Sketchbook: Crass' matter of life and death

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  1. #1
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    Crass' matter of life and death

    Hello.

    Long story short, I want to become an artist, it's the only career that I can imagine myself being happy having. I've always been messing around making pictures on the computer but I've never really sat down to practice drawing before now, maybe I imagined skill would come to me magically while I slept, I don't know, but I realize now that I will have to work hard to make it so I'm pulling out all the stops. I am about to turn 22, it's time. I have set up a small studio and I will dedicate myself fully to becoming an artist from now on. That means I won't have a job, I will use money that I have saved up from before, and I will work full time, every day, to improve my drawing.

    I hope that this thread can become an outlet for me as well as a showcase of my progress. I know that there are many people here who have tremendous skill, and hopefully some of you will have time to help me out when I am struggling. Please critique my work.

    Any suggestions that will help me improve will be greatly appreciated, but before you recommend me any books, please note that I have already bought these:

    Anatomy Lessons from the Great Masters - R. B. Hale
    Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters - R. B. Hale
    Dynamic Anatomy - Burne Hogarth
    Dynamic Figure Drawing - Burne Hogarth
    Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain - Betty Edwards
    The Natural Way to Draw - Kimon Nicolaides
    The Human Figure - J. H. Vanderpoel
    Bridgman's Complete Guide to Drawing from Life
    Perspective for Artists - Rex V. Cole

    In addition to these I also have all of the Andrew Loomis PDFs.

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    Last edited by Crass; October 15th, 2009 at 01:49 PM.


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  3. #2
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    I bought a cheap scanner for the sole purpose of uploading my sketches here, the scans show that I didn't pay much for it, but I think it's good enough for the puropse.

    Here are some studies of the female abdomen, while doing these I realized what a great benefit it would be for me to study some anatomy, I don't even know what I am drawing half the time. I don't need to know to get a likeness, these are all from photos, but I want to understand what it is I am looking at, how else would I ever be able to draw the figure from my imagination?

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  4. #3
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    I like the sketches. Are they from a model?

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    Well, good for you. It can be hard to stay motivated, especially if you have no cash coming in.... keep posting, keep practising.
    You seem to be doing the right things. Work your values a little more, and try to keep you lines clean. My big suggestion is life drawing classes.

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  8. #5
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    Great, I've been waiting for you to start a sketchbook here. Subscribed.

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  10. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ardescoere View Post
    I like the sketches. Are they from a model?
    Thanks! No, I used photo reference from characterdesigns.com.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cup_of_Tea? View Post
    Well, good for you. It can be hard to stay motivated, especially if you have no cash coming in.... keep posting, keep practising.
    You seem to be doing the right things. Work your values a little more, and try to keep you lines clean. My big suggestion is life drawing classes.
    I have enough money to last me at least a year, so cash won't be a problem for a while yet. I will have to live cheaply of course, but I do that anyway. As for life drawing class - they start next week, I will be going at least once a week from then on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Taneli View Post
    Great, I've been waiting for you to start a sketchbook here. Subscribed.
    I hope I don't disappoint



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    Quote Originally Posted by Crass View Post
    I hope I don't disappoint
    Nah, you will be great in a few years.

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  13. #8
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    Here are a few more.

    I am very unhappy with these, as you can see I tried to render them smoother this time but there are huge errors in all of them. While it is fun to render them out this way, and I definitely want to learn how to do it well, it is way too meticulous for the purpose of simple studies.

    I need to learn how to simplify shadow shapes nicely to be able to make quicker sketches that look good. Whenever I try to do something quick and neat it looks awful. I look at someone like Loomis and his shading looks simple and effortless, I really need to practice that. When I take the rendering this far, I tend to commit to finishing even if i realize that the entire construction is wrong halfway through.

    I'm still learning how to use my pencils correctly as well. I've pretty much never used traditional media before, only digital, so it's all new to me and sometimes I really overwork the paper.

