View Full Version : Learning to Sketch

04 April 2005, 02:40 AM

I've been on CGTalk for about...a month now I think. I absolutely love the sketch forum, but I have a severe problem with "sketching".

Normally, when I paint a picture over a long period of time, the shapes and such come out fairly good. The shading looks fine and everything. But when it comes to sketching, I lose the shapes and everything.

Are there any tips about sketching that you could possibly lend me, or quick exercises? I'd really appreciate help on this! Thanks!

04 April 2005, 02:50 AM
try to draw something in a time constraint, a referenced object. try it again in a less time than you achieved, try it a third, but this time without the object. then when you master a sketch of the object in less than 1 hr(which is fairly long time to sketch).

After that, try to sketch a human figure, from a magazine(the 2d constraint keeps you focused). then try the same piece of sketch without the reference. then try to sketch basic poses(side or front), within 20 mins, light shadowing.

and practice a lot, it really helps.

if you check out my M&S thread, there's an example of a roman contraposto sketch, I do them to excercise... I hope I was of a help...

04 April 2005, 02:51 AM
Buy sketchbook
always carry it around with you
fill every square inch of every page with drawings from observation
Work on the whole drawing at once. That is, define your composition (if applicable) then block in all the forms before you start moving in on details.
You should be looking at your subject more than your page.
Practice your perspective (1,2,3 point) until it is completely internalised and you dont have to think about it.

Read drawing on the right side of the brain.


04 April 2005, 07:50 PM
I've sketched for most of my life on an on and off basis. It's only in the last 10 years that I've done anything with painting (I'm 35 now) and I got my first Wacom about 9 months ago. I feel confident (enough) about my sketching and I'm okay with painting but I find it totally frustrating switching from one to the other. To me, they're total opposites.

Sketching (pencil) is generally concerned with outlines. You define a shape by drawing around it. Shading is a major pain -- using lines to fill an area is tough unless you use a loose pattern or a lot of lines. In painting, you're blocking out and filling shapes with color. This holds true for shadow as well as highlight. The thing that sketch and painting have in common is seeing and trying to translate that vision into a 2D format. But the techniques are vastly different.

I'm kind of rambling now, but why are you interested in sketching? And I assume that you mean pencil or charcoal sketching rather than just speed painting.

04 April 2005, 08:33 PM
I think sketching is to describe geometrical shapes and masses by laying down lines that hit the shapes... I would suggest, if you like coffee, to just sit down at a local coffee shop and draw people around you. Either people sitting down, drinking coffee, conversing, walking, carrying something, etc. And try do do it as fast as you can... (under 5 minutes)

And look to put in people's personalities in your drawings. the way their posture is, what they are doing... are they happy, sad, frustrated...

Most importantly, look for the line of action... a main line describing the direction of the body that can flow through the whole pose.

Umm... yeah!

And just draw everything all the time.

04 April 2005, 08:44 PM
To be able to quickly jot down ideas you have to have a good understanding of how the things in your image work, what they look like and what the shapes really are. For humans, anatomy knowledge is a must. Life drawing helps immensely, it makes the lessons of anatomy books concrete. For all things, living or not, it's largely a matter of having in your head a good library of what things look like in real life. Pay attention to your surroundings, look at buildings, cars, people. You'll end up staring, but that can't be helped...

If your sketches lack structure, and the shapes are a bit so-so, not dynamic and convincing but rather sloppy and "tired", it's probably because you don't quite know just how what you're drawing should look. The way shapes overlap gives objects rhythm: how the deltoid covers the upper part of the bicep, how the ribcage curves behind the pectoral muscles, how a car's shapes flow over and against each other. If you draw things around you and think about it, you'll start to notice which details are important and which are not. When that happens, your sketching will start to look much better.

(I don't mean to come off as thinking I'm some master here. I'm just some kid in school, trying to write as clearly as I could made this all come across as a bit condescending. Sorry about that, I hope you can see the point I'm trying to make anyway.)

04 April 2005, 01:15 PM all are giving great advice here, but actually, I already know how to sketch with a pencil. I was talking more along the lines of speed painting on the computer. Remember I mentioned the Daily Sketch Group in my first post up there. I'm having trouble finding forms sketching with colors in photoshop. That's what I was asking about. :)

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