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Metal Tidus53's Sketchbook: Revengeance!

Tidus53Tidus53 Registered User regular
I'm back baby! And this time I'm a little more educated about posting my content here, so no worries folks: you will not be assaulted by giant consistently loading sketches at absurd resolutions. The only ones you'll see (in a hope to interest you to see the whole gallery) is in the spoiler

PJymyKx.jpg?1

b9ECwZ2.jpg?2
74ZQhd2.jpg?2
j865lbd.jpg?1

Like I said this is a bit of a teaser. The rest of the sketches you can find here: http://hectix777.imgur.com/

Please giveth unto me the criticism; sweet, sour, cheesy criticism. I love it so....

Posts

  • OllieOllie Registered User regular
    A lot of people don't get much feedback here, and it has to do with others not knowing what kind of feedback they seek.

    What is your goal here, art-wise?

  • Tidus53Tidus53 Registered User regular
    Ollie wrote: »
    A lot of people don't get much feedback here, and it has to do with others not knowing what kind of feedback they seek.

    What is your goal here, art-wise?

    What parts of my anatomy needs improvement I guess. In the newest batch I've been experimenting with this idea of creating a silhouette of the figure's action beforehand and then going in and drawing the rest.

  • ChicoBlueChicoBlue Registered User regular
    Have you been introduced to Proko?

    If not, you should really check out his videos. They cover a lot of the fundamentals with regards to figure drawing.

    https://youtube.com/user/ProkoTV/videos

    Your stuff reminds me a lot of my own when I was starting out. Hundreds of pages of sketchbooks just filled up with little muscular gentlemen. I would just sketch in my figures in under five minutes, usually abandoning them when I got to the hands and feet.
    This is a sample of my stuff from way back.
    oldscan1-2.jpg

    I didn't have access to art courses, so I thought that was all there was to hardcore anatomical studying and, goodness gracious, how wrong I was.

    You've no doubt heard this before, but draw from observation from photos and life.

    The most important part of drawing from observation and life is learning how to measure and translate those measurements onto your page. Proko has a video outlining one method of measurement called Drawing Measurement Techniques.

    It'll be frustrating as hell, but try spending an hour or two on a single figure drawing. A lot of that time will be spent measuring, re-measuring, erasing, grumbling and doing some more measuring, but it is worth it to learn how to train your eye.

    Do you have any art goals beyond just improving your anatomy? Illustrations? Comics? Paintings?

    FlayIrukaScosglentynictapeslinger
  • OllieOllie Registered User regular
    Hm...okay.

    First of all, I want to tell you to keep working and keep posting. You might not get feedback of any sort sometimes, but don't let it bother or discourage you. Just keep drawing, keep practicing, and keep posting your work to this thread. Use it as a catalogue of your improvement; it will help others help you identify what errors you're consistently making, as well as encourage you to see what you've gotten better at. As it is right now, the only thing I can say is your body shapes don't have much variety (big, bulky, muscular guys mostly, though I do see a non-bulked woman in there) with some pretty exaggerated muscles. It's a little hard to say what anatomy to fix because there are admittedly a lot of things that look off, and in a way that doesn't look like a style so much as the only way you know how to draw people. As I've said before, drawing muscular macho dudes is totally cool if that is your thing, but it would do you good to try some other stuff as well.

    Second, while you absolutely should continue these sketches and doing loose studies, I think it would do you good to try a finished piece, or at least something to focus on. It doesn't have to be some grand project; even just a study of a guy posing would be fine, so long as you put some focus into it. Perhaps draw the model, then imagine the skeleton underneath and try to draw that, referencing the model for the pose and skeletal illustrations for the all the bones and joints.

    That's only one idea, of course. What subjects do you LIKE drawing? If it's athletic bodies, do one of those, but do it fully and show us what references you work from. And definitely use references!

  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    You're drawing quite a lot, which is really good. Being consistent is one of the most important things that you can do for yourself.

    Chico is right, anatomy is a broad category which builds on a range of skills. It's easy to see the finished product (anatomical diagrams, detailed figure drawings etc...) and think that that all you need to know is where all the muscles and bones attach to each other is all there is. But in order to insert those muscles into one another, you need to understand how those forms appear in perspective. You need to know how to control your strokes to emphasise bony protrusions or soften fleshy masses. You need a strong sense of composition to place your figure on the page in a way that's appealing.

    All this information might seem overwhelming, but it's easy to break each skill down into simpler exercises. Try doing 15 minutes or more of gesture drawing each day to warm up before you get stuck in to sketching. Or try drawing a 100 thumbnail sketches to practice composition. It's fun! Patience is also a skill. Like Chico suggested, try spending more time on some of your drawings, hours if you need to, and see what you learn.

    Good luck!

  • Tidus53Tidus53 Registered User regular
    ChicoBlue wrote: »
    Have you been introduced to Proko?

    If not, you should really check out his videos. They cover a lot of the fundamentals with regards to figure drawing.

    https://youtube.com/user/ProkoTV/videos

    Your stuff reminds me a lot of my own when I was starting out. Hundreds of pages of sketchbooks just filled up with little muscular gentlemen. I would just sketch in my figures in under five minutes, usually abandoning them when I got to the hands and feet.
    This is a sample of my stuff from way back.
    oldscan1-2.jpg

    I didn't have access to art courses, so I thought that was all there was to hardcore anatomical studying and, goodness gracious, how wrong I was.

