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February 6th, 2013 #1
Hendecagoner - An Educational Journey in Mathemagic Land
I had a sketchbook here a long time ago under the name Nealo, but the image links no longer work! I'll repost those drawings at some point. At the time, I did lots of bridgeman studies and drew a lot, but I feel like I never had a good mindset about drawing and had trouble absorbing some of the information. After a bit of a hiatus, I'm back to learning to draw as well as I can!
I've still been doing a good bit of drawing, but not much in the way of study. I've decided to start out by going through "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" and then moving onto studying one section at a time of bridgeman, this time focusing on really understanding the anatomy of one body part before moving on. In the past I have copied the studies, but not gotten much implicit knowledge out of it. Anyways, I'm open to suggestion and I hope you enjoy watching the journey unfold!
Alright, on to the drawing!
Last edited by Hendecagoner; February 14th, 2013 at 05:27 AM. Reason: Changed Thread Thumbnail
Hide this ad by registering as a memberFebruary 6th, 2013 #2
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
This is the first of the three "Pre-instrution Drawings" from "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain." This one dictates: "1. Draw a person from memory"
2. "Draw a self-portrait"
3. "Draw your hand"
After this I did some quick sketches and a second, more loosely interpreted self-portrait.
Sort of self-portrait, I like how this turned out, regardless of the fact that it doesn't look as much like me.
Just a quick sketch trying to do an angled view of a face
Another quick face sketch
Next came the vase drawing exercise (which I found very interesting). I didn't include the image here, but when the author described the left brain confusion that often occurs during this exercise, I found it incredibly similar to my own confusion during the process. Next comes the upside-down drawing section. I actually remember doing the picasso drawing upside down in middle school, but didn't fully appreciate the exercise at the time!
I found it somewhat difficult, but I definitely found myself engaged in "R-mode" and zoning out as I worked out the image.
The "rightsideup" Version
She recommends doing a second upside-down drawing, so I drew from her sketch of The German Horse and Rider. I found it more interesting than the first, and ultimately more successful a copy. Definitely found it easy to get my brain in the right place this time around!
Finally I did some good old fashion cartoony style ink drawing, (the stuff I feel most comfortable doing at the moment) for a sticker design for my sister's band.
A second idea.
Thanks for tuning in, I will be updating this sketchbook weekly as I go through my studies.
Last edited by Hendecagoner; February 6th, 2013 at 12:37 PM. Reason: Sorry for all of the edits! Wanted to have a first post so I could easily change the thread thumbnail
February 6th, 2013 #3
I just decided to hunker down and do another self-portrait with some new tools: Some Utrecht 8B - 2H pencils, a kneaded eraser, and a smudging tool. I've never used a smudging tool, and I found it somewhat difficult to use, but in some areas it seemed to add a lot. I can see how it could be a really powerful tool when used with mastery!
The proportions seem a little off, but overall I feel like I was pretty happy with the whole thing and it's definitely a departure from anything else I've drawn. I can't tell if I made the left cheek too big, or if it's a result of me cutting the neck off of the figure. I may have been slightly tilted, or raising one arm higher than the other, who knows! I still have a difficult time rendering the beard and hair. I didn't get into the neck because I just felt finished at that point and wanted to preserve the image as it was. This took me around an hour and a half.
Self Portrait done in 1.5 hours
A shot of the portrait in progress, showing some of the preliminary sketching.
Last edited by Hendecagoner; February 6th, 2013 at 12:38 PM. Reason: Moved to a new reply to free up top post.
