Drawing Lessons from Slothy - Medium Experienced to Adva
Im going to be using one of my earlier iCE ansis to poi
nt out common
drawing errors that have taken me a long time to find so
lutions for in this
beginning section.
Here is the ansi well be working from:
G a t e s o f
D e s t i n y
SysOps: Picard Star
Running Vision/2
0-7 Day Warez
Nexus Dist Site
Chaos Dist Site
Psychosis Dist Site
No ratios for LD call
Ansi by Lord Soth iCE
Font by Hell Raiser iCE
Now, besides the obvious 1993-1994 style of doing the st
ats and all that, this
ansi is completely fault-ridden.
1. Lay out your entire ansi in block colors before sha
Start drawing your ansi with an outline and bas
ic colors. Do not shade
until a section is layed out completely. If you start f
rom a point and
start drawing the ansi as it will appear when you releas
e it, youre just
BEGGING for terrible proportion. I used to do exactly t
Here is a good selection:
If you now notice, the guys nose is now way to far to
the right.
Proportion problems arent as apparent here as they are
in many ansis I
see, but thanks to VGA mode ansi viewing, this has dropp
ed significantly
since I first started drawing September 1992 approx.
This ansi was
finished on January 31st, 1994, if youre wondering. Bu
t anyway, youll
notice that his whole face slides to the right as it pro
gresses downwards.
Also, in my opinion, an ansi should look great when its
unshaded. If it doesnt, it wont look all that much be
tter after its
shaded youre only trying to mask basic problems.
Here, Ill include 2 quick clips from a joint ansi I di
d with Magnetic M
last December.
Magnetic M and I are both stern believers that proporti
on is one of the
most important things in an ansi. Dont discount yourse
lf as not being a
slave to the proportion monster, I could find bad propor
tions in any pack
you can hand me. I have even found myself grudgingly er
asing entire pages
of ansi because the proportion problems are too complex
to even fix I
have to draw the entire section over again to get it rig
ht. If your ansi
doesnt look perfect without a single shaded block, it d
efinately wont
look perfect after it has been shaded. Laying out your
ansi also becomes
an integral part of shading for contrast, as discussed l
2. Overshading
Once again we have something which is not a common sense
answer to a
problem. I have found my own personnal solution, which
is shading for
contrast. Shading in ansi should be short, smooth, and
used only as a
transition between two colors. Here is an example in th
at ansi where it
is just excessively overshaded:
As you can see, I was thinking to myself well, all his
head is fairly
light until it reaches his scalp. Therefore, Ill shade
it slowly to
color 7, medium grey. Additionally, to add to it, I wa
s going through
my overshaded phase where I though basic colors were evi
l, so I actually
SKIP basic color 7 with no shading blocks on it. I sh
ould have been
gagged and flogged repeatedly. Just dont overshade fol
ks, for me, please.
3. Continuing Half Blocks to meet shading
A COMMON thing I see is something I wrestled wit
h for a long time. That
is the dilemma of what color to make half-blocks F5,F6,
F7,F8 in the case
of a shaded area. In the earlier version of the ansi be
low, you can see
I used some color 15 half-blocks around 15 on 7 F2s. A
lthough this is a
bright area, all this does is make the shading look disj
ointed, since it
appears as if his face gets brighter at the edges of the
shadows in his face. Keep in mind also that
youre drawing the creases in his face,
but really youre drawing the SHADOWS from those creases
. In shading, you
want to continue the shading trend of getting darker or
lighter. Here are
a few examples:
To pull back up the earlier piece, well look at a small
selection and
combine a lot of the things Ive discussed so far.
Origionally Released Redone 3/16/96
4. Trying for too much detail
This is something Ive never seen mentioned before. The
challenge of ansi
is drawing in a restricted medium. Therefore, the ideal
is to show a
picture that doesnt look restricted at all. You have t
o find a balance
between simplicity and complexity. This has been one of
the toughest
things for me. Heres a GREAT example.
First off, let me go off about the claws. Besides the
overshading, lets
look at the effect were trying to get. The claw has a
bright light
shining on it from one side, and a reflective glow from
the other, or
possibly a much weaker light source. The viewer has no
clue how bright
either light source is or where theyre even coming from
. If the claws
were any thinner, I would either either get rid of the r
eflective glow altogether, or make it much le
ss prominent. Next I want to discuss those
gums : Just because theyre in the drawing doesnt mea
n you have to or
even should include them. All they are here is clutter,
since they are too thin to shade well, and would
only look crappy as F1s or F2s, I should
have left them out completely. The F1 Color 6s brown
going up the length of the more horizontal
claw just look shitty. The only colors that
look decent in F1-F2s by themself are color 1,8 and so
metimes 4. Next we have this guys tongue. The v
iewer is not going to know if the guys
tongue was visible in the picture you were drawing from
, nor have any clue
what it looked like. All it does here is clutter. Tryi
ng to add too much
to a picture only detracts from it. My general rule is
that if people
arent going to understand exactly what it is, leave it
out, and if its
only going to distract from the main focal points, lea
ve it out.
5. Shading for contrast
This is something I learned from Shaggy and got the nece
ssary experience
from working with Magnetic M to understand completely.
In ansi, as I
discussed earlier, the idea is that youre working with
a limited medium.
When ansi first started, believe it or not, there was no
shaded style.
Everything was toon, because it is the more natural thin
g to do with a
limited number of colors. So, shading progressed, and w
e got what is
called Clean shading or oldschool, which I still thi
nk looks best :
Well, lets look at WHY we shade. Anyone who knows me kn
ows I like to stop
and try to figure out WHY we do things :. In its most
simplistic form,
the idea is that were showing areas that are bright and
dark. In ansi,
everything tends to blend together unless you exaggerate
the bright and
dark areas. I mean really exaggerate them. To do this
well, you need to
really follow rule 1 completely. Then, when you
go to shade, draw in the
shading using only solid blocks, as if it were a
Heres a pre and post-shading example on an ansi I did i
n January of a girls torso.
