Questions regarding art progression.
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    Questions regarding art progression.

    Have you ever noticed that there are certain people who are able to pick up drawing and learn much quicker then others? There are some people that draw for years that are currently only at the progress of someone who may have only been drawing for a month.

    So let me get to the questions:

    What reason is there for someone who draws for 1 year to be worse then someone who has drawn for 2 months?

    What sorts of practices/exercises should a beginning artist be performing to achieve progress?

    Would it be smarter for someone learning to draw a certain style to start with that certain style? or is it smarter for an artist to always start with realism?

    What exactly is contour drawing and why is it the most recommended beginner's exercise?

    I should state that this is all in regards of drawing "anime"-style art, since this seems to be the most common art style I've seen attempted and failed.

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    If you want to learn to draw start with realism. You can't interpret reality to your own viewpoint if you can't see and represent reality in the first place. You can't understand it if you don't know it. Savvy? This topic is way too big to cover in a forum post, but suffice to say only one primary source exists for visuals in this little universe of ours, so you'll want to study from it first. "Style" comes later (there was recently a good topic about style here in the Art Discussion; browse the topics).
    Get a good teacher--either a class, workshop or book. CA.org has some really good reading lists so look around the stickies. Of course guys like Loomis are classics.

    If you want to learn about learning (progression, talent, all those things) check out Mindset by Carol Dweck and/or Mastery by George Leonard.

    My sketchbook - come critique me!
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    Hi and welcome.

    Draw from life as much as you can and don't worry about having a 'style.'

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    Quote Originally Posted by 652 View Post
    Have you ever noticed that there are certain people who are able to pick up drawing and learn much quicker then others? There are some people that draw for years that are currently only at the progress of someone who may have only been drawing for a month.

    So let me get to the questions:
    What reason is there for someone who draws for 1 year to be worse then someone who has drawn for 2 months?
    2 Months was serious about learning it. (general hypothesis)

    What sorts of practices/exercises should a beginning artist be performing to achieve progress?

    Value scales, basic shapes, drawing from life to get an idea of how shadows form. You can try some anatomy too when you feel comfortable.


    Would it be smarter for someone learning to draw a certain style to start with that certain style? or is it smarter for an artist to always start with realism?

    If you start with realism, I personally like to think knowing what's there and how it looks is what helps you get the basis for stylization. So advise starting with realism, because then you just look at other styles, and you can easily see what they did to make their work look different.


    What exactly is contour drawing and why is it the most recommended beginner's exercise?
    Contour Drawing is JUST the outline. Helps develop hand-eye coordination, pencil control and it helps you train your eye to start seeing things as shapes rather than as, for example, a bottle, a baseball bat, or a football. Or, for better example, draw the outside of a car key - do NOT draw the hole for the keychain, or any of the grooves that come with the key. JUST the outline.

    I should state that this is all in regards of drawing "anime"-style art, since this seems to be the most common art style I've seen attempted and failed.
    My best guess is that Anime artists that are just learning think anime is a simple task, and it couldn't be easier to draw. To draw it well, and dare I say professionally - requires all the same knowledge that a realist uses - knowledge of light, form, function, shading, technique, abstraction, and the ability to draw with confidence. The pro's that draw anime know exactly where the eyes go on the face, they know that a pointier nose, rounder chin, and longer eyelashes imply "woman". So much more goes into it than what people realize.

    Great questions btw!

    Doctors heal you, Artists immortalize you.

    "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach" - bullshit.

    The usual staples for anatomy:
    George Bridgman
    Joseph Sheppard
    Andrew Loomis
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    I think it comes down to observation, awareness and your standard/ satisfaction of how close it is to the reference/what it was suppose to be.

    Before drawing anything, I want to understand what it is, what is suppose to be there then things will work out better than just diving in without any information.

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    I'd like to thank everyone for responding, I feel I have a better understanding for art, and now know a little more about what I should be attempting once I begin drawing. (This is also a badly disguised bump).

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    Quote Originally Posted by 652 View Post
    Have you ever noticed that there are certain people who are able to pick up drawing and learn much quicker then others? There are some people that draw for years that are currently only at the progress of someone who may have only been drawing for a month.
    It depends what people are doing. If they're actively trying to learn, being self-critical, looking for mistakes in their work and trying to fix them, trying new things and challenging themselves, and in general thinking about what they're doing, then they can progress pretty quickly.

    If someone is on cruise-control and doing the same kinds of things over and over without ever trying to change or improve, then they can go on for years with no progress whatever. (Of course some people are okay with that, but for someone who wishes they could improve, this path leads to frustration.)

    What reason is there for someone who draws for 1 year to be worse then someone who has drawn for 2 months?
    See above.

