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  1. #1
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    A rookie sketchbook

    Hello,

    (Please ecuse my bad english)
    My name is Ludo, I'm french and I decided to start learning to draw. I'm 40 but it's never too late (at list I wish ^^).
    I started learning about a month ago. Mainly, I'm following Riven Phoenix courses, and basics exercices from ctrlpaint.com and enliighten.com, I've also read a lot on this forum about where to start, some tutorials, a lot of things, and other things all around the internet, so much in fact that I'm completly overwhelmed by the infos...

    Finally, I also bought two books that a lot of artists seems to find usefull, but I didn't started working with them already : Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (Betty Edwards) and Keys to drawing (Bert Dodson). And I have Andrew Loomis books.

    At first I didn't want to open a thread since my work is the ugly one of a beginner, but then I though that if I really want to learn, then I need critiques, advices, orientations. So please don't hesitate to tell me what you think, be mean if you want, tell me to stop drawing if it's deseperate, no problem (I will continue anyway :p) ^^

    So here are some of my studies : skulls from imagination, and a face, apple and eggs (no, they aren't potatoes ...) from photographies.

    Best regards

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  3. #2
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    welcome to CA! iam a rookie as well but i think you made a pretty good start

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  5. #3
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    Welcome to CA Theotenai!! I'm also a rookie and I've got to say this is a good start, those skulls have volume so at least you're aware of form and shape, which is crucial. To understand that took me weeks so don't be so hard on yourself, all you have to do is studying those books. If I may help in any way, I would recommend you not to focus on just one of those books. Sometimes you may struggle with a particular subject because you are not able to get the point as the author puts it. However, having different books with different approaches has helped me a great deal, you can compare, let's say, the subject "arms" in 3 different books so you get a strong understanding of that particular theme. Loomis is great but I had to check Vilppu's one to keep on advancing so this might be the case for you, hope you do great

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  7. #4
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    Hai! welcome to CA... and Holy! a month ago? I approve.

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    Welcome aboard. You're off to a good start already. I can see you have good observation skills - you notice a lot of little details. This is a very good thing, but it can also work against you. Before thinking about the little details, first make sure you understand what they are, and why they are there.

    Here, I made a quick paintover of your study (I hope you don't mind).
    I didn't change much here, but notice how different the eyes look when you replace the uncertain, trembling lines with more confident ones.
    Name:  paintover for theotenai.jpg
Views: 616
Size:  146.6 KB

    In general, lines represent edges, or areas where two forms intersect. All those little details you see? Try to think about how you could use form to produce them instead of lines.

    Good luck and keep posting!

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  11. #6
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    Thank you for your warm welcome !
    Already some usefull advices, thanks !

    @DaveGarcia : oh yes, I know that looking at several approaches on the same subject will help me... I know that... but I don't do it ^^ So thanks for the reminder !

    @IntoTheVoid : thank you ! You're right, I tend to focus a lot on details, and often, after an a lot of work on them I realise that there are mistakes in the general forms... And for the trembling, uncertain lines, it's awfull, I really have to stop being afraid of drawing ^^

    This morning I tried to draw 30sec poses with artsyposes.com and posemaniacs.com. Wow, it's hard ! But it's a lot of fun too ! Maybe it will help me gaining confidence. I will try to do this a bit everyday. I post my attempt of this morning here (sorry for the bad quality, I don't have scanner, so I use my phone...). As you can see, I need a lot of work :p I even don't know how to draw them, I tried with basics forms, with lines for hips, spine, etc, I guess it will come naturally as I continue.

    I also post a muscles'head study from mind. I'm really not happy with it, because the render is just ugly...

