Can I be a great 3D modeller/sculptor if I heavily dislike drawing?

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  01 January 2018
Can I be a great 3D modeller/sculptor if I heavily dislike drawing?

Hi, my name is Sheldon and I'm trying to find out if I can be a great 3D artist without having to draw? And if I can't, what are the main aspects of drawing I need to be a great 3d artist?

The reason why I dislike drawing is that it essentially feels soul-sucking. It's slow, tedious and ultimately feels like I'm not making any progress even if I am. Ironically, I love 3D modelling or perhaps the idea of 3d modelling because of all the all the things you can do with it. it's a lot faster, I can tolerate working long periods of time on models, It feels like I'm getting immediate results for the amount of effort I put in and I can eventually bring models to life via 3d printing.

Down below is my latest work which was done last year in college and was my first time using Zbrush. Prior to this, I had only messed around in Sculptris and Maya. I've only ever made 4 models including this 1. To improve my 3d modelling I was hoping I could just model other people's 2d art and somehow get better that way but is that viable?

  01 January 2018

     This is a very fundamental question perhaps lot of people ask. Let me help you a little on this.

The drawing has a different connection with CGI. Drawing help to develop your observation skills like anything. And that's the point what people missed. It will help you to convert the "Imagination" of your mind to the reality , Or rather I should say make something can be shown to others . From there its even easier to create it in 3D.

 Lot of senior people will say you "Cannot" be an 3D artist if you dont know sketching or drawing. That half truth. The truth is you may start very good ... very promising..... but when you will hit your limitation , you will not have idea to break your boundary.

Like you will create GOOD model , but will miss lot of details which might make it a GREAT model. because You wont have the "sight" of details, and trust me you have to depend on someone who is senior or who might have that.

So if you want to make GREAT model .... start drawing ....or else your above models are very "Promising" ....but not "GREAT" and don't worry about time ... Time is an illusion..... it doesn't exist.

and to start with drawing ....start copying.... copy everything you see ..... remember No artist in this world have ever "created" anything .... they only mix and match something from here and there and show something different which no one has ever seen before.

Good Luck.
  01 January 2018
You do NOT need to be good at drawing to be a 3D modeler.

Some people CANNOT think in 3D very well. They lack the "genetic switch" that lets them visualize 3D things easily, especially detailed 3D things. So they feel the NEED to make lots of 2D sketches of everything down to the last detail before they CAN actually create a good 3D model.

These people who cannot think in 3D very well will ALWAYS tell you that 2D sketching is a MUST if you want to be good at 3D.

This is complete and utter nonsense. This is people who are uncomfortable working in 3 Dimensional Space from the start ASSUMING that everybody else has the same limitation. That simply isn't the case.

If you are comfortable working in 3D right away, stay in 3D.

Sketching in 2D is great if you can do it. Nice for quickly communicating ideas to others on paper and so forth.

But there is nothing wrong with working in 3D from start to finish. This is the 21st Century, not the 19th or 20th Century where 2D drawings were the beginning of everything.

Never assume that because someone tells you "The proper workflow for 3D modeling is X, then Y, then Z" that that is actually the best way to do it.

That workflow is THAT particular person's preference. You may have a completely different brain that lets you stay in 3D space from beginning to end without any kind of disadvantage being incurred.

If so, use that brain for what it does best. Use it in 3D. That is what CG 3D is all about - mastering 3D space as best as possible, not the art of 2D sketching.
  01 January 2018
You can be a great 3D artist without developing your drawing skills. The deal is, it would certainly help to improve your skills if you can also draw well, but it won't limit you in any way if you don't. There is nothing preventing you from becoming very good at modeling if you don't learn how to draw.
Doing 3D is a different process than drawing.
The Z-Axis
  01 January 2018
This topic has come up a few times in the past, here's a sampler of some discussions on the topic that are much more complete than what you'll probably get in this thread:

Traditional drawing is the fastest way to develop a strong foundational sense of form/space etc, and mesh modeling and drawing have a huge amount of skill overlap. The reason why drawing is a pretty good way of improving base skills is that it's much easier to see where you're misunderstanding form in a drawing because it'll look obviously wrong, mesh modeling has a tendency to flatter a lack of spatial understanding. There's a pretty good reason why job listings want applicants with a "strong foundation in the traditional arts". 

I don't want to suggest that it's impossible to get good in 3D without drawing skills, I'm sure it can be done, but there are reasons why people so often recommend drawing as a fast track to improvement. 

All that aside, if you're really serious about sculpting, then eventually things WILL get "slow, tedious, soul sucking" etc. even if you never draw again. I won't tell you that you have to draw to get good, but you will have to put up with a lot of tedium (with or without a pencil) if you want to get good at anything. 

Last edited by unaccompanieddminor : 01 January 2018 at 06:34 PM.
  01 January 2018
You can definitely be a great 3d modeler without being good at drawing. There are plenty of examples out there.

