Sketchbook: the_jos shows that everyone can learn to draw
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  1. #1
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    the_jos shows that everyone can learn to draw

    Around september 2008 I started drawing again. The last time I spend some time on it (besides doodles during dull meetings) was about twenty years ago.
    I don't work in the graphics industry and don't have any education in this field. Drawing is just something that makes me happy.

    I've lost the very early drawings, the earliest drawing I have is from early October 2008. I've attached it to show how great an artist I was back then
    The other drawing attached was made about a month ago.

    All time I have for drawing is in the evenings and weekends, I can't spend hours a day on drawing because I have a fulltime job and a household to run.
    Most of the time it's a lost hour somewhere in the evening.

    I think I made some progress in the past 6 months and hope I can inspire people who think they can't draw to rethink that.
    I don't have any special talent or something. If I can get better anyone can. Even with limited time.

    Let's start the journey with an obvious observation. You need to get moving to get somewhere.
    That's what the early attachment is about. My (re)start on my journey.
    I was back in newbie-village with very little skill and not much inspiration.
    The later picture is somewhere along the road. I've made more recent drawings which I will post someday.
    The end of the journey? I don't know, but I hope I meet a lot of interesting people while travelling.

    Along the way I will tell you something on the stuff that inspired me or somewhat helped me to pass some hurdles.

    On the drawings.
    The early one is close to the doodles I usually made when having a boring meeting. It's A4 regular 80g paper with HB pencil. Imaginary.
    The later one is made with a reference photo I found in some thread on this site. I just kept it on screen far away so I could not see the details, only the forms. Also A4 80g paper, 2B or 4B pencil.

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  2. #2
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    So I started my journey.
    I was not sure what to draw, still making some random tiny drawings.

    Then I decided to draw something I could see.
    My whisky glass that was still on the table.

    It turned out to be hard, with every movement of my head the light and reflections would change. And I tried to capture every single detail.

    A couple of days later I redrew the glass but focussed more on big shapes.
    This turned out to be easier and also made a less messy picture.

    Still I was not reading art books or websites, just trying to figure things out myself.

    All drawings are A4 80g paper with HB pencils.

    I made some smaller pictures in my small sketchbook, in this time but I lost those.

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  3. #3
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    My journey didn't go the way I wanted it, so I decided to get some inspiration at the local book store.
    Got myself a book on fantacy vehicles by Keith Thompson and far more important a book on fantacy landscapes by Ros Alexander.
    That last book had some nice basic information in it, specially on value, composition, light and shade, color, perspective and things like atmosphere.

    I didn't use this information back then, but at least it gave me some understanding of how things work.
    And I was looking for some inspiration, so I made some rough sketches based on a Beatles song.
    I will probably work on those later, I'm still thinking how to picture things the best.

    I also decided to draw some random stuff, partly unreferenced, part from a Keith Thompson book (the standing figure). Not the best reference, but at least I was getting the message that a human is mass and muscles.
    I also tried some poses for some picture I have in my mind, but I can't get it drawn the way I want. Need to study much more anatomy before I can get it right, specially since I plan to draw it on A3 format.


    Drawings on A5 paper, HB pencil.


    Around this time I discovered this book on the internet, Figure drawing for all it's worth by Andrew Loomis. Reading it from screen is horrible and I don't really want to print all those pages. It gave my drawing skills a boost but I've lost a lot of those drawings when I was helping my ex pack her stuff for her movement to the UK. Think I was a little too easy throwing stuff away.

    Next time: here be dragons....

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    These drawings were made around half/end Oktober 2008.
    Two studies of muscles and a portrait of Nelson, my cat.
    He lives in the UK now with my ex, we decided she could have the cats.
    I didn't draw much in this time up to half/end November.

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    For some reason I thought dragons would be nice to draw.
    So I started to draw and very soon came to realise that I don't know how dragons look. I can't walk outside and observe them.
    So I tried to rework some lizards and other reptiles to dragons.

    I read in one of my books that a good composition should also work on a small drawing. So I divided my paper into small segments and tried filling them with random stuff.

