Forum posts by Aunt Herbert

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    Aaaaaaah, yes, thank you, that was the page!


    Hi Sanne,

    Thanks for your answer. But I remember having scrolled down one of the pages and seen a complete page with thumbnails of all currently submitted -and older- pieces. It is that page, that I no longer seem to find.

    The 'Skip to next' button only presents submissions, that I haven't commented on yet, and seems to have some more filters added. I remember a submission, that I hadn't commented on two days ago, then yesterday I was told, that I was "up to date" (?) with my critiques and there were nothing left to critique on, now today the submission from 2 days ago shows up again.

    "Skip to next" also doesn't allow to look up older submissions, to see what critiques other people gave.


    I am still a bit at a loss in navigating the page. I occassionally stumbled upon the list of all the pieces that have been released for critique, but I have a hard time finding it. I am especially interested in reading other people's critiques, not only on my on drafts, but on other people's drafts as well, to get a better grasp on what critiques would be most helpful to people.

    So, which buttons do I have to click to access this list?


    It took me a while to build up the confidence to answer, as your sketches sent my quality sensors into a bit of a roller coaster. My first impression was, "Oh, that looks really good", then on my second glance I thought: "But something is off." On the one hand, you are clearly 90% there, on the other hand there is still that rookie vibe to the images, and it's quite hard to pinpoint down that last 10%.

    On the male figure the whole arc from the hip, shoulders to the face and hair, the linework seems 100% spot on. The shading on the shoulders seems a bit overpowered, though, making his front shoulderblade stick out in a strange way. Is his front hand buried in sand? What does the shadow to the left of his forearm indicate? Is that a cast shadow from the forearm and elbow? Then why doesn't it go all the way to the knee? Talking about the knee, I find it hard to understand, where his left leg is. Shouldn't there be a part of the left knee visible? Is that somehow a cast shadow behind him, or is that his left foot? You found good solutions for shading parts of the body, but the shading seems inconsistent over the whole image. Sometimes the contrast between darker and lighter shapes seems smooth, sometimes rather rough, on some parts your darkest dark seems to be way lighter than on other parts, and I can't really imagine a lighting situation that explains the difference in tones. Also I feel with putting so much work into working out light and darks, a cast shadow on the floor would help the eye decipher the intended light sources quite a bit.

    On the female figure the proportions of her thighs and calfs dont seem to match. Either that hip is too bony or those calfs and feet are too bulky. Then you put a really strong shadow on her front thigh, but shouldn't that be matched with equally dark shadows somewhere on her shoulders and arms?

    I should point out, that the overall work is still really good. I have an annoying way to critique people: if I list endlessly many minor flaws, that's not to tear you down, it's because I love the quality you already achieved.


    good points, thumbs up!


    @moritz: keen eye, but is it still punkrock?.... aaah, manga? The most obvious difference in the drawings is: Mihoy drew the eyes approx. 50% bigger, a lot of the anatomical "mistakes" follow logically from that decision. Which is ofc. 100% in tune with the style.


    Gee, Manga style is somewhat hard to help, as it follows a quite distinct formula, as developed by the 20th century japanese illustration industry. And you certainly have more practice with following that formula than I do.

    From what I have seen somewhere on youtube, and definitely not from my own personal experience, it is part of the style, that you should be able to idealize individual parts of the drawing. Like, find an idealized 3/4 frame for heads, that you use for all adult persons, define idealized attributes (hair style, accessories, scars/grubs/skin tone, etc), that you always use for the same character, find an idealized expression for eyes, nose, mouth, for a range of different emotions, then train to reproduce those parts quickly and consistently, so you can assemble them as needed to fill entire story boards quickly and consistently. If you work for a studio, the "idealization" part isn't your responsibility either, as you are required to just reproduce the studio style.

    As for helping you out about "feeling" it's slanted, or that mouth and chin don't align, frankly, even if you used a traditional western style, it would be somewhat hard. If I tell you "that one line should be longer and more to the left" in that one painting, does that really help? Generally "try internalizing the Loomis formula and then practice hard" is the best general advice for portrait drawing anyway. If your target would be to achieve a more realistic rendering, there could be more advice about tones and halftones, coming from the Atelier style, (from the french 19th century illustration industry). If you aimed for more anatomical correctness or more individual expression, there might be other ideas, but manga needs to be simple to be manga.

