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  1. #1
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    akaBRAILLE's Sketchbook

    So I've decided to start posting stuff from my sketchbook here. Hopefully, eventually, it will show an improvement in my artistic abilities. Thanks in advance for the critics from everyone on the site!


    So without further ado, I'll start things off with three drawings I did from Reference: A Kurdish Senior in traditional garb, some dude I saw in a magazine and Joseph Simmons aka Rev Run aka DJ Run.

    EDIT: I added a sketch of Chuck Liddell from a future post

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    Last edited by akabraille; October 25th, 2009 at 08:55 AM.
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  3. #2
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    nice to see you have the sketchbook up.
    few things;
    i would try thicker graphite for the amount of shading you are attempting
    also a chamois is a wonderful tool for blending.

    oh and practice practice practice
    by page 5 youll see your old work v. your new work and look back and laugh....or cry....i cried

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  4. #3
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    Yo Yo Mr. ali

    This represents a very strong start for your sketchbook here on CA! Big congrats dood! meant to stop by when you made the announcement last week; sorry!

    And here are some tips:
    You're gonna want to loosen up. it's hard to explain, but yeah, these drawings are looking great, but ... stiff. You seemed to be a little insecure about your rendering method. Don't be, because that aspect is looking fine. In a way, rendering is the last thing you need to worry about at this stage. Getting the forms correct before you start to shade in the values is absolutely imperative. The shadows can help you discern the form, but rendering them out before establishing or understanding the subject's three-dimensional shape in space will always cause problems. Especially since this stuff is photo-referenced, and hence, flash-lit-photography-based, you're gonna run into the same pencil drawing that looks like a photo copy when you work this way. And re: the reference: flash photos are not a natural mode of lighting and will tend to flatten out the subject, be that a human, landscape, or whatever else. look at garden-variety photos and try to guess whether the flash was turned on or not: you'll see what i'm referring to.

    But all of what i said up there represents more ... drawing fundamentals. More importantly is that you should be thinking about what you want to do with this skill and interest. I know you had mentioned wanting to try comics a while back. of course... comics don't really require these kinds of fully realized, rendered-as-hell kind of images. well... not usually. Try to figure out what exactly you're wanting to do, then it's always easier to figure out what to do to get there. My recommendation would be to be thinking about some comic stories and maybe try to setup a few, just to try it out. it's a tough challenge, but lots of fun too.

    Most important for you at this time is to be focussed on drawing as much as you can. it is a tough habit to get into, but it's really the only way to get better. sketch your friends, sketch musicians, magazine pics, weird shit from the internet, draw pictures of nofingers getting shot in the face (please, i'd really appreciate it), and whatever else you find yourself having an aesthetic reaction to. KEEP DRAWING. Take sketchbook with you wherever you go. and just get used to it. If you don't have it with you or don't happen to draw once while you are out with the book, don't sweat it. good to have it around to remind you. drawing a whole hell of a lot is just how ya get better. Plain and simple. start out simple... maybe just ink pen or some of the pencils like you've been working with. ink will be good for you to practice with because it forces you to make fewer marks and you can't usually erase it.

    anyway, that's enough for now. if you have any questions or anything, just let me know...I can't wait to see the new drawings and skills you have been cultivating! Knock us dead!

    gug

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  5. #4
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    Thanks guys for the tips. I've made a resolution to do a couple of sketches per day, I've already started to see an improvement in my sketches since I started being more loose with my mechanical pencil.

    Stay tuned! More stuff to come in the near future!

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  6. #5
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    Self-portrait: This was my very first assigment in Drawing I, it was basically a way of displaying our current level to the professor. Since it was a freestyle assignment, I used the only drawing equipment I know very well, the pencil (specifically 2H, B and 4B). Somehow, whilst staring at myself in the mirror to do this, I made myself look a little stocky heh heh . . .

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  7. #6
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    AKA-B: This is it, friend. You've taken a step forward into a wider world and new opportunities await you. This is your time and you need to make it work for you. Create each and every day. Show your teachers you're hungry for every project they have to give you.

    This is a great start to the school year. The lines are there and it does look like you. The image seems a bit dark to comment on the shading, so I'll leave that to those with better graphite skills. Keep the art coming!

