Monday, May 30, 2011

Pretending to paint

I figured that I need to work on my painting a bit, see if I can loosen up and not worry too much about immediate details and flaws. Rather being on top and drawing through the mess on paper/screen, towards what I want regardless of what is currently there.

Anyway, these are obviously not paintings - yet. I noticed that, by focusing on the purpose of painting over them later, my sketches became more effortless and easier to work on. Since they are not the final result, it doesn't really matter how they turn out, as long as it's a useful base for painting. So it's not a drawing meant to be pretty, but rather visual notes for me to use at a later stage. As a side-effect though, they can in fact also be pretty. I need to make sure the character and expression shine through as strongly as possible, at the same time as pointing out all the important features and shaded regions/transitions/borders. Basically getting a framework onto which I can attach strokes of color later, but also having a simplified overview of what the end result should be. It's sometimes easier to visualize the key elements of a picture from a simplified drawing, compared to looking at a reference photo directly.

Hopefully following this post will be one with the finished paintings.

Friday, May 7, 2010

50 more faces

This time from reference. See previous post for further explanation.

For viewing reference images, I set up my iPod on a hacked-together stand made from cardboard and tape. It works quite well. Drawing from reference is fun, but I look forward to the next page of free sketches. Let's see if I learned something.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

50 faces

I recently went through my whole collection of old sketches from the last four years, and noticed that I've deviated somewhat from my original goal of learning to draw good stuff without reference. Over the last two years I've increasingly drawn from photos, and it's been a long time since I really tried to do anything "free". As a result, I tend to still struggle with those things.

To remedy this, I've decided to do more of it. Starting with this page of 50 faces drawn without reference. I scribbled 50 circles over the paper and then drew an improvised face/head on each one. Most of them took 2-3 minutes.

The process and results were actually better than I had feared. It was kind of fun, and not too difficult. My plan is to do another page of 50 faces from reference grabbed out of a video clip, featuring the same person from different angles. After that I'll try another page of 50 from my head, attempting to get some of that person's character/look into the sketches.

As a fun comparison, here are a few similar head sketches that I found from almost exactly four years ago. While I still haven't mastered the human head, I think it's safe to say that I've at least improved considerably.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Hughes and photos

Dug up a few old Adam Hughes sketches and drew from some of them. Also worked through a couple of photos I found. Particularly fond of the bottom-right woman.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Force it

Random stuff today, of course. Was initially inspired by an image of some Mojo (not ppg) 3D model, but quickly detoured into very unrelated stuff. The bottom-left head was done most recently, and I added a little 2-step animation of that since it started out pretty bad, yet I was confident that I could salvage it. Click the link to see it. Line quality is terrible as usual, and the scale is really tiny.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Slow start

I haven't been completely out in the drawing department lately, but evidently the blog hasn't seen much action. The last two months have been busy with code, but I'm trying to ramp up sketching a little bit. Currently I'm mostly doing a few scribbles just before bed every night. At least it's something.

These are two from yesterday. Just the old random female head, side view. No reference, and some agony with non-erasable lines (a couple of which I've actually erased after digitizing the image, yay for computers).

One problem I have with this view is that I consistently mess up the size proportion between head and torso. Whenever I go down beyond the shoulders, I end up with a torso that's ludicrously small. Not sure why, but I don't really have any solid experience and "inner reference" there, so I will probably have to find and draw a bunch of photos.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


This is what tends to put me off from drawing. Depending on my mood, the time of day, and any number of obscure planetary alignments, I can draw either reasonably good stuff or completely crappy things, often right next to each other and in the same session (though crappy stuff tends to breed more crappy stuff out of frustration).
Greens are "good", red is bad. Actually the green ones have technical flaws in themselves, especially the top one, but they carry some kind of "life" which makes me happy with them, and I know there was a clear feeling while making them that I could see where I was going and knew what to do. By contrast, the red face was a struggle all the way, and it's evident that I pressed down hard on the pencil in frustration to try and correct mistakes without really thinking about where I went.
It's almost entirely a mental struggle with attitude, patience and temper. That's what makes it so difficult - I know that I already possess the skills to draw at a certain level (proven by results), but it's only accessible to me when I can relax and go about it in an inspired and loose manner.
Confidence is what I lack, premature self-criticism what I have in abundance.

Semirelatedly, one thing that I've noticed is the benefit of a quick glance at reference photography before starting to draw, even if the reference isn't referred back to during the rest of the drawing. Getting an initial "seed" of reality and direction can fuel the sketch even if most of the refinement is done from imagination alone, and it's almost certainly more focused and educational to spend all your time looking carefully at your drawing rather than to go back and forth between it and some pedestaled reference that reminds you of how inaccurate your copy is.

I need to draw more and think less. It is the truth.