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Brand New Proto-Artist

ImaginaryRobotImaginaryRobot Registered User
edited June 2011 in Artist's Corner
Hey everyone,

I love coming into this forum and looking at the work everyone produces. I've always loved art and illustration, but never tried to do anything myself. I guess I've just been intimidated, but collectively your work has inspired me so I'm going to learn. I got a copy of Drawing on the Right Side of the brain because I wanted some kind of beginning framework. Other than random doodling in margins, I've never tried to draw anything. Any kind of help - advice, critiques, etc. - you guys can offer would be much appreciated. I don't have a specific goal other than just learning for my own enjoyment.

The first exercise in the book was to draw a self portrait as a benchmark, but I'll spare you that monstrosity. The second was to copy this Picasso portrait of Igor Stravinsky by drawing it upside down. The purpose of the exercise is to forget about the expectations of what the object is supposed to be and simply concentrate on the lines.

Here is the original:

drawing1original.jpg

And here is the first 7/8 of my copy.

drawing1cropped.jpg

Not amazing, but since this is the first drawing I've ever done, not terribly bad either. I'm not ready to start counterfeiting Picasso drawings quite yet, but at least you can tell the two have a relationship. The hardest part up to this point was trying not to think that I was drawing hands. I did the most erasing in that area.

And then this happened:

drawing1full.jpg

Oh, god. It's hideous. What happened to his head? I guess since I was drawing it upside down I really did forget about what it was supposed to be and instead concentrated on just the lines. But I don't think I was supposed to forget about the scale as well!

Overall though I'm just happy that I've started. Now to find two more drawings to copy upside down. Maybe I'll pick ones without heads.

ImaginaryRobot on

Posts

  • rtsrts Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Lets try copying a more competent artist than Picasso. Even if you had drawn that correctly the proportions would still be retarded. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain is an OK book. It can introduce people to the concept that learning how to draw is really about learning how to see, but outside of that it's not great.

    You may want to check out some of these tutorials. Unfortunately there is nothing figurative there yet but there is a lot of great information on drawing the head, which you seem to be struggling with.

    rts on
    skype: rtschutter
  • DeeLockDeeLock Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Yeah seriously, Picasso, what a hack.
    sarcasm

    DeeLock on
  • rtsrts Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    I get that some people like him. I don't know why. Though some of his early stuff was kind of cool.

    But what I don't get is defending the use of Picasso for reference when proportion is clearly something that is important to him.

    rts on
    skype: rtschutter
  • DeeLockDeeLock Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Agreed, but I don't think that perfect proportion and anatomy is the point of this exercise. It's about developing a better relationship between what your eye sees and what your hand puts down on paper. For a beginning artist, this is a bit of a hurdle.

    I'll agree that it might not be the best way to do this, but it is one way.

    DeeLock on
  • tynictynic PICNIC BADASS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited June 2011
    For that particular exercise, it's almost irrelevant what the subject matter is. In fact, I would go further and say that particular cartoon is an excellent reference for the drawing-upside-down task, because it's comprised of clear, simple lineart, and moreover, its very lack of proportionality means it's unpredictable and forces you to really examine angle and ratio in order to reproduce it correctly.

    tynic on
  • TamTam Le Buggeur Risible Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    ImaginaryRobot, I'd say start drawing stuff you see and try to glean as much knowledge and understanding of shape and light from that as you can. Try to notice how shadows are cast, and how light is reflected. This has helped me.

    But for the love of the ancient and terrible gods, keep doodling what you like. The little amusing things. And try to apply the principles you learn from drawing what you see to them.

    Cake, I can't speak for anyone else, but it's kind of hard to read Stan Prokopenko's head and lips tutorials with the black text on the dark gray background

    might just be this school monitor though

    Tam on
  • Toji SuzuharaToji Suzuhara Southern CaliforniaRegistered User regular
    edited June 2011
    cakemikz wrote: »
    Lets try copying a more competent artist than Picasso. Even if you had drawn that correctly the proportions would still be retarded.

    Well, that fulfills my ignorance quota for the day. Picasso is the perfect artist to tell people to aspire to be. He learned all of the rules of painting and drawing things naturalistically and then went on to stylize. It's the exact model that the AC has been championing for, what, a decade?

    ImaginaryRobot, is the exercise to copy the drawing, or to sketch it quickly? At this stage, you will probably get more out of trying to sketch your subjects quickly without obsessing over line quality. That way you can do more of the exercises in the same amount of time. You really just need to draw draw draw.

