Californian Illustrator Bill Cone is well known for his sensational pastel artwork and his ongoing contribution to Pixar Animation Studios. He studyied Painting at San Francisco State University before going on to study Illustration at Art Center College of Design. After his graduation, Cone embarked on a career as a landscape painter and for over 17 years he has exhibited annually, both in group and one-man shows.
Cone is both a Production Designer and Teacher at Pixar. He has produced lighting studied, worked as a storyboard artist, background painter, and character designer. On top of all these roles, for over 10 years, Cone has taught light and color classes to the Pixar alumni. He has contributed to successful animations such as Toy Story (1995), A Bug’s Life (1998), Toy Story 2 (1999), Ratatouille (2007), and Up (2009). Interestingly, it was during work on A Bug’s Life that he started using pastels to do lighting studies. Enjoying them very much and seeing their speed benefits, he decided to use pastels in his personal work too.
You can see much more of Bill Cone’s wonderful artwork on his blog, which he couples with eloquent and verbose descriptions.
When 3DTotal offered the Illustrator’s Lounge an opportunity to review their Sketch Workshop series I jumped at the chance. I first heard about it through their exceedingly successful Kickstarter campaign. My intrigued was peaked, how would they tackle explaining some rather complex and layered subject matters to a novice?
Expecting to receive one or two of the workbooks, when I opened the parcel to find the entire Sketch Workshop bundle, there was a genuine gasp of joy. It included the leather-style folder, all five workbooks, and a set of drawl-inducing drawing tools, including five Koh-I-Noor graphite pencils. It is a very attractive set, which I sat staring at for a while, before it suddenly dawned on me that I may need some help if I planned on doing a review of this set any justice.
I decided to recruit the help of my 8-year-old cousin, (appropriately named) Arty. Definitely younger than the demographic that these workbooks are aimed for, but I was interested to see how accessible the tutorials are. I know that Arty already has an interest in illustration and has an attention span that could rival mine. So I knew it would not be too laborious to ask him to sit down for an hour or so and work through some of the pages with me.
I thought that Robot & Spaceships and Creatures workbooks would be best, as I know that Arty has a love of cars, and as you can’t really draw “creatures” wrong, can you? When I arrived workbooks in hand and told Arty that today we will be drawing together, he got really excited. When I pulled out the stationary he got even more excited, which is an indication of a future artist if there ever was one.
Given the choice of the two workbooks, Arty decided to go for Creatures. So I opened it up to a tutorial which looked the simplest. I showed him the page and explained what we would be drawing, then I read all the instructions to him, to which he responded “Wow, that’s hard”. I laughed and then tried to simplify the instructions a bit for him. He chose his pencils and got started.
Interestingly I had already given the Anatomy workbook a go a few days earlier, and my initial reaction was very similar to Arty’s. I am a competent illustrator and there was not anything in the Anatomy workbook that I would particularly struggle drawing, but yet I found some of the tutorials intimidating. A combination of a beautifully rendered sketch accompanied with instructions that neglected to explain the basics just threw me off. All workbooks have multiple tutors, so this scenario is not case for all tasks, but it is a common theme across the workbooks.
An example that came up when drawing with Arty was that he did not understanding the 3D aspect of the jaw and stuck to drawing the front row of teeth. I sketched a cylinder to help explain how he should think of a jaw and he quickly understood adapted his drawing to show back teeth. After an hour of drawing, Arty had filled a couple pages of A4 paper with a few pretty impressive creature teeth and dinosaur eyes. That was sadly as far as his attention span went. He then proceeded to shape the putty rubber into a rocket and throw it around the room. However, working alongside Arty’s helped me better gauge whom these workbooks are best suited to.
It is sadly a tad advanced for an 8-year-old (specifically Arty). I felt the tutorials were a bit too specific for my own needs, but I will probably give Robots & Spaceships and Cityscapes another go, as I have always found this area of technical drawing difficult. So ruling out the novice and the seasoned illustrator (ahem) I would say that these books best suit intermediate artist, those who have a good grasps of the basics, understand construction well, and have just starting to push their art into a direction.
Which brings me to the strength of the Sketch Workshop. It does a great job of encouraging the artist to really think. If you are drawing a creature, is it dangerous? If so where will their jaw hinge? If it is a robot, what fuel does it use? After you have really thought about the physicality of the drawing you are asked to consider lighting, so that you can render your drawing as realistic as possible too. These are definitely areas which can get left behind when learning to draw, so there is obvious merit in their approach.
All in all, if I had the Sketch Workshop when I was in Secondary School it would likely be one of my most prized possessions. It is beautifully presented and impossible not to get excited about. I will surely be wrapping the bundle up and gifting it to Arty for Christmas, and just like a Christmas jumper, hope he grows into it.
Try Sketch Workshops for FREE!
