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I really don't know how I should be going about this. I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, and I'm trying to condition myself into the habit of drawing daily again. For a while I was drawing daily and really concentrating on it and made a ton of improvement. Then I just stopped, and I don't know why.
I really do want to be an artist by trade, it fills my head day and night and It's time I start acting like it's what I really want.
This is the first of a series of drapery studies that I intend to do. All from photo ref. Once I'm confident enough in my basic understanding of the nature of drapery I will move onto still life setups with different lighting. As I stand now my confidence in many aspects of art is a big fat zero, so you won't see me posting up any paintings (digital or otherwise) until I feel that I've obtained a sufficient understanding of light and form among other things like composition.
Any help that all of you can offer me would be greatly appreciated.
A quick introduction about myself before the image: I'm 22 years old, I'm a U.S. citizen who has spent the past few years living abroad in Japan and now in Beijing, China. I have played guitar for almost 8 years, and have a strong passion for music (but because of degenerating hearing I don't see a future for myself in music). I have been a member of CA for a few years, and have received unbelievable help and encouragement but I've come to the conclusion that I've been approaching this whole thing from too many random angles and none of the paths I have taken have quite converged in the way I'd like them to, so I am here to ask you all to help me onto the tried and tested path of traditional study and discipline.
First two images. The first is my "Journeyman" sketch that I have posted in the Critique Center ( http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=133201 ). The second is a drapery study I did which I was inspired to do because of problems I've been having with the garb of the journeyman.
Edit: I don't know why the journeyman picture looks the way it does. It's not that grainy in my sketchbook, and the sky and some parts of the inside are smooth in my sketchbook, but not that color. Don't know what went wrong with the scanning.
Last edited by Sepulverture; November 14th, 2009 at 11:30 AM.
If you really want to be adept at this drapery stuff, I have the perfect setup for you.
The thing about drapery is that every piece of cloth follows the same physics as any other. So instead of focusing hours and hours on one or two drape setups, spend hours and hours on 30 or 50. To do that many so quickly you need to transfer over to charcoal or a huge slab of graphite for large strokes with flowing motion just like what a piece of cloth does. Nit picking with a little pencil on a tiny sheet of paper limits you to just that frame capture of flow in the drape. Like learning japanese or chinese, you must take thousands of sentences through your head to grasp the underlying grammer which with time will only come naturally. Do that with the drapes, send thousands of different fold positions through your sketchbook, and you will understand the grammer of it eventually.
Tash9 - Thanks a lot for the advice there. I understand the logic behind your comment, and in truth have had something like that in mind for a long time for my anatomy studies. Quick gestural pieces rather than drawn out renders. I think it's a good piece of advice and I will apply it more in my next round of studies than I did with this one.
For this study I did take Tash9's advice into consideration. The first study lasted for a total number of 5 working hours to complete (not counting all the little breaks I took to play guitar, eat, walk around outside). This one took a total drawing time of 1 and a half hours, but I'm fairly pleased with the results (even knowing that it's still extremely rough, the idea wasn't to get a perfect render).
Any criticism or advice will be most appreciated, and I will consider every bit of it. I plan to make this a daily journal of my fine art studies, focusing on drapery for the time being.
Learn the seven laws of folds
also study how other artists draw and design folds..I particularly like Andrea del Sarto treatment of them..including the way he colors them..learning classical drapery will make easier to draw the other capes and the like..
Also study and copy some drawings of masters here..lord leightons approach:
and one from Bouguereau:
Thanks for the link T.A., this is killer.
I've got the Complete Guide to Drawing from Life by Bridgman, and I think it includes a section on drapery although I'm not sure. I like that book you referred, it's simple and informative. Thanks a lot!
Here are some updates for you all. One of them (the arm) is a study that I intend to make a long sitting study, photo ref, and the others are all from Bridgman. I hope I'm doing these quick studies right. Crits and comments are most welcome, as well as any other suggestions for master artists I can study.
Here's a few updates to get the ball rolling again. Will update again. Comments and feedback welcome.
