Drawing from films
Drawing from films is a ridiculously useful exercise. It’s not enough to watch films; it’s not enough to look at someone else’s drawings from films. If you want to be in story, there’s no excuse for not doing this.
The way this works: you draw tons of tiny little panels, tiny enough that you won’t be tempted to fuss about drawing details. You put on a movie - I recommend Raiders, E.T., or Jaws… but honestly if there’s some other movie you love enough to freeze frame the shit out of, do what works for you. It’s good to do this with a movie you already know by heart.
Hit play. Every time there’s a cut, you hit pause, draw the frame, and hit play til it cuts again. If there’s a pan or camera move, draw the first and last frames.
Note on movies: Spielberg is great for this because he’s both evocative and efficient. Michael Bay is good at what he does, but part of what he does is cut so often that you will be sorry you picked his movie to draw from. Haneke is magnificent at what he does, but cuts so little that you will wind up with three drawings of a chair. Peter Jackson… he’s great, but not efficient. If you love a Spielberg movie enough to spend a month with it, do yourself a favor and use Spielberg.
What to look for:
- Foreground, middle ground, background: where is the character? What is the point of the shot? What is it showing? What’s being used as a framing device? How does that help tie this shot into the geography of the scene? Is the background flat, or a location that lends itself to depth?
- Composition: How is the frame divided? What takes up most of the space? How are the angles and lines in the shot leading your eye?
- Reusing setups, economy: Does the film keep coming back to the same shot? The way liveaction works, that means they set up the camera and filmed one long take from that angle. Sometimes this includes a camera move, recomposing one long take into what look like separate shots. If you pay attention, you can catch them.
- Camera position, angle, height: Is the camera fixed at shoulder height? Eye height? Sitting on the floor? Angled up? Down? Is it shooting straight on towards a wall, or at an angle? Does it favor the floor or the ceiling?
- Lenses: wide-angle lens or long lens? Basic rule of thumb: If the character is large in frame and you can still see plenty of their surroundings, the lens is wide and the character is very close to camera. If the character’s surroundings seem to dwarf them, the lens is long (zoomed in).
- Lighting: Notice it, but don’t draw it. What in the scene is lit? How is this directing your eye? How many lights? Do they make sense in the scene, or do they just FEEL right?
This seems like a lot to keep in mind, and honestly, don’t worry about any of that. Draw 100 thumbnails at a time, pat yourself on the back, and you will start to notice these things as you go.
Don’t worry about the drawings, either. You can see from my drawings that these aren’t for show. They’re notes to yourself. They’re strictly for learning.
Now get out there and do a set! Tweet me at @lawnrocket and I’ll give you extra backpats for actually following through on it. Just be aware - your friends will look at you super weird when you start going off about how that one shot in Raiders was a pickup - it HAD to be - because it doesn’t make sense except for to string these other two shots together…
If this isn’t about race, why are racists donating to darren wilson?
i already know how much everyone hates black people but even still im taken aback. how the hell are we the savages
THE THIRD ONE MADE ME CRY I HAVENT SHED A TEAR YET ABOUT THIS BUT HERE I AM
I need to print copies of this post an hand it to every person who even STARTS to say “if it were a white person did this, this wouldn’t happen!” This is about race at its core. It’s about a LOT more, but I think this classy demonstration shows that race is a factor here in a big way. But feel free to keep ignoring that if you wish.
It’s been a strange week in video game land, particularly on the front of the unfortunate war between gaming fans and the gaming press, which is reaching new levels of insanity. All this week, every forum thread I read is decrying the state of the gaming press. My Twitter feed, […]
Brand new episode of Tropes vs Women is online! Please heed the content warning on this video. It contains some especially triggering scenes of sexual violence.
“We must remember that games don’t just entertain. Intentional or not, they always express a set of values and present us with concepts of normalcy. So what do games that casually rely on depictions of female victimhood tell us about women vis-a-vis their place in society? Well, the pattern of utilizing women as background decoration works to reinforce the myth that women are naturally fated to be objectified, vulnerable and perpetually victimized by male violence. These games also tend to frame misogyny and sexual exploitation as an everlasting fact of life, as something inescapable and unchangeable. This dominant narrative surrounding the inevitability of female objectification and victimhood is so powerful that it not only defines our concepts of reality, but it even sets the perimeters for how we think about entirely fictional worlds, even those taking place in the realms of fantasy and science fiction. It’s so normalized that when these elements are critiqued, the knee-jerk response I hear most often is that if these stories did not include the exploitation of women, then the game world would feel too unrealistic or ‘not historically accurate’. What does it say about our culture when games routinely bend or break the laws of physics and no one bats an eye? When dragons, ogres or magic are inserted into historically influenced settings without objection? We’re perfectly willing to suspend our disbelief when it comes to multiple lives, superpowers, health regeneration and the ability to carry dozens of weapons in a massive invisible backpack. But somehow, the idea of a world without sexual violence and exploitation is deemed too strange or too bizarre to be believable.”
Bang on, Anita.
(Images should be read from the bottom, up.)
GoFundMe is allowing a campaign for people to donate money to Darren Wilson, the cop who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO.
When called on this, and how it violates their ToS, GoFundMe’s response was to delete the hateful, disgusting, racist comments from the donations. They refused to end the campaign. Apparently it is only “promoting hate, violence, racial intolerance, or the financial exploitation of a crime” if people can see the deplorable sentiments behind the donations. Somehow deleting the evidence of those sentiments magically changes what those donations are for: rewarding a police officer for killing Michael Brown.
This is absolutely a direct violation of GoFundMe’s ToS, yet GoFundMe is refusing to act. These are people giving money to an individual that gunned down an unarmed black teen. He is profiting from this killing, and it directly promotes racial intolerance and violence. There is no reason why GoFundMe should allow this campaign to continue…
… Except that GoFundMe gets 5% of the cut. In this case, 5% of 235k is $12,500. GoFundMe and Darren Wilson both are profiting off the killing of Michael Brown, and GoFundMe has decided they’d rather take their cut of the money than follow their own ToS. $12,500 is apparently what it takes to abandon justice.
Please, join in the boycott of GoFundMe, and consider signal boosting this.
Go fund me has done other shitty things as well.