    I made a one-point perspective study of a throne for some website idea I had, but decided afterwards that I could not get it to work in a website.

    At last, I made a study of a hand which turned out a bit ok. Then I decided the thumb was a little off and started to redraw it, completely ruining the drawing.

    These drawings were made in December 2008.

    All A4 with 2B pensil except the hand, that one is A5 with HB.

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    The last dragons, I decided to start drawing from what I can see, not from imagination.
    I can't get pictures in my head, I used to years ago but it's gone.
    I never really realised this till I worked on those dragons.
    Well, dragons told me one thing, it's hard to draw them without knowledge of anatomy. So I got a book on it a couple of weeks ago (early March '09).

    Drawings early '09, composition is 2B on A4, the eyes 2 and 4B on A4

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    Remember the birds from my first drawing? Early February I drew these.

    Lessons learned:
    When drawing the foreshortened bird heads they looked like nothing till the moment they were finished. Stick to what you see and have your mind make comments when entirely done with the picture.

    The flying bird introduced a completely different problem, one I will encounter more in the future. Value and tone. I didn't get it right, at least not the way I wanted it.

    I also made a picture of a pose. Same problem as the flying bird, couldn't get the values and tones right.

    Studies mainly based on pictures, 2B on A4 paper.

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    Two drawings I made early March '09.

    I used a reference photo for the face but decided to give it somewhat of my own twitch.
    The bird is also made from a reference photo.

    A4 paper, 2B pencils.

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    My latest drawing, still work in progress.
    2B pencil on 80g A4 paper, used reference photo, about 2.5 hours of drawing.

    Started with two huge shapes, head and body and divided this into smaller shapes (arms, legs, mouth, ears, eyes, hair, nose) which I divided into even smaller shapes.
    Applied some of my still limited anatomy knowledge when trying to get the values right and understanding why some shapes are the way they are.

    I have very mixed feelings about this one.
    First of all didn't get the size of the head right compared to the body.
    I didn't really notice at first.
    Then I messed up with the eyes, which are too large. After a lot of erasing I decided to keep them that way, things were getting messy.
    The right hand turned out too small, I might be able to correct that but I'm not sure.

    What I'm struggling with now is the value of the face. The cheeks are too dark at the moment compared to the rest of the body.
    Not sure how to fix it.

    I might rework this drawing in my large unused sketchbook (A3) when I find the courage.

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    I’m in a similar position to you and can only draw on an evening and weekend, but you know what it’s going to take to get where you want to be. I can see your improvement over the last few posts. Keep it up.

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  11. #11
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    Babies heads are proportionally bigger than adults. Don't worry about the cheeks being dark; you can fix that by making values on the body darker.


    Have you ever tried using a grid when you're working from photo ref? It can help with proportions while you're still unsure of them. If you don't know how to use a grid, PM me, and I'll explain it. You won't want to use a grid for every drawing, and if and when you start drawing from imagination you simply won't be able to. Check around the site and you'll also find useful info on anatomy/proportions.

    I can see that you're already feeling your way towards rendering. Keep going, and don't let it scare you.

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    Yesterday I made a study of the human hand.
    Mainly how the bones fit in the hand and how they influence the way the hand grabs a round object (bones don't bend...).

    Today I did a 15 min sketch of a plant from observation and two studies of how perspective influences how simple objects are observed.
    I did both with a high horizon.

    @[ste]: thanks
    @alesoun I know baby heads are bigger, but this one is just too big when looking at the reference photo.
    I know about using grids, just not sure I want to use it right away. I should have done a little more measuring instead of drawing straight from the eye.
    And yes, the rendering part is still somewhat scary, I think I will draw a couple of circles and render those first to get a better feeling for it.

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    Two studies of poses, one < 1 min poses and one 2-5 min poses.
    Just trying to capture the pose and angle of shoulders and pelves.
    Various references, 2H pencil on A4 paper

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    Hey, it's you! Your first post was to my "Is it ever too late" thread. I was left wondering who you were.

