ND Makes Art or Gets BANNED - Updated with Sketches 4/14

NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade UsernameRegistered User regular
edited April 2014 in Artist's Corner
Yes, indeed.

I have created a weekly schedule for myself that covers the next three months (12 weeks total). Our kindly overseer @Iruka has agreed to temp-ban me for a period of roughly two weeks for every week that I miss a deadline, immediately following the missed deadline.

Rules and Info

- Work must be posted in this thread by 11:59PM EST on the day it is due. I can post it a little earlier if I finish the task early.
- Hitting deadlines will be the main priority. If I'm not happy with a piece but it is due, I will have to post it regardless. The other priority is to teach myself to stop worrying if something is perfect or not, and just make art.
- If I don't put my full effort into something but I still complete the task, I will only be hurting myself. I want to not do this.
- In the event that I am banned, I will spend those ~2 weeks working, and will ask that @Iruka un-ban me before the upcoming deadline (perhaps the day of, or the night before). I will post two weeks' worth of work at that time. I will have to skip over a deadline in the process, but I'll be honest if I met the deadline at home or not.

- In the event that some unforeseen circumstance occurs and prevents me from posting by the deadline, I will make every effort to post ASAP, but it will be up to Iruka to decide my fate.

- Critiques are welcome, as always...but due to the speedy nature of this thread, I may not have time to implement 'em sometimes. I would still love to hear them though.
- This will be a trial run through the end of March. There is a chance that I'll continue afterwards, but I figured I'd try it this way first. With banning.
- I got inspired to do this after reading a silly-but-helpful blog post about why procrastinators do what they do, and how they might be able to break the cycle. One of the suggestions was to make a specific list like this, with specific deadlines.

January - [Character Design]
Week 1: Pick a character prompt. Do thumbs/silhouettes. [Friday the 10th] *** COMPLETE ***
Week 2: Decide on design. Complete linework. [Saturday the 18th] *** COMPLETE ***
Week 3: Begin rendering. WIP due. [Friday the 24th] *** COMPLETE ***
Week 4: Finish rendering. [Friday the 31st] *** COMPLETE ***
Deadlines Met = 4/4

February - [Anatomy Studies]
Week 1: Gestures. 1-5 minutes each. Minimum of 50. [Friday the 7th] *** COMPLETE ***
- - - - -
Week 2: (travel + vacation + birthday) I really have no idea how much time I'll have during this week. I'm going to say a minimum of 3 anatomy/figure drawings, each taking no fewer than 10 minutes (more will be done if I have time). I'll try to upload a temporary picture from my phone as proof, as I will be nowhere near a scanner. [Sunday the 16th] *** COMPLETE ***
- - - - -
Week 3: Hand and feet studies. Minimum 20 hands, 10 feet. [Saturday the 22nd] *** COMPLETE ***
Week 4: Faces. Minimum of 8, different races/ages. [Monday the 3rd] *** COMPLETE ***
Deadlines Met = 4/4

March - [Character in Environment] *** UltraSad UltraFail Hiatus ***
Week 1: Pick prompt. Do composition thumbs. Minimum of 8. [Monday the 10th]
Week 2: Pick comp. Complete linework. [Monday the 17th]
Week 3: Begin rendering. WIP due. [Monday the 24th]
Week 4: Finish rendering. [Monday the 31st]
Deadlines Met = 0/4

April - [Character in Environment] *** Hiatus Over! ***
[Week 1: Post an update. [Monday the 7th] check
[Week 2: Post an update. [Monday the 14th] check
[Week 3: Post an update. [Monday the 21st]
[Week 4: Post an update. Should be at least partially rendered by this stage.[Monday the 28th]
Deadlines Met = 2/4

NightDragon on


  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    January - Week 1

    A friend of mine suggested I do an "aristocrat ninja"...I didn't want her to look too stereotypical, but I also immediately got an idea in my head that I wasn't sure I wanted to stray from too much. These are not the best thumbs/sketches, and I should have done more of them...but they're a good start. This is how I sketch things when I don't really care about proportion (or showing it to people! :P), I'm just trying to block out some shapes and values. The high collar covering her face is going to be black lace.

