Need Guidance On What To Practice

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Johnny Small Boy 1 year ago.

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    I've been trying to work on gesture drawings, but I feel at a loss for what to do better. I think its obvious I am messing up, but I'm looking for people to highlight how.

    Below are a few sessions I've done, trying different approaches on each day:


    9/30/2022 1:

    9/30/2022 2:

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    Good afternoon, Johnny Small Boy, and welcome aboard, I'm Polyvios and how are you this afternoon?

    So, I've been looking at your gestures, and I'm seeing a lot of drive and initiative in your light lines of action and lines of rhythm in each and every one of these poses. I feel like that you could make a great drawn animator. As you may know, gesture drawing is well-connected to art, cartooning, illustration, and most importantly, animation.

    Upon looking at your drawings in every and any angle, I'm not getting enough of the singular line sketches in your lines of rhythm and tempo in your drawn poses. Would you please work more and more from your elbow or shoulder with 30 minutes of 30 second quick sketches of figures and your animals? (Not to mention the ones featured in this Disney PDF link.)

    As a result, if your gestures of your figures and animals, if your goal is to polish and refine the gutsier gestures by making them less stiff, and more fluid and lively, then this will be your very-first-ever goal right here. Despite Disney being focusing in mostly CGI, then you could just make some animation tests for your demo reel, if you would like to desire this.

    Sorry if that was too impractical, but, I hope this has been totally useful and important.


    I'm not getting enough of the singular line sketches in your lines of rhythm and tempo in your drawn poses.

    I don't get what most of this means, could you explain?

    All of these sketches are done from the shoulder/elbow. I was zooming in on the canvas when I was drawing (this is all done in CSP), meaning it would look smaller for you than it does for me. Could that be why it seems otherwise? Or is there something else I am doing wrong here?


    Thanks, Johnny Boy, but by singular line stroke, I mean in one stroke, symbolically and also literally, which is what I do. I'm not saying it works for everybody, it just really works for me. If you wanna see what I mean by singular line strokes, just look at my sketchbook, please.

    And when it comes to zooming in and out of your CSP canvas, that means it can be whatever works for you, but sometimes, it can be a crutch for some artists, it has been a trap, so take what you will, for I'm not much of an expert nor master of digital art. If you wanna learn a new habit or two, kindly time yourself for a 30 second sketch without too much zooming in, so that you could free up your whole shoulder more.

    BTW, what kind of device are you using at that point? Hope you can take the time to answer back.

    Thank you and have a nice morning.


    I'll try zooming out and using more flowy lines today then :D

    I'm using a wacom intuos medium atm, but I do use traditional mediums as well.


    Hello JohnySmallBoy, I'm Sivreayyl, a total beginner to art. A big reason I am giving this 'advice' is to help myself thing about how I can improve. If it helps you as well, so much the better! But please take everything I say with a grain of salt, as I really don't know what I'm talking about.

    First off, you say it's obvious you're messing up. The funny thing is, that's actually kind of the point of quick sketch. Let me explain. (From the look of these drawings, I assume you're doing timed practice, with a good assortment of time frames. That's awesome!)

    If you were to take an image, and start off with all of the tiny little details, and keep drawing tiny detail by tiny detail until you were finished, when you stepped back from your drawing, all of the details would be in the wrong places, and your proportions would be totally off. You would probably be entirely dissatisfied with your drawing. Perhaps you would spend a lot of time erasing your errors, and redrawing things in the correct spots. Perhaps you would try to find a shortcut, such as tracing the original image. Or perhaps you would ball it up and throw it away.

    However, if you were to start off not with the details, but instead with the relationships between the details, and then move on to the details themselves, you would find that when you stepped back from your work, it would bear a much stronger resemblance to the original.

