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Author Topic: Learning to Draw  (Read 7896 times)

Urist Arrhenius

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Learning to Draw
« on: March 30, 2015, 12:14:07 pm »

I'm hoping to get some advice on how to draw. Here's what's going on:

My Current State
Circles are a challenge, my handwriting is terrible, and I could not be further from a competent artist. However, I have a basic familiarity with GIMP, a fair amount of time to devote to learning to draw, and I'm usually fairly quick to pick things up.

My Goals
Most immediately I want to be able to create maps, characters, and  scenes for forum games which will be visually appealing, convey relevant information, and garner interest from players.

What I Need from You
Tutorials, exercises, advice, and once I start posting things criticism. This is not where my sense of self worth comes from, so criticism will not hurt me, only help. I just really need help learning how to do this stuff.

Is there anything else somebody would need to know to be able to help me? Do you have any advice?
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Nirur Torir

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Re: Learning to Draw
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2015, 03:05:38 pm »

Ctrl+Paint videos are generally good.

You might want to start with gesture drawings, either from life or from www.posemaniacs.com. Basically, take 45-60 seconds each to draw a stick figure, and use any extra time to flesh it out (Watch the Ctrl+Paint videos on them). They're great for building an instinctive sense for body proportions, practicing different poses, and brush control.

Is there anything else somebody would need to know to be able to help me? Do you have any advice?
What are you using to draw, mouse or tablet?

If you're using a mouse, there's a smooth stroke setting under the brush tools box that you may find useful.
I think the default keys for changing the brush size are '[' and '],' which are useful without the easy tablet pressure-size functionality.
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bahihs

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Re: Learning to Draw
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2015, 03:21:12 pm »

I'd be very much interested in this as well. @Arrhenius, do you mind if I tag along with you on your project (and post stuff along with you?); I'd rather not clutter up the forums with an identical thread (if its a problem, I of course, will respect that).

Ctrl+Paint videos are generally good.

You might want to start with gesture drawings, either from life or from www.posemaniacs.com. Basically, take 45-60 seconds each to draw a stick figure, and use any extra time to flesh it out (Watch the Ctrl+Paint videos on them). They're great for building an instinctive sense for body proportions, practicing different poses, and brush control.

Is there anything else somebody would need to know to be able to help me? Do you have any advice?
What are you using to draw, mouse or tablet?

If you're using a mouse, there's a smooth stroke setting under the brush tools box that you may find useful.
I think the default keys for changing the brush size are '[' and '],' which are useful without the easy tablet pressure-size functionality.

Its possible to draw with the mouse!? (Then again, I've only ever used paint...)

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Jopax

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Re: Learning to Draw
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2015, 03:24:25 pm »

I've seen people create amazing stuff using the mouse and Excel. Doing stuff with a mouse is possible but not as easy and natural as with a proper tablet.

Anyways, first thing I recommend anyone, aside from Ctrl+Paint is "Fun with pencil" from Andrew Loomis, it's free and easy to find online, go trough that toroughly and you can't go wrong. After that I suggest checking out his other books and going hunting for more specific things you may want to learn.
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ShadowHammer

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Re: Learning to Draw
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2015, 03:26:11 pm »

I'm not very good at drawing, but I'll PTW for tips and progress and stuff.
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Nirur Torir

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Re: Learning to Draw
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2015, 05:27:39 pm »

I'd be very much interested in this as well. @Arrhenius, do you mind if I tag along with you on your project (and post stuff along with you?); I'd rather not clutter up the forums with an identical thread (if its a problem, I of course, will respect that).
It's a slow board. Start your own thread. Commit. It'll encourage you to improve faster.

Its possible to draw with the mouse!? (Then again, I've only ever used paint...)
I started on a mouse for a few years, and still semi-frequently use it over getting my tablet out. It's a bit harder to control, and presents a few stylistic limitations (No smooth transitions from pressure, and swarms of tiny fast strokes look fairly bad). It forced me to learn to make clean lines, but now I probably zoom in too much. It's a little slower to draw with, but not too bad after enough practice. I'm also too inclined to skip quick sketches, which might be from them looking to chaotic with a mouse, or it might be my natural perfectionism.

Commit.
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Magnumcannon

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Re: Learning to Draw
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2015, 06:31:36 pm »

I'm not very good at drawing, but I'll PTW for tips and progress and stuff.
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bahihs

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Re: Learning to Draw
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2015, 06:47:39 pm »

I'd be very much interested in this as well. @Arrhenius, do you mind if I tag along with you on your project (and post stuff along with you?); I'd rather not clutter up the forums with an identical thread (if its a problem, I of course, will respect that).
It's a slow board. Start your own thread. Commit. It'll encourage you to improve faster.

Its possible to draw with the mouse!? (Then again, I've only ever used paint...)
I started on a mouse for a few years, and still semi-frequently use it over getting my tablet out. It's a bit harder to control, and presents a few stylistic limitations (No smooth transitions from pressure, and swarms of tiny fast strokes look fairly bad). It forced me to learn to make clean lines, but now I probably zoom in too much. It's a little slower to draw with, but not too bad after enough practice. I'm also too inclined to skip quick sketches, which might be from them looking to chaotic with a mouse, or it might be my natural perfectionism.

Commit.

