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    Default Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    When I was a little guy, I used to draw all the time. I was constantly scrounging for paper and pencils and filling notebook after notebook with thousands of sketches. I thought I was pretty good!

    And then, when I was fourteen, I met THE INTERNET. And I was all, "Oh god, these people all draw so much better than me. I should GIVE UP and start writing instead because it'll be harder for people to tell how much my writing sucks!"

    Seven years later, I realise that was the single dumbest decision I ever made.

    So here I am. I'm gonna learn to draw again. From scratch. And I'm gonna put it on the Internet to make sure I don't chicken out or give up.

    My current art status is roughly 14-year old levels. I know literally nothing about anything. I don't know what shading or cross hatching is, I know you're supposed to do a circle with lines through it but I don't know why, and I find particular difficulty with proportions. I also tend to overdetail what should be simple designs.

    I have just now purchased a set of decent pencils and erasers. My challenge is to fill an A4 page with drawings every single day - doesn't matter with what, as long as it happens. I'll post pictures when I have the time, and HOPEFULLY someday they won't cause physical pain to look at.

    So, playgrounders! Please, please, please give me whatever advice you can on how to do stuff. How does one art? What should one do to stop failing at art? What are techniques and pitfalls and the hidden secrets that move pictures out of the uncanny valley? Anything you can tell me, please tell me!

    Also, I'm tossing around trying a range of styles and subject matter, so if anyone is fine with having their ideas drawn noobishly, toss them into the ring.
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2011-05-22 at 05:09 AM.
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    Just draw, man, and keep drawing. Doesn't matter what or how much, just keep going. Keep all your work and look at it too. Look at why you don't like and experiment with changing it. At the end of the day you are drawing for one person and one person only: the customer yourself. So do what you like and have fun doing it. You only fail if you tell yourself you are failing- ignore the haters and keep on drawing.

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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    Well, show us what you got and we'll tell you what needs to change.

    (First tip's free: Pose figures/people/animals out beforehand with some basic lines so you know what goes where and how long it is. That helps a lot to keep a focus on the overall picture.)

    A full A4 page is quite a task you're going for here. I approve.

    Edit: "ignore the haters"? Preemptive kneejerk reaction?

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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    Sweet! I'll watch this and help you with what little I can.
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    Go to a store and buy a 2B pencil. Don't buy an eraser. If you already own an eraser, throw it out. A sketchbook would do you well; cartridge paper is not fit for drawing on.
    Go life drawing. There are probably life drawing sessions held at an art school. If the model is naked, that's how it's supposed to be. The model will not be attractive, so don't worry about being distracted. This is the part where you learn anatomy; anatomy is important.
    For proper drawing technique, don't hold the pencil like a pen, but hold it loosely in a horizontal position from above, and draw with the side of the lead. Use your entire arm to draw, not just the wrist. This will help you avoid carpal tunnel and more importantly, smudging. It's also harder to get detail right, which, when combined with the lack of eraser, will mean you don't get hung up on it.
    Draw from real objects rather than pictures. Never ever trace. Always keep linear perspective in mind if you're drawing objects with depth.
    Don't ignore the haters. Succeeding will spite them, which is what you want, because they deserve it.
    A single A4 is a little small, considering. You always, always want to draw as large as you can. An A4 sheet can fit, at most, two full bodies, and even that gets cramped.
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    Don't ignore the haters.
    Don't you mean: ignore them, keep working and succeed?

    Also, my nonprofessional advice, don't give up on a drawing, and try not to draw the same thing too soon after you have done so. Experiment on different subjects poses. Come back to them later.
    Currently playing a "blind" (Miraluka) sniper in a Star Wars SAGA Edition RP

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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    Thanks for the suggestions so far! Flickerdart, you described every mistake I currently make with embarassing accuracy.

    Day 1, Sketch 1: Ambitious Much?

    I'm going to open with me trying to do something that's absolutely beyond my reach and go for a lifelike drawing. I'll try this same picture again in a year's time and see where it gets me.

