
exorcise him from her consciousness
and her subconsciousness. That's really the gist of the movie.
we have in the foreground, within the
confessional, where you would expect a priest
and then she's behind the window to the
confessional, this is Emily, except we see
from the hair and everything else it's the clown Malkovich.
So even when she's trying to be the most
intimate with her thoughts and her honesty
and her confession, this guy still gets
in the way. And it's a little
And so he sized it like so
and it just needs here some extension down below
for a title or vice versa.
Some extension above for a title.
Not sure I like that because that puts her head half way between top and
bottom and that's kinda static. So I would
urge putting it up here and
dropping the dark to the bottom of the poster and
there's you title treatment. Light on dark
for your title. So that's one of the ones
that I think has some promise.
Certainly a little bit memorable. So
we put this back in its compartment, we never lose
order and we don't take several of these out
at one time, less they get confused and
scattered. So it's perfectly organized. Finally
we have concept number 12.
Let's see what this one is. Oh yeah this is a nice
one. It's based
on an image
that's pulled from a magazine of illustration
and he took it, it kinda looks like a
Rorschach, you know, like an abstract shape, I love it, it's great.
It's a beautiful little vignette, it goes against the light background
and to adapt it for his needs, what he's done
You always keep a template in each one of these folders.
Now he's blown this up
and so really it will fit.
It can be adjusted very easily by a photoshoot and look
the clothes are just dark, they all mass together, that's the beauty
of the design. You wouldn't get that nice feeling if they had
if you had a mackintosh or -
and she had like a low slung gown
and it was like a colored print. No that wouldn't work
but here it sure does. So
put it up here, except instead of a lamp
dividing the two characters,
we have some kind of an image, maybe a glass
statuette of Malkovich the clown
or he could be like on the lamp fixture, something like that.
Maybe that's too corny, maybe it could just be him
like in a vapor, I dunno. Something that he
separates her from him and a very
sophisticated design. So what he would do then is he would find a
three quarter head of Emily and he would find a downshot of
Robert Downey Jr. and there are plenty of shots of him online.
That's why I recommend picking a pretty well known actor and actress
because otherwise you may have a hard time finding what you want.
Yes, you can always make up this head so that it
has Downey and the beard that he sports,
hairstyle and so on. It'd be alright but it's
nice if you actually get a shot of him. So this one I think is
a winner, a really good idea. And that
goes back here and it's labeled number 12.
Let's do the same thing here.
So all he did was blow it up to 200% -
actually I think he did 220% based on
this little image. Good.
So there are 12 concepts
maybe three of them are gonna be rejected.
It still leaves him with nine pretty good concepts.
Whoops. And then I would go over the body of all
and say, you know, am I getting a feeling here that we have enough
with Downey and with Emily Blunt or maybe
we're just having too much fun with the clown, which is
great to draw but it's not gonna necessarily
sell the movie. So at the point we decide
we make an assessment and we decide whether we need more
of different ones like that. Look, when you're really doing this
work, you won't have to worry about that. All the time you spent
on that, and Sean's done too, all of that
is gonna be done for you.
You're gonna get these thumbnail sketches and you're
draw from them and as we get into that next.
You'll see that is more than enough. So
take a little break and when we come back I'll show how to
develop a couple of these
based on the concept that he's designed or chosen
and the heads that are sized for it.
And I'm hoping that you're
seeing how this process works, that's the most important thing.
One student, one artist, will have a different style
utterly from the next. You just don't even think about trying to
develop your own style, that's silliness. It will
happen, it's just natural. So but
it's not about that style, it's about getting the jobs done
and each of your drawings being judged on its own merit.
So don't, again, mimic or imitate a style.
Just make sure it's effective, whatever style it is.
Okay, let's pause we'll come back to that
next very important push on
the whole process of getting these done.
that have been sized. This is the grand
montage. You should try to do a montage among
your ideas. And here, this is
the movie poster format
so she's gonna be quite large.
And then here is the thumbnail expanded
to the size and then we're gonna have our characters
here and here probably. Different
sizes. That's important, it doesn't
get monotonous. I also am keeping my photo
reference at my side too.
Remember I have a file of all the heads.
So when I design this one I can look at that.
So let's get started here.
Now this can be a little tricky. Sometimes
if you're doing any special types effects, like the ghosting
back of a head, you may -
you may just want to hold back on your darks.
Because if you put it in full range from
lightest light to black, then
she starts to come forward, she's no longer a ghost
figure in the background. And I'm not really sure
how I want to treat that at this point. Maybe
she should be full value, I kinda think so.
And then I'll drop her off into lighter values
movie away from the main attention point which is her
I'm just using prismacolor at this stage because
drawing the level of detail, especially at this large scale.
We're not doing that level of detail that would involve
a finer tool like a verithin. Although
I might make an exception
to that for some of this. We'll see. Okay.
so she's go her eyes knitted together.
