Are you any good at quick sketches?

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  04 April 2005
Are you any good at quick sketches?

First off, I’m not sure if this should be in this section of the forum so feel free to move it if you want Mods.

I’ve recently started drawing again for the first time in about 4 years. I’m really enjoying it. I even went out and bought a great book on anatomy with some very cool pictures in it.

Thing is, I get a little frustrated though when I try and just do a quick (say 10 minutes or 15 minutes) sketch of a person…like something you’d do in a life drawing class. It always just seems to look like crap if I try and rush it like that.

When I have about 2 hours to work on a picture it will usually come out good and proportions and everything like that will be fine. But when it comes to just getting forms and shapes down on paper in a short space of time while still accurately depicting the person I think I can stand to use some practice.

Should I even be worrying at all? I mean, as I said, when I have the time I can come up with some really nice drawings. But just throwing out quick sketches never really works for me. What would be the best way to go about changing this?

I think it could be down to the fairly ‘sketchy’ drawing technique I have. In other words…I wouldn’t be the best at drawing clean straight lines, I usally would go over the same line lightly a few times until it looks better. Is it my technique that’s letting me down?

I’ve attached to drawings I’ve done. The one of the man in the suit took about 2 hours…maybe a little longer. The others have the aprox time it took to do them written on them.

The sketches I see around these forums are really good a lot of the time! How the hell do you do it?

Attached Images
File Type: jpg oldman.jpg (61.5 KB, 129 views)
File Type: jpg whyme.jpg (54.6 KB, 119 views)
File Type: jpg womanback.jpg (41.5 KB, 95 views)
  04 April 2005
Good and fast sketch is a result of many hours of practice, you just have to nail the right line and to do so, first you have to draw milions of them, better or worse, but you just have to draw them

A good exercise is when your model keeps a pose for about 10 minutes not more and changes it, or is even in constant move, like on office chair turning around, changing place etc, that's what my master do to me, sometimes it can be annoying but it help you to be fast also you don't have time to draw many lines which are often useles in quick sketch.
Don't tell me what I can't do!

Last edited by Dr. Ira Kane : 04 April 2005 at 08:52 PM.
  04 April 2005
I think the second one is really good, what's wrong with it according to you. I can see the first one's a bit flat, and the third is just undefined that's all.
modelling practice #1
  04 April 2005
fast sketchin eh?? yep takes practice,if u can't draw good slow,how do u expect to draw good fast.

if u wanna be sumthin like a 2d animator *like i wanna be* u have to learn to draw fast,or u'll miss deadlines and be fired,or if u wanna be a comic book artist,u probably will go to conventions and have people ask u to draw stuff for em,and if it takes u 6 hrs to draw one guy they won't wait around.

the drawings u posted there i pretty nice.
  04 April 2005
Your sketch are good in my opinion. And two of them did not take you much time to do. I wish i could do it too but i am an hopeless perfectionnist. I need to loosen up a little to be able to sketch quickly. Yet again, i guess i am not sketching enough each day, i guess i'll put that as a late 2005 resolution. It is a matter of practice, as they said, i totally agree. I guess actually, everything might be a matter of practice, or almost.
  04 April 2005
If you draw well slow, but not fast, then it likely means that you have a better discerning eye than you do knowledge or precision. What I mean is you can probably tell when something is wrong, and you have the patience to keep working at it until it feels right, but it's a trial and error process. When forced to draw fast, you aren't given the time luxery of fixing things, so any flaws in your drawing process are revealed, whether it's lack of true understanding of the subject, or the inability to create the line you want.

The good news is that in my opinion that patience and discerning eye is the key to being a great artist one day. Precision comes from practice, and when you have the knowledge of anatomy to be able to instantly recogize what is happening in front of you you'll be able to whip out 15-20 minutes poses with time to spare. Practice and study, and it will come easier and easier.

The only concrete advice that I'd suggest to help speed things up is to spend the first minute just looking. Identify the over all flow of the pose (pay attention to what the spine is doing, even if you can't see it from your angle). Block in the biggest forms very basicly just to get position (head, ribcage, pelvis, arms and legs... use the most basic shapes you can to describe what you see). After that define (or at least imagine) what the muscles are doing in your pose. Last of all is details. Work from the general to the specific.
  04 April 2005
Well, some nice ideas by the latter poster, but I think the one that took you 2 hours isn't the best one though. Now that I think about it, the others are done by you or someone else? Because the second and the third really seem like a painter did them. With volumes ready for painting and no blatent exagurations. And underdefined so the painter still has freedom to define his work in colour later.
modelling practice #1
  04 April 2005
The Dweller- Thanks for the great reply. I think that is actually one of the best pieces of advice that I've ever been given regarding my drawing.

