My Left Hand

by Azure Dreamer, December 7th 2023 © 2023 Azure Dreamer

Been practing with hands and feet lately. Drew this while I was on the train. Struggling with how to shade things properly. I'm honestly just playing with different grades of graphite to see which works. Don't really know or understand how to make it more real with shading. Please let me know your thoughts :).

Aunt Herbert

Hi, I am fighting with shading myself at the moment. Off cooooourse there is a whole developed theoretical concept available, which like all good concepts in art sounds super easy when you first read it, and turns out to be horribly frustrating once you start to test out how to actually apply it to practice, and discover, that even those skills you already thought you had are insufficient to the task, and you have to go back to grinding simple hand to eye coordination again.

I apologize for the dark humor, here are the steps I followed so far:

a) discover on the internet that such concepts as cast shadow, core shadow, terminator, direct light, reflected light and highlights exist, and find a basic explanation of what they mean.

b) find an image of an egg on a table, that is lighted from one side and allows to identify all the above terms rather easily. Set myself a new life goal to, beginning from now, make at least 10 drawings of such an egg daily until I achieve mastery.

c) do one drawing of such an egg, start a second drawing and decide, that I should be good enough for now.

d) load up a portrait with the "dramatic lighting" tag.

e) confidently smile at the portrait and start looking to identify where all those new shiny objects are hiding.

f) switch from a confident smile to a confused blinking, then decide, that a true genius doesn't need theory and just begin putting marks on a paper.

g) try to cheat my way through the drawing as usual, but end up way more disillusioned than usual, as Dunning and Hawkes sneak up on me and hit my ego repeatedly with a blunt and heavy tool.

h) cry and protest a bit to myself to comfort my ego back into working shape, then get used to the thought, that to actually git gud at this stuff, I need to get decisively more diligent and controlled at designing the underlying construction for my drawings.

I am currently at step i) of the process: still avoiding the actual hard work, I already realized that I have to get to eventually, but gradually getting better at cheating.

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Azure Dreamer

Thanks for you insight.

Honestly I've been doing b. for the past few months, but just with figure drawing. I try to draw for 30 minutes a day just practicing gesture drawings with full body models or hands and feet. Like usual there are good days and bad days, but as long as I do something everyday, I'll get somewhere :) Good luck on your work as well. :)

Polyvios Animations

Hello again, Azure Dreamer, welcome back. Once again, great job on your tones, relationships, spaces, and edges of your hand pose. But still, this drawing has a little bit too much rigidity of the forces. Why don't you go for 5 minutes of 30 second gesture drawings of hands?

The reason why you could and should go for this critique is because, before you lay out your lights and shadows, you can and will need to get to be mostly comfortable with your hand gesture drawings. For more info, please look into some free drawing tutorials on gesture drawings on hands and feet on

My hat's off to you!

Azure Dreamer

I've been working on 30 sec figures mostly. I'm gonna start working on hands and feet as well.

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