Drawing in the Digital Age: An Observational Method for Artists and Animators
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More About This Title Drawing in the Digital Age: An Observational Method for Artists and Animators


A solid foundation for improving your drawing skills

Teaching a new observational method based on math and computer graphics principles, this book offers an innovative approach that shows you how to use both sides of your brain to make drawing easier and more accurate. Author Wei Xu, PhD, walks you through his method, which consists of scientific theories and principles to deliver real-world techniques that will improve your drawing skills. Xu's pioneering approach offers a solid foundation for both traditional and CG artists.

  • Encourages you to use both sides of your brain for drawing with the highest efficiency possible
  • Introduces an innovative method invented by the author for improving your drawing skills

If you are eager to learn how to draw, then this book is a must read.


Wei Xu, PhD, teaches game programming and production, 3D math, and life drawing at the Art Institute of California—San Diego. He also teaches iOS game programming and drawing classes at University of California San Diego Extension. He is cofounder of Geomy Entertainment, LLC, a game-consulting firm. Xu was previously a lead engineer at Sony Computer Entertainment America for game technology R&D and a senior CG software engineer at Schlumberger Austin Technology Center.


Introduction xiii

Chapter 1 Understanding the Relationship between Math and Art 1

Understanding How Math and Art Differ 2

Understanding How Math and Art Are Similar 4

Using Math to Create Digital Art 13

Using Math in Traditional Drawing 15

Using Math to Help You Draw 18

Examining Existing Drawing Methods 22

Stop Separating Math from Art 28

Chapter 2 Extracting Graphical Structures—A Scientific Point of View 31

Introducing CG Concepts and Principles 32

Unifying 2D and 3D Cases 40

Understanding the Properties of Basic Shapes 43

Understanding Graphical Structures 47

Extracting GSs with Triangulation 54

Chapter 3 Drawing with the ABC Method 57

Meeting the Criteria for a New Drawing Method 58

Introducing the ABC Method 61

Chapter 4 Drawing Simple Objects 79

Preparing to Draw 80

Extracting Basic Information 80

Demonstrations of 3D Objects 85

Demonstrations of 2D Images 92

Exercises 97

Chapter 5 Drawing Complicated Objects 99

Breaking Down Complexity 100

Demonstrations 108

Exercises 120

Chapter 6 Drawing Complicated Scenes 121

Introducing Techniques for Merging Objects 122

Demonstrations 129

Exercises 138

Chapter 7 Using Advanced Techniques 141

Working with Curved Triangles and Polygons 142

Drawing a Group of Ovals 146

Using Shadow Maps 149

Using Rhythms for Partitioning 151

Exploring Trade-Offs between Accuracy and Speed 152

Demonstrations 153

Summary 161

Exercises 161

Chapter 8 Using Special Techniques for Drawing Human Bodies 163

General Tips 164

Tips for Drawing Faces 169

Tips for Quick Life Sketches 174

Demonstrations 180

Summary 186

Exercises 187

Post-Test: Drawing Van Gogh 188

Index 189