Since my last entry, I have been working away in fits and starts. Managed to get into the habit of daily sketching in February, and am continuing onwards. So I think it's about time I resumed posting in the good old digital journal. :)
Back in October, I enrolled in CGMA's eight week Intro to Perspective Class, taught by Derek Kosol and Robert Saint Pierre. When the completed assignments were uploaded to the student gallery for our first week of critiques, I saw that the other students were way more advanced than I was. This made me wonder if the class content itself would be too far beyond my skill level.
But as it turned out, I probably could have pushed myself harder than I did. Now don't get me wrong, the lessons were challenging, and I didn't even attempt nearly the level of detail or complex subject matter the advanced students did (not that I would've known how). However, there were times when I think I chose a safer building than I should have. The class ultimately did encourage me to be braver in my exploration and learning, though, because I never thought I would be able to learn as much as I did in those two months.
Before the class, my usual response to impressive art was overawe. I mean, I don't know how to draw a realistic looking castle. So when an artist has done so, I am rightly impressed by his or her efforts. I'd browse critique request threads on art forums and wonder what could possibly be wrong with, what I considered, a magnificent digital painting. Now, I could tell MY OWN work was off. There was no doubt there. But why was it off? And how exactly?
In hopes of figuring this out, I watched as many of the other students' critique videos as I had time for. (If your work was practically perfect, the critiques were a minute or two. The longest critiques were around ten minutes.) Having aspects of drawing such as value, and lighting, and perspective, and scale broken down and explained through critique, was enormously helpful. Now that my art vocabulary has grown, I can at least put into words what might be wrong with a piece, if I manage to recognize it.
And, furthermore, listening to the critiques of the students who were making professional quality work (or were already pros), reminded me that learning never stops, and that mistakes aren't to be feared. Speaking of mistakes...
The final assignment was a tricky three point perspective piece. Above, you can see my first attempt to block out the hotel I had decided to draw. Unfortunately, I had placed the building too close to the horizon line, and too far to the left of the center line, resulting in distortion.
Here's the corrected drawing:
I highly recommend CGMA to anyone interested. The teachers were excellent, and they covered more principles and techniques than I expected they would (we learned to draw symmetrical spaceships, and plot shadows). Just be sure you understand how to use Photoshop (or Manga Studio) efficiently, if you decide to take the perspective class, because it's essential you know how to manipulate ellipses and things.
Matching horizon lines and eye levels,
Haven't gotten into a rhythm of daily drawing yet, but I thought it was about time I post some of what I've done thus far. Been bouncing back and forth between Loomis's Fun with A Pencil exercises, and the assignments from Matt Kohr's Traditional Drawing Unplugged Series.
I think I'm finally starting to get why Loomis builds the face the way he does. When I first attempted these a few years ago, I'd just look at his final lines, and copy them, entirely missing the point. The shapes create a form, a guide over which to place the lines. It's making sense.
Boobface was my first attempt at adding weight to a face using this method. Should've probably referenced the man to the upper right of her, instead of going with cheek implants... >.<
Matt Kohr's video lessons are SO AWESOME. Even though I have only watched the first few visual measuring videos and done the assignments, I'm already seeing improvement in my approach to drawing. If you're a beginner, go watch them! They are expertly concise (catering to short attention spans, heh), and cover only one concept at a time. I find this helpful because I can go practice fhe assignments as long as I need to in order to grasp the lesson before moving on.
I found myself a little empty box to practice with (Kohr suggests a cell phone, I don't have one). I think I'll keep it around, and do these regularly. Haha, while I was focusing on measuring the angles, I was forgetting about thickness--so, ahem, varies a bit there. xD
In this video, he suggests using a blue pencil to put down your foundational measurements and construction, and then drawing the final lines on top with a micron or pencil or whatever. I like it a lot, because it allows me to draw messily and make mistakes freely, instead of erasing every second line in my perfectionism. So I've been using a blue layer in Manga Studio, too, as you can see throughout this post.
Decided to try some imaginary drawing. Turned out quite badly. xD (Those are supposed to be arms?) Thankfully, I happened to watch Mr. Kohr's video The Learning Curve the next morning. Was reassuring. Without a solid understanding of the basics, it's little wonder my work looks nothing like the version I see in my head. Me and my skipping ahead.Maybe it's like trying to write an epic fantasy novel without ever having studied grammar or history, and in possession of the vocabulary of a five-year-old? If so, then I ought to be patient with myself--and get to work studying the grammar of art.I really need to set aside a time to draw each day, and stick to it. Anyway, however slow the start, I'm excited I've begun. :DSunshine and pencil shavings,
P.S. I know I included Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain in my syllabus, but I don't think I'm really going to use it. I read it ages ago, as a young teenager. Jumpstarted my observational drawing, for sure. I completed a week-long class based on Edward's work when I was 20, so I think I'll just leave it there. I really ought to share my experience with her work, though, so I'll get that post up sometime soon.
P.P.S. I feel weird writing such a detailed diary-style post for the internet. xD Never done this before.
I have completed three more lessons on visual measuring from the Ctrl+Paint Unplugged Traditional Drawing series--Gesture Drawing: Spoons, Drawing Shape: Contour, and Drawing Shape: Linear Block-in! The lesson on gesture drawing, something I had never really used because I'd always erroneously thought the goal was to draw perfect contours immediately, was especially helpful (and difficult). Ha!
