Why does it look like a cartoon? Mechanical drafter needs drawing instructions

# Thread: Why does it look like a cartoon? Mechanical drafter needs drawing instructions

1. Registered User Level 1 Gladiator: Andabatae
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## Why does it look like a cartoon? Mechanical drafter needs drawing instructions

I am a beginner, and I can't get my teacher to answer my questions, I don't think I'm asking them correctly, so I'll try and explain and hope someone understands. I have 2 problems, shading, coloring, adding tonal value (pretty much when I color in the drawing) and 2) my drawings always look like cartoons. I think the 2 problems are related.

From what I understand, cartoonish drawing has bold black outlines and are flat, my drawings don't have outlines, as we are into shading, and adding value, but they still look like cartoons. The edges of my subjects are never sharp they are always thick blobs.

I think a lot of it has to do with the shading and adding value; I can always see the individual scratch marks, the color in an area never looks smooth or like one piece, when I look at realistic drawings, or even comic books, I can't pick out individual lines; I see the changes in value of the colors, but each shade looks like one complete piece. I know about hatching, cross hatching, and circulism, but my drawing teacher is too right brain in her instructions, she just says do this (scribbles her pencil) and feel it out. I need to know the actual technique.

When I started drafting the professor tells you, hold the pencil like this, put it on the paper at this angle, move left to right, roll the pencil like this, use this much pressure, sharpen the edge to this point. I need that kind of thorough instruction, not just use some cross hatching on the clothes, then circulism on the skin, and that should work.

Thanks, hope someone can help.

2. It's pretty much impossible to answer a question like this without seeing specific examples. You should post some work in the Critique Center section.

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4. Registered User Level 1 Gladiator: Andabatae
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I don't have access to a scanner, but can someone tell me very specifically how how you shade with hatching, cross hatching, and circulism, like not just do "that" but what is doing that? How do you hold the pencil, move it, what point should be on, how do you form the shape of the value?

5. Oh, you're looking for tutorials.

6. Registered User Level 1 Gladiator: Andabatae
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yes, but really thorough ones, that don't just point out techniques but instruct how to do them. Am I posting in the wrong area?

7. Post your work so we can know your problem. Got a camera? Most people do on their phones, these days.

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9. Originally Posted by RebelArch
what point should be on
the one with the graphite sticking out.

10. If you're looking for step-by-step instructions on How to Draw a Line from Point A to Point B, I don't think anyone can really teach you that... You have to try drawing lines and marks yourself until you can make them go where you want.

Otherwise it's a bit like trying to explain how to catch a ball in step-by-step detail. The only way to learn how to catch a ball is to try catching balls until you can.

The best I can suggest is to look closely at examples of the types of lines you want to make and try to copy them? Maybe even trace them the first time, and then try drawing them freehand?

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12. Find something else to do. Seriously. The sooner the better.

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14. Originally Posted by RebelArch
I need that kind of thorough instruction, not just use some cross hatching on the clothes, then circulism on the skin, and that should work.
Try picking up "Rendering in Pen and Ink" by Arthur Guptill. Pens are a little frustrating to work with for beginners, but at least you don't have to agonize about how to sharpen them. It has exercises for you to do in pen. He also has a book on rendering in pencil, but as I have not read it I can't really recommend it. Maybe someone else can.

Otherwise, art is very freeform compared to drafting and you are going to have to become a lot more comfortable with experimentation and improvisation. There are literally thousands of destinations that you can get to, and you're standing at the crossroads accosting strangers and asking "I don't know where I'm going. Please give me specific instructions on how to get there." The responses you get are not going to be useful. If you don't think you can do that, then you will probably not enjoy art very much.

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16. Originally Posted by vineris
Try picking up "Rendering in Pen and Ink" by Arthur Guptill.
no way i thought i was the only one! i love them funky 70s interiors and all the letraset dudes in flares. wow chicka wow wow!

17. Nothing personal, but I think if you're asking specific questions about your own work but you can't bother to put up examples of it then you will send a very strong message to people that you probably won't really bother taking in any advice they will give you either, useful or otherwise.

It's just common sense and a matter of courtesy, if you're asking people for advice make it as easy as you can for them to give you that advice!
One current drawing of you will give people more accurate information than a whole essay you could write about it.

And the ball-catching metaphor by QueenGwenevere is also pretty apt.

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19. Registered User Level 1 Gladiator: Andabatae
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It's a fallacy that practice makes perfect, it has to be correct practice, if you practice crap you will just get more efficient at doing crap. I could definitely explain how and why you should catch a baseball the way you do. Not nit picking, with your example, but showing that anything has a process. I'm not asking for my work to be critiqued b/c I don't know enough, that it would even matter. I'm pointing out that I have not been able to find the instruction I need and asking if anyone knows where I can find thorough instructions, or if they themselves can explain to me some basic ways of doing things. Reading shade here, highlight here, use cross hatching, means nothing to me.

