Sketchbook: Beginners Sketchbook! (Critique Very Welcome)

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  1. #1
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    Beginners Sketchbook! (Critique Very Welcome)

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    Some still lifes:
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    Hello, I'm just starting out so these still lifes aren't the best - yet.

    I go to art classes only once a week. Definitely not enough, but there's simply no more classes except for that one. So for the majority of the time I I practice at home, post on forums like this one and read art books whenever I feel that I need new information.

    I'm working at my desk, it's a pretty good environment except for the fact that I don't have a board so some drawings look elongated since the paper is flat on the table. I'm trying to find a desk board in my town before I order one on ebay, but it looks like I'm not going to find it any time soon, so I'll just have to get one from the internet.

    I usually use charcoal as you can see, but I also like pencil. In fact, I like pencil more. It's more convenient, it's non-messy and I just like how it handles. But, all the still lifes that I do in pencil look like shit for some reason I'm not aware of, they just don't register/read at first glance. I'm starting to think that I should downscale the size of the paper when working in pencil, since it takes a lot longer to shade in it, than it is in charcoal.

    Right now I'm trying to just interpret and define simple forms, sometimes that doesn't work out too well. I usually tend not to use any construction or planes or perspective in my still lifes, but lately I've been catering more to it. Visual measuring certainly tends to help a lot, and I do use it a lot.

    Right now I'm trying to simplify down shapes and get them to read within the very few stages of the drawing, this usually fails. I try to squint but that doesn't help much.

    My usual drawing process starts out with big lines blocking in the shape, then breaking down those lines into more lines for more realistic looking shape. Then I divide the shape into 2 areas of dark and light, draw the 2 values in, and from there on it's just working with values.

    Any critique would be greatly appreciated, especially tips that help in the long run and just tips that apply to all of my drawings.

    Thank you very much for reading, I will post more very soon.

    Last edited by aquse; December 7th, 2013 at 03:36 PM. Reason: Super Secret
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  3. #2
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    Bump from the void.

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    A bit messy. But, not that bad I suppose.

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  5. #4
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    It's a good start.

    Keep drawing from life, maybe try to draw slower and more precise. With time and practice, your eyes will get used to simplifying shapes - at least that's what my teacher say's.


    I don't do drugs. I am drugs.
    Salvador Dali

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    Great start. Charcoals are great for really pushing those values. Have you tried softer pencils, like a 6B? Not as messy as charcoal, but you can still get nice dark tones.

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    Keep drawing from life, maybe try to draw slower and more precise. With time and practice, your eyes will get used to simplifying shapes - at least that's what my teacher say's.
    this is good advice. i actually find that if i draw too fast my drawings look a lot worse. if you draw from your shoulder and take your time your marks become a lot more accurate and you feel a lot more confident about your drawing.

    keep rocking those still lifes bro, they teach you a lot

    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=271739 - my sketchbook, feel free to drop by
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpysaur View Post
    Great start. Charcoals are great for really pushing those values. Have you tried softer pencils, like a 6B? Not as messy as charcoal, but you can still get nice dark tones.
    I usually just use an HB for everything and a 4B for the darker tones. I'm gonna make a visit to the art shop soon, gonna get me some materials and try out more pencils.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Escavalier View Post
    this is good advice. i actually find that if i draw too fast my drawings look a lot worse. if you draw from your shoulder and take your time your marks become a lot more accurate and you feel a lot more confident about your drawing.

    keep rocking those still lifes bro, they teach you a lot
    Yeah, these drawing take from 1 hour to 2 to complete. I really try to look at it and make the correct marks - not always the case but I fix and erase a lot. Thanks for your reply

    Here's today's -

    I really like the lid in this piece. The handle is kind of derp, but it's alright overall. Although, I kind of mis-calculated the space I have.

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    Here's today's, took me about an hour, I'm not satisfied with the results. It's a melon as you can see.

    The line drawing itself didn't take a lot of time, it's just an elongated sphere.

    Now, I did the values and the shape only read when I looked at the paper from a bit of a distance. Then I tried to add some detail and make it look like a melon, that just made the whole damn thing messier.

    I think it's a bit flat because the bottom should be a bit more lighter. That's pretty much it, thanks for reading folks.