    Model:

    Spoiler
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    Finished sketch:

    Spoiler
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    Wrong in a lot of ways, but less hideous than it could have been!

    Time taken: 1 1/2 hours
    Materials used: 2B, HB Pencils
    Music: Star Fox Adventures Fossil's Oasis OC ReMix
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    1. The hair would look a lot less weird without the straight border line.

    2. Make the zipper actually resemble a zipper.

    That should improve the image a bit

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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bayar View Post
    1. The hair would look a lot less weird without the straight border line.
    You're right. I'll make a note of that in the future.

    2. Make the zipper actually resemble a zipper.

    That should improve the image a bit
    I was focused on getting the face right. Clothing, particularly rumpled clothing, is a challenge for another day!
    To improve is to change
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    Day 2, Sketch 1: Disapproval

    I'm posting this after midnight today because I'm out all day tomorrow.

    This one was mostly getting the feel for these different pencil types and shading techniques. I'm trying to learn how to make two darkly shaded areas visually distinct - anyone got any tips? I tried layering HB over 4B for the hat brim.

    Model:

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    Finished sketch:

    Spoiler
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    Time taken: 1 1/2 hours
    Materials used: 6B, 4B 2B, HB Pencils
    Music: The Stars Will Aid Her Escape
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    1st drawing- Someone already mentioned the hair, but the nose in the picture curves up, not down. Unless you covered part of it with hair, but that's also not in the picture.

    2nd drawing- The outside edge of his face should be closer to his eye. You draw your eyes almost like I do.

    OhmygoodnessIlovethatsecondsong
    Last edited by CrimsonAngel; 2011-05-22 at 08:32 AM.
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    For proper drawing technique, don't hold the pencil like a pen, but hold it loosely in a horizontal position from above, and draw with the side of the lead. Use your entire arm to draw, not just the wrist. This will help you avoid carpal tunnel and more importantly, smudging. It's also harder to get detail right, which, when combined with the lack of eraser, will mean you don't get hung up on it.
    More specifically, you might want to try these grips and check which one is best for you.
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    Flickerdart, your post gave more information on drawing than the whole year of my Higher Art course (one of the reasons I'm not continuing to Advanced Higher next year, others being that it apparently takes commitment I can't be bothered to give and that my artwork is not all that much better than Thanquol's. I would be, quite frankly, outclassed).

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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    Best of luck to you Thangol! I often regret not keeping up with my own art skills (which have gotten worse over the years from lack of practice). I plan to start drawing again as well, most of the advice given here I have already told to myself. I purchased a new sketch pad last week and will take Flickerdart's suggestion about no eraser. I plan to start with landscapes first as that was my weakest field 25 years ago. Keep to your goals, to quote from Babylon 5 "It doesn't matter if you fall down, as long as you're just two inches taller when you stand up again."
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    Go with what Irbis says. On the one hoof, I don't. I'm all cocky and smug because I have good detail without a proper grip.

    On the other hoof, I'm already dealing with repetitive strain injuries. Woo!

    What else? Let's see. Find something inspirational and stick with it. When I was eight I had kindergarten doodles, when I was ten, my cousin was into tryin to draw comics. I started drawing sonic the hedgehog and megaman. By the time I was twelve or thirteen, dragonball Z hit it's stride, and I went from drawing Kung-Fu scenes using circle ninja heads, black eye dots, and random bulges for muscles to being able to draw rather good anime style art.


    Try to copy things exactly. Photo-realism isn't best for this, but if it's your thing, go for it. Myself, I started with power rangers. Not very original, but I could draw King Sphinx just like he was in the coloring book


    Use as many different medias as possible. Compare and contrast; if you see something, think about how you could draw it with your current style. Even non-art stuff. Ponies, people, advertisements, other cartoons. Start a comic! Doesn't have to be good, but a sequence and story will force you to work on perspective and angles.
    Just don't do it webcomic style- give it a meaningful story.