3DTotal is currently giving away a free sample chapter of the Robots & Spaceships Sketch Workshop on their site. Check it out here.
Sketch Workshop Bundle 3DTotal Publishing Includes:
The Sketch Workshop leather-style folder
5 Workbooks (Anatomy, Characters, Creatures, Robots & Spaceships, Cityscapes)
A set of drawing tools (graphite pencils, sketching pens, a putty rubber and dual pencil sharpener)
I’d Love to Draw is a collection of work by the innovative American artist Andrew Loomis, previously unseen by anyone outside the Loomis family and available in print for the first time ever. Having been held in the Loomis family archive for decades after the artist’s death, I’d Love to Draw has been restored by a group of devoted experts, including the globally renowned comic book artist and Loomis devotee Alex Ross.
Andrew Loomis started this book with the ambitious intention of bridging the gap between those who “can’t draw” and hobbyist. Before he passed away, he completed much of the writing, annotations, and sketches. Though some of the sketches are quite rough, they more than convey their point. Alex Ross plays co-author, and adds extra annotation where needed. I initially though his part would be quite small, writing a forward and maybe some extra thoughts, but Mr Ross actually has annotations throughout which are very helpful.
An important thing to remember is that this book is aimed at the absolute novice and so Mr Loomis pays careful attention to limit the art terminology, and breaks down processes to their simplest. Mr Loomis’ main focus is to change how a beginner thinks about drawing. He States that an amateur will focus on the contours of an object and attempt to draw them. This is of course very difficult even for seasoned illustrators. He goes into great depth to explain the importance of construction lines, and breaking down an object to its most basic shapes. Mr Loomis proceeds comfortably to reinforce this idea with a few examples of complex objects with their basic shape counterpart. The book is filled with some great tidbits, like this gem:
“We can only fake things we know thoroughly—otherwise we just put down the evidence of what we do not know.”
After addressing preconceptions and hopefully easing some of any initial fear, Mr Loomis proceeds to explain some of the most central areas of illustration including perspective, light, faces and figures. He spotlights cartooning and exaggeration, in attempt to convey the fun of drawing. Which actually did just that. I found it a really welcome section after the more technical information. The book concludes with different techniques of sketching: tonal, accent, scribble, block and more. This was definitely my favourite section as it pretty much doubles as a showcase of how inspiring and adept Andrew Loomis’ sketches are.
In all, I’d Love to Draw, is a worthy addition to the Loomis book collection and it is wonderful to see more of his work in print. I should stress that it won’t suit everyone. For those who already have a foot in illustration and draw regularly, this book may be a tad repetitious. Essentially it is a more accessible version of Successful Drawing. However, what it does do well and what it set out to do, to relieve the fear of having a go.
I will admit I have not sat to draw much lately, but as soon as I put this book down I picked my pencil up. Something about the “Getting the fun out of it” section really motivated me.
Published by Titan Books, I’d Love To Draw is out now, retailing at £29.99. I would recommend it mainly for beginners, those interested in illustration (and willing to give it a go), and definitely the Loomis enthusiast.
I’d Love To Draw is out today in the UK! To celebrate Titan books have kindly sent over some rare photographs of the original book Andrew Loomis created.
I’d Love To Draw was started by the Andrew Loomis, but he unfortunately died in 1959 before its completion. Held in the Loomis family archives for decades, the book’s existence was entirely unknown outside of the Loomis family – until now. Lovingly restored by a team of experts, including the globally-renowned and respected artist Alex Ross, Titan Books are finally publishing Loomis’ lost legacy. This facsimile edition finally completes the Loomis legacy at long last.
We are going to do something a little different for today’s post. I recently picked up a copy of The Anatomy of Costume from Amazon for the enthralling price of 1 pence. A perfectly good book, in a perfectly acceptable condition. This got me thinking, how great it would if there were a whole list of useful art books that were being sold for a penny? I did a little Google-fu to see what was out there already, after not finding anything I decided to make my own list and share it with you, my fellow Loungers.
This list of 30 books breaks down into four main categories, Reference, Tutorial, Fine Art and Other. I specifically chose books from a broad range of creative fields and would have loved to throw in a couple books on design or architecture, but sadly could not find anything worthy for so cheep.
Just in case some of you are thinking, what is the point of buying a book when you have a wealth of reference of the internet? Firstly, as shocking as it may seem, not everything is on the internet; sometimes that dissected image of that flower you need can only be found in a book. Personally, I prefer working with a book in front of me rather than a screen. Ultimately buying books will introduce you to things you weren’t looking for, which is the best way to expand your pool of inspiration. Not to mention, these books are a penny, you cheapskate!
I should mention that I own a lot of the books in this list, most of which I spent a lot more than a penny to buy. Suffice to say their value is much higher than their price tag.