Introduction & Goals
I'm a 22 year old who recently graduated from architecture and moved to NYC. Currently I'm working as an architectural visualizer (doing 3d renderings) but wish to move into the entertainment industry. I have been drawing consistently for just over a year now and hope to continue drawing until the day I die.
I am aiming to accomplish several goals with this sketchbook:
1. Break out of my plateaus and comfort zone - I tend to doodle a lot, hopefully by putting my drawings in the public eye it will put pressure on me to complete more pieces with maximum effort.
2. Discuss the learning process with like minded individuals. I will try to post as much as possible about what goes on in my head when I'm drawing because I feel like the mental game is just as important in art as the physical act of drawing.
3. Tackle social anxiety issues - It's quite telling when I have a 360 page sketchbook pdf of last year's art but I have only shown one person because I'm too afraid of negative judgement. Despite living in NYC and attending a couple life drawing sessions I have yet to make an art friend that I can share ideas with. Iv'e never been one to initiate, so hopefully this can be a small step in the right direction. If anyone is in the NYC area and would like to meet up, feel free to pm me.
From the Beginning
Here is a link to last year's sketchbook: https://www.dropbox.com/s/dgmqzwdzky...sketchbook.pdf.
I tried to draw everyday, may have missed a few but stayed consistent for the most part. It includes both referenced material and imagination pieces, so if it looks familiar then it is probably referenced (which a lot of the anime section is). It's pretty embarrassing but It needs to be posted because its where I started and is part of the learning process.
I really don't know where I want to go with my art yet, I think working as a 2d artist would be too stressful for me but at the same time its something that I really enjoy. If it makes any sense, I want to get as good as possible for the sake of getting good, but not for a job. I'd be happy working as 3d artist in the entertainment industry with enough time & energy to spare for personal projects.
I'm going to make an extra long first post just to get some thoughts out so that I can look back and reflect on what worked and what didn't and how to proceed in the future.
These first entries are from my 2013 sketchbook which I attached in the first post. If you want to have a laugh or are feeling down, go take a look.
1st drawing after deciding to take art seriously:
I did loomis studies as most suggested:
As well as bridgman:
but it wasn't exactly helpful for me when trying to draw from imagination:
For some reason, I was having an incredibly difficult time translating strict construction methods into my more imaginative pieces. Then I discovered the way animators drew and admired the way they were able to communicate through simplified shapes and forms.
I found this drawing by rembrandt:
and this generic stock vector:
These are both drawn very simply but communicate very well which is a skill that I want to work on.
Fast Forwarding to this year, I want to try and complete more pieces. The biggest weakness of mine is that I tend to get very lazy with polishing pieces and spend a lot of time doodling around.
Thanks for the reply Vulgar. I'll definitely work hard to achieve my goals!
Some more random scribbles and a longer piece that I have been working on for a friend's birthday. I also need to look at references more, I feel like I'm repeating certain shapes and gestures that are within my comfort zone.
Having an incredible difficult time finishing... so many inconsistencies and wonky moments reveal themselves when I enlarge the thumbnail, I guess that's the point of using reference. I could have pushed the drunken version much further by making the character a bit more tipsy and with a dumber expression, need to exaggerate the gesture next time.
Also have a problem of going OCD mode and erasing/redrawing lines making the process very unenjoyable. With gestures I'm able to let loose and hardly worrying about perfecting it. For now I am going to stop worrying so much and just try to enjoy the process. Everything else should fix itself with mileage and deliberate practice/study.
Some random scribble gesture cloud followed by some reference.
Still very raw and unrefined, I definitely need to do some slower studies (Not COPIES like those useless bridgeman arms up top)
Going to write down my 3 biggest issues:
1. head to body connection, not only physically but expression as well, need to work on making everything seem like a cohesive whole
2. Upper body to lower body connection ~ sometimes each seem to be doing their own thing
3. Developing a better sense of foreshortening
I'm going to try and work in some animations in order to study gesture. I find myself making up random stuff on the spot and its such a cop out, I need to practice pre-planning and executing. With animation at least I have to try to stay consistent for a couple of drawings. Any advice from actual animators would greatly be appreciated, the problem I'm having most is despite some knowledge of perspective and some idea of how to move the body through space, my brain is overloading trying to think of what each individual body part is doing and where it is located...
is the foot turned 10.235734 degrees from the viewer? how far back is it (1 inches, 5 inches, a foot?) how is it traveling in space? and doing this same process for each part of the body is giving me a huge head ache. It probably means Im still thinking of the body as individual units rather than a whole and that is why I am having so much trouble.