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  12. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theotenai View Post
    This morning I tried to draw 30sec poses with artsyposes.com and posemaniacs.com. Wow, it's hard ! But it's a lot of fun too ! Maybe it will help me gaining confidence. I will try to do this a bit everyday. I post my attempt of this morning here (sorry for the bad quality, I don't have scanner, so I use my phone...). As you can see, I need a lot of work :p I even don't know how to draw them, I tried with basics forms, with lines for hips, spine, etc, I guess it will come naturally as I continue.
    There are hundreds of different approaches to making gestures, and they're all perfectly acceptable. If you don't have a preference, look at how Andrew Loomis does his and try that style out. Honestly it's fine to even use stick figures if they're sufficiently accurate and expressive.
    For example, like so: http://www.polykarbon.com/tutorials/...ers/chara2.htm

    The purpose of a gesture is to tell as much of the story as possible using as few lines as possible. When thinking about how to reduce a pose into a gesture, try to make just one single line that would best represent it - this is called the line of action - and build the rest of your gesture around it.

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    Thank you IntoTheVoid. I try several approach, and read a nice article on the line of action here : http://www.awn.com/mag/issue3.3/3.3p...pudrawing.html, but it's hard to get... (Il also have a book named "Force" by M. D. Mattesi, it's a bit too advanced for me though).

    I post other stuffs : studies, studies and some studies and a bit more ^^ (It took me ages to undestand the structure of the nose...)

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    Few more gestures but more than 30sec pose (a lot more !)

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    Good work, your last few studies are showing promise.
    The moment you finish a study, make sure you go back to it and make a note of anything you didn't get quite right. Like the legs being too short on the first one, or the knee being too low on the third one. This will help you learn more out of the practice and keep things fresh in your mind for the next time.
    Cheers

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  18. #11
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    thanks for commenting on my sketchbook.

    One thing I would say is to study from life, study a model skull if you can get one, go out and draw gestures of people in public places. Set up a lamp and do studies of ping pong balls or other simple, white objects to practice rendering. It's useless trying to draw more complicated stuff before you can render a cube or a sphere well.

    Once you get more confident with your life drawing, drawing from imagination gets easier

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    Thanks for the advices Hunin, I study mainly from photos but yes I would do more from real life.

    I tried with a ping pong ball, and took my sketchbook flat on my desk too far from my eyes so it's not round ^^
    I also tried with go stones (pieces of an asian game for those who don't know, I put a photo), their shape are simple but interesting and harder than I though ^^

    The result is better on my sketchbook than on the photo, I'm quite satisfy with the black go stone, but not with the white one... and well I will try to draw a round ping pong ball next time ^^

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    Thanks for commenting in my sketchbook, and welcome to ConceptArt. You're off to a good start with drawing, and you're probably at an advantage never drawing before since you don't have to undo bad habits.

    I just have a couple of critiques. It's most obvious with the go stones, but make sure with those value drawings that you keep a clear distinction between light, dark and mid-tones, otherwise everything blends together. With your ping pong ball, the top that is in direct light barely looks like a highlight at all.

    Along with that, and what IntoTheVoid said, work from very general first. That also applies to the values and your brushes. If you start with light, dark, and mid-tones and then blend and put little accents and details, it will help you to keep the values separate. In post #9, with the woman bent over, it looks a little muddy and uneven, especially in the highlights, if you started with bigger brush sizes, that would decrease some of that. Then as you get more detailed, you can start using smaller and smaller brushes. I'm sure on ctrlpaint that may be mentioned, but I'm not sure.

    Anyway, I wrote a novel, but good luck with your drawing. Keep at it.

    Love means never having to say "you're a special snowflake."

    Take a look at my sketchbook
    And my blog
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  23. #14
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    Also a warm welcome to CA . You got a few interesting studies up there even there are some faults my forerunner already explained and that quite good . It could be also usefull to have a few more brushes . Just search at Deviant Art or another Website if you are interested .

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  25. #15
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    Hey! Welcome to CA, and thanks for your kind comment on my sketchbook.

    So, you're definitely heading in the right direction, but I'll just add my critique to what everyone else has already said.

    Your lines are still pretty timid, it's especially noticeable in the digital drawing of the bending woman. When you do a set of gestures, try making your lines very quickly and loosely. Once they're drawn, commit to them! Don't be afraid to make mistakes, just move on to the next thing. That'll help you build some confidence in your mark-making anyway. You can always go back and fix things later if you want to.

