Sunday, 7 August 2011

101 Sketches, Part the First

Before I show these sketches, I'll say that I am terrified of showing them. I am very self-conscious about my sketches, and ordinarily once they're done I will work from them and then consign them to a box never to look at them again. So showcasing them here is very very scary for me, especially as I feel like I'm dancing around shouting 'Look, world! Look at everything I don't know about concept art!' With that said, here goes nothing.


The first thing you will notice is the big blank spaces - that's because I did a few sketches that drew shapes from things other than the object sheets, which I removed when I found out that we had to use only the sheets. These ones I quite like, especially the little bird-slug-thing down in the corner. He's kind of cute.

The second thing you will notice is that I am terrible about sticking within my canvas. This isn't bad cropping, it's bad planning on my part.  I really really like the frilled, strange-mouthed critter in the lower left corner - I am sorely tempted to take that one further.

Ah, machinery, my mortal enemy. The only one of this batch I actually like is the caterpillar train, which is just so silly and impractical I have to love it. The rest are boring, idiotic and unoriginal. I hated drawing every one of these because I struggled so much to think of ways to make machines from the shapes, and it shows.

I hate drawing machines - they don't make sense to me. I am insane about getting details correct, and my lack of knowledge of (and, admittedly, interest in) machines makes it very difficult to design them. By some stroke of luck my brother is a mechanical engineer, so I went to him for advice and he gave me this working definition of a machine;

'A machine is anything that converts energy into motion or produces the energy to do so. They either perform tasks humans cannot do or do tasks humans can do but more efficiently.'

My problem with machines was that I didn't really know exactly what they were - I could point to one and say 'that's a machine all right', but I didn't understand precisely what they were for. The next problem will be actually designing machines that don't look dreadful, but I'll manage.


  1. MEG!!!! :D Hey there - and sooo many apologies here; not necessary, but congrats for taking the plunge and being brave and putting your inaugural sketches up; great stuff. You know it might be an idea to put a number beside your thumbnails so people can go, 'Hey, I think number 2 has loads of potential etc.' In terms of 'machines' - I don't think it truly matters too much at this stage if your thumbnails don't have a specific purpose or clear use; this is much more about 'imagineering' and throwing ideas out and around, so don't worry. One really quick way to push ideas along is simply to work in silhouettes first - i.e. combine the shapes in silhouette until you create something striking and strong - then, work into that shape to give it form and three dimensions. It's not 'the' way to crack this, but it is 'a' way and worth a punt. Anyway, welcome to the bloggosphere! :D look forward to seeing more from you in the coming weeks - remember, do not worry! You'll be amazing sooner or later! :D

  2. Hi welcome to the course :D. My name's Charlotte and I'm now a 3rd year (I almost put 2nd time has flown). Look forward to meeting you when we go back in September. If you have any questions please feel free to ask away. As for your sketches, they look great. :)

  3. Hi Meg, I'm Ruben and like Charlotte I'm a 3rd Year Student,time flies but it always do when you having fun. Looking forward to meet you and the rest of the first year this September.
    About posting your work, it always difficult to be sharing your work that you feel is not perfectly polished. do not feel like that it is often more important the process than the final piece. And here nobody will harm you and your ideas, they will just give you feedback and hopefully help you improve. good lufck for the course !!!

  4. Hey there Meg, welcome to CG Arts and Animation! I'm a graduate, though I still often lurk peoples blogs and such. Few things really, probably been mentioned by the good folk above me, but hey.

    First - Never be ashamed or scared to show work. Feel confident and get it out there, the best way to progress is to receive good, honest feedback from your peers. Please, never take critique to heart, it's not a personal attack on you, and it's never meant that way. People who take the time to crit your work are doing you the biggest of favors, embrace it.

    Secondly - You apologize for cropping off canvas and such. I say screw that. If you're going to go off page, grab another sheet of paper, throw it below the one you're working on, and just go ahead and draw onto the next one. (This stops you trying to squeeze the drawing on and screwing up proportions and such)

    Thirdly - Unoriginal, cliche'd ideas are always the first things to come to your head. Getting them committed to paper and out of your head is the best way to move forward with an idea, and to get to the cool, interesting, original stuff. So get that stuff on paper and get beyond it fast!

