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Art Lessons


GlorDamar
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I had an idea based on a post that Morrel put up awhile ago that I really liked. It showed his process for developing avatars. I know many of us have different ways of approaching our drawings and I thought it might be a cool thing for us to put up process drawings showing how we develop the artwork. For instance, I usually don't trace pictures to get poses right, I typically start with sketches to get the form and flesh it out, which results in a much different character than morrel's drawings. I'll post an example of my process later, but if anyone else wants to post theirs first, feel free.

I'd also like to encourage anyone to ask questions about inspiration, technique or anything else you might be curious about regarding the artwork in the game.

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[quote name='Chewett' post='17178' date='Sep 23 2008, 10:56 AM']have you always been good at drawing as a child? or is it something that you have picked up? if you have picked it up is there anything that really helped inprove your drawing style?[/quote]


I started young. My parents gave me a lot of lessons at the local art shop in the summers, and my friends and I all enjoyed drawing, so we'd sit around and draw ideas for video games. In that regard, working on this is kind of a dream come true for me.

Over time I improved, but I didn't really get good until high school. I kept a sketchbook that was sort of an art diary... helped me cope with all the garbage of highschool and the angst of being a kid that was smart and no good at sports ( I didn't really fill out until college, in highschool I was 6'-2" and about 165 lbs, but I gained about 25 pounds my first year in college and got in shape, so college was much better. :P ) I started working as an illustrator/cartoonist for the school newspaper and won a major Journalism Education Association award in editorial cartooning at the national convention my senior year. I took a survey drawing course my freshman year in college and learned a lot from that, especially from the figure drawing part... yes, nude models. That was strange, but VERY helpful. Then I took a pre-requisite design drawing course for the architecture school my Sophomore year, where they made you draw everything freehand. It was designed to weed out a bunch of people that thought architecture would be fun but didn't have the skill to handle it. There were 600 people in that class, 300 of them didn't bother to apply to the school, and 250 of the remaining 300 didn't get in. I later took some digital drawing and architectural sketching courses to kind of keep me practicing.

The main thing that helped me to get better was practice. Every course I took I learned a lot from the teachers and professors, but the mandatory practice was what really helped me. The other thing is drawing by observation. I can draw people from my imagination now, but it's because I have a strong background in observational drawing and anatomy (I thought I might have wanted to be a doctor at one time, but the Chemistry classes killed me). If there's something that's difficult for you to draw, the best way to do it is to get whatever it is and draw it over and over again. I wanted to learn to draw people, so I took some superhero drawing classes and read a few books and that helped me get the active posing down, the anatomy courses helped me learn about the muscle groups and the figure drawing course helped me to kind of put it all together, but a lot of what makes a drawing work is in the face and hands. I'm still bad at faces, but I spent probably a year drawing hands in different positions to try and figure out how the hand was supposed to look and that's helped a lot. I get kind of lazy now and I don't draw them as well as I could, and the other thing that's tough is getting the feet to look right. Why do you think all those old oil painting portraits of famous people had their hands inside their jackets and only showed them from the waist up?

Anyway, I may not have answered everything there, but I hope that helps. Please ask me to clarify or expand on anything you want to know.

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I have noticed one of the hardest things (for me as well) for people to get right is body porportions. Also, I cannot ever get my pictures to seem to have movement.

I would like a person doing something. It dosn't have to be much more specific than that.

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well i think it would be good to start with basics about drawing, from which detail to start, how to draw lines in right way, etc, and as penny mentioned body proportions in 2d effect and in 3d effects (like perrobotilos armored dog avatar, it gives feel like it is 3d, i cant explain good enough, but i think you got the point) after that you could get to normal things, like process of drawing step by step, etc i dont know what to suggest :) i am newb

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Okay, the first thing I'm going to post is a couple of widely available studies of proportion to give some idea of how the sizes of various body parts relate to one another.

