Sketchbook: Seb's Sketchbook
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  1. #1
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    Seb's Sketchbook

    -- A picture update with every post --

    Hello I'm Sebyth, or just Seb, and I'm posting a sketchbook here for the first time. I keep getting frustrated with drawing and/or can't think of what to draw nor how to depict anything properly, the result usually ends up me not drawing for months or years. So I'm going to try and make myself do at least one self-portrait a day - this solves my problem of a subject, and maybe I'll get better at it somehow during this. I'm not sure what else to say, so I'll just post the first two.

    The first one was done yesterday with 2B pencil and some 4H pencil to try and get the more subtle shadows. It scanned a bit faintly so there's some level-adjusting done on it. The top of head is kinda squashed-looking there.

    The second one was done today, using only 4H pencil and is a bit faint on my monitor, but I didn't do any level adjusting for fear of worsening it. No squashed head this time, it is a rectangle instead.

    Edit March 14: Not just self-portraits anymore in here, but mostly self-portraits. :]
    Edit: Apr 2, 2007: Going through and making some of the older, over-sized pictures smaller.

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  2. #2
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    As it happens, I used to have/ do have... the same problem as you do. Picked up the pencil recently though, so... soon I'll get my own sketchbook started.

    That aside you seem to be starting out just fine. Noticeable improvement in the second one, although the shading seems more accurate in the first. That dark section of your left chin seems a bit too heavy when compared to the lighter side.

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    @Chewster: Thank you for taking the time to check my pictures. :] Do you have any advice on things that helped you get back to drawing in the past? People have suggested to me before to doodle random things, but I seem to over-think even doodles.. About the shading, yes I seem to be having trouble seeing/depicting the changes in shadow accurately. The lighting is coming from a window behind and to the side of me, but reflecting off the mirror into my face - I can't seem to portray it.

    The drawing from today - I tried using just the 2B and tried smudging it, but it was going everywhere. The grain of the paper ended up being very obvious as well. No post-scan level adjust, but it does seem - at least on my monitor - to be scanning fainter than it looks to be on paper

    Also I included some hand studies that I've been trying as a break from staring at my face. Hands seem to be even harder to get correctly. So many little changes in angle and shade. :/

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  4. #4
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    I recomend George B Bridgmans books when it comes to hands, he describes great about planes etc. Kéep up the sketching and draw draw draw.

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    Really, it can take some effort to get back... I still am myself. I've yet to push my quality up to post a sketchbook, but soon enough...

    I've thought about it though, and I came to realize my problem, my lack of motivation stemmed from a mindset I acquired when I just got into drawing, a couple of years ago. At one point I did draw less and less... and I kept telling myself "I'm better than that, I do not need to prove I am." when I saw the drawings of others. Incredibly destructive, and stupid, I have come to realize. It's just now, after almost two years of neglect I've managed to humble myself and seek to improve myself rather than to de-prove others, because, in the end, the former is constructive in it's nature, while the latter is destructive, both to myself and others. Mind you, I've never been much of a harsh critic, probably because at some level I must have realized that I wasn't as good as I told myself. But I digress.

    My current motivation is happiness, and the fact that I study at an art college kind of helps. I think it had to be that though, for me, because I was knee-deep in my own shit, so to speak. Still, it has taken me a couple of months, but now I am feeling the spirits return and I have picked up the pencil again. Draw draw draw!

    Doodling is a great way in and of it's own, but not to "return" completely, it never really kicked me back on track. I've always been motivated by others though, praise and happiness is quite a factor. Setting projects ahead of yourself is also a good way; I have images in my mind I wish I could draw. So I work, until I am able to realize them.

    The lips seem just a tad too dark in the new SP, although the features somehow feel more natural. I like the shading below the lips, too, clean and nice.

    The hand studies are great, gotta do some of my own.

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    @Sarcophagus: Thank you for the advice, I'll see if I can find the book sometime.

    @Chewster: I think I understand and can relate to what you're saying. In my case, when I started drawing and for most the the period of time in which I was trying to teach myself to draw, there was no one else around me who ever drew or painted anything that I could compare my own work. So not only was there nothing to warn me out of bad drawing habits and nothing to help me improve, there was also nothing to tell me that the image in my head wasn't the image I'd portrayed on paper. Or something.
    It's good to hear that your motivation has returned. I too hope to some day be able to draw the things that I have been planning in my head, and have them actually turn out well enough.

