View Full Version : Getting better
August 25th, 2002, 12:10 PM
I need help in all departments. All I use is a pencil and white sheets, I don't have space at home for paint. Should I buy some books? I thought of going to some art school, but I'm not good enough at my age (20) and there doesn't seem to be any good ones here in Montreal anyway.
I can do what everyone says "practice, practice, practice" but that's all I ever do and I don't get much better at all. So there must be a reason why some become pros and others don't. What did they do? To me it is looking more and more likely that I won't become a good artists as most good artists were already quite good at around 18. I want to know what the pros did to get where they are.
August 25th, 2002, 03:33 PM
we all have points where our skill development peaks for a while, or so it seems. the best advice i could give is to try things you havent done yet. play with shapes, color, positive/negative space. anything. ive found that when all of your time is spent perfecting drawing say, a space marine, you may get good at drawing those, but your skills in other departments drop. artists learn from everything around them, whether it involves looking at a sunset, to reading a book. im not 100% on this, but i think that jason manley didnt start in art till he was 20 or so? im pretty sure thats what i heard. youve just got to maintain that passion for art and keep going, learn from everything, study from other artists if you must, but never ever stop :).
at least thats what always helps me to keep going.
**also, you mention you have no room to paint, try painting on the computer! theres a pretty cool free painting program called opencanvas. check out the eatpoo.com forums for info on where to get it, someone surely has posted about it.
August 25th, 2002, 04:31 PM
Thanks for the reply. I think I need to buy a tablet somewhere first. It seems quite expensive, so I hope I will actually make good use of it. But fist I need to find a place to buy it. On the net it's around 150 to 200$ US, that means probably 300/400$ here in Canada.
August 26th, 2002, 10:50 PM
it all boils down to how bad you want it. i've been drawing for about 4 years now. during those four years i went through phases where i went to work and came home and drew...and that's all i did. i'd burn out of course, but i want it. so if you want it, you have to do that practice, practice, practice thing. IT WILL TAKE TIME...enjoy it. let it be an interesting journey getting to where you want to be. oh, and if jason started drawing at 20...i didn't start until later than THAT! You gotta believe you can do it no matter what. i'm still years away from what i want, but i'm looking forward to it. practice a lot and ENJOY IT!!!!
i'm no pro but feel free to pm me some drawings and we can chit chat about ways to improve. improvements are good for the soul.
August 26th, 2002, 11:34 PM
like keyth said...i didnt start til i was twenty either
the key is to find a teacher who is local...someone who is SKILLED at drawing...someone who draws from life VERY VERY WELL...if they can draw from life and it looks like what they see..if it looks very real in a traditional sort of way then you will be able to learn things from them in regards to your foundation.
this is not the only way...but the way that worked for me.
you need to find a good teacher...my best art school experiences came at a community college in terms of teaching.
you do it by pushing your drawing skills at every possible moment...you need to be drawing 25-40 hours a week minimum to get your skills up...and I did it 30-100 hours a week at times...sometimes no sleep...sometimes no work for three days...but all in all I stayed with it.
the only way to do it is to sacrefice the social life and make art and artists your social life...get into a good life drawing class...that kind of thing can suppliment your social life as the artists all hang in those classes and often will draw at each others houses...take as much life drawing as you can...draw constantly.
tis the only way to get better...work work work...nothing stopping you but nothing...the only thing between you and drawing is air...pick up the pencil and put it to the paper...draw draw draw...even when you dont want to.
August 27th, 2002, 08:20 PM
Again thanks for the replies:)
I'm sure I will always be drawing once I get a tablet. I always give up when I draw because all I use is a pencil and some white paper, so it doesn't look finished, and I know I can't color it. That's why I never get a feeling I'm progressing. But with a tablet I think it would be otherwise.
As for sacrificing social life, that's easy for me:p But I don't know anyone who is into arts other than some people on the net. Anyway, I can always ask you guys for comments and critics:)
Now I just have to find a place (and the time) to buy some tablet.
August 27th, 2002, 08:33 PM
don't bet on technology to "save" you. and when you say "i can't color it" You should be saying "i will color it". Then you should say "i will color it and make it a beautiful drawing". Then you should say "i will color it and make it a beautiful drawing, and i will do another one but better".
do you see the differences in your statement and mine? positive thoughts are very important, especially when trying to better you skillz at something.
go and kick a$$. good luck.
p.s. i have many drawings made on white paper with a pencil and they all look finished.