The first is by a French architect that called himself Le Corbusier. His greatest contributions were his innovative use of reinforced concrete and his mathematically distillation of architecture. He liked to design based on something he called the Modulor. Here are a couple of his diagrams for the Modulor system. I'm pretty sure the numbers are in CM, but the actual height is irrelevant, the ratios are what matter here... they're based on the fibbonacci sequence (1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55...) which is a best fit mathematical expression of a thing called the golden section or golden rectangle. I'll post a drawing of that too.

[img]http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Aegean/4217/MODULAR_ns4.gif[/img]

[img]http://blog.lib.umn.edu/buch0234/architecture/aa_modulor.jpg[/img]

[img]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/44/Golden-Section.png[/img]

The next one is familiar to everyone. It's Leonardo Da Vinci's drawing of the Vitruvian man, a drawing of a human figure based on proportions set forth by a greek thinker named Vitruvius in one of the few texts that survived the Dark Ages and was found during the Renaissance.

[img]http://jbsecure.com/images/Journals/J-102-0013_vitruvian_man_500.jpg[/img]

And here's some modern studies of proportion. I'm not sure of the sources for these, but I've seen various forms before. They're based on a proportion of body parts to the head, which is useful for figure drawing because it keeps things proportional despite the size of the figure. You can also adjust the proportions based on the type of character you want to draw. For example, in Marvel comics, they use different proportions for characters like "The Thing and Kingpin" than they do for ones like "Mr Fantastic or Cyclops or the other typically proportioned characters. The Thing is only about 6 heads tall, so it widens his body shape out. I have a book with that proportion illustrated or at least written about. I'll scan that later and post it too.

[img]http://www.finalredemption.com/content/tutorials/human01/human01.gif[/img]

[img]http://www.animatedbuzz.com/tutorials/images/proportion04.jpg[/img]

This is one in German showing proportion from birth to adulthood. Interesting.

[img]http://isculpt.org/media/blogs/all/bammes-proportions.jpg[/img]

Anyway, that might be a bit of information overload, but it should help.

More to come.




also, here's a link to the wikipedia page on human proportion

[url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_proportions"]Wikipedia - Human Proportions[/url]

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Hehehe...I learned drawing from excessive exposure to anime and manga, so proportions meant very little to me. xD

But all that proportion stuff is very helpful. Probably more effective than me staring at passerby when I draw. I'll need some time to maul it over and make some sense of it, though. >>;

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Yeah, anime and manga still follow a lot of the same proportional rules, but they play it a bit more fast and loose. That said, this info will only help you so far as you practice with it, and also, sketching people out in the world, even though it might make them uncomfortable if they notice you, is a good way to learn. It's especially a good way to see how clothing falls on people, which can be a real pain to try to get right.

Anyway, here are a few of my figure studies. I'll flesh them out to show more how that works, but here's several images for you to look at.

[attachment=470:figure_study.jpg]

[attachment=471:figure_study_a.jpg]

[attachment=472:figure_study_b.jpg]

[attachment=473:figure_study_c.jpg]

Does all of that make sense?

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Nope, not at all! :)

On the other hand, it is not a science. Most of the "rules" of drawing do not apply when you get down to it and start drawing, however they are not to be ignored, the rules ARE important. But not to work as they dictate, but to notice in which way they are wrong.
No one has ideal proportions. They are ideal, not realistic. It is up to the artist to decipher in which way a person defies the rules. Is he long-limbed, short, tall or portly.
A would-be draftsman needs to think about many things while he's drawing; proportion, format, color value, perspective, shape of the underlying object (plastic anatomy), angles, light sources (shadows), and sex (necessary byproduct of being a man, we cant turn it off :) ). Not many of these things are scientific. You use your gut feeling for the most part, but the gut feeling is only good when it is confronted with a specific problem. Drawing well is a test of concentration and intelligence and most of all constant practice! When you think you got it all mastered and stop thinking about one(or more) of those things, you duck up and there's something missing in the picture.
It is hard to completely concentrate on a task, especially one that takes as long as drawing. The brain gets tired and you make mistakes. The only thing you can do is improve its endurance by PRACTICE :)


But if you are a casual draftsman and you want to relax by drawing, like I do with my fantasy work, stop worrying and let your mind flow.... let your hand, not your mind do the work and enjoy the messed up forms you make :D

