Goal: go from crappy to awesome artist in 10 years. [itt he's pretty much there now]

#1
In sum: I am a horrible artist. But I've made a goal to become a great one.

I started out doing 30-minute speed sketches a day, but that turned out to be non-sustainable (I have a full-time job). But, hopefully, I'll continue drawing for an average of an hour a day for the next couple months, maybe years.

This thread is also a little kick so I don't stop drawing until it becomes habit.

I took inspiration from a dude who drew every day for ten years. Look at the first page. Then the last few pages. It's pretty rad. If he can do it, I sure as hell can too.

My eventual goal is to become better than yosinori. Hey, when you can dream, dream big.

Requests are welcome. Critique is better, because I'm basically doing deliberate practice without a teacher. (If you wanna teach me, contact me!)

I don't have a scanner so I can't show you any of my pencilwork. Sorry!



DAY 1 — Jan. 23, 2012

Reflections: I need work on stroke and consistent lines. All my lines look very shaky. I need to improve in pretty much everything.





DAY 2 — Jan. 24, 2012

Reflections: Got a little better with lines, I guess. I spend way too much time getting lines right. Hopefully it gets easier as you go on?





DAY 3 — Jan. 25, 2012

Reflections: I like being sketchy but there's something missing and I can't put my finger on it. Also, I have no idea how to make rocky textures/forest backgrounds. Also, I really need to practice hands.





DAY 4-5 — Jan. 26-27, 2012

Reflections: Oops. Come home from work less tired or take a nap!

DAY 6 — Jan. 28, 2012

Reflections: I need to practice more realistic women. Overall I'm happy with how I've improved, but there's definitely a long way to go. The lines still look sloppy and I can't put my finger on what looks wrong with my hand. Possibly because my finger is attached to my hand.











DAY 7

Reflections: A different brush can really hide my flaws in drawing, which could also be a bad thing.

I need to keep proportion better. Anything I can do to help with that?

I tried sketching then sketching again over that - it takes longer obviously but I think it's helped.

(Feminine) Mienshao (Ritter)

In general I tried making a new pose with lots of curves.









More hand studies/anatomy



Rorona Zoro + Gallade (PKGaming)

1 hour I think? Zoro's face needs to be rounder.








DAY I'M TOO LAZY TO FIGURE OUT THE DAYS ANYMORE









My hand is pretty tired from all this sketching. I tried one of those 1 hour long "lessons" in wick's link which turned out just to be several 30-second figures then 1-minute then 5/10/30. You can pretty much tell which is which.










[hide='Cute' Purugly. Cat/animal anatomy is something to work on! (For Ritter)]
[/hide]



























DAY 27









DAY WHATEVERS


wip for above (i actually like the eyes/face better here...)
















INTERVAL OF TIME AS I FRANTICALLY LOOKED FOR A PLACE TO LIVE

























My game!
 
#2
These are actually quite good after you drew Zolo, but tracing you hand is a bit of a cheat. Putting your hand in front of you for refence isn't.

You are improving quickly, too quickly, 9.89 years too quickly...
 
#4
I love the premise of this thread, and let's hope it goes as well as the guy in the link (fuck he is amazing)
I can see improvement already since the early stuff, good luck for this thread!
I think the strategy you have of imitating from real life will pay off. It gives you an idea of scale, proportion, anatomy etc. This thread also helps with lots of cool tutorials
So for requests, I'll give you a few to keep you occupied. A cute Purugly, a badass Simisage and a feminine Mienshao
 
#5
oh my goodness, thank you so much for that link - I just read it from beginning to end, and it was absolutely unbelievable. sorry that I don't have much constructive criticism to give, but just wanted to say that I might be taking this idea on board too, and I'd love to see where you end up!
 

Mekkah

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#6
I remember hands being very annoying to draw, and looking at my own hand a lot when doing it. Definitely the way to go. This is why cartoons/comics often only use 3 fingers and a thumb. If this is going to be your style you may want to try that, it helps a lot!
 

Matthew

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#7
I'm actually quite in love with the ocean scene that you drew at my request. The reason I suggested these is for the feel of motion you have to develop when drawing them. The ocean isn't still and neither is a waterfall, but capturing how motion should look, and look well, is a difficult but rewarding skill to achieve. While I think the waterfall picture could use some work it isn't bad for the time put into it and it being your third day of drawings.

Like I said though, the ocean drawing is quite excellent.
 
#8
Thank god there are still people who exist that aren't convinced drawing is a skill you're born with when it isn't. It's true that some people have a "natural talent" or a natural drive to do art, but technical ability and correctness are basically 100% learned, so if you truly push yourself to get better each day then in ten years you will look back and be amazed at how far you've come. Anyways this is a fantastic goal and if you actually keep up with it and stick to it I guarantee your art will come out the better for it.

