Posted by: Martin Adams | January 16, 2010

This blog and moved!

It turns out that keeping the eightWEEKS project never got going properly due to other time commitments.

However, fear not, I have now started a Sketch a Day project. You can visit this at

Posted by: Martin Adams | January 11, 2009

eightWEEKS is back!

It’s been about nine months since the trial run of the eightWEEKS project.  The great news is that for me, it was a complete success.  Having the dedicated time per week to focus on such creativity is both exciting and rewarding.

Not much has happened over the past nine months as the pressures of work and life tend to make such a project filter in to the back of my mind.  But 2009 brings a promising start, but not without a few important changes the whole “eightWEEKS” project.

Let’s take a step back and remember exactly what all this is for.

The primary goal of eightWEEKS

I’m not here to be the best at this.  There will always be better artists out there.  What I’m here for is a journey of self learning.  I keep asking myself if I want the goal, or if I want the journey.  Do I want that final painting I can hang on my wall, or do I want to paint?

While I want both in reality, what I want more is the journey.  The journey is that moment of “Ah ha, now I get it”.  That moment of discovering something new.  That moment of looking back and thinking that my time wasn’t wasted and something good did come from it.  And of course, that moment of natural comfort when in front of a blank canvas.

For example, when I get in the car to go somewhere, I sit in the driver seat and can focus on the journey.  I know how to drive the car, that doesn’t come into question.  If I can do that with a pencil, paintbrush, graphics tablet or any other medium, that is what I want.

“My primary goal is to go from knowing almost nothing, to taking a journey of learning and discovery to produce art that is exciting to create and beautiful to look at”

How does eightWEEKS fit into it

The original eightWEEKS was about tackling one subject in each eight week period.  This is hard because it means you can never go back to basics.  When the drawing project was done, it was done!  If I hadn’t learnt how to draw at the end of that, tough, just move on.  This felt so wrong.  So it is important to redefine what eightWEEKS actual is.

“eightWEEKS is a journey of learning whereby every eight weeks I look at what I’ve learnt, apply this to a project and decide on where to take the journey next”

So with this in mind, each eight week slot will conclude in a mini-project.  I guess you could associate a project to being a college assignment for each semester.

The learning materials

Learning is the key to this, but without enrolling for some expensive tuition I’ve decided to keep focus on the easily available books, DVDs and online tutorials.  I will work through these training materials during the eightWEEK cycle and use the knowledge gained to produce a final piece on week eight.

Does eightWEEKS = 8 weeks

No it probably wont.  I will be trying to dedicate a minimum of 3 hours per week to this.  Doesn’t sound a lot, but there are too many unpredictable things that happen.  So eight weeks is a guideline and the progress will be reported in this blog.  If a week is missed, no problem, it will be picked up the following week.  The challenge is to not let large gaps in the learning occur.  Especially not nine months!

Where now?

projectONE was completed under the original eightWEEKS.  I’ll pick up from projectTWO but will be revisiting the basics of drawing and rendering.  I have a selection of training I will be using and will be continuing the “Structure of Man” series.

Posted by: Martin Adams | March 25, 2008

projectONE > weekEIGHT

So as a final piece to the first eightWEEKS project, a true way to know if it has been worth while would be to compare a before and after drawing. This is something encouraged in the Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain book. So I’ve done this with a self portrait using a mirror. While I can see that there are still areas for improvement, I would say that I have indeed progressed my drawing skills.

Self portrait before eightWEEKS project



Self portrait after eightWEEKS project


So in conclusion, I have learnt various techniques of observing what you draw. I have learnt the importance of shape, proportions and perspective. Light plays a key role as after all, an object that we draw is merely it’s representation to our eye with the given light at that moment of time. I have learnt the role of blending (although this is more noticeable on last weeks digital piece).

In addition, I have had an introduction to the study of anatomy and I realise how important this is in order to reproduce a lifelike drawing. But most of all, I’ve learnt how drawing can be relaxing, fun and extremely rewarding.

So while it may be a while before projectTWO gets started as I no longer have any regular time off from work, the important thing for me is to remember how to draw, whether it’s for a digital painting, or a 3D digital sculpture.