    What sorts of practices/exercises should a beginning artist be performing to achieve progress?
    I know it's been said over and over and over, but drawing from life really is the fastest and most effective way to improve.

    Also constantly being self-critical and challenging yourself... Does something look "off" in your drawing? Try to figure out what and why, and work on fixing it. Are you making certain mistakes over and over? Focus on correcting them. Is there's something you don't know how to do? Try doing it. Is there something you have no clue about? Research it.

    Would it be smarter for someone learning to draw a certain style to start with that certain style? or is it smarter for an artist to always start with realism?
    If you can draw things the way they really look and understand why they look the way they do, you have the power to stylize anything in any way you want. If you only learn a stylized approach, you'll find it difficult to learn to draw in any other way.

    What exactly is contour drawing and why is it the most recommended beginner's exercise?
    If I recall, contour drawing is when you try to draw the shapes of things in sort of an outline form without thinking of what the things are... Contour exercises often focus on seeing and drawing negative space (the space around and between objects.) So, you look at a coffee cup, and instead of thinking "coffee cup", you try to look at the shape of it, or the shape of the space around it, and draw that.

    It's usually an exercise used to get beginners out of the habit of drawing symbols (i.e., "It's a coffee cup, so I'll draw my idea of what a coffee-cup looks like,") and get them into the habit of drawing what they actually see.

    I should state that this is all in regards of drawing "anime"-style art, since this seems to be the most common art style I've seen attempted and failed.
    The reason amateurs tend to draw anime badly is because they merely mimic the superficial aspects of a style, without understanding the fundamental drawing skills that would allow them to apply the style intelligently. What they typically end up doing is bashing together a bunch of memorized symbols, with flat, disjointed results.

    I might point out that most professional manga artists have an excellent grasp of drawing fundamentals, and can draw as realistically as they like. It's their knowledge of how things really look that allows them to draw stylized cartoon characters that look good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post

    I know it's been said over and over and over, but drawing from life really is the fastest and most effective way to improve.
    You're right, I've heard this quite often.. however I'm still not entirely sure what this means. Do you mean buying a sketchbook and go out to draw from "real" life? Or maybe people mean to draw from photographs of life? or does it not matter?

    Thanks for the response.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 652 View Post
    You're right, I've heard this quite often.. however I'm still not entirely sure what this means. Do you mean buying a sketchbook and go out to draw from "real" life? Or maybe people mean to draw from photographs of life? or does it not matter?

    Thanks for the response.
    Yes, draw from real life. Stuff in your house, outside, etc... A photograph is not real life, it's just a capture of a staged moment. That doesn't mean it can't help but you need to have objects in front of you so you learn how to see. Even taking your own photographs will have you quickly realize the difference.

    Can you tell the photograph to turn around, or change the lighting? Can you walk around the object in the photograph? No.

    This is why real life is important. You are learning to translate something that is 3 dimensional into 2 dimensional form. A photograph has kinda done that already. You are stuck with the lighting you have. You're not moving about it to study it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arshes Nei View Post
    Yes, draw from real life. Stuff in your house, outside, etc... A photograph is not real life, it's just a capture of a staged moment. That doesn't mean it can't help but you need to have objects in front of you so you learn how to see. Even taking your own photographs will have you quickly realize the difference.

    Can you tell the photograph to turn around, or change the lighting? Can you walk around the object in the photograph? No.

    This is why real life is important. You are learning to translate something that is 3 dimensional into 2 dimensional form. A photograph has kinda done that already. You are stuck with the lighting you have. You're not moving about it to study it.
    This really clears things up, thanks.

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    I'd also like to add to Arshes post-

    When you see something in real life, and you study techniques, and you look at abstractions, and look at how others did the work - you start to make absolutely vital connections. When you watch people who are pro at painting - you'll look at a gourde with some imperfections, and you'll start figuring out how you would paint it. And I mean how YOU would paint it. You'd know what processes to use, you'd starting mixing paint to figure out what colors to use, and you'd start to see that if the current processes you use are NOT working, then you need to study more, and find more information about techniques. Maybe that rotting spot on the gourd doesn't need thick paint - maybe you need to glaze over the same spot with multiple colors.

    Whats that? You don't know what a glaze is? Well - that's your starting point - find out what a glaze is. Then find out how to make one. Then how to apply one - then practice it. Compare what you're doing to what the pro's do. That's how you learn, that's how you improve your on work and your own technique.

    Doctors heal you, Artists immortalize you.

    "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach" - bullshit.

    The usual staples for anatomy:
    George Bridgman
    Joseph Sheppard
    Andrew Loomis
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