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  1. #1
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    Is it counter-productive to try and make things perfect?

    Right now I'm having trouble with shakey lines, and it sucks. Confidence in my work is an issue, and it gets worse especially when I start on a serious practice project. As soon as I get in that mentality (that something has to be perfect) my lines veer off in any and all directions. I usually scratch in marks, and erase it down to get the line the way I need it. I'm thinking this is developing into a bad habit. I do practice making straight lines (cross-hatching them), and I feel comfortable doing it - it's when I try to pull it all together and make something recognizable that it all falls to shit.

    I don't know, feels like a serious problem - like I shouldn't be stopped short like this. I should be doing better, I can feel it in me that I have the ability... but I'm being cock blocked. I don't know...
    Sketchbook: There and Back again Updated- 7/04/12


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  3. #2
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    Decent line control is a technical thing that your hand will figure out eventually. Focus on drawing well and the lines will follow.

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  5. #3
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    Unless you have had this problem after ten years of concerted effort to change it, you're just mind f#cking yourself. What Noah said, just keep working on basics.

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  7. #4
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    Draw more. Question less.
    What would Caravaggio do?
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  9. #5
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    If it's perspective stuff you are doing, then you'll find the best way to make straight lines on your own without thinking about it; i'd venture to guess it's different for everyone. A lot of stuff like being able to draw straight lines just comes from mileage and not using a ruler very much. I used to struggle with straight lines, and something that helped me was just forcing myself to not use rulers and over time my hand just got more accurate.
    "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
    --- Frank Herbert, Dune - Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear

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  11. #6
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    Thanks all - I'll do some practice with pen and ink, hopefully that'll help out.
    Sketchbook: There and Back again Updated- 7/04/12

  12. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MatthewHD View Post
    Thanks all - I'll do A LOT OF practice with pen and ink, hopefully that'll help out.
    Fixed.
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  13. #8
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    I'm not sure it's counter-productive. The line needs to do what you want it to do. I did find that after years of obsessing about and achieving nice, clean inked lines I realized that I hated clean lines and have now spent a stupid number of years trying to undo the habit. So my advice would be to learn how to do it so you're not stuck with what you've got, but not to fetishize things just because they're hard to do.
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  14. #9
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    Mathew - you just need to draw a lot more and worry about it a lot less - don't worry about progress, line quality, any of it. Just draw more, but make sure you're drawing correctly - all those "tips" you hear about like how to hold the pencil/tool, working at an easel, etc. will eventually train your eye and hand correctly if you do it enough.

    Increase the complexity of your still lifes just a bit now - add a small box or two in there. Observe perspective, negative spaces and light and shadow.
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  15. #10
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    two points:

    1. If you relax your style a bit, you don't need each line to be perfectly straight or line up perfectly at the ends, etc. You don't need to copy what you see exactly, you just need to suggest what you see convincingly.

    2. Many comics artists draw lightly in pencil first, for proportions, and then go over in ink. If you try and do the same thing, skipping straight to ink, you're going to find it much more difficult and frustrating.

  16. #11
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    Another thing that might help with linework in particular, something i often do, is if it's physical media like pencil, i'll draw what i want to draw like normal, then erase the whole thing in a way where my old lines are just barely visible.
    Then i'll go in to the drawing after the lines have been knocked back, and make sort of broad, confident strokes, essentially tracing over my old drawing.
    I was looking through your sketchbook and everything looks good and accurate, but the lines get a bit scratched in at times. I kind of have the same habit, and by tracing over my existing linework it aids in cleaning up my messy work quite a bit.

    The way this would be done in photoshop is obviously just fading your linework layer back significantly, then tracing over your old drawing, again, with broad strokes. That way your finished work doesn't have any scratched in lines.
    "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
    --- Frank Herbert, Dune - Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear

    Check out my Sketchbook! Critique and Criticism welcomed.

    or my Artstation

    Or my stream on Twitch! http://www.twitch.tv/wwsketch

  17. #12
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    Giving attention to the small parts is important, but we must not put the cart before the proverbial horse. Focusing on the function lines in context and how they express the greater form is probably where your energy should go I tend to think of the endeavor as something similar to walking with a full glass. If you focus on the glass or the preciousness of each step you will surely have a spill. However success is gained by focusing on your destination and not overthinking it... I hope that analogy makes sense.
    To me, the struggle in art is to constantly reaffirm the greater context. What I mean by that is having a sense of honesty about the function of each stroke, and not being mystified by our own dexterity. Perfect calligraphy ill spelled, is at its best laughable.

  18. #13
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