Posted by: Martin Adams | March 25, 2008

projectONE > weekSEVEN

As it comes to the close of this project with just two weeks left, I felt it was a good time to see how well my skills have developed. Since the next project will be digital art, I decided that for this week I would try my drawing using a graphics tablet in Corel Painter. Here are the results:

Chloe Final

The whole image was done over the course of two days. With regards to the book reading, I have two chapters of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain to complete. I am getting a little behind on the Structure of Man videos, but seeing as there were far too many videos to fit into the eight weeks, I shall continue these over the course of the remaining projects.

Posted by: Martin Adams | March 6, 2008

projectONE > weekSIX

Sadly there’s been a gap between weekFIVE and weekSIX due to work pressure. But I’m back on track with a slight change against the plan for this week. First off, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain chapter 9 covered portrait drawing. It explained common problems when drawing portraits, such as the cut-off-skull error. It emphasises that the brain tries to interpret relationships between two objects and tends to miss the space details. This is particularly important for positioning facial details such as eyes and ears, as well as general foreshortening techniques when perspective is involved. The Complete Book of Drawing talked about different styles and techniques and how various artists throughout history had their own styles in their drawings.

This week I decided to focus on the Character Design – Fantasy Wildebeest training DVD from the Gnomon Workshop. It showed ways of exploring new ideas through the use of silhouette thumbnails using a marker pen. It also emphasised the importance of understanding anatomy, whether you are drawing humanoid characters or animals. I drew along while watching the video, and the results are as follows:

Light Study

Creature Light Study (Thumbnail)

Final Sketch

Final Sketch (Thumbnail)

All drawn with a 3B pencil, an normal rubber, an electric rubber and a pencil rubber, oh and paper.

Posted by: Martin Adams | February 13, 2008

projectONE > weekFIVE

This week, Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain chapter 8 talked about sighting and how this helps the mind perceive foreshortening, perspective and angles. I used this technique in my drawings today, even though I was copying from a computer screen, I would hold the pencil at arms length to measure the subject, then translate this onto my drawing.

The Complete Book of Drawing covered figure drawing and portraiture. It broke down the subject into forms, talked about expressions, how to detail the features such as eyes, noses and mouths.

In addition to the books, I was recommended a great web site for portraiture drawing:

From this web site, I followed the tutorial on drawing the human eye:

Eye (Thumbnail)

I also drew the following images using new techniques that I learnt this week.

Afrian Elephant (Thumbnail)

Portrait Anger (Thumbnail)

Portrait Discust (Thumbnail)

I only had time for four of the Structure of Man videos.


Structure of Man - 023 (Thumbnail)


Structure of Man - 024 (Thumbnail)


Structure of Man - 025 (Thumbnail)


Structure of Man - 026 (Thumbnail)
Posted by: Martin Adams | February 7, 2008

projectONE > weekFOUR

This week, Drawing form the Right Side of the Brain chapter 7 talked about perceiving the shape of a space. It explains that if you pay attention to the negative spaces of a scene, for example, the shapes made by gaps in the frame of a chair, the positive form comes together. I attempted this technique with the following image of some pencils. The challenge however was trying to keep the straight lines of the pencils as I was only focusing on the negative space to start with.

Pencils Thumbnail

The Complete Book of Drawing covered forms of nature and explained how to draw trees in landscapes, compositions of people, clothes, hair, etc. So I attempted two drawings of landscapes.

The first drawing was using this photographic reference:

Tree Landscape Thumbnail

The second drawing was an attempt of a river flowing down some rocks using this photographic reference:

River Thumbnail

I also wanted to have an attempt at rendering hair. I think the there is still quite a bit to learn with regards to shading on this one. Here’s the reference photo used:

Woman Hair Thumbnail

And here is another quick sketch of Christine sleeping:

Sleeping Thumbnail

The Structure of Man videos continues with rendering the 3/4 view of the human head, and also started on the torso area.


