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Hobbyist Rookie Syndrome...

Edgler VessEdgler Vess Registered User regular
I made sure to take a look at the rules before posting....

Tell us what your goals as an artist are: Just to paint everyday objects that I find attractive or interesting, maybe share them with family or friends, never to sell or make a profit from.

Are you a hobbyist looking to learn to draw landscapes for fun? Id like to even just make a decent representation of my backyard in oil paint, but am still struggling, especially with the medium I would like to learn (oil on canvas).

How long have you been practicing this form of art? Off and on (mostly off for 5ish years, I have a total of ONE oil painting that I did that is hanging in my living room that I am proud to say I did, or at least am willing to tell others that I did.

Been lurking my ass off here for the past 3 weeks or so (for much longer than that in G&T) and am absolutely amazed at some of the work I see around here, some really incredible work.

I guess the reason for the post is just some idea that I am going in the right direction, I am currently taking lessons out of this book (formal or even informal classes really just aren't an option for me, I am an air traffic controller for the department of defense and....yeah....furloughs......) Anyhow;

http://www.amazon.com/Drawing-Right-Side-Brain-Definitive/dp/1585429201/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366752385&sr=8-1&keywords=drawing+from+the+right+side+of+the+brain

(Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain)

I have followed the first four lessons in the book, with the final idea that in order to be an effective painter you need to be able to draw first, so I am working on drawing first.

First lesson was to draw a picture of a person, from life. This is of my wife reading, the right hand side of her face looks odd because she was wearing a collared jacket and it was super hard for me to get even close (I didn't).

Lisasportrait.jpg

Next one was a hand image, I sat on the couch when I drew this, made it hard to keep any sort of perspective on what I was trying to draw, I won't do that again... Pick a chair and stick with it?

LeftHand-1.jpg

The last one was of a chair (one of them padded aluminum backyard chairs, Ive been drawing outside a lot because the weather is so insanely nice here). I botched it like CRAZY when I started the cushion near the middle of the page, getting started on any drawing seems to be the hardest part and its why I scanned the entire page, how do you figure out where to start?

Chair.jpg

I primarily made this post because maybe it will keep me honest during the duration of the summer so I can upload some things to see if I am improving, and so I can ask rookie questions without derailing anyone's thread.

Gonna try that "Draw an egg" thing that I saw on here before moving on to the next lesson in the book, sounds like a cool challenge.

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    Edgler VessEdgler Vess Registered User regular
    Oh, and my sketch pad is almost empty from stuff I have torn out and (literally) burned. The one I have i just a crayola cheapie, any recommendations on paper? I am just using #2 pencils, availability being the most important factor.

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    Edgler VessEdgler Vess Registered User regular
    Yeesh, That was even harder than I thought, How in the heck to you display the bright white on a pencil drawing?

    Egg.jpg

    Sorry for the sloppy photo/drawing comparison, just thought I would show what sort of egg I was working with.

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    Red RaevynRed Raevyn because I only take Bubble Baths Registered User regular
    Use the cheapest paper you can find. Judging by what I see and you've said, you're at a point where you need practice with basics like light and perspective more than specific guidance. I wouldn't worry about signing and labeling, just do the drawing two or three more times. It sounds like you're already ok with tossing things that aren't perfect, and that's good - some people want to hang on to something and try to polish it into shape, but it's better to start again and focus on getting the underpinnings right first.

    For things like that chair, try drawing the basic shapes of the chair (back, seat, base) quickly and checking your perspective, before doing the entire thing. Make half a dozen thumbnail sized sketches and look at which has the right shape.

    For the egg be mindful of using hard lines (the outline), as the exercise is about value. You don't want a ring of solid black around the edge (do you see it there in real life?). Getting good hard lighting helps when trying to draw value (i.e. egg or a face). A good way to get white in a pencil drawing is by erasing out the white area :)

    Good luck, keep practicing.

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    Edgler VessEdgler Vess Registered User regular
    edited April 2013
    Thanks Red, I just sign and date them because it makes me feel fancy, doesn't stop me from dropping them in my fire pit (smoke keeps away bugs). I labeled them because the book told me to do so just so I could go back and look at my work after I "finish" the book.

    The basic shapes idea is brilliant, I may redraw it this evening after the sun goes down so I can use the same light source (my outside ceiling fan). Trying to plan it out a bit better so it doesn't get squashed by the end of the page.

