1. Myrmidon
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At this point, I am really just getting a feel for drawing those boxes. I have in fact deliberately tried to keep the parallel lines parallel instead of having them converge on vanishing points, because I have noticed that this is in itself a skill I lack. I struggle mightily to draw two lines that are neatly parallel to each other. Also, I struggle even more to draw two squares or rectangles that are exactly the same size and shape (as they should be if I draw a box without converging lines). So I am now first trying to get that right. I think a lot of this is going to boil down to lots of practice.

In the meantime, thanks for all the input.

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4. You can easily practice parallel lines by just drawing lines next to each other
-Or getting into just section out pillars of for example old Greek architecture and just make them square?

Regardless, it's exciting to see your progress.
Personally, I agree with Eezacque's way of practicing the squares and spent most of my day with basically that exact procedure, just with trying to fit cylinders into the cubes instead...
I think it's not that bad of a start, just make sure to make some boxes with rulers too so you don't develop bad art habits... If you want to do the floating cubes in random positions, try first doing them with the help of 2-point perspective lines. Then practice 2point for a while before jumping to 3point?

Also, if you want to make random floating cubes, maybe get a real cube you can arrange in various angles and practice the real thing a bit just for kicks and lols?

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6. Myrmidon
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A few quick scribbles before I once again had to go attend to other matters. Some more boxes in the 250 boxes thing:

I followed Trixtar's advice and did some in simple 1 and 2-point perspective, but soon abandoned the idea and, for the moment, returned to perspective-less boxes. Or at least, so I tried! Still have a mighty struggle to get opposite sides have the same size and shape. I also notice that I often get my 90 degree angles completely and utterly wrong: they look fine when I draw them, but once the box is done, it's all wonky. Same with parallel lines. On a scrap piece of paper I confirmed that I have no problem drawing 90 degree angles and parallel lines as such; it's when I do them in a box that they go all wrong. This happens particularly when I turn the paper into an unusual angle; II think I tend to look at the sides of the paper as a guide for horizontals and verticals, and with paper turned, that won't work!

For all these reasons, I am very enthusiastic about the box exercises: they really diagnose all manner of stuff I wasn't aware of, and they are forcing me to look and think in new ways. I don't foresee that I'll get them remotely right within 250 boxes. I'll likely draw far more than that.

Another two analyses of photos:

Not sure whether I am getting anywhere with these, but here too, I am forced to look and think in new ways. I notice that I struggle to work out whether a figure is remotely in proportion when the limbs are twisted. One more thing to pay careful attention to.

Have to get to work; gotta run.

7. Originally Posted by brianworx
Not sure whether I am getting anywhere with these, but here too, I am forced to look and think in new ways. I notice that I struggle to work out whether a figure is remotely in proportion when the limbs are twisted. One more thing to pay careful attention to.
The legs and ribcage are too long. I suggest you study http://www.proko.com/human-figure-pr...ium-unit-hale/ for another way to tackle proportions.
Last edited by eezacque; June 20th, 2018 at 10:36 AM. Reason: fixed tag

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9. Myrmidon
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Originally Posted by eezacque
The legs and ribcage are too long. I suggest you study http://www.proko.com/human-figure-pr...ium-unit-hale/ for another way to tackle proportions.
Thanks, that will be of some use. I kind of struggle to measure proportions when the body is not in a neutral, standing position, and it helps to have a unit to use on individual limbs and stuff. Of course, in the Hale system it presupposes that I drew the cranium correctly to begin with! :-)

10. Myrmidon
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More boxes. As with the previous bunch, I tried to draw them perspective-less, just trying to get near and far planes the same size. And once again failed with most of them. Some have improved a bit, I think, but many are still so far off I might as well have drawn two independent rectangles. I see I still struggle to draw 90 degree angles too. Well, maybe in another few hundred boxes it will improve. I do notice that I am increasingly aware of what kind of things I have to pay attention to while drawing them:

Some organic shapes. These I find much easier because they don't require the exactitude of the boxes:

And more figure analysis from photos. I followed eezacque's suggestion and studied the video on Hale's proportional system, and tried to apply it. Not sure I had much success; they all still look out of proportion to me, but it is difficult to say when figures are bent in strange angles:

I also don't quite understand Proko's video. More specifically, his explanation of how to use Hale's boxes to foreshorten. The problem is, I don't understand how to draw square-based boxes in perspective like this (still from the video):

Length 2 obviously must be less than length 1 in the image above, because it is a square seen in perspective. But how much shorter? How do I know how long to make it? I ran into the same problem with Loomis' flat figure in perspective, and I cannot find a book or website that explains it; Loomis and Proko makes it look logical and easy, but if I draw it I get it all wrong, partly because I can't work out what it is I am supposed to be drawing or aiming for.