    You've no doubt heard this before, but draw from observation from photos and life.

    The most important part of drawing from observation and life is learning how to measure and translate those measurements onto your page. Proko has a video outlining one method of measurement called Drawing Measurement Techniques.

    It'll be frustrating as hell, but try spending an hour or two on a single figure drawing. A lot of that time will be spent measuring, re-measuring, erasing, grumbling and doing some more measuring, but it is worth it to learn how to train your eye.

    Do you have any art goals beyond just improving your anatomy? Illustrations? Comics? Paintings?

    I really want to be a comic book artist or concept artist (still too embarrassed to admit I want to be a mangaka). All honesty I just want to work in a field where I can tell my story with little to no interference from outside sources. Though you have said something that makes me think you've reached into my mind and stole my thoughts (STAY OUT OF THERE!).

    I have been sort of displeased that all my attempts at action have been sort of "unimaginative" and that they've all been shot from the same sort of camera angle. Every pose and attempt at a fight have been from a "fighting game" point of view. I guess because I just really haven't found the right reference for scenes outside of this POV or I'm just afraid. Before I used to just freehand comics and panels but now I'm just unsure how to draw those actions in the story, because once everyone starts moving anatomy goes out the window!

    The latest stuff I've been practicing has been around the twisting of torso and resting positions. So now I'm asking "How would this character be placed in this scene?" So from this I now know that I should spend some time working on scenery, perspective, environments, etc. and then actions of figures reacting to this scene.

    I know I need to draw from life but sometimes I find myself worried that I stick so much to trying to replicate life that I can't draw without references. That's not to say I'm just going to do something off the cuff and just make things that look like Cthulu's FA account (like the eldritch horror?).

    I guess my total end goal is a point where I can draw out scenes and fights of a scenario without leaning heavily on real world reference. I'm also going to go look back at Avatar and other stuff to see how to make my drawings seem more lifelike.


    And I'll spend an hour or so on one character shot just doing something. Just sitting or eating or on a bike; just something to where its isn't that complex, takes up the whole page, and makes me sweat.

    Danke Chiko, your advice means more than you know.

  • Tidus53Tidus53 Registered User regular
    Flay wrote: »
    You're drawing quite a lot, which is really good. Being consistent is one of the most important things that you can do for yourself.

    Chico is right, anatomy is a broad category which builds on a range of skills. It's easy to see the finished product (anatomical diagrams, detailed figure drawings etc...) and think that that all you need to know is where all the muscles and bones attach to each other is all there is. But in order to insert those muscles into one another, you need to understand how those forms appear in perspective. You need to know how to control your strokes to emphasise bony protrusions or soften fleshy masses. You need a strong sense of composition to place your figure on the page in a way that's appealing.

    All this information might seem overwhelming, but it's easy to break each skill down into simpler exercises. Try doing 15 minutes or more of gesture drawing each day to warm up before you get stuck in to sketching. Or try drawing a 100 thumbnail sketches to practice composition. It's fun! Patience is also a skill. Like Chico suggested, try spending more time on some of your drawings, hours if you need to, and see what you learn.

    Good luck!

    Thank you and Chiko for the link, yeah I mean wow.

    I'm already feeling this huge difference, so I'll spend a lot of time working on this today and worry about environments later. Dude thank you.

  • I know I need to draw from life but sometimes I find myself worried that I stick so much to trying to replicate life that I can't draw without references.
    I guess my total end goal is a point where I can draw out scenes and fights of a scenario without leaning heavily on real world reference

    I'm sure it's a total coincidence that this is an argument I hear pretty much exclusively from high school/college students that can't draw at a particularly high level with or without reference, while the professionals who I work with, or hear interviewed, or write articles- who employ any number of styles from total realism to extremely stylized - will talk your ear off about the importance and proper use of reference.


    I think a lot of young artists are told they shouldn't copy or trace (which they shouldn't) and think "not using reference" is the same thing (which it isn't)- so they they think if they say, "Hey, I don't use reference!" they're going to look like some super genius when they show their work- and maybe that'll impress some people that also don't know anything about drawing.

    You tell that to a working professional artist, and they're more likely to mentally translate, "I don't use reference!" as, "My portfolio is probably not very good!"

    Being able to draw excellently from reference and struggling with bringing more imagination to the table, is a vastly better problem to have than only being able to draw at a mediocre level with or without refernce, and STILL having to struggle with bringing more imagination to the table.

    That bit's always an issue regardless, and you don't do yourself any favors by neglecting an invaluable tool of the trade- and if you're not seeking out new visual information (also known as, "gathering reference" or "drawing from life") as part of your drawing process, you're less likely to come up with imaginative new solutions anyway.

    Let me put it this way: saying "I'm not going to use reference, or draw from life", is essentially putting a fence between you, and the world- in all its depth and and majesty. All you're left with inside your head is what you already know- your tired formulas, your stale techniques. When fenced off, those 2 things will breed together like horny rabbits- and thus, mediocre, boring work will be bursting out of your head. If you're lucky, maybe you'll get an interesting mutation 1 out of every 10000 drawings. But if you knock that fence down, and venture out into the world (even if it's just through google image search), and you'll discover things you never knew you never knew (to quote that "Pocahontas" song), and you let fresh new ideas into your mind, to combine in new and exciting ways.