    Last one; read anatomy books. Not the whole "I'm looking at pictures but don't get it/don't care" but actually read the book. For one, it's interesting subject matter, and for two it improves your understanding. Did you know the bicep looks pretty but doesn't do anything? There is a muscle under it that takes most of the weight. Your main masticator hooks up through that loop in your cheekbones. Your shoulder 'socket' is made entirely of clavicle and shoulder blade getting chummy. I need to go over my books. I'm rusty!

    That is all I can think of. 80% of what I do is fun and perseverance. If I'm drawing and it's not fun, I won't finish.
    "Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it's cowardice."

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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    There are several points of advice I can give you. First off, all the advice that's been given in this thread is excellent advice. Second, it's awesome that you're so determined to get better at art! I, personally, believe that one of the most important thing for an artist to have is the desire to get better.

    You might know this already, but here's my advice on what to tell yourself when you see an awesome drawing: Push those thoughts that say "I'll never be this good!" out of your head and think "This art is awesome. My art can be this awesome. If I work at it, if I am determined, if I never give up, and if I am willing to learn, my art will be this awesome." That advice is really for anyone who feels discouraged when they see awesome art.
    I still remember that one day when I was on DeviantART, and I saw this one artist who had amazing art. I couldn't believe how awesome it was, and I thought "There is no way my art will ever be this good." I looked through that artists gallery, all the way to the back. At the very back of the gallery were drawing that he had made just three years ago. They were about the same quality as the art I was making at the time, maybe even a little worse. That's when I realized that, if I kept at it, I could be that good at drawing if I worked really hard. I think that that's an important lesson for all artists.

    Long ramble aside, here are some more concrete tips:

    --When drawing people, don't start by drawing the outlines. Start by drawing a line for the spine and neck. This line shouldn't be completely strait, or the person will look stiff. Then draw an egg shape for the head. After that, draw two more lines across the spine: One a little ways below the head, for the shoulders, and one at the bottom of the spine, for the hips. These lines usually shouldn't be parallel to each other. The drawing will have more motion if they're at slight angles. Then, after you draw the lines for the hips and the shoulders, draw two lines for the arms and two lines for the legs. Again, these lines should be doing something.
    Once you get those lines draw, go ahead and draw the rest of the outline. I've found that all the people I've drawn where I drew the outline first look stiff and uninteresting, but the people where I've drawn the basic lines first for the sketch look much more real, and there's so much more motion and interest in the final drawing. The initial drawing really does have a massive effect on the final drawing.
    I recommend that you find at least three blank pieces of paper and fill them with little line sketches of people. Don't even use a model. Just draw, draw, draw. Don't let the hips and shoulder be parallel, don't let the spine and neck be just a strait stick. This exercise is for drawing sketches with motion and interest. Draw at least twenty little people. I did this, and it helped me immensely. And who knows, maybe you'll really like one of those poses and decide to go back to it later!

    --When you draw faces, draw a sort of egg/oval shape, and then draw a curved line across vertically, one then another curved line horizontally. The vertical line is where the nose and mouth will go, and the horizontal line is where the eyes will go. It looks completely useless (or, at least, I thought it looked completely useless when I was learning to draw), but it helps so much.

    --Get some interesting figurines and sculptures. Draw them first from one angle. Then rotate it a bit and draw it again. Repeat until you've gone all the way around the sculpture. This is a great way to learn how things look from all angles. However, it'll probably get boring after a while, so feel free to get up and take a break at any time.

    --Do you have any dogs or cats? If so, they're great resources for drawing, because they never stay in one place. Use some scrap paper and just do quick gesture drawings of the animal. It'll probably have moved by the time you get done with a quick sketch.

    --Books on drawing are awesome. I recommend in investing in at least one book on anatomy. Also, there are some really good tutorials on DeviantART, so you should probably check out those as well.


