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The man with no name

Improving in sketches

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Greetings, everyone. I am a new member in Serenes Forest, and also a beginner in drawing. Like everyone, I was drawing since I learned to handle a pencil, although I tried to draw "seriously" since last year. I wonder if there are some members who have relatively good skills in drawing (especially the chara-design), but if it's the case, it would be nice if we could debate about means and methods that allow us to improve in many aspects of the chara-design and the drawing in general. There are such questions that come in mind : do we only improve by practice, or do we need to learn new methods ? Do we only focus in one aspect, or do we have to diversify the style and the part of the body we're drawing ? And others, as well.

Everyone is welcome to share his experiences, thoughts, tutorials and advices about how to improve in drawing stuffs and characters. Thanks for reading. Oh, and last thing, I'm especially talking about drawing in paper, not the digital art. But anyway, every advice would be appreciated. 

 

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Do you post your works anywhere?  If you don't mind sharing what you have, you may get a bit more feedback.

Me, on the other hand. . .I have problems drawing stick figures in proportion.

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13 minutes ago, eclipse said:

Do you post your works anywhere?  If you don't mind sharing what you have, you may get a bit more feedback.

Me, on the other hand. . .I have problems drawing stick figures in proportion.

Well, there is not a specific place where I post my sketches, but I can publish some of them here. Are you perhaps interested in cheking the sketches before giving advices ? For example, I tried today to make a fanart of Lyon. That forgotten character in The Sacred Stones, you know :
 

Spoiler

59a1d2e79fcf4_Lyonfanart.png.1c936defca4c8bb0b85f61e19897b2bf.png

As you can see, I have difficulty with the hairs and the jaw. But not just that. I also lack drawing the clothing, the armor pieces, and the lower parts of the body (the legs, the hands, the torso, the feet, and all of that). That's why I try to focus on the face, the eyes, the nose, the mouth, the hairs, and possibly the emotions (such as blushing, tears, surprised face...). As I'm used to the propotions of the face, I never really tried the stick figures, but I can assume that they are quite complicated. And you, eclipse, do you have a place where to post your arts ? 

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Trust me, more people like Lyon than my personal favorite, Knoll. :P:

Unfortunately, my drawings are really REALLY bad.  I can sort-of do inanimate objects, but anything beyond that is pretty horrifying.  Hence why I don't post what I draw, anywhere.

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12 minutes ago, eclipse said:

Trust me, more people like Lyon than my personal favorite, Knoll. :P:

Unfortunately, my drawings are really REALLY bad.  I can sort-of do inanimate objects, but anything beyond that is pretty horrifying.  Hence why I don't post what I draw, anywhere.

A lot of people like Lyon ? That's a good thing, I'm pretty surprised. I thought that the only characters that people (especially the "new generation" of Fire Emblem) love were Camilla, Cordelia and Tharja. Or, at least, Hector and Sigurd. ^^'

Pretty horrifying ? Does that mean that they are worse than the one I just publish ? Oh, and also. Do you know someone among your family or your friends how's pretty good at drawing ?

Edited by The man with no name

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Honestly, I try not to think about it too hard. If I did I'd soon grow forlorn. But I concluded that the only way to make any improvement was to work at it everyday. That's the brute force approach I suppose, and even then I suspect it'll take many years before I could be called above mediocre.

I think the first thing you should do, if you're serious about improving your drawing, is to invest in an actual sketchbook and a pencil set. It doesn't have to be anything expensive or fancy, but at the very least it should be plain paper without any lines.

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Your drawings are a bit rough, but it's a lot better than what I've produced.  I'm not sure if you're going for absolute realism, your own art style, or something else.  If it's absolute realism, then there's some proportion/shading things that can be fixed, but I would wait for someone who actually knows what they're talking about to help you on that.

Alas, no one in my family draws.  We're more predisposed to reading/math.