    ~KU

    ... a cry went up into the shuddering air, and faded to a shrill wailing, passing with the wind, a voice bodiless and thin that died, and was swallowed up, and was never heard again in that age of this world.

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  9. #7
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    Ali AKA aka BRAILLE>>> congratulations on starting your first collegiate drawing course! I think that a self-portrait is a good first assignment... my first teacher had us draw a full figure, without any reference, and therefore, i had to BURN MY ART because mine turned out so bad. heh. it's been a helluva week...meant to drop this post earlier, so my apologies for dat.

    One thing that will help folks here out when looking at your work will be to list the size of the original artwork. When i see this, it's kind of hard to tell how large it is, and scale is definitely a big factor with art. If this were a 2' x 3' self portrait, it'd be a different kind of critique / analysis than if it were drawn on a postcard sized sheet of paper. From the size of the marks and the details, i'm guessing this was either a 9x12" sheet of paper, or maybe 11x14". That's a lot of surface area to cover with your graphite, but yeah, if you don't want to list the size, when photographing or scanning you could put something beside it for a scale reference... maybe a pencil or if it's larger, a pair of scissors, since everyone will understand how that size relates to the original artwork.

    What i'm seeing happening here is that in your approach to getting the head roughed in, you didn't notice that the face was a little too wide. the proportions of your face are there and relatively solid, but this was something that had you noticed, the likeness would have been a little closer. other minor things that i'm seeing are that your right nostril (that refers to the left nostril in the image you have posted) is not symmetrical with the left one, and the shadow behind it brings it out a little too much. It feels like the eyes are a little bit too small, or maybe it's just that there isn't enough depth or flesh rendered out in the eye sockets. Definitely in this lighting situation, you'd have some cast shadows and darker tones in the flesh around the eyes.

    Good job rendering this out and getting the details in. You almost got the likeness, aside from the aforementioned heftiness. hehe.

    Keep drawing and please keep us posted with what you make! definitely it will be a great thing once you have a lot of work posted here and can look back to see all the development and progress you have made! You should try to, at least a few times before the big USBC 3 event, try and set aside an entire afternoon or evening, just to try and draw for fun... no intense graphite renders or anything that would add pressure. just loosen up and create for an hour or two... if you start to get frustrated or annoyed just move on to the next page: that's the best thing about sketchbooks... you make the art and when it's time to move on, you definitely can. I think you'll find that this approach will be highly enjoyable and addictive. there have been days where i couldn't stop drawing...strange but, yeah, once you get a little loosened up and warmed up you'll get really into it i think.

    anyway, cheers and again, keep us posted! keep going!

    gug

    Last edited by guggemmaneuver; August 29th, 2008 at 11:45 AM.
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  11. #8
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    Saw this ad for Michael Jordan online and I wanted to practice a bit of what I learned from class. I was focusing more on trying to carve out the shape of his face. Something must be wrong with my scanner because the right dide of his face isn't that grey on my sketchbook....

    Thanks for the critics !

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    Last edited by akabraille; November 7th, 2009 at 11:49 PM.
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    slam dunk on the likeness!

    pa dum shish... couldn't resist...

    and... it should be noted that the amount of values on the nose rendering is pretty damn good ... and that's no small feat. noses are funny like that... since they protrude in space the way a face does they tend to have all the same values, just in a miniature set of values kind of sense.

    hopefully sketch with ya soon ali! thanks for the update and keep going!

    m

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    Thanks for the critics, I really appreciate it. Recently I bought a pocket sketchbook that resembles the popular moleskine brand, anyway I broke it in yesterday by sketching Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, a mixed martial artist, from a pic off of SPIKE TV's Ultimate Fighter website. I gave myself 20 minutes to get as much as possible onto the page....

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    Last edited by akabraille; November 8th, 2009 at 12:12 AM.
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    HA! Great job ali!

    you're absolutely right: this does mark a step in the right direction! speeding up a bit loosens some of the inhibitions and the tightness that's kind of hard to overcome. This is a really solid, nice looking, page. my one crit here is that you should try and indicate some of the eye structure. Not too important here, since obviously it's reffed and is a dark photo, but some of the details of the eyes would be nice to see. it's strange how the format shift to moleskine pages often makes for better pages. anyways man, see ya soon hopefully. Keep going! More timed sketching!