    THAT is what using reference is all about, ultimately- not simply taking the world as given, drawing a from a photo until it looks exactly like that photo- but making sure that your imagination is fed, and your work carries with it the depth of this great big world of ours- whether the thing you're trying to capture is as technical as the shape of a clavicle, or as intangible as the way a sunset makes you feel.

    Even a genius like Isaac Newton wouldn't have figured out calculus if he were locked in windowless room his whole life- he needed to see how things moved out there in the universe in order to say anything interesting about it. Similarly, an artist will struggle with little to show for it, if they attempt to capture any aspect of life that interests them- visually, emotionally, narratively, etc.- without ever observing from the source, from the things outside their head.

    Whether or not their work ultimately directly visually resembles their references or not is beside the point- it's taking the time to really observe and understand their subject that is the value to the work.

    FlaytapeslingerbombardierScosglenIrukatynic
  • Tidus53Tidus53 Registered User regular
    I know I need to draw from life but sometimes I find myself worried that I stick so much to trying to replicate life that I can't draw without references.
    I guess my total end goal is a point where I can draw out scenes and fights of a scenario without leaning heavily on real world reference

    I'm sure it's a total coincidence that this is an argument I hear pretty much exclusively from high school/college students that can't draw at a particularly high level with or without reference, while the professionals who I work with, or hear interviewed, or write articles- who employ any number of styles from total realism to extremely stylized - will talk your ear off about the importance and proper use of reference.


    I think a lot of young artists are told they shouldn't copy or trace (which they shouldn't) and think "not using reference" is the same thing (which it isn't)- so they they think if they say, "Hey, I don't use reference!" they're going to look like some super genius when they show their work- and maybe that'll impress some people that also don't know anything about drawing.

    You tell that to a working professional artist, and they're more likely to mentally translate, "I don't use reference!" as, "My portfolio is probably not very good!"

    Being able to draw excellently from reference and struggling with bringing more imagination to the table, is a vastly better problem to have than only being able to draw at a mediocre level with or without refernce, and STILL having to struggle with bringing more imagination to the table.

    That bit's always an issue regardless, and you don't do yourself any favors by neglecting an invaluable tool of the trade- and if you're not seeking out new visual information (also known as, "gathering reference" or "drawing from life") as part of your drawing process, you're less likely to come up with imaginative new solutions anyway.

    Let me put it this way: saying "I'm not going to use reference, or draw from life", is essentially putting a fence between you, and the world- in all its depth and and majesty. All you're left with inside your head is what you already know- your tired formulas, your stale techniques. When fenced off, those 2 things will breed together like horny rabbits- and thus, mediocre, boring work will be bursting out of your head. If you're lucky, maybe you'll get an interesting mutation 1 out of every 10000 drawings. But if you knock that fence down, and venture out into the world (even if it's just through google image search), and you'll discover things you never knew you never knew (to quote that "Pocahontas" song), and you let fresh new ideas into your mind, to combine in new and exciting ways.

    THAT is what using reference is all about, ultimately- not simply taking the world as given, drawing a from a photo until it looks exactly like that photo- but making sure that your imagination is fed, and your work carries with it the depth of this great big world of ours- whether the thing you're trying to capture is as technical as the shape of a clavicle, or as intangible as the way a sunset makes you feel.

    Even a genius like Isaac Newton wouldn't have figured out calculus if he were locked in windowless room his whole life- he needed to see how things moved out there in the universe in order to say anything interesting about it. Similarly, an artist will struggle with little to show for it, if they attempt to capture any aspect of life that interests them- visually, emotionally, narratively, etc.- without ever observing from the source, from the things outside their head.

    Whether or not their work ultimately directly visually resembles their references or not is beside the point- it's taking the time to really observe and understand their subject that is the value to the work.

    Okay now I understand things a little better.

    I have a pinterest that i try to update everyday and go back to look at the poses. So if the qualifies then yes, I do use reference.

    It's just that I have a fear that I will be unable to draw a certain thing because I can't find the image that would help me realize it and then just not be able to get things done.

    I dunno, I want to use my brain and make things up from all the comics, cartoons, anime, and manga I've seen but I also want to make them unique?

    Planning fights from different perspectives it what has me worried most. And creating my own characters.

  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    Every artist uses references. Professional artists, including comic artists, mangaka and animators know the value of references, and use them frequently.

    If someone is capable of drawing something without a reference, it's because they've already drawn that thing a lot from observation or from reference, and are using their memory. It's known as a 'visual library', and it takes years or decades to develop. It includes everything from very obviously different elements (such as different clothing styles) to much more subtle things (such as the many possible variations of human noses).

    Designing a character or an environment involves being able to take several elements from your visual library and combine them in an interesting way. The less you have in your library, the fewer elements you can draw upon, and the less interesting your designs will be.

    Using a reference doesn't mean simply copying an image. It's usually impossible to find exactly the image that you have in your head online or in the real world, but you might be able to find something close and then imagine it from a different angle. One very useful exercise that you could do is to find a reference of an interesting thing (like an antique chair, or an interesting plant, or a Japanese tori), and try to draw it as though you were looking at it from a different angle. Alternatively, try gathering lots of images of a class of objects (fire hydrants for example), pick some elements that you like from different images, then try to combine them together in a single drawing.

    In short, the more you draw from life and from reference, the less reliant you will be on these things when it comes to design. You will never not need references, because you can't know everything about the world.

