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thecrimsonflash

drawing question

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I have been trying to get better at drawing for quite a while and I have a question, how important is the stuff I'm using, I imagine that the answer is incredibly so, but I just don't know and if anyone could recommend some stuff to me that would be appreciated, I feel like my shading is always off and I wear down erasers too fast. 

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I'm no expert, but tools are pretty important in any field. As in they can help a ton. But more importantly, you need the talent and practice.

The main thing I would suggest is to look for references and guides and also study other peoples' artwork. Don't be shy to ask for feedback as well! If you're worried about your work being torn apart, just say so ^^

I'm not sure how long you've been drawing, but usually these things take (a lot of) practice. Thinking back, I think I started nearly two decades ago and I've only just gained the confidence to start posting my artwork again XD

That's probably a very extreme case though.

As for your erasers running out, it depends on what you're using them for. If it's just for rough sketches, I would try to conserve your erasers and leave in pencil lines unless they are really in the way.

Maybe you could consider transitioning to digital art if you keep making mistakes or are unsure about things. I'm pretty indecisive and end up undoing or redoing large portions of artwork (like redoing the line art and colours) and doing it on my PC is so much easier.

Hope that helps somewhat.

Edited by VincentASM

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I personally don't like the word 'talent' because it can suggest that one has to be gifted in order to be good at something. Bob Ross said it best: "Talent is pursued interest. In other words, anything that you're willing to practice, you can do". 

In my opinion, the best way to get better at drawing, is to study from real life. Now I know that might sound boring and like work, but you can learn a lot of how light works when you can observe how it works. If the light is intense, how prominent are the shadows going to be? How does light work for rounded objects? 

I started to get serious at drawing around high school when I was encouraged to draw things from real life whether it'd be objects, people, poses, etc. I'm more comfortable in the digital medium, but I've worked with charcoal, water colours, inks, pastels, etc. I think every artist has this inclination of wanting to be perfect even with sketches, but you're actually holding yourself back a lot by doing so and stressing over how things should look. It's OK to be messy, it's OK to have imperfections: it's all part of your artistic journey so don't be afraid and hold back!

Edited by carefreejules

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Oh yeah, that was probably a poor choice of words. I think skills might be a better word? You can have some natural skill but you can still develop it.

I like the idea of not fussing over the details. To be honest I am somewhat of a perfectionist so it irks me when my works aren't good enough for me or when I look back at older works and I see all the glaring mistakes.

But if you keep focusing on trying to be perfect, it stunts your growth and morale. That's why I often sketch random stuff for fun. Often, these random sketches I like better than my serious pieces or I may use them as a base for digital art.

Also, for lighting, I probably wouldn't recommend this as I struggle myself. But I like to work backwards by fully shading the art, then using the eraser to rub out the shading as if it's a light source. This is probably only feasible using software though.

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I'm assuming you mean the type and quality of material you are using?

Assuming you're using pencils, you might want to look into getting a set of art pencils that have different levels of hardness. Pencils take a long, long, long time to shade with, and if you can control the hardness/softness it makes things much easier. Softer pencils will allow you to draw darker as well.

There's definitely a difference in pencil quality between a standard pencil and art pencils. Of course art pencils are a bit more expensive but I would definitely recommend investing. I like using lumograph and faber-castell.

As far as erasers go, try getting yourself a kneaded eraser if you're tired of all the dust.

 

Also if you're willing to post your art, we can look at your shading technique and see where you think you're falling short.

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4 hours ago, VincentASM said:

Maybe you could consider transitioning to digital art if you keep making mistakes or are unsure about things. I'm pretty indecisive and end up undoing or redoing large portions of artwork (like redoing the line art and colours) and doing it on my PC is so much easier.

This is what I did after awhile myself, yeah. But not so much because I couldn't improve, I got pretty good at traditional drawing. It was because tbh my hand-eye coordination is bad. lol That means I end up erasing mistakes quite a bit and if I color, I actually can't stay in the lines too well because I struggle to make my hand perfectly follow my eyes on the paper.

I also think digital art just looks prettier a lot.

Also, using the word talent is fine. Because having talent doesn't mean you always had it. Talent is something that can be natural OR acquired. I had no talent in arts years ago. Now I can draw, write, and sing. I built up talent. You can initially have no talent and later build it up like I did.

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Something that I also encourage a lot is to use references whenever you can. There's still plenty of people who think using references is cheating when it isn't at all. You don't have to do everything yourself or feel like you have to purposely struggle to get there. 

A piece of advice that I would recommend if you want to have better hand-eye coordination, a steadier hand, and just more confidence in your line work in general that I learned while in art school, is to do some blind contour exercises or drawing circles over and over. It sounds tedious but you're basically developing that muscle memory! 

https://youtu.be/NBE-RTFkXDk

I often get asked how my line work is so clean and it's because I do quick strokes with my lines. It's all in the flick of the wrist! 

Speaking of digital art, I'd also be happy to recommend drawing tablets since I've worked my way up from traditional, to drawing tablet, to a drawing tablet with a display and there's a bit of a learning curve involved. 

Edited by carefreejules

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2 hours ago, carefreejules said:

Something that I also encourage a lot is to use references whenever you can. There's still plenty of people who think using references is cheating when it isn't at all. You don't have to do everything yourself or feel like you have to purposely struggle to get there. 

got any places that have any good references, I find looking for poses and different angles to be awkward generally.