I'm attaching my assignments anyway, maybe I'm not explaining it right, but when I fill in value I can see the individual lines. When I look at a drawing that looks realistic and accurate, the value looks like one mass. How is that done?

20. You need alot more than a tutorial.

And I'm failing to see the cartooniness.

21. Originally Posted by RebelArch
It's a fallacy that practice makes perfect, it has to be correct practice, if you practice crap you will just get more efficient at doing crap. I could definitely explain how and why you should catch a baseball the way you do.
Uh, no. You can explain how to catch a ball till you're blue in the face and diagram the physics of ball-catching in exquisite detail, sure, BUT - someone trying to learn how to catch a ball won't be able to do so based purely on your explanation. Not even with diagrams. Not even with a whole library of books on the subject. They NEED to try doing it themselves, and they WILL need to try several times before they get the hang of it.

Same with drawing. There IS a physical component, which can only be mastered through hands-on practice. Part of learning to draw is developing eye-hand coordination and control of the medium, which is done by simply drawing a lot until you get a feel for it.

As for building up smooth gradients, there are myriad ways to do that, depending on what medium you're using. Some media lends itself to smooth gradients better than other media (for instance, a large soft graphite stick or large piece of charcoal will be easier to do smooth shading with than a sharp, hard pencil.) You can try different media to start with. Or try using lighter, smaller strokes to build up tone gradually instead of grinding it on in big strokes like you're doing currently. Or if you're hatching, again, use small light strokes and build up gradually.

And yes, you'll need a certain amount of sheer physical practice to get the hang of making light, controlled strokes in any given medium. And you'll need a certain amount of practical experience to know when a tone is built up enough. And also you'll need a lot of practical experience to learn to observe and set down values accurately, which at the moment is probably your biggest issue.

Actually, you know what - forget about worrying about smooth shading for now. You need to work on fundamental observation skills first. At the moment everything looks "cartoony" not because the shading is rough, but because it's drawn all wonky, and none of the shadow areas are the right shape or value, nor are the shapes that you're trying to shade the right shape. Get all the shapes and forms and relative values right, and your drawings will look more realistic even if you use flat, ungradated value shapes.

And yes, observation is a matter of sheer practice for the most part.

Last edited by QueenGwenevere; February 5th, 2013 at 10:53 PM.

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23. Registered User Level 1 Gladiator: Andabatae
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I'm not saying you don't need to draw, but you need to know how you should be doing it to get anywhere. You can play catch everyday but if you don't know to catch the ball in the web not the palm, position your mitt parallel to the ground when the ball is above your waist, position it perpendicular to the ground when below the waist, watch the laces to see where the ball is moving to (if the laces are trailing down so is the ball, to the right so is the ball, ect.), and move your feet and knees to get to the ball, all you're doing is doing it poorly more comfortably.

"try using lighter, smaller strokes to build up tone gradually instead of grinding it on in big strokes like you're doing currently" thank you, this is more what I'm looking for.

I tried pointing out in my first post and title, I'm a left brain person. I have professors that use 250 slides per class to draw a wall. They thoroughly teach students how to accurately and uniformly draw exactly what they see, you would never pick out who drew what plans. It doesn't sound sexy or interesting, but it's impressive that you can teach 30 different people to accurately draw the exact same plan, that can all be used to build 30 identical copies. I don't understand why I can't find thorough instructions like that? I thought it was just my teacher and the text books she chooses.

24. ADDENDUM: A suggested exercise for learning to control values in your medium of choice:

Try creating simple value scales. Draw, say, seven or nine squares starting from black and going to white, with equal steps in value between the squares. So the middle square should be a shade of gray exactly midway between black and white, and the other squares should represent shades of gray stepped equally between black and middle-gray and between white and middle-gray.

This WILL be hard, and you'll probably have to repeat it many times. But it's great practice for value control, and for observing values more accurately.

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26. I suspected the problem was in the drawing when I check this out yesterday. Your issue isn't

I just scrolled quickly through these, they probably have what you need, which is what everyone
else is talking about. Forget shading for a while, concentrate on the drawing.

Maybe do some of these too.

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28. Originally Posted by RebelArch
I tried pointing out in my first post and title, I'm a left brain person. I have professors that use 250 slides per class to draw a wall. They thoroughly teach students how to accurately and uniformly draw exactly what they see, you would never pick out who drew what plans. It doesn't sound sexy or interesting, but it's impressive that you can teach 30 different people to accurately draw the exact same plan, that can all be used to build 30 identical copies. I don't understand why I can't find thorough instructions like that? I thought it was just my teacher and the text books she chooses.
RebelArch, where are you located? You should find an atelier, preferably one that teaches using Bargue plates and sight-sizing. It sounds like that would be right up your alley. You can find a list here: http://www.artrenewal.org/pages/ateliers.php

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30. Originally Posted by Elwell
RebelArch, where are you located? You should find an atelier, preferably one that teaches using Bargue plates and sight-sizing. It sounds like that would be right up your alley. You can find a list here: http://www.artrenewal.org/pages/ateliers.php
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