    Angel_of_BacontapeslingerScosglen
  • Tidus53Tidus53 Registered User regular
    Flay wrote: »
    Every artist uses references. Professional artists, including comic artists, mangaka and animators know the value of references, and use them frequently.

    If someone is capable of drawing something without a reference, it's because they've already drawn that thing a lot from observation or from reference, and are using their memory. It's known as a 'visual library', and it takes years or decades to develop. It includes everything from very obviously different elements (such as different clothing styles) to much more subtle things (such as the many possible variations of human noses).

    Designing a character or an environment involves being able to take several elements from your visual library and combine them in an interesting way. The less you have in your library, the fewer elements you can draw upon, and the less interesting your designs will be.

    Using a reference doesn't mean simply copying an image. It's usually impossible to find exactly the image that you have in your head online or in the real world, but you might be able to find something close and then imagine it from a different angle. One very useful exercise that you could do is to find a reference of an interesting thing (like an antique chair, or an interesting plant, or a Japanese tori), and try to draw it as though you were looking at it from a different angle. Alternatively, try gathering lots of images of a class of objects (fire hydrants for example), pick some elements that you like from different images, then try to combine them together in a single drawing.

    In short, the more you draw from life and from reference, the less reliant you will be on these things when it comes to design. You will never not need references, because you can't know everything about the world.

    So things like my knowledge of anatomy and general facial structure are part of my visual library then, right?

    Because if I'm getting this right then your saying reference is sort of like a study aid, and if I study something enough I won't need to go looking for a way to draw that something again, because I'll know by heart.

    I just need to draw that one thing a bunch and everything else will fall into place?

  • Angel_of_BaconAngel_of_Bacon Moderator mod
    edited January 2015
    That's why pros will often shoot their own ref, or make rough clay models, or create 3d blockouts, in addition to using internet sources. They will sketch loosely from imagination to have a broad idea of where they're going, then set up a tripod and either take photos of themselves or a model portraying the action, and then use that as a basis.

    As a concept guy, whenever I get an assignment I create a big sheet slap down a bunch of references (anywhere from half a dozen to 50+) that may or may not inform my final design- maybe some things that are indicative of the era, or maybe something that just captures a general mood or palette, or a pattern I saw somewhere that I thought looked nice, another artist's work that I want to capture something of, or maybe something of just one nice detail. A photo of a modern warzone may not be something I'd literally want to copy into a medieval fantasy game, but seeing the ruins of a destroyed building gives a sense of mood and chaos that would be useful. A picture of an old Corvette may no directly translate into a spaceship, but there are things about how the metal looks and the shape design that I may want to incorporate into a spaceship design. A lot of times in looking I realize I don't understand why these things look the way they do, and will do a good deal of research to understand them (ie: why is this intake here and not elsewhere, what power options were available to run a mill in medieval times, etc.)

    This inital reference will inform my thumbnailing, as I go through a dozen or so different takes at a design-some things in the ref will stick, and some won't- and as things get more solidified I will seek out more reference to better develop things out. Will any of them be in the exact lighting scenario or angle I need, of course not. But I've worked from life and directly from reference enough that I can make knowledgable educated guesses in constructing my original design.
    It's just that I have a fear that I will be unable to draw a certain thing because I can't find the image that would help me realize it

    You'll only be able to effectively portray an imagined object, if you actually take the time to thoroughly understand real objects- why they look the way they do, what the logic is there that defines the shape, the material aspects- which only comes through practice of drawing and analizing said real objects. Again, you've gained nothing by denying yourself use of reference- you've only made your practice that much less effective.


    Here's a sampling of a bunch of ways pros use reference- some are pretty literal, while others are not. Some use them for one thing and not another, some will cobble together various sources, all of them make changes between the photo and the ref for the sake of a better picture.

    http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2013/11/getting-shot.html
    http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2013/02/presearch-part-3-of-3.html
    http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2014/01/artist-selfies-everybodys-doing-it.html
    http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2012/08/goddess-of-antiquity-process-breakdown_17.html
    http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2012/12/roman-legionnaires-its-all-in-reference.html
    http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-dragon-empress.html
    http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2013/09/rose-red.html
    http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2012/12/binders-full-of-women.html
    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2014/06/book-review-lost-notebook.html
    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2011/04/cinderellas-live-action-reference.html
    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2012/12/elvgrens-pin-up-reference.html
    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2011/11/riding-pterosaur.html
    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2012/01/artists-lay-figures-part-4-and-final.html
    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2008/02/windblown-cape.html
    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2009/12/rockwells-earliest-reference-photo.html
    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2014/12/harry-andersons-photo-reference.html
    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2007/09/acting-it-out.html

    I wish I had an easily linked article (I read this in the book about him), but even someone as stylized and 'out there' as Maurice Noble used ref in his own way- he'd take make sketches from life, and noted every thing he could think of that made that thing interesting- the contrast between this or that shape, the color gradation, etc. He even went out and memorized in great detail what distinguished one species of tree from another, in branch patterns, leaf shape, color, etc- just pouring as much information and detail as possibe into his head- before putting it all away and creating the more fanciful, exaggerated designs he came up with. He could have just started drawing, but he'd never have come up with anything as interesting or unique if he didn't deeply engage with reality first, and he wouldn't have been able to carry off the wild stylized work if he hadn't worked in a more grounded, realistic way first in his artistic training.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=maurice+noble+ref&espv=2&biw=1920&bih=1115&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=5wS7VPnSNISYyQS4uYGABw&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ&dpr=1#tbm=isch&q=maurice+noble

    There's a reason why the pre-production pipeline for Disney and Pixar movies include spending the considerable time and expense to fly their artists to the kinds of locations they'll be trying to depict in their films, to sketch and take reference- it's worth the money because there's no way to fake that kind of depth- and the depth is what separates great art from merely good art.