    For todays self-portrait, I decided to try what I'd seen in other sketchbook threads - I tried blocking out the area first in 4H pencil, and slowly building up the shadows with that as the base. It took a very long time, and I thought that I'd gotten some of the subtle shifts in shadow areas, but looking at it now I hadn't. After a while I tried adding some of the darker lines and shadows with B pencil but it just started making all the shading I thought I'd gotten with the 4H even fainter-looking. I didn't want to start in on trying to pull out the shadows more with the darker pencil for fear of ruining it further.

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  7. #7
    Envisor is offline 21 year old artist workin' to improve! Level 10 Gladiator: Equites
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    Forgot to welcome you my friend. Welcome to CA. Cool Sketchbook dude. Self portraits are getting better and better. The hands are really good as well. Someone stated something about Bridgeman for hands, thats true, but theres also Loomis, Glenn Vilppu, and Kevin Chen. All are great artists, especially for anatomy and figures.

    Heres the Loomis Books online and free
    http://fineart.sk/index.php?cat=1


    Heres some of Kevin Chen's figure work.
    http://www.characterdesigns.com/inde...page=tutorials

    Heres a but load of articles by Glenn Vilppu.
    http://mag.awn.com/index.php?ltype=C...&column=vilppu

    Hope these help out. Keep up the good work.

    "Imagination is more important than knowledge"- Albert Einstein


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    You make lovely self-portraits! I especially like the second-last self-portrait. It seems most balanced to me! Great progress!

    I feel the way you were describing, about having no one around me to really give a fresh eye on what I'm doing. That wouldn't keep me from drawing, but it got me nervous about sharing my art.

    I guess that's why I reach out online more than anywhere. Sharing at least is enough to keep me going sometimes. Hopefully, being able to share and get feedback will give you an extra push to continue. ^_^

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    @Envisor: Thank you very much for the welcome and the feedback; also these links are very helpful. :] I'd hoped that some of their knowledge would have sunk in while I was drawing today's portrait, but looking at it now I'm not sure if they have or not - I think I'll have to look at them more closely for next time.

    @JazzW: Thank you very much :] I suppose it is easier to share online - people can look and comment in their own time rather than being pressed for a response immediately as they would in real life.

    For today's portrait I tried a slight angle. I think I even got my features in more or less the right places this time. I'm still having trouble getting the shadows dark enough without appearing too dark. Also I'm fairly certain the scan is flattening it slightly - on the paper there's a bit more darkness in some of the lines than what appears in the scan on my monitor, though that could be my imagination.

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    Tried some more hand studies, drawing them as simplified shapes first before the actual drawings to try and get the forms down. Also drew my pencil sharpener.

    Tried the simplified shapes thing for the portrait and it kinda fell apart - was having trouble translating what I saw into planes/shapes. Tried drawing some cloth folds with value rather than lines.

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    Hello Seb!
    Wonderful portraits. You've got good control over light and tonal depth. Just a few suggestions, though:

    Try different facial expressions, different angles. You've got a firm grasp on tone and line, may as well try to take it to the next level Why draw a face without any expression?

    Also, I find that when I'm doing self portraits, outlining lips is a no-no. The darkest point on your lips should be where they meet, and shade lighten from there. You did this well in your portrait here: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/att...1&d=1173474206

    Anyway. Great job, keep it up & don't be afraid to try new things

    As the pattern gets more intricate and subtle being swept along is no longer enough.

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    @bunny: Thank you very much for the advice and encouragement. :] I'll try to keep outlines away from lips, and also try harder to think of things to draw that aren't my face.

    I tried drawing my housemate's cat but he wouldn't stay still for long. I also discovered that it's difficult to shade fur with varied colours and markings/stripes on it.

    I took the advice about expressions and a new light source to make these three smaller portraits. I discovered that I have trouble making/holding an expression for the length of time required to draw. Looking at them now they sort of blend together into 'pained expression'.

    My housemate found a Hogarth dynamic figure drawing book for me today, so I may have figure/gesture studies tomorrow as well. I'm also attempting an acrylic painting of an outdoors scene referenced from a photo I had laying around - it's on paper just small enough to scan so if it turns out tolerably I may include it when it's finished.

