I've gotta improve drawing from observation. FAST.
 
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  1. #1
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    I've gotta improve drawing from observation. FAST.

    I want to improve my drawing from real-life (need to beef up my portfolio. All you guys's awesome art makes me feel terrible about mine. D=). Can anybody tell me of some good books or something that could give me some tips?
    Currently I'm working with "Drawing on the Right Side of The Brain".
    Anybody got any other good books that could help? =)

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  3. #2
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    Why not just finish one, then ask?

    Or find some sticky, there's plenty around that say the same stuff everyone says here all the time. Loomis, Bridgman, practice practice practice. Rinse and repeat.

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    To paraphrase a muppet: "There is no fast, there is only do."

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  6. #4
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    Seriously, read probably any 5 random threads here and likely one of them will be someone asking this exact same question. If you can't find your answer in a forum you are already reading, then a book isn't going to help. You've probably read all of the advice you need. What you need is practice so you can understand the advice you've probably already read. Or the patience to read what's in front of you rather than thinking you can improve FAST. You can improve fast, but the people who do are drawing, not looking for a book to give them a shortcut.

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  8. #5
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    Frankly, the only way to get better at drawing from life is to just do it - a lot. It's a process of quick digestion where all that by the moment visual information gets digested and shot to your hand that you can only develop through practice.

    In my experience, it relies on your hand knowing how to react and your brain knowing what remember. Efficiency! Practice! etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J Wilson View Post
    Seriously, read probably any 5 random threads here and likely one of them will be someone asking this exact same question. If you can't find your answer in a forum you are already reading, then a book isn't going to help. You've probably read all of the advice you need. What you need is practice so you can understand the advice you've probably already read. Or the patience to read what's in front of you rather than thinking you can improve FAST. You can improve fast, but the people who do are drawing, not looking for a book to give them a shortcut.
    I don't want a shortcut... What I want is tips. Serious tips. Because I try to draw what I see, I really do, but I always end up unsatisfied. I feel like I'm missing something. I really don't know what it or they may be, but I'm not doing something properly... =(
    I think it may be my process... But I just don't know...

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    Quote Originally Posted by DDar View Post
    I really don't know what it or they may be, but I'm not doing something properly... =(
    Don't worry about that. Quit trying to make every drawing a masterpiece. You're going to screw up. You can't change that. Just DRAW. That's all it takes. If you don't like how a drawing looks, either change it or move on to something else. As long as you learn something, no matter how small, it's worth it.

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  11. #8
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    Exactly how many of these drawings have you done? It'll be a long time before you'll be satisfied with something you draw.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RyerOrdStar View Post
    Exactly how many of these drawings have you done? It'll be a long time before you'll be satisfied with something you draw.
    QFT. When I was in school, one of my professors told us that 90% of our stuff will be junk. It's the 10% that will be amazing. This applies whether for art in general or graphic design (aka designing logos, etc...) Even now, when I sketch or doodle for ideas, it's the few images that pop out at me. I tend to do a warm-up just to get the crap out first.

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    There's so many forms of drawing from real life. You are questioning your process in your previous post but hasn't specified what you're actually doing; there's huge differences between a 30 second gesture to a 2 hour conte drawing.

    I'm going to have to be vague here since I'm not sure what you're having trouble with when drawing life. There are many aspects to improve upon for your observational drawings. Similar to the typical stats in a video game like strength, agility, and stamina, you have to train different aspects of your mind and body (gesture, structure, speed, etc...) in order to become better at it, an improved version of yourself. I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you want to improve faster (which is what you want, right?), you should not only practice a lot, but practice in a variety of different ways.

    My personal training tip is to go out to a cafe, subway, or other public spaces and sketch a crapload of people and how they act. Draw quick ones on people who are moving a lot, and more established ones if the person is reading a book or generally staying still. The reason why this is such excellent practice because, at any moment, your subject may move and may even leave. This exercise improves your speed on how fast your mind processes a subject and, most importantly, you train to analyze and you will start to interpret and simplify structure to your own preference; getting the important things down quickly. The best part is that you can do this in your spare time without the reliance of the more formal life drawing sessions, which may not happen every single day of the week.

    Read up on Loomis and Bridgman also to get tips on how to observe the human body but you still got to practice like crazy.

    Last edited by Alex Chow; December 10th, 2008 at 02:50 AM.
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  15. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by DDar View Post
    I feel like I'm missing something.
    You are. You're missing YEARS OF DRAWING. Thus, DRAW MORE. There is no secret, there is no fast track, there is only practice.

