Out of College, but Can't Draw from Mind
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Thread: Out of College, but Can't Draw from Mind

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    Out of College, but Can't Draw from Mind

    So I took a couple years of art courses and can draw a figure if I want fairly well. If I want to get better, the saying is "practice!" Great. I know I can get amazing results if I simply practice my ass off with a model/still lifes like I was in college. It's obvious.

    What's not obvious, and what even has it's own sticky in the fine art forum, is drawing from the mind. I don't know how to go about this. Specifically because I want to cartoon, as well, and it's my focus. My motto in college was "You need to learn it before you stylize it" so before you say it (and you know who you are)... I know.

    What I could do is simply draw my ass off and analyze my own work to see what's wrong. I'm already doing this (I used to draw painfully small heads), but it just seems like there should be a better way. Some way to setup some guides for pose/proportion. The ways I've found so far don't work too well for me, except for the face. That I can do fairly well sometimes. I guess half a year spent on them can do that to a person.

    What I think I'm asking for, though, is just a little guidance. And some of these "tricks" I keep hearing about on how to remember how to draw from the mind. I'm sure I'm not the first person to get out of college and find that they have no idea how to draw from the mind. In fact, I'm sure I'm not. Many of CA's members have said so! So spill the beans!

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    Why not start with tapering cylinders and boxes. Build the body, then if you've studied the body long enough you should know how to put the details on it (for ex. where the muscles and breasts and tendons should go/be shown).

    Also, I don't think "can draw a figure [from life] if I want fairly well" is at the level you need to be to be able to create them from imagination. You want to be able to say, hot damn, I CAN draw a figure from life very well. And you'll find at that point that the figures from imagination are much easier too.

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    Oh I can and do. In fact, if I do a figure from a standard, generic, boring pose I can do it fairly well. The problem arises when I get to those poses that aren't typical of the life drawing sessions we had.

    I think what I'm most worried about is the fact I can see how to get better at drawing models: Simply draw them! Again and again and again and again! But when I'm cartooning or simply life drawing from memory, it seems like I'm missing something... . Maybe the same rule holds true, but it seems significantly slower.

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    JeffX99's Avatar
    JeffX99 is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    Hi Michael - couple things I think worth mentioning:
    The best representational artists and illustrators, both historical and contemporary, work from life - not their imagination. Period.
    Now, that isn't to say that you can't use your imagination or start there - develop some sketches - but then most people either pose a model for sketching or do a photoshoot for reference to get accurate information to go to final.
    I checked your sketchbook - I think you're just not there yet with your drawing abilities to be able to work effectively from your imagination. Work hard on the fundamentals of composition, drawing, perspective and value and you'll be able to more effectively work from your mind - and probably realize how important reference is! Good luck.

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    Thanks Jeff. Keep in mind, though, I'm not planning on being strictly representational artist. I understand the importance of references. I understand the importance of continuing to draw from life; I take my sketchbook everywhere.

    But I also know that while most cartoonist I know of did do drawings from life in a more representational sense, they don't in the normal line of their current work. I also know a few that never got to the level I'm at now and still do a right bang up job.

    So I suppose I'm simply confused as to where to go from here. Conflicting information. Perhaps you're right.

    Ryer: I don't know about that. I know plenty of cartoonist that never even got to my point that do a great job, like I said above. Hmm.

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    If the comics in your sketchbook are any indication of the cartooning you want to do, I think you're going to need more figure drawing from life to improve upon them. Even if you want to do something far more stylized, you're still going to need to get believable gesture down, and you accomplish that by exaggerating the gesture you see in life.

    Your proportions are off in much of your work, even in your life drawing, so anatomy study would help as well. I recommend doing Bridgman and Loomis studies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelHowe View Post
    Oh I can and do. In fact, if I do a figure from a standard, generic, boring pose I can do it fairly well. The problem arises when I get to those poses that aren't typical of the life drawing sessions we had.
    It looks like you're spending most of your time in the rendering process. Perhaps, practice gesture drawing as well as simplified, early construction of a figure. Gesture will help you create the interesting poses you want as well as help make them expressive. (which the most important aspect of cartooning i think.)

    But really I'm in no place personally to give advice..

    Last edited by Ryan K; December 8th, 2009 at 07:55 AM.
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    LORD M's Avatar
    LORD M is offline That guy from the cheer me up thread Level 13 Gladiator: Retiarius
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    You must have a system if you want to draw from mind, like base on some part of the body - many do the 7 heads one body to get the proportions right. But I have found a way here on conceptart.org that I have taken after. Basing the body proportions on the 5-eyed cube, which is based on the cranium (without the mandible). I have gotten a way better understanding of the human body from this then I could have gotten from basing the proportion on the head.

    Check this thread out, by Michael Mentler - I try and check this every day atleast once.

    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=26748



    I hope this is of some help.

    "I wish to paint in such a manner as if I were photographing dreams" - Zdzislaw Beksinski
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek the Usurper View Post
    If the comics in your sketchbook are any indication of the cartooning you want to do...

    ... I recommend doing Bridgman and Loomis studies.
    They're not. XD Those are some of the first I've ever done. I just threw them in there on a whim since it would show my starting point. I guess I really need to get some current stuff in there... ;P

    Thanks for the recommendations. Bridgman never appealed to me, though. Loomis, on the other hand...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan K View Post
    It looks like you're spending most of your time in the rendering process.
    You're right, though. I do spent a lot of time rendering. It's what everything was focused on in college, so it's been a hard habit (and way of thinking) to break.

    Thanks for the thread and advice, Lord M. I'll take a look over it.

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