Forum posts by Aunt Herbert

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    There is a crossover point between figure drawing and structural drawing. In the end, the human body is a special case of a 3-d body, too. I like Stan Prokopenko's image of drawing as learning to juggle a lot of different balls, which you can't do before throwing and catching each individual ball is part of your muscle memory.

    Figure drawing courses usually start with a focus on proportions, the relation between the three "masses" (head, chest, hip) and the limbs. At first you note them down in a very abstract, shorthand form, as simple ovals, but over time the shorthand should evolve into more complex geometrical forms in space, that get closer to anatomical representation (Reilly-head, flattened egg, bucket).


    Dont thank me before you finished your boxes ;D


    I did lessons 0 to 5. To overcome the "repetitive" part, make sure you keep your sketches around. At first the view of a growing stack of sketches will encourage you, but after a while, the difference between your starting sketches and your current sketches will become more and more visible. In the end, the repetitiveness will feel calming and relaxing.

    It's a bit like pumping iron in a gym. It's boring and tideous at first, until you start to actually see how fast your muscles actually grow. is just unforgivingly efficient in teaching structural drawing, and, actually, line quality, as in teaching to plan your lines before you mark them down.

    About the time split, 50% sounds right. If I remember correctly, I had a long period, where I almost exclusively did Drawabox practices, then another time, where I followed mostly Stan Prokopenko's lessons on for getting my skills on figure drawing up. Line of action provides good tools to get your motifs and learn a bit of timing, but the actual lessons part seems a bit sparse.


    OK, full exposure: I actually did this once or twice, because I thought it was fun, ... it was, but it probably isn't the bee's knee either. I think practicing a lot is important. Following a strict pattern in training has the advantage, that you always know what to draw, and don't waste extra time and energy on contemplating. It has the clear disadvantage, that it can become boring and repetitive, so introducing new rules just to play around with can liven it up.

    Finding a fun new rule to follow makes me feel good for a while, and I tend to get overly excited at first. I have an overarching theory brewing, that making up rules (and talking overexcited BS about them) might actually be an integral part of art as a whole, more likely at least part of my development as an artist. It certainly beats zoning out on youtube vids or netflix instead of drawing.

    I still think actually counting strokes out loud might be a good practice for more people than just me. I strongly doubt by now that it is the fully mapped out highway to nirvana, but it can be an interesting piece of road along the way.

    Enough blathering, I'll turn on the engine and start sketching. Maybe I'll post some of the sketches in a few hours, just to say hello.


    The ovals represent head, chest and hip. They pretty much determine the proportions. If they don't, then you should practice making them fit.

    The idea of practicing to start with this "ovals" is to ingrain into you, that you always nail the proportions of the figure, before you waste any time adding details. When your knowledge of anatomy grows, you will add an eyeline, a chinline, a centerline and ears to the head, make the chest "oval" into a flattened egg-like shape and the hip "oval" into something akin to a bucket-shape. You will also learn to determine "landmarks" on the body, that will help you determine the exact size and position of chest and hips.

    If you want a good introductory course, I would recommend The free courses on the page offer plenty enough material and explanations to understand the underlying basics, paying for the premium course is more of a gesture, that you appreciated Stan's work. It adds a bit extra, but that's more a "thank you for your support" from Stan, than introducing any new concepts, that aren't covered by the free course.


    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,...?


    You are right, using an eraser wouldn't be a good idea for the purpose of quick sketching. Instead you should shake the habit of overcorrecting every line. One stroke, and its done, and if the stroke is off, there will be a new chance in your next drawing a minute later.

    If you feel like you have generally shaky hands or problems placing a line as intended, I can recommend The site focuses more on drawing in perspective, so a bit of a different approach, but a) they do that very well and are generally a good source and b) their first lesson or two emphasize line quality a lot and introduce a variety of good warm-ups to practice your lines. Even if you don't finish the entire course, these first lessons might help you advance very rapidly.


    Interestingly, the practice log seems to work perfectly fine, it's just the "Current goal" box that always lags a day behind.


    Are there several sketches? I only found one drawing of a female nude, right hand on the hip, looking over her right shoulder.

    Proportions, pose, anatomy are all pretty much spot on, very good, very convincing. The lines on the other hand seem insecure and scratchy. You don't trust your stroke yet, so you scribble before settling on a final line.

    If you want to put some more work into this drawing, using an eraser to clean up the paper would go a long way. Or maybe put a transparent paper on top and redraw the final lines, that you settled on, with a fineliner or ink brush.

    On the other hand, it is a nice image as it is, but you should aim towards getting more confident with your lines in future. One clear line, even if it is slightly off compared to the motive, usually looks better than a bundle of attempts that has one perfect match somewhere in between.

    Quick sketches can help building that confidence. It's not a magic trick, you just get used to producing a lot of sketches and accepting that a lot of them won't be perfect. You get used to throwing away stuff anyway, so you lose the pressure of matching every line 100% with the motive, and after doing that for some time you will discover that fewer and fewer of your drawings are all that bad, and you learn to trust your first instincts more.

    Less than a minute per sketch is a bit taxing at first, but in contrast 2 minutes or 3 minutes will suddenly feel like a lot of time.

    Most important: you are on a good way. Enjoy drawing, and enjoy your day!


    OK, thanks, those are good ideas, I'll try that.

