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i'm 23, and a graduate of 'computer games art BA'. that is a confusing title for a degree, but it was basically a mixture of drawing, 3D modelling and animation.
regarding the specifics of my drawing education, i was taught perspective, objects, and people. teaching consisted of life drawing classes, lectures on general theory (composition, line, form etc.), and classes where we would draw objects in class and discuss progress.
although it sounds pretty comprehensive, students were expected to put a lot of effort in in there own time, and we didn't have that much contact with the drawing tutors. speaking of which, i had a variety of tutors including an ex-animator, an ex-comic artist, a painting teacher and a life drawing tutor. we were encouraged to learn from all types of drawing and art.
unfortunately, it wasn't a fine art or illustration course. drawing was only one of the modules and most time was taken up modelling and animating in 3D.
i wanted to focus more on my drawing. the thought of being a character designer or concept artist was more desirable for me.
when i left university i felt i knew how to draw well enough, but i began to forget things and it became apparent that even though i drew alot, i didn't understand or learn as much as i should have about what i was doing. for example, my life drawings were terrible because i wasn't thinking, and i didn't know how to approach the model.
at the moment i am attending life classes again and drawing every day for maybe about 8 hours or so. i didn't draw anything over the summer, and began trying to fix things around september.
i don't have any strict career goals at the moment. my aim is to get to a level in my drawing where i no longer have to problem solve, and can concentrate soley on expression and having a direct connection between my thoughts and feelings and the marks.
i am also designing a game with a programmer friend at the moment. the conceptual stage is over and we need to start designing soon.
please aid me in my goal of total freedom of expression with no limits! thank you~
to give you guys an idea of where i was back in august last year, here is a concept sketch i did for a game character, from imagination.
the lines are really scratchy, and my knowledge of anatomy is weak.
the drawing of the intimidating woman (from imagination) was from early december last year. so in four months there is some improvement.
and the gesture sketches from imagination were done a couple of days ago, and it's where i'm currently at.
even though i've been helped by tutors, i'm pretty much self-taught. i try to use my own mind to work through problems instead of reaching for book on 'how to draw'. i did all that loomis stuff at uni and that is fine for a while, but i found it didn't help me learn my own way, and i needed to break from it and teach myself, how i want to draw. so i spent a long time failing and ignoring anatomy. but during that time i learnt rhythm and flow and discovered lots of different lines.
my tutor gave me a .pdf on 'force: the key to capturing life through drawing' by 'michael D. mattesi'. i kind of ignored it for a few months, until i was stuck and started reading it and it's proved very useful. i'm using some of the principles in that book, such as 'anatomy as shape', and 'applied & directional forces'.
here are some recent gestures, all from imagination. i work through problems as they arise and log them in the sketchbook.
please give me any advice, and always offer different avenues, because even though i'm concentrating primarily on efficient lines and movement at the moment, eventually i will get tired and need to change my ideas and do something different.
recently i've been concentrating on how to approach a drawing, fundamental construction, and essential lines and shapes.
here are some of my recent life drawings. most of them have the time i spent on them in the corner.
you can tell which ones were done before i adopted principles of force, and after. the forceful life drawings were done earlier this evening, and the other ones were done in november and december of last year.
all done on A4 sketchbook - the paper is fairly thick and rough but not too rough. i mostly use a HB or 2B. sometimes i use coloured pencil.
Ok, I see you're doing gestures and taking life drawing classes. Keep doing it, this will help you improve immensely. It's hard to critique all of your work because of the volume. In general I'll say this for your work: linework is great, but not when trying to do something which is intended to appear realistic. There are no black outlines around shapes irl. Instead really work on bringing out the values of light and dark by blending appropriately. Lines should be faint and used only at the beginning of the work to outline the shape of the human/object that you're drawing.
From your humans the faces are most apparent as the place you need to work the most. The bodies are hit/miss. Look at the last one, the guy's jaw and neck really don't come together well at all. Also his right arm has bent bones and I don't think you meant to do this, instead you were probably looking at the cloth and tried to show the flow but right now it just throws the piece off. I'll tell you that the feet you drew on that last sketch are excellent, most people (including myself) struggle with feet.
Hope this helps, good luck!
i think i know what you mean. when i was in life class the other day, i found it difficult to shade my drawings because the lines were so bold, and even though i'm 'drawing through', and around the subject, sometimes it comes off as flat.
by blending, do you mean going from line to shading; blending outside shape with inside volume? for this, do you recommend a more ambiguous line; something looser? or is that not necessary?
Yeah, start your life stuff light and loose, this way any inaccurate mark you make isn't a "mistake", it's a "reference". Those refernce lines become less noticeble as you work towards building up the marks that DO represent the figure... the keepers. If you leave in some of those reference lines then the drawing has a bit of texture to it, or might be more interesting as a drawing as viewers get a sense of your process from those marks.
I think you're doing a nice job on those gestures btw.
