I really am cracking down on myself and decided to go back to the very basics---portraits/shapes/colors/values--things you expect from Art 101 courses and whatnot. I found some great exercises on this site under peer mentoring projects in the mentoring community. So here is where I am at.
First, I have two sphere practices where one is just sitting on a table and the other is a series of skin-toned balls. Just tones.
Then, I have 20 sets of greyscale/tone practice. Yes, it took me that long before something in my mind clicked about darker colors versus lighter colors. God, I have a lot to learn. They are all in order, so it would go something like Tone 1 Grey 1, Tone 2 Grey 2, etc.
Thanks! Yeah, stopped serious drawing for about four years--even then, I took only one college class and one class in high school. The highschool teacher put me off classes for a long time because she would draw over things you did (which I hated--digital paintovers are fine, you aren't doing anything to MY piece, but a traditional paintover is permenant and makes the piece no longer mine). I really want to reach those pro levels with the beautiful art like Henning of Diane....some day
So after that looooong ordeal with greyscale versus color, I decided to take it to the next step and do a still life that I setup at home. I first did the composition in greyscale, trying to see if I could match the values. And then I colored it. Then I took the colored version and turned it to grayscale (easy in photoshop). The color-turned-grey version is actually pretty close to the original greyscale. Of course, the big question is on the original. I did take a picture of the setup and I will post that when I am able to upload it to the computer. I don't have the little gizmo for that right now
To get a white background, I too old sketchbook and propped up the back of it so that it would form a floor and wall. Then I took a lamp and placed it to the right of it. The whole setup is on the floor, so I was kind of looking down on it. It put some objects at weird angles (the battery charger).
A pair of rolledup socks
Battery charger for digital camera.
Rings of the sketchbook binding.
If you want to learn basics (anatomy, perspective, composition, proportions,..), start with simple lines (pencil/pen - traditional, 2px-5px hard brush - digital).
Then start with rendering (lighting, shading, coloring, details..)
Thanks, WoLf. Yeah, my lines have never been steady and even in art class I always struggled. My hand just doesn't like straight lines haha. As I said in my first post, I am using :class like exercises: I find. In this case, the Peer Project in mentoring. I'm just following those exercises and then doing a cumulative to see where I am at. I think I saw a thread or two about lines, but I can't find it again so I will have to look. I want to finish this peer thread first and then move on to it. A little out of order, I know..but it feels comfortable for me...go figure
These exercises almost killed me--too much percentage and math! Ahhh!!! Haha but I tried and did okay. The first image was the third exercise, and I think I did all right on it. (I'm not going to explain the exercise, any one can go and look at it on the thread. It is stickied.)
The fourth exercise was a pain!!! My thoughts as I did this? Shoot me!!! Ah!!! But I do understand the point of it. Light affects objects differently in a given piece, and sometimes the affects can be very dramatic. This can really impact a piece--say if I want a red post but am using a blue light. This is actually really good stuff!
So I did the exercise first one my own and tried my best to understand the dynamics. My mind wanted to shut down with all the math numbers and percentages ,but I still gave it my best. Then I scrolled through all the posts to find examples of others and feedback, and finally found the post with the key. I got about 40% right--if that. I made corrections in the second one by going over the original, so you c an see blurring on the ones I corrected. Some of them just needed more of the hue and I count that as being pretty close. As much as I really wanted to bang my head against a wall on this one, this was definately an assignment that I really appreciate and will never forget.
As soon as I finish up these Peer Tutoring Exercises I am going to hunt around for similar exercises on line and perspective. I found Loombergs book as PDF (that wasn't his name...ugh...he is really famous for having great guides and stuff). But they focus mainly on form and figure more than lines.
(highly recommended) In my next post I will show the other exercises I did from conceptart.org.
In any case, I am lefthanded--but a good artist can probably tell just by looking at these sketches. My vertical lines are not too bad, I think--all things considered. Horizontal and vertical--ack! Between these exercises and the ones in the next post, I have already spent one hour on this. I am merely posting to give me a break.
