so I hear you guys draw things. I draw things! mostly little cartoons
but recently I went out and bought a nice little Moleskin sketchbook to carry around with me with the intention that I am going to draw something from life everyday. mostly because I'm going off to art school in about six months and I am awful at such things
here are a few excerpts from said notebook. they're definitely pretty quick sketches that I don't intend to go back and fix, but any crits are welcome so I don't continue to make the same mistakes later
and for kicks here is an illustration I'm working on
goddamn those shadows look like some straight up penis
Second thing, you seem to be pressing down awfully hard in that sketchbook. Nothing wrong with that per se, but you're going to see a lot more improvement if you learn to relax, and it's hard to relax with lines that dark. If you're worried about the visibility of your lines, go with a softer pencil, which will give you the same darkness with less effort; that's how I settled into my 4B for sketching.
Related to both observations, it's kind of hard to tell your process from these few drawings, but if you're just going at the outlines in these things, that's the wrong way to do it; try sketching through the object. Remember that you're looking at a three-dimensional object that might be curving away from you here, and towards you there. In drawing from observation, the ultimate goal is to capture that information, and every technique and principle you use--value, contour, hatching, cross-contour, color--is meant to help you to achieve that goal. I'm not saying it's impossible to convey form the way it seems like you're doing it, but it's going to be less comprehensive, and more likely to have inaccuracies in the concept of the thing, and it's certainly not going to help you learn how to observe.
I dunno, them's my two cents, anyway. I suppose if I were to add a couple of minor points, the eyes on the portrait are skewed (wall-eyed), and the upper arm of your illustration character is smaller than his forearm, the line defining his upper lip is distractingly thin, and most cleft chins don't have spaces in between them like that.
Huh...whaddaya know...I stand corrected, but agree with Nap's crit about it in that case.
thus far my efforts have been focused on "can I even get the form of these figures right". but you are right, I have a rigid reliance on outlines (possibly due to never moving away from cartoons before now) that needs to be broken. I will work on this in future attempts
Yeah, I'm thinking this relates back to my inability to not use outlines. I typically start light, but once I get going I tend to press far harder than I should. I suppose I should also go get some real pencils too, and quit using random #2's I find lying around.
I guess my process has been "outline the general form of what you're looking at and then go from there", which taking in the advice you've given is an awful way to go about things. however I'm gonna have to ask you to be a bit more specific here, in terms of a better way to go about this. Value is something I have been intending to try and do some studies on (One has actually been done but I didn't enjoy the result much, so I didn't post it) so I can use it more effectively. On that note, I suppose I don't really know what cross-contour is.
and yes, the boy in the illustration doesn't have a cleft chin. I've actually been struggling with a way to seperate his jaw from his neck while still keeping the no-outlines flat-color style I wanted for this one.
Now, keep in mind through all of this that everyone has their own process, and that some may work better than others; my guess is that it all depends on the way you tend to see things in the beginning, though I'm not going to pretend that my process is the best one, even for me. What this drawing (of quite the handsome hand, if I may say so) shows is that I start by sighting distances and angles. I break what I see into constituent shapes, and measure (by eye, or with my pencil if I want to be particularly careful) the length of the lines and the angles. You can see that a bit with the lines and curves connecting the fingertips. The most important part before getting to far into your drawings is making sure the underlying proportions are correct, otherwise you're going to have a well-rendered face with crooked eyes, or something worse. It still happens to me a lot, as the forumer portrait thread can testify. I keep sighting at smaller levels, always checking my marks against whatever landmarks I can use. In the case of that hand, I look at the heart line, thinking "alright, how far down the pinky side does it start, at which finger does it end, and what shape does it make with the other parts of the hand? The more things you check objects against, the more likely it's going to be in proportion.
Of course, none of that really gets into form, but that, at least in the case of that hand, is where shading comes in. For the harder-edged shadows, I cover the outlines in the same way I did for the general outline. It's one way of defining form, which works especially well with things that have got more complex hard-edged shadows, which usually includes parts of the body (to be perfectly honest, in this case the value approach wasn't too successful, unless you can tell my fingers were bent). There are other ways, though, both of defining form and going about the process of observational drawing.
