So, in preparation for going to art school, I'm dusting off my pencils and sketchbook and shaking loose these old bones that have been collecting dust and getting soft working in the digital realm for going on eleven years now, with very, very rare forays back into the analog world of actually drawing something.
I'm required, starting back in April and continuing on until I start school in September, to take a 100-sheet sketchbook and fill it, front and back, with four drawings per page, unless otherwise specified in my textbook. The book in question is the excellent Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain,
which I definitely recommend to folks.
Now, I've been around and dropping advice on folks here and there, but my own mechanical abilities have been a bit lacking and so I feel it is long overdue that I put up or shut up. To complete my assignment, I'm doing a minimum of seven drawings, from live observation only, every single day until I start school. No 2D sources, just things I can see - again, unless specified to do otherwise by my textbook. I've been working on this for the past couple months and have already noticed a lot of progress as I get my chops back and start learning shit again, and hope to keep this thread updated with my progress as I go, right up until I start school again.
Now, before I expose my entire goddamn sketchbook, be warned - I'm doing all of this shit without any formal training whatsoever. I took some art classes in high school, which were a joke (here kids, play with, um, an airbrush for a bit, I'll be out smoking if you need anything), but other than that, I've mostly been doodling.
Most of these drawings are rough
That's a lot of my point, teaching myself to do shit fast, and learn to capture basic detail, form, value, etc. These aren't masterpieces by any stretch of the imagination. Also, the photos suck ass, I'm aware, these were done quickly today on a park bench in mixed light with a mediocre point and click camera. I'm not shooting for portfolio pieces here, dudes, just recording progress.
So. That said, here's the goods, the bads, and the uglies.
(spoilered to prevent jumpy-page syndrome as it loads a buttload of pictures)
first attempt - drawing faces in a crowd waiting for max brooks to come out on stage and lecture us on proper zombie survival tactics.
four drawings straight from the textbook, as a point of reference to compare progress later - a self portrait, a picture of someone from memory, my hand and my foot.
quick sketches sitting in my grandparents' house
line work and exercises from the textbook.
handwriting samples and copying drawings upside down, to learn to separate what you see from what you perceive.
another upside down, a exercise bike seat, a terrible sketch of my cat before he fucked off and went somewhere else, and an attempt to recreate the most iconic sketch from childhood I could recall, as instructed by the book.
line practice (following the lines and cracks in my hand without looking at the paper) and a couple from observation - my hand and my shoe.
quickies, including a malformed sketch of my wife. she's a goddamn trooper, she's constantly posing for me to draw, and is a goddamn great sport about all this.
value study of my hand
and again. both done using a frame and tracing the outline from my vantagepoint, then transferring the tracing to paper, then copying value using an eraser and soft pencil on pre-shaded areas.
quickies - a sandman action figure, a corner of my parents' house, a tree and some skater kid that held still for about two minutes
people in a restaurant
more drawings in a restaurant. my proportion is fucking abysmal still at this point
nice value studies
quick sketches done at a family reunion
more of the same
aaaand more of the same
yup. more from the reunion, then a negative-space study on the chair
I cheated on these. rainy as hell outside, I was tired, I used the 90-second random poses web page for these, felt stupid for doing so later, and haven't cheated like this since.
a candlestick and my wife asleep
I like that one of my wife sleeping here, and my foot came out okay. Others - a small shelf in my living room and my cat asleep on his tower. The only time the little bastards will pose for me.
two assignments from the book, and two shitty sketches of things I could see from the couch.
aaand more meh
still more meh. I was losing enthusiasm at this point.
some sketches from local parks. I like the little roof spire thing, I've done a few more at that same park, it's got great old decaying barns and stuff. It was actually once a fully functioning farm for a completely self-sufficient mental hospital that was closed in the 60s, and now is a public park. Neat stories about that place, but for another time.
three more from the park, then a value and texture study of a big crack in a sandstone boulder at a local beach
two more from that beach/park - a negative space study, then two friends of mine sitting next to an amazing waterfall we found. That was a fun day. Also, two more of my wife.
more shit I could see from the couch. All meh.
quickies from a picnic.
I draw from the couch a lot, when the weather is bad or it is dark already. I work full-time 8 am to 5 pm, so my drawing windows are limited.
more from that park with the barns and shit.
some toys at a friend's house and a gravestone - I've found that graveyards are nice, well-tended and quiet places to draw landscape and interesting non-organic shapes, and nobody ever fucks with you in a graveyard.
more graveyard stuff.
my poor wife...
she's a goddamned trooper
another one of her asleep, and a couple studies from the high school. Funny thing about this? I never did jack shit for homework when I attended the school, but now I go there to get homework done for a different school. Whatever, it seemed funny at the time.
mundane objects. Actually sort of like these.
getting a little better at proportion, but still, I haven't really managed to get a grasp on capturing likeness
why the long face? Actually, it's hard to tell in this shot, but the second picture of her turned out really neat, and something about it strikes me every time I look at it. Also, here's some shit from another fucking park.
aaaaand more parks and exercises in making my wife look droopy and weird.
stuff at my friend's house
a corner of his living room, a malformed self portrait, and a couple things from my comfy-ass couch.
her asleep, me in a mirror, a soda bottle and her at the computer looking manish apparently
the can of fixative there actually turned out pretty decent. the rest? I was fucking tired
woah there crooked eyes.
the one of the salt shaker and the one of my cat turned out okay... getting better at focusing on what I see rather than what I think I see, and translating that into drawings.
my messy closet, my cat holding kinda still, me making a dumb face and my wife talking on the phone
decent sketches of mundane items, except the barbecue is all sorts of wonky and misshapen
stuff from the zoo. I was laughed at by some friends for drawing a statue of a lion while at the zoo, but fuck off it was the only one that would hold still
man those faces what the hell? also a sleeping wallaby and another one that wouldn't fucking hold still whoops
two emus, a tree and a bear cave
man, komodo dragons are awesome.
the gorilla is a fucking massive creature that is difficult to draw when the zoo is about to close.
alright, here is where I got to the part of the textbook that fucking slapped me upside the head and said "here's how human heads are goddamn proportioned, now stop rushing and start fucking taking measurements. set a basic unit and use it." and voila progress quick.
my cats are awesome.
the top right is the first drawing of my wife I actually like, and it almost
looks like her. The one of me was from a reflection in the window, and I actually did manage to capture my cat's likeness here a bit. He smiles like that when he snuggles with his favorite pillow.
the picture doesn't do much good here, but the sketch of the barn at the top right is actually really awesome. I used a mechanical pencil, took my time to get good clean lines to build the shape, and then used a mix of hatching and solid shading to get a really nice result.
and the rest of last night's drawings. a sprig of sage, another mundane, and a picture of my wife and my cat.
I'll probably post more about once a week or so, as I don't really have my own camera to use and I had to borrow one from work to get these. I'd love some feedback or tips on what/where to draw, whatever, but I'm more just posting this shit to record progress. These were done over the course of two months, I have about two and a half to go before I actually start school, and I'm excited by the prospect. Just seeing what I've done so far has me really encouraged to see what happens once I've got some actual training going.