Last edited by Sepulverture; September 23rd, 2008 at 08:16 AM.
Howdy one and all!
I decided to put my recently acquired tidbits of knowledge about drapery to the test and did a drawing of Sun Wu Kong (the monkey king). Almost all of the drapery is my own creation, but some bits especially around the tops of the shoulders had me stumped so I did find some reference.
Please give some feedback, I'd much appreciate it.
Here's another updated. Corrected some of the folds in his shirt and corrected his right hand (the one holding the staff), as well as some minor changes to the face.
I had a great opportunity today and I could NOT pass it up. I had the chance to observe something of a kung fu legend in his element today. My friends' master was the teacher of one of Jet Li's teachers and he let me sit in on his lessons this morning and do gesture drawings and some photography. I got some great shots of him, as well as the members of an elderly class that he teaches so if anyone would like some really great action shots (none posed, I took them with a highspeed SLR camera). Really great man, funny, great students too. They were full of questions when I was sketching their peers.
Here are the studies I did, 24 in all, plus some of the photos I took.
I'm enjoying this thread! I really like to see somebody who cares about the fundamentals. Because the fundamentals are like planting acorns. The seeds are small but the tree ends up huge.
You're getting a good grasp of the weight of fabric, very believable. Good flow too.
I have some crits for ya...
One thing about drapery that REALLY helps is knowing the form underneath. I don't know if you've "done your Bridgman" yet, but I'd highly recommend it. It just entails reading Bridgman's anatomy books and copying the drawings into your notebooks. This is a good method for "data entry."
Also remember that every fabric has a particular thickness that is consistent. That means that when a fold happens, that fold can not be less thick than two "thicknesses" of the cloth (one fold on top of another) Boatloads of drapery errors relate to making folds too thin where they taper.
Another small thing, about your drawing. You are doing a lot "fishing" with your lines, essentially trying a blizzard of variations out on paper. I would recommend that you try the "one line, correct the first time" approach. This means slowing down. But 1 slow line probably takes as much time as 30 fast ones. And by slow I don't mean draw the line slow. I mean spend some time thinking about the line. Design the lines and the shapes in your head first. If you can see the image in your head first, it will be much easier to "place it" on the paper by using your imagination.
And you really don't need to press so hard with your sketch lines, if you still persist in fishing for your outlines. Make em soft. Once you pick the right line out of your random assortment, then darken it in. Make everything you work on beautiful, true and designed. Even studies (I don't care what anybody says to the contrary - oh its just studies. Every time you put pencil to paper you are training yourself.)
Practice making bolder strokes with a softer pencil, like an 8B. So when you've imagined the way you want your line to look, you can draw it in with some verve. Verve matters because it gives energy and life to a drawing. And confidence/authority. Painters often say it is better to draw a confident incorrect line than a fearful correct one. Authority "beams" off the canvas. Timidity hides in the corner. Nobody listens to a timid storyteller.
Anyhow, I'm really pumped up that you're doing this thread. Please keep going.
I'll be checking in.
At least Icarus tried!
My Process: Dead Rider Graphic Novel (Dark Horse Comics) plus oil paintings, pencils and other goodies:
My "Smilechild" Music. Plus a medley of Commercial Music Cues and a Folksy Jingle!:
Thanks Kev for the great crit, every word is understood.
To answer your question, I have been doing bridgman studies, although admittedly not as many as I should. I am doing more this morning and I will post them later this evening, or afternoon.
One thing that's making trouble for me is just a general lack of drawing experience still, at least when drawing living people. I had a lot of fun drawing the people at the park, but It was difficult drawing fast enough to capture their poses.
Thanks for the compliment about my thread, by the way, it's a real confidence booster to see people like what I'm doing here.
On a side note: I didn't mention this before but if you look closely the big white guy with the shaved head on the left side of the first image is yours truly fumbling with a giant stick of graphite
here's todays update. I took the liberty of doing some bridgmans. Tomorrow I'll be working on a new " creative" composition piece trying to utilize what I've learned about drapery and poses. In addition to that I'll be beginning a master copy, unfortunately I don't know who the author is because the master copies books I have are all bought locally, and therefore written in hanzi, which I'm not fluent in yet.
