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.
Assignment 1: Lines
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.
Assignment 2: Perspective
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
Last edited by yoitisi; February 1st, 2008 at 05:01 AM.
Hi I'm Arttorney. I've been an artoholic for over ten years now. I have one of the mentoring threads people drop out of. My name is Charles and in real life I am a 52 year old patent attorney. I do this for fun. I will be very pleasantly shocked if I ever make enough money in art to quit my day job.
arttorney, ixupi: Welcome I'll put up some exercises later tonight, as I need to get some dinner now...
Hi everybody, and thanks yoitisi very much for being our mentor !
I have a few equipment missing, prominently the marker and a scanner. I can probably go to use the scanner at school (might be a little problem on weekend).
Other than that, I am eager to learn and I think I have enough of the tools for starter
Most of those materials I have but about half of them are at my Arizona house. I will be sure to pick everything up the next time I go there (currently scheduled for Jan 25). I have an apartment in Pasadena now instead of living in hotel rooms so I can bring my drafting table and my other junk. I have a bunch of various size paper and bristol board, and a range of pencils with me. I have to buy fineliners anyway so I pick up whatever slack about paper when I am at Blick this evening. We have 11" x 17" (or something like that) here which is similar to A3.
I got a pad of 48.3 cm x 61 cm Layout bond here in my office, I know that.
Enrigo: Welcome As for the missing equipment, it is not necessary for you to buy anything, although I can recommend it. Shading as I'll show with markers is also possible with a simple HB Pencil. It'll take a bit more time though to it with the pencil. If you can scan at school it would be great, but making pictures with a camera is also an option.
Arttorney: Yeah the A3 size is just a guideline. As long as the size of the paper is around those measurements it's fine.
Figure I'd post the line exercises to keep life in the thread. I plan on tackling each assignment in both traditional and digital mediums. The reason being is simply because of a new Wacom Intuos 3 I recently recieved. I'd like to post both Yoitisi if you don't mind, but I only expect critique on whatever medium the assignment is in of course. Not trying to over work you. Just figured "the more the better."
By the way. Because of the scanner I have to use scanning bigger than A4 is kinda difficult. Any suggestions on how to get it to show up better? I tried applying pressure and tweaking contrast. Maybe just take photos of it in proper lighting?
The one night I don't sit by my computer and this thread gets started
Thanks yoitisi very much for being our mentor! Really appreciate that I got selected for this class.
Some words about me.
27 years old web programmer from Stockholm, Sweden. The main reason except the obvious interest in concept art is that I'm making a game with a bunch of my friends an I really like to contribute to the graphical concept part as well as the coding part.
I have most of the stuff that you recommended but I think I need to stack up on some of the materials. Going to the store today.
Ixupi: Good start already. As you have probably discovered by now, even a simple straight line isn't as simple as that. For your use of Photoshop, you can keep doing that if you like, but what I want to see is the traditional way. Drawing on a tablet is difficult for some these exercises like the 'star', because when you're looking at your screen you can't always see where you put down your pen and aiming becomes more difficult. The advantage is that line thickness is easier to achieve and there is this handy [shift] button of course (I saw that ) I don't have a big scanner myself, but the coming assignments will often involve smaller drawings so you can scan them in one by one. Making photo's of it is of course another option.
I added another student, but the class is really really full now. I appreciate so many people want to know what I've got to say . To the people that I couldn't include any more, keep following the thread, do the exercises yourselves and read my comments on the work in here if you want to learn.
I'm going to put up the next part in a couple of hours I think, so stay tuned. In the meantime, could everyone who signed up please post here to show he/she has seen this and to introduce him/herself to the rest?
A quick question. About the fine liners. The store I bought my stuff in didn't have the brand of fineliner you are using. Fineliners normally comes in different sizes rangeing from 0.05 to 1.0. Which size do you recommend?