She's obviously anguished
and that fits the script here
because she's sick and tired of that clown.
Can I have
one more piece of tape please?
Now you'll notice one thing
more than one thing, but I lift this up
from time to time so I can see what I'm actually
drawing here, you see. If it's always held down
on the page and I can't really see
what I've done. So that's
what I do. Another way
to do it is to keep a desk lamp on
and from time to time switch
the desk lamp on and it will overpower the
light of the box and you can see at a glance
what you've done.
I'm just trying to get the form of that eyeball
and not get too consumed with all the little
There's a crest of light
here at the center of the eyelid.
If I leave that in there
it'll give me a better sense of the form.
Sometimes I will take these
traced designs to a certain
point, move onto the next head, etc.,
any other elements, background or
pet dog or whatever it is, get them all in there
and then I'll finish them up
And when I do that
I'll just do it
off of the light table and
on, I dunno,
20, 15 sheets of white bond paper
or newsprint beneath my drawing.
I might even use verithin pencils which are more sensitive
because drawing on top of the surface
of the light table, it can
be good or bad experience. Some light tables are
made of glass and that can be a little difficult to get
subtlety drawing on top of it. It's very hard and
unforgiving. Other light tables are made of
Plexiglas, which depending on the type of
Plexiglas can actually be a really nice surface to draw
and draw detail and subtly as well. Other times
not so much. But it always works
if you just lay out 15 to 20 sheets of
paper, which then you just use as cushioning
behind your drawing so that you can really nuance
what you're doing.
Up until now, it's
all been preparation. We haven't even had the
opportunity to flat out draw.
But once everything is laid out for you,
everything is properly arranged, each folder is set up,
you've got your references within each folder.
Wow now it just becomes
what you probably always wanted it to be.
You might get the wrong impression when you see how much time we've spent
and focused on preparation and organization.
among commercial art fields,
this one is one of the heaviest ones
of drawing. At least among the ones that pay
well. Remember, the pay rate for this stuff
is really among
all the fields that you're gonna run into is the steadiest,
among the steadiest, and the highest,
among the highest. So -
and it's all dependent now on good drawing.
How I design these shapes,
well that's everything.
I mentioned that you will develop your own styles
and you will. But
along the way you'll
discover artists whom you may not have
appreciated before and others that you've always
loved and you can incorporate some of their
style into your work. It's not even an option,
it will probably just happen naturally.
Some of my favorites, the ones
that have influenced me the most
are David Grove,
Mia Carpenter, Gregory
Weir-Quiton, both of whom have styles that are quite
distinct from he others that I mentioned.
There are others but
those are among the ones that have really influenced me
most. Working today,
Mike Butkus is very, very strong.
There are others whose names I don't even really know at this point.
I know Morgan Weistling who studied alongside me
with Fred Fixler.
Wonderful, one of the greatest
at an early age.
had others, students who were in their 40s
and had not really done much of anything who
went on to study this
in a couple cases to assist me doing the
research portion of the sketches, which you now know is so
important and time consuming
and then they did their own
samples and learned, went on
from minimum wage jobs to making
way over six figures a year doing this work.
I keep sounding so mercenary by talking about that
it's a big advantage and
I didn't go into professional art
to do anything less than draw and paint
and this was a field that was
entirely reliant on that.
But when my art school
Associates in Art, back in the late 90s and early
2000s, when it just exploded from
14 students to 1,200
it kinda took me outta this because
it consumed everything I had but
again, there it was, it was based on pure drawing.
To me that's everything.
And that's really the only reason I stopped, for the most part, doing this.
These days I do work that
involves some of the same approach or look even
doing this work
itself is quite -
is high stress as with anything else that pays well.
You just can't avoid that. And it's -
I've learned so much in the process from
different art directors, especially the ones that
were really good and I've worked with scores
of them that I really want to do now at this point
in my life I wanna do more
of my own self conceived ideas.
I have a couple painting series that I'm working on and
you know I'd really care to finish that up so
as with my school
when I have students who are up to the task
I show them, if they're interested
how to do this. But
most of them find it very time consuming
just to get the stuff done. The time
that you spend on this is gonna go down. Like anything else
once you do it,
you may be really walloped by just how much there is to do
that'll go away. You'll get a system
that you don't have to change. You can do one of your own or adapt it
or whatever but you'll have that.
Now out towards the sides of her head
I'm definitely gonna keep it lighter because here
is where I'm gonna ghost in or overlap or whatever
my other main characters.
So I wanna be able to erase
this and place them where they belong.
She may just fade into the night sky.
So I'll leave this whole area undeveloped
right now. Notice I've
outlined, I've designed the dark shapes,
I haven't really filled them in yet
but let's give an example of one that where I fill it in.
Let's get the side and underplane of her lip.