August 28th, 2002, 08:40 PM
No when I say I can't color it it is because I have no paint and no room for paint in my house:p Unless I use that ketchup or mustard bottle:)
August 29th, 2002, 03:46 AM
Come on, Phil, I have a tiny flat myself, my desk which I use for working, computing and drawing is in my sleeping room - and some watercolors, or markers, or even Prismacolor pencils do not need more space than a few pencils and some paper. Or try inking (even with your fountain pen, if necessary). Or use a ball pen.
I admit that new material is always very inspiring. Sometimes, when stuck I just switch to a different media. BTW: I loved drawing since I can think, then was very disappointed at the age of 19 when I got no admittance to study graphical design and stopped drawing at all. Just re-started two years ago after a 15 years break! If I had then drawn as much and as seriously as I do now I'm sure I would have been admitted. And progress comes in steps. It's not a learning curve (in my experience) but it comes in "hops". You don't get better for some time and suddenly, if you continue practising, bang! the next level (just like in jump and run games when you have reached the necessary points to proceed to the next level).
August 29th, 2002, 04:27 AM
if you are heading for a tablet (just because wes9000 paints better with a mouse than i do with a tablet doesn't mean that a tablet is unnecessary...) i recommend you the wacom graphire. it's about 1000$ afaik and it's a wacom(best brand there is. period).
it's small but for beginning painting, it'll do its job.
i'm in a small room myself... some of my friends have a complete floor of the house for themselves.
i have my tiny room only and trust me on this one... if you want to, you get everything in it that you want.
as i sit on my desk now, i'm able to work on the pc. turn 90° to the left and i sit in front of my easel.
just know what you need and what not. i decided to throw out my heating for the easel :)
August 29th, 2002, 04:37 AM
Originally posted by gekitsu
i recommend you the wacom graphire. it's about 1000$ afaik and it's a wacom(best brand there is. period).
Errrm - too many zeros, I think it's only a 100$, isn't it?
just know what you need and what not. i decided to throw out my heating for the easel :)
gikitsu - you did WHAT??? Recently tropical temperatures in Bavaria? ;)
August 29th, 2002, 10:54 PM
Thanks to this board we (boyfriend and I) were able to get a 9x12 wacom for $288 (plus shipping) from ebay. They usually start at around $405+ at other stores. So, we got a VERY good deal and I'm very happy about that. :D
I would recommend getting some books. They've been helping me out some (although I still have a LONG ways to go). I personally dont know what are the best books out there, but I've been using "Anatomy, A complete guide for artists by Joseph Sheppard". It mostly shows you bone & muscle placements. Another book I use is "Drawing the head & figure by Jack Hamm" (Old book, done in the 50's). He shows how to actually sketch the figures & heads with shapes.
I can't help you if your looking for books in other fields though. :(
Anyway, hope I helped you in some small way. :)
August 30th, 2002, 01:16 AM
A HUGE POST or a small essay. :)
i got a small collection of art books that i bought over the years, and some of them i think were worth every penny, while others are pretty much serve as paper weight.
"Figure Drawing for all its Worth" by Andrew Loomis
This is a MUST MUST MUST get...unfortunately its out of print, so the only place you can get it is either some old/used books store, or online http://www.fineart.sk/page_01.htm which is completely free, although i find it annoying and hard to read from computer, and printing out the whole thing might cost u something in paper and ink cartrige... but its WORTH it... I was lucky enought to find a used copy of this book online, and i ordered it... its in a good condition, and hard cover baby !!!! GET IT, READ IT, LEARN IT, LOVE IT !!!!
"Anatomy Lessons from the Great Masters"
this is another "must get" book. the concepts are too good to miss. Illustrations are such a turn on for me (how cooler can it get to see the sketches of the Great Masters, and learn from them? ) All muscles are very well explained by taking a particular body part from different sketches, and maping all the muscles on it. You also get a complete muscle structure for all body parts at the end of the bood, with all the names and in all four positions (front, left, right, rear). This is a great book to get !!!
"Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters"
Yes its from the same "seriese" of books (actually only 2 in total). This one is just as cool as the above one. It covers a great deal, and its a thorough read... Masses, Planes, Forms, Muscles. Its kinda hard to give a review of this book since it has sooooooo much information in it. It pretty much takes a few major concepts of drawing and visualising in 3d, works through each and every of those concepts with illustrations and examples, and then at the end tries to make you see the whole picture. For me it was like looking into a full open window, after a few years of looking only into a small keyhole.