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34 minutes ago, Shuuda said:

Honestly, I try not to think about it too hard. If I did I'd soon grow forlorn. But I concluded that the only way to make any improvement was to work at it everyday. That's the brute force approach I suppose, and even then I suspect it'll take many years before I could be called above mediocre.

I think the first thing you should do, if you're serious about improving your drawing, is to invest in an actual sketchbook and a pencil set. It doesn't have to be anything expensive or fancy, but at the very least it should be plain paper without any lines.

So, practice is the key of improving. I'm okay with that. I kinda draw everyday. But there's just one thing. Even if I draw everyday, I take only half an hour in practicing, and suddenly after, I kinda feel tired about that, just as if the motivation disappeared. And the day after, it's the same story. Do you think it's normal ? Or do I need to extend it in a single day ? You also mentioned the "plain paper without lines". Why that ? Why not lines ? I guess you have more experience than I, and I'm sure that the reasons are relevant. By the way, I'm sorry for the bad English. And thanks for the advices. ^^'

34 minutes ago, eclipse said:

Your drawings are a bit rough, but it's a lot better than what I've produced.  I'm not sure if you're going for absolute realism, your own art style, or something else.  If it's absolute realism, then there's some proportion/shading things that can be fixed, but I would wait for someone who actually knows what they're talking about to help you on that.

Alas, no one in my family draws.  We're more predisposed to reading/math.

I don't know what you exactly mean by "absolute realism". If you mean it by the style (realistic, anime, cartoon, chibi, etc...), I don't really aim for the realistic style (just the japanese-anime one, like Fire Emblem, or the girl in your profile picture). If you mean it by the technique (which means the good propotions, the good dimensions between different parts of the body, the good shadings and all that stuff), yes, I'm willing to master it, even if the chances of success are pretty low (because they are a lot more stuffs that I didn't even try). So, yeah, I'm still a beginner. An "under-trainee" of the "Super Chara-Designer" class. Anyway, thanks for the review. Even if you're not familiar with drawing, you really suggested nice advices. ^^' (Yeah, I like the " ^^' " one)

Edited by The man with no name

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7 minutes ago, The man with no name said:

So, practice is the key of improving. I'm okay with that. I kinda draw everyday. But there's just one thing. Even if I draw everyday, I take only half an hour in practicing, and suddenly after, I kinda feel tired about that, just as if the motivation disappeared. And the day after, it's the same story. Do you think it's normal ? Or do I need to extend it in a single day 

Well it's good that you're putting in that kind of effort. As for your motivation problem, I'm not so sure. It could be a fitness thing. Perhaps if you take a break from drawing then go back you'll feel refreshed. This seems like a more personal thing to me, so I don't really have advice.

Quote

You also mentioned the "plain paper without lines". Why that ? Why not lines ? I guess you have more experience than I, and I'm sure that the reasons are relevant. By the way, I'm sorry for the bad English. And thanks for the advices. ^^'

I'm assuming you're drawing in a lined notepad. Those things aren't made for drawing in, they're made for writing. If nothing else the lines are getting in the way and don't serve to make your picture look better in any way.

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Obviously you mentioned traditional art, rather than digital, but I started out drawing using pencils so I hope I can be of some help. 

The main major factor in my improvement was studying proportions. I went to a college where we had life drawing sessions, but you can just as easily draw from references online. Even if you're only doing semi-realism it's still a really useful skill to practice because it will make everything easier in the long run. They don't have to be anything fancy, just rough proportion sketches will be good for improvement. 

Other than that, my works lie in realistic traditional painting, and semi-realistic digital art, so I'm not sure I can be of much more help. 

Edited by Natalie

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30 minutes ago, Natalie said:

Obviously you mentioned traditional art, rather than digital, but I started out drawing using pencils so I hope I can be of some help. 

The main major factor in my improvement was studying proportions. I went to a college where we had life drawing sessions, but you can just as easily draw from references online. Even if you're only doing semi-realism it's still a really useful skill to practice because it will make everything easier in the long run. They don't have to be anything fancy, just rough proportion sketches will be good for improvement. 

