Happy New Year everyone! Somehow we survived 2016, so a couple of relevant 2017 announcements:
- My Bodies in Motion library is launching on January 16th! If you haven’t already head to BodiesinMotion.photo and register for launch announcements and promotions.
- My Anatomy for Artists online course starts on January 13th. In this course I cover ALL the anatomy that goes into making an ecorche drawing like the one above. In fact, ecorche drawings are the primary exercises for the eight week course, and you will get very good at the forms, function and location of artistic anatomy by the end of the course.
I’m recently back to London after a long trip to the West Coast (LA, San Francisco). The first stop was Blizzard Entertainment for a four-day facial anatomy workshop. For the uninitiated Blizzard is the juggernaut game developer behind the hit franchises World of Warcraft (WoW), Overwatch, and Starcraft. From their fortress-like campus 100 miles south of LA in Irvine, CA, they run a digital empire built on monsters, magic, and well… fun.
My job was to level up the artists’ facial anatomy and portrait sculpting skills. The workshop broke down into two days of facial anatomy lecture and two days of portrait sculpting in ZBrush. The content will sound familiar to anyone who actually reads the posts on this website (and doesn’t just looking at the pictures, like most), because I ran a similar workshop for Ubisoft very recently. In fact, you’ll recognize one of the heads rendered above. I added a second head (my Blizzard demo sculpt) to the menagerie this time.
Even though we were studying facial anatomy the artists also got a chance to draw and study from the Bodies in Motion site. We drew from quite a few Motions, less for full-body poses but more for examples of skull structure and head/neck articulation and anatomy in dynamic poses. There were some great drawings from the room full of talented artists.
I am recently back from a week-long workshop at Ubisoft’s Quebec studio focused on portraiture and facial anatomy. The week broke down into three days of facial anatomy lecture for twenty of their artists (animators, riggers, concept artist, character artists) and then finished with an intensive two-day portrait sculpting session in ZBrush with just the character artists.
Friday morning drawing. Up early and browsing BodiesInMotion.photo and found this pretty epic sequence – Aerial Rope. Good inspiration for a bit of figure study. Each image sequence (aka Motion) is a collection of crisp, high-resolution frames (15-20 megapixel) with tons of detail for close up study – hands, faces, muscles, deformation, etc (you can find a composite from the high-resolution images here). I’ve attached the preview GIF so you get a better idea how motions are previewed at Bodies in Motion. This was a two-coffee drawing, done on the iPad Pro so I could record the drawing session, timelapse below.
The Eaton-Houdon Ecorche is a contemporary anatomy figure based on the classic L’Écorché, the 18th century anatomy study by French neoclassical sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon. The original écorché figure was used for centuries in art academies and ateliers around the world to teach students anatomy and cast drawing.
This version, produced in collaboration with Michael Defeo, corrects a handful of lingering anatomical mistakes while retaining the gesture, pose, and naturalism that made the original a favorite of mine and of other artists through the centuries. Here it is produced at eighteen inches, an ideal size for desktop reference and study. Each figure is hand cast in museum-quality resin with removable magnetic arms.
Available at: EATON.london
Anatomy study from Bodies in Motion. There are a few interesting things going on here:
Not long ago, I had twelve artists from Natural Motion (of Morpheme and Clumsy Ninja fame) into Somerset House, my home away from home, for a four day anatomy workshop. At the end of each day we would take about 20 minutes to draw from the Bodies in Motion library.
We made extensive use of the timer for gesture drawing. It can be set to 10fps, 1fps, 30sec, 1min, 2min, or 5mins, and ticks down to zero before flipping to the next frame of the motion sequence. We had it set at 30 seconds per image and we were all drawing frantically trying to keep up. Anyone who goes to life drawing regularly knows this is challenging, but it’s great practice to help capture the essence of a pose – balance, gesture, rough volumes – quickly, without being drawn into the details. Here’s a timelapse of my scribbles (Procreate on Ipad Pro):
timelapse of a sequence of 30 second poses
I recently finished a series of three facial anatomy workshops for the artists at Creative Assembly, the award winning, Sega-owned studio responsible for the long-running Total War franchise as well as titles like Alien Isolation and Halo Wars 2. Like most artists designing characters for games and visual effects the bar for creating realistic faces is exceptionally high and a functional understanding of the construction of the face is very important to achieving believably with the form and motion of the face. The goal of the workshops was to help the Creative Assembly artists develop a fluency with the anatomical forms and structures of the face so that they can work more quickly, accurately, and creatively, while avoiding the common mistakes many artists make in their portraiture.
My Hercules XIII tablet stand with the substantially large iPad Pro.
available at: EATON.london
It was my pleasure to recently photograph jujitsu grandmaster Professor Leon Jay for the Bodies in Motion project. I was able to catch Prof. Jay just before flying to LA for an interview and covershoot for Black Belt magazine. It isn’t everyday you get to hangout with a guy who watched Bruce Lee train in his living room when he was a kid (Prof Jays’s father is Wally Jay, founder of Small Circle Jujitsu and an early teacher of Bruce Lee). During the shoot we photographed a range of jujitsu techniques from dynamic throws to joint locks. After the shoot I asked Prof. Jay to demonstrate a few of his techniques on me, and I can certify first hand that they are painful and effective!
You will be able to check out all the high-resolution sequences at BodiesInMotion.photo in September.
Here’s one of my favorites from the Bodies in Motion V shoot. There are still many shots left to develop, but BiM-V was all about martial arts. We had some eye-watering talent on the shoot – a Jujitsu grandmaster, a master of Hapkido, high-level kickboxers, a wushu artist and couple practitioners of exotic, less known martial arts.