Right now the teeth
would be in shadow but I will leave them showing more
right now because I wanna decide how much in shadow
I wanna put them.
You're never just copying, remember, you're drawing what
you want to see.
Here's the under
plane of the head.
Remember I keep looking at what I've drawn. To do that I
have to lift the page. So
never tape it down in all four corners.
because you can't see what you've drawn. Here I can.
Now all the features are
higher relative to the ear, when the
head is turned back like this and we're looking up
into the head. And even the ear itself is
All the preparation
is part and parcel of getting these
drawings done and
assisting the client in coming up with an idea of what the best
poster might be.
Why don't you just go draw it, you know, what's the big deal?
How come you have to go through all trouble? Well
just think about this. Making a finished
movie poster costs far more than most super
luxury homes and you wouldn't have an architect design
something like that and then send out the
construction crew without a blue print and say well I have a pretty
good idea of what I want, why don't you start blowing stuff up and building walls?
It's the same thing here, you do not
hire one of the best photographers
in the land from coast to coast
and then just with all your lighting people there and your body doubles and
others just say well alright I think it should look maybe like this,
let's try that, let's just experiment a little.
Well it's a good way of just throwing
away, you know, a lot of money.
I know that Annie Leibovitz charged a quarter of a million a day
Mighty Tenenbaums, whatever it was called
and so they had already the drawings
to base those photos on. If they didn't
they would sure take a bath. That would be a lot of
And remember, when everything is taken into account
it's highly likely that
that they've spent as much money
on the advertising of a film
than they have - just as much as they have on the actual production.
an area that's relatively unknown, not just
to the public but to artists, some of whom
draw really well. It's just a great, great
And I do like the idea that we're shifting from different subjects,
it's exciting. So you're going from sci-fi or film noir
and then you're doing the next one is a light romance or a
comedy. It's great. Okay so
here is my
drawing. This head was sized
so I got it precisely the way I wanted. I put
cross hairs in the corners. Later on
this can be lined off but I usually don't do that because I leave it to the
art director and his production crew. Sometimes they wanna
expand this maybe or bring it in tighter.
So I don't draw these lines but I'm aware of
them because of these cross hairs. And now I've got
an original going and it's number five
so where can I put that? I can put it right up here.
There. This tracing paper is now
And I'm gonna finish it up
now. Okay we have two
other characters in this film, right. Robert Downey Jr. and
John Malkovich. So
let's pull out the reference on those actors, set
pull this up,
you can keep it, don't discard it,
and let's pop in the other characters.
and I've got a different size of him too
and a third
Now there are a lot of ways of bringing attention to him too. All I have to do is
go darker on him than I do on her and he'll
pop out and because of her scale and placement
she will be important and because of the dark contrasts
he will be equally important.
Now here we have some heads of
Malkovich. There's this one,
don't want it to be the same size as Robert Downey Jr.
Right now it's a little bigger, alright, I get it.
How about this.
I think he's too big here.
Let's try the other one.
He looks pretty sinister.
However a couple things.
We wanna make sure
that we're not covering up an important point on her head.
That would be
the mouth. Could lower him here
And this scale
is probably a big enough difference. I could put Downey
or let me think I could
put him, located there, and Downey
over here. But I have a
flopped version of that head,
goes like this.
That might be better.
Then again, Malkovich might be
drawing too much attention here. Again your art director
is gonna dictate this. He's gonna draw them in the
approximate scale he wants and position. But here
we are doing our own art directed subjects
so I have to think like one.
Okay well we don't need that.
We don't even need this
so much anymore.
I don't need this.
The ear is not too important so
what we do with that can be
Alright I think I'm gonna do this. Let's
put Malkovich up here
that means pulling this off.
Let's see about a smaller image of him.
I could always go back
and photocopy him down in size a little bit but
I don't wanna go to the trouble, it's just a lesson so
we will do this. Stick with
Tape her down good
Alright that means
we have to get our plastic erase. Now I'm just
going to erase
parts of her head
which are not needed. That are gonna
be overlapped by his head.
If you happen to have
an electric eraser,
the little handheld ones are not very strong.
If you have one that plugs into an AC outlet
then great, you're in luck.
They don't really make them like they used to anymore
but you may be able to locate one.
The one I used, and I had three of them in my
studio, one at each of my work stations, was an
electric eraser that could erase the entire cover of a Time magazine
and it would leave the white paper
stock that the printer originally used, without a single scratch.
Those were the days.
not so much. They figure people are doing
everything on computers so let's just leave it
This is kind of at an angle so I'm gonna fix that.
bit outside my
I don't mind because I can always expand this slightly too.
certainly can do that when they put everything on photoshop at the end.
And ultimately size it up for presentation.
So I'm comfortable with that. So
we're just putting our next character in place.
Here is the head show where
we're referring to.
For a little complexion on the
nose, I don't think we're gonna put a red nose on him
or anything corner right now. We might
at least later on in another piece.
