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I'm completely new here, nice to meet all of you!
About 1 week ago I decided to pull my finger out and really dedicate myself to learning to draw.
Actually, what follows is some background, so maybe just ignore it and jump beneath the hashed line, if you can be bothered reading at all.
Ever since I was a kid I've really wanted to be a good drawer... and animator. I love hand-drawn animation with all my heart, so naturally I've proceeded to become an ecology student.
Actually I love science too, but my biggest regret is having never had the dedication as a kid to learn to draw properly. I want to change that now. Not only do I want to draw, I want to teach myself how to animate. But baby steps, hey? All the good sources say that a good animator has a very solid foundation as a good draftsman, so that's the first thing I want to become. As bad as I want it, I plan to keep animation at an arm's length until my drawing skills are good enough for me to deserve it.
After I started drawing last week I poked around the internet a bit and one of the suggestions was to have a look here. I was directed towards the journey of MindCandyMan, and I was floored by how the community here reciprocated all his hard work to help him achieve what he did. And lord knows I need guidance; I'd be stoked if you guys are willing to help, if I can prove that I'll put in the hard yards.
Right now I'm 4 weeks away from end of year exams. That means that my ability to practice will be somewhat impeded by my need to study, but don't think I'm trying to make excuses. I'm still intending to spend as much time as I can drawing, and once my exams are up I plan to draw my fingers to the bone in the 3-4 months before my next year of uni starts. I'm also going to look out for some drawing classes to sign up for over that period.
What I probably don't have the time for until then is good, old fashioned reading and study. I have a bunch of books I plan to grind my way through (Bridgemans, some Loomis books, I'm looking for more on perspective and shading and tone though) once my exams are over.
Currently, my main practice is coming from life drawing and practing gesture drawing with 60 seconds on posemaniacs (to improve my hand-eye coordination, get a basic grasp of human form and proportion, get better at eyeballing things, etc).
But I'm no expert; I've no training at all, and have never, to this point, sat down and just drawn things. Maybe the odd doodle or two. I'd really appreciate any and every tip and criticism you can throw at me. I seriously want to learn proper... everything. I struggle with form, lighting and shadow, perspective, tone, shading (oh my god I can't shade), everything, and I want to fix that. I also don't know what kind of balance I should try and strike between drawing from imagination and life... I'd assumed that until I start hitting the books I should stick to life? I've also taken to drawing purely with lead pencil. I'd rather nail the fundamentals before moving on to colour, unless someone here tells me I should do otherwise. I do have a dusty graphics tablet stashed away in a corner.
Anyway, enough jibber jabber. I talk too much. I'll post from the very beginning, so there's about a week's worth of work up until now. I'll do my very best to get at least one proper drawing in every day, plus littler things (like my gestures and stuff), but nothing is guaranteed until my holidays. I will post everything that I draw, no matter what.
I'm just a sad, penniless student - I don't own a scanner, so I'm trying to make do with a camera to upload my pictures. This first batch has some fuzzy ones because I photographed my sketchbook at night and had to photograph with a low shutter speed. I'll do the rest during the day and hopefully there'll be no further issues.
In chronological order (I think they're all dated on the page...)
I think this is the pic with the spoon in it? That was a bastard. I had a lot of trouble separating the tone due to lighting from the reflection in the spoon. Dat metallic lusture, ugh.
My proportions and outline are off, but this was my attempt at practicing shading and values, and not very well. I still find this really hard.
I had trouble holding my hand in that position for so long, so this is a bit of a combination of a bunch of slightly different poses.
Please note that I will restrain myself from splooging WORDS all over my future posts.
Last edited by SCPPWP!; October 8th, 2010 at 06:37 PM. Reason: changing image sizes
My thread took a few days to get up. It's too dark for good photos now so I'll post what I've done since Thursday some time tomorrow.
I discovered these:
http://hippie.nu/~unicorn/tut/xhtml/ (from above thread)
tutes/assignments, so I've started doing line exercises (horry smoke, I suck at them!) and played around with perspective yesterday. I've also tried applying this fangled blocking technique with another hand self-portrait I just finished a few minutes ago.
I also started reading New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. I'm going to collect the knick-knacks I need (viewfinders and stuff) tomorrow afternoon and start working through it. What are people's opinions on this book? It sounds as slippery as a get rich quick scheme to me, but it seems to be highly regarded, and practice is practice so it can't hurt to try...
Good start. Try to lighten up your values a little though.