One thing I noticed as I did these is that just using the wrist to move, even on a tablet, is not good for lines. But also, neither is just moving the whole arm. There are a couple that turned out fairly well and it was because I coordinated the wrist and arm movement just right. But then...I couldn't always repeat it. Just doing these exercises, I now understand why "Start with lines". Though, I don't understand why it matters if you start with color versus lines, etc. I think both are good for starting out, but I definately definately need to work on my lines. So I will do these two websites exercises for a while, then go back to color, then go back to lines, then do a combo.
I always do cummulative projects. For lines, it will probably just be line art of various objects/imagination/etc.
My one one question is....how do you get good at drawing lines!!?!?!?! I know..practice...but it seems like just practicing drawing lines isn't going to make me draw them straight
Last edited by anjyil; September 14th, 2009 at 10:20 PM.
Reason: Removed some unnecessary images
The star I think was pretty good on the first try, but then started to get more and more sucky haha.
Wow, the next several posts are going to be very very boring most people, I think. Sorry people...but as I said..back to basics. Can't get more basics then this, and I hope those out there starting art or are like me and going back to it may find this helpful.
I realized I didn't post the rest of the exercises from the color work I was doing. I will do that next, then break time is over haha. It will break up the line posts I guess.
Last edited by anjyil; September 14th, 2009 at 10:21 PM.
Reason: Removing some unnecessary images
These are the last few exercises on that Peer Tutoring thread.
The first image was more of that "How does the light affect the object". I really REALLY wanted to tear my hair out on some of these...at least he didn't use too many percentages, though I actually found those a little helpful. Not even sure how accurate they are...
After that, we went to finding color! I kind of had fun, until I realized that we were given the HB or S for photoshop..then I realized I became too dependant on the numbers provided and only looked at the colors after I used those numbers. I will probably take the templates and erase the numbers, then practice it again at on and off stages so that I don't memorize them. I noted the ones that I used the eye dropper and the one that I found gave wrong numbers, too.
The last one was working on material and how light affects it. Clay, matt, and metallic. I just couldn't use buttboy haha. This is another one I will probably revisit later. Anyway..back to practicing lines!!
You can really see the improvement on the shadows, and it's great that you have the patience to do so many of them! by the 3rd circle i would have gone like F THIS!!, anyway keep going!! i'm sure you'll be awesome in a bit if you keep going like that
also there's a site called gigapedia.com or .org i can't remember, anyway you can find great complete free e-books of anything, i've found soo many anatomy books in there
Yeah, once I get interested in something nothing puts me off from it. Drawing is the one thing that I can do for me and only me--it isn't for anyone else. S o I guess for that reason, I am able to put 100% into it without even blinking an eye. Kind of selfish when I think of it...
Told you it would get boring. I waivered between using the attachment manager like they suggest in the sticky thread or just using image attachments from photobucket. The attachment manager is a pain in the but, really--only one at a time and all that info you have to fill out. Ah, I know. I will try the other upload one.
Going in to hour two of line studies. Well, actually this time it was only about 30-40 minutes...but whatever.
I started holding my tablet pen more to the center and using my pinky finger as a propt and guideline. This seemed to work fairly well for diagnols and horizontal and angles, but impedied the vertical lines. So for vertical I tucked the pinky. I used full movements of the arm, kind of like sweeping gestures, and varied the speed at times. Sometimes quick. Sometimes slow. There is actually a huge difference already in the lines. It is really awkward to hold the pen so high, and I had a case of carple tunnel once long ago that renderd my left hand useless for a month, so I will have to be careful. I try to pick my wrist up, but it just wont stay up on it's own. I remember an art teacher telling the class to never EVER let the hand rest on the paper but I was never able to break that habit :/
Oh, and this is the last batch that I will upload. I realize now that I am probably going to do many many more exercise sketches. The next upload for this study will be the cumulative project and maybe one or two of new things I pick...like when I go to curves. ::listens to the huge sighs of relief that echo across the forum::
Last edited by anjyil; September 14th, 2009 at 10:24 PM.
