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Life got busy yesterday and today, but I refuse to make any excuses-sketching extra hard today! So far all I have are some boring 15 second gestures, but I feel like I learned A LOT this morning from rereading Walt Stanchfield's Gesture Drawing for Animation. I feel like it gets more useful every time I read it. I did these gestures then read up on them some more, and now i see the flaws in these. So I am going to go back right now and focus on "fixing" them...getting more of a sense of motion, adjusting the balance, working on getting my lines looser, etc.
This last image of the girl was my attempt at sfumato rendering. I love Leonardo da Vinci more than I probably should. He's everything I hope to be...master of science and art, a literal Renaissance man, passionately curious about life, a fantastic communicator. Completely ideal human being. He's just infinitely inspiring. And sfumato itself is beautiful and simple, dreamy and mysterious. I love how the goal of sfumato is to diffuse and soften the light and make the image appear as if smoke is drifting around it in a fuzzy haze, blurring the edges of where light meets the shadows. I see it as the opposite of chiaroscuro (another favorite--one I try to keep in mind while rendering in pen and ink). I hope to improve with both. This was my first attempt like I said, and it was also extremely rushed because it got late and I got tired. I like the softness of the cheek, but I need to get rid of the outlines and the harsh dark values of the eye.
I also received Bridgman's complete guide to drawing from life this morning in the post. It's a beautiful book! I've worked out of it before, but not since I was a kid back when I'd spend hours a week at the library after school in the art section. I'm going to get started with it today.
How do you guys approach art how-to books? Do you begin at the beginning or jump around? Just curious...I've always been a jumper myself. I wonder if that's good or bad.
More to come later!
Day 8, part duex.
Working on faces and gestures while watching tv tonight, most of it is just from imagination, messing around. The cat skull sketches were just quick and from life, based on a skull I found a few years ago in some field. I was trying to get myself to learn how to recognize overlap in forms and learn how to combine that way of thinking with perspective to add more depth to a drawing.
That last page actually was really fun, drawing different profiles...I just finished reading Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere a while back and loved it, and after I drew a couple faces they for some reason reminded me of a couple of the characters from the book. Maybe I'll do full character studies one day
So I just finished rereading this week's Batman Incorporated and holy hell did Burnham kill iton those page layouts! The art too, but without his genius pages the story wouldn't have felt the same. You have to read it multiple time to fully appreciate it.If you are at all interested in comics, pick this one up. It's beautiful and has a promising story. This is a really good time for picking up almost any Batman title, actually....except for Detective Comics or The Dark Knight. I say nay on those two.
Now I'm in Batman ass -kicking mode! Time for a long day of studying. Critiques on anything I have posted are welcome, and I'd be happy to take a look through your sketchbook as well
A friend asked for an image he could turn into shirts for his band, so that's what I've been finishing up this morning. I like the way it came out since I don't normally do cartoon-y drawings, but I still need to work on line control (they're sloppy! but better than they were a few months ago).
Sketches to come later.
wow you have been busy the portraits look great!
In my signature I have a link to some Free Loomis PDF's if you are interested in checking those out!
I can never Sit down and read an Art book from cover to cover either. Its always a matter of mood for me.
And Im loving the looser lines! Its really looking good!
Last edited by iamkennstan; May 26th, 2012 at 10:18 PM.
@iamkennstan- I just got a Bridgman book, definitely going to work through Loomis after I'm finished with that guy!
Finishing that drawing for my friend yesterday cut in to my sketching time and I didn't do much save for faces and gestures, not really enough to post. I'll add 'em to the group of sketches I do today and will post later.
Nice sketchbook! I really love number 11.
My sketchbook: : http://conceptart.org/forums/showthr...=1#post3445534
Im sorry I really dont mean to annoy you I swear :p how often thorough out the day do you sketch? I have trouble keeping focused when just sketching I feel the need to have something finished at the end. how do you motivate your self to sketch so abundantly? are you viewing a reference when doing gestures like www.posemaniacs.com or is it off the top of your head?
Oh and Side note make sure to update your signature ink to go to the second page, unless you want it to start at the first page.
oh and btw you should put up a picture for your sketchbook, so it catches the eye on the forum page...
Encase you dont know how :p
go to your first post > edit > Go advanced > go to manage attachments > upload the picture!
Last edited by iamkennstan; May 27th, 2012 at 02:02 PM.
@iamkennstan--not annoying! I didn't even think about changing my signature, thanks for pointing that out. It makes way more sense to link to the current page. duh.
Okay, this is going to be kind of long...