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  27. #16
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    @NicoleWG : thank you for your critiques ! I tried another ping pong paying more attention to the values, I think it's better (well, not really visible on the photo but on the real paper it is ^^) but not good enough, I'll make more.

    @M1dor1 : thank you ! Yes, more brushes can be an idea but painting isn't my priority for the moment (since I don't even know how to draw ^^), but I will try some.

    @Clur : thank you ! You're right, my lines are awfull, I'll try to be more and more quick and loosely.


    The new ping pong ball and a few 3mn gesture drawing :

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    Nice to see you doing some value studies, try and make your background (a wall, a board etc) and your foreground (eg. a table covered with a cloth) all white, it's easier to accurately see values that way.

    With your gesture studies, try to draw through the form, try to see the complete line of action in a figure, hopefully this diagram will explain it better,

    A rookie sketchbook

    I know it's about cartoon characters, but the principle remains the same for all figures

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    I tried before with the action line but gave up because I didn't know how to construct around it... But it's never good to gave up, I'll try more, it will help for the flow of my gesture and the confident for sure.

    Here some new real life value studies, I didn't manage to set up a foreground and background yet but I put a cloth on the table this time. And a WIP selfportrait value study in digital just to change a bit.

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    the cat looks great...
    keep going

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    The value studies are nice. The pencil in particular is fairly convincing.
    The self-portrait is off to a good start, but the framing is a little odd. Are you planning to put something on the right side? Otherwise I'm not sure why you'd want to cut off the left part of the head.

    Line of action can be a tricky concept to get. The way I like to think of it is: if you look at a pose and squint, try to imagine just one line that describes the shape you see. It doesn't need to correspond to any actual curve on the body - just the flow. Hope that helps.
    Good luck!

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  35. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by jablar View Post
    the cat looks great...
    Thank you ^^ It's the kind of sketch coming quickly without having to work on it and you don't know how and why... It happens really rarely unfortunatly :/

    Quote Originally Posted by IntoTheVoid View Post
    The self-portrait is off to a good start, but the framing is a little odd. Are you planning to put something on the right side? Otherwise I'm not sure why you'd want to cut off the left part of the head.
    There is no reason at all, it's just that I picked a picture with high contrasts to work with and the picture is like this ^^

    Line of action can be a tricky concept to get. The way I like to think of it is: if you look at a pose and squint, try to imagine just one line that describes the shape you see. It doesn't need to correspond to any actual curve on the body - just the flow. Hope that helps.
    Good luck!
    Yes, I quite understand the line of action and can draw it, but I find myself stuck when I have to construct the forms around it.

    -----------

    Value study again with a spoon this time, some "plan heads" (really badly done...) and some quickly rendered ones.

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    Yes, I quite understand the line of action and can draw it, but I find myself stuck when I have to construct the forms around it.
    Ah, I see. That one really depends on how you want to do it, and what type of pose you're drawing. But just to give you some ideas, here's how I usually go about it:
    after putting down the line of action, the first thing I place is a line for the tilt of the hips. This gives me a milestone to measure other proportions with, and gives a lot of indication on the character's weight distribution and attitude. Then a line for the tilt of the shoulders. Many characters can be described exclusively using those two angles. The next things I put down is a quick oval for the ribcage, a curve or two for the leg (or legs) supporting the character's weight, and if I don't forget it - I place the feet down on a plane in perspective. This helps ground the character.

    That's just my own workflow of course, and I'm still working on making it better, but maybe that could help. You can use lines, curves, 2D shapes, 3D shapes, planes, bones, or anything else that works for you. Most likely you'll get a good feel for how you want to do it after a few dozen (or hundred) more gestures.

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  38. #23
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    Thank you IntoTheVoid, I will practice. I'm also reading Hampton book, the first chapter is his view of gesture drawing and it's really interesting.