February 7th, 2013 #4
Hey! Nice that you document so well your thoughts it'll be great for you to come back to the first page and feel that you've improved cause, you're improving, thing is that in my opinion there's a mentality that'll help a lot in speeding up the process: don't be worried on what the picture is gonna look like for now, just use grids to guide you on the face triangle and draw a lot of stuff that you don't like, that's infinitely more helpfull, each mistake you make, if you realise of it, it's another step into improving your confidence, cause that's one mistake you'll try to avoid and so on. So try to translate what you see. Bridgeman, Horgart , etc. they're all great and their stuff is a great guide but that's not enough. You have to interpret the information you see in your own way. If you do that you'll be able to jump into drawing with more confidence and that's really helpfull. Anyway,don't get discouraged and keep pushing yourself a bit everyday. It's not so important to study a ton daily, but to, indeed study and learn A BIT everyday. So keep it up mate, glad to see you try. Cheers!
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February 7th, 2013 #5
Good stuff so far. Keep pushing and remember to think as you are drawing, always ask yourself what worked and what didn't, what you can improve and what didn't work.
Also I'm curious why Bridgeman? I mean in my opinion he's good, but a bit tough to start off with. Have you considered taking a look at Hampton? (www.figuredrawing.info/) I found him immensely more useful since he helps you come up with a process for approaching each drawing.
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February 8th, 2013 #6
Thanks so much for your feedback and encouragement Suira and Dracken! I really agree with both of you. I think tools like Bridgeman and Hogarth need to be used in the context of your own learning process. As to your question Dracken, I have just been recommended Bridgeman so many times on CA in the past that I started studying him. I think ultimately you may be right.
I've had a bit of a struggle for the last couple of days, which I don't think is a bad thing necessarily. I tried drawing some things I don't like drawing much due to the difficulty and lack of familiarity (my cat), some anatomical drawings (noses), and another, much quicker, self-portrait as well as some drawings from my imagination. I'm really starting to think that there's something really significant to the Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain technique, as I have these last few drawings felt much different to me. I felt less "in the zone" and I think it's because I was more preoccupied and was thinking a little too analytically. That's the difficulty of trying to really understand the underlying anatomical forms: it sometimes feels like a bit of a left brain exercise.
To date, the work I've done out of "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" has been the most useful, enlightening, and rewarding. I think I will stick with that book for now, only working in shorter spurts on things like bridgeman or other books. I've also been told by a talented artist friend of mine that drawing contour lines to show 3D forms can be helpful for anatomy. I think that regarding this technique, I'm going to try it out when I start doing some more pen work. For the moment, I'm wanting to keep it simple, working from Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and then on other things in my free time.
I took a look at "rendering in pen" and found some of the exercises interesting, but I don't think I'm really ready to dive into something like that yet.
Here's the work I did in the last few days. Bear with me, it's a little less polished than my previous works!
Some sketches done while watching House Of Cards (an excellent series by the way!) The woman is from the show, the others are from memory or loosely based on either my reflection or a character from the show.
Some noses, including some Bridgeman anatomical nose drawings. I tried to scrunch my nose into some weird positions and try different facial angles. On some, I feel I got the gist, on others I feel I struggled
Some cat drawings! These were very difficult, but it was a rewarding exercise. I often find myself limited by my inability to render a certain subtle shade or pattern, especially in this case.
Whereas my most recent self-portrait looks almost exactly like me, this one looks almost nothing like me! It was done very quickly, and I felt somehow "detached" from the drawing process, lending to my theory that the Right Side of the Brain stuff is no joke.
Overall, a good learning experience. Despite my dissatisfaction with a lot of the drawings, I'm starting to notice some interesting patterns when drawing my face and noses, even if they're not apparent in these drawings particularly. Thanks so much for the support and feedback! It's very encouraging!
February 9th, 2013 #7
I was bling and now I see!
Tonight I worked through a bit more of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, a book I find increasingly fascinating and helpful! First, there was the "recalled childhood landscape" which I had a bit of a hard time remembering. The exercise was to try to recreate the type of landscape drawing I did as a child and notice what elements were included before it felt "finished." It inspired me to look through some old art to find an actual childhood landscape! It was really cool to look back on my childhood art. I plan to post more of it soon. I also found the old sketches from my old CA.org threads which was enlightening, and reminded me that I've made good progress in the past.
