Hello everyone. First things first, I'm new here and quite frankly I was rather intimidated about joining this site since I've seen a lot of amazing stuff here. But I've really started to struggle with drawing lately and I don't think places like DA or WetCanvas will give me the advice that I'm seeking...
First some background: I started drawing again in December 2012 after not having drawn actively for nearly 10 years. Up till this year I've been jumping between mediums and styles like a headless monkey. Now that I've managed to settle with my desired mediums and the style I want to stick with (cartoony, Disnyish style) I've suddenly hit a wall with the drawing itself.
Today I went out for a bike ride with my sketch book. I can draw stuff like flowers, trees and stuff relatively easy. Even my very quick landscape sketches look at least a little what they're supposed to...but whenever I try to draw animals, the thing I actually want to learn how to draw better, I suddenly feel like I lose my ability to draw. Animals and monsters are something I've drawn since I'm a kid but suddenly they're the things I can't draw.
Most of the early stuff in my DA profile was drawn without reference. That was nearly 2 years ago. But now, suddenly, I feel like I can't even draw worth that anymore.
I look at a blank sheet on my sketch book and come up with nothing. I've been doing some "master studies" lately from animation production sheets. I do really well with them. And you'd think it would teach me something about construction drawing but then when I try to draw a cute kitten from my head I suddenly get nothing.
So I really don't know what I should do...use photo references more? Keep on copying the model sheets for animated movies (not sure if this is helping at all since copying in general is kinda bad, this is what I've been told at least)? Art classes and art education aren't really an option. This is a hobby for me and not a job nor will it ever be my job. I don't have the time.
I've tried 1 minute gesture drawing but frankly I find it very distressing. I have a hard time accepting messy, shit looking sketches and I fail to realize what good do I get out of them. I also have a hard time figuring out how I should start a drawing. With a stick figure? With the basic shapes?
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i see you're in a similar situation i was a while ago, how do you learn to draw?? after years of struggling with art i finally figured out no one can teach you how to draw, notice what i said carefully, you can learn how to draw, but it can't really be taught. someone can't tell you do this, do that, stroke this way, stroke that way (like teaching math) and you suddenly can draw something, no, it is an acquired skill, something you build with practice. you can't draw what you don't know, if you are having trouble with something go look for references of it, study it and draw it over n over, but don't just copy what you see, try to understand the forms you are seeing, draw while looking at it and then draw from memory, eventually the shapes will be recorded in your brain
so after figuring that out i sat down and said "what is the best and fastest way to learn to draw?" i eventually came up with my own curriculum of what it is someone would need from the ground up to be able to make believable drawings...cause remember; you can't draw what you don't know
step 1- Basic Figure Drawing: here you study proportions and simple shapes, it really doesn't matter how you get this done (box form, cylinder form, blotching, contour, blocking in, stick figure, mannequin style) the point here is to learn proportions and the form/shape of the human body while paying little to no attention to detail
step 2- Perspective: learn to draw your basic figure in believable 3D space and from various angles/positions etc, also start incorporation gesture drawings into your work (very important)
step 3- Anatomy: learn only what you need, do you really need to learn every single bone and muscle in the human body?? the only thing i recommend learning is how to draw a skeleton, you will most likely end up having a job that requires you to draw a skeleton at some point. anyway here you will focus starting with the head/face since it is the main thing that makes your figures look believable. once you can draw a good face you will be really happy with your work and more motivated to continue, from this point you go and learn the rest of the body, study all shapes and sizes (specially if you want to be an animator) skinny people, fat people, little people, body builders, athletes, fitness models etc. you might also need to study in detail hands and feet, focus on what artist call "surface anatomy" basically what you see with your eyes, the muscles and bones that stick out on a person from under the skin
step 4- Rendering: here you study light and shadow, start practicing understanding values too (will come in handy later)
step 5- Drapery: learn how cloths behave and how they interact with other forms
step 6- Color: this is without a doubt the hardest, learning values will be immensely useful here
i estimate that anyone can learn how to draw in as little as a year and a half if they follow these steps and would see great improvement in their art in just a couple of months alone. i highly recommend these books for you; Dean Yeagle and other disney artist books, Gottfried Bammes Animal Anatomy, Nancy Beiman Prepare to Board, Vilppu Drawing Manual, Vilppu Animal Drawing
and remember; you can't draw what you don't know
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