    I didn't want to use hard lines on the egg, but it just felt so "THERE" and i couldn't (or at least didn't have the skill) to make it stand out against the background without the background actually being there. It appeared to stand out to me in real life, without the line of course, but I couldn't figure out the contrast to define the transition from the egg to the background. I tried erasing the parts in the middle right that were really bright but I couldn't seem to make the contrast work, is the idea to make the darker parts darker so the lighter portions stand out? (Yeesh, was that a sentence? terrible, sorry).

    Thanks for the words of encouragement.

    Edit: Fixed that last sentence, I'm still not sure it makes sense.

    Edgler Vess on
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    Edgler VessEdgler Vess Registered User regular
    Figure I would throw down the one painting I have from EIGHT years ago...puts things in perspective..at least as far as making some progress from stick figure drawings, and then straight up not bothering. I still hate my flower in the bottom right but it took me over a month and I got tired. I would like to do more like this, only with more skill....and less time.

    Dump100.jpg

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    Edgler VessEdgler Vess Registered User regular
    Been drawing everyday, and mostly failing, but I feel like I am improving:

    Self Portrait, about 2 weeks ago, my shading needs work, and hair is really hard....

    meh2001.jpg

    I picked a bloom off my Magnolia tree and worked with the white as best I could, my shape here feels pretty good, but the shading is tough, white is hard.

    MississippiMoon001.jpg

    This last one here Is the one I would like a little bit of help with, its my piggy bank so I drew it from life, and I am happy with the shape (for a change), I used some basic shapes to get the proportions right, but I couldn't get the teeth right, i couldnt get them to define without the lines, and then that portion turned out shitty, I can upload the view I used or close to it if it will help. Thanks for any input.

    meh7001.jpg

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    Edgler VessEdgler Vess Registered User regular
    Red Raevyn wrote: »
    Use the cheapest paper you can find. Judging by what I see and you've said, you're at a point where you need practice with basics like light and perspective more than specific guidance. I wouldn't worry about signing and labeling, just do the drawing two or three more times. It sounds like you're already ok with tossing things that aren't perfect, and that's good - some people want to hang on to something and try to polish it into shape, but it's better to start again and focus on getting the underpinnings right first.

    For things like that chair, try drawing the basic shapes of the chair (back, seat, base) quickly and checking your perspective, before doing the entire thing. Make half a dozen thumbnail sized sketches and look at which has the right shape.

    For the egg be mindful of using hard lines (the outline), as the exercise is about value. You don't want a ring of solid black around the edge (do you see it there in real life?). Getting good hard lighting helps when trying to draw value (i.e. egg or a face). A good way to get white in a pencil drawing is by erasing out the white area :)

    Good luck, keep practicing.

    Oh and I read this about every day, its helped a lot, especially with getting my perspective to fit on the paper, special thanks to Red for replying to a rookie.

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    m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    edited May 2013
    Hair: don't draw individual strands, draw the big blocks of shade that you see in hair. Take a look at this:
    beauty010a.jpg
    Notice how the hair is basically made up of blocks of darker shades? You need to focus on finding those shapes when drawing hair.

    m3nace on
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    Edgler VessEdgler Vess Registered User regular
    I am still working, drawing (more or less) Everyday: Trying my best to keep at it, watch YouTube videos for refinement of technique and do the best I can at "Self Teaching", these are my latest and should be more or less in order since my last post. Going to just post the work, the last two images will be the one (a reference photo and my drawing) some help and/or a critique would be great:

    Paint1003.jpg

    Paint1004.jpg

    Paint1005.jpg

    I lied, about only the last one, any ideas about FEATHERS? I spent like 90 minutes on the feathers of that bird and, yeah, no dice.

    Dogs005.jpg

    Self Portrait, First try with Pure charcoal and some charcoal paper I bought at "Hobby Lobby" it kicked the shit out of me, who needs teeth anyway?

    meh70012.jpg

    My Idiot dog, I did this one in 90 minutes and am pretty happy with it, the eyes turned out ridiculous but I feel like I am improving.

    fuzz001.jpg

    Alright here we go, my reference photograph (My wife in Memphis):

    Memphis111.jpg

    And the Drawing I did, using just that photograph:

    Art002.jpg

    Need some help here, I feel like I have improved a lot, but I am not where I would like to be, I need to figure out values a bit better, and backgrounds, especially when the value of the background is really close to what I am trying to shade, I feel like I have to blackout the background to make it pop (in this case, the hair). In addition, I feel like my proportions have improved, but everyone's face seems like its a different damn shape, my head is a box and my wife's is nice and round, struggling with that.

