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Art Foundation

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#1 Celstra   Members   


Posted 13 March 2013 - 01:48 PM

I have been trying to draw for a few years now and just keep getting discouraged. I don't want to do this as a career but as a hobby, I have so many ideas of what I want to draw. Traditional college classes are out of the question my schedule is to full for any side classes in art. So I tried ctlPaint website and did some of his drawing by hand tutorials. Draw 20 cell phones or 15 spoons, negative space, contour drawing, etc. But I don't want to draw 20 cells phones you know, anyway my question is what would be the best approach to tackling this. My goal is character design as well as environments, I do want to go into digital painting but I feel I need to get a foundation down first. Should I try to learn how to draw digitally right off the bat?(I already own a tablet and Photoshop) or should I start with paper pencil? Has anyone heard of the Walker Boys Studio you can buy a DVD titled: 

2D Art Foundation Training (Lighting, Rendering, Storyboard, Layout, Perspective 1,2,3,4,5,6)


Just wondering if this is worth the $74 for 21+ hours on instruction since I cant take a physical college course?


I know there is a bunch of pinned resources at the top and have looked through them. I just have a desire to create something, but I constantly get discouraged in most of the things that I try. I have also watched Feng Zu (I think that's his name) YouTube channel on concept art etc. I have started programming tutorials because I thought well you know drawing maybe is not for me. But I always come back to drawing. I want to create something, just whole worlds and characters and all kinds of things. But there is a disconnect between my brain and putting it on paper the way i want it to look or envisioned it. Maybe I rambling, this might be wrong place to post this too because of it being a game creating type forum. Any help would be greatly appreciated. 

#2 sunandshadow   Members   


Posted 13 March 2013 - 02:44 PM

Sigh.  Okay, first the good news - this is a correct location for this type of post.  Second the ambivalent news - that disconnect between brain and putting it on paper?  EVERYONE has that.  Even writers who are using words instead of lines and colors have that.  It's human nature, and it doesn't go away, instead drawing or painting or w/e repeatedly makes you get used to it and realize that it's not a problem that your first attempt isn't ever going to look the way you envisioned it.  Having any kind of version on paper to look at helps you get closer with your next attempt.  And the bad news - even if you get better at art, it will not help with you being constantly discouraged.  "Hobby" - you're doing it wrong.  What is the point of a hobby that makes you miserable?


So.  First of all focus on either character design or environments.  I'd personally recommend environments.  Start with something simple - find a tree you think is pretty and just try to capture what you see.  Or a building, if you like architectural environments better.  A bench, a flow, a rock, whatever you would put in an environment you would want to create.   Take a photo so you can take that tree or building home with you to work on.  It can be fun to try capturing the same thing 2 years later and see how different the result is.  It really doesn't matter if you use pencil and paper, paint and canvas, photoshop, or some other software.  You might as well use whichever one you find the most fun.  Look at what you've drawn or painted or w/e and focus on one small thing about it that you want to improve; don't get overwhelmed trying to learn everything at once.

I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.

#3 BagelHero   Members   


Posted 13 March 2013 - 03:39 PM


This is the right place to put it.
The disconnect is because you're not as skilled as your brain wants to think you are. It creates this awkward sensation.

The thing is, though, that feeling never really goes away for most people. Professionals and professional-level hobbyists just learn to work through it.

Look, I'm self taught. I can say for sure that lessons will help, but a lot of the time it's more in forcing you to focus your time and self rather than actual technique.
Because you know what? The more you draw, the better you get. Study or otherwise.

So if you're expecting that DVD to be that magic silver bullet that makes you have an "A-HA!" moment, prepare to be disappointed. You'll probably still look at a piece of paper or your Photoshop canvas meekly, and have no idea what you're doing.

And speaking of paper vs digital, use both. Carry a sketchbook everywhere and stop to "smell the roses", so to speak.

If some old guy catches your eye because he's dressed in a sharp looking suit, but he has this crazy eye patch, is looking around suspiciously and is holding a locked silver briefcase, draw him. Draw how you think he got there (perhaps an unfortunate accident with a pair of garden tools, a goat and the mafia), what he'll do next.

You know that kid you pass every day in town? Draw her.

Ever noticed what a weird shape that light is? What the hell, draw that too.


You don't need more than your daily walk (which you should be taking the time to go on) to get a library of sketches going. This will probably give you even more ideas, too, which might kinda suck at first if you don't know how to execute them, but will be gold when you get a little better (if you write them down).


Then, when you get home and have free time, open up Photoshop and have a little doodle in there, too. Draw something awesome, take your time to lament that you can't draw better, but then feel accomplished because you got as far as shoving some stuff down on the canvas. Draw it again with some studies and reference and you'll do better. Oh, and use your tablet as a mouse. Use it for browsing the internet, for whatever. That way you always have it out if you have an urge to paint or sketch, and you get the plus of learning to control it better without really thinking about it.


Now, back to studying.

Repeat after me: "The foundations" do not refer simply to painting techniques. It's best if you also focus on learning those while you learn the other stuff, but... you want to do character design? Design foundations, composition, and anatomy/dynamic anatomy/gesture may be of more worth to you at current. Make sure you're doing some figure or gesture work each day. More intensive anatomy studies are fantastic too. Work off photos and Artistic anatomy books.

