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Old January 11, 2013, 03:17:38 AM
TediousRamen's Avatar
TediousRamen TediousRamen is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Downey, CA
Posts: 100
Lightbulb Anyone can draw, even you

Before I begin I'd like to make a not so brief introduction.

You don't have talent and you definitely don't have a style.

I'm guessing people use the word talent because they don't know what it means. Talent implies that you made absolutely no effort to get to the skill level you are currently at. Nobody is innately able to draw from the second they are born, it is something you learn, much like a language.

Style. It's a word that thrown around a lot but nobody actually understands it. Many people use style as a feel good word on the way they draw things. They're wrong. There is a wrong way to draw and the artist is not always right.

Not styles, just bad drawings.

“So what is a style?” you may ask. A style is how you exaggerate things. Another way to put it is how you bend the rules of drawing to emphasize what you want. You can't bend the rules if you don't know them and that's what this post is for.

I'm going to teach you the bare minimum of drawing (though even that is a lot), just enough to show you where to start and what to look for. Practice makes perfect but you can be perfect at doing something wrong, so I'll show you how to do things right.

The world of drawing is not a place for people to cry about how they aren't good. Great artists have great wills and aspirations but are also humble and able to admit when they're wrong. A great artist will look at what they are weak at and strengthen it through knowledge and practice.

The essentials to drawing are perspective and anatomy, however anatomy is immensely easier to learn after you understand basic shape After that values are necessary to fully bring your your image's depth.

I strongly suggest further reading the books I recommend, there are many things I don't go over that they do.


Spoiler Alert:    
In every drawing you make you should incorporate perspective, even if you don't plan on using a background. Perspective defines the placement of things and gives depth, in other words it organizes and makes your picture not boring or wonky.

I'd go as far as to say perspective is the most important part of drawing. It's also the simplest thing in drawing, if you can't understand something as simple as perspective then you can't be an artist.

Here's a Horizon Line, I drew the stick man to show that the horizon line is at eye level. It determines if the view is high or low, depending on it's placement.

First lets try single point perspective, it's the easiest but you won't use it as often as two point. In single point perspective edges can only be either horizontal, vertical, or affected by the vanishing point.

A vanishing point, as the name suggests, is a point of the horizon line where, if a plane were to stretch that far, a plane would be so far away it would “vanish”. We use vanishing points as a reference to how edges on planes are angled to give the illusion of depth. Now lets put it into action.

Depending on where you put your edges in relation to the horizon line you will see either the top or the bottom of the plane you are drawing.

There! A plane that stretches as far as the eye can see. But we don't want that, so we'll cut it off at a point so it doesn't go on forever.

If we add more edges to make another plane we can make a box.

Here I added more boxes to show how different placements can look.

Next I'm going to go over two point perspective, just like what you'd expect this uses two vanishing points. This is used for viewing things at more of an angle and is used a lot, and you'll find yourself using it a lot too. In two point edges will only be either vertical or affected by a vanishing point.

First we'll place a vertical edge, though you can also start with a vanishing point edge I decided to start with this since it's similar to the first one we did.
Then we use both vanishing points to the ends of the edge.

And cut it off as before. Now we have 2 planes but it's not quite a box. So how do we make the top plane?

We use the vanishing points, of course.

Here's more two point perspective examples.

Bad example: The two points are too close.

Source: (page 35) Figure Drawing For All It's Worth by Andrew Loomis

Here's some thing to be wary of when working with perspective:
When using two point perspective be careful not to put the points too close together or the planes will get wonky.
Make sure you only use one horizon line.

For more information on perspective check out Successful Drawing by Andrew Loomis, it's in the public domain so you can download it for free.

Basic Shapes

Spoiler Alert:    
Basic shapes are exactly what they sound like, the most basic things you can draw, and they're shapes. Why are they important? They're used to break down objects to make them easier to understand. When drawing it's important to understand what you're drawing, and it's pretty easy to tell when an artist doesn't understand what they're drawing so this part is important!

Wrong! These aren't basic shapes, basic shapes are 3 Dimensional and one is missing.

Right! When drawing it's important to think in 3D. Everything has volume and if you don't consider that, your images will look flat, boring, and incomprehensible.

Here's a coffee pot, I picked it because it's shape is simple but also a bit complex at parts. I'm going to break it down into basic shapes so that I will have a better understanding of it.

First go after the obvious shape, in this case the sphere.

