Beginner Critique

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Snowrobin 4 years ago.

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    Hi!! I appreciate any critique and direction. I'm a beginner trying to start with gesture drawings. I've started with two minutes and sometimes that doesn't even seem like enough time for me. Any hlep would be appreciated because I feel kind of stuck. Thanks!

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    I think those look great, but I can tell right away that you are giving yourself too much time to think and refine. You want to feel real loose and easy in your work afterwards. The prime goal is to capture the gesture, not to make a drawing. I think you should try 30 second intervals even if it means you only end up with stick figures at first. My second, far less important, suggestion would be to use a wider less precise instrument, like a piece of willow charcoal (on the appropriate paper). (if you use willow charcoal on Canson "Mi-Teintes" paper then you can wipe it out with a soft paper towel and use the same piece of paper over and over again, it also allows you the opportunity to make highlights if you wipe it with piece of cotton cloth or use a kneadable eraser) Or use a permanent type of medium, like pen or brush pen, that forces you to just ignore your mistakes and keep working.

    Other than those, practical things would be to work at arms length with the piece upright at eye level (ie use an easel or some other means to prop up you work securely) (it also may be beneficial to stand because it helps keep you loose) but this may take more of an outlay than you'd be willing to do at the beginning.

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    Thank you for the feedback and suggestions! Doing shorter intervals seems kind of intimidating but I think I can try it with the stick figures! I do tend to erase a lot so using a pen is a great idea! Thanks again!


    Hey Snowrobin - try checking out our interactive tutorial for a sense of what you "should" be accomplishing in a 30 second interval (or less!)

    Setting your expectations correctly and knowing what it is that you're trying to learn through those exercises should help a lot. :)

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    Thank you!! I think my stick figures came out a bit stiff at first but I think this tutorial will help a lot in future exercises. Thanks so much again for pointing this out!


    Your proportion is good, and that is tough to master. It seems like your line work lacks some confidence, though, because the lines are short and sketchy. I’d recommend trying to use longer, fluid lines for the initial gesture (nothing more complicated than an S curve), then build on top of that. You may also want to try experimenting with drawing with the side of your pencil/stylus to lay down initial lines that are less defined, then switch to holding your pencil upright half way through to lay in the more defined features. Really good start!

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    Thank you Ai! I definitely have to work on my lines. It’s almost like it might get worst before it gets better for me hehe. I thank you again for the tips especially about holding the pencil!


    One thing I noticed with your drawings is that they focus too much on the contours rather than the form and gesture. It's very important to make sure you get the feeling of the figure and construct your drawing on that rather than gluing big chunks in a curve. A great place to start is with 30 second quick sketches. Don't worry about capturing everything, focus on the gesture and the overall feeling of the figure. Get the big picture rather than every individual detail. When you do longer sketches, you can spend extra time analyzing and filling in more information. Do a mix of longer and shorter sketches; this wil help you think big and fast, but also analytical and detailed. When you do longer sketches, make sure you are considering the subject in 3D. You can look at what is closer/farther, facing towards/away, and what the simplified geometric volumes are. Edges can be helpful, but don't sacrifice the form. Best of luck, and I hope you are having fun!


    Thank you Paul! I definely need to work on perspective and considering the subject in 3D. I've been trying to learn some anatomy so hopefully that will help me on my journey! I tried to do some 30 second and 2 minute gesture drawings with a china marker so I wouldn't have any option to erase. As well as try to use longer lines but I do think I need to work on capturing the gesture than the form. I recently got back to practicing so thanks to all of you that commented with your helpful suggestions!


    Some one minute practice gestures. Trying to keep in mind having confident lines, S curves. and capturing more gesture with less details. Still needs work but I look forward to taking everyone's advice into consideration going forward!

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