Hello. After posting my drawings in the critique section of this website I've decided to follow the advice i've been given and start a sketchbook thread here. I am interested in illustration, traditional painting and drawing as well as comics. Everything I post here will be more or less drawn on the day it's posted, longer pieces notwithstanding.
Last edited by Mana16; May 15th, 2013 at 05:21 PM.
I did some more exercises from 'The Natural Way to Draw' here is a half hour contour drawing of a flower(I find it easier to do this exercises in half hour slots so my concentration doesn't lapse, I don't think doing a hour long contour drawing is better than this approach, shorter time- less likely to wander),
I spent most of my day drawing from a still life set up, this is attempt number three. I found this to be quite difficult to get right, sometimes I got frustrated because the measurements didn't add up. The problem in the beginning was that I used the cubes as a unit of measure, but then found it difficult to get the angles and the proportions of the skull right. On my third attempt I began with the skull and the table angle, it was much easier to make corrections, block in the skull and then draw the cubes afterwards. I feel that I have learnt a lot from this drawing, in future I want to be lighter with the pencil in the initial stages, start with the bigger shapes in a composition and work my way down and start with a unit of measure and stick to that unit. It's also strange that the further away I stand from something the larger I make it on paper, any thoughts?
I feel quite tired now, been working my day job all day, went horse riding and then came back and did a painting. I feel happy though that I managed to do something today.
I drew some wooden cubes, lit from the side by a lamp. I used an easel, canvas paper and charcoal to do the under drawing. Cubes are much more challenging than you'd realize, an excellent lesson in measuring (although I can now see in my images I was way off in places!) So started off with some thumbnails to get a basic idea of where everything would go, choice of view and framing.
I then proceeded to draw out the cubes as accurately as I could. With hindsight and looking at the drawing now, the bottom right hand cube is too small compared to the rest and is not positioned correctly (serves me right for rushing this stage!) The cube directly above that one is also not positioned correctly in relation to the stack of cubes next to it. In future I need to have more patience, observe more and be more careful at this stage. Again, my initial unit of measure was not accurate enough,
After this, using titanium white and burnt umber (oil paints), with flats and linseed oil, I scrubbed in the mid tone and then tried to paint in the highest lights. Pretty soon my initial drawing was lost, and everything got really muddy because I mixed my lights and darks. After an hour of pushing paint around I used some turps and wiped over the whole painting and restarted. I then tried again to paint in the highest lights, darkest darks and then adjust the mid tone for changes and graduations. I found a big problem was that I sort of lost myself in it, abandoning method for trying to make it look right. My main criticisms are,
1. Mixed lights and darks, painting became quite muddy
2. lost original scaling and framing, changed composition as I was going
3. too many brush strokes, loss of power and definition
4. looking at the painting and not at the scene too much
5. Inaccurate assessment of tonal values
6. Fear of making mistakes
7. Difficult to paint straight lines
Another area requiring more practice is perspective drawing. I wanted to draw some grids for my chess theme comic, ones that I could use in the final work, but I couldn't quite get the angles I wanted. I also lost sense of what I was doing at times, particularly with the three point. Well, there you have it, one, two and three point perspectives. I spent two hours drawing these, next time i'm going to read a book first, i'm feeling rusty .
It's unfortunate that I feel quite tired by the time I upload here, I wish I could write more eloquently. Been at work for 8 hours, so I came home and did some drawing.
'The Natural Way to Draw' Chapter 2, Section D, 30 30 second gesture drawings, in pen, (sometimes I wonder if this is the best method or should I take a more Walt Stanchfield approach?). I use QuickPoses.com, a nice variety of photographs and speeds on there,
Also experimenting with scaling, I read more of Deborah Rockman's Drawing Essentials, the section on scaling is very interesting and has improved my ideas about perspective a lot, here I tried to draw cubes of the same height at different distances along a corridor of convergence,
I also worked more on my comic idea (instructional comic about chess), some drawings of clothes and a man from reference (main character), some different proportions ala the Andrew Loomis way. Sometimes I feel as though I'm in a great hurry, I am rushing things too much. Tomorrow I am going to focus on gathering a bit more visual research and looking at how other people design characters, to gain a sense of perspective and to do the best job I can,
You asked about why you couldn't get the skull to line up...