    If I saw your image in a manga book, it would just fit in and I wouldn't think twice about your drawing. It would'nt stop me from following the flow of the narrative, which, by my understanding of manga, means, you nailed it.

    I think the OG way to go forward for you would be to draw an entire list of just 3/4 frames, then chose your favorite one and try to stick to it as closely as possible. Then repeat that for hair, accessories, eyes, mouths, etcetera, until you are ready to just assemble the parts as needed. In an application to a studio, you would then send in a set of features for one character, and a few example drawings how they work together in a variety of situations.

    Your choice of subject, 3/4 portrait of a young male with a neutral expression, smooth room lighting approx. from top right, would probably be included in the set as a reference point, but to show off, you would need to include some more extreme choices: extreme emotions, extreme angles, extreme lighting, individual attributes or features.

    If you are interested in development of a broader artistic frame, the hard truth would be: drop manga and start experimenting with other styles? Manga is a very tight framework to work within, and it doesn't allow for a lot of individual growth, and that is not a bug, that is its actual feature. You aren't supposed to paint a single million dollar frame over the course of half a year, you should dish out a dozen of pages of story a day, without irritating the customer.


    Hi Tanner, thank you for your interest in the topic. Do I think David Finch is a great artist and a good teacher? Yes, I do. Do I think the force method has value? Yes I do. Do I feel this solves the problem I mentioned? No, sorry, not at all.

    My problem is not, that there is no valid meaning for the term "dynamic", my problem is, that there is a whole range of different and distinct meanings, and I regularly encounter beginners, who can't tell them apart and mix it all up. For example David Finch in this video exclusively talks about figures and poses. Note, that he never mentions line quality or pencil control. And if you compare the quality of lines he uses in this video to illustrate his thoughts and explanations with the quality of lines in his finished works, it's clear he doesn't pay much attention to it at all. Not in this video, not when talking about poses and figures.

    Thing is, there are dynamic lines, dynamic shapes, dynamic poses, dynamic shading, dynamic compositions, and these are all quite distinct topics, and the word "dynamic" has quite a variety of meanings, depending on the topic at hand. This page encourages me to give criticisms to other beginners, and a common theme I encounter is a lot of confusion about the importance and meaning of "looseness".

    If someone still struggles with drawing two straight and even parallel lines, that extent the immediate range of their finger joints, without using a ruler, then the "looseness" of their lines is pretty much a first world problem to them, and if they focus all their practice time on such a misunderstood topic, they will make little actual gains in their proficiency and only build up unnecessary frustration.

    This page is designed to be a good support tool for quick sketching. But the idea of 30 sec and 1 minute sketches isn't to practice to become an even hastier, messier and more frantic scribbler. The idea is to force people to simplify their forms, to use fewer lines to express their ideas. If scribbling hastily relaxes someone and is fun to them, all the power to you, bro/sis/x, you do you, go full Jackson Pollock and let the joy and energy of what you do transcend to your spectators, but that is not the way to learn draftsmanship.

    Start out with practicing fundamentals. Knowing about the concept of a straight line doesn't teach your brain to match your observations of what your pen does on the paper to all the fine muscle movements around your various joints to actually control that line. You will feel stiff and tense in the beginning anyway, just because you are entering a very unknown terrain, and utilize some muscles, you didn't even know you had before starting to practice, and feeling "looser" might well be just a result of shunning the hurdle.

    My critic, especially with the Force method: Mike Matessi, it's prime author, is a hell of an artist, and, once someone has their fundamentals mastered, following along with his practical instructions and drawing can absolutely help people achieve the next level. But he is somewhat less stellar in finding the words to describe what he does, which certainly doesn't make him very beginner friendly. If you just read his words or listen to him talk, he has a tendency to talk metaphorically and use quite vague concepts. It makes sense if you actually watch him put these vague concepts on paper, and if you already understand basic forms, shapes and lines, and you built up a sufficient amount of dexterity to follow along, it doesn't take too much guess work to grasp his ideas. As long as your pen still holds surprises for you every time it touches paper, maybe don't start with the Force method right away?

    Some say the road to mastery is a 10.000 hour journey. Worrying about being dynamic enough is a burden people probably better stay away from during their first 500 hours.


    Hmm, I see. You seem stuck a bit on an object level. With which I mean, they way you would describe your images in words. "Here is an arm, there is a phone, there are fingertips around the phone" "Here is a foot, the toes go to the right". And on that level, your drawings do actually work. The arm, the phone, the foot are actually depicted, and although they may not look too impressive, these objects are recognizable.

