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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Las Vegas, NV
    Thanked 91 Times in 87 Posts

    How Do You Approach A Drawing?

    So this is a question I''ve been sort of rollin' around in my head. How do you guys go about drawing? I usually find myself doodling and playing with shapes until something sort of forms on the page. Than things tend to fill out and I start narrowing down what I'm doing with the subject on the page. But I'll admit I usually don't get desirable results from this. It tends to all end up being rather similar. I guess it's sort of a thoughtless way of drawing. Sometimes I may have some vague concept in mind but usually I just let my hand take the image where ever. I'm interested in trying something else.

    I've been intrigued lately with the thought of conceptualizing things in my head and then drawing from that image in my head. If I could somehow visualize it clearly I would think it should be easy to capture that image on paper as if I were drawing the subject from life, right? I don't think I've been able to successfully do it. But I was curious what you all thought about it and how you approached your sketchbooks. Is this possible? Any ideas that might help? I need to get out of this rut. I want to be able to accurately create these fantastic images from my head. I can draw most anything from life or photos... shouldn't this be just as easy if I can figure out a way to lock that image in my head? Sort of like copying from a subject. Does any of this make sense? lol I feel like an idiot. I'll be looking forward to some responses. Have a great weekend.


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  3. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Fredericksburg, VA US
    Thanked 78 Times in 51 Posts
    I really can't imagine an image in my head for very long, it usually disappears whenever I start actually drawing. If I really get thinking about something, like how would this or that look.. I can sometimes catch a small glimpse of something I remember or imagine, its almost like looking at someone or something for a split second. I find the hardest but also the most fun part is actually when you are figuring out what you're drawing for sure, its a lot of fun and there is always a ton of possibilities to keep exploring until you get a decent sense of conviction. I also feel that it helps get me into the drawing mode if I at least try to picture some things in my head first even if they're not what my subjects are at all. I draw pretty randomly and it works out pretty well I guess if I am drawing for myself and there isnt any definite things that the picture has to entail.. I think if I had to actually draw an all out scene and composition I would probably just play around with a ton of sketches until a good one settled in. References would probably help get your mind going, and also writing down and thinking of ideas helps too. I drew a bar scene awhile ago and planned to have tons of characters in it.. I didnt do a lot of presketching (which I should have), but I wrote out alot of the things that you might see people doing at a bar and the kind of people I wanted to have in the picture and it helped out a lot. It seems like you gotta try and find the right balance between having ideas to utilize and also realizing you have to work with what you got on the page and allow for some happy accidents.
    Cave House Studios - creative animation and video
    What the Sketchbook

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2005
    USA, Oregon
    Thanked 13 Times in 13 Posts
    I do the same thing as you ZebzFree, I usally just doodle around intill something happends.

    But now that I think about it, my best stuff that Ive done, came from an idea. Usally a vary broad idea, then I quickly sketch it out, and I do mean quickly. Sometimes the end resault of the sketch wouldnt look like anything to anyone but me.

    Then I do anouther sketch of the first sketch, if you follow me. More details and a lot cleaner, messing around with view points adding things ect. Then after im comfertable with what I know what Im going to do with the final draft I uhh ... I do the final draft.

    Probly didnt have to explain everything like I did, but thats how I work sometimes.
    "As you may have noticed, Im not all here my self..."

    Give me some love! JARheads SKETCHBOOK of DOOM!

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    I took a look at your work... the cowskull is good, but looks to be the only piece you really took an interest in completing properly...

    As for the problem that you claim to have, well, all designs that 'seem' to be new, always contain parts of other designs that have already been created.

    So visualize one part first and then assemble the rest as you go along until you create what you have in your mind..

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Oakville, ON
    Thanked 3 Times in 2 Posts
    How to approach a drawing? Face it straight on...walk towards it and punch it in the face

    Ok ok, for myself I take shapes from existing objects. So none of my stuff are fully random, they're there because I want them to be. Usually I take shapes from nature. Simplifying animals' or plant's silhouettes can provide some interesting shapes to work with. That is also probably the reason why I don't feel my stuff are very creative....coz I just mix and match, not really trying out new images or shapes.