I used to be the same way; I didn't want to "waste my time" sketching because I wanted to have tons of finished pieces (so I could get praise, adulation, blahblahblah). It's funny because I never actually made any art while I was in that mindset because the pressure of "having to have" a finished piece was too much for me to take. So I just didn't get started, and if I did, I quickly got discouraged when things didn't come out how I wanted them to. And you know why they didn't come out how I'd envisioned? Because I wasn't studying the basics! Now I think "I don't want to focus on finished pieces because I want to make sure I have a good foundation". In order to do that you need to brush up on proportion, anatomy, perspective, gesture, etc. I think the more I study, the easier it will be for me to ease myself into making strong finished pieces that I'm happy with.
Sketches are less permanent and less scary, so it's easier for me to fire through them. I've just finally realized the importance of practicing, and that alone motivates me. Sketching is to an artist what learning proper grammar, sentence structure, and storytelling techniques are to a writer.They have to build from the bottom in order to write great stories, and they have to write constantly in order to refine their skill, decide what they like and don't like, and see what they need to improve on. If that makes sense. For me, i need the most improvement with gesture and faces. So I draw, read, apply my reading to my drawings, draw from imagination while keeping the readings in mind, and repeat.
Each day I usually start with gestures (using pixelovely, which is great!). If i do attempt gesture from imagination, I make sure I keep in mind proportion, balance, and rhythm (none of which I'm all that great at yet ) and I'll sit and redraw the gesture until I feel I've captured the "first impression". I'd be lying if I didn't admit to getting really distracted by a million different things throughout the day, so I usually work for an hour or so, stop for a bit, do another hour, etc. A good way to get practice time in is to draw while watching tv. Sometimes I just draw from imagination and sometimes I'll try to do quick gestures from the people on tv, but right now that's really difficult because people on tv move too fast, haha.
Seriously, I've mentioned this a million times already, but skim through this book for help with gesture (and drawing/anatomy in general): http://www.floobynooby.com/pdfs/gest...ranimation.pdf
It's full of genius advice. Some of the best I've come across, hands down. It really gets you to start thinking about giving life to a drawing and telling a story in the absolute most simple way that you can. The author has shown me how to look at a gesture and improve it by using angles, tension, squash and stretch, etc. He has this amazing way of turning an okay drawing into a really dynamic one that actually has meaning.
Hope this helped! If not, I'm sorry for my rambling. Haha.
@rishenko- not often enough I see human faces as planes, I break up the cheeks, the forehead, the nose, the lips, etc. into separate planes but I still need to work on proportions, otherwise the planes will be off as well.
Do you find that thinking in planes helps you more than thinking in terms of surface lines/proportions?
I was asking out of curiosity because your images have a great sense of movement, line, and the like. I see some construction in the figures and a few on the faces, but not as much. That prompted me to look at the faces and some other objects, which led to the question about planes. I seem to come from a different direction, which I'll describe below. Place all of this in the context of me being rather analytical.
Still-life: I try and first think box things in with markers for important edges and straight lines for important angles. Next, I place things in terms of simple masses, cubes, spheres, what-not to box in the subject with appropriate relative sizing. After, I refine those blocks down into smaller objects, cleaning up angled lines, adding either more simple masses, blending some, etc. Then, I begin mapping out shadows. Though maybe to some degree before, it's at this point that I start thinking in planes.
Faces: Similar to the above. Box in the working area, refine it down with simple head shapes, locate the pieces. During the last is when I start thinking some in planes. I try and check pieces using the Reily method to lightly map out the facial structure and see how it compares, how everything fits. Combine this with thinking in terms of the light planes, and it helps me make sure the puzzle pieces work, if that makes sense? Of course, I haven't posted any faces in quite some time, so I should do that this next week.
People: Gestures, gestures, gestures. Maaaaan, I suck at those. My proportions aren't terrible (for a beginner), and you can see the motion and figure, but it's missing the exaggeration and vitality when compared to people like you. I need to focus more on curves, lines, exaggeration, and less on trying to perfect it as a figure?
I'm thinking of taking a multi-day breather from still-lifes and focusing instead on gestures, movement, faces, and planes. I've been neglecting those, faces entirely and beyond doing maybe 50-60 gestures in the last week or two, to work entirely on still-life and simple objects. Ahhh, the life of a beginner.
Also, thanks for posting the link to the animation pdf.
