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Roanna's sketchbook AKA Negative Space - roanna - 09-03-2018

Hello guy and gals!
I'm Roanna and I'm a completely newbie here. This forum was recommended by my friend as a great place for growing up and for receiving some healthy critique.

Shortly about myself. I'm 25 years old ambitious aspiring artist. I would like to become a Pro and make a living from what I like to do most - art. I see myself more like freelance illustrator for books\card games\computer games, not as full-time concept designer (I suppose, it would be to stressful for me). So, my aim is pretty simple: I want to draw EVERYTHING. Lol. I mean, I want to built a strong foundation of fundamental knowledge, which will help me execute any crazy idea of my mind.

For now I have two years of deliberate (actually, not at all, whom am I trying to deceive? Meh ) practice and I got from this:

to this:


It's a pretty obvious progress, but I want more. And now I get stuck at my development. As I see what I should do next, is to practice full body drawings as I want to get rid of my "stiffness" of the posture. What is more, I'd like to learn more about how to sketch from the imagination, as now I'm not any good at it.

I've been doing life drawing sessions for a year, studying M. Hampton's book, draw people at the street, make a gesture drawings from the croquis cafe and similar resources, but I feel like I'm loosing something important... something obvious...

It would be great if anyone shares with me some good ideas. If you'd like to see more examples of what I'm doing now or was doing earlier, I'll post them here.

Cheers and may inspiration be with you! <3

RE: Roanna's sketchbook AKA Negative Space - -echo- - 09-04-2018

Welcome to the forums Roanna! You seem to have come a long way in just two years. I cant wait to follow you on your journey here, keep painting and posting :-)

RE: Roanna's sketchbook AKA Negative Space - Artloader - 09-05-2018

Hey welcome to Crimson Daggers Roanna - really great progress so far :).

I love how you rendered the smokey electrical vapour - really nice.

I am facing the same challenge as you in that I struggle to do imagination pieces where I have to invent the composition myself. It may help you if I share how I plan to tackle this which is by studying from reference and from masters but after each study I will attempt to do a piece where I reproduce the study from memory and then do another piece where I have to tweak the composition slightly and force myself to invent some aspect of it.

Hope that helps and good luck with your journey :).

RE: Roanna's sketchbook AKA Negative Space - roanna - 09-06-2018

-echo-, Artloader
Thanks for your replies ^__^. It would be absolutely awesome if you could share your studying process.

RE: Roanna's sketchbook AKA Negative Space - Artloader - 09-06-2018

@Roanna: Sure, I post my studies in my sketchbook thread here:

Basically I'm just studying the same ref over and over again.

RE: Roanna's sketchbook AKA Negative Space - -echo- - 09-06-2018

@Roanna: Well, the last two years have been slow for me until a few months ago, but right now I'm studying a range of different aspects of art; form, values, edges, anatomy and so on. It really come down on what your goals are and what you wanna get better at.

I think you should post both good and bad sketches/paintings in here, it is a sketchbook after all, let us in on your process and we can all help each other to become better artists :-)

My sketchbook:

RE: Roanna's sketchbook AKA Negative Space - Fedodika - 09-07-2018

I think you could post more stuffz if you want critiques, the piece you posted is pretty solid, so idk what to say about it. So go ahead and fling some stuff and well see what what we can do with it :)

RE: Roanna's sketchbook AKA Negative Space - roanna - 09-09-2018

@Artloader, @-echo-, @Fedodika
Thanks a lot for your replies.

So here comes the most embarrassing thing for me... Sharing my sketchbooks. Aaaaa!!! No one has never ever seen this dark side of my live till today...
So, basically I have two sketchbooks, the first (which I'm going to share right now) is A5 sized and is not my primary studying one. Mostly I'm taking it everywhere and try to encourage myself to draw more. But results are opposite... =( I don't draw much recently, because feel down\frustrated\lazy\procrastinated and so on... I just have no fun from what I'm doing.
So here you'll see mostly drawings from streets and cafes and my pity efforts to draw from imagination. I won't be telling you which drawing is from life or memory. I suppose, it doesn't matter.

PS My second A3 sketchbook, where I'm doing my studies I'll upload a bit later.

RE: Roanna's sketchbook AKA Negative Space - Fedodika - 09-09-2018

Well, you got some stones to show these, I think what you'd benefit most from is learning a head system that helps align the features/construction. The riley rythms worked very well for me, also loomis has the planes of the head which are good to internalize

Get to where you can accurately draw these from memory and you'll be on the right track!
Same with the Asaro head sculpture, Id reccomend drawing these many times and trying to internalize the planes of the head.Once youve done that enough, you'll begin to see patterns on the heads and correct mistakes before you make them. It seems you understand the very basic approach to head construction, but ive found these few things really make a difference in designing an appealing head.