You can use vertical and horizontal lines to make things line up. You'll see the edge of a feature... and you run that line up and down as an imaginary line and look at where it hits. Maybe it hits one of those blocks at a specific point.
Same thing with horizontals. Run your lines all the way through the sheet and sight with a stick (pencil is OK, a longer thinner stick is better... knitting needle, skewer, etc).
RE: Nicolaides... I have yet to meet a single artist whose entire art education was done through Nicolaides who can draw worth a darn. Maybe they're out there. A little philosophizing on Nicolaides--IMO anything that makes your mind blank while a pencil is moving is not drawing. Drawing is thinking; drawing is design. You need the rational side of your mind when drawing. Art is much like music in that there's a structure to it; you put notes on a staff... each note has a duration... all the notes relate to one another in some way... you create harmony, etc. These can't be done with an arbitrary mindset.
Same with drawing. So... yeah... IMO ditch Nicolaides ... off soapbox...
Thanks for the advice and encouragement p sage, I've left a longer response in your sketchbook, thanks again.
Had a day off today, so much more time for some drawing. First thing I did was to do a measured drawing of a sink from life, third attempt, two hours in. It was very difficult to get right, especially the angle of the tiles behind the sink. In the end I used a corner of the sink as my first unit and built it up from there, everything is somewhat in line where it should be,
I managed to settle myself down today and did some more drawings for the chess project, plus some proper research and planning. Whilst doing the character drawings I started to loosen up and have fun, it's been a long time since I felt this way about it. In the past I kept saying to myself 'you can't draw' 'go back to basics first' 'when you're better you can draw what you want'. But it doesn't work like that, to get better at drawing characters, comics, from the imagination etc. you have to draw characters, comics and from the imagination. Life drawing will help you, but don't make it all you do if your heart is set elsewhere.
I can improve on several things though. One, costume designs (do more of them, experiment with different silhouettes, more focus on theme), Two, figure drawing (gestures, drawing from life, drawing yourself in the mirror, learning anatomy, loomis), Three, Emotions (practice faces, hands, and body language in books, life and photos). I'm sure there are more! I also enjoyed doing the research, it's been a while since I've delved into art history, looking at the fineness and beauty of Holbiens and Van Dycks works was truly inspiring and humbling,
Upon further reflection I have decided not to give up Nicolaides, I'm going to continue doing the exercises at my own pace, as well as still leaving time for other forms of study. Nicolaides exercises may not be much use in design terms, but they do make you look at subjects in different ways and in more depth. On that note, I did a 1/2 hr contour drawing today, but since it's just a bunch of lines, it's not worth the bother to scan.
I did some more designs for my chess project, this time, black king ideas,
I decided to be brave today, so I did two colour paintings in acrylic, on canvas paper. On a sheet of A5 I did some thumbnail sketches first to get an idea of where to place the figure/ objects within a frame,
Then I proceed to try to block in the tones one section at a time, a bit like cell shading I suppose. I can't remember the name of this method, but it's something I learnt in life drawing classes many years ago. Things got a bit awry around the face, I started to blur edges and use too many colours, things have gotten a bit muddy and the colours are all over the place. However, it was a fun exercise to do, and a good learning experience. I'd forgotten what it is like to use colour and how fun acrylics can be, the painting and drawing took around 2-3 hours in all,
After doing that, this evening I felt like doing another painting. I'm starting to find measuring a little bit easier and it was very helpful to have a mirror around to spot mistakes, Same procedure as far as the charcoal drawing is concerned, the whole painting took around 3-3 1/2 hours,
When I started with the paint, I laid down a middle tone first, then painted in the lightest lights and darkest darks. After that, method sort of flew out the window and I started mixing tones and putting paint down where it felt right to do so. I didn't like how the teapot was looking, it wasn't right and didn't fit into the composition well, so I decided to ditch that aspect. Again, what a learning curve! I have a long way to go in paint,
Kode: thanks for the encouragement, I hope you buy some cubes as they can be really useful in practicing basic perspective principles, drawing straight lines and learning to think in terms of planes.
