Messy Sketches
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    Messy Sketches

    I tend to make my sketches really messy. This has become a really bad habit of mine. When I noticed I've gone to far and try erasing to correct my lines the drawing ends up looking worst.

    I know this seems like something easy to correct, but for me it just isn't.

    Any advice on breaking this habit so I can make cleaner sketches.

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    I'm struggling with that for years. Everytime I try to make clean scetches I feel like I'm doing one of those IKEA-manuals rather than doing something creative.

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    Have you tried using a lightbox or transfer paper? That way you can be rather messy with your initial rough sketch on cheap paper, and then redraw the important bits of sketch without having to do a lot of erasing.

    *Edit* Another option, which I tend to do when I've made a mess trying to "feel out" the form of something, is I often start my roughs on one piece of paper, and use the original sketch as reference which usually results in a cleaner (and more interesting) image.

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    I fought with messy lines a lot and I still didn't entirely got rid of that.

    I think there could be many reasons for this habit so it's hard to give universal advice here. Actually the very first stages of drawing are supposed to be a little bit messy beacause it's moment when you figure out things. I think very good example would be drawings on Justin Sweet website - http://www.justinsweet.com. After the doodle stage it's better to stick as much as possible to what you have rather than change your mind in the middle of the process. Loose line have to be drawn super light though which can be something hard for people with "heavy hand" (like me )

    Some things that could help.
    - Doing some sort of warmup at the beginning that would put you in relaxed state. First start fast and then slow down as much as possible. I found out that Blind contour excercise or drawing hands are good things for that.
    - Sometimes it's just matter of tool. For example softer pencils go more smoothly on paper and therefore you can make less "scratchy" lines. Same goes for ballpoint pens, thin brushes.
    - You might expect to do the same drawing twice or trace it like Aphotic Phoenix mentioned.
    - Try to plan line before you draw it. It has a lot to do with slowing down and being relaxed. You might ghost ever stroke before applying it.
    - Learn more about the subject you draw. Sometimes you can reach a moment when you're guessing too much and just redraw it million times till it gets messy. Instead of doing that it's better to look at how does it look in real life, maybe do few studies and go back to the problem. (I admit I actually don't use enough of that)

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    HunterKiller_ is offline Registered User Level 15 Gladiator: Spartacus' Hoplomachi
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    Practice your line control.

    Think before you put a line down, try to visualize it on the page.

    Doing blind contour can help strengthen your hand-eye co-ordination which is important here (in my opinion this is a good exercise and I swear by it. Some disagree).

    Try drawing with pen for awhile and preferably something with a thick line, that will definitely force you to think twice before putting down any marks.

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    Eh. A sketch is just a sketch-- a way of getting ideas down on paper. People sketch in different ways. I know a guy who does most of his sketching in ink, and lays things out almost perfectly with no guidelines at all. But then, I also know an artist who does almost unreadable pen sketches, and still manages to turn them into fantastic vector pieces.

    I'm a messy sketcher myself; my sketches always turn out very dark and scribbly, but I really don't think it's a terrible thing. However, if you want to work around this, I would suggest working with lighter pencil lead (maybe an F or 2H) so the graphite doesn't build up as quickly, or, as someone else suggested, using a light box to trace over your original sketch and keep the idea without all the mess.

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    Thanks everyone this is really great advice.

    Now off to drawing.

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    It`s all in the pressure; draw light, veeery light almost transparent lines when you are searching for forms, only start putting some pressure on the lines when you`re feeling sure about the lines.

    The Light and Dark Arts of Cristian Saksida
    Portfolio:http://www.chrissaksida.com
    Blog:http://cristiansaksidaarts.blogspot.com
    Twitter:http://twitter.com/crissaksida
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    I think my lines have improved in the last year and the reason for me was that I stopped using hard pencils and a heavy hand and instead started using softer pencils and light hand. The difference is that I had to really try to make my lines better because I knew I wouldn't be able to get rid of those dark lines if I screwed up.

    That being said, if these are rough sketches for quick ideas, who cares if they're messy? If we're talking about the first few lines of what will eventually be a finished drawing, some messy initial lines can reduce the quality of the finished product. But if it's just conceptual sketches, I wouldn't worry too much about it. No one's going to see some scribbles that you made when you were trying to work out your idea, they're going to see the finished piece and judge you based on that. Even if you're doing thumbnails for a client, you can take the messy scribbles that you like the best and rework them on a different sheet of paper in a cleaner drawing now that you have your scribbles to work from, in which you hopefully worked out a general composition and idea etc.

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