Forum posts by Aunt Herbert

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    Die Pastellfarben geben einen sehr angenehmen Ton, auch die Linienführung ist sehr klar. Die Proportionen deiner Zeichnung sind allerdings sehr surreal.

    Wenn du das zu ändern wünscht und lernen willst natürliche Proportionen zu verwenden, dann wären die beiden klassischen Varianten entweder Reily Rhythmen zu lernen, d.h. vorgegebene Proportionen für den menschlichen Körper zu erlernen, oder die andere Variante zu lernen den Körper aus seinen Massen heraus zu konstruieren, und diese dann mehr und mehr deinem wachsenden Verständnis von Anatomie anzupassen, so wie sie Stan Prokopinski auf vermittelt.


    I like where you are going. Some advice about the use of this masses, especially in the 1 minute practices. You draw the masses, and in the next step, you draw the outline of the body around them. The advantage is, it becomes clearer what you do for critiquing, as the auxiliary drawing and the final result is easy to distinguish, the disadvantage is, you don't fully utilize those masses to achieve an optimal result, and in the end, you don't draw to be easily critiqued, but to stun the viewer with your results.

    Those masses of the torso that you draw ultimately represent the ribcage with the shoulders and the pelvis. I would advice looking up a bit how those bone structures actually look like. "anatomy" "ribcage" "pelvis" should give you plenty of results. To put it into my own words: The ribcage is a flattened egg, with the underside cut off in an arc. The top point of this egg is where the neck meets the shoulders. The shoulder joints are to the left and the right of this point.

    The pelvis is a bit complicated to put into words, some describe it as a "bucket". Unfortunately the butt cheeks also determine a lot how the actual hip appears, and as big muscles, they can vary between persons and poses. The most important part for the underdrawing is to get a grasp, where the hip joints actually are, as they determine how the legs connect to the torso.

    The part of the spine between pelvis and ribcage isn't very long, and there is a natural beginner's tendency to "overstretch" it. Occassionally feel your own torso bones with your hands while drawing, to get a reminder how small the gap between pelvis and ribcage actually is.

    Now, if you manage to start forming your "masses" closer to the actual bone structure they depict, you can still easily fit that into a 1 minute sketch. And, unless you draw a particular weighty or muscular person or body part, the outline of the figure isn't so much "around" these structures, it is "made" from the bone structures, (plus the muscle, fat and skin that covers them.)

    And I would keep the mental focus of your practice still on the 1 minute sketches. The longer drawings are good to build up a bit of endurance and experiment a bit, but the key skill you have to build is still getting really comfy with a convincing basic structure, and the decisions that make or break it have to be simple and familiar enough to put them down under a minute.

    Edit: A word on problems with proportions. I think there are two basic truths to approach those. One: All human bodies (or faces) are to an extent similar, if you want to save a lot of energy, concentration and time while drawing, just hardcore drill those similarities into your muscle memory. Some people do that more on practice and repetition alone, some find it more helpful to look up methods of people, who have defined and simplified those similarities. For the body, Reilly has developed a system to easily memorize those proportions, search terms would be "Reilly rhythms", for the head Mr. Loomis is probably the most used go-to guy. Problem with those methods: They focus on stylized portrayals. If you draw from reference and want to very strictly stick to Reilly or Loomis you will sometimes be thrown off, just by how dissimilar humans can actually be. And when drawing from imagination, strictly sticking to that method can lead to all your stuff starting to look a bit same-ish.

    But the other truth is, troubles with proportions (with humans or any other subject) are a problem with your "meassuring" method. Most people when thinking about meassuring in drawing have an image of someone holding a pencil in front of him, with one eye closed. But the most basic problem of meassuring while drawing isn't meassuring more exactly, but meassuring often enough. Meassuring just means comparing points with each other. On the reference, and on your draft. Is point a directly above or below point b, is it directly to the right or the left, or a bit off, and how much. How long is the distance between point a and b compared with the distance between point c and d? If you feel like you really messed up a draft and have to start all over, the reason usually isn't that you slightly misjudged, say, the length of the arm compared to the width of the shoulder, but that you wholly concentrated on the arm and ignored the width of the shoulder completely while doing so. And the remedy to that is to learn to break your focus on the part you are drawing for a moment, compare it with "all the important" other parts, and then switch back into focus.

    How do you learn which are "the important parts"? Mostly by cursing and having to restart the g*****n drawing. How do you learn to meassure often enough? Mostly by cursing.... you get the picture.