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    Hey folks, this one took about an hour and a half. The top is completely flat with no depth to it, and the bottom could be better! But, I do like the middle part. The whole drawing is kind of slanted to the left. And, it just does not read that well, and some of the values are off. Especially on the camera, changes things drastically.

    I have a question, how do you incorporate perspective into a still life? I can never find the horizon, and then even if I do, how do I determine how low the object is(I'm almost looking down on them.) I can eyeball the perspective, try to plant basic shapes on the paper by instinct. Or I can look at existing lines on the object and determine the relative horizon line. Yeah, guess that will work. When I work on my Intuous which is rarely, then I can get some perspective grids going outside the actual canvas and it looks real, non-messy and great overall. But, when I try in charcoal it just looks very messed up.

    Or, on the other hand I can place the object so that the horizon line bisects it, and that way it's evident on where the horizon line should be. I'll try to incorporate perspective and planes more like I've said before, most of my drawings look flat. Just doesn't look good right now on real paper, but practice makes perfect I suppose. I'll try to do this more tomorrow. All of this will probably fail.

    Also, I need to look at values a bit more before I start putting them down. I already do this but when I start they tend to go all over the place.

    Thanks folks!

    Last edited by aquse; November 26th, 2013 at 04:18 PM.
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    It is I again with another daily update. I tried the perspective thing again, and as you can I see masterfully escalated the subject nearer the horizon line. One point perspective made it a lot faster to find the lines, but some of them I still messed up like the ones on the right side.

    Well, I really like the handle on the right, and the light on the right side. It looks authentic. The ellipse could've been more ellips-y, and the right side isn't a completely reflection of the left, it needs to be a bit more south.

    The left handle is horrible, I've tried re-drawing it like 5 times but it just wouldn't come out! I even tried some small sketches on the top as you can see, but they also don't read! Well, maybe the one on the left does. I gave up on it in the end. The indentations of the rim on the bottom and top of the cylinder aren't quite there, in fact the reflected light on the bottom due to the cylinder receding in space doesn't even look like reflected light, just a smudge on the paper and nobody would figure out what it's there for.

    I can't really say much more, but I think if everything in the piece looked like the right side this would look better. Was it because the black outlines weren't so apparent? No idea.

    In my next drawing I will try to not have very vivid outlines in the end, just keeping it in tones and letting the areas of sharp contrast be the lines.

    Last edited by aquse; November 28th, 2013 at 11:46 AM.
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    I did 2 today, well, the last one came out shitty because I was getting bored on it.

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    Let's play a game! Can you guess what that mystery fruit is?


    So yeah, I've tried to keep lines out of the first one. And it did work, but I ended up with some lost edges, and that's understandable.

    I really, really, really like the bottom part on this vase or whatever it is. It reads! It's clear, and you can just see the shape the moment you glance at it. More on the light side than the dark side, but it's okay. Although there's only 2 planes on the connector between the stand and the main body, there should be 3. The rest? Not so much.

    I think the middle plane of the main body could've stood out more,and the dark side of the plane doesn't stand out as much either. I did come in at the very end and make them less darker, but it doesn't show that much on the camera.

    The mystery fruit I did really fast, just a 6 minute drawing of the outlines and then all values. It's just all wrong, can't say anything more for it.

    Thanks for reading yet another daily update, folks!

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    And time for another daily update. This one didn't take that long, about an hour and 10 minutes.

    I tried not to smudge the charcoal with anything, and some parts ended up very messy because I went in and smudged them since the values were off. The inner conclave of the form looks flat, but I do like the outside. The part that it's standing on is also a bit off, it's too big. Also, the whole drawing is kind of rotated to the right.

    So yeah, a bunch of things are off. Just couldn't see them earlier. I measured the top like a thousand times and it looked off, so I ignored the visual measurements and made it a bit bigger - too big.

    Short post today, don't really have anything on mind. Thanks folks!

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    Hello guys, straight to the point today. Took me about an hour again, I've noticed the last few still lifes are taking a bit shorter, for some reason.

    The main body - the cylinder looks nice to me. Except for the reflected light which doesn't look like reflections on the body. And also, it may be a bit too dark, just a bit. But, overall I like how it looks.