    First thing I choose to do is to sketch with a ballpoint pen, it's probably only psychological but I can't erase (though I don't erase when sketching with graphite...) and the feeling is diferent. I tried some quick sketch, from observation first from random pictures on internet.
    And a few heads from imagination.

    I used the girl's head sketch for a digital painting. I wanted to keep the comic style but I saw something completly different as I was working on it. For a first painting from imagination I though that the result would be worse thant it is so I'm quite satisfied with it.

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    Hi,
    good way to start, just keep up the steady practise and you'll get your results.
    Try out different pens, hold them differently, work in different sizes and find out what works best for you.

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  41. #25
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    Thank you Shockowaffel, yes I will try more !

    I made a lot of gestures and I don't feel like improving, it's despairing... But I'm not discouraged at all ! No questioning, just drawing ^^

    Here some quick sketch from life or pictures and some of the many many pages of gestures. Also a WIP of a portrait of my niece.

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  42. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theotenai View Post
    I made a lot of gestures and I don't feel like improving, it's despairing... But I'm not discouraged at all ! No questioning, just drawing ^^
    You might not be feeling it, but it still shows
    Well done. The WIP of your niece is looking lovely too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IntoTheVoid View Post
    You might not be feeling it, but it still shows
    Well done.
    You're right, I watch the beguining of my thread and it's better, but it's not enough !

    Quote Originally Posted by IntoTheVoid View Post
    The WIP of your niece is looking lovely too.
    Here the finished one ! (I'm pretty happy with it.)

    And an other value study.

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    The finished version looks nice. The texture works well with the shirt and hair.
    That said, I must point out that it doesn't look like you pushed the piece at all since the last WIP. The textured effect is neat; I like it. But, it also looks like you used it to hide the unfinished bits and that just doesn't work. It looks just as unfinished as it did.

    More things you could do to push it further:
    Punching up the contrast more. One can rarely have enough contrast.
    Refining the ear and neck. The ear is a bit too small.
    The torso lacks volume. It feels flat.
    The hair is working well overall, but a portion of it is getting lost in the background, and another portion is blending in too much with the shirt.
    The mouth is turned toward the viewer more than the nose and eyes are. If accurate, a stronger laugh line to indicate she's pursing her lips to the side would read better.

    You're right, I watch the beguining of my thread and it's better, but it's not enough !
    Well hey, give it more than a couple of weeks!
    All progress is good progress.

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  46. #29
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    Hey, man, great start to everything. Never too late to get this thing going, so keep at it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IntoTheVoid View Post
    The finished version looks nice. The texture works well with the shirt and hair.
    That said, I must point out that it doesn't look like you pushed the piece at all since the last WIP. The textured effect is neat; I like it. But, it also looks like you used it to hide the unfinished bits and that just doesn't work. It looks just as unfinished as it did.

    More things you could do to push it further:
    Punching up the contrast more. One can rarely have enough contrast.
    Refining the ear and neck. The ear is a bit too small.
    The torso lacks volume. It feels flat.
    The hair is working well overall, but a portion of it is getting lost in the background, and another portion is blending in too much with the shirt.
    The mouth is turned toward the viewer more than the nose and eyes are. If accurate, a stronger laugh line to indicate she's pursing her lips to the side would read better.
    I agree with quite everything. In fact I pushed the piece principaly on the chin, mouth, noze, eye, hair (and necklace). And I didn't want to push it more to keep something a bit rough (and because I spent already a lot of time on it). But yes, now you said it, the torso is flat, and I pushed the contrast but not enough, it was worst before ^^ For the mouth, it was the hell, I don't know why, impossible to exactly match her expression...
    Thanks for the feedback

    Quote Originally Posted by MrFrenik View Post
    Hey, man, great start to everything. Never too late to get this thing going, so keep at it.
    Thank you, I will ^^

    --------

    Today, two sketches from pictures in a magazine, 1mn gestures, 3mn gestures and 10 to 15min gestures.

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