But the more I practice, the more I find myself naturally incorporating these measuring techniques into my sketching. I think I'm making progress.
I tend to be hard on myself if I don't rise to my impossibly high standards, so I try to remember (as my Grandmother is always telling me), to find something about my work I am pleased with. You know what? I really like how this racoon turned out. (You probably can't tell from my rendering, but I referenced a ceramic my mother owns, which I have always admired. And I think I managed to at least convey the shape of it in my drawing.)
I've watched the next four Ctrl+Paint lessons, and I'm eager to begin the next assignment!
Two summers ago, a local art gallery hosted artist Gerald Cloud, who instructed a week-long drawing class based on the methods explained in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. I attended, and produced this self-portrait over the last two days of class:
It was fun (I daresay the hair was much better than my usual--you should see how frightfully I had previously drawn hair--and I got to learn about visual measuring for the first time to boot), but my favourite part of the experience was getting the chance to watch the other students, some of whom had never really pursued drawing before, as they progressed. Most of their before-instruction-portraits were cartoonish, and while you might've guessed which belonged to who, the drawings hardly bared resemblance their creators. Even so, each one of our final portraits turned out beautifully.
I was regretting I couldn't show you these transformations, when I found a fellow classmate's blog post about the workshop. :D (Go take a look. Seriously. Don't read any further until you do.)
Now, with that proof having been flashed before your retinas, you will believe my next statement. The person who does not think he has an artistic bone in his body will, through Edwards' methods, be surprised to find himself capable of realistic drawing within a short period of time. Now, you won't become skillful artist, just like that. But you'll have hopefully realized that drawing isn't a magical gift granted at birth by one of the thirteen fairies. It's a skill learned with work, just like writing, or anything else. This, I believe, is the most important lesson learned from Edwards.
I think if you can find a local Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain workshop in your area, that would be ideal. But if you don't have such classes available in your area, I have listed the assignments we were given, so that you might try them on your own.
The exercises given during the week were designed to help us accurately observe and record shape and line with less frustration that we otherwise would have experienced. We never needed think, "this is far too complicated for me to draw," because we had only to observe and record in manageable chunks, then react in surprise when our drawings looked better than we expected they would.
Jump ahead in the video to each exercise: ONE [Pre Instructional Drawing] // TWO [Vases Faces] // FOUR [Upside-Down Picasso] // BONUS [Pure Palm Contour] // SIX [Your Portrait]
SOME OF MY STUFF FROM CLASS
The exercises are really fun, and work excellently to push you past your mental I-can't-draw block. But Betty Edwards is really only the beginning! I have barely scratched the surface of my understanding of art, yet I can see that there is so much more to learn--from colour and line quality, to things like constructive anatomy and gesture and tone and a bunch of other things I don't understand yet.
"Edwards’ book is an excellent place to start for someone who has a new or rekindled interest in drawing. I frequently recommend it as the book concentrates of the fundamental and most difficult problem adults face in learning to draw, and that is learning to see what is actually before them, and not what they think they see.
In other words, seek out further teachers (the blog post linked to above has a list of resources, as does my art syllabus post).
If you try, or have already tried, Edward's methods, I'd love to hear about your experience with them! Leave me a comment, and feel welcome to link to any of your work. I'll check it out.
Green grass and cool breezes,
P.S. I'm planning to update my Art Syllabus post with all of this, but it's gonna be tricky cause Weebly glitched out. So it might take a while. xD
Who's that? It's me! I want to learn to draw well enough to effectively communicate my ideas through illustration.
I want to write a comic book, and do the pictures, too.
But I'm the distractible sort. Without focus, I flit from place to place, reading half a book here and another half there, losing myself for hours browsing YouTube tutorials, or staring in wonder at the beautiful work on Deviant Art.
A painting I did at age 8. ^
I sketch from life every now and then, scribble cute comics based on my life in my journal regularly, and do dozens of studies from popular mangas for a few weeks at a time whenever the muse strikes. Once in a blue moon, I'll take an afternoon, and pop out a painting. It's fun. But this kind of sporadic approach to drawing, is not conductive to mad improvement of drawing skillz.
If I want to develop my talent with a pencil, I need goals. And I need a plan. Hence, this post. I'm sure it will evolve as I begin to record my efforts. And I want it to--I hope to update this page with as many details as I deem helpful, and maybe link to blog posts featuring completed assignments.
The courses I plan to complete, supposing the first one goes well and I find myself enjoying art and eager to learn more, are as follows:
Did I just write that? I can't believe I'm actually making this public on the internet. It's scary. It's always scary to begin a new endeavour, at least for me. :P But I'm excited, too. And look forward to learning much. I'm sure I'll be doing a bit of journalling about this process, as well, which will undoubtedly include laments over my level of extreme suckthness. *MORE LATER* :D
The foundation for everything! This is where it all starts. As I would like to be able to realistically convey human beings and their environments, study of anatomy and perspective are essential.
Where perhaps one day I will put assignments, and so forth, arranged within a suggested schedule.
Comic Book Illustration
It is my intent to have developed the foundational skills necessary to start practising with mini comic projects by the time I begin this course. :)
I'll have more ideas by then, and add lots of interesting coursework--hopefully.
"I enjoy writing and drawing on paper, making things out of paper, and words and illustrations on paper in books (especially comic books) created by other people."