I am going to do a part time course in September at my local college, basically drawing and painting for a 3 hour session once a week, I thought it would be a good way to see if the college has good facilities (in case I want to study a full time course there) and also to get back into a classroom environment, it's been a few years
Today I finished my basic designs of the kings for my chess comics, after this I need to design their scepters and the black queen who shows up. After that I can pretty much begin on the comic proper. I'm not very good at doing this design work, I think it is lack of experience that is the problem, which is only ever solved by practice. I need to find a way to study the figure, anatomy and gesture, come up with a system or procedure to design characters of variable dimensions and start thinking in more 3 dimensional terms about everything (If you want to design stuff from imagination, being able to rotate something or see it from any angle in your head may come in handy I reckon),
I also got a vision in my head of a person struggling to get to the top of a pile of moving skeletons, who are trying to tear her down. Maybe a flashback to Berserk, who knows, or maybe it's just the way I'm feeling about everything. The skeletons are my crappy diet, uncertain relationships at work, procrastination, doubt, fear, envy, uncertainty, tiredness, dread etc. I like the concept, but there are several issues with the drawing proper (still a WIP by the way),
1. Messy drawing, a bit confused (I'm thinking of using layers of tracing paper to draw the different parts of the drawing and transferring them to a clean sheet at the end- old school)
2. Not sure about the anatomy of the girl, the skeletons will have to be scaled to this
3. Make sure to use references for the skeletons and draw them properly (slowly and not rushed, I felt in an awful rush this evening, as I often do about imaginative pieces. I need to slow down more and concentrate on the task at hand)
4. What is she pushing off of (a mountain of bones, with moving skeletons), draw this part first
5. Perspective is a bit confused, consider laying in a ground line and eye level
6. choose a light source, decide on the final medium
I find drawing from life much easier than drawing from imagination well, which is why i very much need the practice. I still feel afraid to make mistakes, which is a problem. It's difficult to live up to your own expectations and ideas.
Here are some notes on composition (going through Rockman's drawing essentials)
Lessons learnt- a little bit about formal composition, I need to practice figure drawing more from life, memory and imagination, do more drawings and paintings from imagination, do more observational studies of landscapes (and tones), let me know if i've missed anything out
Couldn't get as much in as I'd like today, I was working my day job. Started on my comic pages, I'm not keen on the first page, I rushed it a bit and don't like the look of it- I might redo it and pay more attention to the typography.
Some gesture drawings of objects and animals around the house, in ball-point, (I did about 30 in all, this is the pick of them), thanks to Nicolaides I can't seem to escape this scribbly style of gesture drawing,
I felt like doing something in colour and in oils, so I did a value scale mixing white and black first, then took tube colours and tried my best to match them to the right part of the scale, it was quite fun. I've included a grayscale version here, I think I was fairly accurate with the lighter colours, the darker ones, not so,
I also did an exercise out of a oil painting book, the first set of cubes is just white and black mixed, the second set are colours darkened by black and lightened by white and the third set is minimal use of white and black (to explore colour intensity). I seriously need to get better at drawing cubes, and drawing repetitions,
Had a rubbish day at work, I served burnt food to a customer without noticing, charged the wrong amounts on the till, dialed the wrong codes and was possibly rude to a customer by asking for them to pay just before they were leaving. I have very poor social skills unfortunately, even my co-workers have been offended by me and have gone to the boss. I'm tired of all of it, of people in general to tell the truth. Another 2 days of work and a day off! Can't wait!
At least I got in some solid time this evening, oil painting. Started with colour cubes again, this time all the primaries and secondaries made from primaries. with these cubes the aim is to paint a light tone cube, a middle tone cube and a dark tone cube. Basically seeing colours as tones. What is amazing is the amount of variation you can get in hue and temperature by small adjustments, I'll have to experiment with temperatures in the future,
I ended up spending around 5 hours on this painting tonight, a study of colour intensity. Ambient light overhead, full palette of colours, some filberts, flats and rounds, some homemade medium and thinners to clean the brushes. This was hard work, especially the wooden fish and sunflower head (which i'm not 100% happy with, I'm going to do some more studies of these),
Apologies for the picture quality, I had to take them with a flash camera, can't use a flatbed scanner with wet oils!
I really enjoy this sort of thing, a lot more than trying to draw comic books or conceptual ideas. Maybe because those things are that much harder to do... I dunno, it would be really difficult to earn a living as a gallery artist, it would still be difficult to go into a design field- but there are more stable positions and a wider variety of jobs for that....
Last edited by Mana16; August 29th, 2012 at 05:34 PM.