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  1. #1
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    Arsh's Sketchbook

    I'll start this by saying...

    My name is Arsh Darksbane... and I want to be a real artist some day.
    But I'm a total newb with 10 years of practice to start over on.
    I'm going to start uploading my sketches, studies, life drawings.. everything.
    Because I aim to succeed.

    A little background on me...
    I'm 25 and I grew up a Jack-of-all-trades. I've dabbled in my arts for so long amid so many other arts... but was never satisfied with doing everything okay. This past May, I picked up my tablet after a 2 year near-hiatus (life had gotten awfully busy since my spouse and I had just had our first and only child). I immediately began making progress on my old art, and I made a series of digital paintings, each one better than the last. I had become determined to be better at art. I had seen a quote earlier this year that had changed my life:

    "One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular." --Tony Robbins
    This May, I made a promise to myself to focus my power. I wish to master artwork and pursue my dreams.

    And from then until now, I have learned much. In the past two days, I have learned the most... I need to start all over.

    I had decided some time this Summer that I had to go to art college because I needed to go "back to basics". I had realized I didn't understand the foundations that make real art... anatomy, value, color theory... I was inept at Perspective... Art college was a must. So I began at Art Institute of Pittsburg online.

    But now I have become disappointed with AI because they lack enough foundational classes. So I'm going to start applying to different art schools and find one that actually has all the classes I need. I found Academy of Art University online and I am talking to them as an option. I'd love feedback if anyone knows much about them.

    All that said... this is here because I am dead serious about my art. I believe in myself and I intend to practice and study until I can achieve my dreams and then forever. I am focusing my power.

    Here's some recent sketches, gestures, figure studies, anatomy studies, life drawing... everything I have within the past week or so. It should give a vague idea of where I am now. That should help for me to start. I will continue posting my drawings and I appreciate feedback.

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  3. #2
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    Keep working on that anatomy and the fundamentals. It'll pay off soon enough once you get going...

    Amateur Artist. Professional Asshole.

    Lookit the Pretty!

    Rule #1 of depicting soldiers: KEEP THE DAMN FINGER OFF THE DAMN TRIGGER.
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  5. #3
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    Okay, we've got a start here. At this point, I'd suggesting doing basic form and pencil control work. There's some good stuff here from The Vilppu Drawing Manual, although it would be better to get the book. You should be warming up with a page of spheres (think of them as 3-D objects, rather than circles) drawn as round as possible using a single line each. Do that each day, and practice ellipses as well. It doesn't have to take more than about 10 minutes or so, as long as you're doing it daily. You want to be able to call up those forms at a moment's notice without worrying about it, and that takes training your hand a bit. As for pencil control, that's also a matter of practice. First of all, get used to holding your pencil the right way, and draw with your shoulder, not your wrist. It'll be tough to get good results at first, but you'll thank yourself later on.

    Otherwise, keep drawing from life and keep studying anatomy. It'll pay off.

    The Nezumi Works Sketchbook - Now in progress

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    "Skill is the result of trying again and again, applying our ability and proving our knowledge as we gain it. Let us get used to throwing away the unsuccessful effort and doing the job over. Let us consider obstacles as something to be expected in any endeavor; then they won't seem quite so insurmountable or so defeating." - Andrew Loomis
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  7. #4
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    Nezumi, thanks so much for the advice. Yeah I've been holding my pencil the right way, and it's hard as hell to make myself do it sometimes. My worst problem with it is when I'm not at my art desk. When I'm just sitting around, holding my sketchbook, this feels like the most awkward position ever for drawing. How do you do it?

    Rather, I have a hard time holding my sketchbook AND pencil both at agreeable angles when I do this. I guess it'll come to be more comfortable with time though.

    Again, thank you. I will definitely be doing such studies daily.

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    Well, I hold my pen to write in an odd way to start with (along end of middle finger and side of forefinger, braced with thumb, it's a pretty rare grip), so I find that just putting it between the index and middle fingers, or middle and ring fingers, helps a lot because it takes me out of my normal grip. When it comes down to it, the most important part is drawing with the shoulder, not the wrist.

    Do work with those basic shapes, though. They're the foundation of pretty much everything we do, whether it's figures, props or environments. Take the eyes you've been doing, you have to be aware that the eye is a sphere that's recessed into the skull, and the upper and lower lids form around that, and in turn have their own thicknesses. Keeping that feeling of depth (one thing is behind another) is something you'll come back to again and again. So the earlier you can get a firm grasp on it, the better. That's one reason why I recommend Vilppu's book so highly. If you can get a copy, I'd definitely recommend it. Also Draw the Looney Tunes by Dan Romanelli, it's got great stuff about gesture, working from reference, and construction using basic shapes.