    The quick sketch exercise is an awesome way to practice this, because if you begin to get distracted by the tiny details, you'll start to run out of time and think "awe man, I'd better hurry for this last bit" and you'll draw a few quick, efficient strokes for the remaining body parts. Those last strokes that you drew in a hurry? Those are the strokes you're after. Not the super detailed, accurate forms, but the essential lines that describe the important relations between the details of the body. Eventually, once you get better at pacing yourself and focusing on what's important, you won't go through this running-out-of-time process as much. At that point, you'll be able to focus more on deciding which lines are important, as well as making your lines look good.

    Not that geometry, forms, and contours aren't important. They are. Study them. However, if you're studying gesture, set them asside. Pay more attention to what you see overall (the big picture, so to speak), and try to translate that into as few lines as possible. Once you have your gesture, then you can add in the actual anatomy / forms and contours.

    To circle back around, I may have implied it before but I wanted to be a bit more explicit, when you say you're messing up, that is a good thing! Of course we all want to draw stuff that looks good, but in order to improve, we need to focus on the areas that need the most work. Do most of your drawings of a certain type look 'bad'? Chances are you found an area you need to work on. Keep making those bad drawings until they get better.

    Speaking of making them better, let's talk about a few things you can do. First off, look for tips/advice. I do youtube, but there's a ton of platforms with lots of amazing artists, and a lot of them are willing to share their experience. Remember that what worked for them won't necessarily work for you, so try to find a lot of different perspectives / advice, and give them a try. There isn't necessarily a 'right' way, if it works for you, it's right, if it doesn't work for you, keep looking. Also ask for peer advice, like this! Just remember not to take it too seriously.

    Here's a video on gesture that I like. As I practice and improve, I like to go back and watch the videos I've already watched again. A lot of times, I'll get new information from them, or I'll understand something that didn't make sense to me before.

    A few specific tips, and I'll wrap up.

    Your lines are a bit scribbly, and that's not unusual when you're in a hurry, because if you're not drawing, you feel like you're wasting your precious seconds. That's not necessarily the case. Feel free to spend time thinking about the important lines / objects in the pose. Where do they start? Where do they end? How do they relate to other lines / objects? If you need to, make marks to help yourself keep track of important locations. Once you know where to start and where to end, and the curve you want to take to get there, go ahead and trace the curve with your hand, but not touching the paper with your pencil (or in this case, pentablet). Imagine you were using tracing paper on the original image, but instead of drawing it slowly and correcting as you go, you had to draw it all in one go. Keep going through that motion until you're confident you can make the curve you want to make. Only then do you let your pencil touch the paper and make the curve. Once you've got it down, it's done. Don't try to fix it, don't try to draw over it, deal with it. You can adjust the pose, to match the curve you drew, or you can just accept that it'll look a little funny. Remember, you're learning. It's not a big deal if you mess up on a 30 second sketch.

    Finally, be patient with yourself, and have fun! You won't see improvement overnight, so the most important thing if you want to improve your drawing is to keep at it and not give up. So do what works for you, and do what you find fun. If what you're doing breaks the rules, but you're enjoying it, then keep doing it!

    Stay Creative,


    P.S. The short and sweet version is: if you want to focus on gesture, scrap the shadows, contours, and forms, and look for the rhythm/motion.

    P.P.S. See, even in writing there is the concept of gesture. I got rid of all the little details, and just said what I meant.

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    First of all, let me tell you, you have good shading!

    My advice would be to work more on the structure, I see some struggle with 3d form so practicing structure will help you a lot
    here is a 10-minute video where Proko explains very well what I'm trying to say

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    Looking back on it I definitely need to work on making forms look more 3D. Thanks^^


    First off, you say it's obvious you're messing up. The funny thing is, that's actually kind of the point of quick sketch. Let me explain. (From the look of these drawings, I assume you're doing timed practice, with a good assortment of time frames. That's awesome!)

    I definitely was worrying about messing up even though this is all practice, and shifting my mentality has helped me just keep running at it a lot. Thanks for the long write-up, you're the Goat

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