Changed the name of the thread so it fits within its new environment. In order not to lose any information, I'll keep the rest of the thread as it was. You can still post your results from the first two practices in here. I'll put up a new thread for the 3rd though.
This thread is for the first two assignment I posted, but since they didn't have to be handed in and served purely as a practice, this thread contains both of them.
As said, we'll start with the very basics. These first couple of exercises are very important though, as they form the start of what is to come.
The first thing I want you to do is start practising drawing straight lines without a ruler. I can immediately see when people start using a ruler, and although it is a very usefull tool at times I don't want to see it yet. Practising straight lines might sound dull, but it improves several things you might not immediately realise.
The most important thing is it simply trains your control over your own arm and wrist movements. The more you do it, the better your control will be. This will also improve the 'confidence' of your lines, something you;ll develop naturally after a while if all goes well. A third effect is that it will train the eye, as long straight lines are not always easy, getting them from a certain point A to a point B is even more difficult. Training is key, so I suggest you keep practising the following exercises for now.
Allright, now for the exercises. The first thing I want you to do is to take a page of A3 format paper and start by drawing two horizontal lines at the top of it, some 10 cm apart. Then, start drawing straight vertical lines between those lines, as much as fit on the width of your page. Your basic training in drawing long straigth lines.
Then, draw two horizontal lines again on the remainder of the page with as much space between them as is left, place a couple of dots on each line and start to connect them randomly. This is the A to B part of drawing straight lines, and you might find it helpful to first draw the line you want to put on the paper a couple of times in the air to get the direction.
Basically, the trick for drawing straight lines is to start using your whole arm when drawing instead of your wrist or elbow. Also, don't grab your pen or pencil to close to the point, as this will often make you press to hard on the paper and start drawing from the wrist again.
See the figure below for an example (on scale )
The second practicing example is to draw the following 'star'. Start by drawing one line, draw a second trough it at an angle and repeat this process until you have a star. Make sure all the lines pass through the same point, it trains your accuracy. The important thing is to do this without turning the paper, as you will find out some lines are more difficult to draw than others. For me, as a lefty, the line from A to B is the easiest and most natural to do while the line from C to D is way harder and goes often wrong. To counter this I turn the page a lot when drawing things, but for now I ask you not to do it because it makes this practice less effective.
Below are some things to consider when doing the above practices. The first is to show how to draw the lines and how not to. Draw lines in one go, even if this means you have to do it twice over. It'll often still read better than the line next to it, which is build up out of small pieces of lines. Especially if you need to make complicated constructions, which we will do later on, the second line will easily make your image full of thick lines that make it unreadable and crude.
The second image is to show what different line wheights you can get by simply changing the amount of pressure you put behind the strokes. For the real thin ones, my fineliner barely touched the page, while for the real thick ones I pressed harder to get more ink on the page. All those lines come from the same fineliner.
You don't have to put those exercises up here actually, as they are just practice for yourselves. You may if you want, but tomorrow I'll put up something I do want you to post here which will show me how well you took in the exercises from above anyway. I encourage you to do them regularly the first week or so, as it will prove very usefull later on if you got this down.
Next part is perspective. I assume most of the basics are known, but I will mention them nonetheless as these first assignments will be something for me to point at later on.
Perspective is basically right in front of your eyes. Look at anything and you'll see it. However, you might not realise what you actually are seeing, because the human brain doesn't think in such abstract rules as shown here. So, where to start. Well, one of the basics is the horizon. Together with vanishing points, these form the basis of perspective theory.
The first image on the top left shows where the horizon in most of the cases you'll encounter is in a photograph or drawing: at eye-height. I put it at 1,7 meters (I have no idea what it is in a non-metric system, I'm sorry) because that is about the average height of a human being. The vanishing point here is right in front of you. The closer an object is to you, the bigger it appears. Check the humans and lantern poles, they all have corresponding points on a line from the vanishing point towards the viewer. Something else that happens is foreshortening, which I will explain in a minute.
The second drawing on the top right shows actually the same, I just made a blockshape on the guidelines instead of a row of lantern posts. Also included a fence, human and some clouds and there you have a simple environment. This type of perspective is called 1-point perspective.
The third image on the bottom left is called 2-points perspective. The basic principle is the same, except that we are now looking at a block shape thats twisted so that we don't look at just the front anymore, but actually see three sides of it. Instead of using one vanishing point, two vanishing points are used. They're still on the horizon, but you're free to choose how far they are from each other and from the middle (except that one has to be to the right of the middle or in the middle, and the other has to be to the left of the middle or in the middle -both in the middle is 1-point perspective again ) This type of perspective is mostly used for ID drawings, as well as a whole range of other types of art. Realise though, that it still is a simplyfication of reality, as I'll show in the next image.
The last image on the bottom right shows perspective more close to reality. Instead of just two points on the horizon, there are also two other points of perpective on the vertical line through the middle of your eyesight. This might sound and look weird, because there is something happening where the vertical lines of the block above the horizon and the one below it connect with each other. Instead of a nice straight vertical line, these lines should actually be curves! Why don't we draw it like that you might wonder? Well, because our eyes are set in a horizontal line we tend to see the perspective in horizontal lines better than the perspective in vertical lines. While these lines should be curved, we represent them with vertical lines in 2d drawings because it simply looks better and more realistic (weird but true, this is one of those short-cuts). In photographs you can sometimes see these vertical lines become curved above and below the horizon, but nowadays most cameras have something to counter this effect.
Edit: Actually, there's a lot more to that last perspective than I tell here, check out this link: Perspective Tutorial
However, the name might already tell you something, we do sometimes use a 3-points perspective. This is best visible in photographs taken out of a helicopter above a big city, where the third vanishing point theory is very clearly visible. This is often used to make the product you draw appear to be really huge (large buildings etc) or to give it a bit more dynamic feel (often used in automotive drawings or anything with some speed). For now, we will not use this though.
Should you always draw a horizon and vanishing points for your drawing to be right? The answer is no, because quite often the object is quite small and doesn't look right if you draw it with much perspective. I put the above up so you have a reminder of the basic idea of perspective. The image below is what often works well enough.
As you can see, there is some perspective going on here while I didn't draw any vanishing points or horizon. As long as you imagine there being a vanishing point somewhere on the horizon and realize that all the lines have to converge to that point you should do fine without them. I used the a sort of mathematic annotation here (the arrows on the lines) to show which lines go to the same vanishing point. Note that I didn't use a third vanishing point, all vertical lines stay vertical. Also, I draw the block completely transparent, meaning you can actually see all the lines that make up the shape. This is very important, because it provides information for any further constuction lines.
I suggest you experiment a bit with these perspective drawings, so you get familiar with them. Draw a couple of those block shapes for example. I still have to put up a real assignment I'm afraid