What exactly ARE the basics of drawing and painting?
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    What exactly ARE the basics of drawing and painting?

    Hey guys, so I hear a lot of advice telling beginners to start with the fundamentals of drawing and painting before getting into more complicated stuff, but what exactly are the fundamentals? Do I begin with simple sphere studies or from drawing still life? Is the same true for painting? I hope you all understand what I mean

    With so much to study in drawing and painting it all seems overwhelming. Especially when you're trying to teach yourself.

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    OmenSpirits is offline Commercial-Illustrator in-training, NOT an artist. Level 13 Gladiator: Retiarius
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    ^read through the threads stuck above^

    We all had to start somewhere, and the above will give you knowledge more than any answer we could give you.

    Coming from one mostly self-taught to another.

    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
    -John Huston, Director
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    Basically you need to train your hand and your eyes. You train your hand to make the mark you want to express the way you see things and translate it to 2dimensions convincingly. You train your eyes to see shape, form, values and all aspects of color accurately. Beyond that there are general rules that can be learned in a number of ways these are the systems you hear about Like Frank Reilly and Villpu and many others. Find one that works for you and work hard; the best systems in my opinion recommend working from life and learning constructive techniques in combination.

    "Theory has no place in an artist's basic education. It is the eye and the hand that should be exercised during the impressionable years of youth. It is always possible to later acquire the accessory knowledge involved in the production of a work of art, but never -- and I want to stress that point -- never can the will, perseverance, and tenacity of a mature man make up for insufficient practice. And can there be such anguish compared to that felt by the artist who sees the realization of his dream compromised by weak execution?"
    Bouguereau

    Last edited by dpaint; February 10th, 2011 at 07:50 AM.
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    I feel a new thread a-brewin!...

    Here's the thing... the process of learning how to draw well is very simple and well understood...it is based on observation and interpreting that observation in two dimensions. The approach to doing that effectively and efficiently is also well understood...by working in a traditional manner from life. By traditional manner I mean drawing large, at an easel, preferrably while standing. The reasons for this approach are numerous; working large allows for more fluid movement; working large allows for better development of value and edges; placing the drawing surface in the same plane as the picture plane is extremely helpful; standing allows you to step back from your work and see it reduced - also to see it in one glance and in relation to the subject. Traditional media/tools allow for far greater freedom of expression - as well as mobility. So those are a few of the "whys" I guess.

    As far as what the fundamentals are...we have a current discussion on that here: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=207447
    At its most basic, visual art is made up of only about five fundamentals: composition, drawing, value, color and edges. A mark or brushstroke has to be in the right place, the right shape, the right value, the right color and have the right edge. There are a whole bunch of other important principles that have to do with aesthetic fundamentals but those are determined by how the "primary" or basic fundamentals are applied.

    So to finally answer your question...yes. Do simple form/shape studies both from imagination and observation - use your imagination to place basic forms in perspective - imagine the light source and shade accordingly. Also do simple still lifes - use a single light source and whatever you want to use for objects - but keep them simple at first. Also really focus on those things - spend at least three hours drawing a pair of shoes - or as long as it takes to draw them as perfectly as possible. I start students with small cardboard boxes...draw one...as accurately as possible...then two...then three. Try six! Blocks also make good still life subjects. The goal is to train your eye to become sensitive to all the subtle nuances of light, value, texture, cast shadow vs. form shadow, reflected light, edges, etc. All that in a simple box! But if you can't draw a box on a table really really well why would anyone thingk they could draw a horse?

    Well, that was pretty lengthy but I hope provides a little insight. And I'll say it again...get "Drawing Essentials" by Deborah Rockman - it has everything you need in there.

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    @ JeffX99--thanks man that really put everything in perspective. I guess I was making it harder than it had to be when drawing and painting is really about training your eyes to see things in a different way.

    Thanks everyone for replying--I checked out the peer project forum and got another basic understanding of what to do as far as painting goes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    And I'll say it again...get "Drawing Essentials" by Deborah Rockman - it has everything you need in there.
    Are you getting royalties from her yet?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MatthewHD View Post
    Are you getting royalties from her yet?

    Ha! I wish someone would tell her! But no, I just think it is such an outstanding book that she deserves to have it become one of the core books on drawing.

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    JeffX99,
    if you don't mind,

    I have the loomis books, I've read the betty eduards book (a long time ago).
    I still have constructive anatomy, peck's book, the famous artist's course, and a perspective book.

    Will Drawing Essentials still fill any gap left?
    Can you compare it to successful drawing from loomis?

    Wanted to know if there's any use to it.. having the books mentioned.

    thanks

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    Hey Pegasi - simple answer is yes, absolutely. Successful Drawing is great of course, but I can't put my hands on mine right now so can't do a direct comparison.
    But yes, best book on drawing you'll find. It is a college level book designed to be a "textbook" for college drawing classes, so it isn't a "beginner's" book by any means but it is still very easy to understand and will grow with you as you develop. You won't be disapointed!

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    I know what you mean, OP. My previous work has taught me to be very methodical in my approaches, so though I understand once you KNOW the fundamentals, you can break methodology and be creative, I am still looking for a STRUCTURED approach to learning art.

    You have things like: value, color, light, shadow, shape, perspective and so much more; I was expecting to find SOME (digitized video series) to start from the beginning and teach me the concepts of each. Once you practice those, you can then become expressive and break the mold in creative ways; but NOT until you KNOW the fundamentals!

    ...Well, I've yet to find this holy grail, so I'm resigned to one of the less efficient methods of progress—self-teaching, making TONS of errors and asking LOTS of questions.

    "Doing something half-assed more than once just makes you more of an ass."
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    Sure - you can be extremely methodical if you want - the academic tradition is stiflingly methodical but produces "artists" that have tremendous skills of observation and hand-eye coordination...but not much soul generally.

    The book I recommended is an excellent "tutorial" - I've never seen better. It is very clear, linear and structured as well. As close to the "holy grail" of drawing as you'll find, imo.

    Be aware that this journey you are contemplating is arduous. It will test you in ways you cannot even conceive of right now. Do not be in a rush to arrive at the destination...just the training and preparation, reading the maps, exploring paths can take years.

    Last edited by JeffX99; February 10th, 2011 at 07:39 PM. Reason: typo
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    JeffX99-

    If it requires reading, it's already too arduous for me. lol. Seriously, I got some kinda patience/learning syndrome; cause videos/hands-on is about the only thing I can have effectively teach me.

    "Doing something half-assed more than once just makes you more of an ass."
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    1. Line
    2. Tone
    3. Color

    Start with drawing, from life. Draw everything. Draw a lot.

    Andrew Loomis will help: http://alexhays.com/loomis/

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