I hear what you are saying about my lack of knowledge and precision. I'm on my to improving the knowledge problem because I've been studying anatomy a good bit over the last while but what is the best way to improve my drawing precision?
I know that 'practice makes perfect' and everything but will drawing a hundred pictures with a sloppy technique improve my precision or "penmanship" as Scott Robertson would say?

I'd like to get to a stage where at least 90% of the lines I lay down in a sketch are there for a reason, unlike at the moment where I just seem to be going back over lines until I'm happy.

Has anyone else ever gone from having a kind of sloppy technique like me to being more precise?
  04 April 2005
Hehe...They're 100% all done by me jmBoekestein. I'm actually fairly suprised that you think the sketches are better than the drawing I spent 2 hours on.

Just so you know, none of the drawings I have there were ever done with the intention of painting them later on.
  04 April 2005
Glad what I had to say helped in some way. I think the tendency to kind of lay down the same line over and over comes from a couple different possible reasons.

If the line is moving as you go over it over and over, then that's your eye telling you something isn't right, and you are looking for the one line that does it for you. You may not have the knowledge to know exactly why it isn't right, but you know you'll hit it if you keep trying. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. At least you can see you need to adjust it, and the willingness to keep working it until it looks right will take you far.

The other reason I've seen people do that is they don't know what to tackle next, and so they keep emphasizing the part they KNOW (or think) is right. If this seems like it might be the case then you need to stop drawing and take another long look at the model. You can never look too much, and many people will tell you that accurate drawing is actually 90% looking and 10% drawing.

Precision comes only from practice, but more importantly confidence (which comes from practice hehe). When you feel sure of what you see and what you know, you just lay the correct line down and boom, you leave it.

A good instructor who can show you what the anatomy is doing in your pose helps tremendously until you learn to see it yourself. If you have a less hands on instructer (or no instructer) then a solid reference book has to suffice. I myself really liked (George?) Bridgeman's books. He had a great way of showing these large masses, and showing how they all interlocked like a big puzzle. He really exaggerrated the shapes into blocks, making it much easier to identify what you should be seeing.
  04 April 2005
I used to run figure drawing workshops at game companies I worked for. I usually had the model start with 10 second poses, then 1 minute, 5 minute, 10 minute, and 30 minute. Sometimes we do 1 hour too.

Fast sketching is all about eye-hand coordination and training. The more you do it the better you become. Having knowledge of the underlining structure (anatomy, cloth) can help, since it'll make it clearer what you're actually looking at.
  04 April 2005
Very helpful The Dweller... I actually recognized myself in some of the things you said; makes things clearer.

Will have to pay more attention to it in the future, and, as Lunatique said, to practice more and study more than only the anatomy of the figure.
  04 April 2005
The best tip I can think of is to look for basic simplified shapes in whatever you are drawing. One problem people often have in drawing sessions is not fitting a pose to the paper very well. They might start at the head and get to the knees only to find they're at the edge of the page. A quick sketch of the skeleton (if it's a figure) made as a stick figure is helpful, then concentrate on the major focus points of hair, hands, etc. I would suggest looking for major boundaries to get your proportions right. Draw the head, the feet, where the waist is, then where is the elbow in relation to the waist, etc., but don't stop to think about it, just draw it. Don't start early with any detail or shading, and draw lightly at first; adding weight to your lines as you go.

Drawing in very short time limits will prepare you for sketching outdoors. Some of the best gesture pose drawings are essentially just a bunch of squiggly lines, but they express the action of the pose very dramatically. Most are done as connected outlines, so I often challenge myself to draw unconnected lines. The side of the face, the line of the breasts, crossing of a leg, whatever, but just look for the dark lines then bring it into focus. It takes some practice, but is more fun to interject things like this into your work.

Sometimes if there's an interesting part of a pose that I like better than the overall figure position, say just the hands or face, I'll just spend time drawing just that. You might also consider drawing with a fat brush or thick pencil to force you not to draw details.

The more you do it, the better you'll become.

  04 April 2005
I am good at quick sketches. Comicbook works helps tremedously.
" Keeping My Art Hand Strong "
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  04 April 2005
Originally Posted by Lunatique:
Fast sketching is all about eye-hand coordination and training. .


It's about knowing how to find the line of action in the's not a video game my
*Insert pretentious quote here*
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