I'm not sure if you can be a great 3d modeler if you hate drawing. Once you get to point where you're pushing models to a professional level, you're going to find the work at least as slow and tedious as drawing, and probably much more so. Patience is a vital trait for an artist.

Last edited by Meloncov : 01 January 2018 at 08:16 PM.
  01 January 2018
Great drawers sketch. And sketches are fast  I remember doing 30 second sketches as exercises.
The entire point was getting the form and gesture down ASAP.

Not saying you have to draw-just that some of the most important aspects of drawing-form and gesture don't have to be tedious and 'soul sucking'
and far faster than anything CGI...
  01 January 2018
To get philosophical a moment, "art" is the mastery of a medium. Any medium. It's a path, not a destination.

If your medium is polygons (3D models), then you can of course master that medium without say becoming a great singer or a great portrait-painter. If modeling is your thing, then dive into it wholesale and do the best you can. Learn. Watch vids, read up on your tools, and push yourself.

Now if you want to be a great modeler, texture artist, and renderer then you're going to run into situations where you need to draw, but it doesn't have to be with a pencil and paper. You can draw in Maya, Zbrush, or Photoshop if you prefer! Don't limit yourself.

Being an artist means being a student, until you die. It's a progression, not a finalization.
Commodore 64 @ 1MHz
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"Like stone we battle the wind... Beat down and strangle the rains..."
  01 January 2018
To be a "great" modeller/sculptor you need to a a good artist. So can you be a good artist without learning how to draw?

Sure. But you will need to have a good understanding of all the same foundations (composition, anatomy, design, lighting etc...). And once you understand those foundations you will probably have a different attitude towards drawing because it will make much more sense. There are always outliers, but I have not worked with a single 3d artist who I would consider "great"  that could not translate that skill and knowledge into another medium, whether that be drawing, painting, digital painting, or traditional sculpting. They may not be masters, but there knowledge and understanding is evident in their 2d work.

Judging from the work you posted, you need to focus on general art foundations, there is no way around it. Specifically, you seem to like character/creature work, which is the most traditionally based area of modeling and sculpting. You need to train your eye to understand why something looks good, or why it does not, and the only way to get there is through understanding  general artistic principles.  Take an anatomy course for example, read up on design theory.

So to answer your question, no you don't need to draw in order to become a modeler or digital sculptor, but you will need the same foundational knowledge as someone with a 2d background in order to progress to a high level.
  01 January 2018
I don't think you need to be great at drawing to be a generally good artist and produce professional general work.

Good character modeling though I think benefits a lot from drawing as a way to explore organic, expressive art.

Modeling hard surface type objects though is more of a basic mechanic. You don't need to understand how to mode expression and feeling so much as the basic structure of an object.
  01 January 2018
"You heavily dislike drawing" or you're bad at it and can't be bothered to learn? I think people tend to hate something they are bad at because society puts so much pressure on people to be perfect. If you never had the oppurtunities as a child, you're going to be terrible at everything until you put the time in. Polygon modelling is very diifferent to drawing. In some respects it is easier, in others, much more difficult. Lots of modellers have to trace over their reference material. I mean it saves time, but it is devoid of artistic ability.
  01 January 2018
im one of those without drawing skills... i do 3d near 20 years... and now i need to jump to the next level... more practice, more sculpting, more modeling, more anatomy studies... and to make that all possible i learn drawing... and i wish i had never stoped to draw... drawing is key to learn faster...
  01 January 2018
Being able to draw is surely an helpful skill, as well also being able to sculpt in real life, with clay or other materials, because in that way, you get to better know how shapes are in real life. Also, i would recommend to study anatomy. You can also use 3d sculpting  as  a tool to study together with drawing and sculpting with clay. 
Nemoid | Illustrator | 3D artist
.::Creating for you::.
  01 January 2018
Do you have to draw to make a 3d model, No. Does it help, yes.
The point of learning how to draw isn't about making a pretty picture.
It teaches you how to look at the subject, break it down to basic shapes, see the forms that make up the subject and proportions.
Also how to judge lighting, values, perspective etc.
Drawing isn't just random lines on paper. There is a methodology to making a good drawing just like making a 3d model.
Remember your not learning how to draw but learning how to see and think.

A few recommended books, 
Lessons in Classical Drawing
Classical drawing Atelier
both by  Juliette Aristides
  01 January 2018
If you asked NASA to design a happy and grumpy-looking rockets for a movie vs asking Disney to do it, you can probably imagine what types of designs each would come up with.

It's the act of attaching a feeling to an object or animal that cannot exist in real life that really separates the high-end character artists from the rest.

I think really expressive character modeling and animation like a caricature in motion is something drawing specifically helps with by getting familiar with the shapes that create expression.
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