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    Envisor is offline 21 year old artist workin' to improve! Level 10 Gladiator: Equites
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    Thes last SP's are awesome. Very nice contrast and line quality. And the eyes are hwat caught me tho, just doing these self portraits has helped you along. Would like to see some life studies or figure studies soon. Keep up the good work.

    "Imagination is more important than knowledge"- Albert Einstein


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    @Envisor: Thank you very much. I think I did put more effort into the eyes, though I still got them out of alignment on at least one of the last batch of self-portraits. Taking the advice you gave, I tried to draw more than my head for my portrait today.

    Today's attachments:
    I've been reading through the Hogarth figures book, and tried to make a few torsos with B-shaped frontview legs and S-shaped sideview legs. I am not getting the hang of it yet it seems. Back to studying the book tonight.

    What I have so far for my acrylic painting practice. The purple is my attempt at underpainting after reading about it on these forums. The sky and beige ground is finished I think. Need to finish the trees/foliage and the figure still. Photo used for reference, even then trees are a nightmare for me.

    And the self-portrait. Unfinished in the leg and had to rush half that side of the body due to muscle spasms from the stupid way I chose to try and sit still for that long. The face I tried to finish afterwards and as such is a bit squashed into the space I'd left for it.

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    No self-portrait today, except for an arm. The Hogarth book suggested an exercise of trying to use his gesture notation to do a series of action poses using no reference, so that's what I tried to do here. First in very simple form, then again with slightly more volume indication. I got stuck on the final stage, which was to refine the poses down to a handful of meaningful key poses. Went on instead to draw my arm, attempting to get the foreshortening, curvature and value. Tried to gesture and draw a sort of goblin creature I'd been trying to create, but it looks nothing like it did in my head so I got tired of it.

    Still haven't done proper figure studies, and my acrylic painting practice is going poorly. Thinking of adding daily sketches of trees to my to-do list.

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    Tried a self-portrait in openCanvas 1.1 as I was missing colour. Discovered afterwards that my monitor has been skewed horizontally, explaining why all my scans looked squashed to me. Still got the proportions wrong even without the distortion.

    Sketches, tried to use the Hogarth book information to make a figure but it was going badly. Apparently I still don't understand anything in there. Tried a sketch of an apple tree trunk from a photo, then tried another quick sketch of a whole tree from memory of another photo. Tried a random face from scratch.

    Also tried a series of blind contour drawings of my face, but didn't include them as they were really terrible. Think I understand why I always get the proportions of facial features wrong in my portraits.

    On a side note, should I be responding/commenting in other people's sketchbooks? Because I've been looking at a lot of sketchbooks here, but haven't found anything constructive to say. I'm not confident enough in my knowledge yet to make any suggestions on other people's work.

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    Tried to sketch the cat again but he won't stay still when I'm looking at him. Self portrait, can't manage foreshortening of a face at that angle yet it seems. Tried some made-up figures interacting with an attempt at perspective thrown in. Edit: also, feet are abominations of nature.

    Progress on acrylic painting, the colours actually look more vibrant in this scan than on the actual paper. :/

    And the photo I'm working from.

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    1. Trying speedpainting. First I tried to paint my character from the video game Oblivion, from memory after having sketched him from screenshots. Got the values wrong, the colours wrong, the likeness/features/proportions wrong...

    2. Tried again using this screenshot crop as a reference. Got the angle wrong, the value mostly wrong and still having colour match issues, but got the likeness closer.

    3. Self-portrait. Still squashed the head a bit lengthwise, and got the skintone colours a bit wrong. I am not really made of cotton candy. Got the likeness more or less.

    4. More progress on the acrylic practice painting. Started on the figure and tried to get more texture on the foliage.

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    The highlights around the right eye (my right) of your last colored sp really jumped out at me. Yeah, it is squashed a bit length-wise, the mouth is tiny. I love your little expression portraits! I once did a painting of a really weirded out expression, it was pretty painful. I was afraid my face was going to be stuck like that (fortunately it wasn't) :3

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    @megadubitably: Thank you very much. I'm glad the highlights seem to be working well. I hope that some day I actually manage to draw/paint face features correctly, because I don't think I've gotten them right ever. Speaking of faces getting stuck into an expression, looking at my portraits I think mine has been stuck in a frown. XD

    Updating from today and yesterday:
    1. Self-portrait again, almost got my features properly, but squashed the head (too close to the edge of the paper) and got the jawline wrong. Tried using charcoal, but I am not sure how and tried to use it like pencil...

