I recently returned to art after a hiatus, as I'm able to devote some considerable time to it now after a long time of being unable to do so. Given the spotty learning and bad habits I used to have (I walked that anime path that many others tread!) I've decided to try to discard everything I learned before as far as possible and start my learning from scratch with the right teachers. I'm armed with some great learning materials, including Loomis, Gurney, Hogarth, and a few others, many from recommendations I've seen here.
The problem is, there's so much to look at I don't know where to start! My goal is to create large scale illustrations including both character and environmental art. But I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the things I need to learn about between here and there, and I'm finding myself hopping from figure drawing to painting and colour studies to trying plants and environments and ending up wandering in so many different new directions I'm not getting anywhere!
I feel like I need some structure. Is there a logical progression from one topic to another that I'm missing? Have any of you created "learning plans" for yourself and has it helped you stay on track? How do others manage their learning process when there are so many important areas to learn about? Any other advice anyone can offer?
Attending a Figure Drawing /Painting Class or two in your local area would be my suggestion for some structure
Last edited by Charlie D; September 23rd, 2011 at 04:43 PM.
Learning to see
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lol I know what you mean about being overwhelmed by the things you have to learn! I don't really have a structure, but there is a list of fundamental skills, I look at my own work and decide on the few that need most work to work on first. I'd suggest the same, see where your weakest points are
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Do you have some classes near you, you can take? I know some people just need some structure and assignments to get themselves moving.
If you're more of the independent type.. like cloudcan ^ said, look at everything you do. What are you weaknesses?
For me, my weakness I feel is anatomy, so I have been incorporating more anatomy right now then anything else. It doesn't mean you're stuck doing one thing at a time.. maybe you suck at drawing hands, spend a week drawing hands everyday in your sketchbook..
But keep in mind, you're NOT going to grasp everything right away. Expect mistakes. Art is fun, enjoy it!
Well, since nobody has posted it, yet... might as well. Draw from life. ;-)...
Okay, I know exactly where you are coming from. Been there, done that (mid-40's... used to draw a lot in high school and then nothing until 6 years ago... was awful when I first started out).
So, here's what I did. First of all, I realized that I wanted to paint landscapes and realism. That was just what I was interested in. First step was to realize that my drawing ability seriously sucked. So, I would start drawing anything around my house... books, toys, tv, tissue boxes (simple objects and then progressed up to more complex shapes). Once I got used to drawing things around my house, I started going outside and drawing more complex landscapes outside.
Now, during this time, I was also interested in watercolors (now I do oils). So, while I was practicing my drawing, I was also learning about how to do watercolor paintings. Note that I haven't really said about doing a finished painting. I spent a lot of time in the beginning about learning the basics and learning my tools.
Once I got a decent grasp of my tools, I started to work on what I really wanted to paint: landscapes and abstract art. In this case, it was a matter of doing something, looking at it later, seeing the areas that I was weak on and then practicing more on that area.
So, I progress from simple to more complex. Learn the tools first and the basics first, then get comfortable with them so that you can produce what you want, then increase the complexity.
If you're really serious about structure there is always The Natural Way To Draw by Nicolaides, but if you can stick to that you're a better man than me (and a better artist I'm sure when you're done.)
As for myself, I've always let my failures be my guide. I think of something I want to draw, I give it a shot, I fail. Now I can look at that and see exactly where my biggest weakness is and so I start working on that with my motivation being, "If I can just get this figured out I can make that drawing work!"
I'm not sure doing a bit of everything is so bad you will need to do it at some point anyways. So I'd do some studies from the books you have, a bit of life drawing, and when you feel like having fun, plan and execute an illustration of the type you want to do. And finish it. This will give you several things:
-Planning an illo is different than doing studies and you need to practice that too.
-You will have a finished piece you can get crits on
-You have something you can date and store and pull out later to compare to your newer work
-You get to practice composition and color choices.
-Some people do so many studies, they freeze at the idea of doing an illustration.
I would split my illustrations between grayscale and color, because you learn different things from each. Remember, learning art is a long process, so chances are if you only do studies all the time and worry to much, it will suck all the fun out of it. Do studies, but also draw and paint things you like.
You've basically already said it, the first issue a beginner needs to realize is that they don't know what they need to study:
"Beliefs are rules for action"
"Knowledge is proven in action."
"It's use is it's meaning."
At the moment I'm doing little studies inbetween my artschool work. Works much better this way at the moment.
Studies, imagination, just remember to have fun!
Thank you to everyone who posted, there is some great advice here and I really appreciate it. Art school isn't an option (I've done university, and my degree was in 3D modelling and animation rather than traditional art, though some of the skills I learned have definite advantages). But life drawing classes are if I can find some locally and I will definitely be chasing that up.