Sometimes you’re in the middle of practicing in a state of relaxation, where you don’t think much. You might get something that looks nice, but find that it’s impossible to replicate the result. That certainly happened to me.
The purpose of practicing is to get better and to really improve your skill. We don’t do it so that we can say, “I have done it!” and then move on to the next target. Slow down and be intentional. Be aware of your thought process.
Once you got the essence of the pose, you can try it from memory.
Sooner or later you’ll run into this thing called foreshortening. It’s very difficult to draw poses that have a lot of distortion like this. Knowing that foreshortening is difficult and hard to get it right when you’re just beginning to explore it, I wanted to do more than one test to make sure that the first one wasn’t just a fluke. Don’t expect perfection at first. Aim for “just right.”
I started off with the right arm, then left, head and upward. I imagined the limbs as cylinders.
Taking a break from my goal of 300 pose photos. Only completed 60 so far, 240 more to go. After you do that photo exercise, things will start to click. For me to do these from imagination at this stage means that not everything is accurate (anatomically speaking). Accuracy is not what I’m aiming with these. All that comes later when I look closely at muscles and bones and how they attach together. In the meantime, I just want to be able to pose these cylinders from imagination, to make it look like a figure, good enough, but not necessarily accurate.
Another experimental piece. One brush (not counting the screen tone one), one color (black) and an eraser. First time doing hair, and it took a lot of time trying to figure out… so it was guesswork and it turned out alright.
These are studies conducted today. Using only one brush throughout the entire process. Only black and an eraser, no opacity changes. That’s about it! Based on references found on gumroad. In both of these experiments, I started out by scribbling. And slowly divided and conquered through the process of refinement (erase, draw, erase draw: repeat until desired result is reached. This process feels like digital sculpting, with ink!).
This was just another fun piece playing around with the screen tone.
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” — Bruce Lee
If I could go back in time, I would tell my younger self to practice these basic shapes/forms. They’re the key to drawing from imagination. With that said and out of the way, let me share a few thoughts on this.
I have read many books, and they all say the same thing: Learn to simplify. Practice these forms. The disadvantage with being a self-taught is that you’re on your own, left to figure out the rest. Limbs can be seen as cylinders. But how do you begin practicing? From imagination? That’s what I thought. Yes, you can start from scratch and just do it from imagination, but a much better way to get there is with photos. I have never done it before until last night.
So far, I have practiced the cylinder 20 times (20 different pose photos). I’m aiming for 300, then I move to the torso. If you’re doing it from imagination, anything goes. If you’re doing it from photos, you have a specific goal, and mistakes can be identified and skill can be improved. So it’s better that you start with photos.
First, learn to walk before you try to run. Don’t try to be cool by curving your cylinders (using curve lines). You can do that afterward once you’re comfortable with straight lines (walk). When you’re starting out, your cylinders will look robotic and rigid because everything is straight, no curve. This exercise/practice will help build cylinder’s vocabulary and muscle memories. Keep practicing from photos and soon they’ll find their way to superimposed it into your memories, and become part of you.
Pick a photo
See the limbs as cylinders
Draw the cylinders: Connect the ellipses together with straight lines
You don’t have to draw the legs together as one body part. You can separate them. This exercise isn’t about having the proportion right or have the limbs attached together. It’s about simplifying the limbs. But for the legs, I recommend that you draw them together. If it’s too challenging, then do them separately until you’re comfortable and then try them together.
Once you’re comfortable capturing the pose of the limbs, start being more expressive to give life to your cylinders. Instead of using pure straight lines to connect the ellipses together, use curvy lines.
Do that with a lot of photos. That’s it for now. I might write part 2 to this when I have time, explaining the mindset behind curvy lines.
Remember to slow down and enjoy, and make art just for you. It’s not always about having everything down perfectly. This piece was done with the ink brushes that come with Krita. Inspired by an abstract impressionism piece that I saw from a book I was reading.
Another piece done entirely with the Ink brush set. Just having fun.
As of this writing, the one thing in Blender that throws me off is the Ortho / Perspective switch. I sculpt in both modes, and usually have the Perspective at 120mm Focal Length. If I’m up closed on the mesh in Ortho mode and rotate the viewport, the mesh will vanish out of sight. To bring it back to view, I would have to scroll the mouse wheel up. This is solved by turning off the perspective auto switch in the preferences. The problem is that you would have to manually switch to perspective mode, and when you do, the mesh will vanish out of sight again, and then you would have to try to bring it back to view. That’s a lot of hassle. I can’t seem to find a way around this so that I can work with perspective autoswitch on.