On social media, I often get comments asking “How do you get those clean lines?” other than the obvious answers, “Training, draw every day” etc. etc. there really is a way of focusing on honing specific skills in your art.
If you have seen the Movie The Karate Kid, you will remember How Mr. Miyagi trained Daniel in the ways of Karate. He had Daniel go about common Tasks in the specific way he asked him to do it. Daniel having done tons of chores, repeatedly doing the same thing over and over, he wanted to give up. Paint the fence. Wax on, Wax off. Side to side. Uggghhhh….
“Mr.Miyagi I’m sick of doing your chores man! When do I get to learn Karate?”
It was at this point in the film he showed Daniel that he had been learning Karate all along.
So now you’re probably wondering, “How do I apply this to art?”
Much like Daniel, when I was younger I apprenticed with a few cartoonists. One way in which I was trained to ink with a Crowquill was to spend days on end filling pages of Bristol Board. no joke. one day I’d fill every square inch of boards with perfectly straight lines. the next day, Thick to thin. Curved lines the next. The point of all this was to teach me muscle memory so I could control the pen with very little thought or apprehension. Daniel learned Muscle memory too.
If you think this sounds boring. it can be. But I highly recommend doing it. think of it as an exercise at the gym. You can apply the Miyagi approach to a lot of techniques in your art. Whether you feel like it or not. You just have to have the personal drive in order to do it. So if you are looking at making good clean lines. or learning good lighting. Making great character poses or hands. then Fill pages with lines, Simple shapes with lighting. pose characters or hands in the spaces around each other. this is good training. create the exercise that fits what you want to learn. then fill every square inch of space. – Chad Townsend
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