Another way is going to sound like I'm flip-flopping, because it's about contour, which is very closely related to outline. The differences, though, are essential.
For an example, I'm going to have to go way back, and put up a drawing I made a few years ago (it's odd the images I decided to keep on my computer). This particular approach works really well for organic things with complicated contours, like leaves and pinecones and the like. As you can see, you're basically tracing around the object. There are a couple of catches, namely that you want to minimize the amount that you're looking at your paper to nearly nil (if not completely nil, in certain cases. I glanced at my paper on this one, I'd say, around the end of each branch). The other catch is that you're not just tracing the outline, you're following it even as you've got a piece coming in front of another piece. This is where it works for form. I did the same trace with the branch-things coming out towards me, because that's where the contour led me, and it helps to define the whole thing as a three-dimensional object. Cross-contour (you'll have to excuse yet another drawing) is the sort of same deal, but going across the form instead of around it. In this example, the hatching follows the cross-contours of the lighter (kind of).
Anyway, I tend to get off-track much more easily with long posts in small windows, so if I missed something (like the point of the question entirely), let me know.
EDIT: About the guy's neck; have you tried coloring it a slightly darker/cooler color? I'm not sure if it violates the flat-color look, but I'd imagine that'd do the trick.
however in the process I think I made the fingers too short and stubby
Another quick note based on your sketch; careful with your shading; lines going willy-nilly will undermine the sense of form that shading can create, since they can act like hatching/cross-contours. First of all, lay down the shading with a bit more care (even if it's a sketch; it helps to keep a light touch). Second of all, try following the contours or the cross-contours with your strokes, so that the strokes and the shading they create work together to show the form. I'm going to beg your forgiveness for posting another drawing, but as a way of demonstrating, look at the shading, particularly on the apples and the cloth, and how they follow the objects (or cut across them, in the case of the cloth), and how that helps enhance the form of the drawing.
nah this is exactly what I was wanting when I even thought about making a thread, and picture examples are perfect. lighting may be part of my problem with a few of these - they're being draw at work under straight fluorescent lighting, so there's little contrast in value to work with. I tend to make some up myself in that situation. I'll get my spot lamp on something when I'm home to have something better to work with
I would also suggest getting some 6B pencils to make shading the dark areas easier and for adding more contrast to your work.
it'll look terrible but it taught me some important things about value
update on the illustration. The colors are very temporary (though I kind of like the neon look on the kid), as I was trying to decide if this is the look I want for it. I'm unsure about the flat colored character against the heavily textured background. Plus the shadows definitely need redone, because they are awful shit.
and something definitely inspired by Moss' badass movie posters
come with me, we shall make off into the night, leaving the king unaware that I have taken his princess as my bride
i can probably help you with this
I use the whole "no lines" style quite a bit.
basically, i use lines...but sparingly.
so if i want to differentiate the neck from the head, i will either add a small gradient fill underneath the head to add a bit of shadow, or i'll use a small line.
you've used lines already in the mouth and nose, if done right, it'll still have that simple look while having the differentiation you want.
and then just for funsies
*Either the nose is too low, or you've made the face to tall.
* The right eye seems too close to the nose (and for that matter, much too large),
* the shadow around the eye cuts into the nose in away that makes it seem that the nose isn't their (though that might be due to lighting- hard to tell without a reference)
*From the looks of it, its seems like you've drawn what you think so saw in the mirror and you didn't pay enough attention to what is actually there. This is a hard concept to get over and just about
everyone stuggles with it.
I'd suggest trying to draw some faces upside down- that will take away your minds belief that it "knows" what everything looks like- and also, I'd check out a book called Drawing on the right side of the brain (or something like that... I can never remember the title to that thing)
-hopefully I didn't come across as being too harsh, but right now you're at the stage where its really easy to point out what's wrong and how to fix them
with the way it came out, that entire side was just shadow. I couldn't make out any features so I just went with it
I will fix that eye, however
edit- aaaaaaand nap comes in and posts while I'm typing. don't worry about feeling harsh, I've never been the kind of man to get offended
shortened face, made eye smaller and tried to correct shadow cutting into the nose
Proportion aside on the face, I do like what you've done with the value; do you see how the shadows can convey form? That said, I do feel compelled to bring up once again what I'd mentioned before about sighting your proportions carefully before getting in on the rendering. If it helps, there are some standard guidelines with proportion that have to do with the human face; they're by no means universal (which is why we don't all look alike), but hold true for most people. The most famous one is the eyes-halfway-down-the-face one, but you've also got ones like the face's width at eye-level being five eye-widths apart (the distribution being half an eye-width from the outside of the face to the outer edge of the eyes, and an eye-width between the eyes). The proportion-obsessed artists of the Renaissance came up with a slew of others, but I don't remember many of them off the top of my head. They do help to check your proportions, though.