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  14. #9
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    Here's another page of similar drawings. I've gone back to much quicker renderings. I still don't feel that I have any control over my shading, but I guess that will come with time and I think things will start looking better as I become more accurate as well. Still drawing from photos.

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    Crass good start to your sketchbook. I think you all ready have an understanding of how to draw from observation but there is room for improvement. I suggest looking at and copying some old master drawings from Rembrandt and that era. Your shading seems like you want to fallow the contour of the figure sometimes but other times you contradict yourself. It might also help to try and do a few studies were you only make your rendering marks in one direction to focus more on the value range and the transitions between your lights and darks. Keep it up and you'll improve greatly here.

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  17. #11
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    That is good advice Ninjac, I will do it. I spent most of yesterday reading the two lessons from the great masters books and there are a lot of pictures in there to choose from if I want to copy something. Regarding my shading problems, I know why it is good to shade around the form, but sometimes it is really hard to determine in which direction the shading lines should go, I pretty much short circuit when that happens and just draw them every which way.

    Anyway, I spent most of today doing gestures and stuff, I didn't save any of it. We've all seen the Loomis mannikin a million times so I didn't think there was a point to uploading a hundred more. However I did some of them digitally and I took this one a fair bit further, I couldn't help myself and played around a little. I was going to develop some kind of character from this but I didn't have time today, maybe I will pick it back up some other day when I don't have anything else to do. I used photo reference.

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    Hey Crass,

    We have similar goals. I do not have a job at the moment and I am working full time on drawing, even though I am not very good yet. I have also recently come to the realisation that creating art is what I want to do. You seem to be off to a good start. I wish you all the best with your studies.

    Evan

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    really nice start there
    keep it up

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    Thanks for the encouragement guys!

    I went out of town for a concert so I haven't done much in the last few days. I was back at the studio today but I felt a bit rusty. I feel a little guilty that I haven't been working harder this past week. I missed life drawing class too. I will go next week, but then I will be out of town again for the next one after that...

    Anyway, here's a digital figure painting from today. Still working from photos. I really need to build up the skill and confidence to do something interesting with these, merely copying a photo is probably good practice on the technical side but there is nothing artistic in it if I don't interpret it somehow, I need to do something more with what I am looking at.

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  23. #15
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    I've mostly been doing boring stuff that's not worthy of uploading here in the last few days. A bit of reading as well. Maybe I think too much and draw too little...

    I was doing some head constructions and I started to get really annoyed that I don't really know how to draw the facial features at all, so I decided to do some studies. I didn't have much reference of faces and the computer in my studio doesn't have an internet connection so I ended up doing the same stuff over and over, I will need to collect some reference photos tonight so that I'll have a bigger selection next time.

    Here are a few eyes. As you can see I am struggling with style, I want to keep it loose but visually pleasing, but I can't seem to do either. Of course I'm grasping at straws, I don't have nearly enough experience to have a developed, consistent style in sketching and in reality it is probably the least of my worries right now, but I am self concious when it comes to results, I want things to look good as well as accurate, even if they are just sketches like this.

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    you have a good start here!
    keep going, practice practice practice

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  26. #17
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    I admire your resolution and effort. You also have a pretty good starting point - the passion and will to learn shows, and although your digital stuff is a bit superior, I don't think you're that far behind with your pencil studies.
    Keep us posted!

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    Thanks for the reminder about your sketchbook. You're off to a good start.
    It seems you have chosen not to upload every little study. Why do you think that is better?

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  30. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leonor View Post
    Thanks for the reminder about your sketchbook. You're off to a good start.
    It seems you have chosen not to upload every little study. Why do you think that is better?
    There is a lot I'm not uploading mainly because it's extremely boring stuff that no one wants to see and where critique is redundant. There is also a bunch of stuff that is of very poor quality. When I can see myself that it is bad, and understand what is wrong and know that I can do it over again and make it better, I throw it away and do just that. I see no point in flaunting my mistakes if I don't need help to fix them.

