A handful of assorted beginner questions
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    Red face A handful of assorted beginner questions

    Hey all, just an assorted bunch of questions, I've been meaning to ask:

    1. I don't quite understand the difference between this forum (Art Discussion) and Fine Arts. I assumed Fine Arts would cover any questions on the technical side to art, but I notice many questions (one of mine included) got moved to here, although the forum description says "Conversations about art" which seems to be more general and vague in comparison with "The technical side to art. Get help with honing your skills." which is the description for Fine Arts. Not a problem, I just want to know what topics are acceptable where

    2. I'd really like to hear how most of you capture your non-digital art. Right now I'm using my camera phone and as much light in the room as possible. I also tweak the levels a bit in software. The results (see my sketchbook) are often blurry and murky, so I could do with some tips to improve that. I'm borrowing a DSLR camera that I want to use, but not sure if there are any guides to setting up a good environment to take pictures? Perhaps a tripod would help.

    3. What do you guys use for figure poses? I have a bunch of bookmarks for reference photographs (like The Drawing Script), but I was looking into getting a manikin, and wondered if you had any reccomendations. The basic ones I see on Amazon don't seem to have accurate proportions and people talk about inflexibility or loose joints.

    4. Can you reccomend any resources, books or tips to improving line work? At the moment (see my sketchbook for examples) my lines are a nervous, scribbly rash and I'd like to improve on that. Is it a muscle thing? Or does learning to see better improve one's confidence with using and placing lines correctly?

    5. Book wise, I'm currently working through Loomis - Fun With A Pencil and Norling - Perspective Made Easy. Once I've done those I plan to buy Drawing On The Right Side of the Brain and follow up with Dodson's "Keys To Drawing". Does this sound like a decent book progression? Are there any other invaluable beginner books I could check out?

    Thanks. Please do drop by my sketchbook and give me any tips and hints in general, I'm always reading this forum and trying to soak up knowledge about fundamentals of drawing. I must say it's quite hard at first because I don't really have much structure to my learning as I have no idea what's important and what isn't, but hopefully slogging through the books will help me to improve that.

    Please visit my sketchbook and give advice / say hello!
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    1) Fine Arts is more for showing traditional art than questions. You get a lot more people here helping.

    2) I just time lapse mine with a camera.

    3) Take your own pictures, go life drawing.

    4) Draw slower and look harder before you start.

    5) The Artists Reading List sticky in here.

    Read all the stickies, you'll find tons of info there


    I didn't think it was possible to be called an artist when you have nothing to say. It's like being a writer who publishes individual words as books and expects to be praised for it.
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    1. I think Fine arts is more about fine arts. Paintings and that sort.

    2. I have a scanner. It's amazing. Sounds like a dinosaur when I use it.

    3. Personally I use the internet, but I hear most people use real people and draw from life. When I do that I type in what I'm looking for ("Man Running", "Dancing people") or go really general ("Man posing", Man stock-photo"). I also sometimes draw my cat from life.

    4. Confidence or consistency. Do you do the millions of tiny lines or crooked lines? I cant draw a straight line or a circle to save my life, but I can draw a figure without it looking like a thick line of of fluff. How? I make sure the pen only hits the paper where I intend it to. Ok that doesn't make much sense, but I don't know how else to explain it.

    5. I suggest you pick up books relative to you area of interest. I personally like fantasy art, so I got The Fantasy Illustrator's Technique Book.

    Last edited by Lady Medusa; January 13th, 2013 at 09:55 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rowe View Post
    Hey all, just an assorted bunch of questions, I've been meaning to ask:
    4. Can you reccomend any resources, books or tips to improving line work? At the moment (see my sketchbook for examples) my lines are a nervous, scribbly rash and I'd like to improve on that. Is it a muscle thing? Or does learning to see better improve one's confidence with using and placing lines correctly?
    Apart from practice, you may want to try Nicolaides' 'Blind Contours' exercise...

    5. Book wise, I'm currently working through Loomis - Fun With A Pencil and Norling - Perspective Made Easy. Once I've done those I plan to buy Drawing On The Right Side of the Brain and follow up with Dodson's "Keys To Drawing". Does this sound like a decent book progression? Are there any other invaluable beginner books I could check out?
    Skip Betty Edwards: it may be useful for absolute beginners, but it is subsumed by books like Dodson you will encounter anyways.

    Grinnikend door het leven...
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    Quote Originally Posted by eezacque@xs4all.nl View Post
    Skip Betty Edwards: it may be useful for absolute beginners, but it is subsumed by books like Dodson you will encounter anyways.
    Interesting, that would save me some money. But I see Right Side Of The Brain brought up a lot, will Keys To Drawing really cover most of Right Side?

