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Author Topic: John's Drawing Lessons  (Read 734 times)

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Offline John Red Beard

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John's Drawing Lessons
« on: June 20, 2021, 12:07:16 AM »
I decided to write a series of beginner level drawing lessons. If you have any questions, want to suggest topics for future topics, or want to share your results from the practice exercises, you can post in this thread or PM me directly.

Let's get started:

Lesson 1: Materials

Let’s begin with an overview of some basic materials you’re going to need. I’ll cover both physical and digital media. Even if you plan on mainly making digital art, I suggest starting with physical media when learning the fundamentals. But if it’s easier for you to work digitally, that’s fine. The fundamentals of drawing are the same either way.

Physical Media

Pencils
If all you have is a basic #2 pencil, that’s okay. But if you can, get yourself a few art pencils. They come in different grades of hardness indicated by a number and letter code. H pencils have hard lead and make a faint line. The higher the number, the harder the lead and the fainter the mark. B pencils have a soft lead and make a dark line. They’re also harder to erase. The higher the number, the softer the lead and the darker the mark. An HB pencil is right in the middle.

I recommend either a 2H or 4H, an HB, and either a 2B or 4B. Try them out with some scribbling and sketching to get a feel for the difference.

Erasers
There are several different kinds of erasers out there, but in my experience, a regular old pink school eraser works pretty well.

Pens
There are lots of drawing pens on the market and I’ll be honest, it can be hard to fine good ones that work for you, so you might have to buy a few brands and try them out. Personally, I like Pigma Microns, because they work well for slow, methodical inking, but that might not be how you’re comfortable working.

The important thing is to get a few pens with different width lines, one thin, one broad, and one in between.

Paper
You’re going to want two kinds of paper: one relatively cheap kind for lots of rough and dirty practice, and one good kind for more careful, in-depth practice, and for finished drawings.

For the former, a pad of artist sketch paper is great. 8.5 x 11 (A4 in European sizes) or a little larger is best. If you don’t have access to that or it’s out of your price range, all purpose printer paper is a cheap alternative. I don’t recommend newsprint though. That’s TOO cheap.

For the nicer paper, a pad of artist drawing paper is pretty good. Bristol board is even better. It comes in smooth and vellum surfaces. Smooth is good for marker drawings. Vellum is better for pen and pencil. If you don’t have access to either of those or can’t afford them, card stock for printers is a pretty good alternative. Size recommendation is the same as for practice paper.

Digital Media

Adobe Photoshop is an industry standard for digital art, but it’s very expensive for the average consumer, especially one just learning to draw. The good news is, there are some affordable alternatives. For laptops and desktops, Affinity Photo is very similar to Photoshop, at a much lower price point, and for tablets, Procreate is a good drawing and painting app, though it does have some quirks that take some getting used to. I hear good things about Krita too.

A stylus is a must, as is a drawing table if you’re working on a laptop or desktop. Drawing with your finger or a mouse is far more difficult, and a very different skillset. Drawing tablets have a huge price range, so do some shopping. It may be tempting think you need one with a built-in screen, but those tend to be much more expensive, and it’s not as necessary as you might think. It’s pretty to get used to drawing on a screenless tablet.
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Offline Alessia Starfurr

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Re: John's Drawing Lessons
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2021, 12:54:12 AM »
Well good luck with that John...
Uhh..Lord I didn't train to be a pilot. Tell me I don't have any more flying to do today.........................  Amen. ~ 'Dutch' Halo3 ODST.

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When people are lost they turn to the man who  acts like he knows the way out,  when the truth is he knows less than them. ~ John McMillan Original War

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Re: John's Drawing Lessons
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2021, 07:35:11 AM »
looking good John, all I use is also pencil and paper for my main drawings
a scanner to scan my drawings onto my laptop
I use Paint Tool SAI to finish them.


Shading is my main weakness.
All my drawings are on my Deviant Art profile;
here https://www.deviantart.com/firox-fox/gallery
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Offline John Red Beard

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Re: John's Drawing Lessons
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2021, 03:11:31 PM »
That’s similar to what my process used to be: pencil sketch, pen for the final lines, then scan and color digitally. Nowadays I mostly do digital from start to finish.
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Re: John's Drawing Lessons
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2021, 03:36:44 PM »
That’s similar to what my process used to be: pencil sketch, pen for the final lines, then scan and color digitally. Nowadays I mostly do digital from start to finish.
yeah well problem with coloring digitially for a sketch is that sometimes even with pen there are holes in the lines... which causes some programs to bleed your selection into the background.... Though this can be fixed by using the program your using to 'fix' those holes.
Uhh..Lord I didn't train to be a pilot. Tell me I don't have any more flying to do today.........................  Amen. ~ 'Dutch' Halo3 ODST.