Not really very close to my old style, save for the people and the inclusion of the clouds
An actual drawing from my childhood! Oh I guess I sort of got the grass right too!
Next I did the "pure contour" exercises (of my left hand) which I really walked away from with a new respect. This is the exercise where you draw your hand without looking at the paper at all (in fact, facing the other way) for 5 minutes. I had done some of these in school and never understood why. Now I've realized how interesting the exercise is for one's brain. I really enjoyed all three of these, and really like the finished products as well. It was especially fun to try and figure out which sections were a recognizable part of the hand.
The three contour drawings, each done in 5 minutes, blind, of my left hand. I find them strange and beautiful!
Finally came the more in-depth part of the chapter, in which the "picture plane" was used to draw the hand again. First, you trace your hand through the transparent picture plane several times. You keep your favorite hand tracing, and using the picture plane dimensions, pencil in the main outlines using the picture plane and crosshair lines as guides. Next you use your actual hand as the model, and position it as close as you can to the hand drawn on the clear picture plane. This part was tough, because it required you to be fairly still, and by the end, I felt that my perspective had changed a bit. Here are the picture plane drawings, and the final pencil drawing.
A quick and easy exercise that emphasizes the artists viewpoint as being similar to the picture plane: a flat, 2D perspective from one specific viewpoint.
Here is the final hand drawing. The book put a lot of emphasis on keeping the eyes on the hand most of the time, glancing back periodically to check the drawing. There was also emphasis on the edges, which is where I started.
I learned some really interesting techniques during this exercise. The first being "priming" the drawing surface by rubbing it with graphite and then blending it into a flat uniform grey. This allowed me not only to erase the background and accentuate the hand figure, and maybe more importantly, I was able to use the eraser to create subtle highlights (something I've struggled with before). There were some challenges, but I'm happy with the results ultimately and even more happy that I learned some cool techniques in the process.
I still struggle with getting smooth value gradients on things like shadows, but I think I'm making some good strides!
Tomorrow (or in the next couple of days) I move on to exercises regarding empty space! Tune in soon! Thanks for following!
February 9th, 2013 #8
I sat down to do another self portrait, this time shading the paper a bit first to allow for highlights when erasing. I'm really happy with the result! It doesn't really look as much like me as the one a couple of posts ago, but the style is very different, and the values are very different as well. Ultimately I'm happiest when I learn something from the experience.
One thing I learned from this one is not to overwork it! I definitely fell victim to that and had a harder and harder time controlling values. I also had some success with the blending tool and was able to use it to achieve some cool shading effects. It took me longer than before to get the initial face shape and position of features. I think I'm going to need to learn a bit more about the positioning and proportions of the face soon, as I am a huge fan of doing self-portraits and portraits in general! Being able to sketch out the general position of features quickly and more accurately would be infinitely helpful to me!
I feel that sometimes shading and value gets compromised from too much erasing when realizing I've positioned things incorrectly. There was a lot of that on this drawing.
The self portrait, using a base grey shade and erasing around the portrait.
P.S. sorry for the crappy lighting on these pictures! I need to get a good scanner. In the meantime I've been using my phone camera
February 11th, 2013 #9
Busy day = quick sketches!
So today I didn't have time to dive into anything deep, but I decided to do some quick sketches. For most, I used references from google images and just tried to keep the sketches short. The idea here was to try and see how much of the understanding of facial shading and positioning would come through and help these look realistic. I also wanted to practice some of the techniques for drawing from life I've been learning from DOTRSOTB (Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, I'm gonna start using this acronym now!). I am starting to really gain an understanding for where features are located and what quick details from a face can be blocked out to help it look "real".
