I checked in over at Graphic Tales late last week and was immediately transported back to my junior year of college—back to the beginning of 2001. My former professor, DB Dowd (though we knew him as Douglas or "Doobie"), has just unleashed on his Seniors the 100 Figures Assignment---> read about it here.
You are to produce exactly 100 figure drawings/pictures of humans between 1:00 today, Friday, and Monday morning at 9:00 am, when your new week begins. These drawings should be at least 11” x 14”. The figure must dominate the picture–no “scenes” with teeny figures. And 100 drawings means 100 drawings.
This is the exact assignment as I remember it. Drop the bomb on your students on a Friday afternoon; due first thing Monday morning.
DB spells out the objective in his post, but essentially, you start drawing (on 11 x 14 sheets of paper mind you...not small) only to realize around #20 that you've used up your bag of tricks. It's designed to bring you to the brink of insanity. I drew a cluster of faces a year ago in one sitting (an hour?)—and heck, I was ready to put the pen down at a dozen.
100 unique figure drawings in less than 3 days. Go!
After reading his post, I went straight to the studio and began digging through my college portfolios. I finally came across the mass of 100 drawings. Here are some of them spread out haphazardly:
It turns out I only counted around 85, so I'm either missing some or they've been misplaced. As unfair as it is to pick out favorites, here are the dozen or so images that I deem "interesting" today. But that's kind of the point. You create a lot in a short amount of time, hoping to make some discoveries.
I look at these, and while I can see the cartoon themes poking through, it strikes me how far in the direction of cartoony imagery I've gone today. This was definitely before I dipped into Fleischer and classic animation. Probably before I discovered Gary Baseman...maybe even before I started watching SpongeBob.
Not to mention that a lot of these are either gouache or watercolor paintings (nothing is digital). I remember distinctly during the critique people mentioning that I draw big heads (I still do). But I now notice how small most of the eyes are—eyes have now all but taken over my characters' faces.
A did a dozen or so like this—brush and ink...flicking the brush at the page to inspire fun ideas. That was key throughout this—keeping yourself in good spirits. I remember having fun with this set.
Here are a few more of varying styles and media.
I doubt I'll ever create so much work in such a short period of time. And it's hard to imagine a more practical exercise. We could all benefit from doing this at least once a year to work out the kinks in our style and explore new approaches of drawing. I like to think that's what a sketchbook is for, but this was much more intense by comparison.
I may do another college-related post, but until then, back to 2009.
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