But I don't think so, not here.
Again if you were doing this for
an art director and you didn't have your own concept that you were
drawing, well you might.
You might be asked to put the clown nose on everything.
But here it's up to you.
I'll just readjust this tape
It has to go here.
And this piece
has to go here.
That way we can lift up
and see what we're doing.
Like so. Good.
Keep things quite sharp here.
A lot of the quality of your drawing is gonna depend
on how well prepared you were, how organized
you were because the more so
extra time you get.
Another reason I don't really wanna finish these heads up at this stage
is because I'm gonna be showing them,
emailing or faxing them, over to the art
director or if he or she is in house, same thing.
And so why do
too much. They may change something.
Now you'll probably
strike up some rapport with
one or more art directors
who are very comfortable working with you, understands your
work in progress and so on.
Now if you get an art director, and they're out there,
who says well you've gotta finish them up one,
finished up two, then finish up three,
and so on like that, it's an unpleasant experience, at least
for me because I'm trying to pace myself to do an
even presentation for them.
Especially some young art directors will do that.
Well there are difficulties that go with
every job I suppose.
that crops up quite a bit: if you're working in house
at the design studio
you'll probably arrive around 9:30 in the morning
and they'll have five or six
concepts for you ready to go,
you'll talk to them briefly about them, get
the idea of them, and then start working.
You'll probably be silly enough to ask
okay then, well here's some - how many are you gonna -
how many will you have today?
The standard response to that is to say nothing and
walk about. They absolutely reserve
the right to make you do 20 in a day
or to do eight.
But they usually don't tell you. And so
you will have worked on those five or six and they
will have reached a certain point, maybe
you've got three or four done. And you figure maybe
they're gonna give you a certain amount and then they'll dump eight on your
You can't afford to be stiff in this business because you will
it's not a matter of saying wait a minute, wait a minute,
that's more than I figure, you know, I was
pacing myself or whatever and they'll just walk away.
So you have to do that when that happens.
Just look at it this way
it's the same amount of time, usually
9:30 to 6, typical hours
and you do what you can do.
Sometimes if it's pretty obvious that it's unreasonable
and you can't possibly get it all done by closing time, then
you know you just say alright I'll finish these up at home, what time you need them in the morning.
At that point, you're often in a very good position because
you can charge by the unit.
You could charge $250
a drawing, I won't say more but
yes even that. Other times
you can charge, you know, count your time and bill
they need what they hired you to do so.
They kinda are,
you know, you get what you ask for and if they
want 24 of them in eight hours
then they except, you know, they don't expect
the Sistine Chapel out of each one.
Now look at this photograph,
how many values are there
from black to white?
Well if you counted them up there'd be a million of them.
So this whole plane here, just treat it as shadow.
See, simplify it. Just try to
reduce things to a minimum.
This is a clown
or is he -
and he's wearing a business suit.
Alright there he is, now next step.
We make an
into a clown.
Try to stick with a pretty consistent
treatment for his hair
because we're gonna be using that hair to
silhouette him in several of these
comprehensive sketches so we wanna have like a
visual theme that we can reconnect to.
I could turn this off and you could start designing
right on top of it. Or you could
turn it back on
a couple little areas that I didn't really develop as much as
For one thing, the clown could have a happy face
And let's give in
oh I dunno
big droopy eye like this.
you probably all know that there are people that are just scared of
So this already makes him a little bit different, quite a bit
different, from what you would normally encounter. here
we're gonna give him
Let's just erase some of that head
and this. And
give him some big
And the hair sweeps around like this.
a couple of students they were young, high school age
in a class where projects were being done
and another student in the same class who was middle aged
and she was a professional therapist.
had her office in Beverly Hills but she loved
clowns and all her projects involved clowns.
In fact she got so good
that she got permission from Barnum and Bailey
backstage and do a series of photoshoots
that were really nice of the clowns, you know, when they're not
They offered her to be the official
She wasn't about to give up her day job, she really loved it
but she did a lot of clown work
and this was in the same studio
with these two young ladies
who are deathly afraid of clowns.
They manged to be strong enough to carry on but
they didn't look at the clowns,
they averted their eyes and arranged their easels so that they didn't have to see
the clowns. So already
and especially with recent news about clowns hiding in
forests and trying to offer money
to children and then abducting them,
turns out that Sean's concept
is a little bit au courant and
it's kinda cool.
Well not condoning clowns in the woods coming out
and stealing kids but I'm just saying
there's a whole thing about clowns.
I'll just fill in enough information
around the eye socket here that if I were to send this to an
art director, he could clearly see
what I've done.
I shouldn't say he because
these days art direction is not just a man's job as
it once was, a lot of good female
art directors and there are a lot of bad male art
directors. And vice versa.
Bad illustrators don't tend to last very long.
But if you can do it, if you can
pull it off, then you will be in demand
and your phone will ring.
