As was gently and diffidently queried by Bing66, if you're going to offer commentary on somebody's works-in-progress, it's really only fair to have your own up for oogling and critique.
So okay, I post!
One day, a long time ago now, I realised that I really, really wanted to draw. Really. It was something I could never do as a child and I so admired those in my class who could rip off these little cartoons and doodles like it was nothing. I wanted to be able to create things that didn't exist before. Having no idea what was involved but inspired and enthusiastic, I picked up a pencil and the day's local newspaper and drew my very first referenced pic.
Even looks like a cow, doesn't it? Inspired by my obvious natural talent for this drawing thing, I immediately got some books on How To Draw Stuff and churned out some vegetation.
Looks just like the thing I was trying to draw, sort of, mostly. You can tell what it is and it's really not bad at all. I was inspired to try creating that stuff I saw in my head that wasn't in a book.
Okay, that didn't turn out *nearly* as well as the other stuff. I realized that I was terrible at drawing things out of my head. I had no idea what to do or where to start. So I did what everybody does - I leaped at the internet, typed "how to draw" and found the pdf internet copies of the Loomis books. Then I bought an artist's anatomy reference book and I tried to learn from both of them what I could. Still entirely unsure of what I was doing, I signed up for my one and only art class, thinking somebody was going to teach me how to do all this stuff that I really wanted to do, because even the books said to learn to draw from life. Turns out the class was more of a work-study where we all trooped in, set up our drawing boards and did what we wanted with occasional over-your-shoulder commentary by the "teacher".
I'd paid money so I grimly soldiered on and I did learn some basic understanding of how to sight measure proportions, but it was sketchy . I did produce my one and only piece of "art" though - a pencil crayon study of a really rough sculpture the teacher had on her desk.
So I went back to trying to study on my own. After awhile I got reasonable at sketching things from imagination, trying to think of form and bulk and volume just like the books told me too - but mostly I just managed to get comfortable with putting swoopy lines on paper.
Now that lines weren't so scary, I started painting things in color. Like lots of people I didn't have enough space or money to get into traditional stuff right away so I started with digital. Smooshing colour around on the canvas, trying to draw figures and create moods was really fun when it worked and even fun when it didn't work. I also started figuring out that I had no idea how to apply perspective to anything other than a whole bunch of boxes. I got the IDEA of it but actually putting fluid things into their boxes just seemed to somehow be beyond me.
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So, okay. So in order to get better at colour, I started doing realism from photoreference because painting apples from life just wasn't in the least interesting. Now, I did try just... not very hard. It was more awesome to see if I could make my picture look amazingly close to the other picture. What I learned from this was an appreciation for subtle blending which is a lot more difficult than it looks and that any determined monkey can paint an decent copy of a photo.
Although the wet guy, I did make up his face and hair - I'll state that for the record since I was immensely proud of myself at the time for being able to do it.
So after my round of photorealism and struggling to draw figures that never quite came out like they were supposed to, I came to the conclusion that I really didn't know that much. I struggled with perspective, I didn't know how render bulk properly, I had no idea how to exaggerate to create beauty, I couldn't render light without copying something exactly from a reference... in other words, I was going to have to get serious about it if I expected to get any better than I was.
And it was daunting and I didn't want to end up in another "art class" where I got very little help and I didn't know how much more I was going to be able to pick up from books.
I got discouraged at how much more I had to learn, and I stopped drawing.
So all of this is where I was - and coming back, I've lost so much that I'm again struggling to figure out how to start. I've been sketching circles, shading triangles, I've broken out Loomis again. I'm embarrassed enough at my lack of proficiency that I only sketch when I'm alone because I don't want strangers on the bus peeking over my shoulder - shaded cylinders just aren't that awe-inspiring, y'know? I'm holding off on opening the perspective book because it's one thing at a time, f'sure, and quite frankly I don't want to freak myself out again.
And so this is where I am - or was. I'll try and keep the rest of this sketchbook a lot less yappy.