About Kim

Hi, I'm Kim. I built these drawing tools to keep myself in practice after I graduated from college. Over time, they've become more popular than I had ever imagined. During the day, I'm a web developer, and create websites for businesses & non-profits.

A drawing challenge for 2017

We’re coming up on a new year, and you may be thinking about writing some new year’s resolutions for yourself. This is a perfect time to set some goals for furthering your artistic practice as well!

Remember, the best goals are specific, measurable, achievable and realistic. Check out this article for more on setting good goals!

Here’s some challenges we recommend you try out in 2017:

  1. Start every day for a year with 5 minutes of 30 second gesture drawings, or 4 minutes of 120 second drawings. Post the results to your blog, your Facebook, or even our forums.
  2. Do a 100 drawings challenge, where you draw 100 of the thing that gives you the most trouble – hands, mouths, hips, the male (or female) figure, foreshortened limbs, wombats. Whatever you most avoid drawing, draw more of it!
  3. Sit down with your calendar and block out time to do 3 30 minute drawing classes per week, with the tool of your choice. If 3 isn’t realistic for your life, try 2 or even 1 — then guard that time and make sure your practice is a priority.
  4. If you’ve been too nervous to ask for critique on your work, commit to asking for feedback at least once a month, and using that feedback to guide your practice. Here’s our guide on how to benefit from critique, and here’s a link to our critique forums.
  5. Start every day for a month with the pencil value mastery exercise.
  6. Pencil a monthly themed drawing challenge into your schedule. Here’s some to consider:
    • Inktober (Daily drawing in ink in October)
    • NaNoManGo (draw 30 pages of Manga in 30 days, June or November)
    • NaNoDrawMo (Draw 30 pieces in a month, November)
    • Know of another challenge that should be here? Let us know in the comments!

Are you going to try a new year’s drawing challenge? Let us know in the comments, or give us a full progress report on the forums.

What happens if 30 seconds isn’t enough?

Reconsider what “enough” means.

Many artists get caught up in this idea that they need to produce a “sketch” in each 30 second window of time, and this becomes an impossible goal if in your mind a “sketch” is actually a semi-complete picture in pencil.

Relax; you are doing just fine. Almost no one can actually get a “complete” drawing done in 30 seconds. That’s actually the point — by giving yourself such a short window of time, you are forced to make cut-throat decisions about priorities, and stick to them. It demands that you prevent yourself from getting sucked into the “interesting” or “fun” details that leap out at you when you look at an image, and instead, absorb and capture the direction and energy of the complete figure as quickly as possible.

If all you get in your 30 seconds is a single line that defines the flow of energy/the weight of the pose, that is a success. If you get a few “bubbles” down that define where the hips and torso are in relation to one another, that’s perfect. You are doing gesture drawing like the masters.

Before you begin your gesture drawing practice, take a deep breath. Remind yourself: You do not need to have something that is recognizable to another person at the end of those 30 seconds. You DO need to try and make a clear decision about what you see in that pose AS A WHOLE, and make one or more marks on your paper that record that decision. These are not drawings you’re going to put on the wall, these are exercises in perception that you do to “warm up” and put yourself in the right state of mind before you attempt those longer poses.

There is no mistake more common for new artists than to get stuck in the “details” trap, to leap immediately to what is “fun” or “interesting” or what they think will make them “better” in the eyes of others, diving into shading or spending minutes or hours painstakingly rendering a particularly pretty set of eyes or hands only to discover when they’re done that that beautiful detail is out of proportion with the rest of the body, or at a bizarre angle that disrupts the flow of the pose, or a hundred other mistakes that come from seeing the individual parts instead of the flow of the whole body. It takes a more seasoned eye to be able to resist working in detail and instead start with much more generality. Gesture drawing practice can help get you there.

In class mode in our tools, the 30 second and 1 second series of poses that serve as a warmup, no matter what length of class you pick, are there to help you approach those longer poses with the same eye for seeing the whole first, for putting details in the context of a larger line and flow.

My advice if you are worried that your 30 second drawings don’t look like anything: Stop worrying. Start putting a single line down that captures the direction of the spine. If you have time, bubble in the placement/angle of the hips, ribcage and head. If you have more time, add some lines for arms and legs. Don’t have time? No problem. You’re learning more than you realize.

Welcome to the all new site

You made it! We’re so glad to have you on our new website. We used to be www.artists.pixelovely.com

As you can see, we’ve relaunched with a brand new site, a brand new name, and a completely rewritten code base for our drawing tools.

Here’s some of the new drawing tool features you can now enjoy:

  • A redesigned, cleaner user interface
  • The new tools are more mobile friendly so you can use them more effectively from your phone or tablet.
  • You can choose a custom length of time for each photo to be shown to you, whether you’d like to do a super fast 5 second gesture line practice or 15 minute sketches.
  • On screen countdown timer so you can see at a glance how much longer you have to wrap up sketching each pose
  • Clicking or tapping the screen will hide the toolbar, so you can enjoy full screen drawing bliss. Just click or tap again to bring it back!
  • During class mode, you’ll be informed how many more poses are left in each duration, before the timing will change on you. (For example “4 more poses of this length,” might show in front of the timer)
  • All “class mode” times have been updated. Previously, the timing that you picked was a little approximate — break time wasn’t taken into account very well, for example. So the number of various pose durations has been tweaked to be more exact, and suggested lengths (complete with timers!) for each break time have been implemented so you know how long you have to do hand stretches before it’s time to get under way again if you want to stay on schedule. In longer classes that actually include a lunch break, a mini warm up has been added after the lunch break to help you get back into the swing of things.
  • A confirmation window has been added when quitting a class early or stopping a standard gesture drawing session, to prevent accidentally losing your place.