Perhaps further study and practice will resolve this too...

11. Originally Posted by brianworx
Some organic shapes. These I find much easier because they don't require the exactitude of the boxes:
Your ellipses are also a lot sloppier!

And more figure analysis from photos. I followed eezacque's suggestion and studied the video on Hale's proportional system, and tried to apply it. Not sure I had much success; they all still look out of proportion to me, but it is difficult to say when figures are bent in strange angles:
You may want to check whether the hip joint is halfway the figure, which is a quick way to check whether your figure makes sense. Of the standing figure, the legs are too short, of the figure bending over, the legs are too long.

I also don't quite understand Proko's video. More specifically, his explanation of how to use Hale's boxes to foreshorten. The problem is, I don't understand how to draw square-based boxes in perspective like this (still from the video):
You need to eyeball it. This is where the applicability of formal perspective ends.

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13. Myrmidon
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Originally Posted by eezacque
Your ellipses are also a lot sloppier!
Still working on those - they are more difficult than straight lines because there isn't any "careful" way to do them! Nevertheless, I find this exercise far easier when it comes to visualizing stuff.

You may want to check whether the hip joint is halfway the figure, which is a quick way to check whether your figure makes sense. Of the standing figure, the legs are too short, of the figure bending over, the legs are too long.
Measuring with dividers on the bent over figure, the individual leg parts both seem to be three crania long, as they should be. But I can also see now that overall, they are too long. Not sure what went wrong, though I think these attempts are somewhat better than my earlier ones.

You need to eyeball it. This is where the applicability of formal perspective ends.
Ah, okay: simply knowing that already helps a lot, because I kept on thinking there's some trick here that I just don't know about.

As always, thanks for the input. Back to the drawing board!

14. Myrmidon
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Just to do something different for a change, quick, scribbled portraits. Neither is a good likeness.

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More blocks; they're as skew as ever, particularly the first few and the larger ones:

Organic shapes. The ellipses are far from perfect, but they're the best I can manage at this stage:

And more photo analysis via pseudoskeleton. I find Hale's proportional system quite handy, but it is no magic wand either. Particularly when the body as twisted or bits and pieces foreshortened, it can be pretty tricky to visualize the skeleton in there!

I boldly declare that some of these are somewhat better than they used to be. At the very least, I'm beginning to understand what it is that I am looking for, even if I don't always manage to see it.

16. Originally Posted by brianworx
I boldly declare that some of these are somewhat better than they used to be.
I boldly agree!

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18. Myrmidon
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Blocks, blocks and more blocks. I kept on making the same error over and over, and eventually figured out the optical illusion that led me astray. I have no idea how to "see through" it, but just knowing about it will help:

Organic forms. The ellipses are rather sloppy; it turned out these partial ellipses are more difficult to draw than whole ones, as in the see-through organic shapes:

And more analysis of photos via pseudoskeletons. The pelvis is really difficult to visualize! And I think my proportions are often way off. It's difficult to tell when figures are twisted or foreshortened. Slowly beginning to get the hang of it though.

Some exploratory doodles and scribbles from imagination. Rather wonky! I'll need much more study of proportion and anatomy, methinks... :-)

19. Myrmidon
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More blocks:

Organic shapes:

And manikins:

20. I'm not entirely sure about this but I think when you draw boxes you are drawing them with straight lines instead of angled, converging lines? Just want to help you by saying they might look better and more in perspective if you concerntrated on converging lines more, like the box getting smaller as it goes into the distance, so the lines angle inwards.

Edit:

Hey dude, I read through again and looked at your sketchbook closer and realised you're drawing them on purpose without perspective to help you. Just ignore my silly post I should have read what you had written. Out of curiosity, what are you learning from this? I might try it myself lol.

Double edit: So I noticed the first post on the page and you are doing it because you want to get the lines parallel to one another.
Last edited by Wolves1234; June 27th, 2018 at 08:51 AM. Reason: Typo

21. Myrmidon
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Originally Posted by Wolves1234
I'm not entirely sure about this but I think when you draw boxes you are drawing them with straight lines instead of angled, converging lines? Just want to help you by saying they might look better and more in perspective if you concerntrated on converging lines more, like the box getting smaller as it goes into the distance, so the lines angle inwards.

