A diary for getting better - figure studies (NSFW?)

SarksusSarksus ATTACK AND DETHRONE GODRegistered User regular
edited April 2011 in Artist's Corner
So I've lurked in the Artist's Corner for about as long as I've posted in other sub-forums, posted a few times in the photo and doodle threads, but I've mostly just been reading threads and looking at everyone's art. I've been drawing since I could remember but I've never taken any classes or done any self-study so my skills have progressed pretty slowly. I also like to write which I've found comes easier to me. One story I want to pursue, however, I decided would best be suited as a graphic novel. Right now I don't have the talent to execute something like that to my satisfaction so before I begin that I need to improve my art. Artist's Corner is full of many talented people but it's also full of many people who invest a lot of effort into helping others. Because of that, and because I decided I finally needed to take this seriously, I'm starting this thread to measure my progress.

My current plan starts with Betty Edward's book. A few years ago I read about half of it and the improvement in my art was very noticeable so I'm going to go through it from the beginning again with the exception of color which I'll tackle at a later time. After that I intend to go through Loomis's figure drawing book and then Bridgman's supplemented by Goldfinger's for anatomy.

My weak points are easily identified. What I need to work on is rendering shadow and forms (and light sources, of course), perspective, anatomy and line confidence. There are probably other things that some of you can identify. The first thing, though, is working on how well I see. I have a hard time identifying what information is most important and then figuring out how to translate that onto paper. This inevitably results in me rushing through something, even going as far as filling in a part of the drawing from my own imagination. I need to learn to slow down.

This is going to take a really long time and it is kind of terrifying but I'm very interested in being able to communicate what I see in my head to other people and I really want to implement my story idea.

With that said, below I'll post what exercises I've done from Drawing on the Right Side already and I'll also post a few things I've drawn from my imagination so you can get an idea of where I am. I have a tablet but I'm not going to use it for any of the serious work, only for fun, and I'll include some tablet work as examples.

tl;dr: like to draw, like to write, wanna eventually write a graphic novel, need to draw better, cue arduous adventure

First a page of doodles. Ordinarily these are not shown to anyone!


Then a few tablet doodles.



The doodles are bad. You can critique anything I show obviously but I want the doodles here just to show where I began. I almost never build up sketches from basic shapes so they all look pretty ridiculous. Utilizing shapes is something I need to work on. I'll do sketches from my imagination as I progress and we'll see how they turn out.

In Edwards's book I progressed as far as the modified contour drawing of the hand with tones. So I have a self-portrait, a hand drawing and the contour drawing.



The contour drawing is alright, I think. This exercise involved the use of a picture plane and a viewfinder. I'll also post hand drawings and other stills without using that tool as I progress. Anyway, for this drawing I'm not happy with some of the highlights and the rendering is pretty simplistic but I have to start somewhere. I'm going to move through the book and either practice each exercise multiple times or wait until I'm finished and then go back and do more of each exercise. Then I'll move onto Loomis.

If anyone has any thoughts on my plan, whether I ought to modify it, that would be great. Before I began writing this thread and doing the work to post here I thought there was no way I could do all of this work but now I feel more confident I'll put the time in. I'm pretty excited about improving.

Sarksus on


  • SarksusSarksus ATTACK AND DETHRONE GODRegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Yesterday I did two more of the hand study exercises using the picture plane. Later today I'll probably start the negative space exercises.



    The first of these involved the fingers placed in a foreshortened view. I'm having a big problem communicating that on paper. It just looks weird to me. The thumb on the first one is seriously freaky.

    Once I'm done with the book I'm going to do some hand studies or other life drawings without any aids to see how I progressed and to just get better with it before I continue to the Loomis book. I have the following week off for spring break so I'll have a lot of time to churn out drawings.

    Sarksus on
  • SarksusSarksus ATTACK AND DETHRONE GODRegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I got bored with the Edwards book again. My ability to draw what I see is decent enough for now, though I do need to improve how I render light and shadow. I'll return to relevant exercises in the future when necessary.