    Angel_of_Bacon on
    ChicoBlueFlaytapeslingerOllieScosglentynicGrifter
  • Tidus53Tidus53 Registered User regular
    That's why pros will often shoot their own ref, or make rough clay models, or create 3d blockouts, in addition to using internet sources. They will sketch loosely from imagination to have a broad idea of where they're going, then set up a tripod and either take photos of themselves or a model portraying the action, and then use that as a basis.

    As a concept guy, whenever I get an assignment I create a big sheet slap down a bunch of references (anywhere from half a dozen to 50+) that may or may not inform my final design- maybe some things that are indicative of the era, or maybe something that just captures a general mood or palette, or a pattern I saw somewhere that I thought looked nice, or maybe something of just one nice detail. A photo of a modern warzone may not be something I'd literally want to copy into a medieval fantasy game, but seeing the ruins of a destroyed building gives a sense of mood and chaos that would be useful. A picture of an old Corvette may no directly translate into a spaceship, but there are things about how the metal looks and the shape design that I may want to incorporate into a spaceship design. A lot of times in looking I realize I don't understand why these things look the way they do, and will do a good deal of research to understand them (ie: why is this intake here and not elsewhere, what power options were available to run a mill in medieval times, etc.)

    This inital reference will inform my thumbnailing, as I go through a dozen or so different takes at a design-some things in the ref will stick, and some won't- and as things get more solidified I will seek out more reference to better develop things out. Will any of them be in the exact lighting scenario or angle I need, of course not. But I've worked from life and directly from reference enough that I can make knowledgable educated guesses in constructing my original design.
    It's just that I have a fear that I will be unable to draw a certain thing because I can't find the image that would help me realize it

    You'll only be able to effectively portray an imagined object, if you actually take the time to thoroughly understand real objects- why they look the way they do, what the logic is there that defines the shape, the material aspects- which only comes through practice of drawing and analizing said real objects. Again, you've gained nothing by denying yourself use of reference- you've only made your practice that much less effective.


    Here's a sampling of a bunch of ways pros use reference- some are pretty literal, while others are not. Some use them for one thing and not another, some will cobble together various sources, all of them make changes between the photo and the ref for the sake of a better picture.

    http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2013/11/getting-shot.html
    http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2013/02/presearch-part-3-of-3.html
    http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2014/01/artist-selfies-everybodys-doing-it.html
    http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2012/08/goddess-of-antiquity-process-breakdown_17.html
    http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2012/12/roman-legionnaires-its-all-in-reference.html
    http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-dragon-empress.html
    http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2013/09/rose-red.html
    http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2012/12/binders-full-of-women.html
    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2014/06/book-review-lost-notebook.html
    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2011/04/cinderellas-live-action-reference.html
    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2012/12/elvgrens-pin-up-reference.html
    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2011/11/riding-pterosaur.html
    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2012/01/artists-lay-figures-part-4-and-final.html
    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2008/02/windblown-cape.html
    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2009/12/rockwells-earliest-reference-photo.html
    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2014/12/harry-andersons-photo-reference.html
    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2007/09/acting-it-out.html

    I wish I had an easily linked article (I read this in the book about him), but even someone as stylized and 'out there' as Maurice Noble used ref in his own way- he'd take make sketches from life, and noted every thing he could think of that made that thing interesting- the contrast between this or that shape, the color gradation, etc. He even went out and memorized in great detail what distinguished one species of tree from another, in branch patterns, leaf shape, color, etc- just pouring as much information and detail as possibe into his head- before putting it all away and creating the more fanciful, exaggerated designs he came up with. He could have just started drawing, but he'd never have come up with anything as interesting or unique if he didn't deeply engage with reality first, and he wouldn't have been able to carry off the wild stylized work if he hadn't worked in a more grounded, realistic way first in his artistic training.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=maurice+noble+ref&espv=2&biw=1920&bih=1115&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=5wS7VPnSNISYyQS4uYGABw&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ&dpr=1#tbm=isch&q=maurice+noble

    There's a reason why the pre-production pipeline for Disney and Pixar movies include spending the considerable time and expense to fly their artists to the kinds of locations they'll be trying to depict in their films, to sketch and take reference- it's worth the money because there's no way to fake that kind of depth- and the depth is what separates great art from merely good art.

    Okay so I think I get it now.

    Gathering, building, and using reference is the artistic equivalent of studying or creating a research paper. So if in the course of writing this "research paper" I find an article unrelated to my subject, but does have something that could appeal to my audience or help my argument, or give a better context to it all, I cite it and use it.

    But I don't have to go and "quote" the whole reference. I could paraphrase it or restate it in my own words, or just take a piece of it. The important thing is to use it.

    Of course that whole analogy goes out the window with the visual library (but it could be equal to something anyone would know?).

    I can always be wrong, but this sort of puts it all into a good context for me. After all in a paper I still have to right about what I was told to write about, but when I write it is uniquely mine. I'll study others related or unrelated works (reference, other artists) for citation and research, but what it IMPORTANT is that the end result is mine and not the product of someone else's hands (my style).

