Any critique for a beginner?

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Polyvios Animations 4 years ago.

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    Hello !

    Been doing these daily for a while now.
    Even though there's been definitely aha-moments and improvements, right now I feel a bit stuck. Am I doing this properly? :thinking: Any critique would be more than appreciated.

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    I'll try out the class mode today! Didn't touch it yet. Thanks mate.


    Some drawings from the class sessions:


    You‘re getting in quite a lot of detail in your 25m sketches, and the 5 and 10 minute sketches are nowhere close to that, instead they‘re closer to a 1 minute sketch. 10 minutes is a really long time. Promise. You can do more than you‘ve been doing.

    What I suspect you‘re doing is getting a 30s to 1m gesture and then kind of adding contour lines over top of it. This isn‘t wrong. But having that big jump in detail says that your method is not efficient.

    So there‘s a couple things you can try.

    One is to double down on contour if that‘s more comfortable for you. Do 30s and 1m poses as true blind contours, and push yourself for detail (so one line, no looking while you draw). For longer poses, keep going with continuous line but don‘t necessarily go for blind contour. And *keep* going with continuous line, even for 5 and 10 minutes, even if it feels hard. And it probably will given the style of how you shade. But that‘s ok, hard is part of how we learn.

    Another option is to rethink how you‘re tackling gesture. In a gesture drawing we draw what moves. It‘s possible to do gesture drawings of a still life, because the *light* moves. Same thing for drawing a human in a reclining/sleeping pose, with the bonus of you move when you breathe. Those little muscle movements for breathing count. So gesture starts with the biggest movement and gradually works down to the smallest movements. So after the big gestures, you start to break a person down into smaller muscle gestures and the contour shapes grow out of the muscle shapes.

    A third option is switch it up, use a big fat brush for as much of the drawing as you can, and only go to a thin brush when you need to. Pressure sensitive helps but isn‘t required. It will feel deeply weird, because you probably think of drawing as being different. But I promise you can draw with a big fat thing too and it lets you make different kinds of marks.

    A fourth option is pick a background color and a drawing color that are different. Maybe draw in blue on a sort of kraft paper color. Or purple on yellow. Green is fun. Switch it up, see what happens and how your class goes differently in color.

    Also, just cut those 25m drawings out. Do a 30m class instead of an hour class. Take away that 25m cookie and see how your approach changes.

    For all of these, it‘s important to go through after a class and mark up your work for the best drawings in each time slot. Seriously. The parts of the class where you‘re doing a bunch of drawings in a set time interval are the parts where you‘ve got the most chance to learn. But you can‘t learn if you don‘t look at what you‘ve done and say “yes this is good”. Positive reinforcement is crucial to the learning process.

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    Damn, that's a proper comment. Thank you!

    I agree with the most of what you said. I think that I have somewhat decent game-plan when it comes to quick gesture drawings (30-60s). But when I go up to longer times I feel very lost. Often times it's like "Okay so I finished the big idea of the what... guess I'll do details?" So the longer poses end up being like gesture drawings but with some extra contours on top of them. Often I go over the same contours multiple times which doesn't really add anything new to the drawing. Perhaps that's one bad habit to break for starters.

    I don't have much anatomy knowledge either so there's not much to add after gesture, except just copying from the reference. But then again I don't think I'm ready to tackle anatomy yet because there's proportional issues and probably many other bigger issues that should be solved before zooming in the to the details right? Been working on proportion lately.

    I'm not a big fan of my shading either. I think the 10 minute ones look better than the 25 minute ones just because the shading makes them look muddy.

    By "continuous line" do you mean that I should try keep the lines smooth and consistent instead of starting to break them and go more into the "chicken-scratch" and make one line out of many lines? If that is what you mean then yes definitely something to work on. Theres a notable difference between the shorter and longer poses. With shorter poses I tend to go more flowy lines drawn from my shoulder but once there's a lot more time - and because of that also detail - then I tend to go all out with scratchy lines. Everything drawn from wrist, hairy ugly lines and probably half-way of this process lost the gesture aswell so the longer poses stiffen quite a bit. It would be super nice to be able to keep the flowiness and smoothness all the way from gesture/big picture stage to the longer finished pose.

    Also yes definitely should pick the good drawings from each sessions. That's a no-brainer. I've just been stupid :D

    Thanks for your help!


    Continuous line is what it sounds like. You draw as much as you can without lifting your pen (or stylus). is an overview of the idea that I particularly like. Marc tends to do landscape/environment stuff, not figures but it’s something you can easily do with figures and he’s got example pieces elsewhere on his blog with figures. I usually link this series tho because it’s set up and formatted with actual drawing exercises and explanations.

    A blind contour is you go a step farther and you don’t look at your paper/tablet while you draw. If you’re more comfortable with contour than gesture it’s an excellent thing to do for short poses. Pushing a blind contour in past 2 minutes is a real challenge. A good one, but a challenge.

    And as far as gesture, you don’t have to know much anatomy. That’s kind of why we do this? Instead of learning the anatomy as some separate thing, you’re looking at someone and asking yourself “what moves?” And then you draw it. It looks like the porn purge on YouTube nuked most of the Croquis Cafe vids, so is the best I’ve got right now for expanding past the first line of action. The one I would usually link is still AWOL, so I guess we wait until they get the rest of that series re-uploaded. The tutorial here and then the blog series here on gesture drawing is still really good mind. But for pushing harder on gesture I really like the Croquis Cafe vids. from Alphonso Dunn is on the long side (I uh, have the attention span of a gnat) but is covering the right kind of stuff.

    If you’re new at drawing (or new at trying to get better), a 10-30m drawing done continuous line vs one done with gesture might look pretty similar to you. You can get to the same kind of place with both approaches. One isn’t better than the other. There’s other approaches you can use too, tho most are hard to use for 30s or 15s drawings.

    Basically, think of class time as a warm up or rehearsal time. It’s not meant to make you great in any one session. It’s a space to play. A place to experiment. A place to try out every stupid idea you come across.

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    Some updates:

    Trying out new brushes really loosened me up in a good way. The drawings seem to become more lively if I don't stress over every line too much. I'll try your "continuous line" method more seriously in next drawings. Kinda tried it here and there but didn't quite get how to make it work in a good way. Even though the longer poses still don't come out as finished as I would like to, the gesture is the #1 thing here that I'm trying to focus on. So with that in mind I like how this is progressing.

    About your links... just watched Alphonso's video today and it was great. He did a good job of summarizing what gesture drawing is about. Been using Croquis Cafe for these past days actually and yep... it's definitely better/easier to draw from live models than drawing from just static pictures.

    Reading Michael Mattesi's Force book at the moment (Dynamic Life Drawing).


    I looked at your 30 secs, lau, and I see some pretty unnatural stick figure lines on some poses. I’m sorry. But as for your 45 second sketches, they all look and feel natural, and all don’t be natural. Did you just draw them with your shoulder and not your wrist?

    Here’s a tip, After your 45 sec drawings, why don’t you just do some more 30 s sketches with your whole shoulder, please?

    Thank you so much.

    Polyvios Animations.


    Yep, pretty much drawing everything with shoulder. Could you elaborate a bit what you mean by "unnatural stick figure lines"?


    Glad you asked Laulauuuuu. And by unnatural stick figure lines, I mean stiff, un-flowing lines, mathematical lines.

    Thank you.

    Polyvios Animations.


    Upon looking at the 30 sec sketches again, you are continuously improving on your gesture sketches and quick sketches. Thanks, Lau. Thanks for putting your work on Imgur, and I think you’ve got what it takes.


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