Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Drawing Famous People Tips

People seem to enjoy it very much when they draw Anime, cartoons or cartoon characters like Bugs Bunny, Astro Boy & Mickey Mouse because of the simplicity of the process. And yet when it comes to human faces, people or drawing realistic people, they tend to back off or stray away. Not just because they think it is a daunting process, but also believe the drawing won't look like the person they are supposed to resemble in real-life.

To elaborate, the 'likeness', making it look like the real person, when they are faced with the task of drawing a specific person, s/he criticises or put themselves down when to them, it looks 'wrong' in their eyes.

Therefore, why is it that a lot of people who say they can't draw, or say their drawing or piece of work sucks, is crap or whatever, believe they lack confidence in drawing people realistically or well?

The answer to me, has nothing to do with confidence, but not wanting to draw realistically themselves. Because they think it is boring, or whatever other 'excuse' they come up with. I don't think it is anything to do with not being able to draw. I think anyone and everyone can draw well. It just takes practice and commitment. Just like being a dancer. One may not start off being great, but through years of training, hard work, learning the choreography, s/he gets better and improves with every step and move.

It's exactly the same thing with drawing. 

Effort, for me, is what I look for, moreso than whether or not someone has drawn the celebrity really well.

Hate to say this, but things such as Anime and Manga, takes little effort to draw. Regardless of how good an Anime drawing looks to me, a realistic drawing, like a celebrity, shows to me that person has tried, has put in the effort to make it work. Even if s/he thinks it is crap and/or awful. And which is why I take any realistic drawing seriously, moreso than most generic-looking Anime artwork, of which I cannot distinguish the style, nor the extent of the artistic level of an Anime drawer to other Anime drawers.

Additionally, that whole 'create symbols' to represent the different parts of the face for example, so you are able to draw the parts of the face properly, is utter nonsense. It's nonsense because a) not everybody's nose, mouth and ears are all of the same shape and size and b) when you visualise or conceptualise what s/he looks like in your mind, does not match up with the actual face of the person you are drawing.

The third reason is the fact that the more you think about creating symbols, which is irrelevant, the more often you will lose concentration on, as well as interest in doing your art.

Forget about the symbols part- I know I don't do it, it's too time- consuming- just draw what you see.



*things I don't do (but of which I ought to)

- use the grid method - it's supposed to help in drawing things accurately

- grey scale images - convert them to black and white, so i can see where the highlights, shaded areas are


*tips

- Draw celebrities you are a fan of or like, instead of random ones or ones you don't care about. Plus, it helps you take more of an interest in drawing as well.

- Don't worry too much trying to get the drawing to look like the actual person (I do, but that's because I want to make sure it does, but anyhow....). It's about effort.

- Don't try and memorise their faces. We all know what they look like in reality, but when it comes to drawing it without seeing them, that is hard to accomplish. Therefore, there is nothing wrong drawing from a photo on the internet, or from a magazine.

- For me I focus on the outline, shape of the face first, then I draw the eyes, mouth, nose etc. Afterwards, I do the hair, clothes, arms, hands.

- Get the proportions of the sizes of the head right though; If you don't, you'd get a head that is too large or too small. If the eyes are too close or far apart, the drawing won't look like the main source.

- One of the things about drawing people, is it involves breaking down the human face, part by part. The eyes, nose, mouth, hair. Therefore concentrate on each of these elements.

- The whole style- over- substance thing applies with portraiture, figure drawing and (famous) people drawing in general: once you master the fundamentals of drawing and draw and draw, you will see noticeable differences and improvements in your work.

- Look at the photo of the celebrity, what things do you notice? Is the nose wide or small?, does s/he have a curved/round face or a chiseled, straight, block - look to it? Is the hair short, long, curly, straight?

- Drawing people or doing still-life drawing involves developing your skills of observation and looking. You need to be aware that unlike cartooning or caricature-drawing, you can not put a twist to drawings and exaggerate the aspects or features of the person. As unique as that is, this is not considered as part of portraiture or figure drawing. But what is part of, and is depicting what is there in the original photo, - rather than what is not or what should be there.