I'm in animation as well with a focus in game design.
Note to self - Do not try to invade your house.
Art so far SketchBook
I am glad ur doin alot of studies. But please make ur images a bit smaller takes forever to load cheers
Cheers/ your friend PMB
"Painting my brain with memories of the future"
Pencil and brush is my choice of weapons!
I'm sorry, I'll make the time to re-upload everything today and shrink it. What's an acceptable sort of size on these forums?
Maybe I'll stick to 640x480. 800x600 if im bad.
Anyway, this is what I got done on Thursday and last night. No new sketches done on Thursday - I discovered those line exercises and the perspective stuff so I spent a while doing them and reading about perspective (but only elementry stuff, I want MORE). 3 point perspective is confusing , it still seems like gobbledegook wizardry to me.
(Today's colour is the colour blue. Yeah, sorry. A scanner may be a worthy investment).
I learned to rotate an object in 2-pt perspective!
Something I found curious was whether there's a relationship between the height of a line, the distance between the vanishing points, and the proportions of the cube that are produced. I can tell that there is something going on. I don't want to eyeball the "right" vanishing points for an imaginary object, there must be a more precise way of using them.
I can't draw straight lines . But it's a part of my daily routine now, hoping I'll improve (fingers crossed). I've committed to doing everything free-hand now to make sure my lines get better.
I don't know what to do about my posemaniacs practice. On one hand I feel I should be using clean lines and trying to accurately produce the contours I see, but this doesn't sound like "gesture" drawing. Maybe I should stick to dirty, quick sketches that try to capture the essence of the pose.
Should I start doing 30 seconds for messier gestures and 90 (or stay on 60?) for more careful contour practice?
I looked up at one point and reaslised why my hand felt like dough (It'd been sitting on my desk for 2 and a half hours). I tried using blocking, to get the proportions right, but it was still a bit off. Lots and lots of niggly things that I don't like, but this is probably the best drawing I've ever done (flaws aside...). But I feel like I've completely missed a step - I still want to nail contours. My values are real bad too, I can see that - they change from one side of the hand to the other. I need to find a good guide which explains how to improve values.
I plan to draw some more today (Saturday). I just have to get some chemistry revision out of the way first. Tomorrow might be hard though, I have a fieldtrip from 9am-4pm, and then I have to go home and write a report about it (No excuses! Maybe I'll sketch on the bus ride instead).
Last edited by SCPPWP!; October 8th, 2010 at 08:12 PM. Reason: new reflections on my drawing
At the moment all I can do is smudge with my fingers and bubblegum rubber (those fancy artists rubbers, I don't know what they're called). I try holding my pencil sideways sometimes and shading with the pencil but it always comes out really sketchy.
I'm going to go find a place to buy a mirror after breakfast. Hopefully won't take more than an hour (I'll get my other bits for continuing with New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain while I'm out). Then I'll try and do my first self-portrait. (That's what Betty Edwards wants so that what Betty Edwards gets).
Last edited by SCPPWP!; October 8th, 2010 at 08:10 PM. Reason: because posting again would needlessly bump the thread
Before I started a bit over a week ago I'd forgotten how much I enjoy drawing. Getting in the "zone" has this weird calming feeling to it, like meditation.
My lines are getting straighter... marginally. I really want silky smooth clean lines.
I'm still conflicted with this "gesture" practice. It feels too far between actual gesture drawing and longer sketching. Should I not be fretting about such things at this stage?
I found my mirror at the shops today, so I present babby's first self-portrait. At first glance I'm pleased with how it turned out, I hadn't expected to be drawing anything even half as reasonable yet. But there's so much I hate about it I want to spew. Come the holidays I want to take a big step backwards and focus a lot on contour drawing - I still struggle to simplify a form down to it's important parts. My boof hair saved me from doing ears (even though I'd have liked to have a shot at it), but that meant I had to draw my hair. Pschaw, that stumped me. I already find hair really hard. How do I manage curly hair?
It also took me about 4 hours to draw... this is very slow, isn't it? Should my ability to draw what I see simply speed up with practice or do I need to actively limit my time? Maybe I should start doing speed portraits every now and then.
I've also started to see the importance of reflected light for defining form with shading.
Dat bed *vomit*. I was so tempted to erase that, but that's not allowed . Didn't quite turn out how I thought it would. Who woulda thunk cartoons would be so hard.