    Also starting with big forms before adding details really helps. It just cuts down the amount of necessary measurements you have to pay attention to at once by a lot. Sooooometimes, you can go the other way. If you have to meassure a really long distance and are uncertain about it, adding in an extra detail to separate it into several shorter distances can help. Don't overdo that, though, some of beginner's typical chicken-scratching lines come from a fear of judging distances.


    I guess rechecking the basics of anatomy is never a waste of time, but what I really mean is: You check for proportions while drawing anyways, so there will be a natural growth just by practicing.

    If you come to a point, where you feel dissatisfied with your style, you can switch it up, either by varying your tools and means, or by looking into special techniques and methods. But that pretty much would have to be an artistic decision following your very own taste. For now, there are no obvious problems with your sketches, so there can't be obvious advice from anyone else. The burden of coming up with problems is all yours, Mr./Mrs. Artist. :D

    What you maybe could do is critiquing other artists. Looking at some "beginner" stuff, reflecting on what you would have done differently, and trying to put it into words, can give you a new point of view on your own skills and techniques. And if you see something which gives you the feeling: "Maaan, I wish I could do that", then there is some inspiration for further development right there.


    My feedback: I am really impressed. Very reduced, yet narrative lines. Your figures look stylized and elegant, but very lifelike and dynamic as well. I could hide behind claiming that "my style" is different than yours, but the truth is, I would like to be able to consistently do what you do, and would have a hard time to consistently mimick your results.

    What author/mentor/tutor/method you would say helped you the most, and do you have a rough estimate on how many hours you dedicated to them?


    You must have been really good those years ago, or you didn't forget much. You are a bit rusty with some proportions, and your lines could be a bit smoother, but I don't see a specific mistake that jumps out to me. I would say, just get more practice in. And, actually the advantage of those short sketches is, they allow for a lot of repetition to train your ole muscles up to speed again. Those extra 10-20 secs won't change much, when you are back in the flow.


    First of all, your hands are really clean and neat. Way better than your heads and poses.

    Looking at your poses, I think the problem starts with your underdrawings. You draw one circle-ish form, about head sized or a tiny touch bigger at the point where the neck meets the torso to represent the ribcage, than a loooong spine, then another tiny form that is more square-ish to represent the hip. Then you draw a body over it following your old habits.

    That is not how a torso works, and that is not how an underdrawing works. Ribcage and hip almost completely determine the shape of a torso. Touch your sides, feel the distance between your lowest rib and the upper bone of your hip. Unless you are in a reeeally awkward overstretched position, you have a hard time fitting an entire hand between them.

    I highly recommend "Figure Drawing Fundamentals" course, where I learned a lot, but from my memory one of the first lessons is "the bean". Draw an egg-like shape that represents the entirety of the upper torso, draw a circle, that represents the entirety of the hip, then join them like a sock, into which you had put two spheres. It resembles a literal bean very much. Try to make them look 3-dimensional like two real spheres, that are closely connected. Look at the sides, that connect them, often one side is pinched in, while the other is stretched out.

    Don't draw anything else, until you are really used to it, instead just start the next draft for practice.

    With your heads, you kinda try to use the Loomis method, but you don't really do. You start with a sphere and draw a face over it. Loomis has this whole procedure: Start with a sphere, find the browline from eyebrows to the tip of the ears, draw a center line, determine cutouts at the side of the head, etcetera, etcetera.

    I know, I struggled with finding those cut-outs, too, but they actually are important, as they help determine the height of the nose and the chinline, things that you are wildly guessing about. hairline to browline is 1/3 of the face, browline to tip of the nose is 1/3, tip of the nose to chin is 1/3. Chinline goes up to the ear, which is in the lower back quarter of the cut-outs for the sides of the head.

    Maybe read up on the Loomis method. Mr. Loomis original book can be found as a free pdf on the net, and there is at least a dozen youtube tutorials teaching the Loomis method step by step.

    Bit of a warning, Loomis heads are idealized, when drawing from reference you will find, that natural heads don't always follow his proportions 100%, but understanding his method still gives a good starting point.

    Oh, and don't worry about quickdrawing while practicing Loomis. Following all this steps will take its time, don't hurry. Stop the timer or switch back when the reference changes. But really stick to drawing the foundational structure, don't spend time on embellishments before you are really comfortable with finding the size and position of all the features of the face from every angle.


    Most of your drawings look just fine, and it took me a while to find something to substantially critique. There is occassionally a proportion or length slightly off, but those are the minor mistakes that just happen, when drawing quickly. They don't seem systematical, and will reduce over time with more experience.