When i wrote "start with simple lines" i didn't mean "draw 5000 straight lines" (if you can't draw vertical lines well, rotate paper for 90 degress and draw horizontal). There is no point for beginer to draw perfect straight line, perfect circle or any other shape.
Hah I know that you didn't mean that--it just happened this way. I actually picked up some things from it anyway. It just suddenly was really fascinating stuff to me--I'm weird that way.
If by traditional you mean sketchbook and pencil---it's the same to me. I know because I have bounced back and forth the last couple of days. My hand and eye doesn't react differently in any way I can detect. Because money is tight and supplies limited, I reserve my sketchbook for going outside on nice days and special projects. I honestly don't understand why people keep saying "You have to start traditional". Even when they try to explain it to me, it makes no sense--a tool is a tool and skills seem, to me, to be transferable. I truly believe that there will come a time where people won't say that anymore...but ah well, that is just me. Thanks, though.
EDIT TO ADD: And no fair linking to such an awesome artist!! Haha. I don't know if I consider myself beginner so much as I just want to return to basics. I hadn't thought or d one anything with lines and whatnot for a long time. Besides that--I am very bored, so small things tend to amuse me.
Last edited by anjyil; September 14th, 2009 at 04:37 AM.
Well, not too sure about this. I was going into Loomis and just started randomly sketching some lines to start on perspective and stuff--and this just kind of came out of it. Nothing was intentional or anythinng, either. It was a lot of fun and not something I normally do---I tend to avoid landscapes like the plague because of lines and stuff hahah. So meh, whatever--I thought in the end it looked kind of cool.
These works are about 6-8 months old in some cases, but still pretty recent. This is all stuff before I got my WACOM. I minorly practiced some anatomy, but nothing serious. It was all for fun and because I wanted to get those images out. Some of them I will most definately redo after I do some more reference work.
Yeah yeah...I`m done playing around. I finished with the interesting basic basic exercises. Now I am going to places like posemaniacs and there was another that was lifeposes--can`t remember the name. Anyway, my first step is to do quick sketches of just the skeleton as I can see it. Basically the lines and dynamics of the pose. After that, I will add muscles to it, and then from there will go to actual person haha. That is what I did with portraits. Coloring and shading and value will just have to come with more practice and watching, I suppose. I will probably set up another still life, too. The weather is still nice and I will have more free time, soon, so I plan to take a walk and draw outside. Not much to draw around here...but I can`t imagine not going outside at least once during the day.
Oh, these are open for critique but there isn`t much changes I will do to them directly. As I said, I won`t redo anything until after I have gone through some more studies. This is just kind of laying the ground work of where I was versus where I will be at some day haha.
1. The first image has some reference work for the pose and fiddle--that was hard! It is at an angle because my drawing space was very cramped, so I was drawing from a weird angle.
2. This one is all imagination. I mainly just wanted to draw the dragon haha and the girl wasn`t well done. no reference on this one.
3. This one was actually a free-hand copy. I was using an actual image of Jin that I had found online and tried to match the colors. Sadly, I can`t find the original. I am sure I could google it...
4. This one is actually a panel of a story/comic I was working on. No, not to sell--just for me. I love to tell stories. I really wanted to capture a mood on this one. My husband looks at it and says that it really creeps him out---I did something right!
5. This is just an original character sketch. No reference.
6. Another character sketch. Again, no reference on this one. I mixed in some charcoal.
7. This is a self-portrait. I did some modelling work a while ago and took that image and drew it. (shhhh--don`t tell my husband! He might get mad that I posted this one haha)]
8. This one I drew a lineart and had this image in mind. I used some cheapo watercolor and then went over it with some cheapo colored pencils. Haha. I will definately recolor this one after I understand color better.
9. This one I did allllll the way back in the late 90s. I utilized mostly charcoal and graphite. Anime was a heavy influence that time in my life--more so than the works above.