Sorry for the terrible quality, I will get a scanner soon.
I started doing some drawings on an actual sketchbook, since it kind of sucks being confined to my computer all the time. I am going to try to develop some confidence with non-digital.
-some drawings from Grand Central Station and
-some random figures from imagination
all thumbnailed first in physical sketchbook and traced over
Took some of the thumbs and added some slight refinements but they could all probably be taken another 10 levels higher. In addition to general gestures, I think I should work on understanding some key details (not copy but find some generic references and really focus on it for a couple of drawings) eg. making best hands I possibly can. Hopefully I can work my way through and target various things including design studies to build more versatility.
Going to try to do more "scenario visualizations"/ storyboards to force me into uncomfortable situations. Still having trouble with angles in 3- dimensional space so that's what I'm going to focus on right now.
Was going to continue with the random "scenario visualizations" with a chase scene. Wasn't really feeling it so I'm just going to post some random developments. Having a hard time keeping proportion when the full body isn't within the frame so I'm going to focus on head/hand compositions.
Hello Disciple, Welcome to CA. You are in the right place, mentally and virtually. Most young artists would be focusing on copying someone else's work and going around in circles, you chose to do the tough things such as the fundamentals and posting on this form .
From what I see, you want to tackle the basics but are afraid of making messy drawings; your sketches all look neat and clean whether digital or traditional. While there is nothing wrong with that mentality, it's stopping you from making progress right now. Sketch books are not meant to be pretty and neat(well some people's sketch books are, but they're the exception to the rule). Sketch books are for learning and experimenting. I suggest you try to go out of your comfort zone, even if you do anatomy studies and they look off...that's ok, infact its much better than repeating the things you're good at.
I like the muscle studies you did in the beginning, that's the sort of things you should concentrate on. Also gestures, long poses and short poses. I would strongly recommend the Spartan Camp as you learn from what you and others draw. It is a weekly gesture group with references and resources.
ps; and one advice from an ex-fanartist ....don't do fanart, right now it's detrimental to your art progress. Do the basics, purely studies and memory/imagination drawings from your studies. You can do fanart as a hobby when you have already grasped the fundamentals.
Last edited by - nat -; March 15th, 2014 at 03:03 AM.
Thanks so much for the comments Nat. I really appreciate your critiques and hope to get more of your thoughts with what I'm about to say below.
I did use to do anatomy studies and it used to be my primary focus especially when starting off. I am posting various studies that I did from last year below, you can find more of the type of stuff I was studying in the download link in the first post.
But I ran into several problems when trying to draw from imagination. Trying to hold onto anatomical details while trying to maintain the visual intent of what I originally had in my head lead to my brain overloading. As soon as I touch pencil to paper the image really weakens with each passing second. So during the gestural phase I am trying to eliminate all muscle details and simply trying to capture my first impressions which is usually the head, hands and feet (the endpoints). Right now I have tried to simplify everything back down to boxes, cylinders, and spheres (along with caricatured variations). I put most of the deeper anatomy stuff on hold until I get a firm handle on being able to express any idea that I have in my brain visually.
The type of skill that I am trying to develop is this, I should be able to draw someone on the telephone, cooking, teaching, holding hands, jumping, punching, kicking, etc... The only method that I have found that works for me is drawing stupidly simple and almost diagramatically, like you find on signage (or Nichijou style). Anatomy definitely helps when you are trying to design a compelling figure but for me its become a road block when trying to express very simple actions. Even the posemaniacs stuff was too much detail for me. For now I trying for a more rhythmic and intuitive form of visual expression. My studies basically consist of this level of detail:
This style of simplification has been infinitely more helpful in memorizing. I am focusing solely on basic forms and concept of Overlap which has been the biggest struggle for me. The ability to see through the form and omit or hide specific pieces of the figure depending on perspective.