I'm now 50€ poorer
Asmodie: The ones I use are 1.0. Anything smaller just buckles easier, or flattens when you apply too much pressure. The best way to keep the lines thin is by drawing with the 'edge' of the tip, so hold the fineliner at an angle while drawing.
I am glad that I have the chance to attend this thread, and thanks you again yoitisi. I think the first thing I will do is managing to find out where can I get those tools. Though I have a A3 sketchbook, there are a lot of grain on it. I'll give it a try anyway, but probably post what I will have done later.
Unsharpened: Welcome The tools I showed aren't necessary but might be usefull to have anyway, so don't overstretch your budget if you don't want to. Grainy paper is ok, just realise it will probably bleed a bit more.
Allright, I put up some more information. I guess some of it is blatantly obvious, but it is something for me to refer to in future drawings. I started to realise this is going to take me a while to set up, as I have to make example drawing to explain things. Please have a little patience
Onboard! - Hello to everyone else. Glad to have the opportunity.
I'm 26 year and a Marine Design Engineer from North England. I've been a fairly regular contributor with the IDW contests for a while now but I really want to improve my skills.
ah! thanks for the message yoitisi - i would have kept on living my life oblivious to all this going on /o\
about me, im 20 years old, a student at a local community college who is graduating in a month followed by a large dose of reality and questions
i'll try to buy what materials i don't have today (any philosophical differences between prisma markers and copics?)
Arttorney: If you prefer to work with dip-pens that's ok with me, although in my opinion for long straight lines these don't really work all that well (especially if you run out of ink half way down the line )
Legato: Welcome There is not significant difference between the two, although the colors and tones do vary quite a bit. It's mainly a difference in price and the fact that I personally think the new Letraset markers are rather ugly for a marker.
I think it's better post this one. One issue is that even if I plan to do it one page a day, my sketch book will soon be run off. So I am thinking about using newspaper.....LOL
Perspective. It is always how to create a proper landscape or scene bothers me, and I think practicing perspective does help a lot.
BTW some introduction about myself which I forgot to post. I am 27, and now I am currently studying master in design. I love the cleanness of ID, and I hope I can apply those into my drawing and painting.
I was considering taking part in a mentorship program for a long time now, and when Yoitisi decided to share his knowledge I just had to jump at the chance.
About me... I'm 28, raised between Europe and New York, and come from various creative backgrounds studies-wise. My main experience is in graphic design, which I've practiced for pretty much a decade since high school. Most of my knowledge is self-taught along with a slew of independent courses I've taken over the years in different areas that interested me. My primary formal education has been in Industrial Design. Beyond that, if it's creative in any way, I've probably dabbled in it. Consider me a jack-of-all-arts and master of none, which I'm looking to fix and partly why I'm here.
Yoitisi, I should be good on the materials you've asked for. The only thing is I'm used to prismacolor markers and have a few sets of them already, so I'll be relying on those until they dry. On which point, a small tip for everyone. Get yourself a large ziplock bag and keep your markers in it when you're not using them. It's a small trick to extend their lifespan that I learned from one of my old teachers.
I'll get started on the exercises later today and post as I complete them.
Unsharpened: Good to see you're doing it already As you see, the horizontal lines are actually quite hard to keep straight. The perspective drawings look ok, except for the one with the office building on the top right. The building stops above the horizon, so either we would see the bottom of the building (?) or the lower part is missing. I won't comment yet on the little Zigurat as I explained a couple of things about cubes and all only a minute ago.
form2function: Welcome and yeah, those ziplockers are usefull. I didn't photograph mine but I use them to take my markers with me.
I put up a real assignment, with a deadline and all. Check above. I'll add some more tomorrow or the day after to be handed in at the same time.
A few practice pieces for assignment #1.
Not sure whether there is any particular techinque to getting the best result for a straight line but often I find that I pivot on the elbow that keeps giving me slight curves. Verticle lines or those close to the verticle seem to be my worst especially when drawing the 'stars' where those seem to go the most off centre.