    I might do a few more before heading into linework.


  • JarsJars Registered User regular
    I need to do this

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    I'm glad you are forcing yourself to post stuff. It'll be really nice to see some of you work at a more regular pace. Hopefully I wont have to ban you at any point.

  • lyriumlyrium Registered User regular
    It's cool to see little sketches from you, instead of just the super refined stuff. Bottom left looks really cool. One thing that seems a little out of place are the heels. Even for a lady aristocrat, flat boots would probably be better for running around, crouching, and quietly ninja-ing in general. Tall boots like that correspond to a 'clop-clop' sound in my head, haha.
    Looking forward to the linework!

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    @NightDragon, Lady, I hope you didnt think I forgot about this shit.

  • NakedZerglingNakedZergling A more apocalyptic post apocalypse Portland OregonRegistered User regular

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    The due date is tomorrow at midnight, so shes still cool... for now.

  • ProspicienceProspicience The Raven King DenvemoloradoRegistered User regular
    Hahaha... aaaah the title change. I'm cheerin' for ya ND, pom poms and all. I know you can do what ya need to.

  • ToasticusToasticus yeah YEAHRegistered User regular
    go go go!

  • mageormikemageormike Registered User regular
    You can do it!!

  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    I will make a post tonight! :) Ah promise. I am still on schedule, thanks for the encouragement! And mod threats! <3 You guys are da best.

  • TamTam Registered User regular
    edited January 2014
    I predict four weeks before Mills gets das boot
    but that's okay it's a complex film
    anyway, drawing? yeah you can do it, that's like, really easy

    Tam on
  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    edited January 2014
    January - Week 2

    So! I definitely ran into the "I should've done more thumbnails" problem. I had a lot of ideas on different ways to do her outfit, but I had to nail one down. This seems pretty plain to me, but in the rendering stage I'm planning on adding in details that would've become smudgy messes if I'd tried to draw them out in pencil.

    Some of the perspective isn't 100% there, I think, but I figured I can tweak that later.

    Lemme know if ya'll see any glaring errors. :) And hey - WEEK 2 COMPLETE yeeeeeeeeeah!

    [edit] Also, I decided to go for more of a high class "spy/trained killa" rather than a "ninja", specifically. Appealed to me a little more.


    NightDragon on
  • TamTam Registered User regular

  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    edited January 2014
    January - Week 3

    I wasn't sure I'd have time tomorrow to do much beyond what I've done tonight, so I'm deciding to post a day early! I've roughed in the color scheme I'm going to use, and I've been tweaking shapes and playing with texture.

    I just finished changing her pants to a more "stiff" fabric (like denim) because I originally didn't intend to give her "draped" pants (they're just roughed-in right now, but my original intention was large, angular folds as opposed to small, curved folds). I also tweaked her pose/proportions in a couple of areas, but hopefully that's a subtle change. She seemed like she was leaning too much on the sword and such, so I made her lean back a bit.

    Need to work on her face...I tried to figure out soft underlighting without ruining her features...but my first few attempts didn't end up the way I wanted, so I'll figure something out this week.

    [Edit] holy eff this looks dark on the bright forum background!


    NightDragon on
  • mageormikemageormike Registered User regular
    Lovely! I love the subtle color variations in the background too.

    Fooled me there with those greys. At first I thought they were yellow or blue-ish, turns out it was just more red and purple ^^;;

  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    I think the design is solid and everything with the colors is looking nice. I really like the playing with the underlighting and receding light on the face.

    This is super nit-picky but I might mention that your shape design and value composition is currently landing the visual focus of the image squarely on her boobs, which may or may not be goofy depending on how exactly you envisioned this character's personality and attitude.

    Also mega-nit-picky, her scabbard might be a little bit too short for the rapier she's holding.

