Very beginner questions
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    Question Very beginner questions

    First of all I'd like to congratulate most of you who submit your works here. They're amazing, so do I want to approach your arts' level.

    I've started drawing few weeks ago and I am not sure if I'm going correct way. People say the best start is drawing still nature until it's almost perfect. But is it necessary if in future I'm going to draw from my imagination? And for this start should I stick with geometric forms ignoring extra details?

    I also know that you'd say the best way to practice is practice...a lot...I can understand that but I'm not sure what should I exactly practice to get the best results.

    And what common mistakes should I beware in my beginning of drawing journey? I'm sure there are lot of us very experienced in drawing who know what factors did slow you and what factors did speed you up .

    Do you guys have any gold quotes, thoughts that make you want to practice hard? ^^ I'd love to have some kick in the ass...

    And the last question related to the first one. I'm very interested in digital art, but should I skip it for a while until I'm fine with traditional drawing?

    Have a nice day!

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    Buy yourself an HB pencil, a stack of A4 copy paper and a book of old master drawings.
    Do nothing but copy the old master drawings for a couple of months, every day.
    Then start drawing what's in front of you in your room: Your shoe, an old sock, the doorway, the dead cactus plant, the waste basket, crisp packets, your bed...

    I'm serious, that's all you need to do in the first year.
    Have a nice year!

    From Gegarin's point of view
    http://www.chrisbennettartist.co.uk/
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    Do what Bennet said, and stay away from digital right now, especially at the beginning.

    You have to train yourself to see...what's important, what's not? ...is it upright or at an angle? ...are the legs really THAT long on the person I'm sketching? ...where are all the little parts in relation to the whole "thing" I'm looking at? (This is how you keep from drawing noses coming out of elbows...)...

    You have to really try to see the "truth." You know what an apple looks like in your mind since you were 3-years-old. So...can you really draw a really good lookin' apple right now, without one in front of you? Probably not... I can't either, I'll bet. You have to forget what your memories tell you from long ago, and really look hard at an apple/hand/truck/telephone pole as if you were seeing it for the first time.

    Get a little bit of that under your belt...sketching all the time and sketching everything you see as best you can, then doing it over til it's right... and you will have made a good start on your idiotically long trip...

    Good luck...

    No position or belief, whether religious, political or social, is valid if one has to lie to support it.--Alj Mary

    Ironically, the concept of SIMPLICITY is most often misunderstood by simple-minded people. --Alj Mary
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    Quote Originally Posted by Motoko View Post
    I've started drawing few weeks ago and I am not sure if I'm going correct way. People say the best start is drawing still nature until it's almost perfect. But is it necessary if in future I'm going to draw from my imagination? And for this start should I stick with geometric forms ignoring extra details?
    Try both ways. Try everything. See what makes you say "aha!"

    You say you want to "draw from imagination". However, there's something you should be aware of: most people who do imaginary art don't draw everything purely from imagination. Almost all of them use reference of some kind - either live subjects, or photos, or models that they build, or a combination. They're also using knowledge gained from many, many years of drawing from real life in order to make imaginary things look convincing.

    So drawing from life is in fact good practice for drawing from imagination. You certainly won't be wasting time if you practice from life, anyway.

    Also, if you're interested in how observation and reference are used in imaginary work, you might want to get a copy of Jim Gurney's "Imaginative Realism".

    I also know that you'd say the best way to practice is practice...a lot...I can understand that but I'm not sure what should I exactly practice to get the best results.

    And what common mistakes should I beware in my beginning of drawing journey? I'm sure there are lot of us very experienced in drawing who know what factors did slow you and what factors did speed you up .
    As long as you keep drawing, it's all practice one way or another, and therefore good. There's no universal right or wrong path to follow, and it's okay to make detours and try different things. Actually, when you're learning, you definitely should try different things - you never know what's going to spark something. And you're not going to ruin your future abilities by practicing the "wrong thing" for a while.

    But in general, drawing from observation a lot is one of the more useful things you can do for learning, especially if you're aiming for realism of any kind. Observational drawing can include drawing from life, doing master copies, drawing from photo ref... anything as long as you're trying to look at something and draw what you see. Drawing from life can be an especially good way to beef up your skills in a hurry.

    Also, try to avoid getting yourself into a rut. That's when you get to a certain level, and maybe you become pretty good at drawing certain things in a certain way, so you just keep doing the same things over and over and you never get better. I think that happens to a lot of people (it's happened to me a few times.) If you find that you're getting complacent and repetitive and you don't seem to be advancing, try to shake things up by trying things you don't normally do - especially try doing things you don't know how to do.

