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SKETCHEE IDEAS: A Creativity Blog


Monday
May232011

Drawing portraits with more character

When drawing (or painting), the toughest part is capturing a persons personality. A face can be a huge part of creating an emotional connection in your art.  You can make or break the believability of the moment with a glint in the eye or a smirk in the lips.

I was reading the tutorials on the blog of MAD Magazine caricaturist Tom Richmond. Sure, he has a great anatomy tutorial on understanding hands that's a must read. The tutorials on inking and digital coloring are amazing.  It's his bread and butter, however, when he gets into the details of the face. 

 

Making a successful caricatures takes a pretty good understanding of the facial features. You have to capture a likeness. You have to manipulate them into an expressive statement.  From the blog:

"I would say there are three essential elements that transcend style and medium and must be present in a caricature:

Likeness- If you can’t tell who it is supposed to be, then it is not successful. All good caricatures incorporate a good likeness of their subjects.

Exaggeration- Without some form of exaggeration, or a departure from the exact representation of the subject’s features, all you have is a portrait. The level of exaggeration can vary wildly, but there must be some departure. A straight portrait is not a caricature.

Statement- I believe a caricature must editorialize in some way. The artist must be trying to say something about the subject. It might be something to do with the situation the subject is drawn in, it may just be a play on their personality through expression or body language, it might be a simple as making visual fun of some aspect of their persona or image."

While you may not want to be a caricature artist, learning how to play with caricature can bring a lot into your facial drawing. Finding somewhere between photorealism and caricature might be the thing that takes your art to the next level. What do you think?

Tutorials on Tom's MAD Blog (tomrichmond.com)

Thursday
May192011

How To Create a Memorable TV Commercial

3 examples of great TV commercials

Commercials are a huge part of our society. Not only are they trendsetters and good fodder for water cooler talk, but they reflect culture and what is going on at that given time period.  

Not all commercials achieve this kind of impact though. It takes a really creative and memorable commercial to truly achieve success.  Every minute of every day, millions of people are inundated with ads in many different forms: online, radio, print and television. Yet nothing seems to have the same impact as the TV commercial.

Here’s a look at three of the best creative and memorable commercials in recent years and why they are successful.

Dr. T’s Slug and Snail Killer

A great commercial doesn’t have to be extravagant. This awesome spot for slug and snail killer is just a monologue. But it is extremely well written and the acting is brilliant. If this isn’t a perfect human rendition of a slug then I don’t know what is! Viewers aren’t soon to forget about this slug.

Nike



On the other hand, brands with gigantic budgets can still produce breathtaking commercials.  Again, it isn’t so much the special effects or CGI that makes this great --- the concept is simple. What defines this Nike spot is the music and fast-changing images that strike an emotional cord with a variety of audiences. Just putting in a quick shot of famous runner Steve Prefontaine, for example, creates an emotional connection with all runners even if the commercial has a broader target.

Google

Sometimes commercials don’t have to say anything at all. This awesome Super Bowl spot from Google – their first ever – puts the viewer in the drivers seat and tells an entire story through the use of their product. This is a common tactic in TV advertising. Much like the Nike ad, an emotional connection is created through the use of a product.

The real answer, as cliché as it seems, is that there is not one right way to make a great advertisement. People have tried many different strategies. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. Strive to tell great stories in your commercials. Create emotional bonds that are hard to forget. Regardless of format or style, if you do these things the ad will be a hit.

It doesn’t take a huge budget or a powerhouse brand to create a great TV spot either. Simplicity rules. Just look at the examples above! Regardless of budget, if the ad is created properly you have nothing to worry about.

Trevin is a freelance writer and TV fanatic.

 

Monday
May162011

40 Guidelines for Composing a Landscape Painting

When creating artwork, finding the flaws in your own work can be difficult.  Furthering your understanding what works and what doesn't can make this process far less frustrating.  The tutorial on art destination site and forum Wetcanvas has demystified the most common problems. From the article, by Johannes Vloothuis:

"I have put together a series of “ rules” (I’d prefer the word, tips) of composition that when used properly should reduce the flaws in your landscape paintings. These are a compilation of what appears in most books on composition plus some of my own ideas. A word of caution; do not allow these to hinder your work. They are to help you out when you are in doubt on where to place diverse elements in your work. Rules are made to be broken, in which case you should at least know what rule you are breaking and why and not err due to insufficient knowledge. There are 23 pages so get a cup of coffee and prepare yourself for a long haul."

Landscape Composition Rules (wetcanvas.com)

Monday
May092011

Is your graphic design work a mess?

Seeing these examples brings back memories... Clean Up Your Mess is a site that explains the most universal principle rules for design out there. Sure, what really makes great design has changed with fashion and fads. These rules are timelesss, however.  They can be broken. Often it's not worth the risk and more times than not fails.

I remember working as a newspaper ad designer over four years ago. The sales and design staff were totally separate. The sales staff was put into the position to care only about making their commission. It didn't matter if the retailers who bought ads had a successful ad. One that had impact. Designers weren't given the access to make recommendations.  So usually the ads requested by the sales staff and retailers were listings and heads. Way too much content. Oh, and it all had to "stand out".  Put this in a burst? Put this in a box? More typefaces please? If only there was a way to get them to clean up the mess.

Clean Up Your Mess, A guide to visual design for everyone (visualmess.com), discovered via Lifehacker

Thursday
May052011

Want to be in the next inspiration and artist profile post?

This is a new upcoming feature on my blog. Every once in a while I'll post a round up of the best in typography, design, painting and illustration.  How do you get featured?  Just join my new flickr group, Uncanny Creativity and add your artwork. Make sure you tag it appropriately. 

You can also go there to talk to your fellow artists and designers and discover even more work for yourself.  Tell your friends to join too!