Desperate to practice!

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  03 March 2013
Desperate to practice!

Ok, I've got a good Dell PC with plenty of RAM, I've got a Wacom tablet and a cracking 27inch monitor! Now, what do I do with them!?
I'm desperate to get back into art, after being away from it for a long time, but I want to get some tutelage and do things right instead of doodling rubbish and disheartening myself. Are there any basic exercises involving the fundamentals that I could get the ball rolling with before I start the actual paid for tuition? A book, or ten, with assignments in them, or even some online videos to watch or buy that would demonstrate beginner basics then offer suggestions of things to practice for myself?

Help me out someone, I'm pulling my hair out here...and I don't have that much left!

All the best,
  03 March 2013
One very important technical exercise every developing artist needs to get out of the way, is the ability to depict what you see accurately when required to do so. And since most people haven't developed the eye-to-hand coordination for more challenging exercises, the most basic one to attempt would simply be to copy something as accurately as you can--a drawing/painting you love, a photo, or if you aren't intimidated by working from life, then do a still life as accurately as you can of any object or group of objects. Don't try to do portraits or people right now because that's probably just going to make you feel discouraged because it's more challenging then you can handle without having honed your eye-to-hand coordination first.

When doing these exercises, try to be accurate in the shapes, values, colors, edges (sharp or blurry), and overall proportions. Copying still images is much easier than doing something from life, so try that first. If you find that you have hard time getting the proportions right, then you can use a grid system (dividing the image equally in both axes--using however many divisions you need. Don't use too many though--maybe six parts per axis is enough). Think of the grid system as the helper wheels on a bicycle for beginners. Once you have done a satisfactory image with that system, you can leave it behind and work without it. I would recommend you pick a portrait of some kind, because with faces, even if you are off by a little bit, you'll see the deviation right away, and it's not as obvious with other subjects.

Learning to draw objects in perspective is another great exercise for beginners, and there are lots of free learning resources on the web about it--just google and pick one and start working. Learn one-point, two-point, and three-point perspective--that's the meat and potato you need to learn and use often as an artist.

Anatomy/figure is another one to work on. There are also many free resources on the web for that. Start practicing drawing anatomical structure and sketching different poses to get a feel for how human beings balance themselves and offset the center of gravity in various poses. And don't just draw anatomy as if it's a bunch of cadavers--also practice drawing how people really look with a layer of fat and skin over those muscles.
  03 March 2013
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