@rishenko-I definitely get the sense that you want everything to be perfectly structured-which isn't a bad thing at all, especially when it comes to still lifes. They can teach you so much about composition, perspective, and proportions in perspective which are ALL invaluable to figure studies. You're getting an excellent foundation by doing still lifes. I think for figure studies it goes like this: capture the gesture! Completely abandon all sense of structure (scary, right?) Just get some crazy, flowing lines down that describe the deepest impression you can find of the model's attitude (gesture). This is your base for the rest of your drawing. Get that action down perfectly. THEN revert back to that structured mindset....block in the basic forms, figure out the planes, add shading to make those forms stand out. The way you describe your approach to still life is perfect, you've got it down. now it's just a matter of endless practice
Here are some tips for gesture...try them out every day for a week or two and see if they help you improve any. I got most of them from the animation pdf. This will probably be a nice break for you from your still life studies, and after a week or so you can return to those and apply gesture to them. Like how a teapot has a really elegant, playful gesture with its curvy spout and handle, while a bottle of whiskey usually reads to me as being very bold and angular because it's such a strong drink (that was a great still life of yours by the way--those items have great contrast between each other as far as shape and taste go, but are still connected because they're awesome drinks).
1. Feel the gesture. It's okay to exaggerate the pose, gestures aren't about drawing the model exactly. Go crazy with details later, but for now just get your first impression with as few lines as possible (something I need to work on myself). Is the model (or the object--objects have gestures too!) happy? sad? tense? excited? Whatever your first impression is, target that and get it down on paper. If you have to, get up and act it out to really feel it. it's silly, but immensely helpful.
2. To add to #1: every drawing should say something, and it should be clear and obvious what the message is. Otherwise it's just a doodle.
3. Draw from the elbow, not from the wrist. The wrist wants to force too many tight lines, a habit that comes from using tight motions to write every day. The elbow is much more relaxed.
4. One solid line to describe gesture is better than a bunch of scribbles. Scribbles break up the flow while a nice, beautiful line will carry the viewer's eye through the action effortlessly (This is another thing that I REALLY need to work on!)
5. Keep in mind the balance of a pose and where the weight is distributed. The center of balance will always be through the pit of the neck, where the neck tendons and the collarbone meet. You can practice this on yourself if you stand in front of a mirror and shift from left foot, right foot, then back. You'll notice the pit always stays in line with where your center of balance is.
6. Draw verbs, not nouns. Don't draw "the neck" "the head" "the foot". Draw arching, pulling, twisting, stretching, bending, folding, wrinkling, relaxing, etc.
7. Resist the urge to straighten up a pose. If a model is leaning, really make them project a sense of leaning. If a model if lifting her foot, really bring it up off the floor with a good arch and a pointed toe, accentuating the fact that it's fighting gravity. Bodies don't WANT to stand up straight...we're constantly in a battle against gravity pulling and bending us in weird, not-straight ways.
8. trying to get a strong silhouette can really make the action of a pose pop. Again, it helps us resist the urge to "straighten up" a figure.
9. Last one! I've noticed that the shoulders and hips almost always counterbalance each other...if the right shoulder is dropped, the left hip will also drop. In some of my gestures you can see where I've drawn these lines across the shoulders and hips...
I think that's all I've got for now. If I think of more i'll add to this. Basically, it takes practice. I just started gesture on May 20th, apparently, from looking back at my first CA sketchbook page. I practice 1-2 hours a day and it's definitely beginning to click.
Here are some gestures I did this morning and a couple pages from a few days ago that I didn't post....I wasn't very loosened up today but I feel that by the end they got better (the two pages done in pencil). Trying really hard to simplify my lines!
I hope this helps rishenko, good luck! And thank you for sharing your process, i'm going to try your approach with faces today. I've heard of the Reilly method but never tried it, going to look it up right now.
Really good start and love your mindset! That's half the battle. It's persistence, persistence, persistence, and draw, draw, draw, but you are attacking it head on and can't wait to see more.
@AllyAlbon-You've got it sister, persistence is the key. Thank you for the encouragement!
Today I tried a new strategy: "If I do a page of head studies, I can watch one episode of How I Met Your Mother" (I just started watching the other day-hated it at first, now I'm suddenly on season 2...)
But today's new strategy in reality ended up going something like this: "Okay, I did a page of head studies. Time to watch How I Met Your Mother!" 7 episodes and half a bottle of wine later....."I need a new strategy". Haha.
...or maybe i just need a whole lot more willpower
Hope to have something other than dull gestures posted soon.
Love your style/studies, keep at it. Hopefully we both can post some stuff that took more than 3 hours sometime as I have only been posting quick stuff as well. Its good to see you studying the shape's and flow of the body. Will definitely help in the end
Striving to be the best that is possible before I conk into the grave.
My Sketchbook! Critique EVERYTHING!!
@spitboi- Good to hear we're in the same boat. I think I'm going to start making time for longer studies this week you should do the same!
@LastGen- Thank you very much, I'm definitely going to build on gesture with figure studies. I've had that in the back of my mind but I still feel like I need to work on gesture a bit more. Hopefully I;ll have some figure studies done this week.