Here they are, as always crits and comments are welcomed and encouraged.
The bridgeman studies are good man. You really need to work on the gestures from life. Be confident with your lines and dont pet. If you screw up finish that one and move on don't try and correct it. The tip to being fast is to be confident, and to have flow rythm and mass. A good teacher for mixing with bridgeman is vilppu. Every line means something. Remember that. Anyway, those references you posted are great I'm using them right now, and keep up the good work. When it comes to drawing from life though within 1-10 minutes it is best to go in steps so don't attempt shading unless your character shows mass through line first.
Your fickle friend,
Last edited by Costau D; September 29th, 2008 at 04:14 AM.
great to see such dedication, sep. when i have something constructive to add, i'll say something. for now, keep pushing. g'luck!
Hey Purb. Never seen you in any of my threads, cool to see you here. Thanks for the compliments man, hope not to disappoint in the future.
Cole - Thanks for leaving the message here, man. Thanks for the crits, I'll work on these things as you're suggested. I tried to avoid line petting while doing these drawings.
here are a few pages of gesture studies. I didn't get to start my master copy, or creative comp projects today and I'm way pissed at myself for it, but today was unexpectedly packed full of different stuff, as I guess the rest of this week will be, it's Chinese National Day holiday, and my girlfriend and I are full of plans.
Anyway, here they are. Critique and be merry.
Hey folks. here's another update. this is the first of a series of master copies I intend to do.
I lucked out and happened to stumble across a book in an art book store which outlines all of the materials and studies that are required for entry into the Beijing Art Academy, prestigious place by all accounts, so I'm taking advantage of my find (and a cheap find at that! only 9 kuai, which is about a dollar and 50 cents).
Tomorrow my girlfriend and I are going to be buying some easels, casts, and some other this and thats, and things can begin to get a little more serious.
This study is one of the first times I've used charcoal, although I only used it to help soften some of the shadows. I tried using the graphite dust from my caseless pencils and mixed it with dust i shaved off some compressed charcoal, blended it in a glass jar and used an old paint brush to spread it. I'm pretty pleased with the results, I'll try more later.
This study took about 3 hours, and I'm not finished.
Looking good man keep it up. Could you post the study material your using? That would help with giving some advice. Also, since you are working with charcoal don't forget when you are out shopping to buy some spray fixative so these things don't smear.
One thing I do notice man is you go complete black way to soon. Layer those tones.
Help me, help you.
Last edited by Costau D; September 30th, 2008 at 05:18 PM.
Here's another cast drawing. This one has been about 4 hours in coming, and I had to restart a few times. I'm using a real cast that i bought today for this study and it's a hell of a lot harder to draw a live cast than it seems. Much love and respect for those who do it well. Also the final of the master copy I did. This cast drawing business is good stuff, I'm liking it a lot. Sorry for the quality of the posts this time. I put the cast on top of my scanner and didn't realize it was going to take so long, so I just took some photos with a crappy digital camera.
Sorry cole, I can't post up the study material. The top of my scanner is currently occupied by my cast, and the lamp I'm lighting it with.
Hope you guys approve. As always crits and comments welcome.
On second thought, the bounced light on the updated master copy is kind of weak. I think I may work on that a bit.
Here's yet another update to that cast study. Been a bit busy with the Chinese National Day holiday this week, things should start to get back to normal from this coming week.
Glad to see you're using those light lines to plot out your cast drawings, thats the way to go.
When you're doing your cast drawings, look out for where the darkest shadows are and do those carefullly. It'll provide a good benchmark for your mid and light tones.
You probably know this already but charcoal doesn't layer well on graphite so if you're combining both the graphite has gotta go on top of the charcoal.
