Sketchbook: There and Back Again - an artist's tale

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  1. #1
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    There and Back Again - an artist's tale

    Hello all,

    I'm an absolute beginner to this thing called "drawing". Much like the stature of the fellow referenced in the title, my skill is very small. But, we all gotta grab our cloaks and head out our round doors eventually, right? Consider this my little push to get me to take those first steps.



    Now, I'm such a beginner that I'm not confident with my linework, and it shows. The only thing I'm trying to do at this point is get down line quality and correct representation of contours. Maybe I need to branch out more into shading, but I don't know where to start at all with this practice. I try it on my pictures, but it looks like I just filled it in with conspicuous blotches - doesn't look good at all.


    That's it, for now.

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    Last edited by MatthewHD; March 17th, 2011 at 11:56 AM. Reason: Edited for profile pic
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  3. #2
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    Welcome aboard and a nice start.

    Nice line drawings, you have good control. Nice place to begin.

    Keep it up, post more, more, more!

    Sketchbook | Art Blog | Portfolio

    True progress means matching the world to the vision in our heads.
    But we always change the vision instead.
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  4. #3
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    Hi, Matt, nice start. That Loomis copy looks really good. Keep us posted.

    And keep drawing.

    -><-My sketchbook. Please, if you have time, crit as if your life depended on it.
    Or maybe check out my friends, they deserve it more.
    DeterminedAnimator | Naidy | Kalin | Leo_7 | saltfox | DanielsK5 | Lunatic Hermit
    Drawing group:
    "The fate of us all lies deep in the dark when time stands still at the Iron Hill."
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  5. #4
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    Hi guys, just an update.

    I've mainly been practicing from Loomis and "Drawing the head from any angle" site, concerning head construction (making spheres with guidelines, etc.) Trying to get them to look 3-dimensional.

    I know my line quality is horrendous, I'm trying to work on it to get that nice "sketch" quality.

    The cup is bad too. I was trying to practice shading with the handle but it didn't turn out well. I sketched out the thing near the end. Bleh.

    Also, (I'm sure it's posted somewhere) but how do you make that icon that links to your work - the yellow guy who is doodling?

    Thanks.

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    Last edited by MatthewHD; March 17th, 2011 at 12:18 PM.
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  6. #5
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    Hey, you know where to start which is valuable, therefore you will improve fast. Keep working and good luck.

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    Creusa- n1frit - DanLiimatta - Fallen - Suz- Hu-ha
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  7. #6
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    Go to User CP at the top left of the forum. Then in the menu on the left click Edit Your Options. Then scroll to the very end and there is Link to your Concept Art Sketchbook column. Paste there the link to your sketchbook: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=213614

    Done.

    Nice studies.

    -><-My sketchbook. Please, if you have time, crit as if your life depended on it.
    Or maybe check out my friends, they deserve it more.
    DeterminedAnimator | Naidy | Kalin | Leo_7 | saltfox | DanielsK5 | Lunatic Hermit
    Drawing group:
    "The fate of us all lies deep in the dark when time stands still at the Iron Hill."
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  8. #7
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    good studies keep them up!

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  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jouzinka View Post
    Go to User CP at the top left of the forum. Then in the menu on the left click Edit Your Options. Then scroll to the very end and there is Link to your Concept Art Sketchbook column. Paste there the link to your sketchbook: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=213614

    Done.

    Nice studies.
    Hey, thanks a bunch.

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  10. #9
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    You're welcome.

    -><-My sketchbook. Please, if you have time, crit as if your life depended on it.
    Or maybe check out my friends, they deserve it more.
    DeterminedAnimator | Naidy | Kalin | Leo_7 | saltfox | DanielsK5 | Lunatic Hermit
    Drawing group:
    "The fate of us all lies deep in the dark when time stands still at the Iron Hill."
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  11. #10
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    Here's some stuff from Stephen Rogers Peck book "Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist".

    I really need to learn how to shade properly. Really piss poor here.

    On a side-note, I'm waiting on my copy of Bridgeman's book to come to me in the mail. It'll be fun to finally have a decent book that breaks down the construction of the human figure.

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  12. #11
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    great stuff in here matt, just keep doing what you're doing. Those studies can be really tedious but they give a really strong foundation for later works, and in fact most people on here agree that you are never "too good" to go back and practice a bit of the old loomis "ball" method of construction.

    P.S. usually "shading" is referred to a "rendering" on CA, just to avoid confusion. Shading refers to greys really, and rendering refers to adding values to help give form to something.

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  13. #12
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    Hey thanks for stopping by, I will use your advice
    Keep on drawing, studying and so on, but never forget, you do it because you like/love drawing...
    Salut

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  14. #13
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    Just posting some of my older stuff that I had to delete for my profile pic.

    One is of a piece of garlic: I didn't know how to render it at all.


    The other is a Loomis figure.