This probably is also a good time to bring up structure (or more accurately, familiarity with structure). Now, this kind of stuff isn't stuff you need to know all at once, or right away, but at some point, you'll probably be taught to break things down into their "constituent forms." I think I'd mentioned it before earlier, but I didn't go into it. What I mean by that is, think of...a pencil. If you think about it, a pencil (especially the ones that'll roll around on you) is nothing more than a cylinder (the body of the pencil) attached to a cone (the tip). That's a pretty simple example, but it applies to everything. You can look at the form of the head as a sphere attached to a cylinder that's been cut off at a slight downwards angle on the bottom (like I said, it gets more complicated). Breaking things down into forms helps, among other things, with sighting (because you have these better-defined shapes to compare things with), understanding shading (understanding the way light falls on a sphere and a cylinder will help you understand how light's going to fall on a bottle, which is a narrow cylinder attached to a half-sphere, attached to a bigger cylinder), and will help you understand the dynamics of human gesture and posture (for an example, look at Loomdun's thread to see what he's been working on). This is a big reason why, at least in college art classes, they often start you off drawing painted white boxes, cylinders, and cones. Eventually, you get more complicated forms, but that's because they want you to see the simpler ones in them.
Alright, all that said, I want to emphasize something. Knowledge of these forms, and, for the same reasons, knowledge of human anatomy and its proportions (you'll see, I'm going somewhere with this), is no substitute for proper sighting. You can know nothing about either of these things, you could be an alien from Alpha Centauri, and if you sight your proportions and lines thouroughly and carefully enough, you can still get a spot-on, phenomenal representation of someone; remember, in the end, everything that we see is really just two-dimensional shapes of light and color, and nothing more. Proportion and anatomy, and structure, help to simplify the process of sighting (you don't have to measure the distance of the eyes down the face every single time), and they help you to make sense of what you're looking at, but they don't replace diligent observation.
Right, carried away again. Long story short, it's a great start, but remember to check your proportions carefully before you get into shading.
anyways, have some photoshop poop
What do you mean by "type of paint"? As in oil, acrylic, etc? That's a bit of a tough question to answer; I think it's pretty dependent on each individual's preferences and artistic sensibilities. That said, I can think of four main types of paint you can choose from (there are more, of course, but I'll just go with those four, and others can add more suggestions if they so choose): oil, acrylic, watercolor, and gouache.
Watercolor and gouache are probably the paints that would require the least amount of extra equipment, because they don't need a primer, and because their vehicle is water. Betel could probably elaborate (and correct me) on the details of watercolor, but I'll say for now that it's good for a looser kind of painting, but doesn't necessarily lend itself too well to fastidious overworking (at least not in the same way as, oh, say oil). Gouache is very similar to watercolor in that it's water-based, and it can even be used like watercolor with washes and such, but it's generally been used for flat, opaque fields of color, for the most part.