"Master Class in Figure Drawing"
:) yet another book for me to drool over. Its somehow simillar to "Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters", but its a bit more compact. I think of it as a gread addition to the "Drawing Lessons..." since it deals with pretty much same concepts. This one is a Must Get as well.
"Bridgman's Life Drawing" AND "Constructive Anatomy" (same author)
should be bought together i think. I really like these two books ( i believe there is a third one as well, but i can't find it at the moment, and i dont really remember which one it was, it might by my imagination all together). His aproach to figure and anatomy is more from the mechanical point of view.... boxes, levers, pulleys. it all makes sence, but the illustrations do look a bit blocky, although it adds to the style i think. Lots of great illustrations, very little text and its quite dry, but picture do talk for themselves. Again, i think these books should be bought together, since they pretty much add to each other, although they do repeat each other a bit as well.... If my memory doesnt fail me, i did see one big book which actually combined all the small ones, i'm not sure about the name though.
"Dynamic Anatomy" by Burne Hogarth
In my opinion not worth getting... it has good concepts of structuring the muscles through the landmarks, but other books do a great job as well, while having a style of drawing which i like a lot more.... His is too rounded, too heavy on the lines, too airbrushy... Mostly its just my own taste of styles kicks in. Explanations are a bit dry as well. Its not my personal favorite, but it is worth mentioning.
"Dynamic Figure Drawing" by Burne Hogarth
I love this book, which contradicts completely with my feelings towards his "Dynamic Anatomy". This book is too cool to miss, and it does teach you a lot. His foreshortening explanations and illustrations are a gold mine in my opinion. Dynamics of poses and movements are excellent as well. This is another MUST GET books. It is worth every penny i think.
"The Human Figure an anatomy for artists" by David K. Rubins
A good solid anatomy book. nothing fancy, its just a good reference book. its thin, light and packed with muscles :) Explanations are details, but are dry to the bone. Again, this is a reference book, and it does not claim to be anything else. Good value.
"How to draw Comics the MARVEL Way" by Stan Lee and John Buscema.
This book brings a tear in my eye... It is my FIRST art technique book. And guess what.... Its GREAT!!! For the complete beginner, this is a must get book. Yes it is based on men in tights and babes with legs which grow right out of their necks, but the fundamentals are all there. Perspective, figure construction, proportions, layout, dynamics. Not to mention the illustrations. This one stands a few steps above all those other more modernized "Draw comic book heros" books. It beats them not by the mass of muscles all the guys have, or the cup size of all the heroines, but by pure class, and style. I love it.
"The Art of Drawing" by Willy Pogany
Doesn't have anything add to the above mentioned books. And it is not worth buying as a learning guide. If you like his style and drawings you might consider getting it just for inspiration. It does have a few good pointers, example being the landmark chart (all points where bone is right under skin, so they dont change at all from person to person, no matter what the muscular structure is for each character). But again, other books explain it better, and have much better examples of it. I bought it simply because of drawings, and to be honest, with time they look pretty uninteresting to me...
"Drawings of Mucha" 70 works by Alphones Maria Mucha
This book is not a learning aid, its just a collection of drawings by one particular artist.... What i like about this book, is the style as well as that the drawing are from the begining of 1900's. I like it, but it all depends on your tastes.
"Frank Frazetta - the living legend"
Yes the book of B/W art by the man himself :) Loving it. Naughty in a cute sorta way. Again, it all depends on the reader's taste.
"Spectrum The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art"
is a great annual released book which includes all the top schi-fi/fantasy artists out there. A pure inspiration. A great variation in styles and ideas makes it a treasure chest through which you dig and sort out all the gems you find.
These are the majority of what i have. other books are on painting, color, lighting, a few more of those "Art by one artist" books, as well as some Photoshop and 3D books. I doubt you will be interested in the review of those, since they dont really deal with drawing. I'm a body/anatomy freak. It always fascinated me. I guess you can tell that from my books. There are tons of other great books on other subjects, and I do own a few of those, but i decided to focus my attention in this thread on the anatomy books. Hope this helps.:eek:
August 30th, 2002, 02:27 PM
Originally posted by jester
Errrm - too many zeros, I think it's only a 100$, isn't it?
jep... of course.. only 100$ everyone see? 100$, hundred bucks, ten times ten us-dollars...
