Stock photos of spheres and blocks
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Thread: Stock photos of spheres and blocks

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    Stock photos of spheres and blocks

    Hi,

    I'm currently in the process of self-teaching myself to draw, and I was just wondering if there was a place I could get good photos of spheres and other basic shapes in good, hard light? I don't really have the means to set up good lighting conditions myself.

    Hopefully that isn't too dumb, and thanks in advanced.

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    Wait...you want photos of spheres and blocks to draw from?

    You're not understanding this whole teaching yourself to draw thing.

    Not to be too personal but how can you not have the means to set up good lighting conditions yourself? You don't need a product photography studio...just set some stuff up and draw it.

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    Better idea: raid your kitchen. An egg will work much better than a photo of a sphere.

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    OmenSpirits is offline Commercial-Illustrator in-training, NOT an artist. Level 13 Gladiator: Retiarius
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    Hardboil it first!

    Less mess, hm?

    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
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    The point of drawing boxes and spheres is drawing them in their interaction with the environment, and as volumes. With a photo you get neither volume nor the environment. It is more difficult to draw properly from a photo than from life. So don't. Draw everyday objects you can put in front of you.

    Glue white paper around a small cardboard box. Voila, you get your box to draw. Draw an egg. Or a white milk jug. I find a white teapot a very good starter thing to draw: interesting shape, lots of potential shadows, and enough landmarks for measurement.

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    Drawing simple still life from photos is completely missing the point, yes. Copying photos is easy because you're just copying a flat image that's already been composed for you, you won't learn much from it. Drawing from life is where the real drawing skills get honed.

    Any ordinary desk lamp will give you sufficient control over light. Any simple objects will do as subjects. Eggs, pieces of fruit, simple dishes like bowls and mugs, cardboard tubes, cardboard boxes, most ordinary household junk works fine. If you want white boxes, you can just paint some cardboard boxes white.

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    I agree with everything everybody above me has said. I have an egg and banana in my office that I setup in a variety of positions and sketch. At home, I picked up a styrofoam cube, cone, and sphere. I also bought a plastic orange from the Dollar Store and and some little plastic balls.

    On a tangent, I would love to see a set of photos of others' (especially master) drawings of spheres and basic shapes in a variety of mediums. Mostly because I'm curious to see how they approached rendering values, whether with lines, cross hatches, flat sweeps of tone, and how many different levels of tone... just, well, their interpretation (art) of the basic forms.

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    You're much better off doing this from life, not a photo. And you'd don't need much to set it up. Here's something I did a while back, give it a shot:

    1. Go to your local craft store. (Michael's, Joann's, whatever).
    2. For about $1 or $2 a piece you can purchase wooden spheres, cubes, cylinders, and cones. Get a nice variety, and get 3 of each form.
    3. Also grab some really cheap acrylic craft paint in black, white, and 50% gray. Small bottles, maybe two dollars a piece.
    4. Go home and paint the wood forms different values. Ideally you'll have 3 of each form, each a different value. (i.e. 1 black cube, 1 white cube, 1 grey cube).
    5. For lighting, you may need to get one or two anglepoise lamps (or something similar where the light can be directed easily). You can probably get cheap anglepoise lamps at an office supply store for under $10. Standard lightbulbs aren't the greatest, but they're a start.
    6. In a dark room, one lamp lights your subject, the other lamp lights your drawing board. A piece of cardboard will help block light from the drawing board lamp, as you don't necessarily want that light spilling onto the wood block set up.

    At this point, you'll be able to rearrange the lamps and wood blocks into a variety of lighting situations to study. You can observe how form and light behave when the local value of an object varies. (i.e. how values behave on a black sphere as opposed to a white sphere.) You might also learn about how different values may reflect and/or absorb light differently, about how bounce light behaves w/ different values, maybe a bit about how speculars work, and so on. Have fun!

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    Quote Originally Posted by arenhaus View Post
    The point of drawing boxes and spheres is drawing them in their interaction with the environment, and as volumes. With a photo you get neither volume nor the environment. It is more difficult to draw properly from a photo than from life. So don't. Draw everyday objects you can put in front of you.
    When I started out many moons ago, I had no idea at all about how artists are trained. I was one of those people naive enough to think artists are basically people who copy photos. So I assumed that that is how you train yourself: attempt to copy one photo after the other. In years and years of battling it out with reference photos I never made any progress at all. Photos are not just difficult to work with, they are bloody impossible to work from. :-)

    Glue white paper around a small cardboard box. Voila, you get your box to draw. Draw an egg. Or a white milk jug. I find a white teapot a very good starter thing to draw: interesting shape, lots of potential shadows, and enough landmarks for measurement.
    One of the advantages of this sort of simple still life setup is that it attunes one to the intricacy and beauty of the world all around us. It's amazing with what complexity even the seemingly simplest of everyday objects are imbued. And you never realize it until you try to draw them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    Wait...you want photos of spheres and blocks to draw from?

