Mark McDonnell's book The Art & Feel of Making it Real, is a smart and useful guide for any young artist and/or student, who is interested in a career in animation or illustration. The book's chapters explain vividly, what points to keep in mind when it comes to anatomy, motion, caricature and composition. His beautiful illustrations show clearly step by step how to go about it. Mark's long experience in working in the entertainment industry will not only help readers to apply a structured approach toward their art, it will also inspire them to do better work. --Andreas Deja (Walt Disney Feature Animation - Supervising Animator, Visual Development Artist)
In the world of art, drawing the human figure with knowledge and understanding is one of the more difficult tasks an artist can endeavor to do. But, drawing the human figure with a sense of life, sympathy and sincerity is the most difficult of tasks a muse, if you will having eluded many a great artist throughout the ages. Mark McDonnell is not only a tremendous draftsman, whose drawings convey a knowledge and understanding of the human figure, but more than that he has captured that illusive quality with a fearless approach that breathes life into each of his drawings. In this collection, Mark makes it abundantly clear that it is his fearlessness, and love of the life that surrounds him, that has enabled him to capture that muse that all artists endeavor to attain the muse of life. --Marcelo Vignali (Sony Pictures Animation - Art Director, Visual Development Artist)
You not only feel but you see Mark s enthusiasm and love for his subject in this refreshingly simple and clear presentation. This is a wonderful homage to Walt Stanchfield teachings as well as a testament to Mark's own growing development and talent as an artist. It is particularly fun to watch how effortlessly he expresses character and story. Mark demonstrates a real command of his subject and fortunately for us, a willingness to share it. --Karl Gnass (Master Draftsman & Figure Drawing Instructor)
I'm opening up the Vignali Vault once more.
When to Choose Graphite or Wax Pencil?
Glenn Keene has said, "the pencil is the seismograph to the soul."
The strength of pencil design work is that every mark on the paper is a deliberate stroke. Each value, each mark is a decision made by the designer. How you feel, what you want to say, is directly translated onto the paper.
This is one of the designs I proposed for the girl Smurf village.
The Power of the Pencil
Using this building-block structure, it's easy to balance the figure. You simply stack boxes in a way that looks balanced.
If the boxes aren't balanced, understand you're suggesting movement. This isn't a bad thing, if you're drawing a dynamic pose. But, in a standing pose, you'll want to suggest a steady balance.
Stacy, the Barbarian
It's a shame, I tried to record this drawing, but somehow the file was corrupted and I lost the recording.
Spring is in the air...
Athletes to the gym and train, they build muscles they need and use when performing their activity. Artists are very much the same way, we need to train for our activity -- and going to figure drawing is our gym.
So, if you're an artist, get into our gym and start working out!
Figure Drawing is our gym...
I snapped this picture of our kitty when I caught her in the act.
NO MISTY LOU!
The Mobile Studio
I'm a huge boxing fan, having laced the gloves in my younger years.
The lighter weight fighters are the most entertaining to watch, because they move so fast. It's like watching squirrels fighting over a bucket of espresso beans, in fast-forward.
Continuing with my Ordinary Hero series...
You know how people look like their dogs, well they also resemble their diet.
I tried to record a video of my using the gel pen, but the video stopped recording halfway through. When I finished the drawing, I realized the error.
Oh well, next time!
I do my usual ramblings as I discuss the importance of training, my unique Fractal Method of designer-training, setting goals, and some tips on marker drawings in your sketchbook.
If you have any questions, post them here. I'll get back to you.
Designer Training/Drawing with Markers
Along with the usual suspects of antiquated art equipment. I've got a mechanical pencil whose metal grip has nearly been worn off, an extinct Tria marker, and my favorite eraser.
Wonderwoman...keeping it real.
Big Guy and Young Old Lady
The tool isn't as important as the idea or the design, but a different tool may cause you to think differently. If you feel like you're in a rut with your drawings, switch up on your tools and see how that affects your thinking.
Dry Marker Character Sketch
Olive Oyl in Yoga Pants
This is a marker drawing on toned sketchbook paper.
"Girl, Why U Gotta Be Like Dat?"
The storyline is this, the villain attempts to get away, while the Milo gives chase. They use some of the planes that was brought by the explorers onboard the sub. Of course, you know this attempt fails, and the heroes have to attempt to activate the older technology in order to stop the villains.
I drew this one for Disney's Atlantis, 17 years ago. It was drawn with graphite pencil on a ledger bond paper.
Disney Atlantis -- The Getaway
I managed to squeeze out another drawing in my sketchbook to cap off 2014. Happy New Year everyone!
Star Wars Girl
On the 13th, I'll be teaching a workshop between 9:30--11:30am. The workshop will be on Storytelling with a Visual Vocabulary.
In the beginning at Sony Pictures Animation, we were in the process of having to invent techniques that would later become a staple at the studio. Much of what we did was a mix of analog and digital. I provided drawings, and Michael Humphries painted them. Much of the paintings Michael did were also analog. He painted his work in acrylic paint, and had a whole series of painting techniques to accommodate the textures.
Once completed, our digital painters emulated what Michael Humphries was able to do with paint, and likewise with the digital models. The result was spectacular as is evidenced by the movie.
|That's a doodle of my youngest daughter there among the foliage.|
Open Season 2003
The Random Tales of Snorky
In reality, we are the some total of what we see and hear. These have a greater influence over our thoughts and our actions, than what gets dissolved by the gastric acid of our stomachs.
While in the Philippines 2014, during ICON Manilla, I had a chance to share some of my thoughts on this subject with Adobo Magazine.
Nutritional Advice for the Artist
This drawing is graphite pencil on bond paper. I probably added the slight blur on the foreground element in 2003, hence the later date on the drawing. I guess it's now a mix between traditional and digital. Normally, I would have drawn the blur.
I think that computers have certainly been a benefit to the industry of animation, but that's not to say that it didn't come without a cost. I don't know that there are many people left who can still draw backgrounds on paper as they did during the golden age of animation.
The River Styx
I've had cats nearly all of my life, and they are amazing personalities to live with. I don't really feel like they are truly domesticated, but rather to live with a cat is to have a complicated relationship with someone.
They certainly have a mind of their own, regardless our plans or expectations we attempt to have for them.
Cats are never domesticated
It's a vintage era propaganda poster from the apocalyptic future.
Sorry for the low res JPG, but a print of this image is available at Society6. Just click the link and it will take you to their site where you can purchase a variety of print sizes of this image. If it does well, I may continue this series and make three different prints available.
¡VIVA! LA DEVOLUCIÓN
An Oldie, From the Vignali Vaults!
Steven Silver and I started the club in August of 2005, and I've been attending ever since. Sure, sometimes we have to move the club to Thursday because of a meeting or something, and sometimes I'm on vacation, but aside from that my sketch club date is non-negotiable. If I have free time, I'm going to the club.
There were times the club dwindled down to me, alone, eating and drawing. But, still I wouldn't miss a week. And then there were times attendance would grow to 18 people. 18 artists packed into a restaurant, laughing, drawing, and sharing their art with each other.
Over the years I've been blessed to have some of the biggest names in the So. California's animation industry sitting and drawing right next to me. Other times I've been surrounded by young, enthusiastic talent -- yearning to stretch their horizons.
As artists came and went from the club, I began to really appreciate each and every one of them. Each artist unique, distinct and honest with themselves -- searching, just like I was, for that voice inside them that speaks without words.
The friendships I've been able to cultivate with this collection of artists has been immeasurable to me. I thought I had been filling pages in my sketchbooks, but I've been filling pages in my life. To all of you who have attended the club over the years, thanks.