    I am impressed at how seriously you are taking your studies. All the careful thought you put in what to do and how, and how you describe your process and the resources that are helping you and why. What a wonderful attitude you have!

    Your skill is still that of a beginner, but one can see improvement already in the latest drawings. There's more sense of form and anatomy and less oversketching. Your studies are varied and very correct. I haven't gathered the courage to go back to the technical study of perspective like you are doing. It's still a scary monster for me.

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    Totally inspirational. Not just your SB and journey in art, but all your other posts too. Very insightful and thought through. I always learn something or can take something with me from your posts, thanks for that.

    I think you are well on your way in your art, a great start. Will be cool to see your progress. If you feel like the time you have to draw isn't enough, you could always get a pocket-sized sketchbook and something like a simple ballpoint pen, and use it to draw while in transit, in waiting rooms, or whenever else you have some time you can't spend on anything else.

    But then, you're making great progress already. Keep it up

    Quote Originally Posted by Shakespeare
    I think he'll be to Rome
    As is the osprey to the fish, who takes it
    By sovereignty of nature.
    SSG
    Anthis Dizon Angel Intheuk Zou Crane Hai
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  16. #16
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    Did some drawings the last couple of days.
    Proportion study, a very formal study of head proportions which turned out bad, some random doodles, study of the shoulder muscles and a study of perspective without guidelines.

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    Today I did some larger studies.
    3 studies of dinosaur heads and one of a Cupid (I didn't get him right though) and Psyche statue.
    Credits for the last one go to griannan @ flickr, the photo was shot for wikipedia loves art and has a very nice angle. The other four reference pictures also come from the wiki loves art pool.

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    @Hai: Thanks I do have a small sketchbook but don't use it that often.
    @Leonor: Thanks I take perspective serious because I've noticed that a lot of people make mistakes with it. I figured I better start working on it now instead of having to unlearn bad habits later.

    Now to some background information.
    The last couple of days I've been drawing with H and 2H pencils. I noticed I could get slightly better details with those and keep them sharp longer.
    However, this probably indicates that my drawings are too small.

    My latest additions on books are "Classical Drawing Atelier" by Juliette Aristides. It's nice source on theory. The other one is "The Fantasy Figure Artist's Reference File" by Peter Evans. It's on discount here and I got it as reference for poses and expressions. I've bought both a couple of weeks ago. I like physical books instead of internet stuff. Reading from a monitor sucks, well, if it's a wall of text that is.
    The Fantasy Figure book also made me more aware of small tilts of the head and the way they influence expressions. Maybe I should have kept that in mind when I was drawing the Cupid above

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    I've made a couple of drawings today.
    First of all a study of the muscles in a human face with reference from my anatomy book.
    After that a doodle with two people playing basketball. I had some white below so I decided to draw a leg with shoe there.
    It didn't work out the way I wanted so I made a quick box-sketch.
    I worked that one out on my final sketch.

    Other than this I've made one more drawing, 2 boxed figures to explain something in the critique forum. I don't include them in this sketchbook.

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  20. #20
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    I've not been drawing much the past days.
    I made one easy boxed figure to use as reference for me when making poses and working with light. The other was just some random drawing whatever came up in my mind.

    While reorganizing some stuff I found "The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards under a small pile of dust. Almost forgot I had that one.... Still a useful book, covers most of the basics for drawing as far as I can tell.

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  21. #21
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    hey man!

    thats a great story to read!
    and having funn when u draw is soo important!!

    so just keep doing what u like and maybe experiment
    with different mediums/different paper to sometime, and draw from life!

    greetz

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    @`ej: thanks for the advice.
    I'm trying to draw from life once in a while (for example the pics included here), but I'm not confident enough to draw people from life.
    Takes some time.
    I did think of using my tablet and PS for a change but don't want to sit too long at the computer. I will be switching my paper soon, my sketchbook is almost full. The new one is slightly different and has paper that's a lot heavier (I think 240g instead of the 80g I use now).

