Effective Learning Methods

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  05 May 2013
Effective Learning Methods

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to learn how to draw. Over the years I have slowly identified why I'm no good... I spend more time reading about how to draw and looking at amazing pictures than actually drawing myself. I have finally accepted that there is no magic trick that will instantly make me able to draw well.

So I have decided to go back to basics and teach myself how to draw using Mypaint and Bamboo One tablet. I am writing this because I need help in know if the methods I have decided to use to train myself how to draw are the most effective methods for the given skill and If my goals are realistic.

The goal I have set myself is one of Hand Coordination. My theory is if I cant control the pen there is no point practicing perspective or values etc.

So using blender I rendered out sheets with the basic forms at different angels (cubes, pyramids, cylinders, cones and circles).

Then In MyPaint I tried to trace them. Here is an example:

So far I have done 43 sheets of this and am not convinced there has been any improvement.

[Q1] Is it a realistic goal to be able to draw along these lines perfectly before moving on?

[Q2] Are there better methods of improving my coordination?

[Q3] Would buying a more expensive tablet help - the Bamboo One does seem a little slippy?

Thanks for taking the time to read this
  05 May 2013
I'm looking for the answers to this but i'm starting traditionally!

Last edited by jonsaunders : 05 May 2013 at 08:21 AM.
  05 May 2013
1) I don't think it's necessary to have "mastered" copying simple geometric shapes before moving on to more complex images, because the amount of motor skills required to do extremely accurate geometric shapes isn't something you can gain in such a short time, and it isn't as vital as your ability to observe and analyze the overall proportions, sizes, distances, curvature, angles, edges, etc. The coordination is something you build up slowly as you develop as an artist--don't rush it.

2) There are different ways to train/practice the basic technical skills of observation/analysis, and eye-to-hand coordination, and it's better to switch it up and rotate different ones instead of doing just one, because it can become monotonous.

you can try to copy drawings you really like. You can start with line drawings (such as from comic book illustrations), and then try copying drawings with lighting information such as rendered values, or B/W photos. After that you can try copying something in color. I recommend you copy subjects where deviations in proportions are more obvious, such as portraits and figures.

You can get started by using a grid system to be more accurate--think of it as the helper wheels on a beginner's bicycle. Once you're able to make accurate copies that way, you can stop using the grid system and try to use the more sophisticated method of comparing major landmark shapes in the image.

Once you're able to copy still images accurately, you can try to do still life drawing/paintings.

3) There really isn't that much difference. The surface isn't as important as your sense of orientation/direction of movement. The additional pressure sensitivity levels of the more expensive models also don't make any real difference. 1024 is plenty of pressure sensitivity--the older Intuos tablets had the same specs and plenty of professional artists used them just fine.

Keep in mind that these technical exercises are just the tip of the iceberg, sort of like being able to have the right stance for martial arts. After those simple basics, comes the stuff that really matters--composition, perspective, values/lighting, color theory, anatomy/figure, line quality, brushwork, stylization, aesthetic sensibility, etc.
  05 May 2013
Just the advice I was after!
  05 May 2013

Thank you for the excellent reply. I had been getting very frustrated at my lack of ability to copy these simple geometric shapes but was convinced that if I didn't have these fine motor skills I would not be able to draw.

I have just been lent the book 'Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain' so I'm planning on going through that, which will hopefully help me begin to see things.

I have also started copying some line drawing just because it was a lot more fun that tracing cubes.

As for the tablet I did have a horrible feeling it was me that was the problem.

Once again thank you!
  05 May 2013
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