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So how do you learn drawing?

Misery

Photo-Negative
V.I.P Member
Seriously, I cant figure this out.

I always hear that drawing is supposed to be all therapeutic and whatnot, but usually I just get progressively more irritated as I go along.

There is a certain type of thing that I do know how to do... sorta. Example:

ru7xmDG.jpg



What is that, you may ask? I have no idea. I never have any idea! I only know how to mash shapes together at random to make things like... whatever that is supposed to be.

Well, that and brush lettering, but brush lettering is not "drawing" to me and I consider it an entirely separate skillset. I can also do what I call "mimicry" and take some drawing (if it's simple enough) that already exists and just replicate it. Very... very... very... very... slowly. What might take one person an hour to make normally takes like 5 hours to replicate and it's gonna be just a tad wobbly. Ask me to draw the same character or whatever in any other pose or whatever, and you'll get a blank stare.

Seriously, I cant figure out how to do anything else. Part of what makes this so obnoxious is that tutorials are usually like "Okay here's how to draw an owl. Draw a couple of circles and an oval like this... see how simple this is? Now step two, draw the rest of the bloody owl. PLeaSe LiKE aNd sUBscRiBe!!!11"

I have yet to find any tutorials that dont assume that the viewer has at least SOME knowledge of this stuff. I'm going into this with none whatsoever.

And the OTHER frustrating things with a lot of tutorials is that they assume the viewer is using digital art tools (which also means that 90% of the tutorial will be about the program itself). I do not... I have a Wacom tablet, but quickly declared it stupid and jammed it into a drawer somewhere (seriously, I dont like digital art programs outside of my fractal stuff, I find them absolutely infuriating).

And yeah, I know, with any type of art everyone always says "well ya gotta practice" but see, to do that you have to have something to actually practice AT. There's nothing to practice, because the starting point doesnt exist at all. And yeah, I've tried doing it even despite that fact. The result is blobs.

Now, I've been handed the idea of "well why not try an art class?" but see there's two problems with that: First of all, none exist. The most exciting thing around my area is the local Walmart. Ya want ANYTHING else? Better be ready to drive at least an hour... to an area that still wont have it. This region doesnt have things like that. I've looked. Just farms and grass. And even if I found one, I couldnt do it. Classes are structured and require scheduling. My rotating sleep schedule (non-24 sleep wake disorder) is absolutely incompatible with any sort of repeating schedule. Yeah, maybe I could do a 5 PM class one week, and that'll be "afternoon" for me. But the next week, I'll be going to bed at noon. This presents exactly the sort of problem that it sounds like.

So yeah... I'm not sure what to do. I've got all these neat art tools, but I rarely use them because any time I think of something to draw, the idea is thrown out because I cant even start the process, because I dont know what "start" means in that context. If it aint smashed together shapes, it aint getting made.

So, for you artists out there... any advice at all? How did you learn to draw/paint/whatever?
 

Slim Jim

has glasses,shirt,hair, just need jim charisma now
It just came naturally. Hand-eye coordination. You see the contours, the details, and you...just.... draw. Translate the information. The better you can do it naturally, the easy you can go on to learn more advanced techniques. It's just repetition, practice, hours spent I would assume. I draw very crudely as a kid, and just got more and more skilled over a few years of just drawing all the time. Also helps to have a Visual eye for things. A dominant visual sense.
 

Rodafina

Hopefully Human
V.I.P Member
I wanna think more on this, because it is very interesting topic, but as I’m reading, one really simple and accessible idea popped into mind.

Have you spent much time tracing? Obviously, tracing does not produce art that is uniquely your own, but as a means of learning how to draw, it can be really valuable and eventually translate into creating original stuff.
 

Rodafina

Hopefully Human
V.I.P Member
It just came naturally. Hand-eye coordination. You see the contours, the details, and you...just.... draw. Translate the information. The better you can do it naturally, the easy you can go on to learn more advanced techniques. It's just repetition, practice, hours spent I would assume. I draw very crudely as a kid, and just got more and more skilled over a few years of just drawing all the time. Also helps to have a Visual eye for things. A dominant visual sense.
I envy you – I live to draw, but it did not come naturally for me.