    You're not understanding this whole teaching yourself to draw thing.

    Not to be too personal but how can you not have the means to set up good lighting conditions yourself? You don't need a product photography studio...just set some stuff up and draw it.
    Seems a little condescending, don't you think? I've done many still lifes from life, and I continue to when I can with what I can.

    But I get the point from everyone else's posts. I already use objects from around the house all the time. That said, I can't create a situation where there's only a single light source, and yes I have tried but without going into the intricacies of my personal situation it's not something I can help. I just thought it might be nice to see more isolated examples, I have no intention of using these as a primary source.

    I'm sorry if I gave the impression that I planned to study from these exclusively.

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    No I don't think it's condescending to point out something ridiculous that completely misses the point. How could I know you do still lifes all the time? Simply responded to your initial post.

    So that said, good that you do still lifes and draw from things around you. Often in a studio environment you have to build a still life box that shields the setup from multiple extraneous light sources. You could try that.

    Bottom line is just work on drawing...whatever, wherever. Too many people set up hurdles for themselves so they can have an excuse for not doing it. Like the guy who would normally be a great wide receiver but his ankle hurts today. Don't be that guy.

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    You're right, I shouldn't have gotten so defensive and no one could have known, sorry about that.

    I also didn't know that people usually set up boxes to shield out the light. I wouldn't have thought of that, but you're right, I could probably make something like that fairly easily if I knew how. What do those tend to look like?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheOneAndOnlySteve View Post
    I also didn't know that people usually set up boxes to shield out the light. I wouldn't have thought of that, but you're right, I could probably make something like that fairly easily if I knew how. What do those tend to look like?
    This one is pretty simple.
    This one is fancier.


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    No worries man. I really like that second one Elwell posted...gives me all kinds of ideas on how to make one that is pretty variable. In an atelier or academy where a bunch of students are drawing/painting still lifes at the same time they have to be able to control the light on each setup.

    Anyway, good ideas there on how to make one really easy.

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    So it's just a box? That's slightly anti-climactic, though encouraging because I definitely have plenty of those.

    I've started collecting things in my house that vaguely resemble spheres and I've drawn a few briefly, probably gonna go a bit more in depth with it later tonight. Also, I saw this: http://www.amazon.com/BASIC-GEOMETRI...d_sim_sbs_ac_1. Would that be a good investment? What about styrofoam shapes? I feel like I really need to study the most basic of basic items at this point.

    Anyway, thanks for all the help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheOneAndOnlySteve View Post
    So it's just a box? That's slightly anti-climactic, though encouraging because I definitely have plenty of those.
    Yup, box with holes in it. How sophisticated a "box with hole in" is up to you. Throw a dimmer switch and some velvet in if you feel like it.

    Also, I saw this: http://www.amazon.com/BASIC-GEOMETRI...d_sim_sbs_ac_1. Would that be a good investment? What about styrofoam shapes? I feel like I really need to study the most basic of basic items at this point.
    Looking at the Amazon link, I see the equivalents in..Any square box (teabags?), Pringles can, Toblerone box, kids football, don't see anything cone or pyramid shaped lying around this particular room..

    Basically, if you can find those things and spray them white for less than 10 bucks, do that, otherwise sure, go with those.

    Materials don't matter, it's just some uncomplicated shapes that you can observe and draw for a while y'know?*

    *Pringles and Toblerone boxes do come with free snacks though. Bonus.

    Good luck with it anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flake View Post
    Yup, box with holes in it. How sophisticated a "box with hole in" is up to you. Throw a dimmer switch and some velvet in if you feel like it.
    That's just a good idea no matter what the situation right there.

    Bonus tip: cruise the local thrift shops for funky, simple knick-knacks, candle holders, kitchen oddities, kids toddler toys, etc. Spray them flat white and voila, instant collection of crap to draw.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rishenko View Post
    On a tangent, I would love to see a set of photos of others' (especially master) drawings of spheres and basic shapes in a variety of mediums. Mostly because I'm curious to see how they approached rendering values, whether with lines, cross hatches, flat sweeps of tone, and how many different levels of tone... just, well, their interpretation (art) of the basic forms.
    I like this idea!! Things get so much more interesting when you aren't trying to shade photo realistically but are using lines in a cruder manner in my opinion.

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