    To advance, you need to find a way from looking at (and then drawing) objects, to looking at shapes. "The palm of the hand is roughly a square, the upper line of the square is curved upwards, the fingertips end in a triangular formation, although the individual tips clearly end in half-circles, the recess between the fingers go from that curved line on top of the palm to the tips in almost parallel lines. The thumb doesn't start at the top of the palm like the other fingers, instead it is attached to the side, and its shape is almost that of a rhombus with rounded edges..."

    ...which is totally easier said then done, as changing how you see things is hard to explain. I'll give my go-to recommendations of beginner tutorials,, and Also it might be helpful to start with drawing very simple objects, like boxes or cups. Manmade things, which aren't much different from basic geometric shapes. Or look around you, and find interesting shapes, that can be reduced to geometry.

    You could also print out stuff, and try to draw over the printouts, but not by following the outlines in detail, but by trying to cover the object with as few, as simple geometric shapes, as you can.


    I can't access the drawing without your express invitation, so I can't comment on it for now.

    Here is a method, that I sometimes use to relief frustration. Pick up a piece of paper and a clipboard, don't sit on the desk, but make yourself comfortable in bed or on your sofa, or wherever you usually crounge when you are tired. Put your pen on the paper and move it around aimlessly. Don't plan anything, just keep watching the pen, until you filled the entire huge page with scribbles.

    My experience is, that even without planning, even while trying to avoid planning, and even while trying to vent frustration by drawing purposefully bad, all the training that you imprinted in your nerves will start to show. Your hand will start to reproduce your trained patterns, even without being directed to, and although the result will be extremely surreal and abstract, the beauty, that you trained so hard to achieve will show through after a while, and you can zone out just watching your pen do its own thing. Initially your very frustration will keep you from conscious decisionmaking, and if ideas come creeping up, just turn the page on its head or by 90 degrees, or randomly continue scribbling somewhere else on the page, and just keep watching your pen go.

    There is a youtuber, Peter Draws, who does this kind of intuitive scribbling a lot, and watching him do it and listening to his asmr voice can also help zoning out.


    I must admit, I heard a lot about looseness of lines, I am rarely certain what that means.

    Looking at your 30 sec drafts, I can recognize the pose, and even the fotos you drawn from, from very few lines. This shows a good choice of what to draw. Looking at the quality of linework, it certainly varies a lot. Some lines are very broad and even seem smudged out, other lines are very thin on top of them. Sometimes you are satisfied with a single line, sometimes you start to scribble quite a bit to find a line.

    The one minute poses add more lines, but they look even more hasty, and some of the figures get harder to recognize instead of clearer. In the 5 and 10 minute poses I can better make out, what you aim to show, although the broad lines that indicate the shadow value sometimes plainly overshoot their intended shape.

    Maybe try to use fewer lines, but draw them slower and with more intent. A 30 sec or 1 minute sketch does not need to be "complete". If it's only a few lines, that's OK. Try to plan each individual line out on the paper, before you draw it, then draw it in one move, as beautiful as you can. And then let it be, don't correct it, just start planning the next line.

    Maybe also just spend some time practicing to draw geometric forms with even lines: parallels, curves, straight lines, that exactly connect 2 points without overshooting, etcetera. We have all seen straights and curves drawn so often, that we become quite convinced, that it's easy, but our brains need quite some training to connect what our eyes watch our pens do, with how to finetune the movement of our hands and arms.

    Will that make your lines "looser"? I don't know, definitely not immediately. Confidence is a slow growing weed.


    I think it's still a bit too early to go for details. Try focussing on the proper proportions and placement of hips, ribcage and head, first. The ribcage is somewhat egg-formed, and the typical upper-body silhouette of a person includes finding the placement of the chest, but also the shoulder joints, which are outside of the chest. Drawing a shoulder line might be useful to understand how the parts come together.

    Likewise the hip contains the joints of the legs. Try to spot the joints. Your limbs partially don't attach where they should go.

    Don't search so much for outlines and surface lines, really try to spot the underlying structure. (And I am totally talking to myself, too, when typing that)

    Check out Arko's thread right next to your's, they pretty much nailed it.


    Your line work looks very precise and intentional. I find it very inspiring how you simplified the forms, and will try to aim for it in my drawings today.