There's still a long way to go, and I must say I'm surprisingly excited to take on the next DOTRSOTB exercise: drawing a chair with a focus on negative space and "choosing a unit." The focus on negative space helps make the positive forms more accurate without allowing the left brain to interfere and say "this should look like x". The "choosing a unit" thing is something I realize I've been needing, as a lot of my drawings have been too big for the space I've set out for them! The technique is to pick something to serve as the unit of reference for the entire drawing. It's usually something that can be measured in terms of how many times it fits in your decided format. Something that is 1/4th the height of the format is great whereas something that is 1/20th the size of the format is quite hard to measure without a more precise tool!
Very excited for that stuff! In the meantime, the sketches:
These are from imagination, and exercise in trying to position the face without the aid of a reference
All from internet references. The lower right is the last one, and I think the most successful. I'm starting to realize my preference for a softer, worn pencil edge for sketching. The tree branch was difficult, and I forgot to write a time, but it ended up being about 5 minutes.
Another internet reference. Pretty happy with the likeness given the time!
Well, it's a short update, but I'm glad I still managed to draw something today! More soon!
February 11th, 2013 #10
Hey Hende, tnx for stopping by my sketchbook, you had some improvement already, I didn't study Bridgman yet but I would recommend Michael Hampton figure drawing if you want something more "easy" to begin with anatomy, you said you have problems just copying and don't understanding what is going on, what I would suggest is that you copy, try to understand, close your book, find some good pictures with the subject your studied (arms or faces for example) and then apply what you learned, open your book and compare what you did wrong, repeat until exhaustion , I really hope my english is clear enough, I'll be waiting for more updates, good luck.
February 14th, 2013 #11
Wow! Tonight I decided I wanted to try some painting. I only had watercolors, but with some slightly improved drawing and "seeing" skills I felt like I might be able to do something really cool. I learned so much from the experience. I've done a little watercolor in the past, but I learned so much about how to work with it. I found myself experimenting with new techniques and finding interesting ways to fix errors. Ultimately, I'm really happy with the result. The colors came out better than expected, the likeness was more than I hoped for, and it all happened on a whim.
I'm really interested in trying Acrylic or Oil soon, because I find watercolor especially difficult. That said, I really enjoy it and plan on continuing to work with it as well. Some interesting techniques I discovered:
- Wetting an area and then dabbing it with a paper towel almost acted like an "eraser", allowing me to repaint that area, even when the color was very dark.
- Dabbing with the brush when it had some color and a decent amount of water would often reseult in a kind of stippled fade that was nice when I was trying to do more of a soft edge
- Putting some white on a dry brush and kind of tapping an area was good for highlights. For a stronger highlight, I'd use a little water.
- Directional strokes with a dark color, lots of water, and a big brush created a sort of fabric effect with darker edges and a highlighted center
- Using a clean brush with clean water was often a good way to blend a hard edge, but was dangerous because an errant drip could have a terrible effect on a nearby area
- I took to heart some things I read recently on CA about soft and hard edges, and really tried to be true to the look of the top of my head and the fact that it has almost no definition near the top since it's so dark it blends in with the background.
I'd really like to learn more watercolor technique because I can start to see the power in it, but I'm also excited to try oil and acrylic, because I had the easiest time in areas where bolder, less watery strokes were used.
It's not a masterpiece, but I'm proud of it considering I don't really know what I'm doing! If anyone has recommendations for watercolor books or painting books, or just general advice, I'd be very grateful!
Another self portrait, done spontaneously in watercolor. A cool learning experience.
I'm hoping tomorrow to turn back to DOTRSOTB for the chair drawing exercise. More soon!
February 14th, 2013 #12
Hi, thanks for visiting my sketchbook. I like the portrait in post 8, got some nice shading going on. I think a good resource for drawing heads is, Burne Hogarth, drawing the human head. It sets out the rules and proportions really clearly. Good luck with the studies and keep posting new stuff.
February 14th, 2013 #13
I never used watercolors so not much to say about that, about the painting, watch out for those "symbols" that Betty Edwards talks a lot, the eyes for example look really flat, it's really hard but try to think about form in a 3D space.Waiting for more!