The last thing I had to do for Ms Betty Edwards to continue to the next exercise in New Right Side of the Brain was draw a human from imagination. She didn't say realistic. I wanted to do a cartoon fat english gentleman with a minimalistic style like banbury does in Dickens' Papers of the Pickwick Club.
(Yes, I'm reading Gesture Drawing for Animation).
I wish I could do more cartoons... I really want to play with expression and essence, but I need to nail the basics first, right? Right!
Actually, I never got that chemistry revision done , so I'd better get my arse into gear before the night is out. Drawing is too fun. I can't wait for the holidays. Then I can get serious with this.
I think I should shift back to doing more work on fundamentals, like basic shapes. The hand and portrait were nice morale boosts though - at least I know I'm getting somewhere.
Last edited by SCPPWP!; October 9th, 2010 at 06:19 AM. Reason: wtf can people read my reasons for editing?
Well, you're definitely working hard mate.
Good still lifes, perspective studies and self-portrait.
Keep up the gestures, though I'd like to see some anatomy studies too perhaps. Just so I can see you 'know' how to draw the body.
But anyways- I think it's a good start, so keep up the good work and stay critical but never so much it hinders your creativity.
Hey there! Bravo on starting a sketchbook here, I'm doing the same. Though I'm still working on things myself, I figure any critique can be helpful so here goes:
Awesome that you're already delving into value. Value puts me in the fetal position under my table. With quick gesture drawings, especially for animation, instead of working so much on the outlines, the goal should be to get down the essence of the motion and general pose of the subject. A gesture drawing, with even just a few quick lines, can be so expressive... the curve of the spine, the straights and curves of the legs and arms. Once you capture that, you can build from there. Easier said than done of course, but this is what I've always been told. I think someone else also mentioned doing more anatomy studies (less contour, more understanding what is inside that's creating the contour).
With your self portrait, how much of that was drawing what you really saw in the mirror and how much was drawing what you think should be there? I guess I mean... when drawing the eye... don't just draw a representation of what you think an eye looks like... really study what you see, think about the eyeball, the eyelid... all the 3 dimensional shapes that come together and form the eye you're lookin at. (I'm working on this myself, but I know I improve more when I keep these things in mind and don't start going all willy nilly with my drawings).
Anyhoo, I look forward to seeing your work continue to improve! This website is a testament that with hard work and some help, anything's possible.
Thanks for the encouragement, guys .
@Naidy and Bethany: More anatomy work seems to be the consensus. I'll admit - I don't think I could draw a decent figure from imagination. My plans are study basic shapes a bit more first (over the next few days), but then I'd like to start anatomy. Maybe starting with studying the head and face, but hands and figure are right up there too. And once I'm getting my mind around that then I intend to start churning out from imagination, absolutely.
It was probably lost in all my wordvomit but I should also repeat that I'm only a few weeks away from my uni exams. I have to hold back on my time spent drawing at the moment to make sure my uni work is all up to scratch (but I'm working as hard and fast as I can to make as much time!). I'll test the water with anatomy asap, but I won't have the headspace to really hone in on it until my exams are done with. When that time comes I want to be drowning in anatomy.
@shai: I still barely know what value is (hint hint, if anyone knows of a good tute on it I'm game)! I'm still only trying to draw what is see. But you know what, you're absolutely right about the eyes on my portrait. I did them last, and by that point it'd been 4 hours and, I'll admit, I was getting lazy. I had to wrap it up to do chemistry revision. I'll do my best to make sure I don't get sloppy like that again in future.
So anatomy should help with the gesture too, huh? It makes sense. I read about the importance of trying to capture movement in gesture only last night in Gesture Drawing for Animators, so I started trying today on my geology fieldtrip. Phew, tougher than I'd thought - but looking back on the examples in that book I realise that I was still too intent on capturing form instead of action. I'll post some up tomorrow (too late for good photos now).
I got my fieldtrip report and more chemistry done already, so I can spend the rest of my night working on cubes and ellipses and other geometric stuff .
Last edited by SCPPWP!; October 10th, 2010 at 05:30 AM. Reason: 8)
Just forgot! You might already have Loomis bookmarked, but just incase I found two of his things here
head and hands:
Drawing the figure:
They might take a while to load, but they'll certainly come in usefull.