    The handle looks hideous, it just does. When I marked in the lines for it it looked good, but then I went in with the values and went outside the boundaries resulting in a crapped up looking handle. The light side of the bottom of the handle is off, the light from the top plane and the side plane merge, making it look like it's one plane. It's just wrong all around there.

    The bottom-part, the right side is skewed to the north, which shouldn't be the case. But, it doesn't look that horrible, or does it?

    For my next still life I'm gonna initially draw it, take a break and come back to it to fix everything that I see is wrong. Because, when I look at it like 30 minutes later, I can spot the mistakes. Speaking of that, flipping the canvas might help, I've never tried it before. I'll try it the next time.

    Thank you for reading.

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    And yet again, it is time for another daily update. This time, I think this is a vase - I think.

    And, it turned out pretty horrible. As I said yesterday I did try flipping the paper, and I also came back to it after 30 minutes. But, alas I got really frusturated because if I tried to fix something, it would fuck up something else around it and the cycle continued forever until I gave up.

    The drawing itself(not the values) wasn't bad, maybe the top opening is too big and distorted, just doesn't look like it's in place.

    There's tons of places where the values are off. Can't say much else right now, that's about it.

    Thank you for reading!

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    Nice day book right here, please tell me how you apply this spoiler option.

    Well ok, since I am not familiar with charcoal I will talk about the pencil and perspective. I would suggest you relax with this big practice and do a bunch of little sketchs. Just basic figures and pencil. Mmm... in my sketch book I have exercises of perspective that you could use... actually, here, go here http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...erspective-101

    To avoid this draw-erase-draw-erase problem,do "construction or planes or perspective" first, if the draw look good in only pencil, the shadow will look fine. If the structure is deficient, no amount of shadow will correct anything

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nainteins View Post
    Nice day book right here, please tell me how you apply this spoiler option.

    Well ok, since I am not familiar with charcoal I will talk about the pencil and perspective. I would suggest you relax with this big practice and do a bunch of little sketchs. Just basic figures and pencil. Mmm... in my sketch book I have exercises of perspective that you could use... actually, here, go here http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...erspective-101

    To avoid this draw-erase-draw-erase problem,do "construction or planes or perspective" first, if the draw look good in only pencil, the shadow will look fine. If the structure is deficient, no amount of shadow will correct anything
    Hey, thanks for your reply. To use the spoiler, you must do [spoiler]Whatever hidden here.[/spoiler']' (Without the single quotes, of course.)

    As for doing basic shapes, I already do that. I sketch and inter-lock basic shapes in perspective whenever I'm bored in school, or just have free time whenever. I started doing it ever since I watched basic sketching with Peter Han or whatever it was called, he suggested to do it. But, thank you for reminding me.

    Today I did a drawing in Photoshop, same vase as yesterday. I forgot to take a picture of it, but it's the same one as yesterday's so it's not that huge of a deal. I raised it close to my eye level when drawing it.

    Took me about 2 hours, I work a lot slower in Photoshop, or maybe it's just because I'm not used to it.

    I did this in 2 point-perspective. It might look like I did it in 3 point, but the real shape shrinks when it gets to the bottom actually, and expands at the top.

    I didn't go into too much detail, because when I tried it just didn't look right and I kept erasing it, and stopped at this point basically.

    Yeah, that's pretty much it, thanks for reading.
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    Great learning so far.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thewandererjourney View Post
    Great learning so far.
    Hah, I wish. I personally don't see any improvement, but at the same time, I'm not expecting any for like 3 months. I feel like I need to start branching out and doing something else other than still lifes, that would be figure, I'd wager, maybe landscapes as well and just random shit that comes to mind. I'm planning on doing that a bit later, focus on this at first.

    But yeah, thanks!

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    This one ain't the best one I did, so to say.

    Don't have much to say today folks.

    Thanks for looking.

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    And I post yet another daily update. As you can see, there's not just one still life, but also a bunch of small compositions consisting of a vitamin tablet case, and a pomegranate. I got this from watching a Youtube video of some art teacher I found, don't remember his name - sorry. Anyway, he suggested just doing 20 of these small compositions, and focusing on tone. And so I did, except not 20. These compositions each took me around 20 minutes, which is a lot, a lot longer than I was going for. I was going for like 3 to 5 minutes on each, but didn't turn out that way - they take a long time.