    And one last materials question. I bought some "Drawing paper" from the same Hobby Lobby I mentioned earlier, and its been a real pain to erase my zillions of lines compared to my sketch book, I thought it was supposed to be the other way around? Oh and the "Drawing" paper seemed to absorb every milligram of oil, bug repellent, and graphite on my hands, any tips? Or did I just buy shit "Drawing" paper?

    As always, Thanks.

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    tapeslingertapeslinger Space Unicorn Slush Ranger Social Justice Rebel ScumRegistered User regular
    I would stick with the sketch book for everyday use; you'll get to a point where you need to do less work on setup with a drawing, which is where finicky paper can hold you back if you need to do a ton of guidelines. Try to avoid Goldielocksing too much trying to find "the right" one-- try everything and work at it constantly. I can see a definite trajectory of improvement from your first pieces forward, so keep it up!

    Re: value/shading: I think a lot of that is going to be something that comes with practice and with fearing the pencil/charcoal a little less. A lot of times when we don't want to "mess up" it leads to strokes that aren't as dark as they could be (so that it can be fixed later... it's a hard habit to break sometimes!)

    another aspect of it is just getting comfortable layering more strokes to get a darker shadow and so on. There's also some construction stuff that comes with practicing anatomy and spacial relations in terms of features on the face; working from a single photo presents a lot of challenges.

    As for the paper-- a lot of specialty papers are designed so that they'll "grab" media in different ways. I don't know if the one you have is "shit," per se, but if it's not really doing that much for you, there's no rule against setting that pad of paper aside while you work with your other sketchbook.

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    Edgler VessEdgler Vess Registered User regular
    I would stick with the sketch book for everyday use; you'll get to a point where you need to do less work on setup with a drawing, which is where finicky paper can hold you back if you need to do a ton of guidelines. Try to avoid Goldielocksing too much trying to find "the right" one-- try everything and work at it constantly. I can see a definite trajectory of improvement from your first pieces forward, so keep it up!

    Re: value/shading: I think a lot of that is going to be something that comes with practice and with fearing the pencil/charcoal a little less. A lot of times when we don't want to "mess up" it leads to strokes that aren't as dark as they could be (so that it can be fixed later... it's a hard habit to break sometimes!)

    another aspect of it is just getting comfortable layering more strokes to get a darker shadow and so on. There's also some construction stuff that comes with practicing anatomy and spacial relations in terms of features on the face; working from a single photo presents a lot of challenges.

    As for the paper-- a lot of specialty papers are designed so that they'll "grab" media in different ways. I don't know if the one you have is "shit," per se, but if it's not really doing that much for you, there's no rule against setting that pad of paper aside while you work with your other sketchbook.
    "

    Not a lot to say here other than thanks, I will set aside my drawing paper until maybe the hot, humid summer is over here in Mississippi, it really made a huge mess.

    Whats "Goldielocksing"? to damn many lines? I saw an instructor on Youtube talk about how you should just draw a shitload of them, one of them has to be right.

    As far as more strokes to get more shadows, what about the getting transitions from areas that are clearly defined but dont have a huge change in value (my wifes nose, ARRGGHH!!!).

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    tapeslingertapeslinger Space Unicorn Slush Ranger Social Justice Rebel ScumRegistered User regular
    oh, I meant more like "this paper's too rough, this paper's too smooth," kind of things.

    I would say that the "draw a shitload of lines" approach is definitely NOT the one you want to take on a toothy paper with charcoal, though, because for every line that's right, there's a shitload-1 of lines that are wrong and will need to be erased or otherwise minimized.

    Regarding lines for that kind of thing (the shadow that defines the nose, etc) is down to working with techniques that allow you to reach for more values in your linework. Charcoal works best when you can use a stump or tortillon to draw areas which shouldn't have dark, cartoonish lines; if you use the stump over an area on the paper which has been shaded heavily with the charcoal, you can use the tip of the stump to draw lines which have midtone or light values. It looks like from some of your other examples that you're getting the basics of shading by using smudging-- it's a similar concept except you do the linework with the stump itself.

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    Edgler VessEdgler Vess Registered User regular
    I set aside my "Drawing" book as instructed and just went back to my sketch pad, good idea. Still hard at it, a success, a middle ground, and a dismal failure.

