Thanks, Nexuun, that does look like a hugely useful thread. Will go read through it later today after work. Even just scanning through the illustrations I see the guy already turns some commonly accepted notions on their head, e.g. he seems to be opposed to the Loomis way of constructing a head, or at least using that way right in the beginning. I have noticed this: whenever I try such construction techniques they seem to completely kill the idea I had in the first place. But let me go read through there first before making further comments.
In the meantime borrowed a simple cartoon book from the library: "Cartooning for beginners," by one Peter Maddox. It is so simple I suspect it may actually have been written with children in mind. Good! Just what I need to regain my sense of fun. I have already made some progress into it and will post some of the silly nonsense here in due course. :-)
A saddle-billed stork copied from a field guide and "cartoonified" for use on a handmade greeting card (I now and then go through a phase of making such cards):
A sheet of cartoonish heads. Some copied form the cartoon book I referred to previously, some from imagination, and the one below left copied after Hergé:
All rather humble and once again showed me just how limited my visual imagination is at the moment. I'm sure it was actually better when I was twelve! This is what twenty years of drawing from nothing but reference or life did to me. :-)
If your visualization or imagination is weak, I recommend reading fantasy or sci-fi novels. Or alternatively, think about novels you've read about in the past! Every time before you go to sleep, think about the characters in the book, try to visualize the settings. I've found that we all retain visual information that we can recall fairly easily. When we want to draw a castle, don't think "castle." Think Tolkien, or any other author you've read that had castles in their book. This is actually something that Feng Zhu talked about in his "visual library" video. Seek to understand how things work, not just their visuals. They will mean more to you that way, and you'll be able to visualize them and draw them easier. Students who previously immersed themselves in games, books, movies, etc. had an advantage over the students who didn't! If you wanna draw creatures look at some creature art, too http://www.creaturespot.com/. Inspiration is golden. Also, going cold turkey with imagination is difficult. I used to do a lot of drawing of copies and when I tried to draw from imagination I was really disappointed. Try to work with some kind of reference, but make the final drawing completely incomparable to the reference you had. Like, draw a coffee mug, but then turn it into a hand-cannon! I believe in you man!
More cartoonish faces and expressions.
Cartoonified version of my friends' pets; they claim that they recognize them, but perhaps they are just being kind:
More studies of expressions, and a sketch after Uderzo. I keep on finding it immensely difficult to do this sort of thing without reference, as simple as such studies are. Perhaps it will improve with practice. Quite a bit of fun anyway. :-)
Nope, I don't really have the skills to pull this off. I'll have to redraw this, although by the time I can make a proper job of it, one of the two composers involved will have fallen into obscurity and the joke won't be funny anymore...
Schematic heads based on examples in a book titled "Figure drawing without a model," by one Ron Tiner. I have had it for decades and hardly glanced at it, but it is actually a rather nice book. I wonder how many thousands of these I'll have to draw before I even begin to understand three-dimensional form though...
I tried to work from Tiner's book many years ago but had little time (I was working, and studying part-time for a B degree in biology at the time, AND simultaneously trying to turn myself into Beethoven) and seemed not to be making any progress so I kind of gave up on it. That was long before I realized just how much study even very talented people have to put in before they make much progress, let alone non-talented ones such as myself.
I made two errors. Firstly, I was in way too much of a hurry to get beyond these schematic stick figures to all the other exciting-looking stuff in his book, so I never got any grounding in basics. Secondly, even with these figures, I relied too much on imagination alone. What with my very undeveloped visual imagination, I couldn't really come up with any poses I wanted the figures in, so I didn't make much progress. Whenever I tried to draw such figures I ended up just sitting there, stuck.
It was a stupid error because the world is filled with magazines and newspapers and comic books full of figures in various states of action and inaction. This time round I just looked in a Tintin comic to see examples of poses to "skeletonize" with Tiner stick figures (which are essentially the same thing as Loomis stick figures.) But once again, I guess I'll have to do gazillions of these before I'll get anywhere with it. I seem to have huge difficulties understanding three-dimensional structure - up to now, my drawings have almost invariably tended to be attempts to copy contours, a la Betty Edwards. It has perhaps become something of a bad habit, that is going to take a lot of work to unlearn.
