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View Full Version : Any drawing books that are better than fun with a pencil?


Akinsthestarchild93
03-02-2011, 06:59 PM
I am frustrated and want to know about a book that makes it easy to learn how to draw? I have been baffled for more than a month and haven't gone anywhere.

Lunatique
03-03-2011, 04:25 AM
Can you elaborate on what exactly is confusing you? Fun with A Pencil was written for a very young audience, so it shouldn't be that hard to get into. It could be that you're stuck on one thing which prevents your mind from opening up.

Akinsthestarchild93
03-03-2011, 03:56 PM
For a month, I have seen no improvement in my skill of drawing any of Andrew Loomis' faces in part one of "Fun with a Pencil." In other words, my drawings are still looking distorted. Am I supposed to completely copy his drawings or just use a HB pencil to copy the steps that he demonstrates in blue ink and then use a 2B or 3B pencil, and also my imagination, to finish up the drawings? I know he discourages the reader to not copy, but I always manage to forced myself to copy the body parts of his faces since I don't have any other references.

Xenofenix
03-03-2011, 09:55 PM
I am probably not much better than you, but the answer is probably going to be similar to my own. Draw from life. Use photos if you do not have anyone to reference from, but people will generally tell you to go someplace public and draw! Ask a friend to sit still so you can do a still study. I know it isn't simple and you won't find it easy and your drawing may not be visually pleasing at first, but you must practice! There is a thread about practicing correctly on this site, I don't remember where though.

Lunatique
03-04-2011, 04:42 AM
I have a pretty detailed explanation on the importance of copying with accuracy, as well as why it could be detrimental for beginners to do life drawing right away:
http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=166&t=939978

I hope that answers your questions as well as address the life drawing issue.

SoftVision
03-11-2011, 08:30 PM
I have a pretty detailed explanation on the importance of copying with accuracy, as well as why it could be detrimental for beginners to do life drawing right away:
http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=166&t=939978

I hope that answers your questions as well as address the life drawing issue.

Hey Robert,

I've got a sketchbook (http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?p=6853263) thread in which I've drawn only from Fun With A Pencil (so far). If it's not a problem, I'd appreciate it if you could help me decide where to go next. I read the post that you linked to. I reckon I have room for improvement as far as copying and getting to a level where "most people will have to do a double take to see the differences" is concerned. I just started reading Figure Drawing For All It's Worth by Andrew Loomis. Though I think now I'll put that book on anatomy on hold and strengthen my basics through some other book. I'm a little confused by some of what you said here:

If you currently do not have the ability to reproduce 2D images with high precision, then you are not yet ready to take on working from life. I strongly suggest you first be able to take any 2D drawing, painting, or photograph, and then be able to copy them so that your copy looks so much like the original that most people will have to do a double take to see the differences. This is basic technical skill that all competent artists must acquire, and it's the most basic skill that you must master before you move on to any of the foundations of visual art such as composition, perspective, values/lighting, colors, anatomy/figure, surface treatment, and so on. This basic skill will teach you now to observe and analyze proportions, distances, angles, curvatures, values, color shifts, and so on. You cannot do competent life drawing if you have not mastered those skills.

In order to be able to replicate what you see wouldn't it help to actually know perspective and/or lighting beforehand? Or by "this basic skill" do you mean a combination of say contour drawing and negative spaces like this site (http://www.drawspace.com/lessons/b/learn-to-see)? I just want to figure out what you mean so I know what to look for in a book that can take me in the direction that you have described and I can work on it. If you could suggest a book that supports what you're talking about, that'd be welcome too. I've practiced from Betty Edwards' The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain prior to "Fun With A Pencil".

Lunatique
03-12-2011, 04:49 AM
You seem to be doing pretty well, but accuracy can be better.

The stuff on that site you linked is part of the equation, but the explanation is a bit simplistic. I never read Betty's book but from what I have heard about it, she teaches it the right way--essentially to not see what you "know" such as "that's a nose" or "that's the paw of a cat" but to to deconstruct what you see as simply abstract shapes and values and colors, and then copy them as closely as possible.

