Trying to improve at digital drawing

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by TheWood 2 years ago.

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    Hi everyone :)

    I decided to stop being bad at digital drawing, so I make daily sketches. I'm staying in what I'm good at for the moment, it means horses, canines, birds and maybe later some other four-legs buddies. My problem is, my sketches are not that bad, but when I want to do something cleaner, it just doesn't work. Everything is stiff. I take any advices :)

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    These look great. I would highly recommend the book Force: Dynamic Life Drawing. It'll teach you the gesture and movement you want heading into more finished pieces.


    I am not 100% certain what exactly makes you feel, that these images look stiff. The poses look quite natural to me, and for example that dog's hairs on the first page looks super fluid. Maybe the perspective could vary a bit more, or you could raise the bar by going from multiple individual figures per page towards a complete composition?

    And then, there is off course the big ole problem of digital drawing, that lines all start out very uniform in their line weight and dynamic. I know, that there are ways to become more playful there, but don't ask me for details, as I haven't much practical experience with that medium. I heard about varying brushes?

    Your decision of "staying in what I'm good at for the moment" is a bit questionable for practice. I also enjoy it if all the sketches in a series come out 100% as intended, but (I am fairly certain of this) the dirty secret is, unless you are seriously unhappy with at least 50% of them, you are probably putting the bar too low. Steady results are good for cashing in or publishing, but bad for artistic growth. And at your level of experience you will pretty much have to decide yourself how to raise the stakes. More details, less details, natural rendering or stylized shapes, selecting another artists style and working towards emulating it, becoming wilder and more experimental,...?


    Nice job on your clean-up animal drawings, Charlix, very good on making them very solid, slow and careful.

    Yet there's one smaller issue or problem. Most of the drawings I see, from the canines to your birds are a bit to stiffer and bland to my sensibilities. Would you please like to loosen up your clean-ups with 151 minutes of 30 second quick sketches of your clean-up scribbles of your animals to help you push their guts even more? (151 x 60/30/6 days, 9060/30/6, 302/6=roughly 50 doodles a day)

    Oh, and while you're at it, would you like to check out this link here, they can help you?? Maintaining Guts 1 and some extra two links.

    Maintaining Guts Part 2 Maintaining Guts Part 3 (all from John K. Stuff (

    The reasons why you could do this bit of advice is because of two things: First of all, it's to aid and assist you on making your drawings less stiff, and more fluider, and liveliier. And second, to get you more in-depth on retaining the rough and gutsy intergity in the rough concept sketch to your finished product.

    Cheers, good luck, and my hat's off to you.


    These look great! Very dynamic animal poses and great sketch lines


    It seems to me that the shadows are missing. Perhaps because they tend to have one sharp edge and one feathered edge. Feathering may be difficult in digital drawing. Anyway, that's what it looks like to me.


    I had similar stuggles and am getting better with practice, you will get more comfortable. SOmeone sent me manga brushes and some of those are more comfortable to draw with digitally. I envy your ability with animals. I see alot of talent and seems like youtr working hard to capture the accuracy of the poses. It seems your linework shows you're a bit unsure of establishing and sketching several lines to 'find' where the pose is and have some bold clear linework - which makes the drawing less energized (I am the same way! so i'm practicing anatomy and gestures and am trying to keep getting better too!:P). Also, can i suggest getting familiar with mixer brushes for blending your shadows? It helped me ALOT. I think shading looks best on my stuff when I use bigger brush sizes then clean up where it goes beyond my lines (usually i do this on a layer underneath) And as far as getting comfortable digitally, i actually stopped letting myself do paper sketching for 6 months lol and only digital. Now if i get uncomfortable, sometimes i'll paper sketch to warm up then go back to digital. Hope that helps!


    I agree your sketches are accurate. Have you tried live work. Or maybe video where live is not possible.

    This might give you the freedom you desire.


    From what im seeing , you seem to have a solid grasp on the animals you mentioned . As for your problem , it seems that you are simply too comfortable making sketches and dont make complete work as often . The solution to that is to simply make more completed pieces , even if it wont look as good as you think at the beginning. At one point , you will get comfortable at going forward with detailing your sketches and the clean stuff will feel more ''confident'' . Since there will be less hesitation , it wont be as stiff . Dont forget to critique ur completed piece and remember the mistakes as to not redo them.

    Though if the problem are the details themselves, you should simply have a longer session on your animal.

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