    I've been thinking to switch to watercolor painting but I want to get toning and values a little better in graphite.
    Speaking of that, I've been looking at some optical illusions and Adelsonís 'Checker-shadow illusion' was an eye-opener for me on that subject.

    On the drawings:
    I went on a trip with family this weekend. Didn't have much time to draw because of other activities. I sneaked away for about 1.5 hour and made a 30 minute sketch and some quick ones.
    Most important lesson: horses are bad models, they are either too far away or constantly moving. I enjoyed the time till I accidently hit an electric fence when I moved. That hurt....

    Yesterday I went to find some nice scenery around the area where I live but could not find a decent spot. And it was a little too cold. And I wasn't feeling too well. Well, for some reason I didn't feel like drawing I figured.
    Turned out I was right, the weekend somewhat exhausted me and I suffered from a panic attack early this morning. I made a drawing for the daily sketchbook to calm down but because of the attack it sucked. I just couldn't concentrate. I might rework it and post it some other time.

    This evening I made a 20 minute sketch of one of my plants.
    I'm not sure if I will do much drawing the next few days, a panic attack hits me quite hard and drains a lot of my remaining energy which is already low (thanks to myself I have this nice burnout).
    On the other hand, drawing does keep the stress down for me so I might do some random stuff.

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    Ok, I tried my different medium
    Drawing is mine, text was added for free by my colleagues.

    This doesn't represent my feeling about work, it's the guy next door who's feeling trapped inside his small room and wants to join us because we have all the fun.

    But then someone decided that it's him trapped in his marriage.....

    Anyway, this is blue whiteboard marker on whiteboard. Single color.

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    Friday evening I decided to make a random drawing and render it.
    The horses are raw sketches for the most recent DSG (undead farm animals) but I'm not sure if I will submit the Photoshop painting I'm making from them.
    Set-up of those took 15 mins including searching for reference, but I'm not used to PS so I need to figure out all keys/settings. And drawing with tablet is different from pencil.
    I might submit, might not.

    Both images are cropped, both are about 1/2 A4 page so I excluded a lot of white space.

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    Made this head earlier today.
    And going to submit for DSG, but I'm not really happy with the result.
    Need to learn a lot about Photoshop and more important colors....
    It was driving me mad how I could not change a single color without influencing everything around it....
    Well, still learning I guess

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    The last couple of days I made 3 drawings.
    I started with a perspective study with more focus on the viewer for better understanding a couple of days ago.

    Yesterday I looked in my garden and noticed the roof of the little barn in my garden is turning green again. It's nice to see but it also means I will be cutting the climbing plant a couple of times a month else my entire garden will be covered. I'm sure my neighbors will also be fighting the plant from their side of the fence
    Anyway, I took a couple of leaves from it and drew them.
    It's different stages of the leaf, the large one is a couple of hours old, the smaller was still close together and about the size of a fingertip. The third didn't even get out of it's capsule.

    The last drawing is a work in progress.
    I finished the sketch but am currently trying to make sense of it in color, which is still a struggle for me. I know where I want to go with it, but till now only had the shapes in my head and not the colors.
    Not sure how much I will draw the next couple of days, I'm still having some mild problems from the panic attack that I had about a week ago. But things are much better now

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    Today we had our weekly department meeting.
    I brought one of my doodles home to show what kind of stuff I sometimes draw when I'm also paying attention to what's said.
    This is blown up by scanning, original is 30-50% of this size, erased some text.

    Also made an entry for DSG.
    30 minute sketch.

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  28. #28
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    I could not draw a lot this week, was busy doing other stuff.
    This one is an outline of a painting.
    I might join the new DSG, not sure yet.

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  29. #29
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    Been a while since I've drawn.
    Yesterday I started on some kind of scorpion kind of drawing.
    Didn't work out really great, but it was a nice base.
    When I got home today from the dentist I had some spare time.
    So I redrew it and made some stuff around it.
    Then I started to render it as a study.

    Based on imagination with a ref on the anatomy.

    For those who notice, I have new paper (A grain, 240x320mm).
    Pencils are H and 2B.

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  30. #30
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    Just a couple of drawings from the past days.

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