    Anyway I started Loomis's Figure Drawing. I've been studying the first figure that outlines the ideal proportions of a human man and I've copied the front and side views twice. It was frustrating at first but I'm beginning to see relationships between the various parts. Some features line up with each other which makes it really easy to memorize how everything fits. This is a lot more fun so far and it's directly relevant to my future goals.

    I'm wondering how many times I should copy each drawing before moving onto the next part of the book? Until I feel I understand it? Because that is going to take awhile and I'd like to keep the exercises fresh.


    Drawings one and two.

    Sarksus on
  • Arden CaneloArden Canelo Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    You have no replies and that makes me sad. Therefore, I will comment: Try coming up with as many different exercises as you can for one subject, research a lot! I say this and then don't do it myself, but I like to see other people do it? You don't look bad in way of drawing, I think, but everyone will tell you to draw from life and practice every day basically. I should listen to that advice too :3 And I should stop being overly critical of my own abilities, but now I'm off on a ramble and weeeeeeeeee

    Arden Canelo on
  • SarksusSarksus ATTACK AND DETHRONE GODRegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Thanks for the comments. Yeah, as I complete exercises I also want to draw models, though I don't have physical access to any so for now photographs will have to suffice. I haven't had time lately to do any more exercises but I have been doodling pieces of the figures Loomis has to teach proportion. Mainly the torso and arms down to the groin. It's become really easy to draw that from my imagination and it's fun too, so I'm excited.

    Sarksus on
  • SHAZAMSHAZAM Registered User
    edited April 2011
    Been lurking but I created a profile just to post this:
    Find some models man. You've got some nice techniques, but you NEED to start drawing from real life: Start creating still life scenes with stuff that's around your house, ask your friends if you can draw them, keep drawing your hands, JUST KEEP DRAWING!
    You've got some nice lines going on but (don't take this the wrong way) your figures are sad. Not so sad that you should give up on it though!
    Your comfortable with a pencil but you need to get more comfortable with drawing people and you can't do that by just drawing from photographs.
    Keep it up! I'll be keeping an eye on this thread.

    SHAZAM on
  • SarksusSarksus ATTACK AND DETHRONE GODRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Sorry, which figures are you referring to? If you mean the Loomis exercises then those are not people drawn from photographs, they're exercises that are meant to teach the proportions of the human body in terms of the length of the head. You can get an idea of the objective behind the exercise by looking at this:

    http://www.idrawdigital.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/prop_male.gif (possibly NSFW)

    Unless you mean the hand drawings, in which case yeah I need to work on how I render shadow and foreshortening however lately I've switched from drawing from life and begun to build up my knowledge of human proportions and anatomy because it's more fun and I need it anyway. It's also easier to apply in the middle of a class in the margins of a notebook ;P

    Sarksus on
  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited April 2011
    get yourself a few boxes of varying size

    spraypaint some of them white, some of them black, some of them grey

    set up a single light source and four of them and draw them in 10 minutes. Use a timer.

    when the timer goes off, change the arrangement, repeat the exercise

    do this 50 times in a week

    I'm not kidding. It is only a little over eight hours of work, you can find eight hours in a week, that's barely more then an hour a day.

    Do this, post your results. I know it isn't exciting, but I'll eat my socks if you don't learn from the process.

    Pay attention to perspective, value, shadow patterns and reflected light.

    Rankenphile on
  • tapeslingertapeslinger Space Unicorn Slush Ranger Social Justice Rebel ScumRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    margin doodles are fine but really you need a bit more room to work even when you're sketching. :)

    I like that you have a plan! A lot of people who want to learn to draw well really don't have a plan.

    be prepared to occasionally abandon that plan, of course.

    tapeslinger on
  • SarksusSarksus ATTACK AND DETHRONE GODRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Rank, that is a real good idea with the boxes. I'm going to look around for some and give that a try.

    Tape, yes my plan has been revised a few times now. There's just a lot of possibilities and I'm not sure which direction to go in yet.

    Sarksus on
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