Edit:

Hey dude, I read through again and looked at your sketchbook closer and realised you're drawing them on purpose without perspective to help you. Just ignore my silly post I should have read what you had written. Out of curiosity, what are you learning from this? I might try it myself lol.
No problem; comments are always welcome. :-)

Not sure what exactly I'm learning, but I don't think I am going to manage at all with the perspective until I can draw them reasonably decently without perspective, so these are a sort of stepping stone. I also find it useful for learning to draw parallel lines, drawing two shapes the same shape and size, and so on. Plus I discovered an interesting optical illusion that tends to lead me astray, as you'll see in one of the sheets.

In general, I am quite thoroughly clueless, as is always the case with people who self-train, but having looked through sketchbooks here, it is clear to me that being clueless and running up blind alleys is an inevitable part of the process, and one should not worry too much about it. The cluelessness is a step towards being clued up. :-)

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23. Myrmidon
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The usual bunch of blocks for warm-up:

I'm slowly improving on these perspective-less blocks, though some are still way off. When I have acquired reasonable consistency with them, I'll start adding perspective.

Some textured organic shapes, after the draw-a-box lessons; these were quite a bit of fun:

And more manikins. Some of the poses were rather difficult and I messed them up:

I am almost done with the hundred photos I downloaded. When I have gone through the whole bunch, I'll see what to do next. perhaps download another hundred? And make a somewhat more detailed study of the anatomy. I'm particularly battling with the pelvis, and it is almost time to go watch some tutorials on YouTube, and practice the hell out of them...

Semi-random scribbles, illustrating that I am not much good yet at intersecting 3D shapes:

I have this idea to create pictures with fairy tale houses in them. Will need to get much better at 3D shapes for that!

24. Myrmidon
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And thus concludeth my initial exploration of reference photos via pseudoskeletons. I will do plenty more. But time, I think, to delve into the details of the anatomy a bit more deeply, and thus I'll head over to YouTube and go download some of Proko's videos, particularly the ones about the pelvis, a structure that keeps on eluding me.

I had a bad day with the blocks, and somehow slipped back into making the same error over and over, though I think I did make a minor little breakthrough in how to avoid it.

That makes a hundred of the 250 block challenge, and I haven't even started on trying to draw them in proper perspective yet. I think it will take closer to a thousand blocks before I'll see much improvement.

25. Myrmidon
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Been rather busy the whole weekend. But yesterday, sitting in a mall, caught up in boring conversation, I had time to quickly sketch people going about their business...

Tomorrow I will hopefully have time for some more serious studies again...

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29. Myrmidon
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Blocks. I'm slowly getting the hang of the perspective-free ones, so perhaps I'll soon start trying to put some perspective in there...

Textured organic shapes:

These texture exercises had an interesting effect, in that I seem to be more aware of textures around me than I used to be...

Some more figure analyses via manikins. I watched the Proko videos on the pelvis, and started by visualizing the pelvis as a bucket. Still kind of tricky to see the bucket in the photo!

And then I started some exploratory sketches of Proko's concept for drawing the pelvis. These are rather sloppy; will watch the video again and pay more attention to the details. I find this sort of very rough sketch useful because it tells me which questions to ask of the video when I watch it again. They're not a pretty sight in themselves though!

30. You may want to do these studies bigger.

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32. Myrmidon
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Originally Posted by eezacque
You may want to do these studies bigger.
Yeah, I noticed things get a bit too cramped and filled up with the small pictures. Will try my hand at somewhat more precise and bigger ones tomorrow. And perhaps do them in pencil so I can erase unnecessary lines.

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For what seems like the millionth time, unexpected and very much unwelcome obligations ate up almost my whole day, and I got almost nothing done. Worked a bit more on Proko's conception of the pelvis:

At this stage, I am not really managing at all - I can't even get the bucket right, let alone visualize the pelvis inside it. Same thing when I tried to explore the 3D form of Protea flowers:

I have learned not to get too frustrated though. The fact that I am messing it up tells me, rather paradoxically, that I am actually learning something. If I just drew things I can already draw easily, I would not be learning anything. It is in the messing and struggling and not managing that the learning lies. That is why most people give up on it - learning anything consists, by its very nature, of a long series of failures, one after the other. The only way to do it and not go crazy is to separate one's ego from it.