    Finding the weakest part of your drawings, my eyes were drawn towards joints. You depict limbs mostly by indicating the outline curvature of the muscles, and the joints are just the recessions, where those curves happen to meet. If you drew a central axis through your limbs, those "meeting points" of the curve in your draft would often be symmetrical to either side. That's a bit of a trap, which can lead to snowman syndrome, making the limbs seem to be assembled out of elongated globes, that are just touching each other, instead of having a real connection.

    In actual joints, the end points of the sinews are pretty much always offset towards each other, the joint itself is an expansion of the bone, a physical object, not just the location, where the curvatures of the muscles meet. To represent that, you should observe, how those muscle curvatures don't meet exactly symmetrical in regards to the middle axis of the limb. Try to see the joints more like s-shaped objects on that axis, which still need some place of their own between the recession points, that separate the meeting points of the curves on either side of the axis.

    Although this explanation was somewhat lengthy, the actual change I mean won't be that much, but executing it properly will demonstrate your conscious decision on these details and thus strengthen the overall impression.

    As a more meta critique, you are at a point, where giving advice to others might be more educational to you, than asking for advice. A lot of your practical artistic decisions are very convincing, looking at other people's stuff and finding the exact spots, where you would have personally made different decisions, will help you raise your practical decisions to a conscious level, thus steadying and improving your own style.


    Here is my attempt, ink brush. Idk if it helps, but I was curious.

    And I also drew her upper body too short.


    Not an easy gesture for sure. You have done a decent job at depicting it, but that models' ribcage is extended even more forward, and her shoulders and arms even more overstretched. I would say your most natural looking sketch is the one to the left, but to capture the extreme pose the model has, you will have to throw some of that "naturalness" overboard.

    I think the second pose from the left, which you marked with the word "weird" actually captures her pose better. It looks somewhat weird, because her pose IS weird. And even there, following a line from her hip along her belly and chest up towards her shoulder, i see a downwardpointing arc, that goes even deeper down from her hip, than you dared to draw, and you almost flattened that line. Also her shoulderjoints go even deeper down. That, and her head is tilted even more back. They browline in all of your drafts would be almost horizontal, while she clearly has her head tilted back, if you look at the angle between ear and brows.

    About making it look more "effective", I think you have to make an artistic decision. If your goal is primarily to draw a pretty girl goofing around, probably the "naturalized" look works best, if you want to emphasize her extreme pose, you got to live with the weirdness. I doubt that many human beings could copy that pose, so a bit of an "unnatural" result will be hard to avoid.


    I would say yes. If you only have silhouettes to practice from, that's certainly a problem, but as one more spice in the soup, it's certainly welcome. If you want to learn to draw better, you need to challenge yourself with a variety of problems.

    Silhouettes are an artistic reduction, focusing only on distinctive outlines. Extreme beginners sometimes focus too early on outlines over construction, in hope of having found a shortcut, but at the very least at the level of an intermediate draftsmen, outlines themselves do become important again, as they determine a lot of readability and first impressions. Graphic novel artists and animators from famous studios are known to have spent a lot of energy into maximizing the readability of the outlines of all their figures, as those are what the human eye picks up first. You can turn any Disney figure from any movie into a silhouette, and will still be able to identify both their identity and their action. The famous spiky hairs on a lot of anime characters are a direct result of trying to transport characterization with only the silhouette.

    To make it even more succinct: Photos of silhouettes can be very beautiful and impressive. If you can answer the question with, whether a photo is beautiful or interesting, with a determined: "Yes", then that is also the answer of whether this is a good photo to draw from. The end goal of learning to draw is to learn to create beauty and/or to raise interest after all.


    The blue drafts show how you work mostly from a circular motion, which gives your drafts a very aestethique appeal. In your red drafts I feel like focusing on the masses of the torso more (skull, ribcage, hip) would help you solve some problems better.


    You draw out of a circling motion, which gives your lines a smooth curvation. It looks pretty, but maybe experimenting with introducing sharp angles could provide an interesting contrast?

    If you feel that these are "rushed", well, it's 30 seconds. If you want more controlled lines, you would have to reduce the figures even further. Maybe introducing deliberate "breaks" into your rhythm, while you consciously take a single breathe, meanwhile only looking at the reference and planning your next mark, could heighten your sense of control.

    That is just a suggestion, that might work. I see 30 second drafts just as a step towards "real" drawing, so I don't have a lot of experience in trying to "master" them myself.