    (Next tuesday is election / boozer doodle at the vortex in midtown, you should come to eet! afterwards, more sketching, probably some election-results watching.)

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  18. #12
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    You latest post is a huge improvement over your others! Nice job. You're moving in the right direction. Not only is it looser like guggenmaneuver said, but the contrast is also a lot better. Some of your others tended toward being too just gray all over.

    "This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy." -Douglas Adams

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    Gugg: Thanks dude, my Drawing 1 instructor says the same thing about my drawing style, I need to pick up the pace and throw all that second-guessing out the window. So ya, more timed sketches!!

    MyOrangeHat: glad you think so and I agree, there wasn't much variation in lighting on my other sketches but I'm gonna start paying closer attention to the ref's I draw from since the lighting really helps to capture the 'topography' of the face.

    Thanks for dropping by folks!

    Last edited by akabraille; October 30th, 2008 at 06:06 PM.
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  21. #14
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    this is a great step in the right direction
    you now are painting with the graphite in stead of noodling with a pencil.
    keep this idea of form going when you sketch. it suits you well.

    things to remember::::::

    you would probably see a little bit more of his eye lids even in the shadows.
    ears are hard, draw lots of them. after a bit they become easy. i would just do one page of just ears and youll never have to worry about them again.

    also take a good look at this.
    john singer sargent = amazing

    it reminded me of your drawing. study how he drew the hair.
    in fact re drawing this a few times might help, but try and keep your form and line work of the last drawing. its painterly, and with a little bit of refinery i think you might be on to something.

    you might also want to check out simon fellah for his line work. pretty intense but help helpful.


    ps thanks for droppin by the sketchbook




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    This one took longer than the last sketch because I wanted to play with it more just to see what would happen. Anyway this is Frank Mir, also from the UFC....

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    Last edited by akabraille; November 8th, 2009 at 12:04 AM.
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    You are definitely getting better. You are using lights and darks more effectively, and the placement of the features looks more accurate. Keep it up. I definitely agree with FlipNasty about trying to paint with the pencil. (and ears)

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  26. #17
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    Here's one of my first attempts at a self portait using dramatic lighting (we've been forbidden until now from adding shadows to our self portraits). Personally I don't like charcoal but as with all things, it takes some getting used to and by the looks of other ppl's sketchbooks, when used correctly one can achieve great results.

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    Last edited by akabraille; November 8th, 2009 at 12:15 AM.
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    One thing you might want to try out with regards to charcoal... materials can be kind of critical. in my experience... definitely use "charcoal paper." beyond that... try to get a rock solid vine / willow drawing down before you dark anything else in with compressed. Once you are in the position to smooth out some of the values, particularly in the vine stage... use a paper towel... and don't contaminate the vine sketch with the ooils of your hand. another thing you can do for very detailed areas is to get a styrofoam egg carton and tear off little bits of that, fold them up, and then smudge with that. they wear out, but yeah, this is all / cheap-as-free-charcoal-betterment-techniques Maybe even fix that before you go in and add in the compressed or charcoal pencil. Glad to see you working in charcoal... a little more practice and i think you'll really like it... yeah it's messy and hard to get used to but it's a beautiful medium. And it's worth it to try to develop a solid charcoal rendering technique. With regards to compressed charcoal, you should look out for the Black, rectangular pastel little square sticks, instead of the round, more graphite colored ones. The rectangular pastel ones are just SOOO black and intense. and that can really add a HUGE PUNCH to a drawing. the last self-portrait is looking really solid, although... if i didn't know you drew it i don't think i'd guess that it is you. Definitely a good job though... and yeah that's a strange lighting situation. good opportunity to really get in there and throw in some intense flecks of black to punch up the values. Seems like it'd work better if you had a background. would pull the head into the foreground... gives more sense with regards to the lighting situation. did a paintover... and punched up a few of the coreshadows.

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  29. #19
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    gugg: Thanks for the critic! And I see what you mean about values from your paintover. I've started using the styrofoam egg cartoon bits to smudge my drawings and it works like a charm, only thing is, like you mentioned, I have to keep breaking off more pieces because they sort of crumble after a while.

    ev'rybody: Thanks for stopping by and giving me positive feed back. I really appreciate it!

