Assignment One Ė Setting the baseline
1. Create a referenced picture using a reference photo of your choice. Show us your chosen reference and document the creation process (see below)
2. Draw a fully rendered picture without using any reference. Document the process (see below)
Restrictions and guidelines
1. Choose a reference that fits your taste!
The reason I let you decide what you use as a ref is that I want this whole thing to be fun for you. So choose a picture you really like for some reason. Something you find beautiful, thrilling or just interesting. A picture you like enough to spend reasonable time with it. Donít spend too much time with searching for ref though Ė keep in mind that every minute you spend with finding the appropriate reference is taken away from drawing time.2. Choose your weapons
You can use any tool you can lay your hands on. No restrictions. Except forÖ3. No trickery
Itís a pretty obvious rule here on CA, but many new members are here so I want to emphasize this. It means you mustnít use any shortcuts during the creation. No tracing, no colorpicking, no overpainting. Keep in mind that this is not a contest. Using tricks to show how good you are is not just pointless it also prevents us from helping you to improve.4. The reference must be a photo. Using other artistís paintings and drawings is restricted
The reason for that is pretty simple. When using another artistís picture as a ref youíre work is much easier as that other person has already made many important artistic decisions you only need to copy. Using a photo as a reference youíre the one who has to make decisions on how to render that specific thing. What I want to see here is how you make decisions and what decisions do you make.5. The reference should be complex enough to be a challenge for you to draw it.
This is a bit hard to describe but Iíll try. As I said the whole reason of this assignment is to assess your skills. Find real strengths and most importantly real weak points. This goal can only be achieved if you try to push your limits and step out of your comfort zone. Never managed to draw a believable portrait? Try it now! Having problem with intricate poses and forshortening of body parts? Draw wrestlers! Your dream is to paint some giant battle scene but never had the courage to actually try it? Pick a screenshot from Lord of the Rings and do it! 6. Stick to the reference
You should keep in mind that youíre most likely going to fail. But thatís what we are here. To fail and learn from our failures.
So pick a reference you feel you canít draw and try!
Try to stick to the reference as much as possible. Donít add or remove elements, Donít change composition or proportions. Donít exaggerate. Try to be as realistic as you can. Draw whatís in front of you and nothing else.7. Think before you act
The goal of this first assignment is really not to see wich one of us is Ďthe bestí. Itís to capture and analyze the way you think. To do that you should do first and foremost one thing: thinking. I want to see the way you try to solve an artistic problem, the way you make decisions. So when you face a problem while drawing, donít be hasty. Try to think up a solution. Make a plan if youíd like to. I donít say you shouldnít be spontaneous. But donít be spontaneous for no good reason. And document every decision. Thatís very important.8. Push it as far as you can
Itís pretty much described above but I want to emphasize this. I want you to spend reasonable time with this picture. I want you to polish it as much as you can. Why? The reason is pretty simple. I want the end result show what you are really capable of. And referenced drawing is the best way to figure it out. Think about it Ė none of your drawings can be any better than the one youíve created by using a ref. You donít have to use your fantasy here, you donít have to think about composition, color layout or lighting setup. All you have to do is to draw what you see. Sounds simple but hard as hell. So push it. Push it as far as you can.
The rules are pretty similar to the ones described above. (differences marked/explained):
1. Choose a theme that fits your taste!
2. Choose your weaponry
3. No trickery
4. The theme should be complex enough to be a challenge for you to draw it.
5. Additional rule: Do not use any reference
This is a hard restriction Ė some of you might think itís too hard. Even professionals use reference for their professional work and for good reason. But I want to see and I want you to see what you can achieve with nothing on your hands just your knowledge and the blank canvas.6. Push it as far as you can
At this task it sounds much scarier than above Ė I know. But I want to emphasize this - again. Maybe you think this is just something youíre not prepared for. I say youíll never be prepared if you never try. So stop making up excuses and draw!
For each task with a ĎDocument the processí instruction:
1. Collect your thoughts before you even start the given task and write everything down.
2. While doing the task, create snapshots of WIP stages (and any preliminary study or preparework you make, also post references if you've used any).
I canít give exact instructions on how many is enough, how many is too few, how many is too many. In the early stages of drawing when things get laid out and changed pretty fast, you should do it pretty often (you should consider doing it in every 10 or even in every 5 minutes if youíre that fast). Later when you get to detailwork less frequent snapshotting can be enough.3. Make written notes for every snapshot of what youíre doing, what tools you use, how youíre doing it, why youíre doing it, your decisions, your feelings, your concerns Ė everything that can be important.
Think about it like you were making a tutorial on the creation of that given image. Donít be afraid of making mistakes itís natural part of learning. If you document your process well they will be much easier to identify.4. Create one single post (progress post) in this forum where you collect all your snapshots and notes.
Collecting your work in one single post is really important for the others to see the process as a whole. You can do this by creating a post in the very beginning and linking back to there every time you update (for newbies: you can edit your older posts by clicking on the edit button in the lower right corner, you can obtain the URL to a single post by right-clicking on the number of that post in the upper right corner and then choose ĎCopy link addressí Ė or something like this). Of course you can post single WIP pictures on the way in separate posts, but you should collect all of that in your first post.5. Post the final version and link back to your progress post.
Still unclear? Look at following examples:
William Whitaker Oil Painting Demonstration Ė William Whitaker does pretty much what I described above. He creates snapshots and writes down everything necessary to understand what he does, why he does it and how he does it. Definitely one of my favourite tutorials around here.
"Figure Drawing" Two-Part Study Covers; gesture, light, rendering with Ron Lemen Ė this is a bit more instructional with tons of DOs and DONíTs (of course you donít have to make such statements) Ė why Ron does those specific things is sometimes left out but I guess the end result justifies this decision.
Sounds complicated? I hope it doesnít.
Time to start the actual work!