How to learn drawing anatomy

The Journey, The Process

Sept 24th, 2018

The aim of this post is to tell you about the drawing practice I’ve started to prepare myself for inktober this year. If you haven’t read my previous post on what I’m doing for inktober you can read it here.

Anatomy has always been a huge challenge for me. For years I’ve been trying to improve and while there has been progress there are a lot of areas I still haven’t improved in, at all. So after watching a lot of videos and reading a lot of books. It all came down to a lack of patience and an unwillingness to practice the basics.

Now what are the basics. From my knowledge these are what they are

  1. Gesture Drawing.

    The most basic part of developing good anatomy skills. What I’ve learned is this practice differs according to what you’re trying to learn. I will be focusing only on the movement of the pose. If you have been practising drawing anatomy for a while but still find your poses very stiff or not relatable at all then it is suggested you practice this. The focus is only on the motion .  ITS HOW THE POSE FEELS NOT HOW IT LOOKS.

     

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    Photo Credit :  The Art of Dave Pimentel

    However, this isn’t that easy, especially if you’ve made a lot of works copying references since you’re always focusing on the tiny details or trying to get the drawing to look just like the image you’re copying. I know, cause when I tried to do it, it was so hard. My mind kept telling me this isnt how it looks and its so hard to go against what you’ve been practicing for so long but I believe this part is fundamental to improving your skills in anatomy. I’m following this  video by Proko. BUT BEFORE THAT you should know gesture is and I recommend this  video to help you understand

    Stick man vs.Contour man this is also something you should go through for another approach on gesture drawing

  2. Understanding Forms.

    Once you’ve gotten used to identifying the flow of movement its time to add mass to the figure.  You’ll need to learn how the muscle groups work for this to work. If you’ve tried leaning anatomy before then you have already seen multiple variations of the mannequin that people use to build their figures.

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    Photo Credit : Proko

    These videos by JazzaSycraProko go through their process. Whichever model you choose its important you know how they’ve simplified the body. If you’re using their models then when you’re trying to block in the figure remember how they dealt with each muscle group and bone structure so that you’re able to apply it to any pose. If you can’t find any of their models usable you may amke your own but you can’t really simplify figures when you’re starting out. Maybe after practicing a while with their models, analyse why it doesn’t work and then try to modify the mannequin accordingly.
    I personally have not reached this stage as I write this, I am still focusing on finding the movement of the pose. You can be sure however, that as soon as I reach this part I will be making detailed notes on how to handle it

  3. Adding in the muscle groups

    Its time to flesh out the details. Don’t rush to get to this step. Unless you’re comfortable drawing the block figure in any position you won’t find it easy or satisfying when you add in the muscle groups. Take the time and learn it slowly. DON’T RUSH. Speaking from personal experience, I rushed and now I’m investing all my time in learning the basics again. The current plan of action for me is to do 100 poses as gestures for 100 days (starting 23rd Sept,2018) . More on that in another blog post

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    A page from Dynamic Anatomy by Burnes Hogaarth

    Dynamic Anatomy by Burne Hogarth is an amazing book which deals with this. Figure Drawing For All Its Worth by Andrew Loomis is another book which touches this subject really well.
    Again due to my lack of knowledge on the topic I won’t be going too in depth into this. There is a lot of great content out there by many amazing artists. Just google and you’ll wind up with so many resources you won’t even know where to start. I personally believe its impossible to go wrong with Andrew Loomis even though there are quite a few who say that his books are outdated, I haven’t come across
    any other author who discusses concepts in such detail.

  4. Lighting and Clothing

    This is like the final touches. Again completely inexperienced to talk about this subject. This book by James Gourney is one of the most recommended books to study lighting by many artists. There are also many amazing tutorials available on the internet for you to study. Again Andrew Loomis touches on this topic in his book Successful Drawing as well as Figure Drawing For All Its Worth. There are other ways recommended by many artists to study lighting and that is Master Studies. Not something I’ve practised ,yet , so I’ll link to this post by CG Cookie which will tell you all you need to know on learning how to do master studies.

    As for clothing. there are tutorials on Pinterest that tell how the folds of the cloths should be in accordance to the figure pose. Again master studies can be applied here as well. Dynamic Wrinkles and Drapery by Burnes Hogarth is an excellent book on the topic of clothing as well.