Even if it doesn’t come naturally, though, there is still so much to learn.
 

Rodafina

Hopefully Human
V.I.P Member
Oh boy, I’m really interested in this, so I might be popping into this thread a lot. I was also thinking it’s really important to see the process of other artists – so much artwork goes through stages of looking odd or bad, and it’s only with carefully adding details, perfecting lines, and adding a background that a picture becomes complete. I’m wondering if you take some of your already existing artwork, like the one you showed up top, and just kept going with it – study your lights and shadows, and add details to your drawing so it becomes more of what you want.

The last thing that I would emphasize, that I am working on at the moment, is lights and shadows – your highlights and shadows are everything in a drawing, and can really make the difference between something that rocks, and something that is just meh.
 

Raggamuffin

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
A good set of pencils radically changed how my work looked:

a4 combined 4.png


Desert Drama.png


Later on I began to explore further blending etc.

Personally I'm not great at technical drawing. I just pile many characters onto a page and go mad with the colours. Still - it's a style that works for me.

Go with your gut. I got frustrated at my lack of ability and enthusiasm for portraits, still life etc. Couldn't replicate in a way that felt convincing or enjoyable. Mind you - a lot of my favourite paintings from history were done with the help of a camera obscura - which allows for hyperrealism in shape, colour, lighting and texture. It's using mirrors and reflection to effectively allow you to trace and blend colours until they're a perfect replica of the object or scene you're painting.

Look to what makes you happy. Don't force something that doesn't gel with your personality.

Ed
 
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Rodafina

Hopefully Human
V.I.P Member

Loren

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Do you have a community college, nearby? I once took a couple drawing classes through the fine art department of ours. It was a nice experience, if nothing else. Additionally, books that teach drawing techniques can be quite helpful. I am an architectural draftsperson and do a lot of technical drawing and rendering, and I quite enjoy coloring books of various sorts, and tend to doodle while contemplating, etc. However, I am not able to draw a scene in nature, or, a portrait, or anything of the kind, unfortunately. I like your drawing, by the the way.
 
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Knower of nothing

Well-Known Member
Word of advice, I'm not an artist whatsoever. However I am a friend of one, here's some things I've picked up about drawing from talking with him. As I see it, the skill of drawing is built in 3 layers.

First layer of practice is raw knowledge: Start with cubes. Learn perspective rules.
The Rules of Perspective 101
To start out you can try to draw cubes with equal unit in dimensions in various rotations within the same field (in either 1, 2 or 3 point perspective). Then as a bonus you can imagine a light source and shade all sides of the cubes not facing this imaginary light source in grey (it'll come in handy later once you want to tackle shadow). Use a ruler if you want, absolutely no shame in it when starting out. Once confident, or just when bored, try it out with all kinds of other 3d shapes like pyramids or cylinders. The exercise works as long as you try to draw the same shape multiple times in proportion with itself. Understanding space and how to translate proportion through a 3d projection on a 2d plane is half the work. Notice how the example drawings in the link are all basic shapes that were simply transformed and shaded a bit. Mastering basic shapes is the path to mastering complex shapes. There are a ton of courses that attempt to break down for example the human anatomy into simpler shapes, but you can't start with that if you can't draw those shapes. You need shapes for everything; learning 3d shapes teaches you all the 2d ones in equal measure so no point starting with pure 2d either unless you feel a commitment to never step beyond.

Second layer of practice is physical ability: There are several line accuracy drills you can do as warm up before drawing. Take a blank sheet of paper, draw a horizontal line across it in one smooth motion (length of line adjusts difficulty of the exercise). Try to make it as straight as possible, then draw over the same line again. Do it like 3-5 times then draw a new line in parallel to it. Repeat till the page is full. Then using the same page (or one prepared with ruler if its too messy) you can draw circles between these parallel lines. Make it so the circles are equal size and only touch each other by the sides at about one point.
I also advice reading up on your drawing form, most people when starting out tend to draw from the wrist and elbow, but I've read from the shoulder is ideal for both physical health and line accuracy. Can be tricky to adjust to.

