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A Fun Perspective

by Kazumi


Preface:

   If you're someone looking to review this, I'd like you to address these questions in particular. Did this make you feel encouraged to try out perspective drawing? Why or why not?

   Also, if you happen to be an artist, please give your feedback on this. I'd like the input of someone who's more of an insider, if you know what I'm saying.

***

A Fun Perspective

   At one point in time, I tried to draw in the style of anime. Go to my wall and scroll down far enough to reach the abyss and you’ll see what I mean. Of course, when you’re so immersed in some kind of art for a long time, you feel an urge to imitate what you consumed and express yourself through those means.

   I sucked at it though. My facial structures were inconsistent. My hair was stiff. The eyes I drew were lackluster. I took so long to get even the most basic of artwork done. Please don't talk about them now, because I die a little bit inside whenever I accidentally spot my old drawings while scrolling through my phone gallery.

   That’s why late last year, I decided to take a break from that and learn perspective first. I have a thing against webtoons and manga that have sucky background art, so I didn’t want to be what Will Eisner called a “slave of the close-up.”

   I’m still not the best at it, but it’s fun and fulfilling doing it. Let me tell you why Western perspective is so.

   First off, there is a strong sense of order in drawing in perspective. There’s a structure, a methodology, a sort of theory to perspective that you can follow. There are artists who can draw on intuition. They just feel their way around their drawings, and they’ll know when their work is bad or good enough just by feeling alone. You don’t have to feel your way around so much in perspective, because you have that set theory to help you connect the dots.

   Because of that, it’s also relatively easy to start off with. It takes a while to draw the human body perfectly, but it takes little time to draw a perfect and aesthetically pleasing box using perspective. That’s how lenient the initial learning curve is. The beginning concepts of the horizon, the vanishing point and the parallel lines bound by it are simple enough for most to understand. True, executing even one-point perspective might be confusing for some. I’ve been there too. However, you can easily solve that problem by watching artists do it live or on video. After seeing it, their technique isn’t as difficult to imitate from then on.

   Once the basics are familiar, you can try the more interesting things like ellipses/ovals, compound shapes, violent/warped perspective (the trippy, overexaggerated stuff you see in horror anime), and three-point perspective.

Drawing buildings using three-point perspective. Taken from the three-point perspective article of Paul Heaston in Craftsy.com.

   Perspective is a concept that is easily seen and applied in real life. Another facet of perspective that makes it fun is that you can put to paper familiar everyday objects and structures. In your room, you can use objects like books, glasses, boxes, beds, doors, and even the cubic interior of the room itself. Perspective makes going outside a little more interesting, because you can also capture the friendly neighborhood buildings and structures you’ve become so acquainted with.

   Yesterday, I drew the mausoleum that I pass by every after school (or at least the basic structure of it, ‘cause I was super sleepy at that time). I also drew the two small stone structures at its entrance. There’s something elating about taking something you’ve seen in real life and, with your own hands and intellect, recreating it from scratch. It’s imperfect, but it contains your personality or a piece of you in some subtle way. Maybe I’ll be able to articulate this feeling in greater detail when I get more experienced in perspective.

   Perspective is also a skill that can leak into other kinds of drawings. I used to have great difficulty in drawing the head in different angles, but thinking of it as a box that can be drawn differently in space helped a lot. The concept of foreshortening also comes in handy when drawing characters in very dynamic ways, such as worm’s eye view or violent perspective. If you’re having difficulty finding the height proportions of characters differently placed in a scene, using one-point perspective can help you there. When you’re doing still life, you can use perspective to help you draw the man-made materials like glassware and boxes. Do you know those wacky sound effects in the old superhero comics? You can also make lettering like that using perspective.

   I think the last thing that makes perspective fulfilling for me is the knowledge that this is part of world building, an integral part of comics, anime and manga. In his book Making Comics, veteran comic creator Scott McCloud says that learning perspective is essential in convincingly rendering your story’s world. To make it closer to home, it plays an important role in anime and manga as well. What McCloud calls “silent, wandering encounters with environments capable of placing readers within a scene” play an integral part in making the reader feel immersed in the story, which he says is the reason for manga’s massive success at home and abroad.