    Please visit my sketchbook and give advice / say hello!
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    1. I think Black Spot covered this...

    2. Either photograph it with a good camera or scan it in pieces. I've been lacking a good camera for a while so I've been scanning paintings in chunks and then stitching them together in Photoshop. It works, but it's an awfully slow process...

    If you want tips on photographing paintings, Dan Dos Santos had a great article about it on Muddy Colors, here: http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2012...tings.html?m=1

    3. For general figure drawing, life drawing groups and sketching people in public. For project-specific poses, usually a mirror or two. Or a camera with a self timer for more awkward poses. Those manikins are dead useless in my opinion, someone gave me one once, I never used it.

    4. That would be a lot to put into a bullet point... But in general, line confidence is mostly a matter of practice. One way to get into drawing unhesitant lines is to practice with ink. I recommend brush and ink, myself - it's one of the more tricky mediums to control, and you really can't noodle around at all. It forces you to decide on a stroke and go for it with no hesitation. (Use a real brush, not a brush pen... Brush pens allow you to fudge a little. Real brush and ink does not.) Crowquill pens are pretty good practice as well - if your hand is the least bit wobbly, a Crowquill magnifies it horrifically, so they encourage the development of a more confident hand.

    5. If you've already read Loomis and Norling, there's no point in reading Betty Edwards. That book is really only good for taking your very first step in observational drawing if you've never really done it before. Dodson is supposed to be pretty good, though. As for other recommendations, I dunno, everything on the reading list sticky? The two Jim Gurney books are pretty much a must ("Color and Light" and "Imaginative Realism".) And a decent anatomy reference is always handy - "Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist" by Stephen Rogers Peck is a good one to have around (and cheap.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by rowe View Post
    Interesting, that would save me some money. But I see Right Side Of The Brain brought up a lot, will Keys To Drawing really cover most of Right Side?
    All that Edwards teaches is copying exactly what you see, without bothering what it actually is supposed to be. A good part of the book is devoted to half-boiled pseudo-scientific underpinnings, which might be interesting or amusing to some, but is not going to make you a better artist. Any approach that helps you to map the 3D reality to your 2D paper, through measuring, grids, construction lines, will teach you exactly the same. On top of that, this is only the start, as drawing is so much more than copying exactly what you see: you will need concepts like gesture, line quality and construction, which are not even touched by Edwards...

    Grinnikend door het leven...
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    Quote Originally Posted by rowe View Post
    2. I'd really like to hear how most of you capture your non-digital art. Right now I'm using my camera phone and as much light in the room as possible. I also tweak the levels a bit in software. The results (see my sketchbook) are often blurry and murky, so I could do with some tips to improve that. I'm borrowing a DSLR camera that I want to use, but not sure if there are any guides to setting up a good environment to take pictures? Perhaps a tripod would help.
    Get a scanner, ferchrissakes.

    If the work is too big to scan, use a good camera on a tripod, in natural daylight or with two flashes on the sides of the work.

    3. What do you guys use for figure poses? I have a bunch of bookmarks for reference photographs (like The Drawing Script), but I was looking into getting a manikin, and wondered if you had any reccomendations. The basic ones I see on Amazon don't seem to have accurate proportions and people talk about inflexibility or loose joints.
    Mannikins are a waste of time and money. Draw real people. Draw yourself in the mirror when no one else is available.

    4. Can you reccomend any resources, books or tips to improving line work? At the moment (see my sketchbook for examples) my lines are a nervous, scribbly rash and I'd like to improve on that. Is it a muscle thing? Or does learning to see better improve one's confidence with using and placing lines correctly?
    Anything by Loomis or Sheppard. Other than that, draw, draw, draw and then draw more. And read this.

    I plan to buy Drawing On The Right Side of the Brain
    Skip that one, it is useless.

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    Arenhaus, who's chris and why is it for his sake?

    lol.

    OP, what everyone else said.

    "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."
    -John Huston, Director
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    Quote Originally Posted by rowe View Post

    Thanks. Please do drop by my sketchbook and give me any tips and hints in general, I'm always reading this forum and trying to soak up knowledge about fundamentals of drawing. I must say it's quite hard at first because I don't really have much structure to my learning as I have no idea what's important and what isn't, but hopefully slogging through the books will help me to improve that.
    It's all important in the beginning...meaning just be engaged in the effort to learn by doing. It's sort of like saying, "I want to be able to write like Edgar Alan Poe. Should I learn the alphabet or study verb conjugation?". Start with the alphabet.

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