    Toji Suzuhara on
    AlphaFlag_200x40.jpg
  • Angel_of_BaconAngel_of_Bacon Moderator mod
    edited June 2011
    On the proportion issue: This isn't covered in the book with a lot of thoroughness, and I don't want to make getting through these exercises overcomplicated for you right off the bat, but part of getting proportions right is developing skill at measuring (did an explanation of measuring here):
    http://forums.penny-arcade.com/showpost.php?p=12349148&postcount=715

    This is basically how they did it back in ye olden times- drawing accurate contours of anything is hard- drawing a series of accurate straight lines/triangles? Much easier.
    bargue-plate-5.jpg

    On the other crap people are talking about:
    I'm not going to go as far as to say Picasso is 'incompetent', but Cake has a point in that that particular drawing is out of proportion, and if the intent of the exercise is to learn proportion, there are far better references available. Picasso's earlier, less sytilzed work, for example, would suit the purpose better.

    However, IIRC (it's been well over a decade since I read the book), this exercise is simply aimed at the absolute never-held-a-pencil-before beginner, and is designed, essentially, to get people to pay attention to what they're seeing, rather than just drawing perfectly circular heads, football eyes and triangle noses. As such, the original drawing is fine for this intent, even if an argument can be made for a different reference- and I think the drawing that IR came up with reflects a good shot at getting the intent of the exercise down.

    IR, my advice to you is not worry too much about getting crits on drawings done for the book's exercises- just worry about doing the exercises when you're doing them. It doesn't take long to get through the book (maybe a week or two if you stick with it?), and you'll get better crits when your purpose is 'make good art' more than 'follow the book's instructions' -most people don't have the book right in front of them to give the needed context to say something useful as regarding the exercise, rather than just saying what they think of the drawing as a drawing. Which is kinda like doing a set up pushups on a gym mat, then having a gymnastics coach saunter up and tell you that the floor routine you just did was really boring. Not really the point, you know? When you're trying to do gymnastics, then the coach is going to be a lot more helpful.

    On the book in general:
    Twheee wrote: »
    On the topic of books, I've got a question. I've seen a lot of what looks like conflicting information regarding Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Specifically it's mentioned in the tutorial thread, I've seen it mentioned a throughout this forum. But I've also seen a lot of harsh criticism towards it here. I recently signed up for a class that has this as the textbook. Should I be worried?

    I'd like to learn to draw, but I don't want to learn things that are just going to have to be unlearned so I can start learning correctly. :?

    Well, it's good, but it can be bad, if you take it too seriously.

    It's good, especially for a beginner, because the exercises are designed to break habits of drawing objects as symbols (ie: notice how most kids draw the same kind of football shaped "eye", but it doesn't really look like a real eye? That's a symbol), and instead basing drawing based on direct observation- paying attention to the shape of the space around an object, drawing an object when it's upside down so your mind can't immediately recognize and dismiss it, etc.

    On this level it's good- even though I've been told that the 'science' bits in between the exercises are actually somewhat shaky, the exercises themselves are solid, and teach necessary things.

    The problem is that it's not a very thorough book (you can go through the whole thing by yourself over a weekend or two, as it was written primarily for "Hey, even YOU can learn to draw!" kind of workshops) and doesn't lead or suggest further study, which can hamper development if you believe what's laid down in the book is how it is, that's how you draw, and that's that (an idea that the text of the book does nothing to dispel.)

    Direct observation is great, but without learning the concepts of measuring, of perspective, of understanding how light and shade works, of construction, or design, you'll have a hard time developing further, as these things not only sharpen your observation and drawing skills, but give you a greater flexibility to draw from imagination, or edit from the model to make a more compelling piece of art, rather than a xerox-like copy of the model.

    TL;DR: The book is a good place for a student to start development- maybe the best one on the market for its specific role of teaching from a "so you don't know anything about drawing yet" perspective, but it is absolutely imperative that you don't let your development END with the book. (A lesson a lot of art teachers, unfortunately, haven't learned themselves.)

    Angel_of_Bacon on
  • ImaginaryRobotImaginaryRobot Registered User
    edited June 2011
    Thank you everyone for the advice and encouragement.

    For now I'll stay out of the burgeoning Picasso debate :) but as for everything else, I'm eagerly taking it all in.