    I hope my advice helps, and I think it's awesome they you're so determined to get better. Keep at it, and you will become an awesome artist .
    Last edited by Silviya; 2011-05-22 at 06:39 PM.
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    Quote Originally Posted by CrimsonAngel View Post
    1st drawing- Someone already mentioned the hair, but the nose in the picture curves up, not down. Unless you covered part of it with hair, but that's also not in the picture.

    2nd drawing- The outside edge of his face should be closer to his eye. You draw your eyes almost like I do.

    OhmygoodnessIlovethatsecondsong
    1. *Nods and notes*

    2. Ah, you're right. Proportions are one of the toughest things I'm encountering right now. I'm constantly holding my pencil up to the model to measure distances.

    Quote Originally Posted by Irbis View Post
    More specifically, you might want to try these grips and check which one is best for you.
    Oh look, it has my grip! I use the Inverted Bow Grip for all my writing and drawing and have ever since I was five. Maybe that's why my handwriting is absolutely hideous.

    Thanks for this! It's all kinds of handy (rimshot)

    Quote Originally Posted by SiuiS View Post
    Go with what Irbis says. On the one hoof, I don't. I'm all cocky and smug because I have good detail without a proper grip.

    On the other hoof, I'm already dealing with repetitive strain injuries. Woo!
    I've seen too many webcomics go on haitus due to horrible self-inflicted drawing injuries to want break the habit now.



    Last one; read anatomy books. Not the whole "I'm looking at pictures but don't get it/don't care" but actually read the book. For one, it's interesting subject matter, and for two it improves your understanding. Did you know the bicep looks pretty but doesn't do anything? There is a muscle under it that takes most of the weight. Your main masticator hooks up through that loop in your cheekbones. Your shoulder 'socket' is made entirely of clavicle and shoulder blade getting chummy. I need to go over my books. I'm rusty!

    That is all I can think of. 80% of what I do is fun and perseverance. If I'm drawing and it's not fun, I won't finish.
    Right-o! Looks like I might need another quick stop by the art shop.

    Quote Originally Posted by Silviya View Post
    *All The Advices*

    I hope my advice helps, and I think it's awesome they you're so determined to get better. Keep at it, and you will become an awesome artist .
    This stuff is brilliant and helpful, thank you so much
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2011-05-22 at 06:44 PM.
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Oh look, it has my grip! I use the Inverted Bow Grip for all my writing and drawing and have ever since I was five. Maybe that's why my handwriting is absolutely hideous.

    Thanks for this! It's all kinds of handy (rimshot)
    ...I hope this page proves useful, it has a lot of advice that is hard to find, that is, what not to do. What to do you can find in tutorials and books easily enough.
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    I think the images you are trying to copy now are too complex. Also note that I use the word 'copy': it seems to me that you are just trying to duplicate your ref photos without consideration for how it was constructed. Copying is certainly not wrong but not what I would recommend for starting out with.

    first learn to construct spheres, deformed spheres, cuboids and stick figures. fill an A4 with these. Try 1/3 page of standard basic shapes, then use the remaining 2/3 to distort/bend them in interesting ways and draw some stickmen. give them personality!

    I draw pictures:


    (haven't been updated in a while and you can read the comic here)

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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    Quote Originally Posted by Saeyan View Post
    I think the images you are trying to copy now are too complex. Also note that I use the word 'copy': it seems to me that you are just trying to duplicate your ref photos without consideration for how it was constructed. Copying is certainly not wrong but not what I would recommend for starting out with.

    first learn to construct spheres, deformed spheres, cuboids and stick figures. fill an A4 with these. Try 1/3 page of standard basic shapes, then use the remaining 2/3 to distort/bend them in interesting ways and draw some stickmen. give them personality!
    That was my plan for this evening's attempt! The first two were me calibrating how much I remembered and messing around, they're definitely way too complex for my current level

    Going down to basic shapes will be especially trying because I'm going to be holding a pencil in a completely different way to what I'm used to. But then, I've got some things I've got to un-learn.
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2011-05-22 at 11:34 PM.
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    Never knew about holding the pen differently... and i kinda doubt im gonna start with it now (Many of these holding techniques flat out can't be done with a level drawing surface.). >_>

    That being said, i support the "draw basic shapes and stick figures" notion. Works a lot better than reproducing portraits.