My 2 cents
here are some sketches from observation i did earlier today. i just sat down and drew people walking past as they were shopping and going about their business. i haven't sketched people like this in ages, haven't done it for about a year.
i'm lacking on details, i know. it's hard enough trying to capture a stance when people are constantly moving, and harder still to add smaller details - faces for example are really hard for me to capture.
one approach is a direct recording, and the others are generalizing the shapes of the people i saw. then there is a 'broken line' sketch i did on the bus, because i had time to log the little details.
advice and critique is welcome! how do you approach drawing people on the move?
Last edited by Just_Nonplussed; January 13th, 2009 at 04:01 PM. Reason: ammending title
here's some character stuff i've done. mostly from last year. the storyboard is from a uni project (a game concept).
here are some sketches from the posemaniacs reference site. i was too slow to capture the 30sec poses! so these ones are about 50secs each. after drawing them i added annotations and went over in crayon (i like to analyse what i've done >.>)
fear is a problem when drawing. i've managed to eliminate it almost entirely from imagination sketches, but not from life drawing yet. i think it has something to do with just the presence of the model in front of me. it's hard to tell myself that i'm not copying, but using the model as a reference to create my own lines.
for some reason, i need every line to be perfect and confident, or i lose confidence and enthusiasm to carry on.
I know the impression of the fear while drawing ^_^
The only suggestion I feel to give you is to use some light lines at the start of your drawing.
I see your lines are approximately all of the same weight; it could help you to make the first ones very light, and then build the figure up on them; a kind of structure reference. Maybe this could help you also to loosen up.
Keep up the work and goooood luck!
before i started drawing force and finding the energy in the body, i was drawing in a different way. i was using 'line of action', then layering spheres to build my characters, then adding contour over the top. i will post some sketches to show what i mean.
i've been wondering....regarding life drawing, when people say 'build up' and 'start by drawing loose', whether that kind of approach results in a certain type of life drawing, different from how you would forcefully approach and bring to life a model using line as 'acceleration' and 'feeling'.
for example, i want a confident and defined drawing, full of energy, but i want to flow only through rhythm and connection...the loose approach (by loose, i mean 'wandering' and 'ambiguous line') i feel would not/does not help with this, but instead reaches its own conclusion in a different interpretation of the model...something more painterly, more of a western idea of 'realism', as opposed to capturing the essence of a pose.
any thoughts on this would greatly be appreciated.
Last edited by Just_Nonplussed; January 14th, 2009 at 01:48 PM. Reason: ammending title
i forgot about variable line weight.... thank you for reminding me. i will be concious of it in the future.
trying to define an approach to 'building up' when drawing a model or person from reference.
when people say 'loose', what comes to mind is ambiguity and guessing. however, i'm pretty confident with line and intersections, so i'm no longer guessing, but i'm finding rhythms in the body, but drawing these loosely and looking, and recording, and looking and recording, until i'm confident of the feel of the pose.
the other drawings here are an initial approach to shading and remembering that there are bones underneath all the muscles, and that the muscles have seperate groups that intersect.
i know my shading is crap at the moment. i've ignored hatching and shading for a long time.
comments and tips would be appreciated. thank you!
trying to understand how clothes work with movement.
here is some more shading practice. i'm not sure how to approach shading - so any crits and tips will be helpful.. i feel i'm doing it wrong.
i realised why i've been putting shading off. i've been influenced a lot by japanese drawing styles, especially by artists such as hokusai that only use lines and don't shade, but still pay attention to form ('contour as form'). the lines in these style of drawings are so precise and un-editable, that shading them makes them look flat and 'wrong'.
so i'm wondering whether to just shade very subtley, or simply use an ink or water colour wash on my drawings.
the loose, ambiguous lines....they work better with shading because you can blend from light lines to harder lines; there is more expression with the actual lines, as opposed to the efficiant and more defined drawing of 'asian' styles.
does anyone agree with me/disagree?
the other drawing is my notes on the differences between life drawing/reference drawings and drawings from imagination. hope you can read my handwriting!
i've discovered that my figure drawings up until now have been about communication of thoughts and feelings, talking, talking of the sub-concious. anatomy is merely the vehicle for for movement and direction.
i draw using verbs in the same way you would describe an action with words.
but the journey still continues towards full literacy and the desire to be as articulate as i can be.
...thought has no place in the act of drawing. the act is spontaneous, instinctual, intuitive. it should just flow.
the logical process (the rational structure that allows freedom of expression) really reminds me of 'kinematics', a principle of 3D animation, where movements are divided into 'forward' and 'inverse'. the logical structure i use is similar, but thinking about it in those terms does no good for the actual act of drawing, or should i say, talking.
my speech isn't great here, but i'm mostly fluent now. maybe i should take a break and relax a little. i feel i don't have as much energy as i'd like to put into these. my imagination is also stalled at the moment - it's not connecting to these expressions. maybe they're in different areas. i don't know. drawing is like dancing, you need to learn how to dance before you can let go, take the stage and perform for an audience.
i think i'll study light seperately. light and dark feels to me to go better with a more ambigous and loose build-up process, where not every line counts or has a function.
i agree with your idea of studying light separately, at least for now.
Then you will find a natural way to merge it
"the loose, ambiguous lines....they work better with shading because you can blend from light lines to harder lines; there is more expression with the actual lines, as opposed to the efficient and more defined drawing of 'Asian' styles."