We all go through peroids of darkness. In such times we can turn to the Lord, but it's good to have friends ~  Joshua Graham , Fallout New Vegas, Honest Hearts.

When people are lost they turn to the man who  acts like he knows the way out,  when the truth is he knows less than them. ~ John McMillan Original War

Credits: Alesssia pictures by JackThorn/Tomas13

Offline Firox

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Re: John's Drawing Lessons
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2021, 07:26:59 PM »
that part is annoying, I know some times one single line not connecting will cause the entire background to be selected, and I have to zoom in and find out where the non collecting line is. 


Harder for me to do it digitally, so I still use pencil and paper for the main drawing.
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Linette's 6 Vee-Kits: Mia - Leah - Tony - Dennis - Kevin - Matt
Arval/Aycan's young ones: Sevim - Lia - Arylett - Sean - Cerim - Jay - Michael

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Re: John's Drawing Lessons
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2021, 08:18:54 PM »
Great work, John. Keep it up, buddy!

Offline John Red Beard

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Re: John's Drawing Lessons
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2021, 12:04:16 AM »
Great work, John. Keep it up, buddy!
I will! Right now, in fact!

Lesson 2: Introduction to Sketching

The lines you see in a finished drawing are almost never the first lines that were put down on paper. A drawing needs to be mapped out, experimented with, and refined, often several times, before committing to a single line. That process is called sketching.

What is Sketching?
Sketching is like an intentional and directed form of scribbling. It’s fast, loose, and lively. It’s meant to capture the general form of the thing you’re drawing, not the exacting details, and to work out the composition and proportions. In other words, sketching helps you figure out what you’re doing and work out any problems with your drawing while it’s still early enough to fix them. But sketching can also be an art all its own.

How Do I Do It?
If you’re using physical media, get your sketching paper and a pencil (use HB or softer). If you’re using digital media, create a new picture and select a pencil brush. Practice scribbling very lightly, with the tip of your pencil/stylus barely touching the paper/tablet. It should barely make a mark. Scribble some straight lines, some round shapes, and some arcs and S shapes. Any abstract shape that comes to mind or flows to your hand is fine. Keep going until you’ve filled up the page/canvas with barely-there scribbles.

Do the same thing on a fresh piece of paper/canvas, but this time, experiment with using more or less pressure to get different levels of light and dark. Fill up the whole page/canvas with a variety of light, medium, and dark scribbles.

Now find some objects. Just any old objects as long as they have a shape more interesting than “square” or “ball.” They can be in photos or real life, but for this exercise, they should be real things you see, not drawings or anything from your imagination (that will come later). Sketch each object, beginning very loosely with barely-there lines, then gradually increasing the pressure and slow down slightly as you hone in on the shape. These sketches don’t need to be very big, but they shouldn’t be teeny tiny. Around 2-4 on a page is good.

This is one of the most important exercises you can do to improve your drawing skills. Do at least a few pages before moving on to the next lesson, but then keep sketching things you see throughout your drawing learning journey.
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Offline John Red Beard

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Re: John's Drawing Lessons
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2021, 03:39:29 AM »
Lesson 3: Sketching for Drawing

In this lesson, we’ll use light sketches as the first step for more finished drawings, and learn first hand why that’s so important.

Drawing without Sketching
First, use a pen or soft pencil (or a pen brush in digital media) to draw some simple shapes, a circle, a square, and a few other shapes of your choosing. Suggestions: an egg, a triangle, a star, a cube. Draw with careful, dark lines. Don’t erase, don’t use undo, don’t go back over any lines, except to darken them up if they come out too light.

If you’re anything like me, or most other people, your shapes didn’t come out very even or visually appealing.

Sketching First
Next, use a hard pencil with a light touch, or in digital media, use a pencil brush with a light color, like light blue or red. Sketch all of the same shapes. Remember to start loose and scribbly and refine as you find the shape, but keep the lines light.

Once you’ve found each shape through sketching, switch to a pen, soft pencil, or black pen brush and draw directly over your sketch. In digital media, do this on a separate layer. This attempt will mostly likely yield much nicer shapes than the first.

But what do you do about the scribbly lines under your drawing? If you made your final lines in pencil, not much. That’s just a limitation/quirk of the medium. If your final lines are ink though, let the drawing sit for at least half an hour to make sure the ink is fully dry, then gently erase the sketch. And if you’re working in digital media, you’re in luck! All you have to do is hide or delete the sketch layer.

More Practice!
Try some more of the object sketching exercise from the last lesson, but this time, sketch lightly with a hard pencil and then ink your sketches.
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