I know its important to draw from reference or else you will make the same mistakes over and over again but I missed out on my childhood drawing days. I got a C in middle school art and was convinced I was untalented so never picked up a pencil to draw again until recently which was after college graduation. I never developed the imaginative and creative side so I want to work on that a little bit before switching back to more technical studies.
Once again I really appreciate your comments and hope I am not getting too defensive. Also don't worry the fanart was only for a friend's birthday
Not at all, on the contrary...I do see your reasoning . I'm glad you are honest about what makes you worried art-wise. Most artists, amateurs and professionals often fall in dark thoughts simply because they bite more than they can chew. I have that very same problem, and I hate it. By problem, I mean when you want to do everything at once and you want to get very good at imagination and observational drawings, and then you get frustrated and not do anything at all.
What I learned from the pros here is doing everything in small doses (also Spartan camp, they have a special study every week- just one body part per week). For example hands are painful to draw, but to know how to draw them you need to practice for years...I kid you not. The thing about references is mainly about rewiring the brain, when someone is used to proportions and poses of anime for example, they keep channeling them and it looks strange and mostly wrong (same face syndrome). Real life references and anatomy makes artwork look natural. The sooner you start, the better it is.
But in the end drawing cylinders and boxes is also excellent, it's part of teaching your eye to tell different planes and 3d forms. And if simplification works with you, keep doing it consistently until you're ready to move on.
And by the way.....schools and grading system are horrible...I had the same experience, except at the time I know that my teacher failed in art so her opinion was obsolete. It was just a class in which the teacher's pet would get the best grades, not actual talent. And don't worry about age and past experience, it's about how much you draw from now on and how much effort you put in this sketch book. A legendary member of this forum (Algenpfleger) used to draw 6-8 hours a day. And age doesn't really matter
Last edited by - nat -; March 15th, 2014 at 03:47 PM.
Thanks Nat for your intelligent comments and insight. It was helpful and I will try to add in more anatomical studies slowly so I don't run into the complexity overload problem.
More box and cylinder people, need to remind myself to avoid construction during the gesture and ideation phase, even that remains a distraction from the idea, focus on angles and action. Going to try to breakdown learning into phases, gestures and first impression (need to train visual memory here), volume pass (cubes and cylinders), detail pass (anatomical detail and design elements).
Didn't have enough energy today to do some imagination stuff so just tried to correct some pen mistakes. Also might as well make an animation out of the studies if I'm going to focus on sequential gestures.
Have a question for people who are experienced in drawing figures from imagination, are you able to make up poses by "feeling" them out and taking mental notes? I want to focus on pre-visualizing, rather than drawing random limbs in weird perspective, or defaulting to generic views.
I really like the poses studies you have done.
And the Zbrush copy, I like how you defined the planes of the face.
The last imagination poses are looking good too.
Why don't you try pushing one of your poses?, as in try to turn it into a character illustration for example.
Week of frustration, switching back to digital gestures, since I was drawing scared with the pen and cramping up.
1. Tried to do one more level of refinement but uncovered tons of problems in the process. I think the most immediate problem I need to solve is the skew, made painfully obvious after flipping the canvas.
2. lighting, have no idea what I'm doing with shading, just guessing at what I think looks right.
3. Anatomy and detailing always needs work
4.feels like I'm missing out critical details that made the thumbnail and gesture more successful than the more refined pieces. Need to stop getting lazy during the detailing.
Still struggling with translating the gestures and initial sketch into something more defined. Gotta punch through this wall, I'll try to work harder tomorrow and next week.
I think it might be beneficial for me to do some copies of other artwork to see how more experienced artists solved similar problems.
-Pre-visualization abilities are still pretty weak, I want to be able to know exactly what I'm drawing before I start, not problem solve in the middle of the drawing. I know most artists do this to some degree but I think its better to conciously pre-plan and execute what you had in mind.