    You might also like this link, as you're starting to look at anatomy seriously.

    The Nezumi Works Sketchbook - Now in progress

    My online portfolio

    Bloggity blog

    "Skill is the result of trying again and again, applying our ability and proving our knowledge as we gain it. Let us get used to throwing away the unsuccessful effort and doing the job over. Let us consider obstacles as something to be expected in any endeavor; then they won't seem quite so insurmountable or so defeating." - Andrew Loomis
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  10. #6
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    A couple things:

    1. Try some simple still-lifes. By that I mean an apple, or an ink jar, basically one simple object. Don't even worry about background, or the table the object is on, just the object. Do your damnedest to draw it 100% accurately.

    The purpose is to help you see as an artist. What you see with your eyes is actually a heavily refined image that has been processed and filtered by your mind. Your mind simplifies faces into basic recognition patterns, translates perspective into a flat image, disregards actual proportions for emphasis on edges or contrasts, adjusts color perception to account for colored lighting, et cetera.

    This becomes evident when one tries to accurately draw an object, and fails horribly because they are drawing what they think they see rather than what they actually see. Instead of the object before you, you have your mind's abstraction of the object.

    That's why when a child draws a house, it's often a large square with a rectangle door a couple square windows and a triangle on top.

    Overcoming this obstacle is the first major step of becoming an artist, and drawing an accurate still-life is all about helping you with that.

    2. A rather minor critique and pretty low on your list of concerns for the moment, but it is a lil' something I noticed.

    You have a rather elegant signature, it is designed nicely and you pay close attention to the line weights and direction. These are qualities that your drawing lines lack, in your drawings the lines are wobbly, uncertain, coarse, and entirely lacking the elegance of your signature.

    It's nothing to overly concern yourself with at the moment, right now you should focus more on fundamentals than matters of 'polish'. More like it's something to keep in the back of your mind for when the day comes.

    Keep it up.

    -My work can be found at my local directory thread.
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  12. #7
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    Anid: On the second point. My signature is something I developed on a digital medium. I've become familiar with it since I've stroked it repeatedly. It's my signature. I don't just use it for art.

    So it's obvious that it would be more smooth and easy than lines I'm very unsure of. What you see above is most of my very first pencil work ever in an academic environment.

    I am very uncertain with pencils right now! I have lots to learn.
    I am doing several pages of studies today. I will do more tomorrow. I will keep doing them. My line qualities will surely improve over time.

    Thanks so much for the feedback so far guys! I really appreciate it!

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  13. #8
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    Some gesture and life drawing studies today. Mostly.

    Will probably do more before the night's up but will post them with tomorrow's work since I'm going out a bit tonight. If I don't update tomorrow it's because I go out to a friend's house every Sunday evening and I'll just post the stuff from Sunday on Monday.

    Thanks for the links above. I read the stuff by Vilppu and added the book to my Amazon cart. Will be getting it soon.

    Onwards!
    Arsh

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    Regarding gestures, this is where you want to be at your most flexible and fast. It's also something that takes a lot of practice to really get your head around, so don't worry if it takes a while to really get good at them. Trying at this point is really the important part.

    Every pose you do should start with a line of action. Here is a page about the concept from classical animator Preston Blair. It's a bit of a tough concept that you'll get a better grasp of as you go along. Essentially it's a line that shows where the primary movement of the figure goes. The stronger the arc, the stronger the motion, and you always want to get nice strong C or S-shaped curves, depending on the situation. Keep in mind it is not the spine, nor is it necessarily any part of the anatomy. It just tells you the general movement of the figure. This is your guide to how the body is posed.

    What I do is start with that, then quickly put in little hash marks for where the angle of the hips and shoulders are, where the bottom of the feet are and a quick oval for where the head is. Then you can go in and quickly toss down shapes for where the major forms (pelvis and ribcage) are, followed by getting shapes in place for the limbs. If you can get that much done on a minute or two (and don't worry if you can't get it all quite yet), then you're doing pretty good.

    The Nezumi Works Sketchbook - Now in progress

    My online portfolio

    Bloggity blog

    "Skill is the result of trying again and again, applying our ability and proving our knowledge as we gain it. Let us get used to throwing away the unsuccessful effort and doing the job over. Let us consider obstacles as something to be expected in any endeavor; then they won't seem quite so insurmountable or so defeating." - Andrew Loomis
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  16. #10
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    Nezumi,

    Thanks a lot for the advice and the link! That's a great sheet of helpful demonstration.
    I see what you're saying. Looking on my gesture sketches I see where it's lacking.
    I was mostly watching my 3-year-old roll around in the floor on that latter page and trying to capture the poses she came up with. They were mostly only there for like 5 seconds each at most so I quickly began recording them as simply as possible. It was rare she stayed still for 10 seconds and that resulted in a little more detail. I was just practicing.