Will have to see if I can keep it up. As usual I am in the same boat as Morpheus: time is always against me.
Last edited by blogmatix; October 30th, 2012 at 02:35 PM.
A sketch after a photo of an emaciated man that I found on the web. A somewhat grisly exercise, but such photos help one to see the skeleton inside a living body!
By drawing only these 3 objects, you're breaking the image down into the simplest forms and will prevent you from drawing contours.
Once you've been doing this for 3 - 6 months everyday, I guarantee you won't copy contours blindly any more.
Get some magazines / newspapers, either construct on top of those images, or, on a clean sheet of paper, draw the cubes / cylinders / spheres that makes them up.
No anatomy, no proportion, no contour, no shading. Just focus on these 3 shapes as if they're all there is to art.
The last few images you posted are quite impressive compared to the previous pages!
It is a very good idea to spend some time breaking my previous habit. It will be frustrating, because it will mean I will not be producing any finished drawing for a while. And it will be an uphill battle - I know from experience that whenever I try to analyze a thing I draw, e.g. trying to imagine it inside a box in correct perspective, my drawing tends to come out all out of proportion and worse than if I just eyeball it. This happened with my emaciated man too: I was trying to imagine it as stick-and-ball figure, and the shapes and proportions came out all wrong. But I was pleasantly surprised to see that the result after all wasn't too bad looking.
If memory serves, you actually had that exact same problem. Nevertheless, it is a process worth going through because you do eventually manage the trick and end up a more solid draftsman. As always, your sketchbook serves as example and inspiration to me. :-)
Well at a point of time all I drew was boxes and spheres, to practice form. This guy is who got me doing it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ektQP...ure=plpp_video
and then I also started to read vilppu, and that only further increased my understanding of form. So I'd watch moatddtutorials videos if you want to get better with form. http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1108B179C158EA69
I believe that videos are equally as important as books, because it's a much closer feeling to being "taught." Vilppu and moatd have very similar exercises; I might as well say that moatd probably learned a bit from vilppu as well. Good luck with these, and this is just what I recommend, you don't have to do it.
And for post #156, really watch the proportions. The center of the head is a point right below the browline. Right now you have all the features condensed to the bottom half of the head. Though it appears you have done studies that show this exact same thing I had said, so next time, you'll know what to do.
And don't worry about making mistakes! I make em all the time. You should be worried when you aren't making mistakes, because then you aren't working on hard enough problems. And you really are getting the expressions down nicely for your cartoons! That will help you out when you want to give birth to characters that feel alive. Keep giving your drawings life man...that's the way. Keep at it!
I wouldn't worry too much about post #156. The high head was deliberate, in an attempt to caricature Justin Bieber's big hair. But I kind of failed to recognizably capture his likeness, which made the joke fall flat. The whole thing is a parody of this portrait of Beethoven:
I'll go take a look at those videos. Unfortunately I have a cap on my data and cannot watch all that much in the way of online videos.
My contribution for the international self-portrait day thread. I wish I had time for a few more attempts; this oje's a bit rough. And the camera didn't pick up the darks in the shaded areas of the face, so now they show too light.
I should do this more often. :-)
A skeleton drawn from a children's encyclopedia. And sketches of hands. I need much practice with hands.
Ah, it's so cool to see all the selfportraits around from yesterday =) They're such a good exercise. You really should stick to your words and do them more often I like your impression there.
And as some people mentioned before me... do the box-thing. Draw all the simple geometric forms, turn them around in perspective until you really understand how they work in space. I always thought that this couldn't be so important and difficult, but I learned to know it better. I struggled to much to construct complex subjects like heads. It's like first things first. You have to know the basic stuff before you can go on. At first it's really not the fun but like many other things, its going to be better if you feel the improvement.