    I agree with the general consensus that the book seems like a pretty light introduction, but I'm really only using it because otherwise I'd just feel overwhelmed without a place to start. I skip all the long sort-of-science justifications for her techniques. They really seem like filler to make the book longer than a pamphlet.

    Even though my version of the Picasso is a little freakish, it did encourage me to try my hand at some other drawings which so far have turned out much better. I'm still just copying, but I figure that will at least help me get a feel for drawing.

    I'll try some of the things you all have suggested in addition to the book. Maybe I'll start taking my sketchbook to the park and try my hand at some things I see there. My goal is to draw for an hour a day (more if I can make the time).

    ImaginaryRobot on
  • DeeLockDeeLock Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Music to my ears, that is precisely what you need to do.

    Just don't forget to post and share your work!

    DeeLock on
  • ImaginaryRobotImaginaryRobot Registered User
    edited June 2011
    So I went to the park to try do draw some things, but nothing stood still long enough. Sheesh, you'd think everyone and everything would have a little more consideration for my artistic needs. The world is so selfish.

    In the stillness of my home, I drew this:

    copyredcoat.jpg

    Which was a copy of this drawing by Chris Boyd:

    redcoat1.jpg

    And even though the natural and unnatural worlds refused to cooperate in the park, I started drawing my own hand which turned out to be much more difficult than I anticipated. I was planning on trying 6 different gestures, but my model hand got tired...models, so temperamental. Here was the result of an open hand and a closed fist:

    hands1z.jpg

    I think tomorrow I'll try some more hands.

    ImaginaryRobot on
  • ImaginaryRobotImaginaryRobot Registered User
    edited June 2011
    So I've been working hard and drawing lots of shapes (which I'm not going to scan and post...I mean who wants to look at dozens of simple 3 dimensional shapes?) and doing other simple exercises.

    I'd like to do some figure drawing, but I can't afford life-drawing classes here in the city (of New York) and when I go to the park, people have this terrible habit of moving all the time. And also wearing lots of clothes.

    I have two questions that I couldn't find the answers to by searching the AC: 1. Is drawing from pictures of people helpful in developing life drawing skills? 2. Does anyone know a good place to find a collection of art model poses? Especially ones with close ups of things that I can concentrate on (ie hands, heads, arms, torsos, etc...)

    And I guess a third question: Does it help or hurt to try my hand at copying the artwork of others?

    Thanks in advance for letting me tap into the huge well of collected knowledge trapped in your noggins.

    ImaginaryRobot on
  • The_Glad_HatterThe_Glad_Hatter Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Be sure to check out the OP in the questions thread, it's full of exactly the stuff you asked for.

    As for modelling classes, there's sketch nights at the Society of Illustrators in NYC. If you're a student it's $7, i'd personally kill to have something like that nearby.. Sketch Night, more info here. I went there once on a holiday and loved the vibe. Altough the amount of talent there can be intimidating.

    Copying artwork is a good idea, but copying cartoonish artwork isn't going to do wonders for your realistic art.

    The_Glad_Hatter on
  • m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    As hatter said, copying stylized work is not something to recommend. There may be certain artists with styles that seem awesome that you want to be able to draw like, but those wont help you. It's about getting everything else down before stylizing so I'd advice you to do master copies if anything.

    Drawing from pictures can be helpful, however it's generally pretty hard to find pictures with good lighting. Life drawing is for the most part (I think, don't shoot me if I'm wrong) more helpful than pictures, but pics can be helpful too. And I have a hard time believing you can't afford life-drawing classes. Are you sure you haven't only been looking at instructed classes? That sketch night thing sounds neat.

    m3nace on
  • BroloBrolo Broseidon Lord of the BroceanRegistered User regular
    edited June 2011
    AC: 1. Is drawing from pictures of people helpful in developing life drawing skills? 2. Does anyone know a good place to find a collection of art model poses?

    Yes! While it isn't as good as drawing from a live model, it's still a good way to learn how to render forms and to get a feel for how lighting works. However, make sure you're working with decent quality photos - that is to say BIG, in-focus, and well lit. Pictures in old over-sized fashion magazines are usually a pretty good start. It's usually easier to work from print sources as reference than from a photo on your screen.

    Brolo on
  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    edited June 2011
    Rolo wrote: »
    AC: 1. Is drawing from pictures of people helpful in developing life drawing skills? 2. Does anyone know a good place to find a collection of art model poses?