You love to draw, and want to learn then you came to the right place. Now there are lots of different paths to take as far as learning the human figure goes. Search every thread, ask for feedback from the many great artists here, how they did it. Make a schedule for everyday as to what to study. You have to draw everyday, even if your tired, or have other things going on. Fill every square inch of the page with drawings. I used to take every drawing in George Bridgeman's Drawing from Life and draw it 8 to 16 times on standard size 8.5 x11 in. copy paper front and back. It helps, it got burned into my brain! Basic block & cube construction of the human figure. Anatomy too, know your subject inside & out. Don't forget to doodle, draw from imagination see if your studies pay off. Good Luck, great to have you here.
I tell you what, people tell you something enough times and you'll be saying it too.
So with all your comments I've decided to focus in on figures. I'll start by the end of the week, starting with studies of general figure shape and proportion, then more intense studies of different bits (head, face, hands, etc). Between now and then I want to finish playing with more cylinders and spheres. From now on I'll also focus on sketching figures (from photos, I guess). Anatomy ho!
Big uni day today... but that didn't stop me doing a sketch! And I've taken to carrying a little sketchbook around with me. I glance at things and draw in it as I walk, today I tried to get my lecturer's face while he twitched about (easier said than done, I discovered). I started looking at ellipses and cylinders too.
What I didn't get time for was to photograph my drawing from the last few days . But they're there! Tomorrow I'll have to play catch-up and upload them all.
So don't think I'm slacking off and missed a day!!
One question for anyone who cares to answer; does ability to accurately eyeball the outline (and proportion) of an object improve pretty steadily with continued practice? The mug I sat down and sketched this evening frustrated me alot when I wasted a good 20 minutes or more fretting over the initial outline .
Not that I'm in any condition to be giving advice but... my old figure drawing prof had a saying "Don't worry about results they will come on their own". One thing I have found useful for getting the contour/proportion of an object down is not worrying so much about minutia to start. Think of everything in a gestural fashion. Grab the object's essence/form as quickly and lightly as you can then you can work from that.... my 2 cents feel free to take or leave
So this is stuff from the last 3 days (including this afternoon. I have chemistry to do and then I hope to play with spheres). Like I said earlier, I've taken to carrying my small sketchbook around with me, to try and quicken my eye and hands. They look like crap , but they were mostly all done in a matter of seconds (a few were up to a minute, but not many). Done in pen (started doing my gestures like that too, avoids the temptation to go back and correct )
On the last one I think I figured something out. I should be looking ahead of my pencil, at where I want it to go. It helped me make my lines straighter.
Trying out that contour shading... or whatever it's called. I'll try practicing using it more.
Argh. Catching things with such little time is hard. In motion is even harder :X
Slowly slowly improving my gestures. I think. I discovered the helpfulness of placing the spine first.
Self-portrait no. 2! Some wonky proportions and placement of bits of mah face . But it was pleasing to finish it about an hour faster than the last one. I'm also trying to lighten the values and more accurately reflect my skin tone.
Expect more later tonight! If I do my homework quick enough
Last edited by SCPPWP!; October 12th, 2010 at 05:07 AM.
Just had a thought which has made me very anxious, I would appreciate the thoughts of anyone more experienced than I.
My plans had been to start looking at anatomy towards the end of this week (probably the weekend). Suddenly I wondered whether or not my ability to get proportions and stuff right should be much tighter before I try.
Should stick with sketching from reference for now to improve my basic skills? I worry that I'll go headlong into anatomy and it'll be worthless if I can't draw proportions right to begin with. Maybe I should start with just heads or figures? I don't know :X
Edit: These spheres are driving me nuts! It's so hard trying to get the guidelines on a sphere right , the ones that cut it into 3 orthogonal hemispheres. Does anyone know of any really good tutorials on this? I've been googling for half an hour with no success.
Last edited by SCPPWP!; October 12th, 2010 at 09:07 AM.
I forgot to upload the quick sketches from my little notebook, but no matter. They tend to be crap anyway, but I think they're improving, at least . I think I'm getting better at taking in more in a short amount of time.
This was the result of me trying to figure spheres out. I'm still having lots of trouble getting the guidelines right.
Had an awful day with the gestures today . So I didn't do many.
I was very happy drawing thingo - I got my perspectives pretty much the way I wanted them the first time around, and then got my facial features done pretty quick too .
Didn't finish though... It's half past 12 in the morning now, and I normally go to bed at about 10. And I only got 4 hours of sleep last night. I'm exhasusted [that's my excuse for the sloppy eyes, please excuse me for that).
And it's the middle of the uni week ! Time for me to sleep!
