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Artist Feature: Danny Cruz - 1000 Hours of Gesture Drawing 17 / 03 / 2019

So Danny, you reached the insane milestone of 1000 hours of practice on Quickposes, that is totally astounding! Congrats! In this interview I want to talk about your journey over the last years on Quickposes and how your gesture drawing has evolved.

But first, for all the people who don't know you, give us a small backstory about you and how you got into art.

I grew up casually drawing on and off and intensely liking movies, cartoons, comics and games. Fast forward to now, I've been freelancing full time for the last 10 years, primarily creating artwork for tabletop miniature companies as well as some comics projects. It's been a great run so far...

Ok let's get into the real topic, your 1000 hours of practice! Do you remember the first time, or one of the first times you discovered Quickposes? What did you think of it? Did you know about gesture drawing before discovering Quickposes?

It's been a while but I believe I first became aware of Quickposes around 6 years ago. I had already been doing timed gesture drawing at a couple of other places at that time actually. QP appealed to me for a few reasons: Firstly, the images used were mostly different than the other sites I had been using. Secondly, I really liked the easy to use interface and customization. And, lastly, I liked the concept of 'leveling up' to the next level. I think that kind of dangling carrot approach makes the process more fun. 

Did you start getting into full force or did the habit gradually build up?

As far as drawing habits, Early on, I pretty much started full on and have maintained that approach since.

What is your routine like for practicing gesture drawing? Do you supplement with real live model drawings, practicing from imagination?

I typically do 20 minutes of 1 minute poses and between 10 to 20 minutes of 2 minute poses. I've been trying to do a full hour lately so now it's 40 minutes of 2 minute poses. But I have to admit, that after about 30 minutes in, the eye/mind/hand connection isn't as sharp as when I start off and a lot of my gestures from then on are heavy handed and aren't very good.

I supplement that with a lot of drawing from life via photos and models, reading and studying from figure drawing and anatomy books. I haven't been to a life drawing class for a few years now, I've just been too busy plus the regular place I was going to changed locations and raised their rates so I haven't looked into any alternatives yet. I don't do much specific practice with drawing from imagination but during the course of a typical week, I produce quite a few rough sketches for client work and those are always done from imagination.

Obviously not everyone is going to do 1000 hours of practice, but is there a certain point when you start seeing definite improvement, do you know maybe at which hour / stage?

I know for sure that thanks to all those hours of gesture drawing, I can pretty easily draw my way through an entire figure in no time. I couldn't say specifically at what point I started seeing an improvement though. Also, aside from skill, I'd imagine doing it day in and day out builds up confidence as well.

How do you feel personally feel about 1000 hours of gesture drawing practice? Do you feel like you have developed a certain flow, style and understanding of human figures? and 

I think it's awesome and I like the fact that there's actual tangible proof of that as well. To me gesture drawing has that dichotomy of being an extremely important stage yet at the same time just a means to an end. Using the analogy of constructing a house, you want your foundations to be rock solid before you go on and build something grand on top of that. Same concept here.

I actually do think it has helped me develop flow, style and understanding...specifically in the early stages of a drawing. Where I'm kind of skating around the paper with some sense of purpose instead of wandering around the paper in a kind of nebulous way hoping something sticks. Both approaches are totally valid btw, I just prefer the former for myself.

Does your approach to gesture drawing differ from when you started to where you are now?

I altered my approach drastically a few years back actually. Early on, I was using an overhand grip, immediately breaking down the figure with a centerline and a secondary line and building everything out from the torso. These days, using a regular writing/drawing grip, I'll start off with the head or torso and work my way through the figure...basically leading the eye from one point to another cascading through the figure using rhythms. Also, I think my gesture drawings these days don't look as nice as they used to because I think I was adding my anatomy knowledge into the figures early on and these days I have the confidence (that word again) to not be concerned with anatomy when I'm doing these gesture drawings. I can always add structure and build my anatomy on a gesture afterwards.

Has this practicing spilled over into your art or other areas of your artistic abilities. if so how?

Specifically, I've noticed all this practice has carried over into my compositions. I'm constantly trying to lead the eye throughout the overall image using rhythms. It's the same basic concept as with the 1 minute poses but with just more going on.

Do you have any practice tips for the people out there who are also doing the grind?

I'd say this: Try to be consistent with the time of day you do gesture drawing also keep in mind, since everything starts as gesture, that you're always doing gesture drawing even when you're not doing dedicated practice for it. Do it even when you aren't feeling it and aren't really drawing well for that session (that happens frequently for me). Don't worry too much about a bad drawing session and/or a figure that gives you trouble. There's always another figure to draw and/or another day to do gesture drawing. So there really isn't any reason to stress about it or let it get you down.

Also, I have to add, doing gestures online is great and everything but keep in mind it doesn't beat doing gestures of actual living people in the real world. I can say with 100% certainty that my gestures of real people in the real world always seem more fluid and alive than the ones I do from online. Although, in this day and age, I feel that a lot of times my gesture work outside tends to be endless variations of people looking at their phones but, that's besides the point lol.