    Zebs, your method is pretty standard. Even Doug Chiang works that way, using a marker to plot out shapes, then once he's satisfied he goes into details.

    I've done some research for my Psych paper and what you're doing is the Two Tier Method...or another theory is the Geneplore method. Which basically is what you described. To come up with random shapes and then proceed to give them form, logic and so on. Researchers that experimented with both theoretical creativity models feel that the more experienced an artist is, the easier it will be to create something interesting. Not necessarily older artists, but rather, someone who has seen or experienced more. However maturity in an artist also helps in the Two Tier and Geneplore models of creativity. So the idea is to go out there and absorb everything like a dry sponge coz you'll be able to utilize them later on in your art.

    That's why some folks say, nothing's really original. Which is true to an extent because what we produce is directly affected by what we see, and what we see often are political, cultural icons or pop icons that affects everyone. But its untrue to a larger extent because no two artist sees something the same way and there are other influences that will affect the outcome of the final output.
    There are 3 sides to every story. Yours, mine and THE TRUTH.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Brisbane, Australia
    Thanked 677 Times in 247 Posts
    I'm not a fan of the way I do it. I usually start with a head, nto necessarily centered on the page, and I'll just keep drawing out from there, whatever somes to mind. So my pictures ALWAYS look whack because of this. I'm learning, though..
    * Help a CA artist! Visit the Constructive Critique section! *

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Lost in the Sound
    Thanked 845 Times in 302 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by ZebzFree
    How do you approach a drawing?
    Typicall with a pencil or other fully loaded illustration instrument. I keep an eraser near by in case things get ugly.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Thanked 319 Times in 90 Posts
    I wish I could draw mentally.. just sit around accurately working out sketches in my head. As for now, I never know what exactly I'm drawing until I'm half way done with it.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Thanked 13 Times in 13 Posts
    I'm a bit of a newbie, but I have a list of ideas that I write down and add to constantly. It could be a word or phrase. For example "Hamlet 2075". It gives me broad ideas for a concept. Since I am still developing my draw from the mind ability, I carry my digital camera around shooting little pieces if things that might add to a piece. I don't want to continue that, but it works for the moment. Otherwise, I sit and doodle and come up with little scrawls that don't mean much. Not that this helps you, but you asked....
    Whatever you do, don't look at my Sketchbook and Painting Thread!

    "I reject your reality and substitute my own" - Adam Savage, Mythbusters

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Thanked 3,154 Times in 1,067 Posts
    First off i start with a concept in my head. Then(if its a person) I sketch out the skeleton real loose like. Next I start to flesh it out by adding some shapes, shapes are nice. In succession I start with the top and work my way down with detailing. Finaly after thats over, I ink it, throw some little hatchmarks here and there and im done.

    If its not a person or creature, somthing like a building or a robot, i spend a good amount of time thinking about it. How will it move what function does it serv, what technology do I have to work with. Then I just sketch gerth lines to give me a sense of size the I start to box in shapes and then I add form to it with more lines. Next I detail it and ink it.

    SOMETIMES I will shade a drawing with pencil. For that i just pick a light source, draw the shadow lines really lightly and then I shade it. I also go back with my eraser and add highlights.

    When using markers to color, I just start with the lightest color and work to my darker parts, making sure the light is casting shadows correctly and etc. Then, because i have no gauche, I use watery acrylic paint to add minor highlights. I also use a white colored pencil. It works ok, but not that great.

    When I draw in ink, i use a bic ball point pen and lightly sketch my shapes of what im going to draw, then i go back through and make lines darker. Then i shade it with the same pen, those pens almost shade like pencil.

    And one other thing to do when I hav no more ideas, is to sit down with some scrap paper and just draw random lines and shapes. I can usually start picking up forms and subjects from the mess. Then I just re-draw it on drawing paper and modify it with any adjustments I want to make to it.
    "Astronomy offers an aesthetic indulgence not duplicated in any other field. This is not an academic or hypothetical attraction and should require no apologies, for the beauty to be found in the skies has been universally appreciated for unrecorded centuries."

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Los Angeles
    Thanked 10 Times in 8 Posts
    I approach my drawing like how I approach my women...

    ... with I.B.S.
    Last edited by CaptainInsano; June 26th, 2005 at 02:45 PM.

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