    I really liked this exercise, I'll definitely do more of them. They're fun, quick and nice to experiment with. And I'll also try to find the Youtube channel of the guy again, he gives out nice tips and exercises and whatever.

    As for the pomegranate, it doesn't look bad to me. I can't really see what to do to make it better except for some minor things of course. Some areas are flat where they shouldn't be.

    Yeah, that's pretty much it for today, thanks guys.

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    Hello guys, and today I can not think of an opening line.

    I did more of those exercises from yesterday, and I really like 'em. That whole ordeal took me around 2 hours, and then the still life took around 50 minutes. I might do more of those today.

    Sadly, I couldn't find that guy's YT account, oh well.

    I feel that these little still-lifes are very good in order to learn on how to get forms to read. I'm really keen on getting confident and definitive forms at the moment, this definitely helps.

    Thanks for reading guys, peace.

    Oh and one more thing, a note for myself. Tomorrow I'm gonna do a perspective study, and more of these things.

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    Hey man,

    This looks good, it's hard to see improvement on your own work because it happens very gradually over the course of months. But we ( the people on the forum ) see all of the improvements in 5 minutes, so that's why I'm saying you've improved quite alot. But you can't see it yourself. Updating more often would be a very good thing to improve more. I'm not sure if you just forget to upload or you don't draw at all when you don't upload, because if you really want to do something with drawing or want to improve a bit quicker. You will have to draw alot , the still lives are doing you alot of good but it's also important to give yourself some variety. Like drawing figures, anatomy, perspective, just things for fun. This way you won't get bored with drawing as quickly with results in more drawing and that means improving alot faster. I just saw you actually update this really frequently now, so I'm not saying you need to update more than this Sorry just saw you started this sketchbook in december 2012 My bad. So keep updating like your doing now! And really nice work so far!

    -Dennis

    Ma Sketchbook brings all the girls to the forums, damn right its worse than yours.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Kessel View Post
    Hey man,

    This looks good, it's hard to see improvement on your own work because it happens very gradually over the course of months. But we ( the people on the forum ) see all of the improvements in 5 minutes, so that's why I'm saying you've improved quite alot. But you can't see it yourself. Updating more often would be a very good thing to improve more. I'm not sure if you just forget to upload or you don't draw at all when you don't upload, because if you really want to do something with drawing or want to improve a bit quicker. You will have to draw alot , the still lives are doing you alot of good but it's also important to give yourself some variety. Like drawing figures, anatomy, perspective, just things for fun. This way you won't get bored with drawing as quickly with results in more drawing and that means improving alot faster. I just saw you actually update this really frequently now, so I'm not saying you need to update more than this Sorry just saw you started this sketchbook in december 2012 My bad. So keep updating like your doing now! And really nice work so far!

    -Dennis
    Yeah, I made it in 2012, but never did shit. Wanted to make another account but I wouldn't receive an e-mail verification no matter what I did. So far I updated every day, and will continue to do so... hopefully

    And about variety, I did have plans to start trying out new things, like these the exercises. But yeah, wanted to try out landscapes for a while now, just don't know how I would organize that in real life. I guess I can just take my sketch book and pencil outside!

    And also, everywhere I read about art, people tell you to carry a sketchbook and just sketch whatever the hell you see. I need to start doing this as well, and trying to capture people or scenes in a very fast and gestural way would be nice.

    But yeah, thanks for the reply!


    Oh, and I also did some more of those small compositions. Reflective metal is a pain in the ass.

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    Welp, whatever that fruit is, I fucked up the stem. Thanks for reading! Don't have a lot of time to write this or have any interesting thoughts. Thanks.

    EDIT: I noticed I erased the top part of that grinder by mistake, it should be there - oh well. Use your imagination for the lines!

    The speaker is outright too fat, and the ellipses hurt my eyes. I've tried drawing them myself, but it's very hard to make those ellipses on the tablet.

    Alright, next up is the mystery fruit. It's tasty is all I can say, too bad I do not know the name. I mean, the drawing is muddy as usual. And I also couldn't get the stem right, I couldn't! Well, it doesn't look that horrible, but it's not how I want it.