And with that I’ll end this blog post. Due to my inability to speak about many of the topics covered I’ve linked to various other resources that can help you. And that’s what I want to convey through this blog. Its about how I build up my experience but I also want to try and provide value to as many of my readers as possible. You can be sure I;ll have in depth tutorials for each of the topics I’ve covered as soon as I reach that level,

As always guys, leave me a comment and tell me how I did, if any of you learned anything, how I could deliver my content better, or any tips you have. Subscribe to this blog so that you don’t miss out on any content and I will see you in the next post

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Creating a story using random words

The Journey, The Process

Sept 22nd, 2018

The aim of this post is to help you create a story by using random words. I’ll be documenting my process for the inktober challenge this year and I hope this will help you get an idea of how to do it yourself

In my last post I talked about how to complete the Inktober challenge. One of the tips was to use a theme. What I’m gonna be attempting this inktober is to create a story using the official inktober prompt

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Official inktober prompt list for 2018

Picking a setting

What type of story is it? Is it romantic? adventurous? mystery? a crime thriller? Deciding this will help you set the mood for the entire story. For example, A crime thriller will have a much more dramatic tone. let’s take for example the word “chicken” you could illustrate a scene where the victim is found covered in blood and a lot of disfigured chickens by the side (very dark I know but you get the point). Let the setting dictate the gravity of each illustration and give each word a little context.

I, personally am going for a medieval fantasy setting. A grand ceremony is taking part in one of the largest kingdoms in the continent. The crown prince is getting married to  a princess from the neighbouring province. It is a time of joy and celebration but dark times are looming. Assailants from the neighbouring province have planned a sneak attack on the kingdom. The prince was poisoned and then the kingdom is in a pincer attack which forces the princess to take on the quest of retrieving a flower that could cure the prince. (for the sake of simplicity try to limit the number of characters in your story and keep it relatively simple while engaging. If you’re just starting out it will be very difficult if you try to take on too many plot twists and character development. So my focus will be on the princess’ character development

Writing it down

Pretty direct but easily ignored. Don’t keep it inside your head. When we think about it everything will seem clear. You believe you’ve got the idea down for all the days but trust me there will be loopholes. Once you start illustrating you’ll probably have spent too many words on the beginning and then you won’t have a proper ending. So write down your idea for each day it doesn’t have to be a detailed script. maybe just keywords to remind you what you want to show in the scene and how you want to show it

Here’s my list

 

Writing it down helped me to analyse the story. When i first wrote it. chop was to chop down the tree. prickly was prickly vines attacking the princess. and then stretch was the princess travelling back the entire stretch. going over it a second time i felt it was too negative and the story would be pretty weird. (the princess chops down a precious tree and when it attacks she just runs away.. I felt that destroyed the character development I had built up) So I changed chop to a group of bandits chopping down the tree. prickly to the princess building a trap made of prickly vines. stretch to the trap stretched enough to capture all the bandits. ( so the story changed to how the princess saved the tree and the tree gifts the princess the flower. (much more positive. I generally want my illustrations to be motivational, inspiring and positive so I always keep that in mind during the thought process)

Planning out the execution

Now that you’ve figured out the main illustration for each day its time to decide how to go about telling the story.

  1. Caption it . You make the main illustration and the context is given in the caption of your post. This is the most simple method and this is probably what I’ll be following for most of my illustration due to lack of time
  2. Multiple illustrations. The first scene for me is the prince being poisoned. But the context to that instead of writing it as a caption i could maybe make a supporting comic strip page. I will probably do this once Inktober is over cause I feel that the story is worth turning into a comic strip and I’ll finally have a fully finished comic strip I can show others

 

Well that’s it for this post. Stay tuned to this blog as I’ll be updating with my thumbnail sketches for Inktober! I hope this post helped you guys in formulating your own ideas. Do leave me feedback on how to improve my posts.

Inktober : How to complete the challenge

Art Help, The Journey

Sept 19th, 2018

 

The aim of this post is to give you some tips to help you get through Inktober and feel proud of yourself at the end of the challenge

Inktober

For those of you who don’t know Inktober is a monthly drawing challenge started by Illustrator Jake Parker. It challenges you to make a drawing in ink every day for the month of October. There is an official prompt list released by Jake Parker and there lists released by other artists as well.

While it definitely sounds fun, the task is quite the challenge. I’ve tried twice and I’ve failed. I would usually give up by the 9th or 10th day. And I think I’ve figured out why I failed. So I’m going to list the reasons why I feel like I failed and what I should have done.

  • A CLEAN WORK SPACE  I feel this is the #1 reason I fail every year. I usually just draw on a couch or on my bed and then once I’m done with the drawing my supplies just lie around where I last kept them.  If you have every thing you need right before you before you start the drawing then you’ll feel inclined to draw.

