Drawing strength and inspiration

October 20, 2020

Aidan Gallagher, actor and singer, portrait in biro pen by Milo Sztayer-Edwards

Milo Sztayer-Edwards illustrates what it takes to master his creative skills

I drew quite a bit as a kid. I was really inspired by Pokémon characters. I had a friend who lived over the road, and we used to draw them together. My favourite character was Rejigigasu. I don’t know why I drew him so much; I guess he was made up of pretty basic shapes, a good place to start.

When I went to high school, my interest in drawing was replaced with video games and editing, which continued for a couple of years. My friends and I would play games and I would film us. I really enjoyed editing all the banter together with clips from the games. The films were basic, but they made us laugh!

When it came to my GCSE years, I chose to study Art as one of my options. I got really into it and drawing became a big thing for me again.

Manga-style character studies by Milo Sztayer-Edwards

It was around December last year, with a deadline looming to hand in a couple of my sketchbooks, when I got totally motivated. I didn’t stop drawing for three weeks solid. I got so into it. I’d put on a podcast, Art Café or my favourite indie band Tokyo Police Club, and go for it. I did three all-nighters! During this time my skills improved radically.

Since lockdown I’ve been drawing every day for like two or three hours. Oyasumi Punpun, a manga series, written and illustrated by Inio Asano, has recently inspired me. It’s a really dark story about a boy, PunPun, who lives in Japan with his dysfunctional family, who are represented as these tiny kind of creatures.

The juxtaposition of the super realistic settings, in which Asano’s cartoon-style characters inhabit, is very powerful, making them even more intense.

Brush pen portrait by Milo Sztayer-Edwards

Anyone who takes their artwork seriously will know the importance of the fundamentals. The basic elements of drawing are universal across all mediums and styles. Like the foundations of a building they’re essential. Practicing the building blocks will help you become a well rounded, versatile and hopefully unique artist.

As Picasso said, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”

I’ve started to learn the fundamentals of drawing, which include composition, value, form, brushwork, colour and perspective. I’m not so practiced in anatomy, the form and structure of living things but I have started doing a lot of figure studies.

Figure studies by Milo Sztayer-Edwards

Kentaro Miura is an artist best known for his dark fantasy manga, Berserk. His art is so detailed it’s ridiculous. The amount of lines he uses create super realistic faces, more so than you might imagine a manga drawing to be. He’s certainly got a great understanding of form, shape, anatomy and perspective.

So no matter what, it’s important to keep learning the basic principles.

To continue improving my skills I’ve watched a few videos. This one guy, Proko gives brilliant tutorials; how to create different structures: to make joints and muscles look 3D.

Anatomy studies by Milo Sztayer-Edwards

How to Become a Master is an amazing video about Kim Jung Gi, one of the best graphic artists in the world. He can draw anything and everything from memory. His perspective is so good; he can draw a fisheye perspective of buildings and create characters that come straight from his head. He’s totally impressive; he talks about the importance of observing and retaining every detail.

Jung Gi doesn’t even sketch stuff; he goes in with the ink straight away. It’s crazy how well he draws and how much he can recreate with no visual aids. This guy is a genius and has inspired me a lot.

As well as drawing I’m passionate about boxing. I started when I was 14, to help me focus as it requires intense concentration and has improved my fitness. I find it so satisfying to achieve certain goals, set by my coach.

Fight stance with muscle study by Milo Sztayer-Edwards

I’m interested in creating fight scenes and being able to box can really inform my drawing. I’m not into the Pow! Wham! and Kaboom! sounds you hear when a punch lands, where characters fly backwards. When fights are so over exaggerated and crude, I get put off. I’m keen to depict fights more realistically. I’m always more convinced when real moves are recreated, like a Jiu-Jitsu arm bar or a Muay Thai low kick, as then I can think: yeah I know that, I know what that can do.

Boxing has been empowering and inspiring. It’s boosted my confidence, my focus and I like that it always includes a goal to aim for. I’m passionate about it. It’s not only a great skill and discipline but it informs the fight scenes I portray in my stories and drawings.

I think my tip to anyone who wants to improve their drawing is to keep practicing the basic techniques. I came across this program called Drawabox.

‘Hell for the Unaccomplished’ comic strip page 1 by Milo Sztayer-Edwards

Drawabox is a completely free set of exercise-based lessons that focus on the fundamentals. It includes the 50/50 rule, which means for me, one day I’ll draw what I want, say like a manga drawing or whatever I fancy. Then the next day I need to do a figure study, I need to practice perspective, proper fundamental studies.

I think drawing is a calming factor in my life, and some of my best times have been when I put on some podcasts, music or stories and just draw! I get so involved and focused – it’s great.

‘Hell for the Unaccomplished’, comic strip page 2 by Milo Sztayer-Edwards

Milo is currently studying art and design at college. He’s drawn for most for his life but in the last two years he’s begun to take it seriously. He’s also very interested in manga.

Milo is currently studying art and design at college. He's drawn for most for his life but in the last two years he's begun to take it seriously. He's also very interested in manga.

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