Third layer of practice is mental attitude: All this potential exercise and study you could be doing is a lot and if you're a normal person and not a passionate workaholic you're at risk of burning out by pivoting from drawing what you want to just raw technical exercise. It's important to do what you want and have fun with the process. Always look for ways to make the exercise and the personal projects overlap a bit. Accept not everything needs to be perfect. It's an agonizing artform to learn and you need to have respect for failing to meet your own standards, it's just gonna happen.

Everyone goes in with differing levels of dedication and there's even shades of expression that circumvent technical ability entirely for just raw creative decision making. However, if you want to be able to draw everything, these are the first steps on the road to that ability. Hopefully this can be your springboard to being able to understand and work with the other common resources out there.

As a bonus, here's an exercise that goes just one step beyond these foundations so you know what to look forward to once you're okay enough at this stuff (no need to watch the whole vid yet, it's about the manipulation segment that I've timestamped):
 

Aneka

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Seriously, I cant figure this out.

I always hear that drawing is supposed to be all therapeutic and whatnot, but usually I just get progressively more irritated as I go along.

There is a certain type of thing that I do know how to do... sorta. Example:

View attachment 82229


What is that, you may ask? I have no idea. I never have any idea! I only know how to mash shapes together at random to make things like... whatever that is supposed to be.

Well, that and brush lettering, but brush lettering is not "drawing" to me and I consider it an entirely separate skillset. I can also do what I call "mimicry" and take some drawing (if it's simple enough) that already exists and just replicate it. Very... very... very... very... slowly. What might take one person an hour to make normally takes like 5 hours to replicate and it's gonna be just a tad wobbly. Ask me to draw the same character or whatever in any other pose or whatever, and you'll get a blank stare.

Seriously, I cant figure out how to do anything else. Part of what makes this so obnoxious is that tutorials are usually like "Okay here's how to draw an owl. Draw a couple of circles and an oval like this... see how simple this is? Now step two, draw the rest of the bloody owl. PLeaSe LiKE aNd sUBscRiBe!!!11"

I have yet to find any tutorials that dont assume that the viewer has at least SOME knowledge of this stuff. I'm going into this with none whatsoever.

And the OTHER frustrating things with a lot of tutorials is that they assume the viewer is using digital art tools (which also means that 90% of the tutorial will be about the program itself). I do not... I have a Wacom tablet, but quickly declared it stupid and jammed it into a drawer somewhere (seriously, I dont like digital art programs outside of my fractal stuff, I find them absolutely infuriating).

And yeah, I know, with any type of art everyone always says "well ya gotta practice" but see, to do that you have to have something to actually practice AT. There's nothing to practice, because the starting point doesnt exist at all. And yeah, I've tried doing it even despite that fact. The result is blobs.

Now, I've been handed the idea of "well why not try an art class?" but see there's two problems with that: First of all, none exist. The most exciting thing around my area is the local Walmart. Ya want ANYTHING else? Better be ready to drive at least an hour... to an area that still wont have it. This region doesnt have things like that. I've looked. Just farms and grass. And even if I found one, I couldnt do it. Classes are structured and require scheduling. My rotating sleep schedule (non-24 sleep wake disorder) is absolutely incompatible with any sort of repeating schedule. Yeah, maybe I could do a 5 PM class one week, and that'll be "afternoon" for me. But the next week, I'll be going to bed at noon. This presents exactly the sort of problem that it sounds like.

So yeah... I'm not sure what to do. I've got all these neat art tools, but I rarely use them because any time I think of something to draw, the idea is thrown out because I cant even start the process, because I dont know what "start" means in that context. If it aint smashed together shapes, it aint getting made.

So, for you artists out there... any advice at all? How did you learn to draw/paint/whatever?
Youtube step-by-step tutorials are really helpful. Copying other artists' pieces.

And you should focus less on what you see and more on what you're doing.