This new code-base will make many more wonderful features much more possible for the future, like the ability to construct a custom class, or perhaps even using your own collection of photos.

If you run into technical issues, you can contact us directly or seek help on our new support and suggestions forum. Here’s our list of currently known issues we’re working on.

Speaking of the forums! Our forums have also been heavily redesigned and many of the old problems people experiencing when posting have been fixed, so we hope to see activity surge upward in our forums.

As ever, this site is still made possible by your generous donations. Thank you to everyone who has supported us in the past! We could not have accomplished this massive update without you.

Please note: We have removed accounts that have never left a comment on one of our posts or participated on the forums. You can still use the tools without an account as before.

One week until relaunch!

We are one week away from our big relaunch with a new name, new look, and totally rebuilt drawing practice tools. I could hardly be more excited!

Please be aware that the forums and new account registrations will close on the 22nd in preparation for the move; they’ll reopen on the 24th, after we’ve made the switch. The drawing tools themselves will remain available as normal.

If you don’t have an account, don’t worry! An account is not necessary in order to use the drawing tools, only to write forum posts.

A sneak peek at the new site

As you’ve probably heard by now, this site will be relaunching under the name Line Of Action on November 24th. With the new name comes an all new look and totally rebuilt drawing tools that incorporate many of the features you’ve been hoping for for years.

Last week, we took a look at what’s in store for the drawing tools themselves. This week, I wanted to offer a peek at the new look of the site.

Much of the redesign inspiration came from our beautiful new logo:

Line of Action logo

While the layout remains very similar to what you’re used to, the overall aesthetic is cleaner, more modern, and easier to read.

Special attention has been paid to making it easier to find and update information about your own account — while logged in, links to your account and profile information will be visible both in the side bar, and in a new menu in the top navigation.

The forums especially have a totally new look. No more tiny, cramped type (click image for full size)–

forumview

And a greater emphasis has been placed on featuring recent forum posts throughout the rest of the site, to make sure you get the feedback you’re looking for faster.

We’ve also added a new forum called Support & Suggestions, which should help to keep the Shop Talk forum clear for friendly chit chat. Plus, it will be easier for us to immediately see and address any problems you’re experiencing or ideas that you have.

The entire site will now (finally) fit on mobile. We’ve added some quick icons at the top that will let you quickly navigate to the drawing tools and to the forum without even having to click to open the full site menu:

loa-mobile

 

I’m so excited to be able to share the new site with you. Just 14 days left until relaunch!

A sneak peek at the new drawing tools

I know that you’re dying to know more about the new drawing tools that are scheduled for release on November 24th along with the move to the new site, line-of-action.com. Here’s a taste of what they’ll have at launch:

  • Redesigned, cleaner user interface
  • The new tools are more mobile friendly so you can use them more effectively from your phone or tablet.
  • You can choose a custom length of time for each photo to be shown to you, whether you’d like to do a super fast 5 second gesture line practice or 15 minute sketches.
  • On screen countdown timer so you can see at a glance how much longer you have to wrap up sketching each pose
  • Clicking or tapping the screen will hide the toolbar, so you can enjoy full screen drawing bliss. Just click or tap again to bring it back!
  • During class mode, you’ll be informed how many more poses are left in each duration, before the timing will change on you. (For example “4 more poses of this length,” might show in front of the timer)
  • All “class mode” times have been updated. Previously, the timing that you picked was a little approximate — break time wasn’t taken into account very well, for example. So the number of various pose durations has been tweaked to be more exact, and suggested lengths (complete with timers!) for each break time have been implemented so you know how long you have to do hand stretches before it’s time to get under way again if you want to stay on schedule. In longer classes that actually include a lunch break, a mini warm up has been added after the lunch break to help you get back into the swing of things.
  • A confirmation window has been added when quitting a class early or stopping a standard gesture drawing session, to prevent accidentally losing your place.

The new code-base that we have will make many more wonderful features much more possible for the future, like the ability to construct a custom class, or perhaps even using your own collection of photos.

In standard mode (click for full size):standardmode

In class mode, with the toolbar hidden (click for full size):

classmode

A look at one of the retooled class sessions:

classlength

An all new site, entirely rebuilt tools

Dear gesture drawing friends,

You’ve been waiting oh so patiently for updates, and I’m so glad to be able to announce one of the biggest updates in the history of these drawing tools is on the horizon.

As many of you know, back when I originally put these tools together, I had just made them for my own practice without realizing anyone else would ever use them, so I neglected to give them a name. But the time has long since come and gone that it made sense to just continue referring to the site as “my gesture drawing tools.” Many of you have taken to referring to them as pixelovely because of the domain name, when in actuality, that’s the name I use for my freelance web development business.

On November 24th, this site will re-launch under the name Line of Action. It will get its own domain, its own brand, and a much better defined plan for updates, improvements, and photo shoots. But it won’t just be a fresh coat of paint and some new documents; when we relaunch, it will be with a whole new set of drawing tools.

That’s right, the gesture drawing tools have been completely rebuilt from the ground up. We did this partially to make it more flexible for future uses, but also to bring you the features you’ve wanted for ages: An on-screen timer for how much longer you have to wrap up the pose you’re drawing before the next one appears. The ability to set a custom time interval. The ability to hide the interface buttons and take your photos full screen. Just a better all around drawing experience!

In the coming weeks I’ll have some more updates for you about what to expect from this transition. I don’t know about you, but I can hardly wait!