Better to study paintings,learn to draw or paint,or just study film lighting? (4 replies and 4 comments)
I want to really explore and study composition and lighting and I was curious as to the best way to do so. I am in film school and we have looked at classical paintings and I do see a value in doing so. Do you think it would be better to spend the time and learn how to draw and then maybe advance to painting to learn and understand composition and lighting? Or is just looking at examples in films the best. I know doing a mixture of all of them might be best but I am more curious as to if you think I should spend a large amount of time to learn to draw(I dont have any skills drawing so far). I feel like learning to draw might also help outside of learning lighting and composition, do you feel you perform better being able to possibly conceptualize ideas by drawing them out at any point? Any opinions or thoughts regarding this would really be appreciated. Have a great day!
Personally, I wish that I could draw and sketch properly. I think it would certainly help me conceptualise and draw storyboards for projects that I am working on. Have a look at the Coen brothers' storyboards. I think that is an excellent tool to use as a starting point and a tool for communicating. I am rather embarrased by my drawing skills and sometimes prefer not to share my immature drawings. I still might take a drawing class one day.
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I would suggest taking stills. I used to draw pretty well as I did my time at Art College but I am pretty rusty now. I do sketch an image now and again, such as when I am in conversation with a director, a member of the Art Department or my Gaffer etc., but my drawings are so bad that I think it might be more confusing!
Learning to draw is like learning a language. You have to be conversational with your subject matter. It's one thing to read a book on Spanish (for instance) than to go out an ask questions and have a conversation.
Art is the same way. You can look at an painting or a photograph and learn from it. But it's a whole other animal to actually try to paint something from life.
Mr. Deakins, there's no such thing as a bad drawer. Look at the cave paintings! They are beautiful! And have been mesmerizing people for millennia. Without cave paintings, we wouldn't have great artists like Picasso! It's all a matter of perspective.
Drawing isn't a skill. It's a philosophy.
I actually find people's stick drawings to be quite beautiful.
Of course there are a lot of people who aren't as sentimental as I am. For me I've developed myself in such a sense that I can see poetry in things.
For example, there is a poetry in the childlike naivety of a person's struggle to capture the human figure in drawing.
All that said, going back to the notion that art is like learning a language:
You don't learn a language in one day, it takes at least 10 years give or take. And that means living and breathing it, absorbing the culture.
Same with art.
I would highly suggest getting a small sketchbook and bring it with you everywhere you go.
If you're sitting in a cafe, pull it out and sketch the barista. Even if all you use is stick figures.
The next thing is to practice perspective. Learn how objects are oriented in space. Draw tables, buildings, etc.
If you learn how to draw, you will be able to appreciate a painting in a new light.
With regard to filmmaking:
It's the same I guess. Just get out and shoot something. Interact with your surroundings.
Good question. I've been waiting for someone to post something like this. haha
For what its worth. I studied intensely for many years and have an honours degree in Fine Art. Years of drawing and painting. I count myself incredibly lucky to have done this and to have had an all consuming passion that has lasted all my life. At the same time (i think) there is no one way (if anything the podcasts have clearly proven this). You are where you are, just do it. Don't get hung up on what other people think "art" is or isn't and stop looking for a "secret", just do it.
The passion and fever to create is the thing, one million ways to get there, never enough hours in the day.