- Drawings look better in ink or pen; therefore, sketch out your celebrity drawing in pencil, then go over it in pen, biro, and erase the pencil lines. Or you can just leave them there.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Retro Review: Fame TV Series

(*Originally posted on IMDB 2010) 

Debbie Allen - Choreographer, dance consultant, constant staging, director
Duration: 1982 - 1987 (NBC)
No of seasons: 6
Release date: Jan 7 1982 (US), June 17 1982 (UK) 
Produced by MGM
Cast: Debbie Allen, Carlo Imperato, Gene Anthony Ray, Albert Hague, Carol Mayo Jenkins, Bill Hufsey, Valerie Landsberg, Jesse Borrego, Erica Gimpel, Lee Curreri, Nia Peebles, Cynthia Gibb, Lori Singer, Janet Jackson


'In Hindsight, The TV Show Was Superior To The Movie'

Just like with the movie, I myself was too young to ever remember the TV series of Fame. I was 1 years old at the time (was born in 1981 and an 80s baby)- I never saw a single episode on TV in the UK when it was aired. But as I grew up, especially in the 00s, I read lots of things on the internet about 80s pop culture and the impact it had everywhere. Fame, as well as Flashdance and Footloose were the embodiment of the 1980s dance revolution. Culturally, it spawned things like Lycra and knee length socks. 

The Fame TV series was launched in 1982 amidst the back of the global success of the film itself- yet whilst the movie was gritty, raw and powerful in places, fans especially felt as if they knew very little about the characters themselves and how they had ended up at the performing arts school in New York. Thankfully, throughout the 6 seasons, the show was able to address that issue and focus more on the characters and their individual and collective situations. 

The movie was good, but looking back on it, it did lack that element of 'character' development. Yes we got to see Coco, Montgomery, Doris, Danny and Leroy but their parts were relatively speaking very small. There was also criticism from some fans that the themes in the movie rendition were too adult-orientated and R-rated, for a film supposedly depicting life at and behind a performing arts school. As well as the film played on 'stereotypes'- i.e. the black kid who is angry, aggressive in the shape of Leroy; Montgomery the closeted homosexual. 

Fame's appeal was now broad and mainstream- the movie's swearing, nudity, R-rated hardcore stuff had to be 'cleaned up'. Again, die- hard fans of the movie weren't too happy with this, but for everybody else it was just what this series needed to further extend its mass appeal to the audience. 

Many teenagers and young people who inspire and aspire to become a dancer, actor/actress or undertake other forms of performing and fine arts, would want to enroll at a performing arts/creative arts college or institution to help fulfill their ambition. Fame was that one series that showcased the lives of students at the NY performing arts school, as well as that of the tutors themselves. 

As well as it was the first real television series that gave viewers a glimpse of life in a performing arts school and for us to see what it was like as a student and a working member of staff, both within the school of the arts and outside of it. We got to see their professional lives, in addition to their personal lives and their personal relationships with other people. 

Dance student Coco Hernandez was now played by Erica Gimpel- she replaced Irene Cara, the original actress of that role in the movie, after she had disagreements, issues with the people behind Fame and her record company with regards to royalty payments for her hit, 'Fame'. In addition, the roles of Montgomery and wisecracks Doris Schwaltz and Danny Armatullo were performed by P.R Paul, Valarie Lansberg and Carlo Imperato respectively. 

The only main cast survivors from the original movie to make their transition to the small screen, were Gene Anthony Ray as would- be dancer, Leroy Jonston and Lee Cureri as music student Bruno Martelli. and then- newcomer, Julie aka Lori Singer joined the ranks. 

Carol Mayo Jenkins played English Lit teacher, Miss Sherwood, Professor Shorofsky was undertaken by the late Albert Hague and last but not least, Lydia Grant- who having lusted after Leroy in the movie, became a hard- as- nails, tough talking drill sergeant/ dance tutor. She was played by the ever talented and sublime, Debbie Allen. 

Debbie Allen's role in the movie was once again very minor, but in the show itself, she became a regular cast member and as Lydia waved her magic wand, slipped on her dancing shoes and danced and sang like never before. For all her production, directorial efforts on other shows, her association with Fame will live on in memory for generations to come. She was in many respects, the heartbeat of and driving force behind 'Fame's success and phenomenon. Almost everything she touched turned to gold. Debbie choreographed most of the dance routines, directed and produced the show, as well as act, dance AND she sang on the show too. Just wow! 

When I purchased the first season on DVD and throughout each episode, I was engrossed in and drawn by the quality of the story lines, as well as the dialogue. The writing in Fame is superb. The characterisations were much better suited for the small screen, as opposed to the big screen and it showed throughout with each episode. The original music numbers are great too, I felt like dancing myself! And the performances from all the cast members were fantastic. 

Overall, the TV series of Fame is better than the original movie. It is very much an extended version of the movie but has none of the expletives and adult themes. Of course, there was also the remake of the movie that came out in 2009 and whilst that is also more family orientated, that version of Fame is aimed more at the kiddie market, as opposed to (elder generations of) fans of the original film and TV show. 

If you are a fan of the 80s, and want to feel artistically and creatively inspired, then be sure to get hold of and watch Fame the TV series. 

'Fame', we'll always remember your name! ;)


Overall: 9 out of 10 

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