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Hey guys I'm encountering a few problems with drawing and I need some advice. In the past year when I drew from life and reference, I drew based on sighting and comparing angles because I was taught to do that in art class. Most of the time we used a grid and the result was good, but now I feel like I was just mindlessly copying. I haven't learned a thing because I still suck when I don't have those tools to help me! I stopped using that method and now I'm using a constructive approach by blocking in the forms with geometric objects before adding in details which is a similar method I use for drawing from imagination.
The first problem is getting the placement of the forms. I usually have to keep erasing and redrawing them in order to get them right. Sometimes it takes me half an hour to block in the object, sometimes I get lucky and it only takes a couple of minutes. The next problem is building the details on the forms. By the time I get to this stage the paper is really messy due to all the stray lines from the first stage. It's hard to see things and I spend hours cleaning up my mistakes. After all of those hours the result is usually hit or miss and if I try to do something within a time limit (say a 15-30 minute figure drawing) it's usually horrible! Add the fact people and animals can't stay still for very long and a flat or inaccurate drawing usually results because I rush to get things done on time.
I don't want to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again by mindlessly copying stuff or using bad techniques. It would be great to know if I'm at least going in the right direction this time around.. These are some of my recent drawings using the construction approach. I tried to avoid copying and took my time to think about them in 3D space.
The tank was from photo reference (from here) I set a time limit so I would be forced to focus on forms instead of details. The glass was from life and took 45 mins (way too long for something simple!) The figure drawing is from my 4th life drawing class and only took me 5 mins. I have no idea how I finished it in that time! This is what I mean by hit or miss, sometimes I can get things to look right in a short time, but most of the time it takes longer. Most of my 30 minute poses are worse than this!
Any advice like what I'm doing right, what I'm doing wrong and what I should do to improve (like exercises) is appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to read this post.
Last edited by hellfiresniper; February 6th, 2010 at 08:37 PM.
You should get familiar with basic shapes, until it becomes somewhat of a second nature. Here's a website I picked up at random:
Make some 1 minute poses where you'll just layout the basic shape/skeleton and simply focus on getting the pose and proportions right. We had to do a lot of them in my animation program so when I got my first life drawing class (it was mixed with fine arts and design programs) well I kicked everyone else's butts... big time! Hence why I strongly suggest you do the same It'll give you more confidence in your strokes and help you pick up the speed.
Try using a 2H pencil, with light strokes. Then, use a regular HB pencil to highlight deep folds, volumes or elements of interest; Like that, you won't need as much erasing and your page will be cleaner.
Also consider buying a tablet of recycled paper (the ugly, cheap ones) and warm up before each drawing session by doing a couple of pages of circles a little bigger then a 25cent. Don't put much effort into them, if they look like a square or your aunt's face, just circle around and around until it looks more or less the way it should. Keep your hand loose and don't apply to much pressure! We don't want to strain our hand here; we want to loosen it up before you get to the real drawings. It's a good and easy warm up exercise
Do the circle things BEFORE drawing rather then as a "get better" exercise, it's more of a warm up... Ever noticed your hand got better after an hour or two of doodling? Basically, be crappy when drawing circles instead of being crappy when you start working on the important stuff