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  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunin View Post
    thanks again for posting these
    Hi Hunin. I'm glad you asked; it keeps me honest. I figure those of us attempting Nicolaides practically need a support group to work through the monotonous parts.

    I'm not sure if I really understood the weight drawings, but I did my best to soldier through. However, the modeled drawings I enjoy, and I think I'm starting to get what Nicolaides is driving at. I confess that I won't miss the messy crayon when it's gone, though. A few of the latest:

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  2. #32
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    the latest batch is really strong, this method of study is obviously very beneficial for you. I especially like the piano, your hand, foot and hammer. Really great stuff, keep up the good work

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  4. #33
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    I haven't given up yet; I'm still slowly crawling my way through Nicolaides' book--just finishing up Chapter 5 now. This week was modelled drawings in ink, along with the usual gestures. I also threw in a couple quick hand sketches I did on "my own" time.

    BTW, I was too lazy to use the scanner this time--is the camera working out OK?

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    Hi Cider - thanks for stopping by over on my sb! Looks like you have been very busy with your studies - awesome work, I can definitely see some improvement already . Oh and the photos are just as easy to see as your scans.

    Keep up the good work - I'll be subscribing to see your progress

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  7. #35
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    I'm finishing up Chapter 6 now. As usual, tons of gestures, but I was also introduced to the modelled watercolor exercise. I don't know if it's because I've never painted in my life, or if I'm just not getting the exercise, but my results look ridiculous (examples below).

    I also scanned some doodles of the dogs. Crazy beasts can't stay still for more than 30 seconds, even if they're sleeping. In a few, I tried to capture some value and realized how weak I am in that area. Definitely need lots of practice.

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  8. #36
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    wow, you're blazing through the book! It's all looking really good.

    Looking at your work, I feel as though I haven't gone through the book properly (like not spending enough time on the long studies) some of the exercises are really useful, but i don't know if I'll keep going through it.

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  10. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunin View Post
    wow, you're blazing through the book! It's all looking really good.

    Looking at your work, I feel as though I haven't gone through the book properly (like not spending enough time on the long studies) some of the exercises are really useful, but i don't know if I'll keep going through it.
    Thanks, Hunin. It feels more like crawling than blazing, but since I don't have any background in art, it's been nice to have a clear study plan. My motivation waned a bit in chapter six, probably because I didn't get along well with the watercolor exercise. Now I have a five-hour contour exercise to look forward to . Nicolaides or not, I hope your studies are going well.

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  11. #38
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    thanks cider.

    To be honest, I find the plan in the book too rigid, I hate having to consciously think about the time i'm spending on a drawing exercise, what you get out of it is more important than time spent I think.

    With the water-colour exercise, try using more paint on the brush, and work from light to dark, working your shadows in whilst the paint is still wet.

    Thanks for visiting my sb again, I appreciate the encouragement.

    BTW, nothing wrong with not having a background in art, it's a good thing in many ways, you don't have too many preconceived ideas about art thus can be more flexible and open. Sometimes I wish I could forget it all and start over!

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  13. #39
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    I'm about mid-way through Chapter 7 now--about 100 hours in--which means contour drawings again. Strangely enough, I'm actually sort of enjoying them this time around?! I didn't bother scanning any, because they look like nonsense.

    Tons of gestures this week as usual, and I included an example of the "daily composition" exercise--this particular one is supposed to be some dude filling out a form in a waiting room. My daily composition drawings are really awful, but I guess a guy has to start somewhere. I mean, if I can't draw a figure from observation, there's no hope for imagination.

    The sketches at the bottom are some quick studies of a bookend I rediscovered the other day (sorry about the weird crop--scanner only fits A4). I intend to do a longer study of it one of these days.

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    Smile

    you're getting there cinder just a little more

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    Quote Originally Posted by udonhead View Post
    you're getting there cinder just a little more
    Thanks for visiting, udonhead. At some point I realized that even if I finish Niolaides' whole book, I'll still be very much a beginner (albeit with a 6-foot stack of gesture drawings). I enjoy the work, though.

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    thats all that matters as long you enjoy doing what you do

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  19. #43
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    Nothing exciting to report this week, just more of the usual. I survived the 5-hour blind contour exercise and moved on to Chapter 8.

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    thanks for the comment on the sb and nice update on the gestures

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  22. #45
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    Hilde modelled (slept on the couch) for a Nicolaides exercise a couple days ago for the last time. She died this afternoon.

    I miss you, friend.



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  23. #46
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    This week sucked, but I discovered that I was going to be depressed about my dog no matter what I did, so I went back to work. Chapter 8 was a return to modelled drawings in crayon. I'm not producing good drawings, but I kind of enjoy the modelled drawing exercises nonetheless.