Other than that, my works lie in realistic traditional painting, and semi-realistic digital art, so I'm not sure I can be of much more help. 

I always asked myself, if it's possible to improve without studying in artistic schools. But as you said, I'm sure that online references (I guess you're talking about tutorials and video demonstrations, isn't it ?) can be a lot of help. Although, the body proportions (especially with the stick figure) look really difficult to apply. I wonder how long it took for you to master it. I'm looking forward to try them. Even if you're accustomed with a complete different style, thank you for the tips. ^^ (Between, I really like the priestess outfit in your Micaiah's fanart.)

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There is so much that can be said about a topic like this. First of all practice does make perfect, so yes you have to invest time to improve.

For improving on the technical side of drawing, I believe learning from realism is the way to go. This doesn't mean that you have to go out of your way and only focus on making everything super realistic. I mean that there are elements that can be taken from real life that can be implemented in more stylistic styles, like proportion, character balance and making a character feel solid. (I find proportion to be the most important thing to learn)

Personally when I started to draw more seriously I started out with drawing in a manga style. Thanks to that I became more comfortable with drawing bodies and characters in general. I feel that manga styles have quite a lot in common with realism when you take your time to compare them. At least for me it made it easier to take the next step towards learning from real life, so now I try to do figure drawing and value studies more often.

As for character design there are multiple ways to go about it. Some people like to write down everything about the character first (backstory, personality etc) and then base their design based on that. When you just have a general idea/feeling then try a bunch of quick thumbnail sketches and pick the one that feels the best. When you just want to focus on the clothing of a character, create a base, copy it a few times and then draw the clothes over that. It saves time when you don't have to draw the same base over and over again.

Resources:
Any book by Andrew Loomis is great and ctrlpaint.com has some good beginner tutorials. For figure drawing I always use quickposes.com
Art related youtubers: Sycra, Draw with Jazza, Proko, Istebrak, CGcoockie Concept, Tyler Edlin

 

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15 hours ago, Sietje said:

There is so much that can be said about a topic like this. First of all practice does make perfect, so yes you have to invest time to improve.

For improving on the technical side of drawing, I believe learning from realism is the way to go. This doesn't mean that you have to go out of your way and only focus on making everything super realistic. I mean that there are elements that can be taken from real life that can be implemented in more stylistic styles, like proportion, character balance and making a character feel solid. (I find proportion to be the most important thing to learn)

Personally when I started to draw more seriously I started out with drawing in a manga style. Thanks to that I became more comfortable with drawing bodies and characters in general. I feel that manga styles have quite a lot in common with realism when you take your time to compare them. At least for me it made it easier to take the next step towards learning from real life, so now I try to do figure drawing and value studies more often.

As for character design there are multiple ways to go about it. Some people like to write down everything about the character first (backstory, personality etc) and then base their design based on that. When you just have a general idea/feeling then try a bunch of quick thumbnail sketches and pick the one that feels the best. When you just want to focus on the clothing of a character, create a base, copy it a few times and then draw the clothes over that. It saves time when you don't have to draw the same base over and over again.

Resources:
Any book by Andrew Loomis is great and ctrlpaint.com has some good beginner tutorials. For figure drawing I always use quickposes.com
Art related youtubers: Sycra, Draw with Jazza, Proko, Istebrak, CGcoockie Concept, Tyler Edlin

 

Actually, this is not a bad idea, for the realism. Now that I think about it, the only difference between the realistic and the manga style is the face (eyes, mouth, nose, hair), but the rest of the body could be drawn in the exact same way, for both styles. I have a lot of issues with the propotions, but I guess that the resources you published could be a great help. I never started the chara-design seriously (I only used to draw random characters, just to practice), but now that you mentioned it, there are many ways to proceed, so this should not be a big trouble. For know, the most important are the propotions. Anyway, thanks for the advices and the tutorials ! You helped me a lot, I always lack at founding good and accurate websites on tutorials. 

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