Edit, noticing that I've scanned these in sideways need to be rotated 90 CC.
Here are the evenings result.
I realized i really need to work on my line drawing skillz.
And the white gelpen is really nice to work with...hade to test all new stuff i bought
its great to know there's people to work with rather than compete with - which seems all to common in youths.
I'm 21 and eager to learn together with people, for I find it the best way to actually learn by getting constant feedback on ones work. Yoitisi I think I speak for everyone when I say, we appriciate you!
Now with that out of the way I guess I have some questions. Having just a computer and a tablet to work with for now I decided to get things going with the straight lines exercise. I know you want this to be done the traditional way - but with no paper/camera/scanner nearby for the moment I can't just sit and roll my thumbs.
As you said there's the huge issue of accuracy when you draw a line between two points on the computer since you don't see the tablet and screen at the same time. I don't think there's a way around this but the almighty ctrl-z feature and redo the line until you get it right. I don't know if you find this method 'acceptable' in any way, but I believe I'm achieving the purpose of the exercise (correct me if I'm wrong) to train the controle of my arm and wrist.
I've got a question conserning the rotation of paper for when I get some. I find it a lot easier drawing horizontal lines from left to right than anything else, Would it be wrong rotate the paper to achieve the result of the left to right motion? Is the exercise to train the overall controle of the arm and wrist rather than trying to perfect the 'one' line?
And when you think you're getting a hold of this how many times a week/month/year would it be necessary to redo them, every once in a while? everytime before drawing in general (warmup thingie), is there a pointer for this or is it just important now in the beginning to grasp certain movements?
Hope all these mindless questions doesn't bother you too much. Anyway, its great to be here and I'll try to get some pens and paper ASAP.
Over and out!
I'm getting a hang of drawing straight lines, but getting them on target is pretty hard. I think I need to do loads of the line exercise
That's just my own observation from trying different methods, Yoitisi will hopefully have more to say on that.
Edit: Good a time as any to point out my weird talent and curse for starting off new thread pages...
For straight lines you have to pivot on your elbow or pretty long lines use your whole arm.
If you pivot on your elbow you have a slight curve obviously but you have to correct that curve along the way you know. Watch scott robertson's dvds and you will see that you can pull of a perfect straight line while pivoting on you'r elbow. Its a matter of confidence and practice.
Just keep connecting 2 dots and put them further apart each time.
Lez: Hmm try to get pencils and paper I suggest. Doing it in PS does train your hand allright, it's just that later on when things get messy, you will start using the Ctrl-Alt-Z more and more. Not only do I want you to make nice drawings, I want you to learn that one line in the wrong direction doesn't immediately ruin your drawing. Sometimes it even makes it more lively. Turning the paper is tempting, but yes this is basically about getting to control your arm movements. This will be less effective if you keep turning the paper. It will also cause you to mess up the proportions and perspective of your drawing if you don't watch it closely, so for now don't turn your paper
Legato: You're right, it will become a bit messy in the end I'll ask Davi what the options are, and otherwise I'll copy my assignments post into a new separate thread.
form2function, Epias: Pretty much straight on. Depending on how long the line has to be, I either use my elbow or my whole arm. The only thing it really requires is practice. To answer an earlier question, the practices I put up are a good way to keep practicing straight lines. I sometimes discover that my lines start getting sloppy, and then I take extra care to keep them nice and straight when drawing.
For the people who already posted some perspective drawings, take care to keep them transparent: draw all the lines, even those you cannot see.
As you might have noticed, we now have our own spot in the Sub-Forums thanks to Davi.
However, it will take me a while to get everything in order so I must ask you all to stop posting in this thread for a little while until I've set things up properly. If you've got burning questions, PM me. I'll try to make some time this evening to get the show on the road. It will allow for a better overview of the assignments and basically makes things less messy.
Edit: Thread is open again for assignment 1 & 2
Last edited by yoitisi; January 17th, 2008 at 04:43 PM.