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    I know how artists are supposed to be these people that thrive on chaotic environments but just for once, after you’re done with day 1, organise your desk. clear off the pencil shavings, the eraser dust, the randomly placed books and papers,the food wrappers,etc. Keep all your supplies in a box or in a holder. so that when you come back to it the next day you don’t have to search for anything. I believe in this a lot because having an organised desk has definitely made me more productive

  • HAVE A THEME. The prompt lists usually have random words which aren’t really connected to one another. So coming up with an individual illustration for each day can often be confusing cause you’re searching for a new illustration that is unique to that word and you spend more time thinking than you do drawing. What some artists do is they have theme based prompts such as

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    And what that does is make the list more specific and by limiting your scope, it broadens your imagination. And there are other ways to go about it. Jake Parker himself uses a theme. The year before last each word was associated with his characters The Bot and The Sparrow. Last year he illustrated a group of a people on a journey and each day was attributed to a person

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    Jake Parker’s 2017 Inktober Illustration

     

  • SET A SPECIFIC TIME. This is important. Don’t be like I’ll draw when I feel like it. Schedule your day so that you have a specific time slot set apart just for inktober.  Unless its an emergency make sure you spend this time on your illustration. Personally, I wake up at 5. I know that I have no commitments from 5-7 and I’m very productive in the morning. So I just work on illustration during that time. So find a time where your mind doesn’t worry about anything else and you can focus on your illustration. If you can’t finish your piece within your allotted time slot, you can do one of two things

    1. Stick with the drawing until you complete it. If you have time to spare.
    2. Skip the next day’s and continue to work on your piece.

    I highly recommend finishing your illustration. Don’t worry if you didn’t finish it on time. If you start something make sure you finish it. At the end of the challenge you’ll be happier with 1 properly finished illustration rather than 31 rushed illustrations

  •  DO IT WITH FRIENDS. The more the merrier. Having someone to do the challenge with you is always a good idea (but make sure they really want to do the challenge don’t force them) . Having someone to do it along with you, you can discuss ideas, motivate and inspire each other. If you don’t have anyone you know doing the challenge then this is your chance to meet some new artists. On the social media handle that you’re posting your artwork search #inktober and hit up one of the artists doing the challenge, tell them how they did, what you liked about the picture. Most probably, they’ll check out your content and leave a nice comment for you as well , HOWEVER, Do not turn into a spam bot always asking others to check your work. You’re commenting cause you like the work. Not cause you want a follow/comment/like back.
  • HAVE FUN. I feel a lot of people just forget about this part. LOVE THE PROCESS. This challenge is to empower your love for the art of illustration. Don’t be like ” I have to finish one illustration today “. Be “I’m so pumped cause I get to make a new piece of artwork today”. This is your escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Take a few hours off to make something for yourself and have fun!

Well that’s it from me! Do you have any tips for completing inktober? Leave them in the comments below. Leave me some feedback so I can improve the quality of my content.

Share this post with someone who wants to do inktober this year. Also don’t forget to subscribe to the blog so that you don’t miss any posts.

Getting Organised

Art Help, The Journey

Sept 18th, 2018

The aim of this post is to help you organise your schedule when practicing. Even when learning technical details, there’s so much to learn.still life studies, gesture drawings, live sketches, master studies and the list goes and it can be overwhelming that you just feel terrified of starting.

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I’ve decided on where to start but there’s so much to do.

If this is what is going through your head right now then this post is meant for you. Before I begin let me just share one piece of advice.

“You can do anything but you can’t do everything”

This is so important and I personally fail to follow this. What I did was I planned a different exercise for each day thinking it would help me with all around improvement so I made schedules. Monday would be anatomy day, Tuesday would be still life day and so on but I soon found out I would procrastinate because of the wide variety of things I was doing and eventually lost interest. Also when you try to focus on so many things at once your progress slows down as well.. cause if you’re practising anatomy only one day a week you probably won’t see any improvement even after 3 weeks have passed since basically you’ve only practised 3 days.

So what I currently do is I focus on just one area , for example my human figures are great until the torso ends beyond that point it just looks wrong. So what I focus on is that particular area when doing anatomy studies. And until I get better at it or feel content about the progress I don’t deviate to any other practice.