Next try to find the shape that's closest, here it's the cylinder that the handle is attached to.

The top is a bit weird, it is a cone but tilted so remember that tilt!

Finally, the handle was a bit too complex to break down into shapes so I used a cube and drew a rough of the shape of the handle on one plane, after that I can use perspective to flesh it out.

After you understand an object you can redraw it from any angle without a reference, this is why basic shapes are important!

Remember to always think in 3D, it's too easy to forget you're trying to make the illusion of depth when you're drawing on a 2D surface!


Spoiler Alert:    
Anatomy is important even if you don't plan on drawing humans because almost every mammal's anatomy can be compared to a human's.

Source: Digitigrade animals don’t have “backward knees” by Kim G. on Pixelovely

I can't teach you anatomy. Anatomy is something you need to learn from professionals or from books written by professionals. I can, however, tell you what to look for when learning anatomy and some books that can help.

Some books that helped me:
Bridgeman's Complete Guide to Drawing from Life – by George Bridgeman (you can probably find this at your local library like I did)
Figure Drawing For All It's Worth – by Andrew Loomis (free to read online and to download)
An Atlas of Anatomy For Artists – by Fritz Schider (another book you can find at the library)

When studying anatomy the most important things to look for are proportions, the locations of the muscles and how they overlap each other, and the shapes of the bones, how they form joints, and how those joints move.

After you're comfortable with anatomy you should try gesture drawing. In gesture drawing you are given an image of a person in a pose for a short amount of time (30 to 60 seconds) and you just quickly draw the general gesture the figure is doing. Gesture drawing will help you develop fluid, interesting poses.

You can find free gesture drawing tools by searching for them on Google.

Remember: Everything is affected by perspective and everything has volume, even anatomy.


Spoiler Alert:    
Oh boy here's one a lot of people get wrong, values. Values are how dark or light something is, in other words I'm going to go over shading and the overall use of values in this part.

For some reason people got it into their heads that contrast is bad. That's completely wrong. If you have too little contrast your image will look gray and boring or sometimes it will get to the point where you can't even tell what's going on.

Contrast is especially important in painting, where you need to use values to imply edges instead of relying on line art.

So what is a good amount of contrast? Well, it depends but the overall image should use white to black and shades in between to have the most dynamic values.

The amount of contrast also depends on the position something is relative to the middle ground. For example, in the background there will be less contrast than the middle ground and in the foreground there will be more contrast than the middle ground.

This is a generalization and there are exceptions. Reference from life.

The best way to learn values is to draw things in gray-scale and to draw from life. My animation teacher once told me that when I was unsure about the values in my pictures I should “make your darkest darker and your lightest lighter.”

A brief explanation of light

Light acts like a particle as it bounces off objects, when it bounces off objects it may bounce off other objects. Eventually the light will travel to our eyes and that's how we see, how light or dark something is depends on how much light is bouncing off that surface.

When light bounces off a surface and hits another surface that is lacking light we call that a backlight. The absence of a back light can make the image look dull and flat.

Don't “pillow shade.” Pillow shading is shading without a light source, usually when something is pillow shaded the edges are darker than the center, this promotes a lack of understanding volume and perspective, is very lazy, and looks ugly.

In the end the best way to learn values is to draw from life. A good tip is to squint at what you are drawing to simplify the values to find the darkest and the lightest, however, don't squint at your drawing because that will not help at all.

Remember even if you use good perspective and anatomy, bad use of values will make your image look like garbage. When you don't know how something should be shaded, reference from life.

If there was something I was unclear on, tell me and I will try to explain it better to the best of my abilities.

If you felt there wasn't enough information I suggest reading Andrew Loomis' books, especially since they're free and very informative.
Old February 7, 2013, 03:19:14 PM
Dragiiin123's Avatar
Dragiiin123 Dragiiin123 is offline
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 355

is drawing "subjective"????? answer that master sensei
Old February 8, 2013, 12:37:04 AM
hinorashi's Avatar
hinorashi hinorashi is offline
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Mahogany Town
Posts: 199

Originally Posted by Dragiiin123 View Post
is drawing "subjective"????? answer that master sensei
Yes and no. A style is an exaggeration or interpretation. An artist should be able to portray the actual thing before trying to exaggerate or omit details. The interpretation of what it means to the artist is up to them. The inability to represent what you see or grasp basic concepts like perspective before trying to stylize can be judged objectively since it's a result of lacking hand control or knowledge.
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