  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    edited January 2014
    @Scosglen - neither of those are nitpicky, and they're both things I was planning on working on/fixing. :) I wanted her face to be half in shadow initially (for the ~mystery~) but yeah, I'm hoping to bring attention to a wider area so it's not all on her chest. Also yeah, I'm playing with the sword length and will adjust the scabbard when I have that nailed down, I think. Thank you for your crits! They are super valid.

    NightDragon on
  • KallistiKallisti Registered User regular
    Ohhh girl I am totally digging that purple rim light.

  • ToasticusToasticus yeah YEAHRegistered User regular
    this is really really cool ND

  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    edited February 2014
    So a pre-update update...I did not get a lot of sleep this week so progress is not as extreme as I would've liked, but I believe the piece will be finished enough to satisfy the post requirements. Technically the post requirements are just to "post what I have, regardless", but ultimately I'm also trying to produce work that hits a certain level of finish, if not hitting something I'd consider "completely finished".

    I'm going to continue working on this tonight and will make the "official post" before midnight. Because I can tell it won't be finished to the degree I'd like, I'm going to spend tomorrow and maybe some of Sunday bringing it up to a more finished polish. I'll make another post when it's "finished" to my own standards, and then I'll move on to the tasks for February.

    Thanks for continuing to follow this thread and make comments/critiques! It's a good motivator knowing people are checking in. :)

    NightDragon on
  • DirtyDirtyVagrantDirtyDirtyVagrant Registered User regular
    This stuff is amazing.

  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    edited February 2014
    January - Week 4

    Done!....well, done enough. :P I'm going to spend this weekend finishing it up and doing final tweaks. Glittery bits need to be balanced, and a few more added...and I didn't realize how dark everything was until I uploaded the image to my site, so...I'll fix that too!

    [edit] also things look a little too "outlined" and such, but...yeah. Lots of tiny things that need fixing, but I'm not planning on going crazy. :)

    Here 'tis:


    NightDragon on
  • WassermeloneWassermelone Registered User regular
    Outlined schmoutlined

    It looks good that way, don't touch it. Its done.

  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    but but but but but

    but but but

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    I think Wasser is making the right call here. You DO have 50 gestures to do before the end of next week, after all.

  • tynictynic PICNIC BADASS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited February 2014
    yeah. Honestly, the only thing that has ever held you back is your tendency to over-polish, which can make your pieces become stiff and lose that natural flow. I got the impression that part of the reason for this thread is to learn when to let go? :P

    Anyway, I'm in love with the detailing on that corset, and the rim lighting. Totally yummy.

    tynic on
  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    edited February 2014

    50 gestures this week won't be a huge deal...1 hours' worth at the shortest, or 4.5 hours at the most. I think the hardest part is going to be finding that many references! I'm going to get a handful gestures done at figure drawing on Thursday, but I'm going to try to look up bulk "reference packs" on deviantart or something for the rest of 'em. I think I've seen sets like that before.

    Also, yeah...this thread was meant for me to not tweak things to death. :P I guess what I was thinking, though, wasn't that I'd go over anything I'd already done...it's that I'd just finish adding things in that I wanted to do since the beginning of the piece (and finish rendering sections...the boots, for instance, have maybe 20 seconds of work on them right now, heh. Also the sword glittery bits I threw on really quickly, and I'm not sure if they compete for attention with the face or not?

    I hear what you guys are saying, it just feels really unfinished to me and a little boring, since I was planning on adding additional decorative elements...since the clothing itself seems pretty "standard/plain", and I wanted to do something to push it more, and make it more interesting/unique.

    I don't....have to work on it anymore, it just feels weird to me to have decided on a look beforehand and not see it the whole way through, when I feel it still could benefit from that. If I felt something looked "wrong" and I was going to tweak it to death, it would be hard, but I think I'd have an easier time doing that than omitting things. :P

    *puts on "Queen of Excuses" hat*

    [edit] all that being said though, I suppose I'll move on to something else instead.

    NightDragon on
  • WassermeloneWassermelone Registered User regular
    The boots incidentally are my favorite part. The finish level on them is great!