Originally posted by jester
gEkitsu - you did WHAT??? Recently tropical temperatures in Bavaria? ;)
no... it's just like this:
a) i don't have any problem with low temperatures. i was seen walking around in a muscle shirt and jeans at -5°C and i didn't notice that it was cold at all. feeling too cold is something that you can swithc off in your mind.
b) small room + 1 computer + 1 gekitsu = too hot in summer, allright in winter
September 3rd, 2002, 02:08 PM
gekitsu - sorry for misspelling your name. As for not feeling cold temperature: I have some friends like you myself... will never understand this... even now sitting in a long sleeved sweater shivering at my desk...
to get this thread to Phil's initial question again:
Phil "Osirus" - did you get a start with colors?
September 3rd, 2002, 03:36 PM
personally as much as books are good to teach you things, i find that personal experience is the best way to learn. I'm terrible at human anatomy. So how do I go about improving? I observe people in real life, I look at pictures. I also glance at some books to help me along but the best way to improve is practice. It may hard to see your improvements even while you practice but keep working at it. I also find it helpful to seek people to criticize your work in real life... watch the way they tackle something... I observe some people draw things and picked up some techniques that helped me. Don't give up because perseverance will get help you get to where you want to be as an artist.
September 3rd, 2002, 08:41 PM
Thanks thanks thanks for replying:)
I'm still trying to figure out where to buy a tablet (crappy tablet-less Montreal:mad: ) I have been having a bunch of "flashes" of stuff I'd like to draw/paint, so I better get my hands on it soon before I forget all of it. Or maybe write the ideas down on paper:p But anyway yeah I need to buy a tablet. But 5x3 or so seems very small and it's all I found...
September 4th, 2002, 01:40 PM
Phil, don't get analysis paralysis. I don't want to put my art on your thread so I'm posting a link. I did this http://www.autodestruct.com/spiral1large.htm
using cheap ass Wal-mart water paints, then put it together in photoshop, and it may look like it. But the point is, I did. I swear I didn't spend more than 5 bucks for the paint and brush. I'm a broke mutha, I'm going to school full time, living with my in-laws and doing art wherever I can, with a kitchen table as my drawing table, while everyone else is in there with me. no studio, no space, no peace. Get it? c'mon man, make adversity your fuel. Improvise, adapt, overcome.
September 4th, 2002, 05:26 PM
*donīt get analysis paralysis*
i really have to hammer that into my fuckin' brain aswell
i donīt know if anyone of you is aware of how much truth really lurks in these words
September 4th, 2002, 09:47 PM
Oh and one more thing!!!
As far as the age thing goes, quit trippin'. yeah I've been drawing for most of my life, and did some airbrushing back in the day. But I didn't get serious about being an artist, and really applying this stuff till around 2 years ago, and guess what Phil, I'm 34 frickin years old! I don't mean to be rippin on ya, and I don't know you from Lugh, but I think you can do yourself a favor as an artist and get off of it and get on with it. We believe in you man, post some art, get some critiques, and let's do this thing.
September 4th, 2002, 10:56 PM
Mitch you are my new hero:chug: it's so true. that's what i was trying to say earlier w/the color thing. once a person starts solving problems instead of making excuses for them...things just start coming together.
oh yeah mitch. about that dragon stout...you could put a blow torch behind it and STILL not be able to see anything.:beer:
September 6th, 2002, 03:22 AM
Jester and mcotie...you guys are so on the money, I mean Im 30 and I only really got into this stuff again about 3 years ago after a long hiatus because I was knocked back from entering into graphic design school...if only I had some self belief I would have done it alot earlier..but anyways thats the truth of it all, we didnt do it then, but were doin it now (and thats the whole point Phil!) Shit. If I was really creative I would have layed some paper out onto the ground, peed all over it and then presented it as art as part of my folio. Sweet.
Its the ideas and the technique as much as anything. One guy called Krikko Obbott from Nigeria drew a 15x20ft aerial view rendering of New York city complete with detailed windows etc using 2496 staedtler leads and three years of his life...so dont fret about what your doin or how long its taking, it'll happen...
M8 this is a great thread...
September 8th, 2002, 03:16 PM
Well yesterday I was hit by a hammer when I heard the price for a 5x4 tablet: 338$ (Canadian of course). So that will have to wait. But I really don't feel like "practice, practice, practice!" since I've been doing that for so long now yet with no progress. That's why I'm wondering what I am supposed to do.
September 8th, 2002, 06:45 PM
lessons, lessons, lessons. And not just from a how to book either, because more'n likely you'll hang on to those old crappy habits. Don't get ill when I use this reference but it's my best example...
In the military, in order to become a U.S. fighter pilot, lets say, you have to start in basic training. You have to unlearn, what up to that point, you've learned. After qualification at the lower levels, then and only then, can you move on to the next level, taking steps to ultimately become, a high tech killing machine.