Or your email, whatever,
text. So be prepared, like a doctor
who's on call.
Keep in touch with whoever it is who's trying to keep in touch with you.
Notice I'm just filling in
all the information in his eye socket with one value.
Let's go back to the reference.
See the difference? How much I've simplified things.
had less time, if I had a
half an hour for each of these, I have another gear
and I can kick it into that gear. But
I might as well show you guys how to draw effectively
and not have to make too many shortcuts
the very first time you're exposed to this.
I think later on in some of these
other concepts, I will do just that,
I will - I'll show you a
faster gear. Alright so now we have
two of our characters.
We're just gonna place a third in here and then
we're gonna have a cityscape below.
Robert Downey Jr.
Now this one gets a little tricky.
We have a choice or two to make.
Do I wanna place him
facing inward? I think I've already decided we're gonna place him facing
How would that look, let's see.
Let's just do this one. That'll work.
Alright, piece of tape here to anchor the
drawing or the reference photo
or the reference drawing I should say. Another one there to do the same.
Another one here. Make sure I can
flip this back and forth. And another one here.
And get rid of this.
So my format
is gonna be slightly larger which means slightly longer at the bottom.
But they'll do that, they'll do that on photoshop.
First thing, once again
we need to
erase any interference.
So we erase the drawing
of Emily's head.
You have to hold it down nice and firm. See my hand?
If you don't it'll give, it will tear,
when you do this. Because you're pushing really
These are just little things but
believe me it makes a difference.
If you hand in something that
is all crinkled
it's unfortunate to say the least.
It looks very unprofessional.
So I'm gonna sharpen one up really nice.
Look at how nice the tip of that
pencil is. Very sharp.
Alright, let's start with - well might as
well start with the back of his head here.
And we have a head
reference, don't we? Right here.
So put it out.
So get ready to see it at all times.
Am I still able to lift this up and see what
I'm doing? Yes.
Notice I'm not
tracing, I'm designing a head here.
here, where the hair grows right out of the skin,
here I bring in multiple but
If this were regular bond paper
or bristol plate, I could
not erase like I've done here.
Or rather I should say here and here and here.
It just wouldn't happen. That's the main reason for
using tracing paper. You can always use the light box
even on thicker, more opaque stock.
But with this
you can get right after it and it's the same thing if
there are changes. You can make them and make them quickly.
This particular light table has a
very sympathetic surface to it.
It's easy to draw on. I brought in
a couple examples here.
And these are just some -
I teach figure drawing. I'll have a model,
I'll have x number of students. I'll go around and I show
what that model might look like from their point of view. And
here's an example of one. I wanna
show you the similarity that I have
between life drawing and drawing
for these purposes.
All of this done freehand from life.
So drawing with a lightbox
doesn't mean you can't draw or
that it spares you from drawing. No, you have to keep drawing.
Too many of those.
He's in the wrong folder but that's okay.
It doesn't hurt to practice by drawing
from great painters like Boldini in this pose.
Look at the planes of the head here, look at the treatment of the hands. He's
not a laborer, he's an aristocrat. And the pose
is really something to it. So learn
to draw with a reason, with a purpose.
In my life drawing classes I emphasize that.
Here again, this is just a model wearing a suit.
A little disheveled. Again you see where the planes of the head
So if you don't have a life drawing class,
practice this from photos.
Shapes are nice and clear.
I thought I had more than just these
but that gives you a little bit of the idea. Here's one.
Let's see what else I've got. It's the same model
seen from a different view.
But notice the characteristic distinction
of light versus shadow. That's the anchor
of it, that's the design core of all these
heads. Sometimes there is no shadow.
That's okay, it just makes the job easier.
And try to characterize, don't just copy. Okay so that was a minor
digression but I wanted to show you that before I finished up
this indication of Robert Downey's head.
Okay. Back to our drawing.
Okay I'm striving to be nice and clear with my shapes.
So as we work toward the
completion of his head,
we still don't go too dark.
In my concept of this he will actually
be very high contrast but
if I show it to the art director
he or she wants to make it larger or move it
well it'll be a lot harder to erase
it if I'd drawn it really dark now. So I hold back a little bit.
we turn the form with multiple strokes, creating a soft edge.
where the temple turns away from the front plane of
a little bit firmer edge because that's the bone of the zygomatic
a little firm, then softens up at the muzzle,
leads into the head a little bit like that.
him a nice strong jaw, some hair at the back of his head,
the neck. He's got a rim light so that's nice,
put that in. If you
can all see this photo you'll know what I'm referring to.
And he's also got a rim light illuminating the side of his
face and jaw.
We pick up the jaw overlapping the neck,
before we go too far into that let's
design the mustache above the lip.
You could use
verithin for this. I still am using Prisma
but verithin would be effective.
The shapes are getting small now.