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  16. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyerOrdStar View Post
    Exactly how many of these drawings have you done? It'll be a long time before you'll be satisfied with something you draw.
    As of late, I've been drawing for at LEAST an hour every day. I mostly work with "Drawing With the Right Side of The Brain", but I also try and draw what's around me. Mostly my classmates. Sometimes the trees that are outside the window. But everything comes out wrong, the people I draw rarely look like the actual person I'm drawing.
    And while it's true that I'm missing the years of drawing that most of you have probably already had, I'm still 18. That's probably not much of an excuse to alot of you, but I just realized that this is what I want to do with my life. I feel confident in saying that I'm passionate about this, and I really want to improve.
    Everyone needs some tips, don't they? Like, say you want to improve strength in a game. You have to know where the enemies that give strength experience ARE, you know?

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  17. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DDar View Post
    You have to know where the enemies that give strength experience ARE, you know?
    .......what?

    We ARE giving you a tip: that is TO DRAW. The theory you read in books is not suddenly going to make you the awesome artist able to reproduce likenesses at will. DRAWING MORE will.

    Only an hr a day? Seriously? When I was a kid it was ALL I did. Before school, during school (it helped me remember lectures better instead of nodding off), after school and loooong after I was supposed to be in bed. I used to start a piece in the afternoon/evening and stay up all night into the next morning until it was done. Then I'd go straight to school...haha.

    Point is, getting better faster requires drawing more. One hr a day is not enough for that. THERE IS NO SHORTCUT.

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  18. #14
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    Strength experience is in drawing from life as often as you can. There's no other way. Read through threads here every so often to see what you can pick up for work suggestions, but honestly reading most of it now won't help you that much.

    To take it back into game terms, imagine these tips you want as abilities that require a certain skill level to even understand. You're not level 20 yet, you can't learn that skill. You can't slay dragons when you still have problems with boars and wolves. Level up, and every so often check with the skill trainer (reading these forums) to see if there is anything new you can learn, but expect a lot of it may still be too advanced.

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  19. #15
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    I know this is a revolutionary concept but maybe you should draw stuff from real life.

    A lot.

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  20. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by DDar View Post
    but I also try and draw what's around me. Mostly my classmates. ... But everything comes out wrong, the people I draw rarely look like the actual person I'm drawing.
    Good. That's a more specific problem which me and others can help you with.

    This is an issue I have, but Bobby Chiu has given me slightly obvious tips to help alleviate it. In reality, there's actually a very easy way to deal with this (easy to understand but requires a lot of time to perfect, that is).

    I'm not sure if somebody else has told you this before, but your end goal, in a tight time frame (assuming it's a "Hey, DDar? Can you draw me in 10 minutes before I have class?" sort of thing), is to be able to capture the essence of subjects. Look for few prominent features which make the person unique ("Are any features on the face and exceptionally big or small? What simple geometric shape(s) does that person's body look like?" for example) and then translate your analysis of the subject onto your drawing. Even if the angles aren't exactly what you see, if you have the prominent features down, it can resemble the person. This is the reason why professional caricatures resemble the subjects even after the large number of distortions considered.

    And let's say it doesn't resemble the person anyways; who cares? Just remember that the second your classmates leave, the drawing you did can be claimed as your own original character creation, haha. Reflect upon your mistakes and try to get the resemblance next time. Do not stress over the fact that it may not look like your subjects; it just requires practice, which every artist has to do a lot of.

    That said, you should also bump that minimum worktime to more than an hour.

    Last edited by Alex Chow; December 10th, 2008 at 02:39 PM.
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  21. #17
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    An hour, eh. Well, I'm quite surprised you're not Rembrandt already from that.

    Come back after you've been drawing every day for at least 4-12 hours (and yes it's possible I do it all the time).

    It'll be a long time before you can make someone look like themselves...that's not a skill you learn in a year or two.

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  22. #18
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    DDar,

    Here, this might help.

    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=60753

    It's geared towards figure drawing, but the concepts it covers - form, shape, edge, gesture, values, etc. - can be applied to anything. I can't tell you specifically what you need to work on without having seen any of your art, but chances are, you will need to address one or many or all of the categories above to improve.

    As far as books go, read Harold Speed's The Practice and Science of Drawing.

    Oh, and like everyone else said, you can't get better overnight, because, when it comes down to it, learning is a biochemical process, and it takes quite a bit of time for your brain to reconfigure itself and your muscles to develop motor memory. The best way to get those processes going is to practice as much as you can.

    Good luck.

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