Is there a way to improve my 30 second sketches?

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    Hi, I these is my latest attempt at a 30 second pose drawing and I feel like there is supposed to be a better technique to trace clearer lines.

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    Probably no, but probably yes.

    What I mean is, if I look at my own 30 second sketches, they vary wildly, basically determined by what my goal for the session is, and what my mood in the moment is. If I want to go for line quality and consistent drawing rhythm, there might be barely two or three lines on the paper at all. If I want to focus on perspectivic drawing, there will be a few first primitives, circles or initial sketches of cuboids visible, but rarely enough to make sense to publish, because most audiences could barely even guess the purpose of my lines. If I want to focus on pose, I might start with the line of action stick figure, as it is proposed in the tutorial. If I want to focus on proportion, there might be a lot of details indicated, but not as a goal in itself, but to use as landmarks.

    Or, for F's sake, if I am stressed and tired, drawing in the break between two shifts, I might be happy to just watch the pen moving over the paper for a while, and when I am in a bad mood I'll just desecrate the paper until the timer runs out.

    So, the one "better" technique? Probably no. But the clearer you learn to distinguish between all the different aspects and subskills of drawing, the more purpose you can assign to your shortys, and the clearer the purpose, the clearer your lines.

    Looking at your shorties, I can see, what you are working at, and there is nothing crying out to me: "Oh! my! God! No!". You are focusing on displaying a pose, well, I can understand each of those poses at a glance. The measurement and proportions look natural and convincing, as much as it can be determined on a single glance at that low level of detail.

    You say, you wish for clea-R-er lines, you could probably achieve a bit of clea-N-er lines, for example for your heads, by just grinding a bit of oval drawing to improve your manual dexterity there. Or by drawing fewer lines at a slower pace. But I am not certain if I should recommend that, as that does not seem to fit to the purpose of those sketches. You could do that, but it would probably compromise on the goal of simply communicating the pose. Also, these poses are clearly drawn to prepare an underlying construction, while line quality ultimatively is an aspect of rendering. If you aren't dedicated to draw from first lines with a big fat ink brush, those first lines will probably be erased or overdrawn anyways before you end up on the final polish.

    The way those timed classes work for me: I try to imagine a specific goal for the session, I use the shorties to test out and reinforce the concept for the session, and then the 5 minute and 10 minute drawings as proof of concept.

    Often the problems of my concept won't become apparent within the shorties themselves. For example: I try to find big curves, looks fine at 30 seconds, 1 minute, then when the 5 minute drawing is up and I start to flesh out the details, it becomes apparent, that I took massive liberties with proportions. I got another attempt at 5 minutes, same stuff happens, but I try to make it look at good as possible none the less. When the 10 minute figure is in, and the timer is running low, it's crunch time. If all went well, and I feel like I still have to add to the figure, I'll stop or restart the timer to get going. If the result instead looks funky in not a good way, I'll then try to pin down, WHAT aspect I don't like. And then try to come up with a concept for the next batch.

    In the example the proportions went wild, so my next batch of shorties will focus more on measuring and determining landmarks. Or, possibly, I decide, that in spite of the strange proportions I really like the 10 minute results, and even wished that it would look even cooler with even less details and a more abstract rendering, so my next batch will focus on spending less time scribbling and more time on observing the reference and looking for even bigger lines....

    The thing is, I don't believe there are "perfect" shorties, and can't be by design. The purpose of shorties is to emphasize one aspect of your final rendered work, they aren't meant to be published, and they don't necessarily look pretty. I could upload pages full of shorties, and basically everybody would just search for polite words to tell me, that is just a bunch of mad scribbles, depending on what aspect I am working on.

    Lines are clear, when they have a clear purpose, but the purpose of shorties is only revealed in the final drawing. Which is only a waypoint to define a clearer purpose for your next set of shorties.

    Other artists can only tell you about what they experienced on their path, and that may or may not be informative for you, but it can't take the task of defining the purpose of your lines away from you.

    Wow, that sounded so preposterously Zen, I'll better stop writing and go back to drawing, before I embarass myself even more.


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