    As for the shape itself, I can't really say anything. I could write an essay on how it looks different than the one in the photo, but the photo looks completely different than the light falls on the fruit in real life.

    And I've been noticing this a lot, the photos have much more contrast than the objects in real life. I'm using my tablet's camera, which isn't ideal. I do have a Canon though, I'll experiment with that. But, if I can play with the settings on the Tablet's camera I'd much rather use that, it's so much more convenient.

    Yeah, that's it for the update. Thanks.

    Last edited by aquse; December 6th, 2013 at 07:15 PM.
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    And here's some bonus content. I think I did these 9 months ago. First 5 still lifes that I ever did in my life, and yes they're made with an Intuos.

    Now guys, I stopped drawing very soon thereafter until recently, when I started updating this thread again that is. So, I didn't practice at all in these 8 months. Just don't want anyone to confusion that I kept on practising - I didn't.

    In those 8 months I lurked on many forums, and read art books. Never acted upon it, just told myself that I'll do it tomorrow. Well, as you can see I did bring myself to it. Main reason is I was afraid to draw around family, I mean I suck - not for long, hopefully.

    But, everyone has been supportive so far, so it's going great. Yeah, just thought I'd share something about myself.

    I have more 'bonus' content, but I will release it as I see fit.

    Thanks for reading!

    Last edited by aquse; December 6th, 2013 at 07:05 PM.
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    And hello there once again, I bring you yet another cup today. This surprisingly took me 2 hours, that's definitely a leap from the ones I did previously. This cup has a very reflective texture, reflections everywhere and I've been having some trouble with reflections - they never come out natural. I think this one is okay-ish. Yeah, it's okay, nothing more I can say. The handle is bad, and I yet again messed up the ellipse when I started adding tone. Also, the bottom part has lots of outlines. But yeah, it's not so bad overall.

    I need to do more of those pencil compositions, I really like doing them. And maybe also find something even new to add to my routine. But yeah, thanks for reading folks!

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    Hello guys. I first of all would like to thank all of you for taking the effort and commenting.

    First of all, as you can see I changed up the space a bit. I got my mouse mat to be the surface, it reflects so much less light. I held up my hand near the surface of the table, and the bottom of the hand would be pretty light. But, when I put my hand over the mat, it was nearly black. So, that took care of a lot of reflected light.

    Second of all, I put the lamp way more back, so that way the wall doesn't catch as more light and as a result reflect it. And as well to make it more darker.

    And third of all, I put a sketchbook behind the still life so the end of the table is hidden.

    And you're right, the still life was much easier to read now. I wanted to get a cardboard box, but I didn't have one at hand, so maybe later.

    Thank you a lot for that.



    As per the drawing, I pushed the values a lot, as you can see it's really black in some areas. The highlight is barely noticeable though, so that's bad. And, I made the shadow blend in with the actual object itself.

    I like how the drawing turned out, it definitely stands out more, has more of a 3d feel and is cleaner(I think). So yeah, it's definitely one of the better ones that I did.

    Thanks a lot for your advice.

    Oh and I also did some sketches with a pencil just to experiment. As you can see on the first one I push the values a lot, on the second one I didn't. On the third one I hatched in one direction gradually building up tone.
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    The contrast on my camera is a lot more than of my eye, the whole right blackness looks the same tone to me, but not to the camera.

    I think this one doesn't look bad. I also created contrast to make the apple stand out with the blackness on the right. I decided to make it black as an experiment, and it looked a lot better so I kept it. Maybe I should've made the left side white.

    When trying to get the reflected light in, you can see that I smudged and messed up on the shadow side a bit. You can even see some of my fingerprints.(???How do you make a tone that's done with charcoal just slightly less dark? I find it very hard without making it super messy. I try finger, tissue, what the hell else is there???)

    The indentation where the stem should be is flat, I couldn't make it outline the apple's form, just didn't work after trying it so many times so I gave up on that. And the mid-tone is a bit messed-up on the bottom.

    But, otherwise I think it's alright.

    P.S. It's an apple.

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    I went to a life drawing class today with a real figure. And well, I'll be in the corner crying if anyone needs me.

    Will upload those pics tomorrow.

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