My first advice to you would be: study, study, study. And by study I mean study the things around you and draw them. Discard the idea of a "natural style". You do not develop a style and then learn to draw. You learn to draw then develop a style. I'm not saying that you shouldn't draw cartoons ever, because that would be awful of me, but your main focus should be on real life, especially the human form. Understanding the human form like the back of your hand will give you a gateway into drawing, and the nice thing is that references are all around you. Draw the people that you see. Draw people from reference. Study the musculature in anatomy books and completely grasp its form. Andrew Loomis is one of the greatest things you can study starting out. His books are online or able to be downloaded for free. It is very imperative for a person to learn real anatomy before attempting to do serious cartoon work. Part of cartooning is understanding the form and distorting it in a way that it is a parody of the original object but still recognizable. A cartoonist who doesn't understand anatomy is easily identifiable.

In addition to doing studies of the human body, don't forget to draw other creatures or still life as well. Looking at something and being able to draw to perfection is the goal that every artist should strive for. Familiarize yourself with common anatomy types such as canine, feline, equine, aves, reptile, and fish and eventually you will have a good enough understanding of animal anatomy that no animal is difficult to draw. For still life, pick interesting objects from around your house and just draw them. Learn the contours and shapes and colors of the world around you and apply it to your art.

Secondly, learn about color, hues, and shadows and how to draw them. Just like studying how to do realism, learn color theory. Learn what colors go well together, and how hues, saturation, and intensity of light plays into your picture. Play around with different swatches and understand how using a certain colors can make a picture more interesting to look at.

Try to abandon cross-hatching for now. It is easy for a beginner to do, but is generally a master's technique to actually do correctly (and by correctly I mean actually capturing the values of an object realistically). Because that's what shading is all about, learning to capture values. Relying totally on the pen tool will kill you starting out. Use some brushes that have natural smoothing (this is a good all purpose brush pack, go explore others too, though) and study some tutorials on light and getting a good shade.

Another problem I see immediately (as you already pointed out yourself) is that your lines are hairy and lack confidence. You also appear to be drawing from your wrist instead of your entire arm. Not to say you can't draw from your wrist (as many small details require it) but large lines will require long sweeping motions which should be an exercise of your arm. Get in the habit of moving your entire forearm for long strokes, or even your entire upper arm guided by your shoulder. This isn't to say that there is necessarily a correct way to draw, but only from the wrist will severely limit your scope and it's a bad habit to get into generally.

Anyways, about your lines: they are completely lacking confidence. You already have an image formed in your head, and you are going over your lines in short strokes in an attempt to draw that image out. This is the wrong way to go about things. Sketch lines should be an act that you do almost without thinking, something that happens in seconds. A single line should consist of just that: a single line, at most 2 or 3. Sketches are about not committing to an image. Sketch loose lines that are long and confident and that get general shapes but not much more, and from there draw out some detailing and start committing to the final sketch.

Finally: Absolutely do not be afraid to fail. Mindsets like "I can't draw humans very well so I'm not going to" will kill you. How are you meant to get better if you don't attempt to draw these things? Your first full body study will probably look like shit. Your second one will probably also look like shit. But the point is that that's ok, because everybody is shit starting out. Don't let it discourage you. Keep on drawing those bodies. Eventually, you will start producing people that you are proud of. Always directly tackle your problem areas by practice, and eventually you will be able to draw with confidence.

Anyways, I will direct you (as RitterCat already has) to our own tutorial thread, which also has good references mixed within. I tried to cover all the basics and stuff I could think of, but there's a lot more I have to say, I'm sure. If you want to contact me to speak on a specific matter, or just to elaborate something I've already said, feel free to PM me, or I'm found on #smeargle a good portion of the day (4pm-11pm central time generally). Best of luck to you :)
 
#9
Really? You think you're not a good artist? This stuff isn't bad at all.

The thing you have to watch out for though, is comparing your works to the original piece. That's the one prob I have with drawing pokemon sometimes. I'm always feeling like I have to be on par with some of the original artists that made the pokemon, or the artists that drew them differently and are considered amazing, such as NJ or Icepick. Thing is though, that you may never be satisfied with your work. I don't finish a piece and then say I think it's perfect. Because the artist that made the pic is most likely gonna find some errors in their art.

Now, you might need to copy other peoples art so you have an idea on different styles, and like how NJ said, how to draw. Once you feel satisfied with yourself, then you can try to add your own flare to the drawings. but yeah, don't be afraid to copy other peoples art to improve your own. Take the tutorials in the digital drawing's thread and keep on practising like you said you would. I think you can become a great artist in no time man.

