Couple newbie questions :)
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    Couple newbie questions :)

    Hi there!

    Got these 2 questions I've been longing to ask. Hope you can help this aspiring artist out!

    1- Should I practice my shading skills with one pencil, adjusting the pressure in order to achieve the tone, or two pencils? If only one, should it be 2B, 4B or 6B? If two pencils, should I use, for example, the HB for light shadows and the 4B for darker ones?

    2- Placing a photo and then doing the art line and painting over it in photoshop is a good way to practice drawing/painting?

    Thank you!

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    Hiii! I'm not super great at this stuff or anything, I'm pretty young, but It seems that it doesn't really matter what pencils you decide to use. It really depends on what works best for you. You can achieve a many different lights and darks with just one pencil, especially 2B. But at the same time, it can be very helpful to have some H pencils for very light values. The point I'm trying to make is that value is more about your brain than your tools. If your brain can do it, you can create your vision with whatever works best for you. And then for your second question, I would recommend not focusing so much on line/form. The reason for that is that once you can block out the individual values and the shapes they make, the form will happen naturally and appear three dimensional. Line can have a flattening effect on your imagery if you are trying to make your work look 3D. You will improve more if you draw from observation rather than tracing, using value rather than line. Best of luck with your practice! Do you have a sketchbook thread here?

    "One can easily get lost in a lot of little truths without seeing the big ones" - Andrew Loomis
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    Hey I really liked your sketchbook! Mine will be coming soon!

    I get it when you should focus on shapes when you are painting, I make an effort on that. But how can you do that when you are drawing? You will have to make lines right? I know you should never outline values, but the form of the figure itself, how can I break it down in shapes with a pencil only?

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    Thanks, I can't wait to see yours! I'm really new here too, but I'm trying to upload every day

    And yeah, value is very important in painting, but I think it's important in drawing too. I'm not sure there's one best way to do it, but if you want to draw in 3D and make your drawings into 3D paintings, thinking in lines can hold back your observation of value. Things in life are not outlines, and in certain light many objects don't even have clear outlines. If you're just thinking about doing a quick sketch before you paint, then sure, line is great! But at the same time, if you only draw and paint with lines you can lose the polish and realism of your edges. I think lines and values need to be used together rather than just line, but of course it's whatever works for you. It sounds like you're looking to do the values in photoshop, which is great. Hope that helps and that I actually answered your question rather than just rambling!

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    As for shading, use whatever you want. I suggest you start with a 2B and add something else once you run into its limitations. If you're serious about getting the right value, you may want to try charcoal, which is very forgiving.

    Do not place a photo in Photoshop or anywhere else to practice drawing! This way, you are skipping some of the most instructive steps. Draw real objects!

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    Quote Originally Posted by technokill View Post
    Hey I really liked your sketchbook! Mine will be coming soon!

    I get it when you should focus on shapes when you are painting, I make an effort on that. But how can you do that when you are drawing? You will have to make lines right? I know you should never outline values, but the form of the figure itself, how can I break it down in shapes with a pencil only?
    Don't just use the tip of the pencil. Sharpen it so about 2 inches of lead shows, that way you can use the side and get broad strokes like a brush. When you first practice with this you'll go through a lot of pencils till you learn to sharpen them without breaking them and get a feel for the correct pressure when you draw.

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    Nice tips guys! Will take all in consideration!


    Quote Originally Posted by eezacque@xs4all.nl View Post
    As for shading, use whatever you want. I suggest you start with a 2B and add something else once you run into its limitations. If you're serious about getting the right value, you may want to try charcoal, which is very forgiving.

    Do not place a photo in Photoshop or anywhere else to practice drawing! This way, you are skipping some of the most instructive steps. Draw real objects!
    Really? So I should never practice drawing with photos? Even if not drawing over them, but just by looking at them?

    Cause I see many people, including pros, that say they did this or that image using "photo ref".

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    Quote Originally Posted by technokill View Post
    Really? So I should never practice drawing with photos? Even if not drawing over them, but just by looking at them?
    Cause I see many people, including pros, that say they did this or that image using "photo ref".
    "Reference" is not the same as "copy". Reference is used as a boost to the imperfect human memory, not as something you duplicate.

