Sean's Sketchbook

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  1. #1
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    Sean's Sketchbook

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    Hello everyone! I’ve been lurking these forums for a while, and finally mustered up the courage to share some of my sketches. Any and all criticisms/critiques would be extremely helpful. To provide some context, I’ve always loved drawing since I was little. However, I never took any classes and was discouraged at the lack of progress I was making. In hindsight, I think a lot of this stems from the fact that I was utilizing a “cartoony” style (lots of symbol drawing, hard and overly geometric contour lines, lack of value & tone, etc). There are a lot of bad habits I’m struggling to shed, so it’s a bit of a challenge.

    After getting a B.A. in an unrelated field and being unhappy with where it was leading, I’m now determined to try and change my path. Since I work full time, I’m only enrolled in one evening class at the moment. However, I’ll soon be taking several continuing education courses at Otis. I hope that with the combination of these classes and consistently keeping up a steady flow of drawing in my spare time, I might even be able to apply to art school within a couple of years.

    Here is a quick sketch I did at the start of the Introduction to Drawing course to give an idea of where I’m coming from:
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    Value/tone exercise with charcoal:
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    This was a two-point perspective assignment. Sorry for the low contrast. I think one of biggest things I’m struggling with is knowing when to use darker and lighter tones, even for simple line drawings like this.
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    Here are some drawings I’ve recently attempted outside of the class (does anyone know the best way to prevent smudging? I’ve put a paper towel under my hand, wore a glove, tried adding in darker tones from left to right…):
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    Something is definitely off about the girl's face. Is it the proportion of her features? I also feel like her face looks too smooth/flat, like her facial bone structure needs more definition.


    I’m taking an Introduction to Painting class in a couple of weeks, but here are some quick sketches I did outside and then tried mixing with watercolor:
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    This is a silly oil painting I made as a gift for someone last December. It was my first try at oil painting, so I was somewhat happy with it. I didn’t have a small enough brush for details, so you can definitely see where I struggled. I wasn't too pleased with the right dog's features:
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    That’s all I have for now. If anyone could suggest any specific areas of improvement, I would really appreciate it. I consider myself a blank slate at this point and want to have a firm grasp of the fundamentals. I’ll continue to update this thread with some progress as my new classes start.


    Last edited by shoddysean; August 26th, 2014 at 06:06 PM.
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  3. #2
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    Your lines look strong and confident, which is good to see! I think the main area for improvement at the moment is your use of tone, which you mentioned already. The portrait of the girl, where you said something looks off about her face; I think it's mainly that there needs to be more contrast in light and dark to give more structure to her face. I'm really liking your work so far though, and you seem really motivated too. Keep it up!

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  5. #3
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    Hunchdebunch: Thank you! I will definitely try to focus on improving the tone. I think I'm being too reliant on blending, which is leading to a muddied and messy look. I'll try adding darker shades and hopefully that will help things look a little less flat.

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  6. #4
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    Hey, I have to say your story resonates a bit with me, haha, the whole, liked drawing, but "real life" and "sensible things" got in the way. I do enjoy my work now, just that I can't help think I've neglected one of my true loves... I should also maybe take a class or something... :/

    Anyway! I totally understand wrt the cartoony drawing, all I used to see was outlines and it is hard to change that now. But I think you're doing very well, I really like the casual people sketches and I think you've got good skill in capturing faces because they look real good!

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  8. #5
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    tortfuzz: Thank you, it's nice to know someone understands where I'm coming from!

    Here's just one portrait sketch I tried today. I made a conscious effort to try and use more tone, but I think I sacrificed clean lines because of it. It looks fuzzier than I would have liked. Also struggled a bit with the proportions of his face due to the angle. Since his chin is turned upward, I think his face should actually be more squat. One step at a time...

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  9. #6
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    Some more portrait studies:

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  10. #7
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    These are some gesture/life drawings so far from my class:

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