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    sorry for your loss I'm sure she'll would enjoy the drawing you did

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  26. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by udonhead View Post
    sorry for your loss I'm sure she'll would enjoy the drawing you did
    Thanks, udonhead; I appreciate it.

    I'm about midway through chapter 9 now. Nicolaides has me doing tons of 60-second gestures, and every once in a while I produce one that kind of looks like something . I realize product is irrelevant at this point, but I find it nearly impossible to completely divorce my mind from picture making, no matter how hard I try.

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    gives you a lot of perspective

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    Hey cider, those gestures are looking strong, mine still just look like incoherent scribbles.

    Sorry to hear about your dog, I get it, I had to put down my dog when he was 7 years old due to disease, it was one of the most upsetting things I've ever experienced. I'm sure it will get better with time...

    You're further on than me with old Nic, I'm still on chapter 8, going at a snails pace. I just don't enjoy learning only one method at a time, I want to learn it all! (This isn't a good thing, such poor concentration!) The modeled weight exercises are fun to get back into though.

    Maybe I should start a 4th sketchbook, I just don't know if it would do any good. Has starting a sketchbook made you produce more work? Have you learnt more?

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  31. #51
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    Hi Hunin, glad to hear from you again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hunin View Post
    Hey cider, those gestures are looking strong, mine still just look like incoherent scribbles.
    Thank you. Of course, I cherry-pick the most interesting ones to post here, but for each of those, I make a few dozen that are practically unrecognizable even to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hunin View Post
    Sorry to hear about your dog, I get it, I had to put down my dog when he was 7 years old due to disease, it was one of the most upsetting things I've ever experienced. I'm sure it will get better with time...
    Thanks again. I'm sorry you had to make that decision. Although Hilde was still spirited, she was pretty old and basically dropped dead, sparing me the agony of choosing when to end it. Good thing too--turns out I'm an emotional wimp when it comes to my dog.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hunin View Post
    You're further on than me with old Nic, I'm still on chapter 8, going at a snails pace. I just don't enjoy learning only one method at a time, I want to learn it all! (This isn't a good thing, such poor concentration!) The modeled weight exercises are fun to get back into though.
    Nicolaides says up front that finishing quickly isn't the goal, doing the most work is. You happen to be good at self-directed study without a strict schedule, whereas I'm not. Nicolaides is my crutch .

    BTW, You might recall that I didn't get along well with the watercolor exercises. Well, chapter 10 is a return to watercolor, and he recommends repeating the whole chapter once or twice! I think I'm stubborn enough to do it, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hunin View Post
    Maybe I should start a 4th sketchbook, I just don't know if it would do any good. Has starting a sketchbook made you produce more work? Have you learnt more?
    I, for one, enjoyed your sketchbook thread. I've only been drawing a few months, so I can't say for sure, but I don't think this thread makes me more productive. However, I've learned quite a bit from other threads here, and I wanted to contribute. Maybe I can't add incredible new insight or wow people with sublime art, but I enjoy seeing how other people are progressing, and they might find my progress interesting too--if nothing else, I might be making them look good! Finally, as insignificant as the risk may be, I wanted to state a goal (learn to draw--whatever that means) and be honest about my ability by posting some examples.

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  33. #52
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    Thanks cider. I've decided to give it another shot, this forum provides an almost classroom like environment, it is very encouraging.

    It's difficult to not think about picture making with gestures, I get it. What I do is throw away the majority of the gestures, sometimes without looking at them. I will keep a set now and again for posterity though.

    As for self-directed study, I think I need to be more strict with myself, often I think i've done loads when in fact I've just thought about art- setting hours is a good idea, it shows with your progress. Are you doing about a schedule a week?

    I didn't spend a lot of time on the watercolour studies, but then again, i've always struggled with them- you're not the only one! You just gotta keep trying.

    Thanks again, you've raised some good points about posting here, I'll try again

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  35. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hunin View Post
    Thanks cider. I've decided to give it another shot, this forum provides an almost classroom like environment, it is very encouraging.
    [SNIP]
    Are you doing about a schedule a week?
    That's a good way of putting it; it does feel similar to a classroom.

    I think my average is roughly eight days per chapter. The most Nicolaides I've done in a day is 4.5 hours, but typically three hours in a single day is my focus limit for exercises.

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    More Nicolaides exercises. Surprised?

    First one is a daily composition exercise, followed by recent gestures, modelled drawings in ink, and then a couple modelled drawings in watercolor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cider View Post
    I've only been drawing a few months, so I can't say for sure, but I don't think this thread makes me more productive.
    What if we were to demand you produce more? Would that help?
    I must say your motivation with going through Nicolaides is admirable. I remember doing hardcore studies like that non stop when I was starting out (I'm still a beginner, mind you, but I started out years ago) and I don't think you could pay me enough to try that again

    I would suggest paying attention to how many lines you're using when you draw gestures - a good gesture is meant to suggest form and movement in as few lines as possible.
    And yes, you should definitely draw some more finished poses. Remember that a gesture drawing is a building block for a more finished drawing. If you keep drawing only gestures you won't get a feel for what your gestures require to be useful.