    Success! I am really pleased with this, drawn from life, I just threw my ball cap on the desk at work and drew it, no its far from perfect, but i threw it down in 45 minutes in between talking to airplanes and I like the way it turned out:

    Art006.jpg

    Just some eye practice (not sure where the blue came from, my camera flipped out:

    Art003.jpg

    And the last one, the dismal failure: Babies...Babies are impossible, they have that smooth skin and no really defining features, and they are never outside or anything so they never have any shadow or appear to have any change in value to help define the face. I'm only skilled enough with my pencils to throw down about 6 distinct values and even though there was probably less than that in the photograph, I couldn't make it work? Any advice? or just "More practice", I suspect its just more practice and more staring at values...

    Art005.jpg

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    Red RaevynRed Raevyn because I only take Bubble Baths Registered User regular
    Values aside (push them, the baseball hat is very light), the baby's proportions are a little wobbly. Try using your pencil or finger at arm's length, and compare distances - i.e. their eyes are X length of pencil down from their forehead and half that from the tip of the nose, and so on.

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    Edgler VessEdgler Vess Registered User regular
    Red Raevyn wrote: »
    Values aside (push them, the baseball hat is very light), the baby's proportions are a little wobbly. Try using your pencil or finger at arm's length, and compare distances - i.e. their eyes are X length of pencil down from their forehead and half that from the tip of the nose, and so on.

    "Wobbly"....man I like that, I couldn't define what wasn't right, but that's it, and the pencil thing? How in the world didn't I think of that sooner?

    The hat.....yeah pushing values is something I am working on, the hat was actually black :/

    Thanks for the ideas Red, much appreciated.

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    Edgler VessEdgler Vess Registered User regular
    I have been drawing a ton, some have been complete busts and have gone straight into the garbage. I drew an airplane the other day that looked like it was draw by a 6 year old, and I separate the damn things for a living, yeesh. Anyhow, like my previous posts, in sequential order, with my most recent as last (and the one I would like some advice on).

    Self portrait, took a "Selfie" and just did it, better than any of my others of me, still looks off.

    Art4001.jpg

    My buddies wife, she hated it, I jacked her forehead and jaw, didn't get the shape right and by the time I realized it, it was too late.

    002.jpg

    My cousin, I struggled with the overall darkness of the photograph I was working with and it kicked the shit out of me.

    Keri001.jpg

    My buddy, I was told that this was my best work so far, I think it's lacking, and the sunglasses make it boring (not just because they are lopsided).

    josh002.jpg

    An old picture of my dad in his service days, I damaged the picture when some condensation fell off the soda I was drinking and landed on the picture, had to tear it out so it wouldb't make me insane.

    dad001.jpg

    Mickey Mantel and the picture I want to talk about, after the break:

    art002.jpg

    I like the way this turned out, but I hate the hands and I hate that I still seem to be stuck on pushing values, they whole thing looks a bit better in person as the camera makes it slightly lighter than it actually appears, but clearly I need help pushing values. Is the idea behind this to just make lighter areas darker in your drawing than they actually are? In addition, the face isn't quite right, I really struggled with features working on a small area. Reference I used is here, about half the page down: (Mantel Photograph)

    http://www.psacard.com/Resources/Guides/RecordBreakers

    Thanks to everyone who has provided any assistance, trust me your advice gets read and remembered as much as possible.

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    m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    edited June 2013
    The idea behind it is to see how dark things actually are. Right now it seems every bit of shading you're doing is done by comparing one area's luminosity to the one right next to it. Compare to the whole picture instead. Stan Prokopenko has a nice example here: at 4:42
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=n5t54skwuPc#t=282s

    m3nace on
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    Edgler VessEdgler Vess Registered User regular
    @m3nace thanks, hadn't seen any of that guys videos before, think ill go watch his other stuff as well.

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    wahaywahay Your Handicapped Hero Cincinnati, USARegistered User regular
    edited June 2013
    My recommendation is to only use black and white references for black and white drawings. Deciphering value from colour can be difficult. Also, stick with strong-contrasted, overexposed references. Some of the photos you drew from would be a nightmare for me too difficult for me to tackle in decent time, and I've been drawing for years!

    Example: let's revisit your older drawing. Don't freak out about the midtones in the face. Just only draw the shapes you can see when you squint. This will teach you to avoid drawing what you think you know, forcing you to focus only on what is actually there.

    xu35.jpg

    Edit: In some of your recent posts, you're drawing with your eraser, which is EXCELLENT! Drawing should be give and take, add and subtract. Don't worry about making mistakes. Don't worry about being careful. Just be super-bold and you will do a great job!

    wahay on
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