And use construction for everything - at least in the beginning. It helps a lot to find planes and get a feeling for masses. So even the evil hand will become simpler if you do life drawings from them.
Valyavande: Thanks for the comments. Your own sketchbook is quite awesome, and an inspiration (and an object of envy - I am old enough to be your father. )
I'll see what I can do. I have a job and a life, and not nearly as much time for drawing as I would have liked. Fortunately, my long adventure with still life has given me an appreciation for the beauty of seemingly simple things, so I don't mind the idea of doing simple shapes. In fact, I find them quite a challenge: how to draw an egg shape in three-quarter view, from imagination, for example! Considering how much an egg resembles a rib cage, it is by no means a trivial exercise, I would think.
Hands I do mostly simply from my own hand, except my hand isn't quite a deformed as that. :-) But I am determined to get out of my comfort zone a bit, and focus specifically on the things that I find difficult, rather than get comfortable with the things that are easy.
Thanks again for the comments.
Rapid sketches of the axial skeleton. I'll have to simplify even more - I can't make head or tails (no pun intended) of the three-dimensional structure. Also seem to have a habit of making the head way too small! Perhaps this would be a good time to go study the proportions of the skull, rib cage and pelvis. The latter is so complex I can't work out what it looks like when viewed from anywhere other than the front. I should consider robbing a grave to see if I can find a pelvis to study from various angles... :-)
Quick sketches done at work today during a meeting. Mostly from imagination, which showed me how much I have to learn about the structure of the hand!
I have an old book with lots of nudes in various poses. They come in handy to serve as models to turn into stick figures. I think I'll do plenty more of these. They seem to be useful to help me work out the basic structure of the body.
I am really happy to see you still drawing, and that you found a new resolve which seems to make you happier to draw things. I think a perfect book for you would be "Fun With A Pencil" by Andrew Loomis. It combines cartooning with form studies and I think that is what you would like to do?
But you are right: it may just be a nice book to work through. I rather like the lighter, informal cartoon style (as I may have noted before, one of my personal great heroes is Hergé, creator of the Tintin comics). I am way too impatient for illusionistic realism, I think, and have sort of given up on it. I have been looking through "Figure drawing without a model" by Ron Tiner as well - it's a pretty neat book, full of all manner of handy tips and tricks, and very inspirational sketches.
But let me get straight back to drawing... :-)
Thanks for the comments!
The large stick figure is a "skeletonization" of a reference photo; the rest just exploratory doodles from imagination.
Edit: I should perhaps add that I also count Japanese woodblock prints among my inspirations, eg. Hokusai and Hiroshige. Thus I follow the three Hs: Hergé, Hokusai and Hiroshige. :-)
Oh, and another Japanese master whose work everyone should go Google: Hiroshi Yoshida. Yet another H!
I also enjoy some Chinese brush paintings. Qi Baishi and Xu Beihong come to mind.
What all the years of drawing still life taught me:
1. A little bit about form, light and shade.
2. I am really not all that much into illusionistic realism, as deeply as I respect it.
Last edited by blogmatix; November 9th, 2012 at 02:04 PM. Reason: To add yet more pseudo-philosophy
Haven't had time to draw for a day or two. Except for this quick sketch of a pair of lens-less spectacles that have been lying around at work.
Hmm, getting the two sides to be precise mirror images of each other takes some doing... :-)
Last edited by blogmatix; November 9th, 2012 at 01:56 PM. Reason: Typos, damn typos...
Working from a reference photo, instead of attempting to just copy, I tried to analyze the form, soon discovering that it is easier said than done. E.g. I found that I can for the life of me not picture a skull in any orientations other than the ones usually depicted. I made a quick sketch from reference, then tried again; my next attempt (bottom right) looked a bit better, bit is still badly deformed. I may be biting off more than I can chew: it might be a good idea to try figures in simpler poses first, before attempting discuss throwers or contortionists. :-)