Day 42: Fake it ’til you make it

Faces, Figures and CubesI was watching an art tutorial video today and the guy mentioned that art is one of those areas where you just need to “fake it ’til you make it”.  He was talking more specifically about master studies which I really want to have a go at some time but I think the concept pretty much works in general.  The main thing you need to do to learn how to draw is practice … a lot.  Basically the way I see it is you draw a whole lot of bad pictures.  Then you pick up some nuggets of information and try to apply them and draw even worse pictures for a while.  Gradually you get back to just drawing a whole lot more bad pictures.  Then rinse and repeat until eventually the pictures start looking less bad.

So I’ve been basically just beating around the bush with this piece I want to do but I’ve also been trying to go through the full process as if it were a proper painting I was doing (you know, one that isn’t just going to end up sucking anyway).  That means doing lots of rough sketches, studies and thumbnails.  I’m kind of working my way through figuring out the process as I go.  Anyway, today’s sketches were basically just more on that.  I can’t seem to get the guy’s pose right so I was sketching out a couple of figures, trying to figure out how to pose him.  I was also working on the faces, which are still pretty horrendous.  The faces probably wouldn’t really be visible anyway but I still want to at least try to get them right.  Here’s the actual sketch that I did for the piece today:

Stroll Blocking SketchIt’s still pretty much the same as yesterday’s sketch but without the random cubes this time.  I was sketching it out on a bigger sheet of paper this time so that I could get a better idea of what the sizes will end up looking like.  I also tried to take it a little bit further this time.  I need to get a better handle on the perspective though because that car looks way off.  I think figuring out a basic perspective should probably be my next step.  I also need to get the poses right, I’m still not sure they’re quite there although I did try to fix them a bit after doing the figures.  If you look at the faces in this sketch though you’ll get a better idea of why I decided I needed to draw them out in full.  They’re pretty scary.  All in all I’m not exactly confident that I’ll get this piece done but I’m going to keep trying a bit more.  I think I need a lot more practice on the basics before I’ll be able to do anything decent.  Still, trying to prepare a piece is good practice in itself.

I also did a couple of super basic photoshop tutorials today.  I’m not really looking to get too deep into photoshop for painting or drawing right now but it’s still useful information to have.  I don’t really have the tools I need for digital painting and I really can’t afford them.  I think if I really wanted to try to do anything with photoshop I would need a tablet.  Right now I can’t even afford art books so a tablet is definitely out of the question.  Anyway, I really need to develop my basic drawing skills with pencil and paper before I think about really diving into the digital world.  The tutorials were on the ctrl+paint site that I mentioned yesterday though, as part of a track that also offers a lot of tutorials for traditional drawing, so I decided to check them out.  It was actually quite interesting and I had fun learning a bit more about photoshop.  I learned how to mix my own paints using photoshop, which while it may seem unnecessary is actually quite neat and nice for giving it more of a traditional feel and not interrupting your workflow.  Here’s the exercise I did for that:

Photoshop Paint Blending ExercisePaint Blending Exercise with fadingThe first one was the regular exercise.  The top row of colours in each set are the examples that we’re supposed to aim for (with the top right being the pre-done example).  The goal was to use only the rightmost and the leftmost colour swatch in each set to mix all of the intermediate colours.  This was all done using keyboard shortcuts with only the brush and eyedropper tools allowed, no accessing the colour picker.  I actually found it quite fun and I don’t think I did too badly at it.  The second picture was a bonus part to the exercise where you use the softer brush to try to make the colours look like they’re blending into each other rather than being in separate swatches.  I accidentally blended one of the examples.  I don’t really think it looks as nice as the first one but it was still fun to do.

Now that I’ve finished the basic photoshop tutorials I’m on to the actual drawing tutorials which will be much more useful to me for where I’m at right now.  Still, it’s always nice to get an idea of the possibilities.  Some of the things I would see artists do in tutorials where they were using photoshop seemed like wizardry but now that I have a better understanding of what the tools can do when you know how to use them and know the shortcuts it doesn’t seem quite so impossible anymore.  It almost makes me wish I had enough money for a tablet so that I could play around with it more and do my master studies in photoshop.  I think I’ll be better served in the long run just sticking to traditional media for now though.  It forces me to really learn the fundamentals and practice my basic drawing skils rather than getting distracted by gadgets and all of the things you can do with technology.  Hopefully I’ll become a better artist for it :).

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