Thursday, November 15, 2007

Extra Life

I studied Classical Animation at Sheridan College just before the recent "redevelopment" of the program. Everything was transitioning: the line-test room quickly became a computer lab, we sat through trial curricula of vacuous theory, and above all, we had "new and improved" post-produced student films to make.

Amid the novelty, one thing remained unaltered: life drawing. We had a weekly class, as well as uninstructed sessions every evening - those were called Extra Life. The term itself sounds funny now, but back then it echoed in our minds as a type of warning of the trouble coming to those who weren't especially extra. It was, as far as anyone was concerned, the measure of how much (if not always how well) one could draw.
The truth is that we were all too busy worrying about style, marks and making it on "The Wall" to enjoy the drawing itself. Very few, if any, understood that Extra Life offered not a chance to measure one student's work next to another's, but to record one's personal insights, discoveries, progress and... fun!

That was five years ago. Even if now I get most of my practice at local cafes, I accepted an old classmate's invitation to a session of life drawing. As I hurried to make it in time (just like in school), I could almost hear the old echoes resurrecting. But they were given no such chance; it turned out to be the most delightful evening, full of refreshments, upbeat Nino Rota and a wonderfully creative model.

Things were reeeeeally cooking!

Here's to Gerry, Werner, Rick and Gerard!


Emma said...

Is there a limit to how many times I can say "you are a machine" before it loses its meaning?

Beautiful stuff as always!

Bianca Siercke said...


:D :D :D YAAAY you have a blog!!! I've soooo been waiting for this! YAAAY

These drawings are so wonderful. This will totally be my new desktop picture.

And as I haven't been posted on your other post, amazing colour studies. I'm so happy, looking at these has made my day! :D :D

Now to go back to the drawing desk! I'm re-inspired.

Dani said...

Thanks Emma and Bianca!!!

the doodlers said...

Yup, inspired stuff.

These marker sketches have a really good sense of the body in it's space. And what a great model... looks like it was a fine session!

Unknown said...

nice to see your work again,
i echo the reflections you shared from sheridan days long past.

all the best,

Dani said...

Thank you Doodlers! It was fun!

How great to hear from you Emile!!!
Yeah, I was wondering if someone other than me remembered...

I hope Hong Kong's keeping you extra happy!

Jesse Daniel said...

swank stuff Dani, I'm jealous and inspired :P your gestures are looking better than ever. Keep it up.


Randeep Katari said...

This is really, really great. It's funny that you should say that as I'm JUST heading to Gerry's class for the second last week ever. Somber.
That said, I'm part of the 'retooled' program you mentioned, and yes, life drawing and 'extra life' still remains unaltered. After talking to Mr. Robertson and Mr. Sung last year, I've realized how unimportant THE wall really is, and while it is a beautiful showcase of the stars, it's nothing if you don't use it to learn.
Thanks for posting these, I think I'll try applying some of the techniques you use.
Thank you!

Dani said...

Hey Jesse! Thanks so much.

Randeep, thanks for visiting and good luck!