I hope you liked this guys. You can check out more of Danny's art on his DeviantArt page

Much love <3




Artist Feature: Mickael Lelièvre 29 / 09 / 2018

Hey guys!

It's been a very long time but I have decided to resurrect the featured artists! It's been way too long and from now I will do my best to have regular artist features because it's cool to be exposed to new artists and styles! I have also decided to focus outside of Quickposes or drawing community in general because there are a ton of artists out there that deserve the spotlight.

Today one of those artists is Mickael Lelièvre. He is a 3D sculptor from France and he has an absolutely amazing style and work ethic. We spoke a while ago about his art and life and whatnot. Enjoy!

So let's begin with providing the people with a small backstory about your life so they get know you a bit. Where are you from, what do you do now and where are currently located.

I'm from Nantes, North West of France, and now I'm Senior Modeler at TAT Production in Toulouse in the South West of France.

How did you get first get into art, or what inspired you? Was it something you discovered early on as a child or it came later?

When I was a little boy I wanted to be a Car Designer and because of that I started to draw at a young age. I finished the first year of my master in Art and Design and then changed to 3d. I thought it was more creative in 3d, there was more character and creature work and I could use my imagination a lot more. I would say that I had always this creativity and I was looking for the best way to express it.

When did you develop your skills and end up transition into a professional artist and how did that go?

After school I tried to be a freelancer but it was really hard and I did a lot of architecture work, nothing really creative, but I found work at TAT Production in 2012 and started as a junior modeler. From then on I learned a lot of new skills using 3dsmax and Zbrush...and step by step I became a professionnal but I still learn every day.

What are some things you underestimated about becoming a professional artists, or some things you didn’t expect?

I didn't expect that my personal work would become so popular and have a lot of people following me and asking me advices and tips. So yeah, I didn't expect so much feedback and love ... ahah

Let’s get into your style, process and creativity now. Where do you find the inspiration for your art pieces?

Mother nature!! Everything is there I mean, by observing your garden, or what you eat or even looking at some documentary about animals or space. I think curiosity is a thing to practice at the same level as your knowledge in your software...and I have to say other artists are also a source of inspiration.

After you get inspired, how do you start developing your idea? How is your creation process like?

I get some ideas here and there poping in my head, and write them down, sculpt it or sketch it. My problem is that I need to have a reminder to finish these ideas later. Also, when I'm sculpting the idea evolves during the process, I always play with the silhouette. Most of all I try to stop and go back to a different project after a while, that's why I am always doing multiple sculpts at the same time.

Your redesigns of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Pokémon are becoming quite famous. How did those ideas start? How did you decide for the style you choose, what was the inspiration for that?

For the TMNT I was, like anyone of my age, a huge fan during my childhood...I thought about doing a fan art and by searching some species of turtle I found a sea turtle and thought that it would be great to see the TMNT in new shapes. Each one could be a different species, it's intresting because they mutated in a lab so it could be justified...anyway I started by doing a Leonardo inspired by a sea turtle and a leatherback. After a year I thought, ok let's do the rest. And as I said before, nature is awesome, each species of turtle has something different.

For pokemon it was a similar process, I thought about doing pokemon in my style and by looking at animal species and how I could make it "realistic" and a little "demonic", because after all we are talking about creatures fighting each other. It's a great exercise because sometime you need to look at mammals to make a reptile standing up, and sometimes you need to look at vegetation to complete an amphibian...etc Most importantly is that it's my vision that matters, my vision I had as a child and the one I remember now and how I can sculpt this feeling.

It’s maybe too early but are you planning any other redesigns of franchises? Or are there franchises you would really love and try your own redesign once?

I'm thinking about a lot of things to redesign, it could be video games like Mario, final fantasy (chimera most of all), Metroid, shovel knight or it could be movies/animes like naruto, Dragon ball, Disney characters, some of these would be really interesting to redesign. I like to make my own concepts and create something from an idea so yeah I'll do more redesigns in the future for sure.

And as a parting gift for students, Do you have some wisdom to share with aspiring artists/students who want to get into the same field as you?

The most important thing to have is curiosity and patience. If you like what you do, If you like that feeling when you have something in your head, an idea, a creature, a scene...and you want to draw it, sculpt it, you just need to practice, being patient and practice your skills by love. I mean it's not an exercise, it's an excuse to produce what you like and what you feel. The thing is that you'll learn every single time you'll produce an artwork, and that's what is interesting. So yeah, patience because it doesn't come in few days but only after a while, and curiosity, because curiosity is the engine of your imagination, read, observe, invent, invent stories and characters...anything that could bring a universe in your hand and under your finger.

Alright that's it for now. be sure to check out Miackael on ArtStation!

Much love <3

~ Verx

Quickposes desktop app release 18 / 05 / 2017

Hey guys,

Now that the Quickposes desktop app has been finally released I wanted to write this post so you know where it goes from here.

I want to thank all the supporters because you gave me the opportunity to take the time to learn and develop something that has been on my mind for a very long time. As far the desktop app is concerned, I will continue developing it next to the website. If you have any problems or encounter bugs just send me an email via the contact form describing the problem and I will look into it.