If I keep my Prisma nice and sharp though I'll stick
When you're working from these photographs it's easy to
descend into just tracing them. And of course, that's
not the object, in fact
I showed you that a few minutes ago when I pulled out some of the
demonstration drawings that I do from student to student in my
drawing class from life. The natural
temptation of a student is to
take the photograph and either on tracing paper
or on a light table or a projector is to
just outline everything starting with the silhouette.
I'll give you an example of that as soon as I finish up this
one particular comp and I think
you'll understand then the difference between the two.
In the meantime I can say this, that I often started
a figure drawing class, first or second day of the term even,
by passing out head photographs,
good ones, and
students brought their own tracing paper. If they didn't I had some
and I would give that to them
and say look, you don't even have to freehand
draw this. But I'm giving you 45 minutes, that
should be an ample time to do a really good, even a finished
drawing from these photographs. So go ahead and start.
You have tracing paper that means you don't even have to
worry about a likeness, everything's in the right place.
And I almost never got a
good drawing out of anyone from that because they didn't know how
to design. They just traced
and the tracing didn't necessarily have a good rendition of form to it either.
it was just okay I'll outline this
little part of the beard here instead of designing the edges
like I'm doing now
and so on.
And that made them feel uncomfortable,
I'm sorry to say, because you'd figure that they'd be pretty
confident being able to do it. I will now -
at the end of this, I'll give you an example of
what I mean by a student or anyone
really tracing as opposed to
designing. How do I design hard edges,
firm edges, and soft edges?
Well I'll demonstrate this in a few moments
but I'll verbalize it right now. It depends
on the form of the subject.
If it's rounded, the prevailing edges tend
to be soft.
If it's angular, like the bridge of the nose,
the prevailing edges will be firm.
or a cast shadow,
the edges will tend to be hard.
So yeah you get those three
basic edges. In her case she might
ghost back into the night sky.
That could be a lose edge. That's the fourth kind of
edge, we don't usually find it in the actual figure or head
but we do find it in the atmosphere
and the environment. And sometimes in certain kinds of
garments, such as a fur
that could have a lost edge to it
Now I'll show you
after this, a design
of one of these heads from photograph that has been traced,
merely traced, and does not represent
a design or a drawing. All this does
saves me time. If I had to freehand
each of these heads, times 12 different comps, I could do it.
I just showed you but why?
I'm trying to get these done on time and
I'm trying to make the maximum amount of money for it.
And so, again, it's like you
take your car into the shop and they have
to do work, they use a hydraulic lift and then
they get to work underneath the car. The could hire
four really strong guys and have them lift the car
for each one of the clients
but why? That would take
forever and cost more. So we do
like anyone else in any business,
we do the most efficient approach to getting
the job done.
Okay now here is our set up.
Beneath them, right here,
there's gonna be a cityscape.
I don't know because I mean Sean's gonna look up some
cityscapes. It's just gonna be the skyline
It's not gonna be a downshot into the buildings or up
whatever. It's just the sky. And
we'll probably have a sunset right
then it's complete ripoff of David Grove's The Outsiders film
poster. Great. Who cares?
He doesn't care, he wouldn't have
cared. Alright then.
So very quickly I'm gonna reorganize these items
and put them back
in folder number five.
That was pretty quick, pretty down and dirty.
We didn't have a lot of figures to match heads to.
Next week we will.
Matching sized heads to figures
I think it already sounds difficult and
I'll tell you it does take some practice and study.
It is, for lack of a better word,
Now if I don't
put this all back in the folder, it's gonna get
scattered to the winds.
Then when I want to go back and finish this up.
I'm really gonna be up against it. I'll have to search
for these. This one now,
what I do is
after I put the cityscape in, just the same level
I photocopy this so I see how
it looks when it prints. They never
show originals to the production company.
What that means then is it matters a lot
what this looks like when it's photocopied.
Now I had a lot of fun wit this one, i think it's great
but you know and I can go back in
and darken up these and make them thicker and that's what it would take too.
But right now, I would not bother.
I've got another 10 or 11 comps to do.
So I would stop here and move on
to those. And on that note, if you wanna just -
we'll take a two minute break so that I can show you,
when I'm ready to do it after two minutes,
what it looks like when a student or an artist
traces rather than designs. There is a
artograph, inexpensive projector
and it's called the tracer. It's a little bit - it's 50 or 60
dollars. But they're doing a disservice to what it's really used
for, fine artists at least,
the term tracing has no place in my vocabulary.
Among other things
you'll notice the back of the head is obscured, it's
basically just faded into the black
background. So we have to figure that out on our own and
only our background and head study can save us.
That's fine, a lot of the times the drawings we're doing I like it ghosting
back into dark. Remember i showed you the graphic novel
and there are a lot of dramatic shots like that. Okay.
Sean, he did a design
from this photograph, if you can see it there.