If you have some spare time, can you make me a numel spewing fire for a challenge?

The challenge is so that you can try and learn how fire looks like. But with pokemon involved of course!
 
#10
nj I honestly wouldn't suggest adonihs's brush pack because it has a lot of "detailing" brushes that aren't particularly useful unless you really know what you're doing and want to add polish to a piece.

sarenji, I would suggest this brush pack, since it really has all the tools you need. the third brush in particular is a life saver if you want to add soft shadows without getting a airbrushed look, which is all kinds of ugly.

you totally have the potential to be a wonderful artist. I can't back up everything nj said enough; practice the fundamentals, and everything else will start to come a bit easier. good luck, and try to have some fun with this!
 
#11
really awesome project

I intend to start a similar endeavor soon, so it's uplifting in a way to know I'm not alone in that

best of luck for now! I know I will be keeping an eye on this thread, haha
 
#12
nj I honestly wouldn't suggest adonihs's brush pack because it has a lot of "detailing" brushes that aren't particularly useful unless you really know what you're doing and want to add polish to a piece.

sarenji, I would suggest this brush pack, since it really has all the tools you need. the third brush in particular is a life saver if you want to add soft shadows without getting a airbrushed look, which is all kinds of ugly.

you totally have the potential to be a wonderful artist. I can't back up everything nj said enough; practice the fundamentals, and everything else will start to come a bit easier. good luck, and try to have some fun with this!
i suggested them not because of the detailing brushes but because of the painting brushes, both of which are top notch imo

but yeah honestly the more brush packs you have the better
 
#13
Lol.

You drew my request in 30 minutes?!? Its actually fucking awesome for an amateur. I'm not saying that because we're friends. I'm a saying that because you drew 2 of my favorite characters. You actually got their likeness sorta. Don't get me wrong, you're not hot shit, you still have a ways to go before you become a super star. But your goal is achievable so keep at it!
 
#14
Holy crap, guys. Thanks a ton for the responses and criticism and support. I should mention that I don't think I'm a good artist in comparison to everyone here on Smogon — you guys are incredible. I'm gonna get on your requests and work more on anatomy. The tutorials/resources here are really helpful.

Matthew said:
I'm actually quite in love with the ocean scene that you drew at my request. The reason I suggested these is for the feel of motion you have to develop when drawing them.
Okay that makes sense, that's what I was missing with the waterfall-on-a-cliff drawing. I'll likely try another one soon!

Nastyjungle said:
<5000 pokedollar nuggets>
This criticism is *really* helpful, I'm really glad you took the time to criticize. We already talked on IRC so you know this already :)

I'll try the brushes ASAP; Photoshop's on my external HDD which doesn't want to work right now. I'm trying Corel painter now.
 
#15
DAY 7

Reflections: A different brush can really hide my flaws in drawing, which could also be a bad thing.

I need to keep proportion better. Anything I can do to help with that? EDIT: I haven't started reading Nastyjungle's links yet but that would probably help!

I tried sketching then sketching again over that - it takes longer obviously but I think it's helped.

(Feminine) Mienshao (Ritter)

In general I tried making a new pose with lots of curves.









More hand studies/anatomy



Rorona Zoro + Gallade (PKGaming)

~45 min. Zoro's face needs to be rounder.





 
#16
Uhhh, ummmmm...
I can't say anything NJ already said, plus I'm an impatient piece of crap whose only good pictures aren't finished yet, so I can't even be taken seriously.
I'll just emphasise a bit of cleaner lineart and wish you the best!
You're improving quickly!
Team Sarenji, blast off at the speed of light!
 
#17
The hand studies are looking great, and I love the little lips on the first Mienshao! I think a main thing you need to work on will be line thickness and smoothness of the curves and just lines in general lol. In Mienshao, it goes from thin to thick REALLY jerkily and unevenly. Line width changes should be smooth and make sense with the posing and tapering of lines towards the end of the line (look at Volmise's thread for quality tapering of lines). Lines should also curve smoothly and naturally: kinda like ) as opposed to }
Just some things to work on in future days :)
 
#18
this is exciting to see.

i'm tired of my friends trying to be masters of art by never drawing and then trying to draw like Tracy JB or something out of the blue and then getting upset because they can't. and then i tell them to practice BUT I DON'T WANNA PRACTICE THAT TAKES TIME OUT OF MY DAY

am i thrilled to see the result. i've been doing this sort of thing to learn painter, though not every day. it is working. watching someone livestream a drawing is good fun and a great help as well.
 