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I am practicing myself and I find the channel from PlagueofGripes pretty inspiring. xD Don't know if he is your choice though. He also made one video about how to draw. And the most I think which helped me is just experimenting. So its ok to do something different trying something different. 

And I also would recommend tablets since I draw more with a tablet I think I got better at it and I actually did some stuff I am personally ok with for now. 

Another channel I looked at said that comparing yourself with others and always try to do perfect also could work against you. There are many "artists" which only show the art they truly find good enough to show, sketching and such is ok and scribbling. And its ok with them, maybe you get new ideas and such. 

I can't say much more because I am in a phase I still teaching myself a lot of things to get better. I make improvements but it takes a while.

I mentioned PlagueofGripes, but also be careful with some channels who "teach" to draw. Always keep in mind that they skip in explaining some details they do and they don't realize itself because its nothing they see as important. Like they explain step 1 and step 2 but not step 1.5 or so.  

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16 minutes ago, thecrimsonflash said:

got any places that have any good references, I find looking for poses and different angles to be awkward generally.

If you find that looking at poses is awkward, it's likely coming from the fact that you might not have grasp of how anatomy works so I would say start there. It's one thing to look at a pose/reference and use it as a foundation, but if you don't really have an understanding of proportions and anatomy, the knowledge you gain from the pose itself won't stick to you as easily. Most of my references came from actual classes and anatomy books but you can probably find a lot of resources online - it's just a matter of where and how to look. Female vs. Male anatomy and body proportions (your elbows align with your waist, your wrist aligns with your groin, your shoulders are about 2.5 heads apart - that kind of stuff). 

Some people might say that anatomy is too general and sometimes it can be too restricting, but there still needs to be some sort of learning and understanding involved before you can find your own style and bend the rules. When teachers or older art professionals sneer or look down on those who find inspiration from anime or even cartoons, that's their underlying meaning of what they're really trying to say. 

Edited by carefreejules

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1 minute ago, carefreejules said:

If you find that looking at poses is awkward, it's likely coming from the fact that you might not have grasp of how anatomy works so I would say start there. It's one thing to look at a pose/reference and use it as a foundation, but if you don't really have an understanding of proportions and anatomy, the knowledge you gain from the pose itself won't stick to you as easily. Most of my references came from actual classes and anatomy books but you can probably find a lot of resources online - it's just a matter of where and how to look. Female vs. Male anatomy and body proportions (your elbows align with your waist, your wrist aligns with your groin, your shoulders are about 2.5 heads apart - that kind of stuff). 

Some people might say that anatomy is too general and sometimes it can be too restricting, but there still needs to be some sort of learning and understanding involved before you can find your own style and bend the rules. When teachers or older art professionals sneer or look down on those who find inspiration from anime or even cartoons, that's their underlying meaning of what they're really trying to say. 

I'll keep that in mind as well, I have used references for specific body parts (mainly just googling) to try to get proportions right, I guess I should look at more general references in that case.

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Oh I hope I'm not too late in this conversation but I wanted to give some advices and I hope it'll help.

Tools:

It's obviously pretty important to have good tools but the "good tools" are the tools you're comfortable with. Some may says that pencils are the best, others says criterium are the best. I personally am more comfortable with criteriums. About the eraser, you must not put it in the same place than a pencil sharpener or it'll won't be white anymore. Traditional art and digital art are really different and none is better than the other. To have a clean drawing, digital art is great but if you want to give some watercolour + salt effects for example, it'll look better with true watercolour + salt on traditional art.

Watercolour is a great tool but it is pretty expensive. If you have watercolour, I'd recommend you to put water without colour on the part you want to colour (let's say the skin of a character) and then add colours. You can give a cool effect by putting big salt on it (if there's enough water).

Ink is affordable I think. You only need cyan, yellow, magenta, dark gray (black if you don't find it) and white if you want pastel colours. I think ink is pretty cool to use.

For markers, I'd recommend alcohol markers. It blends easily.

The paper needs to be adapted to the tools you plan to use.

Tips:

First how to make not-too-dark colours when mixing: always use the lighter colour as a base. For example, pink is a white base and you add red until it looks pink enough for you. Orange is a yellow base and you add red until it's orange enough. Base priority: white>yellow>magenta/red>cyan/blue. Also, brown is orange with a black drop in. Sorry if this tip is dumb but I saw a lot of people not knowing that and I find it really important.

Eraser is not really a friend. It's like a video game when you're supposed to do your homeworks. To practice, it's good to make doodles with a pen to avoid the eraser. It really helps to minimize mistakes and it's how I improved the most. See the pen like the permadeath mode. One big mistake and woops let's begin again. For a serious drawing, eraser should only be used once: to erase the sketch. Because the paper doesn't like the eraser, whatever its lb is.

Try some exercises like drawing with a single line. You draw without breaking contact between the paper and the pen. It's nice to do it with references (like a landscape, an object or a human being for example) instead of imagination.

About references, you need to understand how things works, not just copying it. Look at yourself, it's great to check things like how long the arm is. The best is really to observe the world to give more natural poses to your characters.

While sketching, draw a little sun where the light is supposed to come from. It helps to make a proper shading.

Don't be scared of experiments.

I like to take my sketchbook with me when I go to the aquarium because it's great to draw what you see and fish moves a lot so I must be quick.

Finally, the not-so-secret secret is practice. Drawing is a bit like a sport. You use your hand and you need to draw once per day to not lose the muscles.

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