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  1. #1
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    Expressive Torque Skull

    So I just drew this. I've never done something this expressive. I know the anatomy and perspective isn't technically *correct* but it seems like it's got torque to it. I just drew it from imagination while focusing on feeling out the shapes starting from the nose (while making it feel more like a mouth.)

    It feels like I'm getting closer to not having totally lifeless drawings, but maybe it's just my imagination.
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    The best way to hunt in a mushroom forest is to climb on the back of a butterfly.


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  3. #2
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    Hi David, liking the freedom of line here, but I'm not sure what to critique? I feel like much of the image is cropped out
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  4. #3
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    It's cropped from my sketchbook. There are just a few other drawings where I'm exploring the head from below. This is new territory for me. It's evolving my handwriting as well. I guess this is just a kind of progress update. I'm not real good about posting in my sketchbook here so it seemed kind of weird to put it there, but I guess an experimental sketch doesn't really belong in the critique center.
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    I think its great to try anything and everything in your sketchbook, y know, just let loose put down ideas. But if you're saying that you have found a method that gives the drawing life and rhythm while sacrificing proportion I'm actually not with you there. There are proportionally accurate drawings that have life. There are drawings with very few lines that have life. So your skull drawing may have some life in it, but it's not by virtue of having a lot of energetic lines, or by distorting the proportions. It's something else.

    I think what it is is feeling a real appreciation for the forms you see, and putting them down with a sense of relation to each other. As opposed to copying shapes without sensing the forms or their rhythm. You should keep pursuing the former, but expressing those forms accurately is still important! You can have both life and accuracy! Just my theory.
    Last edited by JoeCowan; 2 Weeks Ago at 01:50 PM.

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  7. #5
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    I think you're right on the money. It's just an unusual headspace I was in and everything just flowed naturally. I got super excited and had to share it. It felt like a real breakthrough. I don't get those very often.
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    The best way to hunt in a mushroom forest is to climb on the back of a butterfly.

  8. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeCowan View Post
    I think its great to try anything and everything in your sketchbook, y know, just let loose put down ideas. But if you're saying that you have found a method that gives the drawing life and rhythm while sacrificing proportion I'm actually not with you there. There are proportionally accurate drawings that have life. There are drawings with very few lines that have life. So your skull drawing may have some life in it, but it's not by virtue of having a lot of energetic lines, or by distorting the proportions. It's something else.
    This approach reminds me of Nicolaides, whose teachings set me back several years in my artistic development. Mindless scribblings, executed as fast as possible, preferably done blindly, following my sense of touch, believing that intuitively you will make the right decisions, lead to nothing. Study proportion, work on hard-boiled motor skills, understand construction, learn to draw.
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    Quote Originally Posted by eezacque View Post
    This approach reminds me of Nicolaides, whose teachings set me back several years in my artistic development.
    Yeah I made that connection too. Natural Way to Draw has a reputation for being the best drawing book ever, yet I don't see how it can be anything but ignorant. He says at the beginning that the only way to draw is the "natural way". Presumably his way. yet for centuries people have been making wonderful drawings without his help. So it makes no sense. Still, it seems every university has adopted this mode in part or whole, and in fact know of no other.

    However, that doesn't mean that the concepts of rhythm, life, torque, or what have you, on their own are bad. Just that the balance between mechanical and expressive is delicate.

  10. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeCowan View Post
    Yeah I made that connection too. Natural Way to Draw has a reputation for being the best drawing book ever, yet I don't see how it can be anything but ignorant.
    It is even said to be the best how-to book on any subject. However, both claims come from the cover of the book itself...

    He says at the beginning that the only way to draw is the "natural way". Presumably his way. yet for centuries people have been making wonderful drawings without his help. So it makes no sense.
    I do agree. As I see it, Vilppu, Mattesi, Loomis, Hampton are all trying to approach the natural way, and they all succeed and fail in their own ways. However, Nicolaides, being a pioneer, had to go a long way, with no shoulders to stand on, while the others could build on his work.

    Still, it seems every university has adopted this mode in part or whole, and in fact know of no other.
    I was taught by teachers whose main expertise was Nicolaides, in the sense that they followed his book verbatim, often quoting him word by word. One teacher challenged us to find even one sentence which doesn't contain valuable truth, and she was mildly amused when I came up with Nicolaides suggestion to buy art supplies there and there in New York. None of these teachers had drawing skills worth mentioning.

    In my opinion, Nicolaides is a great source for lazy teachers, as he allows them to shy away from guiding students towards good drawing skills, which is a hard task; instead, they can make their students do the exercises, and grade their efforts, which is feasible to do. For me, Nicolaides fell from his pedestal when his most ardent supporter in school, Maxine Schacker, refused to do a demo, and could not refer me to any other book that explained Nicolaides method. Instead, she pointed me to the old masters: "Look there, it's all there, and I cannot think of any other way".

    However, that doesn't mean that the concepts of rhythm, life, torque, or what have you, on their own are bad. Just that the balance between mechanical and expressive is delicate.
    Nicolaides mentions rhythm only in the later chapters of his book, it is not that big of a theme in his book.

    The lesson learnt, for me, is to stay away from teachers who cannot draw or paint. This is why I admire Loomis, who was an established illustrator in his days, and uses his own work as example, because no one knows how the old masters worked.
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    I too think it's great to experiment to find a manner of drawing that you actually enjoy! At this point it's important to decide on your goals. Are you more interested in the fine art aspect of process, or are you looking to be a stellar and perfect illustrator? Both skills inform the other. I don't agree that it's the wrong way of learning, as long as you are balancing your studies. Again, having goals in mind is incredibly helpful.

    When posting something like this to crit, consider giving us a bit more to go on. It's nice to get pats on the back for experimenting, but in order to grow, think about what you'd like the community to give you feedback on. Maybe do a few more torsion experiments with free line in a variety of media. Try ink, charcoal, paint. See what that feels like. Change your scale, work huge! And include the full page of experiments. Maybe you can use this thread to get feedback on which mark making resonates with your audience and what agrees most with your style and approach.

    Good luck
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    Thanks mangosalsa. I'm unfamiliar with the book and method they're talking about, but I have found that a certain "use the force" approach is good for allowing pure creativity to be unleashed and that's fun. I need fun to be a part of my experience. I still don't know what genre of art I'm interested in doing, but I figure solid drawing, painting and sculpting skills will get me where I want to go. I'm really enjoying my new-found ability to concieve and impliment deep foreshortening, but my anatomical knowledge is still woefully lacking.
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  13. #11
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    Cool! Explore. If you haven't already, start a folder on your computer/Pinterest where you collect inspiring images and art styles. Feel free to check out my growing collection on Pinterest called Drawn Bodies. I've got some really great examples of weirdness and foreshortening combined with excellent execution. My random other collections might also interest you. http://www.musee-rodin.fr/en/collections/drawings Auguste Rodin used his super-expressive drawings to feel out the sculptures he ultimately made. If you looked at his preliminary drawings, you might not expect to see his academic prowess in sculpture. Anyway, just remember art is a journey, and humans are not one trick ponies. If you're interested in the excitement of trying new things go for it! There's SO MUCH ART out there that isn't intended to be used for concept art, and it's all available to you. Granted, this is a site devoted to concept art, so the folks on here might not be as receptive to trying thing outside of the prescribed norm, so resistance is to be expected.

    TL;DR/ Do a bunch of research. You do you. Don't let the internetz get you down.
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