Drawing from films
Drawing from films is a ridiculously useful exercise. It’s not enough to watch films; it’s not enough to look at someone else’s drawings from films. If you want to be in story, there’s no excuse for not doing this.
The way this works: you draw tons of tiny little panels, tiny enough that you won’t be tempted to fuss about drawing details. You put on a movie - I recommend Raiders, E.T., or Jaws… but honestly if there’s some other movie you love enough to freeze frame the shit out of, do what works for you. It’s good to do this with a movie you already know by heart.
Hit play. Every time there’s a cut, you hit pause, draw the frame, and hit play til it cuts again. If there’s a pan or camera move, draw the first and last frames.
Note on movies: Spielberg is great for this because he’s both evocative and efficient. Michael Bay is good at what he does, but part of what he does is cut so often that you will be sorry you picked his movie to draw from. Haneke is magnificent at what he does, but cuts so little that you will wind up with three drawings of a chair. Peter Jackson… he’s great, but not efficient. If you love a Spielberg movie enough to spend a month with it, do yourself a favor and use Spielberg.
What to look for:
- Foreground, middle ground, background: where is the character? What is the point of the shot? What is it showing? What’s being used as a framing device? How does that help tie this shot into the geography of the scene? Is the background flat, or a location that lends itself to depth?
- Composition: How is the frame divided? What takes up most of the space? How are the angles and lines in the shot leading your eye?
- Reusing setups, economy: Does the film keep coming back to the same shot? The way liveaction works, that means they set up the camera and filmed one long take from that angle. Sometimes this includes a camera move, recomposing one long take into what look like separate shots. If you pay attention, you can catch them.
- Camera position, angle, height: Is the camera fixed at shoulder height? Eye height? Sitting on the floor? Angled up? Down? Is it shooting straight on towards a wall, or at an angle? Does it favor the floor or the ceiling?
- Lenses: wide-angle lens or long lens? Basic rule of thumb: If the character is large in frame and you can still see plenty of their surroundings, the lens is wide and the character is very close to camera. If the character’s surroundings seem to dwarf them, the lens is long (zoomed in).
- Lighting: Notice it, but don’t draw it. What in the scene is lit? How is this directing your eye? How many lights? Do they make sense in the scene, or do they just FEEL right?
This seems like a lot to keep in mind, and honestly, don’t worry about any of that. Draw 100 thumbnails at a time, pat yourself on the back, and you will start to notice these things as you go.
Don’t worry about the drawings, either. You can see from my drawings that these aren’t for show. They’re notes to yourself. They’re strictly for learning.
Now get out there and do a set! Tweet me at @lawnrocket and I’ll give you extra backpats for actually following through on it. Just be aware - your friends will look at you super weird when you start going off about how that one shot in Raiders was a pickup - it HAD to be - because it doesn’t make sense except for to string these other two shots together…
I also recommend watching film noirs!!! They have a lot of great perspective (atmospherical), churoscuro, lighting, and camera angle…I haven’t watched a lot of film noirs but I recommend The Night of the Hunter, The Visitor (1946 version), Battle of Algiers, and Citizen Kane
A bunch of Evangelion stuff marks my second giveaway. This is some stuff I collected while in Japan; most of it from Eva Store Tokyo-01.
Evangelion Giveaway includes:
- Limited Edition Eva Store Tokyo-01 x Lotteria Clear File (Rei, Asuka, Mari)
- Evangelion Lolita + Casual Gashapon Figures (Set of 3 - Rei, Asuka and Shinji)
- 2 x Puchi (Petit) Eva Trading Figures (Unwrapped - Christmas version Asuka and Rei)
- 1 x Eva Store Tokyo-01 Postcard (Jelly Beans Design)
- 2x Eva Store Tokyo-01 Pamphlets
- 1 x Eva Store Tokyo-01 Bag (Which I will put everything in)
Omake: If this post gets over 500 unique reblogs, I will add limited edition Jins-jp x Evangelion postcard of the Shinji design:
- You must reblog to enter. Likes do not count.
- Minimum reblogs for prize to be given away is 150 - if it does not reach 150 I reserve the right to retain the prize.
- I will select a winner via random.org on the 26th of April 2013 (AUSTRALIAN TIME)
- My friends may enter because of the above condition
- I will contact the winner and will need to be provided with an address within 24 hours so I can ship it.
-Shipping is included and you do not need to pay for it.
Scenery - The Great Gatsby (2013)
This is from vh1’s Morning Buzz. It’s Tom giving Carrie his jacket.
Sorry for the TV recording and sorry for the captions.
See Keith Dance and Dance Again! <3
Originally Posted on NicoVideo on July 15, 2012.
Anderson Cooper & Grumpy Cat on Anderson Live