    I am not so sure, whether you can get much helpful critique here. I mean, from what I see, you know the techniques. Doesn't mean you already mastered them (whatever heighty goal that may describe), but you know them already, you heard of em, and you at least tried them out and put in the hours to practice them. Nitpicking your drawings and telling you out on every slip-up won't teach you much valuable things, because frankly, there aren't many slip-ups anyway, and they hurt your eyes probably more than mine.

    I love the effect of black and white chalks on a grey background for sure, maybe this will inspire my next art supply run.

    Maybe the next step for you should be to stop worrying about technique and start thinking about audience. Who do you want to draw for, what could catch their eyes and their imagination? Try out a social media site maybe, DeviantArt, Artstation, Instagram? post your stuff there and keep an eye on which of your drawings get the most reactions and the most likes?

    Or dig out those memories of those images you wanted to draw, before you started to practice so hard?

    Or maybe giving critiques to other artists may be more informative for you, than receiving critique at this stage, unless you find someone who can really make your jaw drop.


    It's a bit of a trick question, as the best lighting is a variety of lighting situations.

    The majority of reference pictures already in the library is well-lit with a somewhat neutral studio lighting with a bright ambience. That IS useful for a beginner, who is mostly interested in getting to grips with basic anatomy and proportions. But, it's also a bit boring and repetitive, and it's by far not the only useful form of lighting, depending on what is the focus. Chiaroscuro lighting, with stark, well defined shadows, for example, can lead a beginner towards seeing the human body more as a sculpture, and can help break down the human figure into geometric forms as defined by its planes. You have a well-defined body with low body fat, which would probably lend itself well to experiments with cast shadows. Some of your outdoor pictures already had very beautiful strong shadows, which were very interesting to capture in ink.

    Once people venture into learning about values and trying to divide up the figure into darks and lights, and then to subdivide into core shadows, cast shadows, reflected lights, lighted areas, highlights, etc, a broader medium light spectrum becomes more important. Ambient studio light can make it hard to find good separating borders for shadowy planes, on the other hand stark spotlighting doesn't lend itself very well to finding intermediate values, so for that probably a middle ground would be best.

    So, really, a variety is best.

    Can I also ask you for a favor? I know, you mostly focus on figure, but the portrait library is still a good bit smaller than the figure library. And worse, it is even more uniform. Pretty much all of the portraits I can imagine the fotographer telling the model: "Sit on this chair, now, look to the left, look to the right, look upwards, look downwards, look angry, look sad, look happy, look this, look that" Someone gave me the tip to use the figure library for portrait drawing, and I found it an improvement, mostly because the models arent all sitting on a ***** chair, with shoulders almost parallel to the frame. They are posing, they even try themselves a bit into acting, and the fact, that shoulders, chests and necks are in actual motion, and they balance their actual body weight instead of just focusing on their eyes and mouth often makes their impressions way more lively and interesting. Drawback of using the figure library for portrait drawing is off course, that the head is relatively small and its harder to make out details.

    So, while you pose for figure drawing, can you ask your photographer to occassionally just zoom in on your head, and then post those pictures to the portrait section?

    My most inspiring references for well-lit images btw often came and come from movies or series with a film-noir touch. Gritty gangster flicks or dystopic science fiction, with badly lit rooms, where the actor suddenly ends up in front of a bright light source, or strangely lit from just a single neon light, or even just from the lighter, with which they light their cigarette. In the end, as long as we work from reference, we draftsmen are second hand artists, we just re-interpret the photographer's art. The best reference for an inspiring draft is an inspiring photo.

    Also, I remember from Croquis Cafe, one model from which I didn't expect much, which totally blew me away. It was an elderly somewhat overweight woman. Her trick was to use the poses and props to do small stories. I think in one session, she woke up in a dark room from an unexpected sound, lit a candle and started to investigate, and ended up discovering something very harmless (I imagine it was a cat), in the other session, as far as I understood, she prepared for her lover returning from war, looking at his picture or letter, smelling a rose, doing her hair, then going to the window frame, from which she waved to him with the flowers as he marched by underneath the window in a parade (at least, that is how I interpreted her poses).


    I would try to reduce the bundles of lines you are currently using to single lines. This will lead in the beginning to less satisfactory results, as it means, that you have to learn to live with mistakes in your drawing. Your goal can't be a single perfect drawing right now, but a constant stream of drawings, that gradually improve with experience. Getting used to clear bold lines early on saves you from having to relearn your technique later on.

    Also Misterglitch advice is really valuable, learn to ignore details, and try to see and use big geometric shapes.

    Also, start each drawing by looking for relation and proportion of skull, ribcage and hip. These three masses determine the shape of the torso, and are key to natural poses. Drill it into your habits to always prioritize them right from the start.