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[quote name='DiKra' post='17333' date='Sep 25 2008, 02:07 PM']Nope, not at all! :)

On the other hand, it is not a science. Most of the "rules" of drawing do not apply when you get down to it and start drawing, however they are not to be ignored, the rules ARE important. But not to work as they dictate, but to notice in which way they are wrong.
No one has ideal proportions. They are ideal, not realistic. It is up to the artist to decipher in which way a person defies the rules. Is he long-limbed, short, tall or portly.
A would-be draftsman needs to think about many things while he's drawing; proportion, format, color value, perspective, shape of the underlying object (plastic anatomy), angles, light sources (shadows), and sex (necessary byproduct of being a man, we cant turn it off :) ). Not many of these things are scientific. You use your gut feeling for the most part, but the gut feeling is only good when it is confronted with a specific problem. Drawing well is a test of concentration and intelligence and most of all constant practice! When you think you got it all mastered and stop thinking about one(or more) of those things, you duck up and there's something missing in the picture.
It is hard to completely concentrate on a task, especially one that takes as long as drawing. The brain gets tired and you make mistakes. The only thing you can do is improve its endurance by PRACTICE :)


But if you are a casual draftsman and you want to relax by drawing, like I do with my fantasy work, stop worrying and let your mind flow.... let your hand, not your mind do the work and enjoy the messed up forms you make :D[/quote]

Dikra's right. The rules are really only guidelines to help you out. I should probably point out that I drew those figures first, then drew the lines in to illustrate the proportions. The rules are for checking your work and as a kind of guide you should have in your head when you begin working.

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i'm not shure if this has been said or not. But if you want to learn to draw. You should have at least 3 books to draw in.

1) draw bals and elypses...the whole book, and if its wrong, point out why and do it again. After you filled the whole book with round balls instead of ...other shapes and elypses that look round instead of beans.
U'l have the hang of it :D Also good if u want to become a smiley master B)

2) everything is square! book 2...you probably learned about perspective in shool, time to use it. For a long time! take shapes u like for example, houses, trees, flowers...and go cube on them. Define them realy simpel and draw that, in correct perspective. Again, after a whole book...u'l be a cube expert. :D

3) who's ya stick figur?? If a stickfigur looks dull, its wrong to even try that pose. You should have this book with you at all times. Draw stickfigures like a madman! Every interesting pose u see, a stance by some good looking lady and the hulking of a bumm...all as interesting.
This book wil be used to shreds...becouse later on you'l always reflect on it for poses.
again: make it CORECT! if its wrong, point it out, and try again. :lol:

-pencils, start simpel HB to start with (dont know numbers) but try mechanikal, so u wont need an eraser.
And other reasons ...wich i'l come back to later. :))

- erasers...great for if someone else scribled in your book. But mistakes are a way of learning and recognizing the flaws. So dont erase to much, only if u'd hate yourself so much for it you'd like to hit yourself with a spiked pole. :o

-shade, by the time you can see every cube mistake in the movie "TRON" you'd wana shade. Take your elyps and cube books and go for it! You'l destroy half of your cubes u tought where good. And learn a LOT from it.

without these basics, you wont be able to corectly point out a muscle, or a foot, anything! i'l post some example's later on.

And befor anyone asks : yes, i did this to...and yes i stil start twitching if i think about it.

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Amorte is correct. Those circles and squares are the first things they teach at art schools.
Here is a link with all the information you need... great (free) Andrew Loomis books for learning how to draw.
The're old books but I like them a lot.

