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    Question Questions regarding studies

    So I have a few questions for you all. (Just random questions about what I'm studying really)

    I'm trying to expand my visual vocabulary, learn anatomy, and be able to render with my pencil like those awesome sketchbook pages that look like this


    by Aleksander Rostov (sp?)

    So what I'm doing to expand my visual vocabulary is studying from reference photos, drawing from life every now and then, and studying photos and drawings of anatomy. I feel like just drawing it isn't keeping it in my brain though, and I'm wondering if there are exercises that really would test my brain in applying this knowledge I get from copying anatomy, etc.

    I just feel like anatomy is so complex, because every twist and turn shows the muscles in a different way, and that's where it becomes difficult drawing from imagination.

    As for rendering to the like of those sketchbook pages by Aleksander, is that something that just comes with time, or is there some certain technique that I'm not understanding? Does the pencil matter as well? I normally use mechanical pencil and I feel that that holds back my line quality.

    Any advice would be excellent. Thanks all.

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    dpaint is offline Registered User Level 16 Gladiator: Spartacus' Retiarii
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    Start more abstractly, just make ink blot type shapes and then ask yourself what they look like and then make them that thing you see stay away from the ref until you absolutely need to have it.

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    It doesn't get mentioned a lot, but drawing using your imagination can help you solidify what you have learned. Learning how to copy is cool and all, but it isn't really good practice to exclusively rely on your eyes 100% of the time. There's a lot of thought that goes into making a drawing look good. This requires understanding the science behind a certain aspect of the drawing (light & shade, anatomy, perspective, etc), and if you don't know exactly why something looks the way it does, and are unable to replicate these effects out of your head to some degree, you won't really get very far.

    Some exercises that can help:

    -Try drawing a portrait (either from life, reference, or imagination) and attempt to create a light source that is entirely different from the one given to you. Try not to copy tonal patterns exactly. Apply what you know about light and shade hitting the form.

    -Look at a figure (from life or reference) and break it down, using ONLY basic geometric shapes, drawn in perspective. Avoid any detail whatsoever and draw the shapes exclusively.

    -Draw irregular shapes/forms in perspective, and attempt to shade them from your head.

    -Study anatomy, and visualize the basic shapes and forms that body parts make. Attempt to draw the forms (from life, reference, or imagination) as simply as possible. Then, slowly begin to "snap-on" the muscles to the form.

    -Do what dpaint says and trying drawing some inkblots, scribbles, and shapes and making something out of it. If you hit a struggle point in your drawings, keep pressing forward without reference, unless you are absolutely 100% percent stuck on something and cannot visualize it for the life of you.

    These kinds of exercises will really give you an idea of how much you know about the basics. Even though you are ultimately, trying to replicate reality to a degree, there's a certain amount of abstraction that goes on in the drawing process that copying does not allow you to do. Attempt to make these discoveries from your imagination, and then try to apply them to any subject you may be drawing, whether from reference or from life.

    And to answer your last question, yes. That is something that comes with time, patience, and practice of the basic fundamentals. And no, the type of pencil you use doesn't really matter too much, but please do experiment with different types of pencils. You may find out that you like wood (or woodless) pencils more than mechanical lead holders.

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    Well as far as drawing reference, I have categories of reference photos I wanted to draw from (fashion, faces, armor, animals, vehicles, landscapes, etc.) so that I could draw from them to expand my visual vocabulary to know what they look like (I would break them down into basic shapes and try to understand how to draw them). For example, I can't go draw lions and Victorian fashion from life, etc. so I figured that drawing from reference for a while (in addition to my other studies) would be beneficial.

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    JeffX99 is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    It's been discussed before but there are problems with mainly working from photo reference. The main one is that all the information is already translated down to 2D for you, making it hard to become engaged as an artist which may be why it isn't "staying with you". Another issue is photos generally do not have good value range or much sense of light to them - they are usually lit for photography purposes, not artistic aesthetics. The "art photography" nudes and such don't help much either because the shadows and darks usually just combine into formless nothingness.

    All that said though I wouldn't worry about it too much - it sounds like you're on the right track - it does just take time and effort - try to just enjoy it as much as possible.

    I like mechanical pencil when I do more technical things and designs. When I want to do more organic things I go for the Berol 4B-8B. That nice little sketch page you referenced definitely looks more like regular pencil, so if that appeals to you I would give it a try.

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    I think it's matter of drawing more from memory/imagination. Instead of drawing from life, copying photos just look at reference, then put it away and draw from imagination with stuff you remembered. Check how it looks like only when you need to (usually something might be missing).

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    Yeah, definately draw from memory. It's the only good way of testing how much you really know.

    Last edited by Slothboy3000; February 17th, 2010 at 10:57 AM.
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    It would greatly benefit you to draw still life's - which I have told you numerous times, and yet you still do not draw them. Idk when you will learn.

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    If you have never drawn a still life...you should. Actually, they can be a lot of fun. Sure, drawing a person or animal is more fun, but you can learn a lot from a still life. I've found that still life drawings are better for me, personally, to learn from. I tend to hurry when drawing people so that I don't inconvienience (sp?) them any more than I have to. But, I can put an apple, egg, etc through hell and back, because they can't complain about it. LOL

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    Yea, as much as I dont really like drawing still life's (tense sp?) they can be very beneficial. For one, they do not require breaks like models do. You can have a still life sit under a light source for hours, and the thing that will die out first (provided you haven't used real fruit, or perishable food) is the light. Plus, they are very helpful in learning scale, value, perspective, texture, and the list goes on. They don't even have to take long, just squint at the still life, and draw the big shapes. Remember to start with the largest object first, this way you've got your scale right off the bat.

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    "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach" - bullshit.

    The usual staples for anatomy:
    George Bridgman
    Joseph Sheppard
    Andrew Loomis
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