Structure of Man - 018 (Thumnail)


Structure of Man - 019 (Thumbnail)


Structure of Man - 020 (Thumbnail)


Structure of Man - 021 (Thumbnail)


Structure of Man - 021-2

Structure of Man - 022 (Thumbnail)
Posted by: Martin Adams | January 30, 2008

projectONE > weekTHREE

This week, Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain chapter 6 covered ways to get around your symbol system by training the eye to observe meeting edges and contours. This means the right side of the brain can focus on drawing what it sees, and not having the left side drawing what it thinks it sees.

The Complete Book of Drawing chapter gave a more broad overview of the experience of drawing along with perspective drawing. It contains lots of illustrated examples and also discusses how to work with perspective when drawing larger scenes.

One important aspect of being able to draw, is to ensure you’ve always got a sketch book handy and to draw almost anything that you see. Here are a few sketches I did to become comfortable with blocking out the composition before drawing the objects.


Book Thumbnail


Toothburshes Thumbnail


Guitar Thumbnail

Form of Sony PSP

PSP Form Thumbnail

The next Structure of Man videos really seem to make a lot more sense. It’s reminds you that it’s about building a system for drawing anatomically correct human beings which we can remember, then simplifying this to continue to produce accurate results. Just like what we were trying to avoid from using symbols from our childhood, this is giving us a new set of symbols which make it easier to draw from imagination. These videos cover both the front view of the human head, and now a 3/4 view.


Structure of Man - 012 Thumbnail


Structure of Man - 013 Thumbnail


Structure of Man - 014 Thumbnail


Structure of Man - 015 Thumbnail


Structure of Man - 016 Thumbnail


Structure of Man - 017-1 Thumbnail

Structure of Man - 017-2 Thumbnail

Structure of Man - 017-3 Thumbnail

Using what I learnt last week, I wanted to experiment more with the side view and try to adapt it to create a range of characters using the same technique. This feels like such a natural way of coming up with original character designs, and will be ideal for the character modelling and animation projects later in the year.


Geek Thumbnail


Monster Thumbnail


Alien Thumbnail
Posted by: Martin Adams | January 23, 2008

projectONE > weekTWO

In this week, Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain chapter 5 discussed how people tend to stop drawing at around the age of 10. It goes on to explain that when most people draw, they become uncomfortable and draw as though they did as a child. This is simply because drawing is a skill that doesn’t get pursued, whereas something like language or maths does. It talks about when we draw from memory, we use symbols, such as a house, a tree, hills, etc. It is useful to try and not draw from these symbols, and focus on drawing what the eye sees, not what it thinks it sees.

The Complete Book of Drawing chapter talked mostly about still life and composition. It demonstrated how to draw every day objects as well as considering the composition of these in a setting.

This week, I had a go at two still life pieces. A bunch of bananas and a sketch of one of my sketchers.

Next we come to the Structure of Man videos. This week I managed to tackle the next six videos. It starts to focus on the side profile of the head and how to build a system of drawing it anatomically correct. Practice of this really helps the mind remember how to draw the human structure without the need for reference. It also discusses how Leonardo da Vinci used a similar technique and would study the human form in great detail and build a system for recreating it in a drawing.


Posted by: Martin Adams | January 17, 2008

projectONE > weekONE

It’s been a great start to this project. First we start with the exercises in the Complete Book of Drawing. Initially we get some basic practice at drawing simple structures, such as lines, squares, circles, etc. This helps to ensure the eye understands where the pencil should be. Nothing special at the moment.

Next we move onto taking these basic shapes and using them to represent elements in a more complex subject. For example, cubes, spheres and also using ellipses to represent a jug, or wine glass.

Finally we move on to sketching animals from their basic shape representations.

With Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, chapter four covered ways to shift the mind’s focus onto the creative right side. A way to do this is to copy a line drawing while it is upside down. This helps clear the mind of recognising elements and simply drawing what the eye sees. Here’s the image I produced.

And here is the same image upside down.

With the Structure of Man videos, I’ve completed the first five videos. Here are the results:


As a final thought, I did a quick sketch of two tigers using the basic shape technique. I used this following image as reference.

Older Posts »