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startFrom_Zero's sketchbook.

This spot is going to be my sketch book. I am going to begin with pages of basic forms. Cubes, cylinders, spheres, and cones. You will see tons of mistakes. Do me a favor and tell me what I'm doing wrong.

I just wanted to allocate this spot as mine. The first 4 pages (one for each basic form) will be up once a day, starting tonight, until I get it right.

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Day 1

Here is day 1. I was supposed to do a page of all the basic forms but I'm calling it a day after wrestling with these spheres. I'm not too happy with the results but I said there would be something up so here it is.

Things I'm having trouble with:
• Placement of values
• Placement of cast shadow (I'm not too worried about it at this point)
• Width of reflection on the shadow side

Hopefully I'll be doing better spheres, and other basic shapes, tomorrow. Any criticism highly welcome.

Edit: Oops, forgot the attachment. Fixed.
Also, I forgot to say that the little numbered circles are not the light sources. They are just labels showing the order I created the spheres in.
Last edited by startFrom_Zero; May 30th, 2010 at 02:05 AM.

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Day 1: Bonus Round

While randomly browsing the internet I saw a geometry figure of a circle with a triangle in it. I've always seen these figures in the math books as 2 dimensional (to me they were math problems). On the few occasions in which I did my homework, I would draw out these problems as circles and lines, shapes on paper related to each other in some way (in a geometry class the relation was a number). I realized these are not only 2D shapes related, they can also be visualized as 3D objects. I could make a sphere simply by imagining it as a circle and drawing an oval inside of it. Viewers imagine it as a sort of sphere but but in reality it is a piece of paper with 2 oval shapes on it. I could change the angle of the cut by widening or narrowing the inside oval. I could also rotate the oval to rotate the cut in there sphere. This may be extremely simple to you, but its a hell of a revelation to me.

As you could see in the drawings I'm not so good with a pen (worse with pencil ) but I do believe I have the idea down now. I should be using this same mindset on the other basic forms. Cube, Cone, and Cylinder.

Is this the right mindset to use in drawing?
Last edited by startFrom_Zero; May 30th, 2010 at 04:34 AM.

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Day 2: Start

I used what I learned last night to try shading spheres again. It is better than last time but still not good enough. I am struggling to see what I am not doing correctly. Feel free to post a reply. Criticisms from a trained artist would be valuable to me.

Things I'm having trouble with:
-Graduating the values (I guess this is the part which requires skill with a pen/pencil)
-Seeing the value under the main shadow. The part where light reflects back on the ball.
-Getting the shadow to look like a shadow and not a black stripe on a sphere.

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Day 2: Photoshop Sphere

I wanted to test if I understand the concepts of light and shadow on the sphere. I'm a clumsy fool with pen/pencil but I know my way around a computer screen. I applied what I knew in Photoshop. I have the highlight, darkest shadow, reflection, and the cast shadow here. It was fairly easy to create with the circle tool and radial gradient. I started with a flat circle which contained the color of my midtone. Then I planed a gradient which contained the highlight, darkest shadow, and reflection colors. Finally, I placed the gradient based on where the light source was. As an extra, I duplicated the sphere and distorted it's corners to create the cast shadow. Its not the best sphere in the world but its a sphere.

I think if I can create a gradient in pen then I could draw a sphere similar to this one. In the end a sphere is just a circle with a gradient anyway.

7. Hey! Good work! One thing I see is that your values don't vary/contrast as much as they should, making some of the spheres look flatter than you probably want.

Here are some really good basic shading tutorial images/references to look at from this artist, Sam Nielson (his blog is here: (http://artsammich.blogspot.com/) He's really good at painting form and breaking it down to basics.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_GDL9Bp_YZj...rm_Basics2.jpg

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_GDL9Bp_YZj...earbyLight.jpg

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_GDL9Bp_YZj...rmChanges1.jpg

8. Firstly well done for being brave and setting up a sketchbook and its good to see you working!

In the end a sphere is just a circle with a gradient anyway.
This kind of thinking is possibly what is holding you back, because, ultimately, it isnt, a sphere is a 3D volume occupying 3D space and you're aiming to replicate it on paper.