    The things I upload are what I consider to be works that represent my current level, when you see mistakes in them they are there because I am not entirely sure what I am doing (if I was, they wouldn't be there). If I was to upload everything I think the thread would become cluttered with bad stuff that I know how to fix already, when I do it like this I keep the focus on problems I can't solve myself, or at least couldn't at the time of posting.

    Maybe this is a bad approach?



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    More eye studies from today. I think what I have improved most upon since starting this thing is probably speed, things come much more easily now than they did a few weeks ago, but I also have a lot more confidence to just get in there and put things on the paper now.

    Also it's more difficult than you'd think to get good reference of the features of the face where the fine details aren't obscured by either low resoltion, make up, photoshop or blown out contrast... Or maybe I just don't know where to look - in the mirror perhaps?

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  32. #21
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    These things look good!
    Maybe drawing with a softer pencil would help your shading?
    Did you ever try shading in boxes? Or maybe on a blank page and try to smooth it?

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  34. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marlisa View Post
    These things look good!
    Maybe drawing with a softer pencil would help your shading?
    Did you ever try shading in boxes? Or maybe on a blank page and try to smooth it?
    Maybe.. All the eye studies I've posted were done with a mechanical pencil. I really like the style you get when you shade with line, the problem is that I don't have enough control to do it well.



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  35. #23
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    Okay, so yesterday I was at a life drawing session. The first picture is a bunch of drawings from there. They only did short poses, so all of those are either 3, 5, 7 or 10 minutes. It was my first time drawing from a model, and it was very interesting. I will definitely keep going there, I will miss it next week but after that I will be going to life drawing two times a week.

    I've also uploaded two figure drawings I did today, one traditional and one digital. The graphite one looked way better in real life than scanned. It's hardly a masterpiece in either case, but I think the scanner really messed it up... Both were made from photo reference.

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  36. #24
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    I am awful at drawing faces so today I decided to do portraits, i started one and it looked like crap so I began messing around with it and suddenly I had a creative influx. I ended up spending several hours on this, it actually ended up OK likeness wise, although as you can see I had some fun with it. I need hours and hours to get a decent result for something like this, it's more a testament to my patience than my skill as an artist I think, because I usually have to re-do things a million times to get it right.

    I can see improvement in my own work though, a while back I probably wouldn't have been able to pull this off.

    With photo reference obviously.

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    Last edited by Crass; September 11th, 2009 at 03:23 PM.


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  37. #25
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    Dedication, passion, that's all you have and that's all you need, money's aint a brick wall for people devoted to the cause. We're almost same age, i will certainly look forward for more updates, and will track your career later on!
    Best wishes, Ice


    P.S Don't give up, never, ever! ;>

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  39. #26
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    Today I did some master studies from Raphael. I didn't spend a whole lot of time on them, I just wanted to get the general idea of what he was doing with his shading. I did them with pen because it is the most confidence building medium for me right now and I really need to work on my lines. I will be away visiting friends next week, I will bring a couple of books and a sketch pad and do a lot more master copying then.

    Also attached is another digital figure study from today, from photo reference.

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  40. #27
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    Heres another figure from today, I think you will agree that it is my best one. I think I spent a little longer on this one than on the others, but I don't really know, I was in the zone when doing this.

    This is the last update for a while as I will be out of town this week. I will bring materials to study while I'm away, some Bridgman and other things, but I won't be able to scan or upload anything until I get back.

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  41. #28
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    I'm back home now. I didn't get shit done while I was away, I had a lot of fun though so it was worth it.

    I sketched a few poeple at the train station last week, it was a lot of fun and I will be doing this a few hours a week from now on. The first pic is a selection of sketches from last time, which was also the first time.

    The second picture is a figure study from today. I didn't have much time so I went for something a little more stylized, I don't feel I worked enough on this, but I'll upload it anyway and make a better one tomorrow. I used photo reference for the figure.

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  42. #29
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    First picture is sketches from life drawing yesterday, each between 2 and 10 minutes.
    Second picture is a figure from today, I used photo reference but tried to do something imaginative with it. Also experimenting with color now.

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  43. #30
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    I dunno... I had ref for the pose.

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