Of oils and acrylics, acrylics are probably the simpler ones to start out with, though I don't know if I could recommend them on that alone. Acrylics have the advantages of requiring only water as a vehicle, of being fast-drying, relatively easy to clean up (just wait for it to dry, and then peel it off), and for being immensely flexible in terms of the effects and finishes you can acheive with it, from quite closely imitating oil, to being able to get transparent washes like watercolor. It doesn't require any primer, and its flexibility means you don't have to think as much about rules like "fat over lean" like you do with oils. I think its main disadvantage is that it's fast-drying, which you notice all the more strongly if you start off with oils. It also looks a bit plasticky, at least, if you use it without any additives. The main reason I hestitate to recommend it is because it's seemed to me that a person's feelings about oil versus acrylic is pretty heavily influenced on which one they started out on first; I started painting with oils, so I'm a bit biased towards the characteristics it has (like the slow dry-times, which lets you work on areas for much longer periods of time, and which is perfect for glazing, and just kind of feels nice to work with). The thing with oils, though, is that it kind of requires more stuff to start out with (oil, for starters, and either turpentine or mineral spirits), and it requires a primer (or acrylic gesso, which technically isn't gesso, but that's neither here nor there), at least if you're planning on making anything you want to keep. On the bright side in that regard, you can pretty easily find pre-stretched, primed canvases that are ready to go right off the bat, and you can also find primed-canvas "drawing" pads. In a pinch, or for simple color studies, you can use plain paper, but without a primer, the oils end up rotting the paper (or so I've read). It's also the medium that perhaps requires the most pre-planning (at least depending on the kind of painting you're going to do).
Anyway, short answer, what kind of paint really depends, and you mainly need primer if you're doing oils, but not necessarily, if you can find pre-primed surfaces. Sorry about the lengthiness; you always seem to catch me in a particularly rambly mood.
one more movie poster, for fun.
I adore this movie, and Charlie Chaplin in general.
I'll just go with whatever fits my finances, I suppose.
thanks a ton for all the advice you give craw. you've been nothing but super-helpful, and it means the world. I need all the help I can get, especially when I'm really doubting my portfolio is up to admission standards right now
You might want to try to keep your two statements more similar like:
"Life is what you make it. Make it good."
Right now you have "Life is what you make it. "Make (Life) a good (Life)" it's kind of awkward.
You could even change it up like:
"Life is what you make of it. Make it a life worth living."
"Life is what you make it. So 'make it' with someone hot."
too bad I'm going to do it with probably the worst update ever
skull study, done at work. probably a waste because I had to rush it so much. less than ten minutes here
took the advice of a few here and tried drawing a portrait upside down. This one was also kind of rushed but probably 45 minutes of drawing was done here. after this I tried again... and the results were not even worth uploading so I didn't.
need to keep spacing out crappy from-life posts with things I know how to make, like posters. I'd hate for my rep to be damaged
I'm just puking these things out by now. kind of ran out of inspiration for the background towards the end
today's effort, from this reference
If you've been studying the proportion of faces, then this one probably threw you off because of that; kids have different proportions than adults. For instance, the proportional distance from their eyes to their noses is smaller, and their chins are more obtuse; I've made a quick...thing...over, to illustrate:
The source, and
The drawing. (EDIT: That angle should read 72.63°)
As you can see, you put too much space there between the eyes and the nose, and made the chin too narrow. I only really got a chance to figure this out because of my being at a primary school, with kids who insist I draw them (which I don't). The red lines, by the way, are to show that you've made the lips too narrow, as well, which isn't so much a problem of the differences between children's proportions and adults as it is a problem of proportion in general, and one I make all too often, myself; a great deal of the time, if the mouth looks off, that's a good place to start tweaking.
The other two big things are the shapes of the eyes, and the shape of the mouth itself. Right now, you've kind of got a bit of the football-eye thing going; remember that eyes are three-dimensional structures, and those structures are depicted in the way the eyelids cover them. You can especially see that in the photo with the lower lids especially; past the tearducts, they're following the curvature of the eyeball. One of the things you left out, though, was what happens at the tearducts; the eyeball continues, but the eyelid has to leave the curvature to cover the tearduct, leaving a space where stray eyelids cause immense amounts of pain. As a result, you've got in both lower lids a section between the tearducts and the start of the visible eyeball a region in the shape of the lid where the lid goes straight instead of curving in any particular direction. Also, keep in mind that the upper lid is the one that does most of the moving, and as a result, it tends to be a lot more curved; if you look at the photo, and imagine a straight line going from the tearduct to the other end of the eye (where the lids meet again, notice that a great deal more of the eye is showing on the side with the upper lid than with the lower one.
Anyway, there's more (like the lower lip I mentioned earlier), but it's midnight, and I'm a bit tired; if no one else covers it before I get back, I'll put up some drawings to better illustrate what I'm getting at, but there are those here who'd be able to do it far better than I.