Whoa dude, that's flippin' awesome! Really love the self portrait! Theres such a big difference between your three self portraits, keep it up! I'm jealous of your value usage. There's a lot of depth going on, especially with the eyes, nose and mouth. I'd say the only things I notice are the hair (but you had to sleep, understandable), the neck could use a little value so that the head isn't floating, but mostly, the eyes. They've got a lot of structure and overall look great, but the irises could use a little work... round them out a little bit more and look for some more values like you did for the rest of the face.
Look forward to seeing more!
Thanks so much shai . I'll definitely take all your criticism on board. Eventually I will get around to studying the head and facial features... I'm still weighing up whether or not to start my anatomical studies there or on the broader figure. I'm leaning towards the figure, since it ties in nicely with the gestures on pose-maniacs (and with any luck, studying the figure will help me get more out of those exercises, because right now I suck at it, even at 60 seconds!). Hair troubles me, but once I'm studying faces and heads I'll do my best to crack it.
But I've come here to apologize, tail between my legs and big puppy eyes. I got very little drawing done today (only some doodling in my small book ) and I'm dead tired. Instead, I smashed my way through a biology report in one sitting. With that out of the way I hope to make up for today on the weekend.
I'm still drawing, don't think I'm going to just stop!
Time is just getting a little tight... exams are 2 weeks away now .
Today I didn't get as much done as I wanted to. I wasted a lot of time looking for figure references (high-def nudes). I finally found one to draw, but I'm in the process of looking for more. I want to do a lot of these to get some serious practice in values, form, and volume.
After weighing up my options I decided to go sequentially through Figure Drawing by Loomis. It looked like it covered more fundamental, basic concepts than my alternative, Bridgeman. If I can nail Loomis's figure-drawing book then I'll move on to Bridgemans. To compliment this I intend to focus on drawing figures for now.
I also looked at spheres again. Since they're so important for head construction I realise that I really need to nail the guideline construction (which I'm having trouble with) and rendering. I'll keep revisiting this.
My reference. I know I didn't get the proportions quite right, but I'm trying to a) improve my speed and b) focus on volume and values, so I didn't think it was worth agonizing over proportions just yet (but do correct me if I'm wrong).
I got some stuff done this morning, so I'll post it now. I'm heading out to do some shopping, but later on I hope to do some more work with Loomis.
I did another self-portrait, this time in pen. I've read some threads which suggest this sort of think to make you think more carefully about each stroke. I limited myself to 40 minutes, to work on my speed.
It came out a bit wonky, and I now know that I have plenty to learn about pen rendering. I look like a monkey.
I also tried another drawing from a nude model reference.
I think it was marginally better than my last one, proportions-wise at least, but I'm still struggling to lighten my values . What I did last night with Loomis's figure map helped me get the proportions out a bit quicker, I think. They really do match up pretty well . This took me more like 2 hours though, compared to yesterday's one hour.
Last edited by SCPPWP!; October 18th, 2010 at 08:29 AM.
Geology was more boring than usual today so I doodled through most of it.
I also managed to squeeze in a self-portrait before uni. I gave myself 30 mins, so I'm quite pleased that the proportions turned out (reasonably) ok. The main point of it, though, was for me to really start simplifying my values. I think I'm getting my head around the idea. Look for dark and light, simplify the half-tones. Pen again - I'm becoming fond of it, it really does make me think about my strokes more, and I find it easier to be conscious of my values while I'm at it.
Loomis's book is fun to work through, I'll be practicing those figure maps from memory to make sure I have them tight. Tomorrow I'll start playing with the simple mannikin.
Hard studying = awesome.
But I don't get why you do that perspective line stuff. Drawing a bunch of lines won't help, man Use the perspective lines for something, draw buildings or characters in perspective. Else you'll just be drawing straight lines and you won't get anything out of that..
I found a thread on these forums (by Yotsi or something?). It was a series of assignments, and in the first one he said to practice drawing long, straight lines. So that's what I did!
Maybe that kind of thing will just come anyway with practice? I dunno >.>
I bought some books last night, too . Rendering in pen and ink and the 1st volume of Drawn to Life, and I bought a copy of Bridgmans too so I don't have to keep borrowing from the library. Now I buckle down and wait for them to arrive...
Last edited by SCPPWP!; October 18th, 2010 at 05:08 PM.
Ey you there stop beating me!
Great progress man keep working at it.
Note to self - Do not try to invade your house.
Art so far SketchBook