    2. The acrylic painting practice I'd been working on, done.

    3. Speedpainting from a photo found partway down this page. Mostly trying to get the colour combinations. 1 hour.

    4. Speedpainting from a photo that I later couldn't find where I had gotten the reference, so I'm rehosting it here. It's apparently of rock formations in New Zealand. I was trying to get the colour and form again, but I couldn't figure them out before the hour I'd allowed myself was up.

    5. Speedpainting from a photo found here. Trying to get the colour and form, it turned out much better than the one in 4. did. 1 hour.

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    Wow, I like the landscapes! That little hole to the outside picture has JUST enough magic to it! Love it!

    Man, when I look at your portraits, I remember how HARD it is for me to draw eyes well. You do a good job at it! I see the improvement on positioning and proportion on the last picture!

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    It's great to see you keeping up. Lovely portraits and figure studies. Reminds me I have to do some myself. You're definetely getting better.

    That aside, I love the environments, especially the desert cliff one. Great colours. (I assume that is what it is?)

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    @JazzW: Thank you very much! I'm glad that it seems I was able to capture some of the awe contained in the photo the landscape is based on.

    @Chewster: Thank you very much, I have been lax about drawing recently again. I still can't seem to bring myself out of my comfort zone enough to do proper figure studies. XD I think it might be a desert cliff, I'd grabbed a pile of reference photos of interesting rock formations and landscapes with rich colours, then had to backtrack and try to find them a second time to credit their sources above.

    Todays update is actually from over a few days.
    1. Practice at drawing less girly lips, unreferenced.
    2. Someone had asked me to draw her X-men role-playing character that she'd made, it took a long time of sketching and I had to fix/rebuild some on the line-art after scanning it in.
    3. The final version of above, with colour (5-6 hours I think).
    4. An attempt at a fan-drawing of a character (who never actually appears) from The Elder Scrolls video game world, based on someone's brief description of how he should look. Apparently I got it wrong. XD
    5. But I coloured it anyway.
    6. Since drawing my own character from The Elder Scrolls from memory of how he looked in game didn't work, and drawing him with a screenshot reference handy didn't work, I thought I'd draw how I think he -should- look. Speedpainting, about 1-2 hours.

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    More self-portrait attempts, in charcoal. I think I'm starting to get the hang of using charcoal.

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    1. Was looking at tutorials here and tried them out. The eyes ended up looking like my self-portrait eyes, and I think the nose looks too much like the tutorial's nose. The lips I repainted at least twice and still look huge and bleh.

    2. Self-portrait, charcoal again.

    3. Quick figure sketch of me drawing.

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    1. Charcoal sketch of part of my room, sorry about the quality, was too large to scan in one piece.
    2. Self-portrait in charcoal and an attempt to draw the skull/bones of it.
    3. An attempt at speedpainting random shapes and making them into something, 1 hour in openCanvas.

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    1. Some quick figure sketches, charcoal.
    2. More figure sketches.
    3. Self-portraits, charcoal. The second one I tried putting the eyeballs/assumed skull features in first, then putting surface features over those.

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  28. #28
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    Haven't done a self-portrait in a while. Updating with some things I couldn't update earlier due to connection/page-loading issues.
    1. Some hand studies in charcoal.
    2. More hand studies.
    3. Sketch for a new version of the x-men-related role-playing character by [+ Engravers Mint +] that's I'd done previously.

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  29. #29
    Envisor is offline 21 year old artist workin' to improve! Level 10 Gladiator: Equites
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    Been a little while since Ive been here. Youve improved quite a bit, especially on proportion. I really like your character design in the last post. Keep it up.

    "Imagination is more important than knowledge"- Albert Einstein


    Eric wants to LEARN! Sketchbook


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  30. #30
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    Nice studies, great job. Good going with the sp's aswell - keep it up!

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