Sketchy Sketches. Calming the hand.

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  1. #1
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    Sketchy Sketches. Calming the hand.

    I tried doing a ca. forum/thread search on this. Didn't find what I was looking for so, I will ask here.

    Ok, so I am attending TAD this fall,,er like in a week. It will be my first go at an art education. That being said, I was thinking I should start acclimating myself to traditional mediums. So to start, I thought, I should buy some art supplies and just use them for a while. Not focused on the fundamentals, just getting used the feel of brushes, charcoal pencils, different paper and surfaces. Did that for a while,,no photoshop.

    Then, from reading post here, I kinda got the notion if you don't know where to start, then, start drawing what you see. This is where I am at now,,setting up still life, walking around with sketchbook and, well, drawing what I see. I know there is more to it than that, I just didn't know where to start.

    Now, finally, the question. I've noticed when I draw, it's very sketchy. Like I'll draw a line over and over until I get this fuzzy image of my subject but, this sketchy image is fairly proportional, just super sketchy. From there I can break out the eraser and start refining it. It just seems counter productive. In photoshop I would just start with solid blocks of color, kinda making a silhouette and build on that. I'm just wondering if I should emulate that method somehow in my sketchbook. Or do I need to focus a few hours a day to contour drawing? Or, just draw the subject over and over? I know sketches are "sketchy",,mine just seem a little too sketchy when doing a study.

    Sorry for the long intro before the question, thought a little background info might help. Also, i'm gonna leave a link to my dA page, in case that helps to see where I am as an artist currently,,
    Any help is truly helpful and, I promise I will appreciate it.

    dA link--http://pistoli.deviantart.com

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  3. #2
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    Practice. Confidence. Knowing exactly where your line begins, ends, and everything in between.

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  5. #3
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    Just keep practicing it all gets easier every time.
    Some helpful practice I can think of is

    1. take a huge sheet of paper, put a dot somewhere, now make a dot 2 inches vertically or horizontally, now that you have 2 dots place 2 more dots so that you have a perfectly equal square, Keep making dots in every direction that are 2 inches apart, just keep going with this.

    The point is that you will be able to see where your making measuring mistakes in relation to direction and placement. and by practicing this you can make more accurately placed marks.

    2. Place a point on a piece of paper place another point somewhere else on the paper, now try drawing one nice smooth curved line the hits one point and then the other. Pay attention to where your about to go with your line and make the line with confidence, don't sketch the line, again make it smooth and with confidence ..

    Those are the only things I can really think of right now that might help, and Ill be right there in the trenches with you at TAD this fall, best of luck.

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  7. #4
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    I get what you two are saying. Its a confidence game with lines. Like shooting baskets. It's about form, trajectory and, accuracy.

    I like trenches, been digging them in the Georgia clay for the past 8 years, wouldn't mind working in one for awhile...ha! Seriously though, thanks, and good luck to you too Demo.

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  8. #5
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    Have you tried inking your sketches with real, liquid ink and a brush?
    That generally forces you to decide the line you want to make, as you have very limited amount of extra strokes you can put there.

    "I eat comics and poop stylization"
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  10. #6
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    Tinybird, thanks, that sounds like another good exercise. You're right, ink doesn't seem very forgiving.

    When I sketch, I feel as if I'm working with clay, like I'm molding the image and, clay is very forgiving. It just seems counter-productive making so many lines.--sidenote I also wonder If I need to get my eyes checked..

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  11. #7
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    Funny I'm trying to solve the same problem kind of, my sketchy lines look kind of out of place but my more refined lines don't look as smooth.

    So I am trying the dot to dot straight line and curves but also re tracing over it 8x.

    Also trying to the hold the pen/pencil higher up and use my elbow and shoulder and less off my wrist, seems a little awkward but I am getting a little better each time.

    I've seen people use copic markers , say like a 30% as a silhouette then going over it with pen.

    But I also kind of like the real sketchy look in itself, can be used as the silhouette if you go kinda crazy with a purpose and the paint over the top/ or scan in etc.

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  12. #8
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  14. #9
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    This is very normal when one is starting out. I think I had very feathered lines for a number of years and I still use several lines when I'm sketching even though I have trained myself to be steady with ink pens or a brush.

    You can try to go over your sketch with ink afterwards, making an effort to use only one line per edge even if you get the line wrong. Or you can do the same thing with pencils of different colours like animators do. You can also try doing blocks of value using charcoal, like you suggested with the "blocks of colour" in Photoshop. Eventually you will be more confident in your lines and you will feather them less.

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    Get an easel and an 18x24 pad and drawing board. Set it up vertically so you can stand and draw from the shoulder. You can't make little fuzzy strokes drawing from the shoulder.

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  17. #11
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    Thumbs down

    Thanks again you all. I should mention, if I'm drawing from imagination, or have a table to rest my elbow as a pivot,, my lines are smooth. It's mostly when I am standing or sitting at a stool that I start making multiply lines, not so much "feathered", which I know what you all mean by that.
    Anyway, the advice and the video link posted earlier makes sense to me. It's about confidence.
    I'm going to try these exercises folks. Again, thanks for the ideas.

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  18. #12
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    Slow down. You are training your muscle memory, which works best when making slow deliberate movements, and that is really as slow as you can. There is a difference between practice and performance. While you may draw a circle best with a fast whirl, improving really needs you to slow down...

    Grinnikend door het leven...
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  20. #13
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    What about tracing paper? Printing out a page of different shapes in different perspectives and tracing them, slowly. Just as an exercise.

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  21. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by LucasCottom View Post
    What about tracing paper? Printing out a page of different shapes in different perspectives and tracing them, slowly. Just as an exercise.
    You can try it. Tracing paper is cheap and if it doesn't help you then you can stop anytime you want.

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  22. #15
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    I like scribbling, but that's probably not going to help you. Looking hard and thinking where you need to start and where you need to finish helps a lot.

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  24. #16
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    Traditional Chinese bamboo brush art was taught through muscle memory and tracing. Crap, now I'm over thinking it. I'm just gonna see what happens.

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  26. #17
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    I like to sit down with a pen or pencil and just relax not think about anything and just practice making marks. Experiment with it. Sometime I do it for a few minutes other times I do it for hours. I have noticed though that my drawings are always better if I warm up first.

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  28. #18
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    dont get burned out before the instruction even started

    adding to the other suggestions, if i really dont feel it and my hand eye coordination aint working at all, ill invest 5-10 minutes drawing circles, ellypses and straight lines (horizontals, verticals and diagonals) covering an a4 sheet. most of the time this improves my performance.

    i wouldnt do the blocks of value, if your goal is lines. its a completely different approach. if you want to learn to draw using non-scratchy lines... practice lines. i doubt simply outlining premade shapes would help you in that department.

    [edit (bluetooth keyboard stopped working ;()] after all the quality of your lines is secondary and it comes with just drawing anyway... where your lines go is much more important than their quality.

    Last edited by sone_one; August 21st, 2012 at 05:34 PM.
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  29. #19
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    sone_one, yeah, that's what I started doing- drawing lines, circles, point-to-point arc lines. I wanted to do the dots all over the page method and the drawing from the shoulder but, I was out of 18x24" newsprint until today.

    Most of my lack of confidence is line drawing still life. Like, the perspective of cylindrical things,, like say a flower pot. Drawing the plant isn't as much of a chore as is drawing the ellipse of the mouth of the flowerpot. If I take a photograph of what I'm looking at and use the photo to build the composition and the actual still life for everything else, I do loads better. Just looking at still life,, my confidence goes down.

    No big deal though, I'll just keep doing the exercises.

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