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    Sketchbook: There and Back again Updated- 7/04/12
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  15. #14
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    Hey, glad to see you started your sketchbook!

    You really don't suck, you know... Best of luck, keep drawing!

    It took me like three hours to finish the shading on your upper lip. It's probably the best drawing I've ever done.



    My sketchbook (it'll get good near the end)
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  16. #15
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    Hey Nice studies!
    Your lines are very clean.
    haha a piece of garlic, so that's what it was, I wasn't sure xD

    You said that you didn't know how to start practicing shading. The easiest way is to start with geometrical shapes, after all everything can be broken down to these simple shapes. I think it would be a good idea if you started with the spherical shapes.

    Keep it up!

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  17. #16
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    A great start for a beginner! And loomis is the way to go, practice practice practice!

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  18. #17
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    Haven't posted in a while, but have still been practicing. Namely, rendering.

    Here are some apples I drew from life. I experimented with different shading styles (poorly).

    Then I have some cups.

    I'd appreciate any tips or advice anyone can give.

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  19. #18
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    Also, does anyone know how to update the sketchbook URL so that it automatically goes to the current work/post? I'm trying different things, but it's not working.

    Thanks

    Sketchbook: There and Back again Updated- 7/04/12
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  20. #19
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    hello there

    Hi Matt,

    I'm not much more than a beginner myself, but I did spend a couple of semesters taking "foundation" courses in art so I am going to try to offer some advice and encouragement from one beginner to another.

    First off, don't get discouraged by the quality or state of the work you are producing! You self describe a lot of your stuff as bad, bleh, and other worse things. It's one thing to acknowledge your mistakes, but rather than look at them and think "ugh terrible" just consider what you learned from that study and how you can apply that knowledge for next time. It's all about being constructive along with being critical.

    One other big thing, and I think you realize this and mentioned it yourself, is that for sketching, you should work on loosening up a bit. Don't focus so much on the outline... One way that helped me loosen up my sketching was to just draw bigger, and don't be afraid of using many (light) lines. Are you drawing on smallish print-size paper/sheets (8x11 inches or so) and drawing with your wrist? It can really help a lot to work on bigger paper and using your whole arm, moving at the shoulder. This is difficult and not recommended to do on a flat surface, but rather an incline like on an easel or a drawing horse. You may want to invest in a drawing board so you can do a makeshift setup. Additionally, some pencils with a range of soft/hard lead and some big pads of newsprint paper (since it's cheaper and more fitting for busting out many quick sketches). edit afterthought: working in ink can sometimes be useful for breaking bad habits as you can't repeatedly erase and redraw your mistakes. You face them! haha.

    Anyways, practice drawing larger and quicker. It will force you to loosen up. Then you can use them as preliminary for tighter, more finished pieces if you so choose. This way, you don't waste a lot of time laying out a drawing only to realize you mucked up a portion of it and have to painstakingly redraw it. So yeah, sketching well is pretty important even if you're damn good at rendering. Don't fall in love with anything, be liberal with starting over, I think we learn more from these mistakes. You can do quick sketches of still life, real life, and if you don't have access to human subjects in real life, you can use these tools which are often shared around the CA forums:
    http://pixelovely.com/tools/gesture.html (NSFW - nude models)
    http://www.posemaniacs.com/ (muscular models, still maybe NSFW)

    Anyways, I will be keeping an eye on your sketchbook I think and trying to share any advice that I have found and still find helpful as a beginner myself. Of course, take this all with a grain of salt since it's mostly personal experience/opinion. Good luck and keep up the studies! You are already off to a good start by drawing from life.

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  22. #20
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    it's good that you're practicing your rendering!
    from the apples my favorite is the last one.
    the rendered cup looks really good by the way. so keep it up because it's paying off.
    As for the question about the URL, sorry I really have no idea :/

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  24. #21
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    it's good that you're practicing your rendering!
    from the apples my favorite is the last one.
    the rendered cup looks really good by the way. so keep it up because it's paying off.
    As for the question about the URL, sorry I really have no idea :/

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  25. #22
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    @Deadgoat - Thanks for the thorough reply, it means a lot. Though, none of the statements about my work have been exaggerated. I'm now starting to see how pro artists achieve the end result of their work. I can do it mentally in my head, but not on paper.

    As for your concerns - I am not drawing from my wrist, and I do have a stand for an 18x24 pad that I use for sketching. I also have many pencils too.

    What I find most difficult right now is controlling the pencil when I stand. My lines are wobbly, and any concentrated, deliberate effort will veer off the mark.

    I'm still not sure if I should be going for quantity or quality. Right now I'm spending much time trying to draw accurately and as decent as possible. I do gestures and sketches only as a warm-up.

    You should post a sketch book up yourself, you know.


    @Voodoo_Mama - Really, you like the last apple? I think the one on the top to the right is the nicest one to look at.