This is called Deliberate Practice. It is the best way to improve your skills. It requires you to focus on one area that you want to improve on, the more specific the area the more you’ll see progress and then just working on it until you see results. What’s IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER is just drawing everyday will not make it deliberate practice, that’s iterative practice and what that does is build muscle memory but we need to go deeper than that. As soon as you finish a 30 min practice session go back and check on your drawings. See where it is you made a mistake. Compare your drawing to the reference . This link leads you to a well written post by Proko who tells you how to identify your mistakes and what to do with them. He speaks about human anatomy but you can use his tips and apply it to whichever field you’re practising in. However, if you feel like you still don’t get it drop me a comment and I’ll try and help you out by either linking you to the right resources or sharing my experience.

Summarising up

  • Focus on the area that you want to improve on
  • Work on that specific area until you start seeing progress or feel happy with where you’ve reached
  • Consistency more important than quantity. If you can only do one sketch per day then make sure you do one practice sketch each day
  • Analyse. See where you went wrong. Ask yourself how you can fix it
  • Get Feedback. Post the study sketches onto active forums or with artists you know who can help you
  • Move onto the next area you want to work on as soon as you feel the progress satisfactory

Resources

Line of Action : This is a site where you can practice figure drawing, animal drawing, expressions, hands and feet. Its got an active forum where you’ll find lots of people willing to help and share their experiences

Aaron Blaise : Want to learn how to draw animals. Learn from one of the industry experts. Aaron Blaise’s youtube channel is filled with all kinds of tutorials to help solve all your problems

Monika Zagrobelna : Another inspiring artist who posts a lot of animal tutorials. Both real life animals and imaginary creatures

Proko : When it comes to human anatomy I haven’t seen any other youtube channel that goes so in depth into understanding the figure

Well that’s it for this post. Don’t forget to give me feedback on my content so that I can get better and provide more value for you guys. Subscribe to this blog so that you don’t miss a post!

 

Getting Started

The Journey

Sept 17th, 2018

 

The aim of this blog post is to help you decide on where to start if you are currently stuck on your journey or your just confused on where to begin. I’ll talk about understanding which stage you are at currently and the best course of action based on the stage that you are at.

Where do I start?

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This is the question most of us face when we decide to start on our journey to becoming an artist, or basically any journey but I’ll be focusing on the life of an artist since that is what I aim to become. I too face that question now. I’ve read the books, I’ve watched the videos and there’s just so much to do. You’ve got to market yourself, build an audience, create artwork, practice your skills, update your social media and I’m not even getting into the nuances that lie under each category. Now what I believe you should do is identify the stage of the journey you are at currently and then decide on a course of action

This video by Crowne Prince is one way to find out your level and even mentions what to do at each level. So go through that to get an idea. Here’s my list

  •  If you’ve just started drawing recently or if you’ve been drawing for a while but your pieces lack precision even when copying references you should focus ONLY on IMPROVING YOUR ARTWORK. Focus on the areas that you feel very uncomfortable drawing with. If its the linework do exercises on those, if its anatomy and proportion read and practice the techniques in Successful Drawing by Andrew Loomis (This book is good no matter which level you are at. It is literally everything you need to know on drawing. BUT PLEASE REMEMBER JUST CAUSE YOU FINISH THIS BOOK YOU WILL NOT CREATE A MASTERPIECE. DEPLOY PATIENCE AND KEEP PRACTISING)

 

  • You can draw from references really well and you’re technical skills aren’t the best but they’re good enough to turn some eyes. At this stage I would recommend BUILDING A PORFOLIO You’ve done the studies, you’ve practised a lot. Its time to make a product that you can market. Here the important thing to remember is ITS OKAY IF ITS NOT PERFECT. You need a product not a project Watch this amazing video by Jake Parker to help you understand why.

 

  • This is it. You’ve made the product and it can be anything from a series of artworks you sell as prints or maybe a book full of illustrations or the portfolio for getting into college/ gaining new clients. This stage is when you start getting into marketing. When you LEARN ABOUT SEOs AND HOW TO USE FACEBOOK ADS,TARGETING YOUR AUDIENCE,ETC

 

So where does blogging and making a social media presence come up? From day 1. DOCUMENT. DON’T CREATE an amazing video by Gary Vee tells you why you should record your content, the WIPs, the failures, the attempts. Do something every day and show it to the world. No matter which level you are at, document what you do.

I’ll create more content that goes in depth on each of these categories, improving your art skills, building a portfolio, marketing,etc., so until then stay tuned. Leave me a comment if this helped clear things up. Your feedback will help me better my posts so they can be more helpful to you.