    Yes! While it isn't as good as drawing from a live model, it's still a good way to learn how to render forms and to get a feel for how lighting works. However, make sure you're working with decent quality photos - that is to say BIG, in-focus, and well lit. Pictures in old over-sized fashion magazines are usually a pretty good start. It's usually easier to work from print sources as reference than from a photo on your screen.

    I tend to find that black and white photos are really good for learning shading, as I, at least, have a lot of trouble seeing the comparative shades of clearly distinct colors (ex: if a red is lighter than a blue).

    Bagginses on
  • BroloBrolo Broseidon Lord of the BroceanRegistered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Bagginses wrote: »
    Rolo wrote: »
    AC: 1. Is drawing from pictures of people helpful in developing life drawing skills? 2. Does anyone know a good place to find a collection of art model poses?

    Yes! While it isn't as good as drawing from a live model, it's still a good way to learn how to render forms and to get a feel for how lighting works. However, make sure you're working with decent quality photos - that is to say BIG, in-focus, and well lit. Pictures in old over-sized fashion magazines are usually a pretty good start. It's usually easier to work from print sources as reference than from a photo on your screen.

    I tend to find that black and white photos are really good for learning shading, as I, at least, have a lot of trouble seeing the comparative shades of clearly distinct colors (ex: if a red is lighter than a blue).

    It can definitely help, although learning to translate colour into grayscale tones is also a pretty important skill to pick up.

    Brolo on
  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    edited June 2011
    Rolo wrote: »
    Bagginses wrote: »
    Rolo wrote: »
    AC: 1. Is drawing from pictures of people helpful in developing life drawing skills? 2. Does anyone know a good place to find a collection of art model poses?

    Yes! While it isn't as good as drawing from a live model, it's still a good way to learn how to render forms and to get a feel for how lighting works. However, make sure you're working with decent quality photos - that is to say BIG, in-focus, and well lit. Pictures in old over-sized fashion magazines are usually a pretty good start. It's usually easier to work from print sources as reference than from a photo on your screen.

    I tend to find that black and white photos are really good for learning shading, as I, at least, have a lot of trouble seeing the comparative shades of clearly distinct colors (ex: if a red is lighter than a blue).

    It can definitely help, although learning to translate colour into grayscale tones is also a pretty important skill to pick up.

    Yeah, my thing was trying to get a hang of how to draw a nose using the fact that the sides of the nose are almost always darker than the rest of the face.

    Bagginses on
  • ImaginaryRobotImaginaryRobot Registered User
    edited June 2011
    As for modelling classes, there's sketch nights at the Society of Illustrators in NYC. If you're a student it's $7, i'd personally kill to have something like that nearby.. Sketch Night, more info here. I went there once on a holiday and loved the vibe. Altough the amount of talent there can be intimidating.

    Thanks for that tip. I'll definitely check that out. I figure at this point everyone's talent is intimidating since I've only been drawing for a week. And besides the better they are, the more I can sneak peeks at their work and see where I'm going wrong.
    Rolo wrote: »
    Bagginses wrote: »
    Rolo wrote: »
    AC: 1. Is drawing from pictures of people helpful in developing life drawing skills? 2. Does anyone know a good place to find a collection of art model poses?

    Yes! While it isn't as good as drawing from a live model, it's still a good way to learn how to render forms and to get a feel for how lighting works. However, make sure you're working with decent quality photos - that is to say BIG, in-focus, and well lit. Pictures in old over-sized fashion magazines are usually a pretty good start. It's usually easier to work from print sources as reference than from a photo on your screen.

    I tend to find that black and white photos are really good for learning shading, as I, at least, have a lot of trouble seeing the comparative shades of clearly distinct colors (ex: if a red is lighter than a blue).

    It can definitely help, although learning to translate colour into grayscale tones is also a pretty important skill to pick up.

    My father actually has a few boxes of old oversized magazines from the late 20's and 30's in his basement. He was planning on doing something with them (I can't remember what now) but now they're just gathering dust. I'm going to visit him in a week or so and I'll definitely snag some of them. I should probably tear out pages, but I can't bring myself to do that, so I'll just take a few with me. I didn't think about that before, but it makes sense since that was before the days of photoshop so those are real people rather than strange distorted people.

    Thank you guys for the help. I'm really loving drawing so far. Even just doing the simple exercises I find myself sort of drifting into a meditative state. I look up and can't believe how much time has passed. Once I start doing some figure drawing I'll post my monstrous representations up here.

    ImaginaryRobot on
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