RE: Roanna's sketchbook AKA Negative Space - roanna - 09-09-2018

Hello, @Fedodika
Here is my next Update about my studies, and this will be the portrait part. The third part with poses, gesture and figure I add tomorrow. Hope, this will clarify my recent problems even better.
To my mind, there is a drastic difference between what I learn and what I try to implement. When I try to use my "knowledge" of rhythms or of Asaro Head, my drawings start  looking the same, they have those "generic" feel to them or even they lack likeliness with the ref.

And as a bonus some more-or-less finished portrait pieces.


Oh and also I draw too small hands Cry

RE: Roanna's sketchbook AKA Negative Space - Fedodika - 09-09-2018

I wouldnt worry too much about things looking generic at this point, its more about accuracy. And yea its great you're doing them!

So basically, what would help you a lot is practicing basic geometric forms, like cubes and spheres and stuff, mainly since some things are out of perspective, like the necks on some of the asaro head for example.

Also work on clean line strokes of the pencil, it seems you have watts drawings from the PDFs, are you on the program? He emphasizes pencil sharpening because it allows the full range of what the conte is capable of, as in the gentle and easily removable lines only made by the side of the pencil. A lot of your line weight is patchy and lacks confidence, so the trick with that is photoshop:

Get the reference, do your best to copy it or even better, do from imagination, then correct with the reference, THEN analyze how far off it is by overlaying your picture on jeffs sketch. Again, dont worry about the whole generic thing, focus on accurate observation, and try to emulate jeffs line weight and proportions for now, then once you get it rock solid, you can work on the "generic" issue which in reality is an easy fix once you get fundamentals down.

Like this one:

Jeff's has like heavier lines near the top of the head, heavier near the cheek and nose area, a bigger nose, the kinda muscle indication from the bottom of the jaw to the neck is wider, the ears further back. If you overlay yours, and line it up as best you can, you'll see these difference and those differences are the hardest part of observational training.

Theres a TON of value in these rythms and asaro head exercises do not underestimate them. I think if you are able to replicate them accurately they will drastically improve all your head drawings and observation skills in general. They give you an ideal and a toolset to navigate most the process and get you from point A to point B. there's plenty of good approaches to head drawing, this is a great one, it keeps people from fiddling around in the dark, its worth it i promise

RE: Roanna's sketchbook AKA Negative Space - roanna - 09-09-2018

(09-09-2018, 08:26 AM)Fedodika Wrote: so the trick with that is photoshop:

Get the reference, do your best to copy it or even better, do from imagination, then correct with the reference, THEN analyze how far off it is by overlaying your picture on jeffs sketch.
Wow. Thanks for such a great reply. Your point about photoshop is awesome, such an obvious thing, but I've never thought about it.

I haven't enrolled on Watts program, I just managed to get some PDFs. All the information I'm gathering is from his free videos on YouTube, lifestreams and from Proko's videos too (as he was a Watts' student long ago). 

Also in the Ukraine, where I'm from, I can't get newsprint and conte, so the closest stuff I managed to get is local recycled A3 paper and some charcoal pencils, which I'm still testing. So the biggest issue is that all of my drawings are twice smaller than they should be  Thinking .

RE: Roanna's sketchbook AKA Negative Space - Fedodika - 09-09-2018

well dont sweat having the exact materials but at least get some heavy pencil sizes like 6B, 8B, 10B etc. and sharpen them well, like how proko does in his vid on that. and just keep practicing to those drawings and itll help alot :)

RE: Roanna's sketchbook AKA Negative Space - roanna - 09-20-2018

So, today will be a lot of stuff. Including the most recent ones. I'm really sorry for the length of the post.
Let's start from the drawings I did from life:

And here goes the most interesting part. After relocating, I haven't found in my new city any life drawing groups, luckily enough I discovered a youtube channel  CroquisCafe, where they upload once a week videos with posing models. All poses vary between 1 to 5 minutes length. So I started to draw from videos several times a week.
Because I have a lot to show, I reduced the size of images for more convenient view.

After this I started to look at Watts PDFs for figure drawings, let me show some of my work:

At first everything was fine, I even started to implement what I've learned.

But with every next session I noticed downgrade in drawing, I began to draw worse and worse. That placed me in some kind of down spiral movement, when I started to think badly about myself and what I'm doing, and every following day was worse than previous.

And just to compare these 10+ poses

to my previous attempts

And as a bonus my drawings from 2017 and even 2016 year (before the life drawing sessions at all):

And my very first attempt from 2016:

RE: Roanna's sketchbook AKA Negative Space - roanna - 09-20-2018

So, it would be awesome if anyone could help me with my struggle, saying some healthy critique and thought about what is going on here. =)

RE: Roanna's sketchbook AKA Negative Space - Fedodika - 09-20-2018

Alright so ill give you some examples of the function of the asaro head, it is to internalize how you see the planes of the head and their relationships to one another by establishing the ideal. This could apply to anything essentially, an ideal figure, dog,  car, tree, mountain, anything. You need  a basic glossary go to ideal so you can bear in mind what the structural components of those things are.