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35. Myrmidon
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I have an arrangement with my landlady: dinner is included in the rent. Meaning I have to go sit there in front of the TV like everyone else, but of course, it doesn't require of me to mindlessly stare at the thing. So I took out a small sketchpad and tried some more constructions of pelvises:

I did another batch of blocks, this time trying to start hinting at perspective. Only to find that I can't do it at all. With 3-point perspective, there seems to be just way too much to focus on all at once, and the blocks ended up a disaster.

So I simplified the task; for the moment, I'll do one-point perspective. Even this I find extremely challenging, and I am not sure whether any of these turned out even remotely correct:

And then more studies of the pelvis. I learned one thing: while Proko's method helps, it is by no means a magic wand, particularly when the pelvis is seen from an unusual angle, such as partially from below or something like that. With those cases the bucket shape gets extremely foreshortened, so much so that it becomes almost useless for construction purposes. Hence lots of random looking scratches instead of neatly constructed bone structures!

I keep on ending up with a pelvis that looks like a ring rather than a container. I tried out sketching a whole body, with bones partially visible:

Very wonky, which is not surprising at this stage. But I do notice that I have become far more aware of the fact that bodies have an inner structure, and that this influences their outer appearance. Thus, despite a day of absolutely hideous drawings, I feel like gears are nevertheless turning in my head. I think I'll do more like that last one for a while, focusing mainly on the torso part of the skeleton, and seeing whether it improves my general ability to visualize the skeleton. Thus I downloaded Proko's videos on drawing the rib cage and shoulder bones as well; I'll try to study the torso as a whole, with the help of see-through bodies like the above. I have no idea whether this is a wise course of action, but I guess I'll see soon enough.

Back to the drawing board!

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Not achieving much with the boxes anyway, so I decided to just go ahead and do them according to the video instructions: draw boxes, then check for errors. There are plenty, as it turns out. Well, perhaps they'll slowly improve over time...

Some more "X-ray" figures from photo reference, trying to visualize the skeleton inside. I have not yet checked into the detailed structure of the skeletal elements, and thus they are still rather schematic. I also notice that I tend to make the skeleton of fat models way too broad. I also added some preliminary exploratory sketches of heads.

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Boxes plus error finding. Not sure I'm learning anything at all, but I'll do plenty more...

And a few whimsical characters, badly drawn:

Hopefully it will improve along with my knowledge of the human figure...

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Some boxes; to my amazement, one of them was actually not too far off:

Further analysis of reference photos, focusing on the torso:

And some from imagination:

Rather wonky, but still somewhat of an improvement on some earlier attempts, I think. The pelvis remains a bit of a nightmare.

A matchbox, sketched from life:

Also a bit skew. I should draw more from life.

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Boxes. While drawing them I felt fairly confident that I'm getting the hang of it, but testing with a ruler showed up all the deficiencies! I can't seem to place the far sides correctly, though I'm beginning to see what I should be looking out for.

Further analyses of photo reference, particularly the torso. They remain a bit amateurish, but there is some progress. I'll do some more and then move on to other body parts until I have covered the whole body, and then go over everything again, this time trying to get it more right, etc. etc. Not sure this is how it should be done (perhaps one should first get the torso perfect before moving on), but for the moment, this is the plan:

Mindless scribbles done on a small pad while drinking wine and waiting for potatoes to cook:

They reminded me of something else I had been meaning to do, namely watch Proko's videos on the bean torso, which I did, followed by some human beans. He makes it look rather easier than it actually is!

A useful exercise, I think, not just for helping me to imagine the body as a 3D shape, but also for catching the rhythm and gesture.

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More boxes, mostly completely wrong:

A mini portrait, ACEO size. It's not a good likeness - it's difficult to draw at such small scale. But I like the exercise, because with such a small drawing, one cannot really draw lines around things. You are forced to look at larger masses and shapes, something I tend to suck at:

Perhaps more practice will do the trick. Then some further photo analyses via Proko's human bean thing:

I think these are useful to learn how to capture gesture and basic shapes, and I want to do some more, including his "robo-bean" method; I have downloaded the video and will study it in due course.

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The customary boxes:

These did wonders in diagnosing all my problems, but don't seem to do anything at all in curing them! Still, I will do every last one of the prescribed number.

I have been distracted a bit by Proko's videos on bean torsos and gesture sketching. This is probably not a bad thing though. There's a rather useful tool here:

https://line-of-action.com/practice-...igure-drawing/

that puts poses on your screen for time intervals you can set. So I made a bunch of gesture sketches.

They're mostly rather tentative and skew; Proko himself manages to get more and better information into them in 30 seconds than I can in two minutes. But he says one should make hundreds of these, and I believe him. This is not the kind of thing that improves overnight.

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