    Fourth - Silhouettes. Use them. With machines and such, think of them as a series of interesting geometric shapes. Just draw shapes that over lap and interconnect. Make them look interesting in just rough forms, shape, negative space and silhouettes. Then fill in the blanks to make it make sense. Nobody just draws a machine first time, draw from reference, real machines etc.

    Good start, and I applaud you for taking that first step in getting your work out there. Get used to it, it's your most powerful tool. I admire the honesty too!

  5. Hi Meg, the guys above have already given you a lot of sage advice. Never be afraid to show your process, especially these formative stages "from small acorns etc." What it is nice to see is you identifying your short comings and then being pro-active about addressing these issues. This attitude will help stop you from getting stuck in a rut or shying away from work that may expand both your horizons and skillset.

    Also it isn't necessary to limit yourself to pencil drawing collage and other media are all great tools for bashing out ideas.

    Best of luck meg, and well done for being the first to get your blog up and running.


  6. Hello Meg I am soon to a second year and welcome to course and more importantly to the blog. Don't worry about not knowing any solid technique for concept art, etc as I was in the same boat last year and have learnt a lot in a short space of time, I feel your drawn ideas are strong especially in terms of composition and thought about where the drawing needs to be. Keep it up and good luck in your 1st year :)

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Well this is strange and exciting!
    Hiya Meg! I'm Molly and, like Adam, I'm moving into my second year. It's really great to see the ideas you have so far, I'm really enjoying how soft and free they seems to be.

    I was the same when I first started. The idea of making a blog and putting my work on it for everyone to see seemed like a terrible idea. I left it until just before we started and because of that I didn't get any of the awesome feedback I could've had.

    Try not to worry too much about your drawings, just enjoy doing them. Your life-forms look really exciting to me and if you feel machines are your weak point then just try and draw more. At this stage it's all learning anyway so just go for it and try to have fun too! :D

    Also, silhouettes will be your best friend when it comes to designing. A plain black figure can let you know straight away if you have the character/creature you want and it's much quicker than sitting for hours to work on a lovely design that doesn't really do anything. If you wanted to look more into silhouettes an artist called Feng Zhu is great for it, pop here- -and have a watch of those videos, they're super helpful!

    I hope you're looking forward to starting and don't be afraid to ask me or anyone on our course, no matter what year they're in, any questions you have. Keep drawing and having fun with it, I look forward to seeing what you do next! :)

  9. Well look at here! New flesh! Muahahaha!
    Sorry that sounded weird :P Hi I am Andriana and like Adam and Molly I will be moving to second year in September and I am really looking forward to meet all you new people.
    Ahhh..the 101 sketches! That brings me back memories :P First of all I like how your sketching is so clear and the designs are distinguishable. Great work! :D
    Just one thing: Do not panic about this summer project. It's just an introduction to your first AMAZING year.(or more of a small taste of the upcoming year) Your first year is all about being adventurous and letting your imagination an creativity flow. You will discover skills you never thought you had and learn how much uni work you can handle. It's going to be a hard working year for you guys but it will all pay off in the end. Most of all have fun!! This course will take you back to your childhood when creating stories, worlds and characters was the best thing to do. So have a great journey! Do not hesitate to ask any questions. Looking forward to meeting you :)

  10. Hi Meg, I'm Nat. I was with Andriana, Adam and Molly last year but due to some other things I will be repeating this year a fresh which means i'll be right along side you. As everyone else has said do not worry yourself with these sketches, they are meant to be fun and an appetiser to get you into the swing of things. Also, same feeling of panic with showing who you are for the first time to your new community through your blog, you will soon get used to it and it WILL become quite addictive. Any problems, just yell. You will be helped :)

  11. Hi Meg! Welcome...I am Jackie, and I work as a learning support assistant, mainly in CGA and mainly at the moment with some 3rd years. You are at the start of a very exciting (and sometimes very stressful!) journey...buckle up and enjoy the ride! :D