Fig­ure Draw­ing for Con­cept Artists

Life lessons A de­tailed guide to tra­di­tional life-draw­ing skills, from a top-flight artist who re­ally didn’t get on with tra­di­tional life-draw­ing classes

ImagineFX - - Reviews - Au­thor Kan Muftic Pub­lisher 3DTo­tal Pub­lish­ing Price £23 Web www.3dto­talpub­lish­ Avail­able Now

Kan speaks a lan­guage that’s grounded in the re­al­i­ties of be­ing a work­ing artist

Hav­ing worked as a con­cept artist on films like Guardians of the Galaxy and Godzilla, as well as video games in­clud­ing Destiny and the Bat­man: Arkham series, Kan Muftic has earned the right to be a lit­tle cocky. But in­stead he starts this book with a splash of hu­mil­ity.

He re­counts how the fig­ure artist and teacher Henry Yan once en­quired, af­ter watch­ing him at work, “Are you a dig­i­tal artist?” When Kan re­sponded, “Yes, why do you ask?”, Henry told him, “Well, you just move your hand around mind­lessly, hop­ing that some­thing comes out of the mess.”

It’s a lovely anec­dote, and a great way to broach a sen­si­tive sub­ject. Namely, that there are many pro con­cept artists out there whose core life-draw­ing skills are weak. But Kan isn’t here to point fin­gers. His be­lief is that ev­ery con­cept artist can ben­e­fit from re­fresh­ing those skills.

One way to do that is to take classes. But in Kan’s ex­pe­ri­ence many life-draw­ing classes make for a poor ex­pe­ri­ence. So this 194-page guide is his at­tempt to pro­vide a writ­ten al­ter­na­tive. And in that, it suc­ceeds.

Kan speaks a lan­guage that’s grounded in the re­al­i­ties of be­ing a work­ing artist. Yet he never wa­vers from ad­her­ence to the core, tra­di­tional prin­ci­ples. It’s a great bal­anc­ing act. His lessons are based on the Reilly Method, as de­vised by 20th cen­tury Amer­i­can painter and teacher Frank Reilly. Con­cept artists some­times as­sume that method isn’t ap­pli­ca­ble to artists work­ing from the imag­i­na­tion, but that’s a mis­un­der­stand­ing.

In­deed, Frank him­self was against “copy­ing” from life mod­els, and his ap­proach is as in­ter­pre­tive as it is struc­tural. So it’s to Kan’s credit that he makes this the core of his book.

It’s worth not­ing, too, that there’s not a lot of con­cept art here, out­side a 30-page ‘Friends’ gallery’ fea­tur­ing the likes of Nathan Fowkes, Conor Burke and Even Mehl Amund­sen. But that’s fine, be­cause this guide is not about eye-candy, but about core art skills and how to de­velop them.

Above all, Kan is clear that you can’t im­prove as an artist just by read­ing about it, but only by do­ing. He be­lieves that you alone are in con­trol of your de­vel­op­ment, fo­cus­ing on pro­vid­ing the re­sources you need to do just that. And he does so, quite bril­liantly.

The im­por­tance of be­ing aware of neg­a­tive space is cov­ered suc­cinctly in Kan’s ex­cel­lent book.

Kan be­lieves that know­ing how to draw the body in mo­tion is a fun­da­men­tal skill for to­day’s con­cept artists.

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