Flip the image (along with the reference) horizontally to check your mistakes is crucial. Even when not working digitally, you should do this with a mirror. You brain has left and right biases and you can't be perfectly unbiased, so your proportions will skew. This is true even for seasoned professionals--it's part of our biology. So whenever you feel like you are losing objectivity, just flip the image (and reference) horizontally and you'll see all the mistakes you couldn't see before. Do this as often as you feel like you are losing objectivity to judge.

SoftVision
03-12-2011, 08:12 AM
You seem to be doing pretty well, but accuracy can be better.

The stuff on that site you linked is part of the equation, but the explanation is a bit simplistic. I never read Betty's book but from what I have heard about it, she teaches it the right way--essentially to not see what you "know" such as "that's a nose" or "that's the paw of a cat" but to to deconstruct what you see as simply abstract shapes and values and colors, and then copy them as closely as possible.

Flip the image (along with the reference) horizontally to check your mistakes is crucial. Even when not working digitally, you should do this with a mirror. You brain has left and right biases and you can't be perfectly unbiased, so your proportions will skew. This is true even for seasoned professionals--it's part of our biology. So whenever you feel like you are losing objectivity, just flip the image (and reference) horizontally and you'll see all the mistakes you couldn't see before. Do this as often as you feel like you are losing objectivity to judge.

Hey Robert,

Thanks for the reply and your kind feedback.

Flipping the image seems to be a great idea to work on my mistakes. I'm still wondering what resource/book would be ideal to understand "the whole equation" that you mentioned. I think I might give Betty Edwards' exercises a go again but after that what exactly should I be looking for in a book to help me go further? Again, if you can recommend something that you've come across or if any one you know has mentioned a book that best covers "the whole equation", please do let me know.

Lunatique
03-12-2011, 08:33 AM
Again, if you can recommend something that you've come across or if any one you know has mentioned a book that best covers "the whole equation", please do let me know.

I teach a workshop right here at CGSociety. It's the third link in my signature. The next workshop will likely happen in a month or two.

As for books, the Loomis books like Successful Drawing and Figure Drawing for All It's Worth are already legendary, so just concentrate on the learning resources you already have. Don't fall into the trap of hoarding a bunch of learning resources, but never actually concentrate on learning from them. There is no magic bullet--it takes work and practice. Be vigilant. If you can see any differences between your version and what you're trying to copy (even if it's real life such as still life objects), then keep correcting until you no longer see any noticeable differences. It takes discipline to do that. Most people give up and accept "good enough" or "kind of similar." No, you don't give up until someone actually has to scrutinize your version in order to see that it's not the same as the original. Take days to do a single image of that's what it takes at first. Be so precise that it's almost mathematically correct (or at least appears to be). After you achieve that, you will get sharper and sharper in your ability to observe shapes, distances, curvature, angles, values...etc, and you'll become faster and faster at it, until it takes you only a fraction of the time to do the same thing. This is why classical ateliers trains their students to do a bunch of plaster cast copies with just pencil or charcoal--that's what they are training--observational and analytical skill, as well as eye-to-hand coordination. These students do drawing of plaster sculptures so detailed that they look almost like photos--that's the kind of discipline it takes. After you attain technical skill, you'll find that it's far easier to execute and incorporate what you'll learn next in the foundational knowledge such as composition, perspective lighting, colors, anatomy/figure, etc, and when you develop your creative side such as creative vision, expressing emotions through your work, stylization, etc, you'll actually have the technical skill and muscle memory to execute your ideas.

LadyMedusa
03-12-2011, 12:45 PM
What really matters is what works for you. If the Loomis books don't work, try something else.
I recently got a book called "The Fantasy Illustrator's Technique Book". It doesn't tell you everything, but I like it, and what it doesn't say, you should be able to figure out by yourself. And its inspirational.

Magazines and art books containing tutorials might be just the thing for you.

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