If your on a journey to absolute expression- go with it and see if it fits your expectations. Just lineart and implied lines, and color is beautiful if done appropriately.
Sorry for long post by the way.
callouses on the fingers. If you don’t have any, you’re not drawing enough.
I will be an Artist or nothing! ; The Sketchbook
here are my life drawings from this week's session. we draw from 6-9, and this is a selection from those hours.
last week i told myself that i needed to stop worrying about putting down the initial marks. i feel i've acheived this to an extent...but i'm taking too much time on the 5 and 10 minute poses, so i'm not leaving enough time to get in all the muscles, facial details and fingers and toes.
when you're sitting in a room with a naked man in front of you, it's very different from drawing from imagination or reference. you might go in there thinking that you're going to try so and so approach, but you feel yourself having to adapt more than you thought. for instance, my drawings from imagination follow specific formulas that alter slightly, but you can't see everything in a life model sometimes, so 'drawing through' (which i'm used to in imagination sketches) becomes difficult.
i attempted to find the longest lines in the body i could make, so as to set the pose up quickly and concentrate on intersecting the muscles. how this differs from imagination is that you're not confronted with the model or a specific problem, you repeat the same lines in different positions. there's a lot more variety in a life model pose.
it seems fitting to add my rough workings on how to draw characters from imagination in perspective (while maintaining a consistant rhythm). it will be good to look at them in comparisson to the life drawing approaches.
generally, when trying to draw characters in perspective, i begin at 'eye level', homing in on a specific body part and then move up to an ellipse that defines the upper or lower body, then i divide the body in two and curl around the buttocks to define the legs. dividing the body into two, vertically and horizontally makes things easier to deal with, but also allows easy 'travelling' routes around buttocks, shoulders or whatever else. everything branches off or returns to the center. it's essential to be aware that the body is symmetrical.
when drawing the life model in perspective, i tend to rely on the lines that are there. should i draw through? should i apply my imagination construction? or simply exploit the model with whatever is there?
though i do think the reason for the ellipse is that i'm moving the upper body, or i'm moving the hips. i can't move the model though.
the last two are crap i know. i was experimenting with shading.. hmm
anyway... sorry if you had to read all that!
edit: looking at the drawings, i got bogged down with details too much. there isn't much of a link or connection between masses and limbs...the essential connection. perhaps i was simply finding the quickest way, without thinking about weight and gravity..
Last edited by Just_Nonplussed; January 19th, 2009 at 07:29 PM. Reason: adding stuff
yeah, the reason i don't spend more time on my characters is because they're just little skeletons that are helping me to understand how to communicate, and so once i've solved the problems i'm working on, i can let go a bit and express, spend some more time; fill them with colour.
the only barriers at the moment are being comfortable with drawing characters in perspective from most angles, and a little bit more on heads. then i'm going to start colouring. and hopefully clothes after that!
mm, i really want to do a series of dance moves. i was considering ballet, but maybe tap instead... whole pages of dances. there's a certain visual language i want to tap into there.
@Janos - thanks. i draw a lot because i'm working through problems...eventually i can use those 'solutions' in purely expressive terms.
btw: please offer up different approaches if you think i'm going the 'wrong' way or doing too little or too much of something. cheers.
You should try gymnastics. You seem to have a set formula for every drawing you do, I am not telling you to disregard this because your imaginative drawings are a testament to its efficiency, but maybe just letting your mind go blank and drawing would yield interesting results?
Usually using the strongest and not the longest line is what makes the whole figure come together when doing short gestures (at least in my view). My first firgure drawing session I was so nervous I forgot to use my eraser, then I was angry and puzzled. Finally I just put everything into the paper and it worked out. You just need to adapt I would say, just draw what comes natural(whether imagination or not),that's what humans do;adapt, right?
callouses on the fingers. If you don’t have any, you’re not drawing enough.
I will be an Artist or nothing! ; The Sketchbook
I agree with Talkingjello, trying a new, fresh and unusual formula could open you new ways of seeing yoour drawings...experimenting is always fun ^_^
gymnastics would be cool..maybe even dance. i don't know. maybe at some point. i can't picture it at the moment.
once i fully understand my skeleton, i'll try to let it go and not draw from the same base each time.. kind of like how a child has training wheels on their bike, but eventually learns to ride without them.
as for other styles of drawing i'm aware of that, but i feel i can only concentrate on one thing at a time, and this project needs to come to fruition first; so once i'm able to draw my figures in perspective okay, i can do a few larger pieces and spend some more time on them.
edit: @talkingjello - 'on life drawing' - yeah, if you notice the third to last life drawing (the ones with all the hands), that was more an immediate 'reaction' to what i saw, and the others are more about an 'analysis' of what i see, working around to feel how to connect the upper and lower, or the top and bottom. which do you think comes out best?
Last edited by Just_Nonplussed; January 20th, 2009 at 01:16 PM. Reason: additions
Looking good here, I feel inspired to do more studies and such
I like that you are getting down the basics before going wild ;D