Find a technique that suits you! Learn about different types of pencils. Learn about compostion, shading and proportions...

Many artists also "cheat" a little, dividing a photo of their subject in squares, as well as their canvas. Some even use blueprints. As you progress, you might no longer need it.
But it does help in the beginning. If you aim to achieve realism.
You can also construct anything with geometrical shapes- from human bodies to landscapes. It's all about proportions and compositions. There are also various tutorials about it. I have a few good books, need to go looking for them, can take some photos of the pages and message you.

Or you could simply run wild... I do that a lot. It's pretty freeing.
 

1ForAll

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
My wife wants to try ordering "Sketching Made Easy," by the same publisher (Piccadilly) who did the drawing prompt book she has. She previewed some pages of it on Amazon and said it seems simple but detailed enough for her, which she needs because of impatience and an inability to figure things out otherwise. But, as each artist has different preferences, abilities, capabilities, interests and learning styles, there may be other books, information or learning videos that fit their needs better.

In my case, I cannot draw figures or objects easy at all without lots of time and revisions, and so I'd have to hire an illustrator should I ever write children's books, for instance, which I am considering one day as I have some ideas there, so I chose painting nature scenes, which I could do with less of a need to be very picturesque. I have a style somewhere between Bob Ross and Thomas Kinkade, the first artist mentioned I first studied growing up how to make certain nature element effects using various brushes and strokes, and relating to his calm, cool demeanor. He opened my eyes that painting need not be stressful, take a long time to create, and perfect.

But, it was the latter artist I mentioned who created pieces I wished I had the time, motivation and talent to create, as that is at least slightly more my preferred style, and as I often view his works and visualize better myself there in those relaxing, very beautiful and captivating places. For persons with great eyes for detail, creative skills, memory and/or with great finger and hand dexterity, artistic creations may seem easier or more natural, as they often remember well what objects look like during their experiences, down to the smallest of details and in different lighting settings, too, and they can use their minds to imagine things, improvise to make things more unique or better, and use their hand and finger abilities to master intricate details.

Practice obviously helps, but if specific and concise instruction is needed, that learning from one or more points of view certainly can be the foundation to enhance our motivations, or to create more options for us in what we create and in how we create. Every day though there will be artists who create pieces unlike those seen ever before, just as authors who create books with content or styles never seen before, too, as not all persons want to emulate others' works, but with desires to be themselves and create in their own unique ways, using their own talents, abilities, personality and experiences to create their own stories.

No artist or author will be able to please all, but there will be many persons who will appreciate our work, regardless if we ourselves like our creations or not, as it causes many to learn, feel or to think more by getting other perspectives. A creation gives me some info about the artist--and I try imaging what he or she could be thinking during their creations, and I focus on their style, even if different from my own. I always learn something from every art piece I view.

Maybe I am unique there, but I can appreciate a child's simple drawings, just as much as the most complex and detailed ones, despite me being heavily into details, as there is an innocence and respect for how kids and others with more simplicity view the world, or if they express in different ways, and as I focus on their efforts, too. It can take me back to the time too when my creations were the same way. . Whether we are relaxed, happy, sad anxious or mad when we create, although this may or may not show in what we draw, color or paint, it can cause many of us to wonder at least, or to see something interesting or new, or that makes us feel, express, or motivate us differently or more in some way.
 

Hypnalis

Active Member
Drawing is a big topic.

IMO geometric forms (without shading or shadows) + perspective is a good place to start (maybe check out the "6 principles of structure" link in the earlier post.

Two things to think about as a beginner:
* You don't look at objects you want to draw the same way as you look at them in normal life. Normally you recognize things based on appearance. When you draw them, you want to understand part of what you can see so you can construct a recognizable abstract version in 2D.
* and a continuation to that: the lines you use when drawing with e.g a pencil don't exactly exist IRL. They reflect the abstraction process your brain uses for object recognition. Selecting some lines and rejecting others is part of the abstraction process you use for construction of a recognizable image.