    Good work and keep it up!

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  39. #56
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    Wow, I can see a lot of improvement here, especially with the watercolour exercises, you can get a real sense of the form, how tactile it is, just by looking at these pictures. Very impressed. The portrait in ink is also very impressive

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  41. #57
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    Hunin: I appreciate the encouragement. I'm certainly developing a new appreciation for the accomplished painters here!

    IntoTheVoid: Thanks for your advice. I'd love to make every line count, but I noticed that if I slow down and think too much, things start to stiffen up. I figured a stiff gesture was worse than a busy one. Hopefully, more purposeful lines will come with practice, and the gestures will improve over time.

    Since I've been putting all my eggs in the Nicolaides' basket, I clearly haven't focused on finish much. I'm sort of trusting in his book and my interpretation of his methods. Interestingly, I've been reading Vernon Blake's "The Art and Craft of Drawing," and finish was the topic last night. His take:

    Presentable drawings will only be made at the start by meretricious means. Difficulties will have to be avoided, dissimulated behind tidy shading or careful line; that such trim shading should truly model real variations in form, or variations which are the outcome of an imperious artist's spirit, is impossible in early days. The trick of hiding inefficiency will all too soon be acquired.
    What do you think? What kind of studies did you start out with? Anything you wish you had done differently?

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    IntoTheVoid: Thanks for your advice. I'd love to make every line count, but I noticed that if I slow down and think too much, things start to stiffen up. I figured a stiff gesture was worse than a busy one. Hopefully, more purposeful lines will come with practice, and the gestures will improve over time.

    Since I've been putting all my eggs in the Nicolaides' basket, I clearly haven't focused on finish much. I'm sort of trusting in his book and my interpretation of his methods. Interestingly, I've been reading Vernon Blake's "The Art and Craft of Drawing," and finish was the topic last night. His take:

    Quote:
    Presentable drawings will only be made at the start by meretricious means. Difficulties will have to be avoided, dissimulated behind tidy shading or careful line; that such trim shading should truly model real variations in form, or variations which are the outcome of an imperious artist's spirit, is impossible in early days. The trick of hiding inefficiency will all too soon be acquired.
    What do you think? What kind of studies did you start out with? Anything you wish you had done differently?
    Everyone has a different approach to learning that works best for them, and the trick is figuring out what your ideal approach is.
    In retrospect, I wish that back when I still had that amazing motivation to practice for the sheer sake of it, I took some time to actually draw the things I wanted to draw as well.
    Back then I assumed I had to keep practicing to get better, and once I do I can draw what I like, but the fact is, you need to draw what you like all the time to apply what you practice. Practicing without an outlet made me better at practicing, but now drawing for fun is much slower and more uncertain. After a few years motivation can dry up, and if all you have is practice, that could become a plateau that's very hard to get over.

    In summary: drawing is incredibly fun - do it for the sake of enjoyment first and foremost. Now (and this is important) don't get me wrong, improving your skills makes a mind-boggling difference in how much you enjoy drawing. All I'm saying is keep some perspective of your goals.

    As for gestures, you are correct, stiff lines aren't much better than messy lines. Though it all depends on how good a figure you can draw using those lines as a foundation. Are those gestures you posted the same scale you made them in? If they are I suggest working bigger.

    One more bit of advice: you mentioned you cherry-pick the gestures you post here. I'm not going to say don't do that, but consider lowering your standards for what you're willing to post. Post any gesture that you feel is representative of your current ability. Artists who are far better than I will be able to spot what your most common mistakes are and correct them, but only if you put it up for them to see

    Last edited by IntoTheVoid; April 1st, 2012 at 04:03 PM.
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  44. #59
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    Big thanks for sharing this advice. It gives me a lot to think about.

    Quote Originally Posted by IntoTheVoid View Post
    Are those gestures you posted the same scale you made them in? If they are I suggest working bigger.
    Scale relative to what? Anyways, I'm doing them on approximately A4 paper size, so a standing figure ends up around 9-10 inches tall, I'd say.

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  45. #60
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    Okay, that size is perfectly fine. I asked because some people like drawing tiny gestures to fill up a page with as many as possible. Drawing big, using your forearm instead of your wrist is a good way to avoid stiff lines.

    And you are quite welcome. Remember that this advice won't necessarily apply to you the same way as it did to me, but the gist is to have fun - that, I suspect, is universal.

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