[url="http://www.houseoftutorials.net/Zfleamarket/index.php?album=Loomis-Books"]Loomis books[/url]
Or you can download them all six at once on this page:
[url="http://www.placidchaos.com/AM/index.php?title=andrew_loomis&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1"]6 Loomis books in pdf [/url]

I use tracing to work fast but correct. It's just being lazy :P Just the outlines, so that I have a basic form to start from. "fast" is still 2 hours or more for an avatar. It also keeps the drawing rather fresh, without helplines.
I made a lightbox , a rectangular wooden box with a lightbulb inside, one side of the box is plexiglass. if you make one, don't let the lightbulb touch the wood!, it gets very hot. I then place a printout from a composition i made in photoshop on the lightbox , and over that a sheet of paper to draw on. Tracing is not as easy as it sounds, it's very difficult to keep the drawing spontanious, usually you can see right away when someone used this method. Vermeer and other famous painters used a camera obscura to trace. Michelangelo punctured little wholes in his drawings to tranfer them on the ceiling of the chapel.
Try to use as little lines as possible, or even just some points. keep them very light so they don't show in the finished work.
This depends on the way you like to work of course, there is a beauty and feeling in spontanious sketches you can't get this way. But if you want a more photorealistic effect this is a good way. both ways are very different from each other.
A sketch is more like the MD drawings, rather loose lines, and visible pencil strokes.
Of course, if you really want to learn how to draw, you should draw from life as often as you can.


Here are some of my sketches ...(no tracing)
[attachment=509:face_red_800.jpg][attachment=510:naakt1.jpg]
[attachment=511:Study01.jpg][attachment=512:portretman_01.jpg]
[attachment=516:1996nude.jpg][attachment=515:Charcoal.jpg]

Here are some more realistic ones... (using tracing to get accurate measurements, contour, height, width, key points..)
This one took about 50 hours..(father in law, the reason his eyes are not the same height is because of a stroke.)
I have a question about this one: It's a grayscale image, but on my new flatscreen monitor I see [b][u]yellows [/u][/b]as well, in the hair and shirt. do any of you see that as well? These new monitors are really annoying to work with graphics...
Original size : 21 x 30 cm
[attachment=513:rafael.jpg]
As you can see on this close up, the detail isn't really that high... It's putting lots of layers of shading that took most of the time. first layers with a hard pencil (light in color) then softer and more black pencils. So instead of putting more or less pressure on my pencil, I just use different hardnes of pencil to get tone.
[attachment=517:eye.jpg]
A commissioned portrait of "Ducky" (rather strange name for a dog) I'm not a big fan of poedles... :D
[attachment=514:DuckyVoo..._10_2006.gif]

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I ain't a good drawer....everytime I try to draw someone I alway mess up the nose of the person.....and the face will look like a pig's face or something.....that's why I always draw a hood on the person's head so that his face can't be seen...lol

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[quote name='Morrel' post='18016' date='Oct 7 2008, 08:41 AM']I use tracing to work fast but correct. It's just being lazy :P Just the outlines, so that I have a basic form to start from. "fast" is still 2 hours or more for an avatar. It also keeps the drawing rather fresh, without helplines.
I made a lightbox , a rectangular wooden box with a lightbulb inside, one side of the box is plexiglass. if you make one, don't let the lightbulb touch the wood!, it gets very hot. I then place a printout from a composition i made in photoshop on the lightbox , and over that a sheet of paper to draw on. Tracing is not as easy as it sounds, it's very difficult to keep the drawing spontanious, usually you can see right away when someone used this method. Vermeer and other famous painters used a camera obscura to trace. Michelangelo punctured little wholes in his drawings to tranfer them on the ceiling of the chapel.
Try to use as little lines as possible, or even just some points. keep them very light so they don't show in the finished work.
This depends on the way you like to work of course, there is a beauty and feeling in spontanious sketches you can't get this way. But if you want a more photorealistic effect this is a good way. both ways are very different from each other.
A sketch is more like the MD drawings, rather loose lines, and visible pencil strokes.
Of course, if you really want to learn how to draw, you should draw from life as often as you can.[/quote]

I really couldn't have said it any better. Morrel seems to have had some formal training. One tip on a light box... it's a little more expensive, but if you use flourescent lights instead of an incandescent bulb it won't get nearly so hot. Not only does that decrease the risk of setting your box on fire, but it's easier to work with because the heat of the bulb rising up won't make you feel all hot & sweaty!