    But I'll keep at it and I'll try to create The Line of Action first from now on so I can really feel the gesture in the pose. Thank you so much!

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    Hey, that's good you have the little one. Draw her a LOT, and you'll have something to give her when she's 20 or so.

    The Nezumi Works Sketchbook - Now in progress

    My online portfolio

    Bloggity blog

    "Skill is the result of trying again and again, applying our ability and proving our knowledge as we gain it. Let us get used to throwing away the unsuccessful effort and doing the job over. Let us consider obstacles as something to be expected in any endeavor; then they won't seem quite so insurmountable or so defeating." - Andrew Loomis
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  18. #12
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    Didn't get a chance to draw much tonight. Hands were mostly busy with Xbox at my friend's house. Will do some more sketching tomorrow. Sundays will likely always be a semi-rest day as long as we're doing our weekly get-together at my friend's house. Which has been... for years so far.

    Anyway! I did get a chance to scribble out a few random gestures as my friends moved around the room. I really paid attention to the line of action. I feel these were way better than the ones yesterday.

    Also did a semi-portrait sketch of Chris. The one on the left that is pretty detailed. It looks REALLY close to him. I was happy for just a quick sketch.

    Learned today: People never stop freaking moving o__o how do we get the chance to draw people?

    I will really have to find a model for figure drawing. Not sure how to go about that. I live in the woods in Central Alabama. There's not a lot of people around I think would model for me nude.

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  19. #13
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    Tonight I had to finish the final for my Drawing 101 at AIPO.

    The following is my artist's statement which is a whole assignment by itself. The attached piece is my final. This is supposed to be a portfolio-quality piece so I'd REALLY appreciate harsh feedback. However, I am SURE I'll get an excellent grade by AI's standards. Another reason I'm moving to a new school.... I don't know for sure if this is portfolio material now that I've had a few eye-openers on what is and is not portfolio material.


    ----


    This piece represents a truly great conquest for me. I have taken the first steps in learning the traditional mediums and the traditional art skills that accompany them. This piece incorporated so many techniques I have learned very recently and yet I have shown myself that these lessons have been absorbed. Any piece could be improved, however this piece really has shown the limit of my current skill. I have done as well as I can do, taken my time, and truly achieved a feeling of depth and three-dimensional space. I also believe the composition and balance of this piece are excellent. The lightsource is so clearly depicted you can see the lap reflected on the pot itself. If you'd told me a month ago I'd pull that off at the end of this class, I wouldn't have believed you.

    On to the subject-matter. I call this piece "Farewell to Old Friends". The reasoning behind this composition is nowhere near as random as a crab and a dead tree in a pot might seem. These two have a history and a meaning. The crab belonged my to my mate. It is a ceramic night-light that has been fearlessly guarding my family since my spouse was a child. Lovingly called "Mr Crab", this nightlight has gone through a great deal in his lifetime. He has been broken, glued together again, broken, glued, broken and glued until his inner fittings finally gave out and rendered him at last disfunctional. It was a sad day when we decided he finally can not be repaired anymore. The bonsai was a house-warming gift from our very best friend when we moved into our apartment over three years ago. It was a three year old tree when I got it and I felt terrible to receive it because I have anything but a green thumb. I was so determined not to kill that poor tree that I took the best care of it that I possibly could for three years. It moved with us from our apartment to our new home in the beautiful Bankehead National Forest near Smith Lake in Central Alabama. One day recently, my three-year old daughter bounced a big ball in the house, and a moment of laughter turned into a moment of sadness for me when her ball struck my beloved bonsai and broke the tree near the root. All the needles fell off very soon after and I knew my long-time friend was dead. So this is a farewell to two beloved old friends who have stuck it out with our family for quite a long time. I'm glad to be able to pay them both a final tribute in this image before they must both depart.

    The main goal of this project was impact. The view of a broken ceramic crab and a dead tree should be something the viewer can relate to; at least on an impulsive level. These are dead, broken friends. If that goal has been achieved can only be answered by the audience. It is my hope from initial reactions by my friends and family that this goal was achieved. For myself, I can see some flaws in the work, in the use of the mediums and in my sighting of the piece. I know that I still have a lot of practice ahead of me in learning to see and record such imagery correctly. However at this stage in my learning, I am very pleased with "Farewell to Old Friends". It explains itself better, I think, than I can with these words.

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  20. #14
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    The pot's a bit lopsided, and the values could be cranked up a few notches. Aside from that, interesting composition. Keep on working at it!

    Amateur Artist. Professional Asshole.

    Lookit the Pretty!

    Rule #1 of depicting soldiers: KEEP THE DAMN FINGER OFF THE DAMN TRIGGER.
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