I'm not seeking to be a professional artist or anything of that nature. Nor am I in any sort of rush to become competent. I do have similar goals to the OP (being able to draw things for my tabletop campaigns, as opposed to forum games) which is why I'd rather post with here, but again I'd like to take my time. But commitment isn't really the problem. I just wanted to avoid creating a separate thread for what is essentially the same purpose. In any case, it's the OP's thread so if he feels the same way, I'll scamper away (well I'll watch, anyway)
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Urist Arrhenius

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Re: Learning to Draw
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2015, 10:46:22 pm »

Ctrl+Paint videos are generally good.
So for today I basically just watched a few of those videos and tried out their techniques. Didn't come up with anything worth posting, mostly for tablet problems (see below). Tomorrow I'll try to post some real content, mostly to keep myself committed.

Question about PS: Is it worth it? Or will GIMP work just as well? I know a number of the shortcuts are different, but I can work those out. I'm just wondering if professional software is really helpful.

Quote
Is there anything else somebody would need to know to be able to help me? Do you have any advice?
What are you using to draw, mouse or tablet?

If you're using a mouse, there's a smooth stroke setting under the brush tools box that you may find useful.
I think the default keys for changing the brush size are '[' and '],' which are useful without the easy tablet pressure-size functionality.
I have a Bamboo tablet, but right now it doesn't seem to be doing any sort of pressure sensing. I've searched around online and they recommend updating drivers, which I'm working on now. Anybody know of any other reasons this might be?

I'm not seeking to be a professional artist or anything of that nature. Nor am I in any sort of rush to become competent. I do have similar goals to the OP (being able to draw things for my tabletop campaigns, as opposed to forum games) which is why I'd rather post with here, but again I'd like to take my time. But commitment isn't really the problem. I just wanted to avoid creating a separate thread for what is essentially the same purpose. In any case, it's the OP's thread so if he feels the same way, I'll scamper away (well I'll watch, anyway)
Feel free to tag along, though I'll agree that making your own thread would probably be better for your own sake and the Creative Projects board isn't exactly prone to clutter.
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Shook

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Re: Learning to Draw
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2015, 07:07:37 am »

I have a Bamboo tablet, but right now it doesn't seem to be doing any sort of pressure sensing. I've searched around online and they recommend updating drivers, which I'm working on now. Anybody know of any other reasons this might be?
If you're using GIMP, then i can inform you that i can't get it to register pressure either, for some odd reason. I've had more luck with Krita, which is a very good free alternative, although it seems to me that it's more geared towards drawing/painting, while GIMP is more for editing.

Also, regarding the driver, i got the driver for my Bamboo tablet on this particular page, although i am almost entirely certain that you've been looking in there already. Beyond that, i stand ready to offer advice for specific subjects, since i'm terrible at giving generalized advice. :v
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Mesa

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Re: Learning to Draw
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2015, 07:38:43 am »

As a fellow noob artist with a medium-grade Wacom tablet and Krita, PTW.
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Arx

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Re: Learning to Draw
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2015, 08:05:07 am »

Well, I consider myself a little above average with a pencil and paper, and my handwriting's terrible, so there's that. And now, let me quote just about every single advice post from the Engraver's Guild: draw from life. It helps, I promise. Posemaniacs is a pretty good substitute for poses, as far as I can tell, but doing thirty-second sketches (stick figures! weird lines! ellipses for heads) of people going about their lives in various poses makes it a ton easier to figure out poses in your head.

I wouldn't say there's anything inherently better about Photoshop, but if GIMP doesn't push your buttons try something else. I've never used a tablet, though, so take this with salt to taste.

Oh yeah, and some more advice: practice a ton. I draw in class near-constantly (I'm a tactile learner, I pay attention to the subject, I swear), and it's pretty much the only reason I can draw acceptably. Can't draw circles? Sit and draw circles. Draw things that require you to draw circles. Try different ways of drawing circles.

And obviously when you post drawings we'll be able to help you fix things you did wrong. :v
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Cobbler89

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Re: Learning to Draw
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2015, 05:04:48 pm »

I can't draw circles either, but I've discovered (far later than I would have liked) that it matters exactly nil unless you're using one of those methods where you start with geometric shapes. The thing that helped me most, of anything, was... I think it was called "blind contour drawing" or something like that -- you look at a real-life object and try to trace it as if you were moving your hand along the object rather than the paper, no backtracking, no looking at the paper. It ends up simultaneously crappy (because you inevitably don't line up one distance to another) and fantastic (because it somehow manages to resemble what you're tracing) -- but more importantly, after you do it a few times you can start looking at your paper just a smidge to make things end up lining up, at which point it becomes great training for hand-image coordination. Once you have a sense of how to connect what you're seeing to what you're doing with your hands you can tackle all the other things (breaking the image into details instead of tracing the whole thing, making parts lighter and darker, using different styles of drawing to get different effects, etc.) much more easily. Or at least, I could, and for years I thought I was artistically incapable because I can't draw circles. Granted, I'm not at all sure if/how it works with a tablet instead of paper... As they say on TVTropes, "Your Mileage May Vary".
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Rolepgeek

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Re: Learning to Draw
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2015, 09:55:14 pm »

It would help if we at least saw some of your attempts. As it stands, I could the say the same of a lot of people's art skills, including mine.
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Urist Arrhenius

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Re: Learning to Draw
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2015, 09:19:10 am »

It would help if we at least saw some of your attempts. As it stands, I could the say the same of a lot of people's art skills, including mine.
Yeah, I've been busy for two days. Have one of my attempts at a still life of random stuff around the lab as compensation! I'm working on downloading Krita as well, so hopefully soon my tablet and comp will be communicating effectively.
Spoiler: Stuff around the lab (click to show/hide)
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