Nice gestures. I'm curious to see your figure drawings.
First off, thank you for the generous outpouring of information on your approach. I'm going to take the week off from lengthy still-lifes (just a few shorter ones to keep the approach fresh in mind), and will instead focus my time on gestures using your information and that of the pdf you linked. I've created a 'before' page of gestures and will likely post my updates on my sketchbook.
Finally, I think I know what's drawn me to your work. I would highly suggest checking out AztcFireFlower's thread for some beautiful and elegant approaches to gesture and figure sketching. Your drawings remind of his/hers.
You are right, by the way! When learning new things, I usually take a highly structured, analytic approach. Funny how I never do that with the rest of my life.
@rishenko-You're welcome, good luck with gesture and let me know how it goes (pretty sure I subscribed to your SB, so I'll most liekly see your updates anyway). Thanks for the link to AztcFireFlower's sketches, their drawings are amazing! He/she really knows what they're doing when it comes to getting movements and form down. That's totally what I aspire to be able to do.
PS, I wish i was more structured in my daily life too oh well, at least we're being productive with art!
@jablar- my paper turns out looking "old fashioned" because of the lighting in my room, haha. It's very yellow when it appears in photos...I take pictures of my work because I don't have a scanner. Thanks for the comment!
Alright, today's sketches. What is this? Day 12? I think so.
Today i realized that Bridgman's face studies don't help me...at all. I love Bridgman, his drawings are beyond beautiful, I just don't feel like he goes in depth enough with the face. Andrew Loomis has helped me a lot more, as has this link, which is full of studies by Kevin Chen that I personally think are great. Clear and easy to understand and practice with. Bridgman rocks, but he just doesn't do it for me when it come to faces and heads....the way he lays out head proportions just isn't as straightforward as Loomis.
Today I didn't do much, just gesture and some faces/skulls/heads. A lot of those heads ended up turning into Swamp Thing though...I clearly was having a difficult time focusing today, haha. I tried to make my drawings larger instead of cramming them into one page, and I think it helped as far as curvy, flowing lines go. I also did a longer figure study, just 15 minutes. I didn't formally "block" the forms in though, just did it in my head really quick, next time I'm going to really pay attention to the construction of the forms rather than just the outline.
Goals for tonight/tomorrow: heads, finish the self portrait I started, gesture and figure studies.
I've been looking for a figure drawing workshop in my area and surprise surprise, my town's complete lack of culture means there is a deficiency of life drawing opportunities available. I'm going to call the local gallery tomorrow and see what they say. I can enroll in figure drawing when I transfer to a state school this fall, but I'm majoring in evolutionary biology (which is a pretty big major) so I might not have room for drawing classes over the two years that I'm there. We shall see.
Advice is welcome...I feel like I have almost no idea what direction I'm going in right now.
LOL! Bad hugs rules! ahahaha I live in a little town in the mountains of italy that is frequented by a couple of bears every spring and summer...I can only imagine what they could hug like hehe..very nice studies too..the ca skulls look fantastic...keep up the great work!
@Claudio Grassi- Ha! I'm sure bear hugs are the best hugs, at least right before they attack you I've had some close calls with bears in the mountains near where I live, they're crazy. Thank you for the encouragement!
It's been a non-drawing day...I got sucked into watching the Hatfields and McCoys miniseries on the History Channel. It's so beautiful, I'm going to rewatch it again tomorrow. I highly recommend it.
I'm almost too embarrassed to even post today, I know I can do a lot better than this! I just studied the neck with Bridgman, did some gestures, attempted to do some longer figure studies, got really frustrated and didn't block anything in (gah!) and pretty much called it quits for the day. Tomorrow after volunteer time I'm going to put a lot more effort into my work.
This guy was supposed to be a longer study, but he came out looking awful and I gave up! Hopefully I can bring myself to fix him tomorrow. His legs are very short, haha.
I partied too hard yesterday and last night, BUT I did catch this awesome commencement speech Neil Gaiman gave to the graduating class of an art school. It's 20 minutes, goes by fast, and is really inspiring. And not in some cheesy cliche way; it's actually realistic advice for artists of all kinds. Made me want to draw. I love anything and anybody who can make me feel that way.
Wouldn't worry, you will have plenty of good days and plenty of bad ones. Just keep at it.
Don't wake me for the end of the world unless it has very good special effects
You're doing very well...besides disconnecting from art for a minute makes you want it even more, no?
Ooooh! and I watched the first episode of the Hatfields and McCoys miniseries..man that was good stuff...wasnt expecting it to be that good...you know, coming from the history channel? :/
anyhow drink a virgin bloody mary, take two aspirin and get back to work! HA!