Basic Shading Started Fi
nished version
By drawing in the colors in blocks first, you do a numbe
r of things. First off, you almost completely eli
minate overshading. In doing this you are
insuring the fact that you will be using the mid-tones
F1-F3 only as a
transition between colors. In fact, I mist say that my
shading in the mid- abdomen section is pretty terr
ible, probably because I didnt lay it out in b
asic block colors with that indent intact.
The point in all this is that ansis need a large amount
of contrast or they appear dull and boring. You r
eally need to have colors jump out and have
an equal amount of shadows and darkness. Backgrounds sh
ould always be there, but should be just that
. A background, that doesnt pull the view
ers eye away from the main attraction, but does provi
de a background
environment so the pic doesnt look out of place. A goo
d plan is to never
have a background that is a bright color like 7, and nev
er have a background that is close in co
lor to the foreground edges.
Now that youve drawn in the shading in a cartoon style,
go back through
and shade it fully, paying fine attention to detail. Si
nce VGA viewers in
drawing programs, people have paid less and less attenti
on to detail.
Ansi was made for textmode, so draw it for textmode :
The whole reason
why we did it in cartoon style first was to increase the
bright areas of
a pic. Had you just gone through and shaded it as many
artists do, you
end up using a lot more F1-F3s and it ends up looking o
vershaded and
bland, since it matches the base color more.
6. Cleanly adding slight hints of shading
Okay, now were really getting into wierd topics. Ill
discuss something
Ive picked up very recently. In shading, you sometimes
want a color to
drop off quickly, such as the shadows form his brow crea
ses in his forehead. If the shadow had b
een larger, I would have used this method
more. When shading down, you dont need to go through t
he entire order
of shades, such as or
more crudely or more recently
. Well, a good
method that I stole from toon shading is to
include half-blocks of a darker color on fairly light bo
rders. You can
also throw in some F1-F3s on horizontal block borders,
but its something
that can be easily used too much.
Now youll notice that I even added in two different sha
des of darker grey
in the logo on the right. Now, that looks a bit too too
ny and the shading
itself appears choppy, whereas were looking for a more
smooth look. Now
we can go through and very dark shaded blocks, mostly F1
, to the border.
Dark bl
ues are
probably my favoritist
ansi color
The basic idea with this is to show shading, using high
contrast, but
keeping the shading to a minimal area. Its up to you h
ow you do that, but it can really improve an ansi.
Yes, I did change some of the basic outl
ine here. So can you :
7. Curves Lesson
Okay, this is a quick thing about drawing curves. Most
people assume
curves are one of the easier things in ansi. In doing c
urves, you want to
be sure that the blocks follow a logical progression.
1 2 3 4 5 2
111 2 4 5
1 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 1
Here, have some pretty shaded curves that I drew thinkin
g Id be able to
use them.
8. Basic proportions of the human bod
Okay, Ive been studying anatomy a bit, and here are som
e very basic
human proportions to keep in mind when drawing anything
resembling a
human being.
The Head
The Human head is 3/2 as tall as it is wide.
In other words, if it is 4 blocks wide it
will be 3 blocks tall since a vertical block is the siz
e of 2
horizontal blocks 3/2*46 half-blocks high 3 blocks
The eyes on a human head are exactly HALFWAY down
the head.
The eye should be 1/5 the width of the head.
In other words, the head is 5 eye-widths across.
To find where the eyes should go, you only need
to follow the angle from the tip of the nose to
the nostrils on either side. That line will point
to exactly where the eye should go.
This applies to the bottom 1/2 -
of the face, i.e. eyes to chin 2
The nose ends exactly halfway.
The nose is 1 eye-width wide. -
Now, with the remaining 1/4 2
of the face, were going to
divide it into 3 parts. -
- Nose
2 1/3 down is t
he mouth
- Mouth 2/3 down is
the upper chin
- Upper chin
- lower chin
The Body
The human body can be anywhere from 6-8 head-lengths lo
ng, about 7 for
average people.
Bottom of head length
Dont use this if you dont want to,
Head itself
they really are the true proportions
of the human body. If you want your
Bottom of chest
person to look normal, he should
follow these basic proportions.
Belly button
2 Wide
Thats all you get for now... I might do more tutorials
and come out with
more of these cool proportions for hands and things :
If this stuff interests you, get any and all
art books by Burne Hogarth, thats where I
got these from. I heartily recommend these books.
9. Picture Choice!
This really is the most important part of a good ansi.
If you decide to
draw an orange monster with brown hair and dark skin, do
nt expect people
to really enjoy it much... dark skin color 6, brown h
air color 6,
there is no color for orange except sometimes 12/6 or 12
/4 If the picture is too much for you to handle
and you know it, dont try it. However, I
must encourage artists to try drawings from comics besid
es Gen 13, Spawn,
etc, as although they have nice art, its mostly subtle
shading and well- proportioned bodies, which don
t give you much of a chance to do detailed ansi
. Look for detailed pics that will let you do some re
al detailed work, and not just some pic that is in
front of you. Oh, just for everyones
knowledge, I DO NOT recommend drawing from your head. D
ont expect yourself to be able to do it
people that can do it are called Professional Arti
sts normally :.
This is Lord Soth signing off... well have more tutorials o
n the way from various iCE Artists : In the me
antime, enjoy, keep drawing, and remember that
you mother should not be the center of your sexual attention
Slothy with the capital P.
p.s. Happy birthday me!