Although essentially when you draw a sphere it is a circle with a gradient, to just think of it as a circle with a gradient makes it far harder to visualise the shape and actually draw it correctly as you have just unimagined the rest that isnt visible to the viewer and have reduced you're reference point for light and form. You need to think of things in 3D including the sides you arn't drawing because those sides still effect the rest of the picture, and also allow the artist to better be able to see where they need to place shadow and another form to make it look right.

1) Practice drawing just the outline of all the basic shapes (in 3D, but obviously the sphere will look like a circle with no shading, just practice thinking about it as a sphere). Fill 2-3 pages a morning with this as a warm up.

2) Move on to shading then - what I feel you need to do here is simply increase the contrast between light and dark - I don't know whether your scanners not picking it out, but the darkest darks arnt dark enough and it loses a lot of the roundess.

Good luck.

9. I believe one of the things holding you back is lack of confidence in describing these forms. The rough, tentative lines on your spheres says that clearly. You're trying to be very careful in drawing that line, which makes you draw slowly and end up with a wobbly line that doesn't look great. So here's an exercise that you can do to help you out a bit with that. It's what I do daily as a warm-up, and it's fun, quick and easy. But very, very useful.

Take a piece of cheap paper, like printer paper or newsprint or something you really don't care about. Keep in mind this is a throwaway thing that you're not showing to anyone, it's for you alone while you do it, and that's it. Then just start filling the paper up with spheres. Big ones, little ones, mix up the sizes. So long as you're drawing a three-dimensional shape. They don't have to be neat, but what they do have to be is smooth and they have to be quick.

So here's how you do that. When you're going to draw a sphere, don't just put pencil to paper and draw out a circle. What you do is move the pencil quickly just above the paper for one or two rounds, to give yourself a feel of what that circle's gonna look like. Then let the pencil tip touch the paper and continue with that smooth motion (draw from the shoulder, do not move your wrist or elbow). Let yourself go around a time or two just to be sure of the shape, then stop. Put a couple of ellipses around it in the same fashion, and you're done. Move on quickly to the next one, totally forget that first one you drew, just keep on going until you have a page full.

The whole thing shouldn't take you more than 10-15 minutes, then you can toss it in the recycle bin. Then go on with the rest of your drawing, like you've been doing.

The point here is to train your arm to draw from the elbow, as well as make those circular forms on demand, and to train your brain to think in terms of simple 3-D shapes. By doing this once or twice a day, you slowly start to build those valuable skills, and they will begin to surface in everything you draw. Like a lot of skills, it takes a while, but I guarantee that if you start now, and do it daily, by the end of the month you'll surprise yourself.

Here's an example I did while typing this. It's on a crappy newsprint pad, so it doesn't scan great, but you'll get the idea.

Attachment 988735

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Thank you. I'm trying really hard to make sure I pass the two drawing classes required to get a degree in computer graphics. I'm not all that great but I believe I'm slowly improving. Thank you for the reference images. I may not understand them yet but I bookmarked them for when I'm more up to it.

Flapenko:
I think I understand what you mean but its hard for me to visualize the objects as 3D when they are to be represented on a 2D surface. I understand how my mindset is limiting.

Nezumi Works:
I practiced as you told me. I didn't even notice the wobbly lines in the first circles. Are these better? Am I doing it right?

11. Yah, that's definitely a good start. I guarantee that if you do a couple of pages of those a day (or heck, even one page a day) for say, a month or two, your confidence with line and volume will go way up. It's an incremental process, so don't necessarily look to comprehend the 3-D-ness of it immediately, but you'll start to build that feeling as you go. Keep looking for it, though, and keep working. You've got a good, solid start here.

I love the happy face one. That's what you gotta do with this exercise, play with it! Have fun with what you do, after all....you're drawing!!

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