    ...and just for the sake of being silly:

    Als die gute Wittwe Bolte
    Sich von ihrem Schmerz erholte,
    Dachte ſie ſo hin und her,
    Daß es wohl das Beſte wär,
    Die Verſtorb'nen, die hienieden
    Schon ſo frühe abgeſchieden,
    Ganz im Stillen und in Ehren
    Gut gebraten zu verzehren. —
    — Freilich war die Trauer groß,
    Als ſie nun ſo nackt und bloß
    Abgerupft am Heerde lagen,
    Sie, die einſt in ſchönen Tagen
    Bald im Hofe, bald im Garten
    Lebensfroh im Sande ſcharrten. —
    Ach, Frau Bolte weint auf's Neu,
    Und der Spitz ſteht auch dabei.


    A general tip, not so much for drawing, but for scanning pencil drawings, especially on darker paper. Check your scanning software, most scanning softwares have some basic editing tools. If yours doesn't, switch to another one. I use HP Smart, that came with my scanner/printer combo. Find the button that regulates contrast and dial it up until the entire page turns white. Then crank down the brightness until your drawing reappears.

    You will find that your lines will become much more visible, and will look like they were drawn in char coal or ink on lily white paper. You will also see a few smudges or dirty spots on the paper or the scanner surface, but if you fiddle around with just the contrast and brightness settings a bit, you can get a very crisp result that shows your drawing as close to your original idea as you like.

    About the sketches themselves: I would recommend using a single page for each drawing and trying to fill the entire page. That way you train final composition as well, and get used to drawing with longer bolder lines. Drawback is, scanning and uploading all those pages gets a bit more of a struggle, but some suffering is worth it for the art.

    About the pure art style, I haven't checked out Michael Hampton, yet, and don't know his exact teaching method, but I am personally a great friend of trying to reduce the number of lines/strokes used per image to a practical minimum. That way you can spend more time and attention on exactly controlling each individual mark for placement, length, curvature, line width, saturation, etc... and avoid developing a messy hasty style, that you will then have to unlearn when aiming for clearer images.


    OK, as I promised to Polyvios Animations 2 days ago, here is a full set of 28 1 min poses (I did 30, but somewhere along the line lost 2)

    Some things that I thought important for this series:

    #1 30 drawings means 30 pages!

    I saw in the critique section a lot of people uploading whole sessions on a single page. I don't think that's a good way to learn drawing. There is this somewhat unclear buzz word of "bold lines" thrown around a lot. Bold lines are first and foremost long lines, that dominate the entire page. Practicing to scribble itsy bitsy tiny scribblings, that would fit on a post stamp can't possibly help to ever develop bold lines. Learning to draw from elbow or even shoulder can't work if the entire final piece is less than an inch in diameter.

    The clear drawback of using a page for each drawing is, that especially for quick drawings, scanning and uploading the result takes longer than actually producing it, and gets quite annoying quite fast. I will probably refrain from publishing a whole 30 images series at once in future, and instead only pick 2 or 3 of the results, that I am especially proud of, or especially curious how other people react. I also find the exact set-up of the line-of-action page a bit unwieldy for uploading a large number of files, that is why I provided a link to my artstation account instead. Everyone feel free to browse my "old" stuff since fall 2020, too, my name is Stefan Bast (AuntHerbert is a bit of an inside joke, that ends with me shouting: "My name is not Herbert, and I am not your aunt!).

    Naturally using more pages also uses up more material, but I think for quick sketches common writing paper is good enough. No need to waste handmade drawing paper for warmups, so cheap material doesn't break the bank account.

    #2 Quick sketches means fewer lines!

    I saw a lot of sketches asking for critique, from people that apparently used the short time provided by the lesson, to scribble a lot of barely controlled lines, until an impression of the image they aimed for emerges. If they enjoy doing that, more power to them, joy in drawing IS visible in the end result, and if they do it often enough, they will get better, too. But, lots of lines with little control is pretty much the definition of a messy image, and practicing to draw hastily and messy isn't a good way towards developing a clear and narrative style.

    The idea of quick sketches as I have been taught is to learn to indicate the pose, face, animal, object,.... with as few lines as possible. Learning to avoid getting lost in unnecessary details, reducing the image to essential expressions and simple forms.

    I added a number next to every drawing, that number indicates the number of brush strokes that I counted out loud while doing the drawing. In theory, every curve, slanted line or straight line should be counted as 1 stroke. I must admit, that counting while drawing is a bit distracting, and I sometimes lost count, or counted lines that are actually too complex as a single stroke, so the number isn't always super exact.

    Ideally, using fewer lines also allow more time to plan and execute each individual line! I am by far not a master yet, and I am still drawn towards using too many lines with too little control to indicate the image. I averaged around 15 strokes per minute, probably 10 or 5 strokes per minute would be better practice, which allows for up to 10 seconds or more to plan, prepare and execute each individual mark on the paper.

    OK, enough with the arrogant explanations, here is the link to the session, if it doesn't work, shout and holler and I will try to fix it:


    It's not a big issue, more a minor irritant, but the week days under my "Your studio" header, where it tracks my practice time all seem off by a day. I checked my time settings, Berlin, Germany should be right, but when I draw on Sunday your page marks my practice time for Saturday, etc...

    I assume there is a very minor programming bug somewhere on your page, that should be fixable fairly easily..

    thanks for your attention,



    The drawings look quite nice to me, fluent lines, proportions on point, and you got a good eye for picking out distinctive shapes and placing masses...

    ... but with some of the drawings it took me a moment to figure out which line goes where. Worst offender is the baboon, where the line indicating his back is almost vanishing. Maybe spend the last few seconds checking the line weight, to make sure that the important lines, like overall outline or shape of a limb, are more distinct than pure rhythm lines, that rather indicate volume.