    And I don't recommend getting carried away with digital until you're pretty solid with the basics of drawing - pencil or charcoal and paper is very direct and simple, which is why it's usually recommended for learning. With digital it's just way too easy to get distracted by all the whistles and bells; and it's too easy to get addicted to shortcuts and undo buttons.

    And... I know Chris says to draw "nothing but" master copies for a while, but I'd advise that whatever other exercises you're doing, you should allow time to draw whatever you want as well. You eat your broccoli, then you have your dessert. Otherwise it can get so boring you won't want to continue - don't lose sight of the fact that drawing can also be fun!

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    Thank you very much for your replies, guys!

    I heard that copying one's works isn't good or leads to nowhere. Are you sure about this? If so, what exactly book of master drawings could you recommend?

    Anyway, I'll take all your words to my heart and start practicing hard.

    If anyone yet would like to share some advices on my start, please do!

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    I would strongly recommend putting up a sketchbook of your work if you feel the need for guidance.

    And don't worry too much about making mistakes, it's part of the learning.

    The main part is doing, get the ball rolling. People could give you a 1000 tips, but you have to get tons of experience before you can really learn.

    My Self-Portraits

    "Work for your self first. You can paint best the things you like or the things you hate. You cannot paint well when indifferent.
    Express a mental opinion about something you are sensitive to in life around you. There is a profound difference between sensitivity and sentimentality."

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    Don't forget to read stuff.....fill your brain with information.....my art improved dramatically once I read and studied a loooot of James Gurney books, Bridgman, Carlson's landscape guide, and a host of other books....and I still need to re-read them. Like 5 times, because I find something new everytime I skim it. I notice a lot of these things 'unlock' only once you've had experience with it. Like I just read in Gurney's book some stuff about color temperature and only now am I noticing it. When I first read it I think my brain blocked it out...

    BLAHBLAHBLAH
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Bennett View Post
    Buy yourself an HB pencil, a stack of A4 copy paper and a book of old master drawings.
    Do nothing but copy the old master drawings for a couple of months, every day.
    Then start drawing what's in front of you in your room: Your shoe, an old sock, the doorway, the dead cactus plant, the waste basket, crisp packets, your bed...

    I'm serious, that's all you need to do in the first year.
    Have a nice year!
    I have no doubt that doing this would improve your skills immensely. There's also a good chance it'll kill your desire to draw. The only point of doing art is to enjoy it. Draw what you feel like drawing.

    Now, if your serious about improving, you'll also spend time on technical exercises. Master studies and object studies are to the artist what scales are to the musician. You should do them, but not to the exclusion of the art you really want to make.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadlyhazard View Post
    Don't forget to read stuff.....fill your brain with information.....my art improved dramatically once I read and studied a loooot of James Gurney books, Bridgman, Carlson's landscape guide, and a host of other books....and I still need to re-read them. Like 5 times, because I find something new everytime I skim it. I notice a lot of these things 'unlock' only once you've had experience with it. Like I just read in Gurney's book some stuff about color temperature and only now am I noticing it. When I first read it I think my brain blocked it out...
    It's not so much that your brain blocked it, it read and understood the words just fine but it didn't really "get" the concepts.

    I find technical things especially remain a bit vague and floaty until you actually try them yourself and kinda prove to your brain that this is indeed something that works.."Oh yeah, my eye is totally drawn to that sharp edge, even when I invert the image, when I fuzz it out, not so much..cool."

    The Harry Speed books are classic examples of this, as you get progressively less sucky more and more of it suddenly makes sense.

    Last edited by Flake; June 21st, 2011 at 09:05 PM.
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    One of the best 'How to start?' posts I've seen and better than usual responses too.

    Regarding drawing from imagination, there is a saying that goes something like, "You have to learn to draw from observation before you can draw from imagination." There is a lot of truth to that and learning to draw what something looks like rather than what you think something looks like is both important and more challenging than it sounds. However, drawing from imagination is helpful too. For one thing it can be more fun (your dessert as Gwen said) which helps keep you motivated, and secondly, it shines a light on what you need to work on. Just about every time I've learned a new skill it was because I was trying to draw something in my head but was lacking a particular tool to make it work. (Foreshortening comes to mind.)

    For those times when you are drawing from imagination you'll need to lean heavily on the concept of building objects out of three dimensional shapes. Cubes, spheres, cylinders, cones, etc. I'm not sure what your main area of interest is but if you plan to draw figures, this page has a lot of really helpful demonstrations of that principle. Bookmark it at the very least.

    Cheers and have fun!

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