Getting the illusion of roundness?
It's something I've searched for the answer for, but while I think I know what the problem might be I'm not sure how to fix it.

In drawing my comic recently I noticed - and I've noticed it in some other peoples comic work as well, that my figures look really flat, even ignoring the obvious proportion and anatomy flaws etc, the figures, even with shading applied, have a distinct flatness to them.

So I'm trying to figure out what it is that makes an image, drawn without shading or colouring, have that feeling of dimension. I know I've seen the words 'overlap' and 'line weight' used, but even when I try to get that I seem to just not know enough about what I'm doing to get it to work.

Does anyone have a simple explanation, or know of some tutorials I could look at?

Thanks :)

Unfortunately I don't have a tutorial at hand, and maybe not a real explanation, but it might help you a little!

The overlap is very important indeed, as it helps establishing the "layers" of your drawing, like skin, then first layer of clothing, second layer of clothing etc. However, equally important is, that the lines on your drawing follow the underlying form. For example, if you are working out the folds in your clothing, you always have to keep in mind how the body underneath looks.
I think the weight also adds a lot to this feeling of dimensionality, as the figures seem to occupy a certain space on the paper, and they give off a feeling of "having a volume".
If you do studies, most of these things will come into your work by experience, I guess (:

As for the line weight, yes, it can help add a little feeling of depth to your work. For example, things that are near to the viewer can get a bit more thicker outlines, while things that are a bit more in the background should have thinner outlines - this sometimes helps the overall perspective of an artwork.
Also, line weight is a good means to emphasize little shadowy areas. If you look at this work by Kim JungGi, for example, you can see how slightly thicker outlines in the hair and suit jacket help a bit at adding depth. You can also see how the lines of the clothing describe the form beneath, so that it takes up volume in space.
I hope this helps a bit!


yprinus made good points in terms of line weight and overlap. I had a look at your comic figures. I think you are not taking accurate perspective into account when doing your figures. Perspective is actually the thing that gives us the illusion of depth.  If you don't get that right first you won't be able to foreshorten anything correctly and no amount of line weight and overlap manipulation will fix it.

The other thing is you seem to be drawing your figures thinking about contour lines as a way to outline forms rather than using lines to follow form and "wrap around" objects. I am guessing you don't follow proper construction on them, where you block in each form as a general 3D primitive, then hide the bits that aren't in view when detailing? I might be wrong, but I think you need to start doing more exercises in drawing figures/mannequins using primitives in perspective.

Loomis has sections in his figure drawing book on figures in perspective
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[Image: f3e637cc4bbbcd020e5a12bf9b5837a5.jpg]

[Image: 5ad5f3eab4459842768fefec35ad1f25.jpg][Image: e00dd2f66d4627189095bdd1d0ce80a2.jpg] 
Some other stuff I found off google.
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Overlap and foreshortening in perspective. Look at the way the artist used lines like on a topographical map to show how the surface undulates. Using two perpendicular sets of cross-sectional lines, like on this arm drawing you can show any form in space. They are just guides. Once you are comfortable with being able to do them, you may not need to draw them in at all.
[Image: 3146187994_d57d37ce64.jpg]
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Showing volume using cross-sectional contour lines
[Image: 572495_rqrfarp9iwg5zx3wahnq_lxvo.jpg]

I don't know about tutorials, I think this one is all about mileage. Practice constructing figures using simplified primitive objects in perspective.

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Thanks Amit.
I totally admit to struggling like crazy with this, I do try to construct as 3d forms, but when I add clothing it all flattens out horribly. I'll keep hacking away at it, I understand the concept, just putting it into practise is falling down. Might have to go back and do all the exercises from Loomis again, I think maybe I'll understand them a bit better this time around, it's been about 6 odd months.

Yep just keep at it. Everything in art seems to work from the general to the specific. You first start with the general large things, get those right then move on, getting more specific. I think you can definitely keep focusing on constructing figures as accurately as possible in perspective. If you have that down well, then adding accessories and clothing, is literally like draping things on a mannequin.

Of course more study will need to be done to figure out how clothes fold and drape realistically, and stuff like that to get it to work, but if your figure has volume to start with, then you are off to a good start.

I'm all for going back and studying things again with a caveat. My own perspective is that if I have generally understood in theory what is going on, but things aren't working, I will instead practice and do studies, life drawing, photos, whatever, to put specific mileage into my application of the theory, rather than simply revisit the theory again.

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I think my entire ability to do perspective is lacking.. I understand the theory, I can do /some/ of it - atmospheric stuff comes naturally as we studied that at school and had it drilled into us, so many landscape studies - but I'm still crap at landscapes, and at anything perspective requiring in general. I'm working through the perspective course on here (I bookmarked it) but even the most basic stuff isn't right. I hope mileage will help, I think part of it is I've always been messy, and having spent two years hating the hell out of technical drawing in high school I look at rulers with a full on loathing. :D

Boxes, cylinders and cones in perspective. Just keep doing that until it becomes second nature, then you can branch off and get more complex. Do the mileage and it will start to get easier!

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Right O.. I'll start filling pages :D


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