Sup, y'allz! I'm starting up the drawing workshop. Let's face it - being able to draw rules. But we all want to jump in and start drawing like Frank Frazetta (insert your fave artist of choice). No one likes practicing for very long. But HEY, you gotta do it. Underpinning the skills of every great artist is strong technique and an understanding of form.The number one pitfall of art: "OH, it's just my style! I'm just doing game art/comics/cartoons, I don't need to know form/human anatomy/whatever!"
You would be incorrect in this assumption, good sir/lady.
You learn things the proper way and when you understand the rules you can effectively break every single one of them! So that's what we're going to do here, we're going to try and learn, and we're going to help each other get better! Le'z do eet!Gesture Drawings
A gesture drawing
is a quick sketch to get the feel for the form and motion of a figure, whether it be man or beast or whatever. The temptation is to jump in and start doing full, detailed figures... which is FINE, but hopefully every one of those is backed up by at least a handful of quick gesture drawings.This is key:
first try to visualize the figure or scene as a motion, then as shapes (forms), and finally as what it actually is. Start at the top level, the most abstract level, and work your way down. Right-brained people will have a much easier time with this (which is why they are generally considered "creative" types). Left-brained, analytical people will try to work from the details up.If you're a left-brained person
, try to train yourself not to see heads, faces, necks, torsos, arms, hands, etc., but see forms - lines, shapes, and volumes. In the classic book "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain," one of the exercises they recommend to break left-brained people is to draw a picture upside-down. This will force you to "draw what you see" instead of drawing "what you think you see." The human brain has this amazing ability to recognize patterns, but for drawing purposes you're going to want to put that aside. Not every eye looks the same, and you're going to want to see each eye for what it is, instead of what you think it is.
Okay, so let's see a visual example of what I'm talking about here:The upper left
is the figure I'm drawing. The upper right
shows the "motion" of the figure. Every figure should have a single line that directs the it, and every other line, should, in essence work with that line of motion. In a game, you might call that the "basic idea" or concept of the game that ties it all together. It's kind of a feeling.
For example, when you think about Olympic swimmers diving into the pool, you might visualize them as parabolic lines. It gives you a sense of how they're moving.The lower left
is a gesture drawing. The purpose is to help you understand how a body moves, how it feels, what forms are at play. From a gesture drawing, you should be able to feel how the figure is bent, where the weight is. How it's moving.The lower right
is a depiction of the volumes at play. It's good to think about the body as 3d, made from different volumes. Again, it's all about learning and understanding how things fit together.
It's important to realize when drawing the figure that you are not just drawing the outline of the figure. Lines overlap, lines go over and under... understand that YOU ARE CREATING FORMS
. In the lower left you'll notice I pulled out a couple lines in purple. As you can see, the top line crosses over the bottom one. This gives the viewer a real sense of the body twisting."How do I know when lines should cross over, and when they shouldn't?"
Sometimes it "just looks right," but often times the reason is because of the way the human body is put together. Muscles do not just sit in their own space - they cross over each other all the time, and also interact with the skeleton.
It will take a while to get there, so for now just concentrate on the body's motion and the major forms.Linework
Another thing to think about (I know, as if you need more!) is lines. I notice that most beginning draw-ers use very scratchy lines. It's obviously a confidence thing (or lack of). You're going to want to break this as quickly as possible:
Lines should have no more than 1-2 strokes each. If you want to draw the curve of a deltoid or a bicep... or draw the motion line of a figure... do it with one broad stroke. Part of the fun and beauty of drawing is the feeling of drawing, of following each line. If you were cruising downhill on a bike you wouldn't want to hit the brakes every 5 seconds, would you! (Well, maybe you would, but the point is, you'd be doing out of fear, and not because it feels good.)
Keep in mind that there was a point when you drew good lines - when you were a kid. Kids are fearless. That scratchy line business? It was built up out of your adulthood anxieties! Let it go.Some Tips to Make it Easier:
- Get yourself a fat marker to draw with. Sharpie or Crayola. DON'T USE A MECHANICAL PENCIL, WHATEVER YOU DO. Or a ballpoint pen. Those are two of the trickiest tools for a beginner to start with.
- Draw BIG. Don't confine yourself to a tiny corner of your paper/canvas/screen. Don't constrain yourself. Draw off the damn pad if you feel like it.Homework
Alright, I think I've rambled on enough for now. Let's start drawing! Your homework for this workshop:1. Head over to Posemaniacs.com and click on "30 Second Drawing" under "Tools." Start with 10-second gestures (yes, just 10 seconds!). You're really only going to have time to capture the basic motion of the figure. But that's the point!
Regarding tools, I'd suggest either Photoshop w/ a tablet, or pencil/charcoal/marker on paper. If you're just starting out, again, don't use a mechanical pencil and don't use a ballpoint pen. Use something thick.
2. When you feel comfortable with that, work your way up to longer gestures. Remember, try to capture the feeling of the figure. Think about what forms are at play. Practice your line work.Looking Ahead:
In the next couple of workshops, we'll probably start to practice hooman anatomy. Learnin' the proportions of the body and the basic muscles groups and such. If you want to get a head start on that, check out these scans
of Andrew Loomis's famous Figure Drawing book.
And definitely read Arne's art tutorial
, if you haven't. It covers a lot more than just figure drawing, but it's got some great all-around tips, and it's a easy and fun to read.Feedback:
Please post your stuff here! Please give feedback, either to me (if I said anything erroneous, or just on the workshop in general), or to the artists. Or just to add something.
But please:1. If you post here, be prepared for critique.
2. If you give critique, be constructive.
3. Either way, don't be an ass.