Look out your window and mess with the composition of the landscape to make it more universally appealing. Work on minimalist designs, and see what moving junk around does. Give someone a landscape with a rounded composition, then give them a landscape where the composition is triangular and everything is jagged and sharp and ask which one they'd rather live in.


Oh, and draw what you want to draw, not what you think you have to. Don't draw 50 goddamn spoons and only that because the internet tells you. CtrlPaint is great, but you need some initiative. Take what you learned drawing that spoon (how curved metal reflects) and draw a massive fuckin' spaceship, or a guy who has a funny, very metallic hat.
Someone eating yoghurt.



http://www.floobynooby.com/pdfs/gesturedrawingforanimation.pdf (For animation, but helpful and inspiring for other types of dynamic static art. Buy an edited and typed and perfect version of this book here)





I guess the point is, even when you're feeling discouraged, draw through it. You have ideas, and that's more than a lot of people have. So just get them out. Never delete them, just re-iterate them after study. Maybe open a sketchbook here and promise yourself you'll post once a week: http://cghub.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=72


That's all I can say on the matter. Nothing will make you suddenly improve at a faster rate other than focused study and passion.

Good luck, and keep drawing. Hope my text-wall hasn't scared you too much, haha. Oh, and I wouldn't buy that DVD personally. It's all information you can get with a good Google search, though maybe not as intensive or well formatted.


#4 Prinz Eugn   Members   


Posted 13 March 2013 - 05:25 PM

I'm actually in the process of writing an article that addresses some of these issues, but that doesn't help you right now. I will say that one of my sections is titled "Three P’s: Pencil, Paper, Practice." The next section is titled "Three Additional P’s: Practice, Practice, Practice."


Practice is definitely the most important thing, but I will say that you're going to get way more out of it if you have read up on the following principles:

  • Perspective
  • Proportions/Anatomy
  • Lighting/Shading
  • Texture

I see people far too often who are otherwise technically good fail at those basic things, and it's much easier to get started the right way than make the wrong way a habit. The http://www.androidarts.com/art_tut.htm link of BagelHere's looks like it has a pretty good overview of texture and lighting/shading.


I would also strongly recommend looking at basic art classes (although consult with teachers about what the classes will actually be about since course catalogs are super obfuscated) since that'll take care of the practice part (since if you don't, you fail the class) and give you a lot of tips and feedback as you go along and be a thousand times better than any online/DVD/book tutorial.

-Mark the Artist

Digital Art and Technical Design
Developer Journal

#5 Celstra   Members   


Posted 13 March 2013 - 07:08 PM

Thanks to everyone for the helpful comments. All I can do is just press on through it and practice practice I suppose. I think i might do that sketch book on cghub, I see they have some drawing jams as well which might be helpful.  

Edited by Celstra, 13 March 2013 - 11:08 PM.

#6 unit187   Members   


Posted 14 March 2013 - 12:00 AM

Okay, this issue is very familiar to me, I feel you and have some advice.

First of all, I can assure you that most if not all people who wants to draw have taste for good art. Therefore when they see their own art at the very beginning of their career - they can't stand itcrus bad quality.

If you want to be good at drawing - you have to bite the bullet and fight with your "helpful" (in this case) brain. 


Now, when it comes to practice: draw regulary. This is cliche but this is true. Some say you gotta do 10,000 drawings to get some proficiency in drawing. Draw every single day. This is crucial. From my experience: if I didn't draw for 3 days, I felt like my pencil becomes stiff and it doesn't want to do what I want it to do.


If you want to draw characters, I would tell you that you should draw figures from posemaniacs.com and copy character from comic books (well, I like it - they (characters) have some exaggerated features, but they look awesome and fun to draw, and often are placed in cool poses and interesting perspective angles). When you get decent results this way. join live drawing classes and draw naked people. This will help you tremendously. Not only you draw people, but you see them in 3D all the time. A person can't stay in one pose more than a second, people constantly move and turn. This will make you see your model as 3D image, unlike 2d things you get when you draw from a photo or a comic book.


You should buy good books. For example, books by Anrew Loomis are really good. They tell you not only how to draw anatomy, but give a bit of really nice tips on drawing.

I don't really like online tutorials and video courses, They barely scratch the surface of what is it - to draw. They give you some techniques, but don't teach you how to actually draw.

Only one video course I like is Vilppu Drawing Anatomy. In my opinion, this is great one. Having both this and Andrew Loomis anatomy book will give you solid anatomy knowledge.


Lastly, I can share an insight that improved my drawings dramatically in one day.I should note here that I actually rarely draw because this very reason: drawing makes me miserable and I can't stand it. Here are the images I painted like one and a half years ago:




First image is what I could draw before the insight, and 2nd - the next day.

Here is the thing: don't draw mindlessly. When you draw - pay great attention to forms. Even if you draw from a photo, feel it as 3d. When you move your pencil on your white paper, don't move it like you draw on a flat surfaces, get a feeling that you actually move your pencil ontop of 3d form that might turn away from you or towards you. Even when the surface turns away from you and becomes hidden - feel this turn.


Feel the light striking the surface, feel how the surface turns away from the light and gets darker. Feel how one form blocks the light, therefore creating the shadow ontop of another form. Visualize the light as parallel lines and watch how they strike your surfaces.


Good luck.

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