Hey there! I'm new here - well, I have been hanging around on and off, but I've finally dared to register
I am not a professional, but I got it into my head that I want to learn to draw, and I tend to be stubborn My goal is to one day be able to draw illustrations and things from my imagination. Right now there's a GIANT gap between my imaginative and referenced work... and actually, until a couple of months ago, I believed that I just didn't have the "talent" for imaginative work. I now believe that it is a skill that can be learned, and I'm determined to learn it.
I have been doing a bunch of studies since then (I only hope that I can post pictures yet... well, I'll try). I also have Loomis "Figure Drawing for all it's worth", but I have been told in another forum that I should stay away from books and theory for now and just do studies, preferably from life. Unfortunately I'm really really broke right now, so paying for a figure drawing course isn't an option, and getting someone to pose (let alone nude) isn't that easy either So pretty much all I've done recently is from picture reference... I thought that doing more studies definitely can't hurt, but now I feel pretty stuck. I'm getting *faster* all right, but I'm just not sure I'm getting *better* as well. Personally, I kind of liked alternating between the book and the referenced studies, because it kept me thinking about what I was doing, and when I'm just painting with a reference all the time, I tend to get too "mechanical"... I'm just not sure what is the right approach at my level, I have never had any sort of instruction or art education. So any tips on what my weaknesses are and what I should concentrate on to make my practice more focused would be really appreciated!
Obviously my focus is on learning to draw the human figure at the moment, but just to show you that I do practise other things on occasion, here's a couple of tree, animal and landscape studies (landscapes are probably my biggest weakness). And by the way, I plan to update this thread weekly every friday, hopefully with some different things every time.
Last edited by Olooriel; December 4th, 2012 at 11:53 AM.
So... another week is over, it's update time! Some of what I've been up to has actually been included in the post above (the last couple of speedpaints). I realised that I can't paint clouds, which is probably not really a surprise. All in all, I feel less stuck than I did in my first post two weeks ago - while I'm still not sure that the quality of my work has improved any, at least my increased speed has now started to feel like a definite improvement: I'm clearly getting faster at "seeing", noticing important details, noticing mistakes I've made, and knowing how to fix them. It's a good feeling, I like it
Consequently, I've increased the time I spend practising - apparently it's at least not a complete waste of time, and I can't get better fast enough anyway. I'm not sure my practice is as focused as it should be to be the most effective, but at least the variety of things I'm trying keeps things interesting and challenging. The only thing that bugs me a bit is that I haven't touched my Loomis since August (when I started practising seriously). Back then I didn't really do much either, just a failed attempt at drawing the figure in perspective and a couple of experiments with the different standards of proportion, just to get a feeling for the effect they have. I decided to show you those today (keep in mind they are a couple of months old) just to get some opinions on whether I should pick up the perspective studies next, or wait... I am of course aware that not all of these are realistic proportions. Back then I was told in another forum that I should leave the book aside and study what real people look like first before I try to construct and simplify from what I don't really know well enough yet, and that I would learn wrong things otherwise. I did some studies since, but I'm not sure that i feel more ready than before, or that I ever will... Loomis intimidates me with the sheer amount of things I don't know, but then again my usual approach to that would be to just start learning the hell out of that book. I can't stand the feeling that there's so much to learn in it, and I haven't even *started* yet...
Oh, and if anyone could tell me where I went wrong with that attempt at perspective before I try again, that would be really awesome!
Same head with shading and texture:
Last edited by Olooriel; December 2nd, 2012 at 08:43 AM.
Well, I have been continuing my studies this past week (some facial expressions, some big cats, one landscape) and in between all that, Sinix' design lab videos got me trying some character concepts and landscape thumbnails. Which largely failed, so that reminded me that instead of showing my latest studies, maybe I should show you why I've been doing only referenced studies and no work from imagination since I've started this sketchbook. I've mentioned the big gap between my studies and my imaginative work... I'm continually wondering if doing heaps of studies will ever help me close it at all, or if I should be actively practising drawing from imagination. On the other hand, I might hammer in the wrong way to do it? While my studies have doubtlessly improved over the last couple of years, my imaginative work still looks just the same as it did some years back - naive and childlike. In the landscapes, I am at least aware of what's missing - perspective, composition, an interesting focal point, a sense of scale. I just don't know how to pull it off. And with the characters, it's even worse somehow. They just fail in a very typical way for me, and I can't quite put my finger on it. So today I'll show a couple of those, a veritable hotchpotch of things that probably don't have anything in common besides being rubbish:
Speedpaint "Volcano" (really hate this one):
Speedpaint "Transport Vehicle":
Speedpaint "Burnt Land", I do at least have the excuse that Photoshop kept crashing while I was working on this:
Speedpaint "Insect", I did not intend it to look correct either in perspective or anatomy, but I should at least have tried making it look creepy (unfortunately I fail at that, too):
Speedpaint "Fireflies", hate that silhouette:
20 minute speedpaint "Desert Inhabitant", kind of like this one despite its obvious plainness:
Done as an experiment with a vegetable slice brush:
Done in Harmony while on the train with my ipad:
The bear and the arena were done from reference, but the figure was (obviously) not (and I know about the lighting problems, been meaning to fix that whenever I find out how to fix the anatomy as well):
Same character, same story, different style, slight reference used for the polevault pose:
The rest are a couple of more graphic or cartoony designs where I wanted to find out what i could do illustration-wise despite my lack of skills:
Last edited by Olooriel; November 30th, 2012 at 09:02 AM.