    I guess while I'm at it I'd like to ask if, from what you've seen, if you believe I've developed at least some portion of a visual library for anatomy. I only ever use reference for inspiration for new poses or drawing females when it comes to anatomy, because I've been drawing superheroes for about 4 years now. I know I need to diversify my body portfolio, but is it something to work off you think?

  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    edited January 2015
    "Tidus53 wrote: »
    I guess while I'm at it I'd like to ask if, from what you've seen, if you believe I've developed at least some portion of a visual library for anatomy. I only ever use reference for inspiration for new poses or drawing females when it comes to anatomy, because I've been drawing superheroes for about 4 years now. I know I need to diversify my body portfolio, but is it something to work off you think?

    If I had to guess, your work has the look of someone who has spent a small amount of time studying "how to draw manga/comics" tutorials, and nearly zero time drawing from a model or otherwise studying real anatomy. Not to put too fine a point on it but your misinformed sensibilities about how to use and learn from reference have set you back a lot and you've got a long way to go.

    Unless you are a savant, which at this point it seems clear you aren't, there is no way to be able to draw convincing and appealing figures from your imagination without having spent hundreds of hours studying the source by drawing it directly from observation. When you draw from observation, there is a kind of alchemy which happens in the brain that helps you remember and understand that thing in a way that cannot be gleaned by simply looking at it intently. You will need to exploit this truth if you want to become a skilled draftsman.

    Scosglen on
    Angel_of_BaconOllie
  • Angel_of_BaconAngel_of_Bacon Moderator mod
    edited January 2015
    To carry forward the research paper analogy, it is akin to that, yes- but it's like writing a research paper in a second language you've only had a semester of. To express yourself articulately, you need to learn the pronunciation, the grammar, the spelling, the vocabulary of the language- there's a reason that language classes start with "Where is the bathroom?" and not just tell you to start writing a doctoral thesis right from the get go.

    To talk about where your anatomy knowledge is then- it may be enough to let you talk about 'how to get to la bibliothèque', but not enough to write a book that would be IN la bibliothèque, because of the limited visual vocabulary. I may be able to understand what you're trying to show, but I see the slip ups, or where and why you can't quite get to where you're trying to be- I can see where you're not picking up on how the lats and serratus effect the side form of the torso, I see where the insertion of the pecs and the interaction with the delts aren't quite there, I can see where the body turns into some disparate bits rather than a cohesive gesture, I can see where you're shying away from perspective issues, I can see a lot of proportional issues that I find it hard to chalk up to 'style' and not simply default 'habits'.

    A Faulkner or Hemingway can get away with a passage employing a novel use of language that a high schooler couldn't, because those authors had established a mastery of language already- a high schooler saying the same sentence may simply come across as inarticulate. Similarly, an artist with an established firm grasp of light, shade, expressive linework, design, staging, color, etc. may be able to get away with a stylization of anatomy you wouldn't be able to, without making it look like a mistake or bad habit at work. Hence, the need to study anatomy (as well as all those other subjects) from real sources to establish that mastery of the language of visual arts, so it's clear you're making choices in your work, rather than simply making mistakes. There's no other way to get that across, other than putting the work in.

    So that's a long way of saying that reference and drawing from life has its uses at the high level, in design work- but it also has its uses at the low level, broadening that visual vocabulary, and that's a point that you are in no way beyond (and even the best artists I know are the best because they continue to practice the basics regularly on top of their professional work)- and again, this doesn't just mean copying a photo directly (though there is value to that and you really only hurt yourself by avoiding it), there's a lot of ways to use it.
    -Copying the form from the ref, but changing the lighting.
    -Using the reference for a pose, but then trying to draw that same pose from a different camera angle.
    -Copying a reference and then using tracing paper, drawing out the model's skeleton inside the body, then the musculature. Then do the same thing using a different camera angle.
    -Breaking down a reference into broad shapes (cubes, cylinders, spheres), to practice form.
    -Copying a moving figure from ref, but then doing the next pose (or 'keyframe' in animation terms) in that figure's action. Or just a part of a pose- what muscles expand or contract over the course of an action?
    -Copying a figure, and then trying various exaggerations of that figure- What if the model had a rotund gut and very thin arms? Or was very tall? How can the pose be changed to get across a clearer read of the figure's attitude? How would this muscular guy look if he gained 50 pounds of fat? How would this skinny girl look if she took up MMA training?

    This basic level stuff is the sort of exercise that you do over and over and over and over for years and years, and builds the ability to work from life and imagination effectively, relating one to another.

    [Fake Edit: This is where I realized I was going into an only semi-related rant]
    It's possible that this sort of thing doesn't appeal to you, and in the end you might be fine with a "tourist" level of vocabulary than a "published author" level. If you want to make a webcomic on the side while you work a day job and that would be perfectly A-OK with you, then maybe your current knowledge base is fine enough for that purpose. But if you want to understand what the A to B path is from where you are to being a professional comics/concept artist, welp. Lots of hard work, most of which isn't glamorous or sexy by itself, no way around it. Won't make it in the NFL if you don't want to do pushups in the dirt in off-season training with everyone else.

    Lots of people want to do this kind of work, most people fail, because they either don't know what to do (even people in art schools often don't realize how much they're not getting from their education...that's why you gotta read a ton of art books, kids), or they don't have the stomach (or the time, or they're not willing to make the time) to actually sit down and toil endlessly with little reward other than fits and starts of progress.