   Though the characters carry the narrative of the anime or manga, the world around them is just as important and can be just as dazzling. Immersion is deepened in Kyoto Animation shows like K-On! and Hibike! Euphonium, as they base their background art off real-life places. The town’s river and its bridge are heavy with emotional weight in Koe no Katachi, because this is the meeting point of so much of Shoya’s heartbreaks and character moments. And I know Taki and Mitsuha were the center of Kimi no Na wa’s attention, but have you appreciated just how breathtaking Tokyo was on screen? The place itself, along with its citizens rushing to catch the morning train to work, was a world that was alive, bustling and busy. It was like a character with its own unique personality. Oftentimes I feel anime and manga put real life places to utter shame, and perspective plays a part in this magic of anime.

Key art of Kimi no Na Wa. Admire the cityscape of Tokyo in particular. Taken from a tweet of the movie's official Twitter account.

   Knowing this just motivates me to learn perspective even more. Who knows, I might be able to recreate this magic with my own hands.

   Scott McCloud calls perspective “a subject many artists find intimidating.” That may be true. However, he says it doesn’t have to be, and it can be fun as well. You just have to look at it with the right perspective.

Image sources:

The Basics of Three-Point Perspective by Paul Heaston

Key art of Kimi no Na wa


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Sun Mar 25, 2018 12:04 am
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alliyah wrote a review...



Hey there, outvaders!

I'm here to review your essay! :)

So I'm a non-artist probably - I mean sometimes I do artsy things, but mostly just for fun rather than being a serious student of art. What I liked best about this piece was the tone. You made the topic sound enjoyable, casual, and exciting without weighing readers down with too much technical jargon. Very conversational and slightly humorous, which I think was perfect for getting readers into this topic.

The two images you used were really nice too, although in next additions I think more visuals might be helpful for readers to understand the steps you're talking about. (For instance, rather than telling readers to go to your wall and find anime examples, you could post a picture of your formal style). That being said, I wish some terms like "perspective" and "anime" could have been defined right off the bat, depending on who your intended audience is.

I think the explanation on people who just draw by their feelings/intuition could be a bit more delved into. I wasn't quite sure what you were technically saying -- like there are people who just draw without conscious method? Or something else?

Your examples of how drawing in perspective can create interest into the piece, and such, was interesting -- although I got a little lost in the explanations of 1, 2, 3 point perspective, and also felt like the piece lacked a conclusion. The natural ending of the piece I felt like would have been here: "Knowing this just motivates me to learn perspective even more. Who knows, I might be able to recreate this magic with my own hands." but then we got a few more sentences.

Nice linkage add at the end, might be good to make note of where the quotes came from too, or who these people are that said them for people who are unfamiliar with them.

Here's a couple grammar/wording nitpicks, there weren't too many that I noticed thought:

"I took so long to get even the most basic of artwork done. "

"Let me tell you why Western perspective is so." -- sounds unnatural to end the sentence with "so".

To answer your author's note question, I wouldn't say I felt like I wanted to try perspective drawing, but that I'd be interesting in learning more about it's effect in media and art.

Best,

alliyah

This Review is From Team Tomatoes For Review Day

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Kazumi says...


I'm in the middle of something right now, so I can't make a more proper response, but highkey thanks for the review. I appreciate that this finally got out of the Green Room. I'll take everything you said into consideration before making the second and final version of this thing.

Thanks againnnn



alliyah says...


You're welcome! Was an interesting piece, a bit lighter than most of the essays I see floating around tend to be, which was a nice change of pace.



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Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:43 am
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Lightsong wrote a review...



Hey, I'm here to review as requested! :D I decided to tackle this one first.

I just want to start this by saying I can totally relate to your struggle, especially now that I'm taking Graphic Designer course. Unlike writing, you have clear examples of drawings that you can aim to achieve, and it's hard to get there. Like, it requires a great amount of patience, so yeah. I started to really learn how to draw by focusing on muscular male anatomy though. :D

That’s why late last year, I decided to take a break from that and learn perspective first. I have a thing against webtoons and manga that have sucky background art, so I didn’t want to be what Will Eisner called a “slave of the close-up.”

I’m still not the best at it, but it’s fun and fulfilling doing it. Let me tell you why Western perspective is so.


So from here I get the focus is perspective, but you suddenly specify what kind of it by saying it's Western perspective. Like, why? I mean, where's the transition from learning perspective to learning Western perspective? More importantly, what is Western perspective and how does it differ with Eastern (?) perspective?

There are artists who can draw on intuition. They just feel their way around their drawings, and they’ll know when their work is bad or good enough just by feeling alone.


Just wanna say I envy this kind of artist. xD

I very much appreciate your use of pictures in this essay. It seems necessary considering we're talking about visual art, and it really helps the readers to understand what's going on because what you visualize doesn't necessarily match with what's told. It's easy to understand what perspective really is by seeing the 3-point perspective picture.