And abstract larches in the neutral light
Hey there Andrew. thanks for the comments and crits about my work. I am trying to work on my line work, but it's slow in coming. As for the charcoal reference, I'm actually not using charcoal. I'm using a charcoal/graphite mixture that I made for literally 'painting' my values in. I use dust from shaved charcoal and graphite sticks, mix them together into a finer dust and use different sized paint brushes to lay down base layers for my values. It seems to be working, although it's messy and a bit time consuming to do it right.
Graydon - Thanks for the references! I wish I could get my hands on some of those casts and sculptures. Thanks especially for the Lord Leighton reference. It's always great to see how other artists were able to simplify and flatten forms to be manageable on paper/canvas.
I was asked for a step by step "work flow" for my dust painting thing I'm trying to develop (by no means do I assume I'm the first person to do this, but I haven't heard of many others who do) so here's a "quick" drapery study that I did. About 3 1/2 hours in total. I'm sorry for the quality of the photos, I was kind of in a hurry. I actually got my first commissioned drawing! and I need to get to work on that. This isn't the greatest study to use as example, since the lighting was kind of scattered. The reference was taken in a diffused light environment, and I'm not that great determining light in diffused lighting environments. Hopefully it serves the purpose though. God I just realized how badly I fucked up this poor guys face.
Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to help me in my progress with my renewed surge of studies and whatnot. I will take the time to try to give each of you crits and comments in return, just right now I'm trying to take advantage of my current inspiration. Thanks to a silly hormone imbalance I go through violent mood cycles, and I need to take advantage of this current mind set while I still have it. I will definitely return the favor to all of you who have helped me though.
Last edited by Sepulverture; October 7th, 2008 at 10:26 AM.
Just some thoughts.
The line work on the drawing of the old guy is cool I think you need to work the light and shade in larger patches to illustrate the general forms.
Insted of going for the minor forms that lie on the surface of major forms.
Shading out the major shape changes will alllow you to build those minor folds with regard to the relationship of the general shape to the light source. That way you will not have a fold in a dark area and a fold in the light area sharing the same core shadow value.
I did some quick paintovers to illustrate this. Do forgive the messiness of it all.
And abstract larches in the neutral light
Hi Andrew. I can dig your crit, dig it very well in fact, but the problem with this one is because the light source was so diffused I wasn't totally sure where it was coming from. Just vaguely from the right side of the page. I just did that study because it was different from the normal robes and drapery that I have been drawing. You are right however that I need to work on blocking in the larger forms before softening the shadows and adding in the details.
Here's a portrait of the old chinese wushu master that I said in other threads I was going to do sooner or later. Turns out that this is may be a going away gift for a friend of mine who's going back to her home country in Europe.
Hey Sep, its been a while,
Everything I was going to say Kev already said and more,
but I'll say anyways;
Draw lighter, and take more time to be accurate about the lines you lay down.
If you draw a lot of quick scribbly lines then draw them very very very lightly and use them as a foundation to work on top of.
Your life drawings look like your getting caught up in too much details, simplify the shapes you see in your mind then make just simple strokes on your paper that accurately depict those shapes to the best of your ability.
Its difficult to see so much detail in the object/person/landscape you are observing and not be able to capture it all on paper, but you have to remember that it takes A LOT of time to accurately render all that detail that you see, so you have to start at the simplest shapes and add on from there, and its not possible to get a lot of detail in a quick gesture drawing, but so long as throughout the entire drawing session/process you lay down accurate lines that are true to the subject, in some way, (even if it is in exaggeration) no matter how far or long you work on the drawing even if its 30 seconds it will be a believable drawing because of your careful accurate placement of lines/shapes/values/colors/edges.
Cool photos with the Kung fu, Tai Chi master, you live in China now?
Hi folks. I don't have time to give a proper response or posting here, so tomorrow I'll write a better post. here are a bunch of gestural type studies that I've done recently. Thanks to a suggestion given me by Hyver I started doing the draw-random-lines-and-find-shapes exercise, which turned out kind of fun and I need to do it some more to try to re-develop that creativity muscle.