I've heard Jason and other members of this board suggest lessons from skilled artists in your area, if school is out of the question. check it out , take the steps!
September 14th, 2002, 03:00 AM
ebay is a good place to get a tablet
the bigger tablet the better...a 9x12 is minimum in my opinion....the others are very cramping and dont allow for gestural drawing.
September 14th, 2002, 03:08 AM
You don't need a tablet to do good work. I did not have one for about the first 5 years after the digi-switch. I bought one but did not use it for a while because it was so strange! So don't worry about it. One tip for mousing, keep one hand over the numeric keypad so you can dial opacity very easily and quickly. Or, as some do, develop a style based around hard shapes.
But as it sounds you are just starting out, this can come later.
I would recommend copying master paintings. Get a few cheap brushes and some black, white, yellow ochre and burnt umber. The warms will take care of themselves and the cools are done by mixing black into white. You will be amazed at the color range you can get by just thinking about value and then warms and cools.
When I say master copies, I mean as close as you possibly can. Break it down in as small a steps as you need, even do the Betty Edwards trick of turning the original and your pic upside down so you are just seeing shapes and values and edges. It is not a head at all! Here are three that I did in school. It can open your eyes like nothing else can, IMO. I admit the sig is a little overboard, but you get the idea.
sargent copies (http://home.hawaii.rr.com/spoogestuff/copies.jpg)
September 15th, 2002, 11:22 AM
Spooge, you should have been here about two months ago, before this forum crashed. We had a Master copy lesson going on right here :)
Phil, it doesn't matter when you start, it is never too late. I've been doodling since I was little, but as several others here, when I didn't get into art school, I did college instead. Then I did Psychology at university, and worked for a year, until I finally decided that I was completely off track, and went back to art school at the age of 22. Did one year, thought school couldn't help me, and now I've been "teaching myself" using the internet, books, and life drawing classes. I'm 24 now, and I understand more and more of what this visual art thing is about. It's not about talent, it's about devotion! I see alot of improvement in my work, actually from piece to piece, because I don't do many paintings. But it's probably a lot like loosing weight, you don't see it, but it's happening - you're just not aware cause you're there during the whole change.
So don't stop - listen to the guys around here, try out what they're doing, set up an object on your desk and try to paint/draw all the different values you see, and post your attempt here. You WILL get better every time!
July 2nd, 2004, 07:17 PM
mcotie - "analysis paralysis"...that is friggin' genius. couldn't agree more. make due with what you've got and make it happen.
spooge demon - what a great exercise (to do master copies upside down)! can't wait to try that out. i just started getting into traditional painting, and am loving it (due in large part to the photos people took at the austin workshop) - definitely refreshing to get away from the digital realm. bold strokes and risks are imminent, and so much more rewarding.
osirus - thx for posting...keep at it, heed everyone's advice and don't let discouragement get you stuck, their words are golden.
all you guys rock.
July 2nd, 2004, 07:30 PM
lol talk about a thread resurrection...the last post was 2 years ago!
July 2nd, 2004, 07:41 PM
haha...whoops..I'm embarrassed. ah well...
oh yeah, once i found out who 'spooge demon' was, i searched on his posts and got caught up in this one and replied w/out thinking. sorry, we'll put this one back to rest!
July 2nd, 2004, 11:54 PM
If you haven't picked up, a tablet yet, I suggest the wacom, 4 by 5 i believe it is. It cost me about 150 dollars, and i also live in canada.
If you have a London Drugs, Or NCIX www.nxic.com You can get it there.
I picked mine up at london drugs, and i absolutely love it.
But, it isn't going to make you pro, it isn't the tablet that does the job, it is the artist within you. If you can't draw, and you say your drawing dont look finished. Well find a way to make them look finished. Cause with a tablet, they won't look much different from your sketches, but with colour. "Also you have to understand colour" And i recommend picking up some acrylic paints, brushes, canvas boards etc, Or oil or watercolour, and play with real colours. Cause digital and traditional are 2 completely different media, and the colours with digital act much different.
And about you not having any paints, what is wrong with you, there has to be, some place, i know of a proffessional artist, that paints on the floor, with the canvas, straight flat on the ground, all of his paint and stuff beside him, And crouches over it. "so you have no excuse there."
Also i myself, in my room. My bedroom, i got the whole house but, i hang out in 1 room. In my room, i have a little space of floor, my art desk, all of my artsupplies in it, my computer, my tv, my bed, and im crammed, cause it basically circles me. but i make room :D
Good luck man.
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