So... I missed an update last week, because I was sick in bed and didn't draw anything, and I certainly didn't feel like getting up just to post last Friday. Since then, I haven't been quite as active as I would have wanted, either, so I think I'll start this post with some older lineart practice and finish it with the handful of my newest studies.
Last edited by Olooriel; December 14th, 2012 at 03:17 PM.
@kevin_: I suppose by watch your saturation you mean I tend to paint too saturated? It's a common beginners problem, so I'm not surprised to hear it, but could you tell me which of my pictures in particular (other than that dragon, that is obvious even to me, lol) suffer from this problem? Would be really helpful, thanks!
Didn't get much done this week, but at least what I did was from life (and that's a first for me):
nice studies. keep it up! right now it's all about mileage. don't forget to draw from life too, it's important to get that dimension that's not available in photos. try to find a life drawing session nearby, it'll do you wonders! keep at it!
I know, I should have updated on friday. I was away from home for two days, and it completely ruined my practice routine. I promise to update more regularly. For now, have some embarrassing speedpaints instead:
You're doing great in the Spartan Camp! I also love the variety of studies, so much and you're improving a lot. I would advice doing more quick gestures (15-30 seconds) and studying Vilppu if you can, it will give your drawings/lines a dynamic sense. Keep up the good work
@e-nat: Thanks! Since I have to learn everything, I might as well vary my studies to keep it interesting It is hard to see improvement though, maybe it's just so slow and steady and you're so close to your own work, that you kind of get blind to the progress, I don't know. I have still had a lot of trouble with the 60 second gestures, but they were getting better last time, so maybe I'll go for a shorter time next. Thanks for recommending Vilppu, that method looks as if it might help me.
Two fast photo studies (1 hour for the landscape, 30 minutes for the beer glass), and some more Loomis.
Last edited by Olooriel; January 29th, 2013 at 11:10 AM.
Well. This was a pretty long absence, from painting as well as from this forum... I stopped my daily practice entirely, and haven't really drawn or painted much at all since February. I thought I would be fine just occasionally doing fanart as a hobby and _not_ striving to get better at painting anymore, but really, I'm not... I keep thinking how much better I could have gotten at this in this time if I stuck with it, but then again... I don't know. So, I might pick up the daily practice again for a month or two, just to at least finish a couple of things that I had started or planned. Probably no more than that, but who knows. So far, 'continue doing it just because' hasn't been a particularly good motivator...
Anyway, here's the bit of stuff I did this past half year. Portrait referenced from a photo by Markus Schwarze, tried to get his permission, but got no reply (he probably didn't even see my comment on that old picture, so unless I hear otherwise it's probably not a no and I'll show it here anyway - it was an attempt at painter originally, but my PC hated that program, so I finished it up in Artrage). Childrens proportions copied from Loomis, the lying lady was an attempt to turn a black and white photo into a coloured study, and some simple fanart stuff in digital ink.
So here's my recent stuff, mainly perspective practice. I figured out some things, but there's still a couple of problems I can see but can't fiigure out WTH I did wrong to make it come out this way... if someone who understands this sort of thing could tell me I'd be _very_ grateful!
Also, a couple of attempts at scaly skin texture. The top three are the last things I did a couple of months ago before I got so frustrated with it that I wanted to quit... complete failures at what I was trying to do (hint at the scales without actually painting every single one - yeah), but I figured I'd show them anyway. The left one is a quick one with an oval brush that actually looks kind of nice, the alligator leg is just painted with a chalk brush and actually my favourite. Well, guess I learned something.
I have been on the lookout for an alternative to Photoshop, so I've scribbled a bit in a trial version of Mischief earlier last week (didn't do as much as I had planned, because the program is still quite limited, and because I had to use my boyfriend's computer (mine couldn't handle it). I was very disappointed and frustrated with my first attempt, as I basically reverted to a standard girl figure I would have drawn exactly the same way 10 years ago... and I know that her eye is off, but I didn't even feel like fixing it. Then I scribbled a couple of reptiles, not meant to look pretty, just wanted to understand their body type - not sure if I actually _did_ learn something, certainly didn't produce anything worth looking at.
The third sketch was again Photoshop, and just made as a quick birthday gift voucher for a plane-loving collegue of my boyfriend. I thought I might as well make it my daily study, I've never drawn a plane before (the clouds are mostly copied from the skyscraper study, because I was lazy :-P)
For the final two, I went back to SAI. I rather like the program, but I haven't quite figured out how to paint in my usual stye with it yet. Both the landscape and the girl profile are from imagination.
Checked out the gesture tutorials of Proko and Sycra that someone recommended at another forum, and tried to apply the technique. Having a hard time drawing fluent lines, even with the stabilisation in SAI (the 2nd and 3rd one).
I also experimented a bit with a new painting style in SAI, something very colourful and simple that would work for childrens books or the like, but I abandoned the idea later. Anyway, the bird is from reference, the robot from imagination and originally intended for Illustration Friday (topic: power), but I didn't finish it on time. In the second version I tried to get a better motion and perspective, but ended up not really liking the result.
And finally, I corrected one of my earlier perspective attempts (hopefully) according to some comments I got on another forum. I also did a couple of basic exercises to practise drawing from the shoulder (with pencil) and to practise using keyboard shortcuts (with an english Photoshop and a german keyboard, I had never bothered figuring it out until now), but I'm not going to show you pages full of lines, scribbles, ovals, cubes and rectangles, nothing to crtitique there.