    You can practice drawing with photos, but you are better off not doing it while you are still learning. Photos don't give you the same information as simply looking at your subject does, so you are going to look at all the wrong things if you try working from photos, and these wrong things will end up in your drawings. It takes considerably MORE skill to use a photo than to work from life, not less.

    Looking at them to familiarize yourself with the subject is always fine, of course.

    Last edited by arenhaus; December 29th, 2012 at 12:47 PM.
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    Drawing is a lot about knowledge. Sure muscle memory and coordination is important, but once you get the hang of it, the rest is up to your understanding of the fundamentals. If you get good enough, you can try drawing with your non-dominant hand and still get a pretty decent picture than a completely, beginner artist, because your brain is wired to understand and spatially recognize what you see.

    That being said, it would not matter what pencil you use until you understand the fundamentals through practicing and practicing. Although I would recommend using a dark lead, such as a 3B, this way you have a greater range of values without having too press too hard on the paper to get darker values, which would damage the paper.

    And no, tracing a photo is never a good way to improve. When you trace pictures, you're not really improving your knowledge and intuition of the subject matter, or learning to "see". The most I would attempt at with drawing from photos is purely line drawing, not tracing, of figures and animals, until you understand the fundamentals of light and form as well as perspective to compensate for distortions.

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    Ok think I got it.

    Overall the best practice is from real subjects. But how about human form, given that I dont have a real person model and I shouldnt be practicing from pictures, how do people learn to draw humans?

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    Quote Originally Posted by technokill View Post
    Ok think I got it.

    Overall the best practice is from real subjects. But how about human form, given that I dont have a real person model and I shouldnt be practicing from pictures, how do people learn to draw humans?
    Most people suggest getting your sketch book and searching for someplace like this

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    Everybody tries tracing, so don't feel sneaky if you give it a shot. There are even a few things you can learn from it. For example, in comparing a figure drawing I did with reference to a tracing I did of the same reference (this is the olden days, so we're talking tracing paper here), I discovered how much I was exaggerating things that were interesting to me. And tracing and overpainting has a place in the toolkit of an experienced artist.

    But it's a frustrating dead end for a beginner. It's not training your eye or giving you the tools you need to get better. So think of it as the Hallowe'en candy of art -- it's not good for you, but it's fun and it won't kill you every once in a while.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post
    Everybody tries tracing, so don't feel sneaky if you give it a shot. There are even a few things you can learn from it. For example, in comparing a figure drawing I did with reference to a tracing I did of the same reference (this is the olden days, so we're talking tracing paper here), I discovered how much I was exaggerating things that were interesting to me. And tracing and overpainting has a place in the toolkit of an experienced artist.
    .

    I started doing this yesterday to one of my drawings.
    My thoughts on that particular drawing went from " Hmmm..well...it looks human enough , i can't believe I managed to draw that :0!" before placing a tracing ( on baking paper) of the original picture onto it,

    to: " It looks like one of those shrunken voodoo doll heads... i can't believe I managed to draw that *embarassment all around*" after seeing my drawing with the tracing on it.


    So, for a beginner, I think tracing in this way really does help with seeing how much you exaggerate stuff.
    Just make sure you try to apply what you learn to the next drawing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post
    I discovered how much I was exaggerating things that were interesting to me.
    I'm bad at making jokes, but I'm CERTAIN there's a joke in there somewhere...

    I remember hearing a story about a male student who was new to life drawing, and was going through a "eww, nakkid dudes" phase that somehow resulted in him accidentally drawing the model's junk twice it's size, which everyone noticed during critique. Apparently because he was too insecure to get himself to look at it. No idea how that works, but that's the story I heard.

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    *Insert Norman Rockwell, famous artist school, endorse tracing as learning tool comment here*.

    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
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    You can traces basic geometric shapes over the figure to help you understand how to create the figure using basic geometric shapers. check out jeff mellemīs sketching life basics. Itīs will tell about how important geometric shape is to figue drawing.

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