  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    Hahah really? Okayyyy. :P The more I think about it, the less it's bothering me to move on from this. Also, the longer I think about it, the more I want to do another piece.

    I guess this thread is working?!? :o

  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    I've sent @Iruka a small extension request that I deliver the full task tomorrow early evening or afternoon, rather than tonight.

    I've been developing a pain in my hands for a few days now that I figured would go away, but it hasn't. That, plus lack of sleep has put me in a place that I don't think would be too productive or result in useful study time. I don't have many more gestures to do (technically I could finish them tonight) but I don't think they'd be particularly good or worthwhile, all things considered. I kind of feel like a short rest might help my hands and my head.

    Just wanted to keep you guys in the loop. Iruka has final decision, but if I'm not banned tomorrow I'll post the goods. :P

  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    February - Week 1

    I have to rush to a dinner, and I forgot that I was drawing on a 11x14 sketchbook, where the scanner was only 11x8.5....and I don't have time to scan them all, stitch them together and correct them and such...so I had to take gross Phone Pictures!

    I will replace these later with nice scans, but I wanted to maek poast before tonight. Also, @eyecager gave me some good reference material and pointers about effective gestures...and I think the later gestures I was finally starting to kind of "get it"...but yeah, gestures were....hard. I felt like I was missing the point for virtually the entire time I was doing them. I've always been more concerned with "accuracy if details" and "form" and trying to push myself to "ignore that bump there, get the movement down" was really difficult. Now that I think I have a vague idea of what to aim for ( I felt I was wandering aimlessly early on) I think I'd like to do more of these. 50 wasn't actually all that hard, and once I started to feel like I was "getting" the purpose of them, I noticed I didn't always need 2-5 minutes of time.

    Anyway, here they be:


  • SpaceMooseSpaceMoose Registered User regular
    I've been doing a lot of gesture drawing lately and watching videos on how to do them. I think you did a great job. The only one that feels off to me is the upper right person on the first image. Some of the poses (like the laying down ones and super foreshortened one) look like they would be really challenging but I was able to read what they were with no difficulty.

    Did you try any 30 second poses or was everything 1 min+? I think the nice thing about those is that they force you to ignore the details and just concentrate on the gesture.

  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    edited February 2014
    Because I'm not too experienced with gestures, and even doing 60 second poses was super difficult at first, I felt I should learn how to do them properly first, even if it took me a little longer. Then I could speed up once I knew what to aim for and what was important. For the first handful of these, I felt like I was going so fast I didn't know what I was doing. I tried looking things up but didn't find a lot of info on the "kind" of gesture I wanted to do...but yeah, ideally I would keep em shorter than 5 minutes and would do a few 30 second ones. :)

    I'm glad you liked the hard poses, too! Haha...the laying down ones were the hardest for me...the foreshortened ones were challenging but laying down poses have always been hardest for me I think. Harder to judge proportions and such. :)

    NightDragon on
  • KallistiKallisti Registered User regular

    I would say simplify more and just get down the line of action first. I usually start out with a quick circle for the chest and just one big line from head to toe, a line for the angle of the hips, another for the shoulders, a circle for the head, then arms and legs, then start bulking things up- basically working your way out of most important to least. The twisting element is what makes a pose the most exciting, it's that kinetic energy that gives a pose tension and possibility, also to do with the way it interacts with that line of action. I would push the overlapping more so it's more visible. See if you can minimize your drawing down to c curves, s curves, straights, as that's the most basic form of tension, everything is built upon that. I hope this helps?

  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    Ahh, that's great info, @Kallisti! Thank you for the write up and draw-overs :D

    I'd love to get to a point where I can do gestures like these (NSFW, of course):

    (gestures at bottom of the page...a little more "lumpy" but I think they're still really appealing):


    I think those all look really nice, and I can see the gesture/movement captured really well in those.