And it's not bad. The back of the head
is gone. it needs to be brought out.
Okay. You have to know head drawing to do that. So use
your knowledge. Okay. He didn't
just trace this, he did design it with planes in mind.
You see here, here, here, here.
But they're harsh so we really need to go back
over them and create the proper edges as we just
design this head. So what I'll do is I'll show you
what it looks like when somebody merely traces.
Sean went way beyond that but
his edges need work. Someone who just traces does this.
Well this is a lot better tracing than
most tracings but you can still see
there's no sense of overlap,
there's no sense of anything being
except the same two planes as everything else.
Alright so here's a tracing.
as though it's in the same plane.
It's actually not too bad but that's
that's because I did it now either way but it doesn't
show anything approaching the type of drawing we've been
working with this evening. So now instead of that
let me do this. I will
design this rather than trace it.
And designing it doesn't mean adding more detail.
It just means drawing it well. In fact,
often times it means instead of more detail we simplify
Cast shadow, rounded form, cast shadow keeps
a hard edge, rounded form gets a soft edge.
Firm edge there.
that keystone shape above
the nasal bone. Okay.
Nasal bone, bridge, septum.
So I'm designing this head.
Here's the wing of the nose
turning away from light into shadow,
here's the septum.
Here's the keystone shape again with a soft edge, a
hard edge here because the brow overlaps the eye.
Overlaps hard edges.
Okay here we are.
Just keep going.
Here's the overlapping muscle above the lid.
And then there's the lid at that distance from the
muzzle, overlapping the eye.
The iris is an
ellipse now because we're almost in profile.
It's not longer a circle.
underplane of the lower lid.
Here is the secondary form at the bottom of the eye socket.
Here this is the
at the bottom of the zygoma or cheekbone.
Here's the brow ridge.
Here's the overlapping lid
and then the eye.
philtrum. the turning back
of the obicularis oris muscle.
The tooth cylinder.
Mouth turns back.
Series of overlaps. Upper lip clasps
the lower lip here. It overlaps the lower lip
here and here and here.
Some of these half tones, although they're
not dark shadows, they can be important, very significant
in the drawing.
Here's the side plane of the nose as it
contacts the face.
Now here's the brow ridge.
is the turning back of the temple.
Here, this is part of the
And this is the muzzle
up here, from here to here.
Very few of America's top illustrators
and illustration is an American art form,
almost original - not an original, we had
other illustrators, especially in the 19th century
that were European but in the
20th century, it became
a true American art form.
All the illustrators except for Leyendecker,
maybe Cornwell but in many cases
he too, all of them used opaque projectors.
And they could all
draw like angels.
Joe Bohler, Norman
Rockwell, Bernie Fuchs,
David Grove, don't tell me they can't
draw. So learn to
use the tool. Okay. Now
here we are.
And we can start to see the difference.
between tracing -
letter D - between tracing
and designing and drawing. That's
how this was done.
So there's this one
this one, another one.
Alright let's do this really moody one here.
of Robert Downey Jr. When you're doing these
it's the best idea to not only have
one that you're gonna go over but have another at the side
that you can look at.
I like this one because it's broken exactly down
to light and dark pattern.
We'll do this one and I'll show you how to do one on a real hurry up basis.
Or pretty hurry up basis.
Okay. The more organized you are the
less hectic and rushed you're gonna feel. You're gonna have a pleasant experience drawing
The less organized you're gonna run out of time,
all kinds of other problems,
and you're gonna start to hurry. And when you start to hurry you start to drop things.
I usually remember to keep about
15 to 20 sheets of cushioning unless I'm working on the tracing
on the drawing board itself. I mean the light board.
Alright let's take a look. This one is very
moody, very interesting light and dark pattern.
Actually runs almost right down the center of this head.
In art that is symbolic.
There's a yin and a yang, there's
a dark side and a light side to somebody,
there's a mystery to it, you don't really know what the dark
side represents or even if it's really there except
in the photography. So altogether
it already has more interest to it
than standard, straight forward
head shots with the fluorescent lights above.
Oh you might say well look at that
lid under his eye, that's a little bit lighter,
that's partly in light. Yeah, so who cares.
It makes it better to do it this
way. And by the way they're gonna do another
photoshoot of his head anyway if they do this poster and they'll decide
then if they wanna make it more moody or less.
you're just prompting them, you're giving
consultation to them. This is what it might look like
if we did thus or so.
Remember you don't even charge sales tax for this stuff.
A finished illustration
you would generally do. Something that's actually printed.
But at this stage this is all
None of these are gonna be printed. They might do a photoshoot based
on them, in fact they will, at least one of them,
maybe not yours could be another artist working on the same
film with a different design company
and then they win the contract and then
that artist design will wind
up being the basis for a photoshoot.