    It's hard. And it never gets easy, because progress means you're always pushing the envelope of what you don't know- and art is a field of infinite depth*. It's like in the Avengers where Bruce Banner goes, "That's my secret. I'm always angry." The secret of artists that make it is that they've muscled the idea into their brain that drawing is always hard, no matter what. They're going to sit down with their pencil and paper and there are going to be a lot of things that are a pain in the ass to figure out, no matter how much experience they've got, no matter what school they went to. They make it because they sit down and do it anyway, and if things seem easy? That's when they get nervous, because that's how they know they're not trying hard enough. They understand that the answer to "Should I do A? Or should I do B?" is "both". Should you draw from imagination? Yes. Should you draw from ref? Yes. Should you draw from life? Yes. Should you draw fast and gesturally? Yes. Should you draw meticulously on a single drawing for weeks, agonizing over every measurement? Yes. Should you draw landscapes? Yes. Should you draw buildings? Yes. Should you draw people? Yes. Should you draw animals? Yes. Should you draw realistically? Yes. Should you draw very stylized work? Yes. There isn't any point of "good enough"- whether or not you reach a point where someone will pay you to draw is mostly incidental to the matter. A master is not defined by the accomplishments as seen in the public eye, as much someone who has made a life of viewing diligent practice as its own reward.

    *favorite quote about this subject:
    “From around the age of six, I had the habit of sketching from life. I became an artist, and from fifty on began producing works that won some reputation, but nothing I did before the age of seventy was worthy of attention. At seventy-three, I began to grasp the structures of birds and beasts, insects and fish, and of the way plants grow. If I go on trying, I will surely understand them still better by the time I am eighty-six, so that by ninety I will have penetrated to their essential nature. At one hundred, I may well have a positively divine understanding of them, while at one hundred and thirty, forty, or more I will have reached the stage where every dot and every stroke I paint will be alive. May Heaven, that grants long life, give me the chance to prove that this is no lie.”
    ― Hokusai Katsushika

    Angel_of_Bacon on
  • Tidus53Tidus53 Registered User regular
    edited January 2015
    ok so.


    um

    how to books then.

    ok

    um.

    I can't draw right now I just can't I feel like I just got told I was in special ed and I'm in 5th grade.

    4 years. and what. Apparently i'm still a middle schooler. that uses the elementray school level comic stuff.

    I know I should learn to take criticism but just fuck. i just feel like i just got tripped running a 100 meter. reality sucks, huh.

    Tidus53 on
  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    I'm sorry if this is a bit of a harsh reality check, but it's one you needed to hear if you intend to pursue drawing seriously.

    For what it's worth, you're not in "special ed". There's nothing exceptionally retrograde or terrible about your work, it's just very green. If you felt you were much further down the road than you actually are, well that's a bummer, but there's nothing preventing you from dusting yourself off and moving forward.

    I don't know how old you are, or what your life looks like, or how serious you are about art, but if you start seriously grinding on the fundamentals you could probably grow more in the next 6-12 months than in those past 4 years put together.

    Angel_of_Bacon
  • Tidus53Tidus53 Registered User regular
    Scosglen wrote: »
    I'm sorry if this is a bit of a harsh reality check, but it's one you needed to hear if you intend to pursue drawing seriously.

    For what it's worth, you're not in "special ed". There's nothing exceptionally retrograde or terrible about your work, it's just very green. If you felt you were much further down the road than you actually are, well that's a bummer, but there's nothing preventing you from dusting yourself off and moving forward.

    I don't know how old you are, or what your life looks like, or how serious you are about art, but if you start seriously grinding on the fundamentals you could probably grow more in the next 6-12 months than in those past 4 years put together.

    Well at least I can take a little solace in being better than those dudes that draw straight anime. The embarrassing kind. The ones with the creepy eyes and large heads and malformed bodies. Looking like they were born way wrong and makes you assume all their organs are in their skull.

    That's the only thing that's helping me stay afloat don't take that from me please.

  • Tidus53Tidus53 Registered User regular
    Snip (I feel very very dickish for doing this)

    Okay Angel I know that I need to use real life to help me build my style, but does that mean I can't use others' art as reference?

    I've been told by other people to not closely study someone's art as a reference over real life, but I've always felt sort of appropriate to do it if it meant finding my own style. Like looking at someone like gashi-gashi, Eichiro Oda, Hirohiko Araraki because they had something about their style that you felt matched the picture in your head. Or if they had a really killer action scenes like something from Avatar or Gundam or is that wrong because it isn't real.

    Would others' art count as reference?

  • Angel_of_BaconAngel_of_Bacon Moderator mod
    edited January 2015
    Do artists use other artist's work as reference? Sure, all the time. If a great artist does something that one wants to capture, it can be a great revelation to do a straight master study of their work and try to replicate their working methods, or to try to emulate their palette, or their composition, or some other aspect if the work. Someone who has the experience and knowledge to analyze other's work fruitfully can gain a great deal by doing so.

    Does that mean you should go out and copy the work of all these names you keep dropping right now? I would say, "absolutely not". If you simply must copy someone, go copy the life drawings of old masters- Raphael, Reubens, Caravaggio, Bargue, Prud'hon.