    (What drawing style are you going for anyway?)

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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    Well, I know which page to refer to when I take up drawing next time. Never too late to learn right? (I stopped drawing after age 9-10.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    Quote Originally Posted by Domochevsky View Post
    Never knew about holding the pen differently... and i kinda doubt im gonna start with it now (Many of these holding techniques flat out can't be done with a level drawing surface.). >_>

    That being said, i support the "draw basic shapes and stick figures" notion. Works a lot better than reproducing portraits.

    (What drawing style are you going for anyway?)
    Yeah, I'm going to try some of the holding techniques in just a minute, but that's reliant on me being able balance my sketchbook diagonally at my desk. I don't have an easel and intend to draw in places where it'd be inconvenient to set one up.

    What drawing style am I going for? Fudge, no idea. I've actually got it in my head to try a whole bunch and see what works for me. When I stopped I had an anime-ish style, but I'm not sure that's exactly what I'm after.
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    Day 3, Sketch 1: Base Principles

    There are few things as awkward as changing the way you hold your pencil. I can see a marked difference in how I draw already, including discovering that big straight lines that used to give me trouble are now super easy. On the downside, everything I know is now wrong.

    I suddenly realise this is going to be hard.

    I covered several pages with stick figures before I started to get the hang of it. After a while, it started to make a whole lot more sense, especially when I started marking joints. Two and a half hours in, things really started to flow, but I had to cut it short due to other commitments. However, I think I learned a lot, especially when taking on board the advice posted in this thread. Though I was kind of dreading this update, I now feel it was totally worth it and I'm looking forwards to doing more!

    Model: None

    Sketch:

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    Time taken: 2 1/2 hours
    Materials: H, 2B pencils
    Music: Fish
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2011-05-23 at 05:05 AM.
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Day 3, Sketch 1: Base Principles
    That kick looks funny, in both senses of the word. Feels dynamic, but not like a kick. Kinda like an enthusiastic first step. Neverhood-ish. Does anybody else see this, or am I weird?

    And now I want to learn to draw.
    Last edited by fizmat; 2011-05-23 at 05:16 AM.

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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    Quote Originally Posted by fizmat View Post
    That kick looks funny, in both senses of the word. Feels dynamic, but not like a kick. Kinda like an enthusiastic first step. Neverhood-ish. Does anybody else see this, or am I weird?

    And now I want to learn to draw.
    It wasn't so much a kick so much as an I TAKE LARGE STEPS. You're right, though, it was one of my favourite sketches and why I chose that particular page to upload.

    So far my costs on learning to draw have been $10 worth of pencils and a $20 guidebook. There's nothing stopping you doing exactly what I'm doing as long as you're prepared to commit to one page of pictures a day.

    Heck, you're even welcome to share the thread with your own updates!
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2011-05-23 at 05:23 AM.
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    It wasn't so much a kick so much as an I TAKE LARGE STEPS. You're right, though, it was one of my favourite sketches and why I chose that particular page to upload.
    Ah, so the other fighting poses led me to assume it was a kick. Besides, my drawing of a kick would have looked something like that (as in, looking nothing like a kick). Props for getting the effect you intended.

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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    Looks kind of like someone kicking down a door.
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    Quote Originally Posted by fizmat View Post
    That kick looks funny, in both senses of the word. Feels dynamic, but not like a kick. Kinda like an enthusiastic first step. Neverhood-ish. Does anybody else see this, or am I weird?
    His knee is bend upward. Some people's knees actually do bend like that but it still looks weird.
    How do you keep a fool busy? Turn upside down for answer.
    ˙ɹǝʍsuɐ ɹoɟ uʍop ǝpısdn uɹnʇ ʎsnq ןooɟ ɐ dǝǝʞ noʎ op ʍoɥ

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw!

    *Reads thread*
    That was usefull.
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