Friday, May 30, 2014

Perspective: Cityscape Exercise + Petersen References

   Third post in a series of interlinked examples on creating the illusion of 3-dimensional depth on a flat piece of paper. I recently set up yet another 360° view still-life utilizing display boxes from the storage room as a way to explore multi-point linear perspective.
Join me after the jump for more...

   Traditionally in my introductory show & tell for Beginning Drawing on this topic, I'll always showcase some alternative imagery like samples from comic books (ex: Batman & Spiderman), along with spiffy sidewalk chalk work that exemplifies the level of optical illusion one can achieve utilizing perspective. And I have always included a handful of pieces by David Petersen, creator of Mouse Guard: he's been here before (both in Fairbanks + in my comics classroom), and really made a profound and lasting impression on me. Even more impressive is the astonishing output he maintains, both quality + quality across an ever-widening spectrum of projects.

   By way of an introduction to Petersen's work and his methods, I had students turn their final study of the still-life (sample picture posted above) into a sort of city-scape by adding on windows and other urban accoutrements. Please forgive my truly crappy quality snapshots taken on the fly in the classroom with an iPhone, but you can still get the main point that it resulted in some fantastic and imaginative architectural renderings - based on reality, ie purely observational representation but coupled with creative embellishments.

   This exercise gave a great way to show how many artists, Petersen in particular, utilize props as a way to tackle challenging scenarios: no better way to accurately sketch a tricky shot than to craft an actual model of the setting, literally setting the stage for the characters to act upon.

   This past semester I finally put in a few hours on organizing and reformatting all the amassed examples from all the various, miscellaneous stuff I’ve been compiling over the years of Petersen's work for a definitive show & tell. Usually I'll drop in a couplefew slides every semester/every class, but in conjunction with the above in-class exercise it finally merited creating a standalone, showcase lecture for a studio class that focuses on multi-point linear perspective.
   Many thanks again to David for providing Beginning Drawing teachers with some really spiffy alternative resources to inspire students on the importance of core skills that might otherwise be intimidating or boring. The many process samples he provides (visit + bookmark Petersen's Tumblr site and his blog) are great examples of utilizing references and scale models in re-creating different scenarios, and in turn creating new worlds… fantasy based on the familiar.

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