Right now the most requested feature is integration with your Quickposes account and I promise that it will come in the future. I can't give an exact date because I have to first improve some things with the website before I can link the Desktop app to the Quickposes system. If you have other suggestions or ideas for the Desktop app just send me an email.

At the moment I have sent out emails to everyone regarding linking the Desktop app to your account. If you did not receive anything please get in touch so I can follow up on it.

The Desktop app will also soon be available via the website for other people who donate to keep Quickposes alive. 

Once more, I really want to thank everyone who supported me. You guys are the best.

Much love <3

~ Verx 

Artist Feature: Divine Kataroshie 19 / 12 / 2016

Hey guys,

Recently Divine Kataroshie was one of the first to achieve the Master Certificate (500h). For this remarkeable achievement I wanted to take the time and do another Artist Feature. Divine Kataroshie is a polish artist who has been practicing for years on Quickposes. She sent me one of her earliest gesture drawing drawing and more recent ones. You will clearly see how her style and technique evolved over the years and see that practice does make perfection.

So let's start with telling us where you are from and how you got into art?

I was born and raised in Poland. I started drawing in 2011, when I was around 13 years old, so relatively late in life. It was because of one of my close friends who is 7 years older than me. While I was still in high school he was already finished and started working. However each time when he got back from his work he still had energy to draw for hours while talking on Skype with me. His persistence and attitude was so inspiring that one day I finally brought myself to start drawing and I fell in love with it.

Are you working as a professional artist right now or is it more as a hobby?

I'm basically someone between a hobbyist and professional artist. I occasionally get some commissions but it's really inconsistent and I can't really call it "my job" or "source of income".

What were a few things you underestimated before you started drawing?

I underestimated how big world of painting is and, especially at the beginning, the need to focus on certain areas because you can't become great at everything at once. There are so many areas in drawing like: proportions, anatomy, composition, shapes, color, values, edges, or painting technique in general. Unfortunately because I wanted to be a "jack of all trades" I ended up not becoming really good at any of those. I split my attention and exercises too much between different areas.

Ok let's now talk about practicing the art of art!

How did you discover Quickposes and have you been acquainted with gesture drawing before?

Because I focus mostly on character designs it was only natural that I will need to learn anatomy and proportions of the human body. When searching for tutorials I  came across a video from some gesture drawing tutorials. Unfortunately in my town I didn't have access to life drawing classes so I looked online and that's how I discovered Quickposes.

How long have you been doing gestures & have you started noticing improvement in your gesture poses since you started?

I started doing gesture drawings at the end of 2013, and since then my comprehension of the human figure and anatomy improved a lot. It's pretty difficult to not see any difference or improvement after dedicating so much time on one subject(gesture drawing for example). Sometimes I still make mistakes when defining a gesture for my character drawings, but it's still much much better than my earlier work.

So how do you feel now after 500 hours of practicing gesture drawing?

I'm leaps and bounds from where I started from, and I feel much more comfortable with drawing poses, even from imagination, but I know that the journey will never end. I know, no matter how long I practice, that I will learn something new about the human body after each session. But that is also what I think it's really about, an endless journey.

When you look back on the first time you started this practice and now much later what is the difference you see?

Line quality, proportions, anatomy, perspective, speed, memorizing human body better and better, you name it. I improved slower in perspective and form, but it's pretty difficult after so many hours to not see at least a little bit of improvement everywhere.

A lot of people mention after a while when they are in a certain 'flow' that they start 'feeling' the poses. Have you encountered something like that?

A lot of people say that because I think it's true, but if you don't pay attention this feeling can also come from doing too many repetitive types of practice and poses. That's why my sessions are more deliberate. One time I focus specifically on form with 2/5 min poses, next time I do only 30s poses for pure gesture practice, and some times I do longer sessions of 10/30 min per pose and play with silhouette, edges and shading. It breaks my routines and and keeps me focused.

Next to gesture drawing. do you have other types of exercises/practices that you do regularly to improve your skills. If so, can you share it with us?

I have some specific types of exercises that I like to do:

- taking some 3d models from sketchfab and doing sketches from them from different angles.
- stylizing portraits/figures into my favourite style
- imagining pose from different angles, or trying to recreate pose from my own memory.
- simplifying poses into 3d objects(simple forms), and rotating them.

Do you have any tips for people who are practicing gesture drawing ?

DO NOT, and I repeat DO NOT try to make it perfect. Avoid being distracted by the timer at all cost. If the timer ends before you are finished with the pose you need to accept it and move on. After your session you can safely take 10/15 min to look at all of your poses and reflect on your mistakes. The human body consist out of many layers. You can't possibly draw all of it in one minute or 2 min pose. That's why I recommend to pick 1 or 2 subjects, for example gesture and proportions, and do 20 x 1 min gesture to focus on it.

And lastly, Have FUN! I's only drawing after all ;) If it comes out "badly", don't get angry, nothing bad will happen!

Much love to Divine Kataroshie for taking the time to do this interview and provide us with a glimpse of her way of approaching gesture drawing. You can check more of her work at ArtStation.

~ Verx