    Thanks for the compliment about the cup. I was surprised at first on how it turned out myself, but it doesn't work. Anybody can smear graphite and make something look as if it has a bit of reality in it, however warped. It's really a picture of failed technique.

    I was looking at your sketchbook and you are very good.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    Sketchbook: There and Back again Updated- 7/04/12
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  26. #23
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    Haha, I'm glad to see you are already well equipped with the drawing basics, sorry for being a little presumptuous, I just wanted to get a feel for where you were at in terms of what we can't gather from drawings alone.

    Controlling the pencil in a way you find useful is not something I can really help you with, as I'm not there yet either All I can really say is do some more varied sketches like you did in your apple study. Personally, I like top left and bottom right ones the best. They look like they've got some shape to them and the lines are a lot more interesting. The top right apple looks like you focused too much on the outline and then put shadows in by smudging/blending some marks, it sort of just falls flat. One thing you might want to try using more is charcoal. If you've already got the bigger sketchpad and nice setup, charcoal can be great and it basically forces you to stop trying to lay down such meticulous lines.

    One thing that can also be a fun exercise is to do an eraser drawing in charcoal (aka reductive drawing). If you are unfamiliar, it's the first example in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KIP8iWe7xo You basically lay down a flat base of charcoal and use a kneaded eraser as your drawing tool. For starting out, I learned kneaded eraser + vine charcoal for any necessary dark values. In this exercise at first, don't use a charcoal pencil since ditching the outline habit is exactly what this exercise is useful for. If you enjoy this method, sure, maybe later on you can opt for charcoal pencil in more finished drawings, but as a lesson in basics, keep away from that pencil. In my experience, charcoal is great for training yourself to block in shapes and render from that basic foundation. It helps you to look at things in a different way. Experiment and you might find a method you prefer.

    I keep saying this a lot, but I feel it is something that really helped me get past a big hurdle in my drawing: just give looser sketching a shot, even if you don't like it at first. Try adding value by varying your marks as opposed to relying on smudging and blending so much. I think it's best to go for quantity over quality since you're still getting a feel for things. You're not really gunning for finished works of art at this point, just studies and lessons. That's not to say you shouldn't try sketching what might eventually make a great finished piece (like a grouped still life instead of single objects), but don't start your studies with "finished piece" as your goal. Keep in mind, I'm not the best sketcher since I tend to be a little heavy handed and make too many dark marks early on... so, again, take this all with a grain of salt, haha.

    Like you said "I can do it mentally in my head, but not on paper." You're still learning to translate what you see into what you draw, so don't cherish any single piece of work. Just draw, draw, draw. It's all about progress and that takes a lot of time spent doing lots of drawings. By the way, don't be shy about putting some gesture drawings up in your sketchbook They serve well as warm-up and might not look like much, but as you get more confident with your mark making, even simple gesture drawings can be absolutely beautiful. I am trying to find a sketchbook I saw a few days back that had an advanced artists' gesture sketches... totally amazing. I will post it later if I find it, but I have to leave for class soon.

    I should have a book up, but it's been a while since I picked up a pencil. Hoping to get more focused on sketching once I'm done with school then maybe we can do this back and forth. I feel I've absorbed a lot just from reading critiques' of others' sketchbooks. Sorry I'm long winded and this was more like a pep talk than anything useful. I think all I said was: Draw, draw, draw! Haha.

    Last edited by deadgoat; April 13th, 2011 at 11:26 AM.
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  27. #24
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    I do want to try charcoal later on, I like the look of work done with it.

    I'll have to get comfortable doing sketches then. When I sketch I usually make marks without thinking. I'll have to change that, while becoming more fluid. I'll post them up when they aren't so horrible.

    Thanks for the pep talk, and for the link for the charcoal exercise.

    Did you know your name is "deadgoat", by the way?

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  28. #25
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    A small update with some sketches from life.

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  29. #26
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    I like how you construct heads!

    Everything is better with dinosaurs.
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  31. #27
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    Thanks, it's the well-known Loomis style. I haven't been practicing with that stuff at all, just drawing from life at the moment.

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  32. #28
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    your anatomy and head practise is really kewl! keep it up and you will get better

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  33. #29
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    Hey Matt good start to the SB, you said you wanted to get used to line drawing, some advice given to me was to be to be confident with each stroke rather than being very sketchy and unsure, by doing that your trying to nail one line each time rather than guess, if the single stroke is wrong then be confident in rubbing it out too. Hope this helps man, keep up the studies!


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  34. #30
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    off to a good start. Mooaar drawing!

    My sketchbook

    DA

    "This is a paint and pixel-splattered furnace that forges the swords of artistic mastery. This is a place where swarthy and belligerent dwarves drink turpentine mead, berate their apprentices and slap the trade into their skulls. It's where the anvils are made of graphite, the hammers are as true as rectangular marquee selections and the fires burn with the light of a thousand lensflares." --Jason Rainville
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