    You said you started practicing recently. With that knowledge your sketches look mostly how they are supposed to look. Especially the 30 sec practice is not intended to lead to completed images, the size and placement of your ovals that indicate head, chest and hips looks natural.

    It takes some time for your brain to learn to fully anticipate what the result of the fine motions of your hand and pen will be when drawing, and until that time has come, drawing will feel clumsy and the results will be somewhat unpredictable. The only way to overcome that is to give your eyes regular opportunity to watch your hands draw, ideally daily. Those neurons need stimulus to grow. Even if you are too tired to concentrate on formal courses, just watching your hand scribble away will provide some of that stimulus.

    You can also include some warm-ups to practice just drawing straight lines with an exact start and finish, or perfect circles and ovals. We all feel like we should already be able to do this, but it also takes some practice, which is a bit frustrating to admit to yourself when starting out.

    That said, I would like to make two recommendations. One is just the site It's by Stan Prokopenski and offers Free Courses and Premium Courses. The Free Courses contain really all the content and examples you need, and teach a very step-by-step progression from line-of-action and indicating masses (where you are at) towards an extremely in-depth understanding of anatomy.

    The prices for Premium Courses may seem a bit daunting, but they really do not offer so much more. If you followed along the free courses and feel grateful for what you learned, you can buy one to support Proko, and will get a bit of extra content as a thank-you from Stan.

    My second thought is about the size of drawings. You, like many beginners, start with a lot of drawings on one page. That has the advantages, that you save paper, that you don't have to spend time to switch the pages between the short sketches, and that it is easier to scan and publish the result of an entire lesson in one go.

    I would recommed to get a clipboard and a stack of regular sized writing paper to practice instead. Paper isn't that expensive, and flipping pages doesn't take that much time once you are used to it, so the only real drawback is, that scanning and publishing takes somewhat more effort.

    The advantages are:

    -You get used to bigger drawings right away. That way you will automatically start to involve elbow and shoulder movements more from the get-go and won't have to retrain that much later on, when you want to go to bigger formats. Our fingers and wrists are usually pre-trained from learning to write, so getting the bigger joints involved is more of a learning curve. You may as well start early.

    -Bigger drawings use longer lines, which is one part of improving line quality

    -You immediately train with the goal of using the whole page, so your brain gets a bit of a starter course in composition without much extra effort.

    Another training resource that helped me personally a lot is It's also free. It's focus is on perspective drawing rather than on figure drawing, but especially the first lessons give a very good introduction towards improving line quality and control.


    In discussions in this forums and in other creative communities I often hear talk about "stiffness", "fluidity" and "dynamic", and it sometimes makes me cringe a bit. My very sincere impression is, that these terms seem to refer to a wide variety of concepts, and it's rarely clear what they are really meant to express.

    "Stiffness" is often an attribute mentioned in relation to line quality and seems to imply a very timid, overly controlled habit of moving the pen over the paper. But then "stiffness" can also refer to a rather awkward posing of the figure, when the anatomy of limbs seems slightly unnatural, because body parts are all depicted from a simplified perspective, do not match perfectly, and appear more oriented towards the axis of the page, then towards anatomical necessity of a natural body. But that is a different problem, already! Then, stiffness can refer to a lack of expressivity, when the posing of a model is anatomically convincing, but the model just doesn't seem to do a lot.

    It doesn't help that the opposite of stiffness, dynamic (dynamism?), in photography and rendering often refers to a special way of lighting, with stark contrasts between light and dark values, and can although refer to a compositional problem of distributing light and dark values over the entire piece, independent of the contrast between adjacent shapes. Alternatively I heard the word "stiff" used for very clean and stylized depictions, that frankly just lack detail and fail to distinguish between voluminous convex or concave forms on the one side and flat planes on the other side.

    With all the ambiguity in the concept I sometimes feel like the words "stiffness" and "dynamic" are often just stand-ins to refer to the overall quality of a piece, or to the perceived experience, confidence and willingness to experiment of the artist. It also doesn't help a lot to explain the concept by just refering to a beloved artist or artistic piece, that mastered "the problem". There is no guarantee, that two people looking at the same artistic piece will always focus on even the same part of the piece, let alone the same aspects.

    So, how can I approach the idea of "stiffness" in a way that let's me understand faster and less unambiguous what, for example a beginner, that asks me for advice with his "stiff drawing" is actually unhappy with?