I trace my scenes a lot and do a lot of overlay drawing. Someone remind me and I'll post some of that work. I'm not at home right now so i don't have that stuff to post. It provides a much cleaner drawing and especially helps with perspective if you either model the scene in a modeling program or if you lay out your perspective and rough out the drawing beforehand and then trace over it to get a more finished looking scene. If I can find some of it I'll scan in some of my work from school and you'll see some of the difference.


[quote name='Morrel' post='18016' date='Oct 7 2008, 08:41 AM']Here are some more realistic ones... (using tracing to get accurate measurements, contour, height, width, key points..)
This one took about 50 hours..

As you can see on this close up, the detail isn't really that high... It's putting lots of layers of shading that took most of the time. first layers with a hard pencil (light in color) then softer and more black pencils. So instead of putting more or less pressure on my pencil, I just use different hardnes of pencil to get tone.[/quote]

I use a mechanical pencil for the most part. You can get the different leads in packages so you can change them out or have multiple pencil tubes to fill with different leads. Mostly I use a HB, which is pretty much your standard hardness for most pencils, but you can get a whole range.

Here's the scale


9H 8H 7H 6H 5H 4H 3H 2H H F HB B 2B 3B 4B 5B 6B 7B 8B 9B
Hardest → Medium → Softest

[img]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/fa/PencilGradingChart.png[/img]

You can also buy standard wood pencils if you don't want your lineweight so controlled. Mechanical Pencils typically range in diameter from .3mm to .9mm, but a wood pencil wears down and the weight changes as it does. If I want a pencil that changes weight I typically use a woodless pencil. It's a stick of graphite wrapped in a plastic sheath to keep your hand clean and for labelling. They don't break as easily as the lead (actually graphite, but lead is the common name) in a wood pencil.

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its getting pro in here... ;)

Note on the pencil softnes...starting from B4 to B9 u'l notice your pencil almost fading before your eye's. The softer it is...the more u'l need to sharpen or reload.

I trace to...but not much. i usualy have one of those wooden dol's to pose. Or one of my friends. The faster i want to work, the more i trace.

But wat's verry important : KNOW THE 3D VERSION!
knowing what it is that u'r drawing makes u'r lines "true" sort of speak, it wil translate more then just a border on your paper. Drawing muscles for example is one of those things where its vital.

pencilstrokes : its not common discusted and mostly taken for granted. In other words...the most important of all. This wil give your art "life". There are manny ways to make a line, be it curved or straight.
-thicknes or presure: a line starting with a lot of pressure and ending with it should be kept for finishing contrast in a drawing, not the sculpting. you can however use it in sculpting to give a short mark of shade to it for later reference.
-begin or end fade : by drawing the line behind an object for example just above your paper u get a feel to it. and landing even les then a mm in front of where it should start wil give it that "true" feeling. This is usualy learned in drawing perspective cones.
-hacks and slashes : the sculpting beginning! this is just fast ' and ( lines that give u point of reference. The beginning of a muscle, the crossing of a line, the position of the eye...just examples.

I wil post examples bout this real soon...scanner is broken now. Because this wil probably sound like jiberish

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  • 3 weeks later...

I actually find this quite helpful..
I am an artist myself and I've been drawing since I was little.. The thing I sometimes have problems with is hands, and perspective. I've been practicing with perspective though, I'm still not that good at drawing figures in complicated poses. I'd love to get better though, theres always room for improvement. ^_^

My specialty usually is fantasy-themed creatures/faces...also, I'm quite good at drawing odd looking trees. *shrug*

I'll attach a couple of my drawings.

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  • 1 month later...

i use trace tools as well as other things for fast work also

when i was in school i would always draw freehand and learned to use tracing tools for speed in college where i found i enjoy graphics but they are not for me degree or not i went back to doing most all of my work by hand then ill scan it into a comp for some touch ups

i always use references for anything i can something to look at other than the thoughts in my head helps to keep perspective right and allows for a more believable creature when the piece is done


i would like to see how the art school will play out here in the game have even thought about some lessons i would give if i take the time to set it up


anyway that's my 2c

Kragel
The Metal Mage

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