i'm tryin to learn how to draw realistically. surprisingly, every picture i have drawn ever has come from comic book/video game/anime-ish works, and really, i have never studied anatomy or anything. so, in order to try and better myself, im making myself learn. bought some anatomy books and such. also, i never drew with drawing pencils before. i've always used a mechanical .5 lead. so, i went out and bought a few, and boy it sure does feel different.
anways, i tried to draw 2 nude female figures pretty quickly (under 10 minutes). i would like some crits and some help. i found it most difficult trying to shade with these pencils. can you tell me some helpful tips and techniques for getting better shading? also, i found it very difficult to shad the subtle areas, such as the neck area with the different tendons and such, and around the butt, etc. all the subtle shadows that i don't really know how to do subtely. doing the eyelashes on the girl on the right was a pain too because they totally look unrealistic. any hints on any technique types things, i will totally appreciate.
any comments at all would help. also, here are the links for the internet references i used:
but it all will be undone, and nothing built under the sun will ever stand before the endless march of sand
Part of the problem is that you can't really learn to draw the figure from photographs.
That said, I wouldn't worry about adding value (what you call 'shading') until you're comfortable with proportion. If your proportions are off, your drawing will look off no matter how much time you spend with the value.
Basically, you want to be able to capture the figure with only lines at first. You should be able to suggest a 3d form with only lines. Also, don't be afraid to draw 'inside' the figure; that is, you'll want some structural lines that show the angle of the shoulders, the spine, and the hips (at the very least). Plus maybe a cross-contour line here or there (those are lines that go "across" the form, suggesting its shape; e.g., on a ball you have the a circle that shows the ball's 'edge' and then you can add a line that goes 'across' the ball that shows the ball is round). Don't be afraid to draw loosely; you basically want to capture these things quickly and without 'thinking' about it. If you stop and think 'these are the shoulders; this is the back' then you won't draw what you see; you'll draw what you think you see.
Also, try varying your lines a bit. Right now, you have a dark line going around every part of the figure. That will immediately flatten your drawing (which you don't want if your goal is to draw realistically). A simple guideline to follow is that if you want things to appear closer to you, you use a darker line. Conversely, use a lighter line the further back you want things to be.
Again, I don't think drawing from photographs will help you draw more realistically. The skill of drawing from life is quite different. If there's a community college near you, try taking a drawing class there. At the end of that (assuming it's a good teacher) you'll be MILES ahead of where you are now.
What he said...
And in addition, there's nothing wrong with using a .5 mechanical pencil to draw with. If it's what you're comfortable with, then use it. 'Drawing' Pencils aren't going to help give you a better drawing. The only real difference between the two is that it's sometimes easier to draw a line with more weight when using a traditional pencil.
It's just like choosing what kind of paints you want to paint with. Some people are more comfortable with Oils than they are with Acrylics.
Amen, amen. Photos are great when you already know how to draw well, but not for learning.
For you I would suggest (as has already been said), go inside the forms with lines that help define them. Think of it almost as if you're drawing the wireframe of a 3d model, or painting gridlines on the figure. Don't think about light and shadow, and (forgive me danteort, but I'm just talking about basic drawing here, not the human form specifically) don't even worry that much about proportion at this stage (you're close enough now, and when you get to it you'll be coming up with your own proportions anyway).
Keep building up those form lines, and soon you'll be able to pick out the important ones, and your line work will get more and more economical. Soon you'll learn how little info it takes to get the job done, but you can't jump right to that from where you are.