    It can be hard for me to figure out what is important vs. what is not important in a gesture drawing. Sometimes the pose looks so "quiet" that finding the "action line" is difficult, and the pose just feels very...static. And I'm not sure what to do when that happens. Do I invent movement? Do I emphasize stuff that isn't actually there? Am I just not seeing the movement that is actually there? When people put their weight evenly on both feet/knees, for example. It's also hard for me to tell which "lumps 'n' bumps" are important, or if I should ignore those almost entirely and just do tubes and long curves for areas like the arms (...yes? I guess?).

    Gestures are like...the hardest thing for me haha...I don't know why. Having advice from people who've gotten the process down is super helpful though, thank you! :) I definitely need practice. Even in school we did some work with gestures but I don't remember spending a lot of time on 'em. Always most of the time in classes was spent on longer poses...so I got better at those while the underlying movement of everything got put on the backburner. I feel like I do have a problem making stiff poses though, so gestures are definitely something I'm going to practice more and improve upon. I might even post some more this week :P

  • KallistiKallisti Registered User regular
    Do I invent movement? Do I emphasize stuff that isn't actually there? Am I just not seeing the movement that is actually there? When people put their weight evenly on both feet/knees, for example.

    Personally speaking I would say yes, I think it's easy to fall to the 'tyranny of the model'. Especially after a while where I think you'll start to develop an intuitive sense about where you want to go with the line and how you choose to ham it up. It's really my favorite thing to play off the model and exaggerate. I prefer to think of the model as a suggestion and after that it's up to me how I decide to give the pose life and push it and how I express that with line.

    I really like that first example you have there, but probly cause it's most likely by an animation student. XD I'm more in the animation realm, I really enjoy work that has a graphic quality and a solid read so that's where I'm coming from. The Francis ones are good too, it feels there's less flow to me there, but he also has different criteria for what he's going for, it's less abstract than the first example.

    For now I would just stick to keeping it simple, lumps and bumps are scaffolding to the structure underneath so keep that until the second pass, once you get good enough that you have a few seconds at the end left over then I would start adding it in.

    In terms of weight try to think what it took frame by frame to get into that position? You may even want to emote the pose yourself to see what muscles are being used, and try to feel that line of action going through you. Mime throwing a baseball for example and try to feel frame by frame what's happening: how are your hips twisting? What are your shoulders doing right now? See how your body is making a whip to exert all this force. I personally loathe when a model doesn't twist and poses with too much symmetry cause it kills the flow, you can even see it in one of Francis' drawings on the third sheet, it's not very exciting.

  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    yeah, so...I forgot I had the next update last night. I thought it was tonight, because that's when I fly back home.

    Regardless, I had no time to draw this week, so I have nothing to post. I could try on the plane, courtesy of Iruka's good graces.

    Hilarious Drawings-on-a-plane forthcoming tonight.

  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    edited February 2014
    February - Week 2 (Vacation Weeeeeeek)

    These are awful

    I am exhausted

    I should have not had anything due this week

    but I am delivering arts

    el oh el

    spoiler'd for cellphone huge

    NightDragon on
  • KallistiKallisti Registered User regular
    edited February 2014
    Dude what are you talking about, this is an improvement :P I really like the first one, it has a good sense of volume happening and there's a nice flow happening with the right side of the body from the back to the legs to the feet. I would say don't be afraid to get dirty with your sketches, show your work, these seem a little deliberate and less gestural. Take a page, try to do some from imagination, and just unleash yourself and try not to care too much early on how it looks, skate the page with your pencil, draw from your arm and less from your wrist, keep pushing that overlap, show the line of action, keep thinking about the shoulders and hips in space.

    While doing this I would also practice drawing your shape language. Draw from your arm and see if you can draw an oval cleanly in one stroke without petting it, curves in one smooth go, straight lines, over and over, cause this is also half the battle. By drawing from your arm I mean lock your wrist and let your arm do the work, this will allow you to draw longer lines without breaks, it's only with the small details that you ever need your wrist.

    Try to tell yourself that it's good to be unsatisfied, keep going!

    Kallisti on
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