Anyways, when I feel ready I will do a side-by-side of a portrait from imagination that I did several months ago before this whoooool fiasco, and then one I did from imagination after a bunch of studies. But that will be after a lot of reference practice so it may be at least a year--if not longer...who knows?
So this is my most 100% recent WIP. I am using this as a marker of everything I need to work on because this piece is kind of important to me. It isn't a self portrait but a portrait of a character from a book that I strongly relate to and used as inspiration during the harder times of my life. I got stuck on the hair because one way looks better to me, but most people suggested the other. So it is a good reference as to how in the middle I am on a lot of things and how much training my eyes and knowledge needs. There are a million problems with this piece--but as I said, it is just a marker. Why?
Because I was lucky enough to find a mentor! I am so excited! Now I have a set path of study to improve my art. So future posts will be of the exercises from the course I am taking. I am so happy No more guessing and flying all over the place. I feel so at piece.
Thus, here is before. And some time later...months? Years? Will be the after. Oh, and all the steps inbetween Hm..maybe I should start a new sketchbook with this as the first post.....
This was a hard exercise. My eyes aren`t too good, I need new glasses I think... (haha). Still, I began to develop a sense of when something was off in the image I was drawing when comparing it to the original. Something I couldn`t do before. I still can`t always figure out WHAT is off, but I am closer. Not bad. So, I will only post my third attempt at the exercise with the overlay. I tried this one a total of four times. 1 freehand, just to see how accurate it really was; 1 with the paper too small; one before I darkened the lines to make them easier to see...and was standing further back; and this one.
For this one, I stood about three feet away. The exercise was to use a string to measure and determine angles and copy the picture as accurately as possible. I am still not accurate enough, so I will try this one again...but I don`t like this technique. It is training my eyes...but it is also very frustrating because the thread blurrs, or my thumbs tend to get in the way or something happens.
I would really like some feedback or suggestions on how to best utilize this technique so that it isn`t so painful to think about doing. Standing closer and darkening the lines did help...but...Well...it is still teaching me something, so that counts for something
Nice and steady win's the race. Keep up the work and you will have a nice skill set to work and create what your heart desires.
Here's a neat tip on color. As long as you have the right value, some what realistic lightening the color used will still snap in place and still be readable. Knowing color temperature is icying on the cake.
"how do you get good at drawing lines!!?!?!?!"
A lot of industrial designers warm up their hands just like what you are doing. Depends on what type of line work you want. Locking your elbow and using your shoulder to move your pencil is good for board line work, good for figure drawing.
For more precise drawing you want to use more of your wrist and pivoting your elbow. Many other subtle factors too, the grip and angle which you hold your pencil. When you draw you are basically rubbing dirt on textured surface.
Basically it comes down to muscle memory. Eventually you will find your "natural line." It's the angle which your arm likes to naturally gravitate to. Nobody has the same natural line because everybody arm is different, in weight, length etc.
When drawing, imagine going from point "A" to point "B" then go a head and actually draw the line. Feng Zhu(former concept artist who worked on Star Wars) has one method called "ghosting" where he would swing and hover his pencil over the paper, doing a mock line stroke without actually touching the paper. When he was comfortable, he would then land his mark on the paper. Sounds like a lot of work, but the guy blazes at drawing concepts like no tomorrow.
Hope this helps.
Last edited by Brian Luk; September 21st, 2009 at 12:09 AM.
Make a sketchbook happy, feed it a tip to improve!
Wow, thanks. I can agree that a lot of this knowledge is just going to come with time. Doing just line work, I have found that I really don't like moving my whole arm...but then, my surface (whether sketchbook or tablet) is pretty small, so I don't have the luxury to really explore that. I am sure if I played with it on a larger surface, it might be more comfortable
Ghosting sounds like a good methdo! I tried it a couple of times on the last exercise with eyes because I can't get comfortable using string comparisons. It helped a lot, but I didn't do it often. I will keep plugging at it!