There’s something elating about taking something you’ve seen in real life and, with your own hands and intellect, recreating it from scratch. It’s imperfect, but it contains your personality or a piece of you in some subtle way. Maybe I’ll be able to articulate this feeling in greater detail when I get more experienced in perspective.


Very true. It's also a form of photography, I think, and while the quality differs greatly from the ones taken from a camera, it holds a greater personal value to me because you put so much work in it instead of just a little click. Some part of art just gives you satisfaction that can only be relived instead of described.

Oftentimes I feel anime and manga put real life places to utter shame, and perspective plays a part in this magic of anime.


Loool, sometimes I think this is very true. Like, even manga characters I feel are better than the real ones because they're made with the intention of being almost flawless. Have you read bara mangas? I recommend them to appreciate the beauty of male anatomy. u.u

(Also, can I just say I love K-On? The anime is gorgeous and the characters are unique and lovable. I've yet to watch Kimi no Na Wa but I bet it'll satisfy my visual appetite too - fabulous use of picture, by the way. You really choose the pretty ones to attract readers like me. Good job.)

So. I'm not really familiar with essays, but I can tell you tick off most of the boxes needed to make one. You have the hows and the whys and it makes the entire composition complete and fulfilling. I like the simplistic approach you take on the subject; it really helps to bring in readers' interest, even from those who aren't used to drawing. You also do not provide unnecessary elaboration, so it feels like each word is important to the essay, which helps to maintain the interest of your reader.

Given the shortness of the essay, I don't have anything else to say. Sorry I can't critique this piece enough. ;-; I just love the subject you take, the way you deliver it - concise and simple - and the usage of pictures to help in providing the necessary visuals. My only suggestion is to put in some Western examples as well to reach more readers from literally all over the world.

That is all! Keep up the good job! :D




Kazumi says...


Hot diggity. It's alright, even if you didn't get in too deep. Thanks to you, I know better what I should do in the next iteration of this essay. Yes, I know I can make this even better.

I'll help you out with some of your concerns. What makes Western perspective Western is its reliance on the horizon and vanishing point. You know, if you look straight ahead of neverending railroad track, all of its forward-facing lines will converge somewhere in the horizon (aka your eye-level), and that point is the vanishing point. If you look at stuff like cave paintings and Japanese woodblock printings, they rely mostly on size, overlap and fade to tell the viewer who's where. Not so much on the vanishing point. Also the current techniques of Western perspective were founded by some Italian architect around the time of the Renaissance, if I'm not mistaken.

I don't think I can deviate from the essay topic to explain that. Maybe I'll just clarify that this is about Western perspective specifically. However, I think the Western is what comes to mind first when "perspective" is mentioned.

On your suggestion on using Western examples, I kind of agree that I'm so oriented towards anime. Even I'm worried that all I consume is anime these days. Personally, I think people on the anime side need convincing more than those who want to draw Western-style or naturalistically. Those guys obviously want to master all aspects of drawing from life. But anime people, all they tend to focus on is the characters. I have bought so many manga made by Filipinos, so much that I'd need more than two sets of hands to count them all. I have yet to see, however, one that doesn't consider background art an afterthought. You can see the mentality that character art is far more valued in anime. Like you said, I'll try to incorporate more Western examples though for a little more variety, a little less weeaboo-ness.

I also appreciate your thoughts on drawing familiar structures. That just made that feeling a little more tangible. Can I quote you in the second ver of this essay?

I think this is the point in the reply where I just chat.

I haven't consumed an episode or chapter of bara, but I've walked into some character art online before. Those guys are buff, they're handsome, and in the hands of a godlike artist, not even my man Channing Tatum can top them. I appreciate how manly they look. I would totally throw myself at them headfirst if I became gay instead. Totally understandable why you'd be into that.

By the way, watch Kimi no Na wa. As in, watch it dude. It's not just gonna satisfy your visual appetite, it's gonna stock you full and you're gonna cry at how heavenly it tastes. Add that while the soundtrack is on full blast and you get something beautiful. I wet myself when Taki left his house and Zen Zen Zense blared while he made his way through Tokyo.

Also, I gotta say, K-On! is <3 too. It's nearly a decade old and it still looks good and fresh. It was ahead of its time. Also Mio is <3.

Anyways, thanks for the review, and for the shoutout on your wall as well. Essays are relatively niche here, so I'm glad that my voice is getting heard now. Cheers to us visual artists in the future!



Lightsong says...


Sorry for the late reply! Sure, you can quote me for the 2nd draft. XD




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