Like how micheal hampton breaks down the figure with simple shapes; you probably wont draw very exciting figures using that method early on but as you internalize that ideal and that simplification, you can use it to your advantage without it being a crutch, thats where the repetition comes in

These two for example, its clear that in these poses you are struggling to place the eye in a clear socket and surprise surprise:

Youre struggling with it here too on these ideal type of heads. 

Im not saying the asaro head is the fix all solution, or the reilly method for that matter. It just beats you over the head with what is right in terms of understanding the exaggerated 3d forms.
This one the lips are just floating and have no form, on the asaro, you clearly see the plane changes of the lips and how they'd fit into the head, or the muzzle of the mouth

The dude on the bottom right

His features are just symbols, like his nose is flattened so much, and i get the feeling it wasnt the best lighting for the reference. 

These two have a similar mistake, the bottom right asaro has his eye sockets super close, but also the portrait's eyes are way too close

I mean your figure drawings are better, cept this one idk what happened with the hips lol

They suffer from the same head issues, and very light unconfident lines. Its funny where you say your drawings are looking worse, they actually look better and less stiff and scratchy. Though, more whimsical and less structured.

Now, for the longer poses what you need is anatomy, you have a basic sense of it but its not there yet. So again Jeff watts quick sketch is fantastic for learning the pencil control and the anatomy he'll throw at you while hes doing it. You need to get an anatomy book be it hogarthe, or bridgeman or robert beverly hale, hampton, atlas of human anatomy and take a muscle a day or every other and learn it. Then go and find it in photos even if tracing. Id reccomend in this order.
Skull to spine to pelvis

The upper body muslces/ pectoralis, deltoid, external oblique, illiac crest, epigasrial/adominal (which are landmarks in riley rythm as well as  the clavicle and acromium process.

Then  the back muslces trapezius, infraspinatus, teres major/minor, latissimus, serratus, sacrum ( nother landmark)

Then the legs, arms and feet/hands.  (For legs learn bones first, IE great trochanter, tibea.)

Knowing anatomy will greatly enhance your figures, even if you feel like you know it now, you need to again, find an ideal of the figure, and copy the snot out of it until its beaten into your head and you dont forget it. Again i reccomend jeff watts quick sketch with the riley rythms and the workbooks with his male/female abstraction. ive copied those many times and i need to do it more. Ive done his quicksketch class once and i need to do it again, and again, and again... forever (bonus points if you get reference)

Not sorry for the long crit, i get a thrill outta writing these. Keep postin <3

RE: Roanna's sketchbook AKA Negative Space - roanna - 09-21-2018

Thanks a lot for the reply @Fedodika. To be honest, it is so hard to understand head "planes" from a 2d line drawing. I'll try to repeat Asaro head studies from 3d models. You said: "i reccomend jeff watts quick sketch with the riley rythms", what exactly are you talking about? Is it a course of him? Part of Youtube videos? Or just his drawings from the Instagram?
The only book I have for now is Steve Huston's "figure drawing for artists" and sometimes it gets pretty awkward:

Decided to draw yesterday from CroquisCafe. The first 1min pose turned out pretty well, I even thought: "wow, girl you can do something good, when you want." I like gesture, indication of hair and volume. But after that something "clicked" inside of me and I got anxious, insecure of what I was doing. I thought that couldn't draw anything good, just because the first one was a pure coincidence. And even though time increased, I didn't have enough of it: lost proportions, wrong body shape and I even didn't manage to get the right gesture for the 5min pose!
What is wrong with me?

Also I've done some sketches for the fanart of Jaina with magic, sea, water elementals, ship, but it is too much for me; tried to invent more heads, draw my first animal. Hurray =)

RE: Roanna's sketchbook AKA Negative Space - Fedodika - 09-21-2018

i mean jeff watts online atelier for quicksketch, which would be figure course 3. Here is a live free demo of it:

and the much less exciting erik gist

RE: Roanna's sketchbook AKA Negative Space - roanna - 09-21-2018

(09-21-2018, 12:52 AM)Fedodika Wrote: i mean jeff watts online atelier for quicksketch, which would be figure course 3. Here is a live free demo of it:

and the much less exciting erik gist

Oh I see now. Unfortunately, even the cheapest 99$\month plan is almost a half of my salary. I'm saving money for this and hopefully get it the next spring.

And thank you for sharing that old workshop, I haven't seen it yet.

RE: Roanna's sketchbook AKA Negative Space - Artloader - 09-21-2018

Hey Roanna, from what I can see here, I think you have a pretty good grasp of form and lighting. Your figure sketches show an appreciation for 3D form and your linework wraps around your forms nicely. You indicate shadow shapes well which shows you are already looking out for lighting in your studies.

I think you need to be careful with timed studies. For me the main reason for doing timed studies is to cram as much into your visual library as you can in a short space of time. They are not to be used as a basis for estimating your self worth as an artist. If you want to judge yourself you are better off not setting a time limit and taking your time. Focus on quality not quantity. Refine and correct as required. Your end result should be better and so will your mood.

Hope that helps, please ignore if not :).

Good luck and keep at it, you're doing great.