I Could Use Some Advice

Become a member of the CGSociety

Connect, Share, and Learn with our Large Growing CG Art Community. It's Free!

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 01 January 2013   #1
I Could Use Some Advice

This is going to be a bit of a long read but i would appreciate all the advice i could get. Ok so i am still very much a beginner at drawing (both traditionally and digitally) and after reading so many of the tips within this forum i'm wondering if anyone could tell me if i'm practicing the "right way" (as mentioned in some of the threads here) so I'm going to go through a step by step process of a couple of things i've drawn.

One of the things i practiced drawing were skulls. I first gathered about ten reference photos and a few sketches done by other artists. I then decided to use this image as my main reference:

I decided wanted to draw it in Painter rather than with pencil and paper. My main goal was to go through the motions of drawing a skull - to find out all the details and where to put them, the correct proportions etc. Copying the image exactly wasn't that important to me. I even changed some things on purpose. Here is my digital drawing:

I picked up on a few things while drawing it that would simplify the process of drawing a skull in the future. For example: When i drew the teeth on that image i drew the outline of each tooth one by one and i realized in the future it would be much easier and quicker to draw parallel lines with the spacing inbetween each line increasing until i got to the middle of the mouth kind of like this:

and then from there finish the rest of the outlines on the teeth.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg Skull-18.jpg (69.9 KB, 185 views)
File Type: jpg Skull-14.jpg (41.0 KB, 180 views)
File Type: jpg Skull-17.jpg (30.3 KB, 181 views)
Old 01 January 2013   #2

A short while after i had finished my digital drawing i decided to draw another skull (similar to the digital one) but this time trying to draw as much of it from memory as possible (without looking at any reference photo) only looking at the reference image when it was necessary. I also decided to change even more about the skull to try to learn more. This is my sketch (i don't have a scanner so i had to take a photo of it, sorry about the glare on the left eye socket):

A couple things I changed were the cheak bones and i made the eye sockets look angry. As i said i tried to draw as much of it from memory as i could and when i was almost done i realized the teeth were way off. they didn't have an overbite and the bottom teeth were too big and there should have been more in the front. i also noticed the left eye socket is bigger then the right.

So given all that im back to my main question: Would you say i'm practicing the "right way"? i just want to know if i'm on the right track to getting better.

EDIT: please excuse the pencil strokes on my sketch because i didn't have the proper tools to make is smooth
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Skull-15.jpg (52.0 KB, 179 views)
Old 01 January 2013   #3
When learning and practicing, you have to give a lot of thought to the true purpose of the exercise, and how it should benefit your overall artistic growth, so you know exactly what to focus on in your practices.

The reason for learning the structure and proportions of a skull, is so you can understand the underlying structure of the human head, which benefits you when you depict human heads. So when learning about the skull, you must also relate it to normal faces and heads, so you can see exactly how the bone structure affects how a human face/head looks, and you need to reference a wide range of different faces and heads, with different age groups (baby all the way to very old people), ethnicity, sex, attractive to ugly, thin to fat, and in various different lighting situations.

Memorizing details about the skull that don't even show up once covered up by fat and muscles and skin, is nearly useless. If you need to actually depict a skull in a piece of artwork, just reference skulls. Only memorize what's actually useful to majority of the types of images you would actually create as an artist.
Old 01 January 2013   #4
oh ok. i see what you mean. thanks for the response and the tips! i appreciate it. and my purpose for drawing the skulls was because i like dark art so i figured that's where i'd start. just to get to know the features of skulls so i can draw them much better in the future. i did hear somewhere that you should learn how to draw skulls to help you when drawing faces but they didn't go any deeper then that so i'm glad you pointed out that certain details of the skull would be almost be pointless to memorize when drawing a face. that probably just cleared up some confusion i would've had down the road lol
Old 02 February 2013   #5
No detail is pointless to memorize. Memorize everything. Draw that skull until you know every detail. Then you can better recreate it from memory.
Student and Freelance Artist.

Digital Davidson

Art is a rational response to insanity.
Old 02 February 2013   #6
Originally Posted by PDavidson0911: No detail is pointless to memorize. Memorize everything. Draw that skull until you know every detail. Then you can better recreate it from memory.

I think some things you absolutely must memorize, such as the basic standard proportions of the figure and facial features, or the main muscles that's visible to the eye even with a layer of fat and skin. But something like the skull, you only need to know the general structure for proportions instead of the micro details, because how often is the average artist going to be depicting an actual skull in his entire artistic career? Some artists never have to depict skulls even once in his entire lifetime as an artist. For esoteric and rare subject matters, I think memorizing isn't important, because the minute details can be gained from using proper references.
Old 02 February 2013   #7
Of course. But it never hurts to try and memorize as much as possible. When I am out and about I find myself looking at unique surface, taking pictures for reference of couse, and feeling the textures of them. Reference is amazing, and you should always have it. But sometimes you can get amazing ideas just from something that you might have memorized that jumps out at you. I know every artist is different. Just wanted to share my thoughts.