An exercise that might flip the way you look at things: choose a simple, neutrally colored, non-transparent household object (a small piece of computer gear, kitchen equipment, office equipment etc).
Set it down in an unusual orientation if you can (e.g. upside down or in its side), so it's not quite instantly recognizable.
Assign a limited number of lines to your drawing (10-20). Draw it on paper reasonably fast with just lines, no shading. Ignore precision issues (there will be plenty, but this is just an exercise, not your first masterpiece :) The size of the drawing doesn't matter.

Do it a couple more times (same object again is good, but not essential). If the same object, each time you draw it, change the lines around a bit (leave some out, add some in).

If, after trying this, it doesn't seem useful, forget it. There are other starting points (like basic shapes as above).

OTOH if the exercise seems useful, keep going, but also change your "line budget" and the object you draw. Stop when it gets boring.
Note that the results won't be "good" in a technical or an artistic sense. That's ok - this is just a brain exercise.
 

Shevek

Member
The last time I tried to teach drawing, it started a bit like your "draw the owl" example, except the "owl" was there. We were looking at a Bic lighter standing on the table, so I drew two converging lines, and a half ellipse to join them at their close ends. Then another half ellipse, the same direction, to close the top. That shape looked just like a photograph of the lighter tank from our perspective would look. Then I filled in the top details.
When I was learning, I tried to make drawings look like black and white photos, without using a photo for clues on how to do it. The Renaissance guys who developed perspective drawing actually sat inside crude cameras, so don't be afraid to use rulers and other hardware if it helps. Then I used drawings to help design things I wanted to build.
 

Richelle-H

Relaxed Relativity Inspector
V.I.P Member
I draw. There are examples of my doodles available in the visual arts topics. I got interested way back in my late twenties. I never took a lesson and just taught myself perspective and line control over a number of years. It was all precipitated by a book: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. It comes off at times as a bit new-age, but it lays things out in a useful way (at least it did for me)

The book posits that anyone can draw. It is equal parts will and work. We are all self-inhibitors in many ways. The key is pushing beyond that. Keep at it, you may surprise yourself, and I found the picture you posted quite interesting, somewhat like a design you might see in a stained glass window.
 

SusanLR

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Natural interest in drawing came first with me.
I started drawing cartoon characters around age 2.
Of course they weren't great, but the desire was there, so it was fun.

My interest was again stirred in grade 6 when the assignment was to make a poster.
We were given a large sheet of paper and acrylic paints with coloured pencils.
It was at the time when the saying "Make Love, Not War" was popular and that
is what I painted.
Joke was when the teacher asked if I meant brotherly love or sexual love I was
taken aback and said I see it everywhere and like the peace symbol. So, I drew it.

I took some fine art classes in college where perspective and shading were emphasized. They put a bunch of things on a stage and sit students around it at
different points.
Drawing animals or faces were taught in the ovals and geometric base lines.
I never mastered faces.
From there on I just drew/painted what I liked with my own style.
I really like oils. So much you can do with them.
Art is rather like song writing to me. You just put out your emotions.
What you posted I see symmetry in.
If it were mine, I would start filling in a background with dappled colouring
until the lines of the main drawing were fine- tuned and straight.
Then brighten the design to stand out.

Just a couple of class examples:

111-1158_IMG.jpg

Still life charcoal. Sepia enhanced drawing from looking at photo.
Barrydrawing2.jpg
 

FlowerFlo

Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
Most of my knowlege about art comes from youtube videos and art books.
There are a lot of good videos for absolut beginners, on YouTube.
I found this one quite intressting

 

Silhouette Mirage

Super Nerd
V.I.P Member
Learning the fundamentals is a big one. I've still yet to really practice enough on them since I usually have way too many irons in the fire (especially with other types of artwork I'm always learning), but I notice that when I focus on improving the basics and the foundation of my artwork, the results get just a little bit better - and drawing gets just a tiny bit easier.

With that said, I'll be average at it when I'm like 80 at this rate because I'm so scatterbrained. But combining drawings with other areas (vector, 3D, sculpting, scripting, coding, nodes, etc) is really my jam at the end of the day.
 

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