They'll use a body double for Robert Downey,
they'll light it just the way they like and then
they'll bring in a great photographer,
shoot that body double according to
the same lighting that they've already decided they're gonna
work on and then they'll take it
over to people to composite the thing on photoshop.
Then they'll give it to a person in the studio known as the finisher
and that person will get it ready.
for final printing and publication.
That's their job. And now
by then, you're working on another movie
as if you haven't already been. Typically you're working on several at the
same time. Not always at the same time on your
drawing table but
over the course of a few weeks you might work on this Disney film
or this Paramount film and
you'll get called in for a few days on each one.
he doesn't have the mustache, he doesn't have the beard
so we're gonna have to add them.
That's not hard.
The planes of those facial hair
follow the planes of his head.
If you get those nicely explained
then those other items will fall right into place.
What do you do here on the forehead?
Look at all these little shapes, how do you design that?
Well this is the frontal prominence
of the cranium, it's very rounded so it gets a soft edge.
I try to keep everything with a vertical thrust.
But this one, it's a nice
Don't make the
clothes crumpled. Nice and
tailored and clean.
Think J.C. Leyendecker.
Here the hair grows out of the scalp.
Alright. That's the guts of it. I lift it up,
I turn it off, I pull
out the photo reference,
Took me about eight minutes.
So you're gonna get faster. Don't get
discouraged if it takes time now. You know, everything
the first time you do it does. And don't remember - well maybe
you shouldn't remember but don't forget what I told you about my
first experience doing this. That night I came home
I just collapsed into my armchair and said
over and over again, I will never do this ever again in my life.
Because it's so overwhelming. But then I didn't have
anybody to show me a procedure or a process.
Why wouldn't it be overwhelming.
But I worked
one out. Oh I missed something
here. There it goes.
And then here
get this and this
And then here at the front plane of the chin
make an indentation like that. Now
I still have a few minutes left so let's put in our tones.
This is gonna become one of my key designs. I'll
size it for any of the
comps that we'd like to use it in.
As I look at it now, I'm thinking
hey it might even serve better in the drawing
that we're doing of the three shot, the montage,
it might be a better than the one we chose, which is a three quarter.
It comes a different idea,
now you have Malkovich looking at us, now you have Downey looking at us,
and she's not feeling too good.
It's a riveting kind of a thing.
That too can be done, you can
literally a paste up or you got your computer, you can
make your own adjustments now which we didn't have the option.
So you can size it, looking at it, see how
it would look and decide if you wanna make a change.
I think it might be nice. It might be good.
The other one's pretty good too.
Partly depends on how much time you've got left too.
I can't really - I guess
in the studio I can because there's so much going on around me but
I will typically play music or something just to
lighten things on my
head because I can't stop concentrating on ways I can
but these - and I'll still do that
but it gets kind of intense and so
I might use the TV for company or music
or if it's not the middle of the night I might
talk to a friend on the phone, you know,
usually another artist and they're working on something.
So we're both like up in the middle of the night.
You don't have to be up int he middle of the night.
A lot of the work obviously is not done in the middle of the night but
I dunno maybe those are the experiences
I remember most so...
outlined the light and dark pattern
and now I go into it
with the pencil.
So I didn't need to fill in the light and dark pattern
I merely designed it.
Soften a few
edges along the silhouette of his hair.
Overlap your strokes.
Get a nice, even tone.
A background in academic figure drawing
will really help with this.
So, get the idea.
Alright, good. Well that's the end of tonight's lesson.
So I hope we learned a bit about how to assemble
these comps, how to do it logically with good organizational skills,
thereby leaving us with the maximum amount of time
to do effective drawing. In the end
that's why this is, drawing.
this is an area of drawing that requires a bit of
sophistication. It's not just over the top, it's not super hero
in comic book, although Downey himself
has done a very lucrative work there, but
it's - this particular film is not of that nature.
And you will get films that are over the top and you get others
that are more subtle like this. Okay. So
really is kept quite simple and took about 20 minutes.
Great. Alright. Well, thanks
for watching and doing the drawings especially.
So keep going at it and it's a lot of
work but it can be really fun and when you get the end products,
the drawings themselves, and ultimately a poster, it's
really gratifying. I'd like to say a word or two about the next lesson.
We're going to demonstrate how to put heads
on figures appropriately sized. You can apply the tones
later but I wanna get those figures laid in.
Pay careful attention, it's not the easy to size heads to figures
and even less easy to attach them and make
them look natural.
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44m 29s2. Sorting all your Materials by Folders and Files, Labeling Requirements
23m 38s3. A Montage Composition Drawing Workflow (Emily Blunt’s Head)
28m 10s4. A Montage Composition Drawing Workflow (John Malkovich’s Head)
24m 27s5. A Montage Composition Drawing Workflow (Robert Downey Jr’s Head)
34m 35s6. The Difference Between Tracing and Designing Heads and Figures
59s7. Organizing and Labeling Assignment Instructions