Edit: You are the award winner. I am not.
Student and Freelance Artist.

Digital Davidson

Art is a rational response to insanity.
Old 05 May 2013   #8
alright so i figured i'll post an update. i started reading Andrew Loomis' book 'Fun With A Pencil' and while it provided some insight, it started to get boring. i felt that it was more for the casual artist who just likes to sketch and doodle. so i moved onto the book 'Successful Drawing' by Andrew Loomis and this one has really opened my eyes and makes me think about things much differently then i ever did before. the book is really amazing. right now im working on perspective (which is also helping with proportion) using horizon and vanishing points. i'd post images of what i'm learning but there's not much to it because it's just boxes, lines, and planes. i'm even starting to learn beyond what the book is teaching. while doing the exercises in the book i've noticed that the vertical corner edges of buildings and houses will always be perpendicular to the horizon. and most of the time they will be perfect straight up and down. the only exception to that would be if your whole drawing was purposely angled/tilted but the side edges of the buildings would still be perpendicular to the horizon. is this correct?
Old 05 May 2013   #9
after thinking about more, the side edges of buildings wouldn't be perfectly perpendicular to the horizon if the image was at an obscure angle because the horizon is always straight across correct?
Old 05 May 2013   #10
The angle doesn't necessarily have to be "obscure"--it simply needs to not be straight on.

It's all about what angle you choose for the "virtual camera" in your scene--the one we, the viewer, are looking through. If it's tilting up, such as standing in the middle of a city and looking up at an angle--all the buildings would converge to a vanishing point up high. If you look down at an angle, such as standing on a tall building and looking down, all the buildings would converge to a vanishing point below. If you simply look in front of you straight, then all the buildings would be perpendicular to the horizon.
Old 05 May 2013   #11
ah, i see. thanks. this stuff gets so confusing sometimes. i do have another question, is the grid method a "must" for learning? i ask because personally, i can't stand doing it. it can get really boring and i find the grid distracting. for some reason, my eyes like seeing the whole picture that im trying to draw rather then small sections.
Old 05 May 2013   #12
Are you asking about the grid system that beginners often use when trying to achieve accurate proportions when copying an image?

You can set the grid to low opacity so it's very faint but still visible.

The grid isn't "necessary"--it's just a helpful guide for beginners who lack the ability to do accurate visual comparisons using only the notable landmarks in the image. If you can do accurate copies without it, then you don't need it. But if your copies always end up looking wrong even though you tried hard to be accurate (including using the horizontal flip trick to check your proportions to combat the brain bias), then you do need to use the grid system to help you get over the initial hump of learning to observe and analyze proportions. After you've done a few accurate copies using the grid system, you can try without it and see how you do.
Old 05 May 2013   #13
alright. yeah i have a problem with proportions when im not using a grid. i was hoping there was an alternative method to help with proportions. i'll start using the grid and really give it my all. thanks for all your advice your giving me. it's much appreciated
Old 05 May 2013   #14
i started again with the grid method to help me achieve better accuracy and i have a couple questions. 1) i want to draw things using a grid that will be benificial for me to know in the future when i eventually get good. stuff that i'll be drawing a lot of. should i draw landscapes, animals, foliage/plants/vegetation, architecture etc.? i basically wanna kill 2 birds with one stone here. learn accuracy while learning things i'll be drawing a lot of in the future once i go pro. and 2) right now i'd prefer to work digitally. i know my tablet and all my software like photoshop and painter very well so that's not an issue. i prefer to do it digitally because it's quicker and much easier to get rid of mistakes. plus i do not have a tilted desk to help me draw traditionally. and my question is if i were to practice mostly digitally, and develope some good skils, would those skills transfer over to traditional style using pencil and paper? for example: since my tablet is flat on my desk and i look at the screen when im drawing and not at the tablet and i ended up becoming quite good at getting proportions correct, would that skill transfer over to pencil and paper without giving me any trouble? i know you said in another thread that in some aspects it's almost better to start digitally as long as you know the programs and know how to use a tablet but im just wondering if i would suffer any set backs or if i would have to re learn anything if i were to transfer my knowledge from digital to traditional
Old 05 May 2013   #15
1) Sure, no reason why you can't.
2) Drawing skill is universal across all mediums. There are idiosyncrasies to how each medium handles, but the underlying motor skills are more or less very similar. It's like once you learned to ride a bicycle or drive a car, you can ride/drive all other variants. Even with variants that are very unique, once you learn the idiosyncrasies, the basic motor skills are still very similar. So no, you won't suffer any setbacks.
Thread Closed share thread

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Society of Digital Artists

Powered by vBulletin
Copyright 2000 - 2006,
Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Minimize Ads
Forum Jump

All times are GMT. The time now is 04:48 PM.

Powered by vBulletin
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.