#20
i did some quick sketch thingers for user zracknel and then i used them to clarify some things from this thread further so why not just share them w the world


Nastyjungle said:
Sarenji said:
Hey Nastyjungle,

I posted an [thread=3461471]update[/thread] and Matthew told me that my lines are still lacking confidence, and that my sketches should use more straight lines. Also this:

<Matthew> it seems like you just bent lines to fit where you wanted them to go


which is definitely true. Then it occurred to me that I probably don't know what you (you specifically) mean by confident lines. Could you expand on that a little?

At any rate, Matthew also told me to sketch a Coke bottle using nothing but straight lines so I'm gonna try that tomorrow.
Hmmm, looking at your stuff I'd say maybe you are too focused on NOT doing hairy lines that you are going into the opposite realm: your lines are not fast and numerous, they are slow and you make only one of them. Really you are too focused on your lines all together. The point of a sketch isn't to have perfect lines (or straight lines), it's to capture the figure for further drawing in a quick manner. Simple sketches shouldn't take up big chunks of time, but also realize speed is another learned habit from a lot of practice, so it's ok if you aren't the Flash just yet. Still, be conscious of the time spent sketching and make sure it's reasonable.



This was the roughest of the rough, because all I'm doing is plotting the general shape, this took about 30 seconds to 1 minute to draw. You see that my lines are all 1 stroke, but I go over and I restate my lines several times in places like the back and legs. I'm not focusing on my lines, and taking longer than a half second to draw each one. Don't be very concerned about the neatness of your sketch, and don't focus too much on making it look nice in this stage. After I did that, on the same layer I started doing my "final" lines that would be part of the final sketch.



Notice that I still have many lines of restatement, but I am making the figure take shape and start doing loose details. This step probably took about 10 minutes, but that's alright because getting things in the right place is very important for the rest of the drawing.



Here, I did a bit more fleshing out of the head, a place with many details. Often, extra time is spent in places with lots of detail. Refining just the head probably took an additional 10 minutes, which is rather slow for me. But, learn that even if time is running over what you'd like it too, don't be stressed about it. You have to decide what kind of picture it is and if quickness is more important than quality. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. I didn't take this picture farther, but here is what one of these looks like finished:



It is not clean, and many of the lines are still very unfinished, but the point is that I'm pleased with it and it captures the figure I was drawing properly. So, what I am saying is, your problem is you are focused much too much on what your sketch looks like rather than if it captures the qualities you need. I say no hairy lines because that is a sign of many technical and fluid problems, not because hairy lines look bad. Don't be so concerned with making your sketches be in the EXACT space so that you can go over them with your lineart. Looseness is natural and it's ok if they aren't perfect.

Here is an example of a piece that is in the middle of being finished and being sketched:



Notice that my lines are restated many times, but I didn't refine them at all to start doing the actual drawing. That's ok! A long as they are good enough for me to start drawing from, then they accomplish their goal.

Confident lines merely means that they do not look like they are deliberate, if that makes sense. They should be a quick act, and not an act of perfection.

Haha I hope I articulated myself well enough! And, do you mind if I post this in your thread at some time, I feel like others may benefit from some of this info as well
 
#21
hi again. i'm going to go ahead and suggest you do some gestures, and figure drawing.
if you have two monitors, load this up on one and sketch on the other
e: it seems to be down now, but it should be up soon? :s

if you don't have two monitors, just sketch with paper.
This is amazing. Really helpful. I'm sketching on the 60 sec timer.







It feels like sketching is like an art form in itself — I'm gonna practice your link for a while! I think it'd be good to start at this step and work my way up to the more detail-ish sketches in NJ's PM to me.
 
#22
(' _ ')b

also dude what program are you using? also are you using a mouse or tablet or what? if you are using a tablet, than you really need to set whatever program you are using to recognize pen sensitivity.
 
#23
(' _ ')b

also dude what program are you using? also are you using a mouse or tablet or what? if you are using a tablet, than you really need to set whatever program you are using to recognize pen sensitivity.
Intuos3 with Corel Painter/Pixelmator. I might press too hard on the tablet or something. I have Photoshop but my external HDD needs to work first!

I actually drew a pretty good Simisage last night but Corel crashed literally right after I finished and was about to save. So here's another one!

Badass (?) Simisage (Ritter)



BTW I won't be updating this thread every day since I feel like I'd be spamming. I'll try a package deal kind of thing.

EDIT: Also you can see all my images so far in my imgur album.
 
#24
fucking YES, that has so much character and the lineart has improved so much! The pose and everything just feels right; sometimes on early work the anatomy seems to have -something- wrong with it, like that right arm in the sketches, but in the final it's great. It's not there yet (:P) but it's great improvement, keep it up :)