If you have been watching this blog up till now, you might be thinking that I know a lot about anatomy. Truth is, I don’t. I have a lot of good anatomy books, but I rarely look at them. The reason why I have them is so that I can look into it later on when I need it. My advice to you if you’re just starting out is this: Don’t be too obsessed with anatomy books. That’s something you’ll pick up as you go. Most of the time when I’m sketching I just go with what “looks or feels right.”
If you’re fixated on anatomy and having everything correct when you’re starting out, then you won’t be able to experiment and have fun playing around. Experiment and play around with what you currently know. For example, right now I have a bit of knowledge about the Deltoid. The shape of the Deltoid helps me to rough out the shoulder. That’s it. I don’t know much else. Later on when I know more about the leg (for example), then I will start incorporating the knowledge into my sketches. In the meantime, I don’t worry about it, and I work with what I [currently know].
One more thing I want to share: The sketches you see below are broken into three days (Top, Mid, Bottom). In this example, I was exploring shapes. When you’re starting out or explore something new for the first time, you do not have full confidence because you’re in unknown/new territory. Your sketches might look funny but keep pressing on. In day two, I got a hang of it. Day three, I knew what I was doing and aiming for.
I don’t sketch that often, not on papers anyway. And the reason is that I suffer from this “I’m not good enough yet, and I don’t want to ruin my sketchbook” syndrome. Which is why I do a lot of sketching and doodling in Krita—that’s how I improved. That way, I don’t waste paper! However, there’s an disadvantage to this. The first is that you can’t sketch the variety of things you see in real life. Trees, houses, poles etc… And secondly, you can’t carry Krita with you when you’re on the road, waiting for a bus.
I thought that I was one of the few who suffers from the syndrome mentioned above, but apparently A LOT of beginner artists suffer from it, something I learned after watching this video:
The artist in this video made a very good point about Pianists. Artists have this “fear” of messing up their sketchbooks because they have this “reverence” for them. On top of this, most of them make the excuse that they’re not good enough to draw in their sketchbook. As a result of this, the majority of them let their sketchbooks remain on the shelf collecting dusts, and they never improve because of that.
Pianists on the other hand do not suffer from this problem. After their practice session, there’s no record of it! All their mistakes went into thin air. They have no fear nor reverence. Mistakes are normal and it will soon be forgotten forever. Unless, of course they purposely record their practice session, but generally they don’t. That’s why after their practice, even if they suck or didn’t do well, there’s no record of it. But the act of playing the scale does something to the hands and brain, and that’s what matters in the end. Artists need to get into the habit of doodling. The whole idea behind doodling is the same idea behind a Pianist practicing his scale.
So I went out today and bought a few low quality sketchbooks. Since the purpose is not to make masterpieces, but to doodle and throw away or keep as a record.
Birds isn’t my thing. I’m more interested in the human figure, but to grow as an artist, we must get outside of our comfort zone, and to always try out new styles and subjects. Nothing you do will become a waste. If that hand is moving, and that mind is thinking, it will in the end work out for your good, though you might not see how in the moment.
To me, art is problem solving. I was asked to draw a bird, something simple and basic. It must not be too realistic with tons of details. Since I’m not a bird artist, I have no idea where to begin. Then I remember what Rembrandt once said: “If you want to paint an apple, you’ve got to be an apple!” First step is to always study your subject, and become intimate with it. And since I’m not in a position where I can have easy access to birds, search engine is my only option. So I pulled out my sketchbook.
#1, #2: With no aim, I started to draw what I saw. #3,#4: but quickly realized that I needed to pick one specific bird, instead of drawing random birds. It’s a lot easier to study and analyze when you have just one type of bird to focus on vs many. #5: Studying certain parts. #6: The simplifying and sketching from imagination begins. #7: Trying to understand wings. I looked up some cartoon wings to see how other artists depict them. Learn from others if you’re stuck!
Krita comes with a lot of brushes that can give you that pencil effect. Though, this isn’t a pencil brush but you can still get the drawing look with it. This piece was done entirely with the Bristles-1 Details brush.
I’m making this post sticky. Hoping that someone can pass this to the developers. It’s also here for those that are on macOS and are considering of using Krita for big projects. The primary system I do all my studies on is a “MacBook Pro” that I got secondhand:
I use the Eraser mode a lot in my experiments. Instead of drawing with pure white, I draw with “Erase” mode activated, and it can give some interesting result/look. And if you’re like me, someone who uses the Erase mode a lot, you will soon find out that it can be a hassle to toggle it on and off (unnecessarily). This is because you don’t know whether you’re currently in Erase mode or not. Yes, you can look at the toolbar to find out, but the problem with that is that artists tend to look at the Canvas more than anything else when drawing. Furthermore, if you’re in fullscreen mode, there’s no way to tell.
My suggestion for the developers: When in Eraser mode, change cursor to red or make it to have different Outline Shape / Cursor.
I don’t know what they did to the Flow/Opacity thing, but I kind of like the Flow effect. Same brush, different opacity/flow setting.
I can now quickly access my most commonly used brushes. A quick note on the Eraser brush: You might be wondering why even bother when eraser mode is activated via the “E” key. Well, Some brushes takes a very long time to perfectly erase because of its brush’s tip/setting. You would have to go over many times, and it can be frustrating if the size of the brush is below 5px. With the actual Eraser brush, one stroke and it’s gone.
This was just a quick test dabbling color. Not sure what the developer did but this is working great on my mac so far! Just in time for me to start exploring light and color for art.
I now can resize the floating window/dialog, which I couldn’t in previous version. I can also pick color from the color dialog and start painting right away without having to hit the tablet with my pen and then lift it and then hit it again. I can also be away doing something else in another window, then come back and can easily move the canvas without having to tab out and back in to make it work!