    ...now to the sketch: I'm a fan of Reese Hoffa, he's the current World Champion in the Shot Put since August of '07. He also competed in the Olympics at Beijing this year. Incidentally he's from Georgia. The lighting on the reference pic of this one is significantly different from the reference pic of Frank Mir. Probably because when the photo of Mir was taken they wanted him to look intimidating but since Reese, below, is goofy, they opted for more lights from different angles during his photoshoot. Because of all those lights I had to sort of guess with the lines to show off the shape of his face. I'm still learning folks.

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    Last edited by akabraille; November 12th, 2009 at 06:39 PM.
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    ali aka aka braille>>> lookin good! i'm not sure what this guy looks like, but it's definitely a believable human face that is well proportioned. it might help us since these are photo-referenced to maybe throw up a picture of the reference? since there isn't any context i'm not really sure what kind of hat he is wearing, maybe a rice farmer's hat? you did say he was in china so maybe he picked it up as a souvenir, maybe as part of his Raiden halloween costume. anyways, keep up the quick sketching like this and maybe try to blur your eyes a little when looking at reference to really see where those darks need to go. this will give your picture a lot more dimension.

    cheers

    m

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  32. #21
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    Gugg>> Thanks and you make a good point which I was considering but not too sure of, that's putting up the actual photo. I got it off of NBC's official Olympic Games site. Here it is...

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    Last edited by akabraille; December 7th, 2008 at 12:03 AM.
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    Alright, I did another mixed martial artist (in case you haven't noticed I watch a lot of UFC ). Anyway I did a sketch of Michael Bisping from a picture of him I saw in an issue of Fight magazine. It's a lot lighter than the others I've drawn, to be honest I really don't use a lot of force with my lead pencil because I'm afraid I'll make a gigantic, irreversible mistake. I'm really happy that I got his cauliflower ears down and his right squinty eye which looked, from the ref pic, as if it's pupil was larger than his left eye's pupil (what's up with that?pld: ). I concluded that after getting punched so many times in the face, he was bound to have some kind of permanent damage. I'm going to have to work on this some more because after scanning it in I realized I could have done a much better job of shadowing particularly under his brow line.

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  34. #23
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    I recently started sketching people on the train to and from class. I'm really interested in anatomy especially when it pertains to thought-up characters so I'm hoping this will be good practice for me. Anyway here's the first batch...

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    Hey there, i think your portraits look awesome. I really like the 2 of the ufc fighters. I like the impressionistic(hope that's the right term) feel to it.

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    God Bless
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  37. #25
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    matty_rhoades: Thanks much, I'm not sure myself what the name of the style I used to draw the UFC fighters is called but like I said in previous posts I'm just trying to loosen up.

    Here are more sketches done on the train...

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    Even more people from the train! Any suggestions as to what to keep in mind while sketching? Thanks guys!

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    Keep this SB alive man! Feel the volume of the faces, they still look flat! All the best man keep it up!

    G

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    Some more train folk on the left. I'm trying to use lines to create volume on the faces. I think I'm getting better or at least I feel like I'm making some progress. I think the people I'm sketching are starting to notice me staring at them though, for example the guy on the very top kept stealing looks at me out of the corner of his eye. On the right is a friend who's on my last college's Quiz Bowl team and directly under it is a sketch of my boss who is also the coach of my last college's Quiz Bowl team. I caught them both during the trivia tournament held last Staurday. I've noticed that I've started adding more detailed notes about the stuff happening around me at the very moment of the sketch, I think I'll keep that up.

    Ciao folks!

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    Hey, your drawings are looking much better already. Keep it up!

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    ali aka aka braille>>> hey ali! these are looking pretty swell. it's a great time to get some sketching done, being on the train. i find the bus to be a bit too bumpy, but the train ride works well. hmmm, as far as improving these, i'd say to really focus and try to get the most accurate, maximum line economy that you can achieve with every line. the value you add in afterwards with hatching will work much more effectively that way. I think the features placement is going well, altho practicing drawing some ears to get more comfortable with how they work will be helpful moving forward when drawing faces in profile. anyways, yeah, i hope that makes sense. these are looking great... keep going!

    m

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