Disney Drawing Exercises

Abstract

In the summer of 2018, I had the pleasure of being taught by an ex-Disney 2D animation supervisor to analyze action and anatomy, and apply it into figure drawing. Here is what I learned:

How to approach drawing practice

Level 1: Develop hand-eye coordination & muscle memory > Focus on form-drawing

Level 2: Improve your fundamentals of sight-measuring and chiaroscuro

Level 3: Make a thousand mistakes to create a single great drawing

How to improve your hand-drawing coordination

  1. Hold the bottom of the pencil using the tip of your fingers. Your palm should face you.

  2. Flip your hand 180 degree, keep your elbow up

  3. Draw with the tip of your pencil

This is highly uncomfortable way to draw, however, you will realize you are able to wield the pencil better when you resume drawing the normal way.

Do:

  1. Draw big

  2. Do quick "hovers" over your drawing before drawing it down

  3. In your sketchbook, draw rows /boxes with heights of 2/4/6/8 inches, and draw within those constraints

  4. Shift your sketchbook for difficult angles

  5. Do interval practice using an mobile or desktop app. Each interval can be 30/60/150/270 seconds long. The longer the interval, the more details you have to draw.

    1. Your sketches does not have to be perfect. The key is to fail quickly, develop muscle memory, improve hand-eye coordination

  6. Analyse your subject and use the right references

  7. For learning anatomy, focus on drawing one part first eg. hand, then legs, torso, etc.

  8. Constantly look at your subject and your sketchbook back and forth when drawing

  9. Workload

    1. In 60 days, fill up four large sketchbook (11"x14",100 sheets each), front and backside of the sheets which equates to 800 pages in total. Hence, you would have to draw about 13 pages every single day.

The magic of muscle memory

Having done countless of "horrible" drawings, you will somehow develop the motor skills to effectively draw your subject. There is no shortcut to getting good at drawing, the only way is to practice and FAIL countless. Do not be fixated with rendering something perfectly

The biggest takeaway is not drawing at a certain quality; but rather the ability to analyze a subject, research, reference, experiment, practice, and finally translate your knowledge into a drawing. Drawing, then, is problem-solving .

Do not

  1. outline

Practice, practice, practice. Then practice, practice, practice. 4 hours each day is the minimum. 6 hours is great, all day is the best. - ex-Disney 2D Effects supervisor

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