    Why? Because you're at a point as an artist where you are clearly simply enamored with novelty- those little things that make a "unique style"- while the foundation skills you need to work on- construction, perspective, light and shade, proportions, etc. - are not about novelty. Novelty is the single least important aspect contributing to a drawing's quality. To someone without a lot of experience, these surface novelties seem like they mean everything, they are the be all end all of what makes a drawing great; an experienced artist looks past that surface, and sees primarily how the foundation serves to make the work great.

    The reason the novelties of the styles you keep bringing up actually work, is not because of their differences so much as all these foundational things- the things they all have in common. Without that core foundational skill, all your heroes would draw no better than any other person on the street.

    Like I just said in the Questions thread, even the most disparate styles truly have only maybe around 5% of relevant difference to each other when being drawn, while they share 95% in common. They all need mastery of gesture, of proportion, of lighting, of anatomy, of perspective, of construction, of staging. Right now you need to work on that 95% if you want to make any meaningful headway towards being where you want to be.

    Searching high and low for some cool style or novelty that will make work built on a flimsy foundation suddenly come good is an utter waste of time, and is a trap that happens to far too many young artists that never come in contact with- or don't listen to- the words of established artists that have been there before and got past it. I've been there myself- I used to draw anime DBZ looking junk in high school, until I started looking up how to become an animator; and every source- every book, every teacher, every article- I ran into on the subject told the same story- "Stop dicking around trying to find or emulate a style; learn to draw from life first and foremost."*

    A novel style that works is a cool costume being worn by someone- the person it is designed to fit around is the foundation. Without that foundation to rely on, you end up sewing a costume that wouldn't fit anyone- so it falls down to the floor unworn, and all you are left with is a useless, loose clump of clothes laid in a disheveled pile.



    Lots of people never get this, and never attack the problem where it lies- even having spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on art schooling, many stagnate immediately and forever, maintaining their baseless faith that some gimmick of style will yield their salvation; only to find it never comes. There are people that draw every day and their work looks identical to that they did decades ago; then there are people that grit their teeth and do the hard work that qualify as an 'amazing true story of inspiration', with only a year or two of dedicated, well-guided practice. (A saying I heard in school that comes to mind is, "Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect." If you practice poorly, or haphazardly, or without solid logic or guidance, it is absolutely possible to gain nothing from the experience- save perhaps further ingraining bad habits. )

    I would urge you not to fall prey to that trap. Take a break from cribbing from anime and DeviantArt idols for a few years and just really learn the fundamentals. Only then will you be able to study from them effectively.



    And the style is 'like what you see in your head?' Of course that's what you see in your in your head; how could you possibly imagine anything else, if these images are all you choose to feed your head with? For someone who so values originality and uniqueness, that's a surefire strategy to ensure your work will have neither.

    Besides, having an image in your head? My experience has shown me that those are usually worthless. Get it on paper and it's never as good as you thought- invariably, it turns out you never know quite as much about that image as your brain told you you did, so you have to change and fix a ton of things to make it work anyway. That's why in production work I always do a ton of variations in sketch form to see if what I thought was going to be cool actually pans out in reality. Cool image in my head doesn't pay my bills- cool (but entirely different from what I was thinking originally) image I manage to wrestle onto the page, on the other hand, does. Don't get hung up on that stuff- more often than not, your mental images prove to be merely mirages. Approach them with skepticism.



    *Richard Williams (the director of Who Framed Roger Rabbit) puts this across excellently in his book, "The Animator's Survival Guide". I've highlighted his points here (NSFW because of life drawings), because it's probably some of the most to the direct and to the point articulation on this point I've seen. I read this as a teenager, and I know that I probably wouldn't be where I am today had I not let it sink in.
    http://bacon.iseenothing.com/info/AnimSurvGuideExcerpt.gif

    Angel_of_Bacon on
    IrukaGethtynicScosglenFlaytapeslinger
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    @Angel_of_Bacon‌, man that's an excellent post.

    Tidus, I also wanted to say, Try your best to fight off despair. We all get this sort of harsh wake-up call multiple times as artists. It always sucks, but thats just how it is. If you can put yourself in a positive mindset and be as open as possible to growth, each crit you get will feel less devastating. Try to remember that art isn't a race, and really put the time into fundamentals.

    Removing your ego can be really difficult in art, and alot of times artist mistake being humble for self pity mixed with avoidance. You can tell everyone around you that you think you are lacking and that you are looking for crits, and yet forever skate around what you actually need to be doing. If you really hear these crits out, you'll get yourself on a path for life drawing, studies, and fundamentals. If you let your ego control the situation, what you'll do is continue to try to rationalize how the path of countless professional artists before you need not apply. Save yourself the pain, and start from the very basics.

    Flay had been doing some stuff from http://www.reddit.com/r/artfundamentals that looks really good. Between that and Proko and all those links AOB handed you, you should have some great starting points to moving forward as an artist.

    tynicAngel_of_BaconFlaytapeslinger
  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    edited January 2015
    It's really easy to tie your sense of worth to your accomplishments as an artist (I can tell you I fall into that trap often enough), but try to keep them separated. We're all posting in here because we want to see you succeed!

    A more positive way to frame your studies is to mentally reward yourself more when you work hard, rather than when you do good job. It's nice to feel proud of one good piece you made, but it can backfire if your next artwork doesn't go as planned. You can lose confidence in your own abilities. Also hard work is much more important to your long term goals.


    Also I'll second Iruka's recommendation of /r/ArtFundamentals, it's a really great resource.

    Flay on
    Angel_of_Baconm3nacetynictapeslingerTidus53
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