JyonnyNovice - from Novice to Master!
Edited the text in this post cause it was bothering me : ) (28 / 03 / 16)

I'm Jonny, gonna be 36 this year (2016). My goal is to make comics to inspire young people - I read The Alchemist when I was 15 and it really made me think more deeply about things. All my efforts on here are to get to that goal of creating stories that can help young people (and adults) understand wtf is going on in their heads, and in this crazy, beautiful, screwed up world we live in!

A bit about me: I Left school at 12, spent most of my life on drugs after that, using harder and harder stuff as I got older, then from 2001 til 2010 I used heroin everyday, was sometimes homeless and my creativity was gradually smothered into nothing. I spent another year on meds after cleaning up and become completely drug free in 2011.

I always wanted to draw but from school it felt like you could either do it or you couldn't - my teachers gave attention to the ones who could and never told those of us that didn't that you just needed to practice - we just went in the corner and messed around with clay.

So, in 2013 or so I came across a thread on CA.org showing some guy's progress from absolute 0 to doing really good stuff a few years later. I was so amazed and what should've been obvious came clear that you just need to DRAW if you want to get good at drawing!

I had a baby daughter that same year and she gave me a strong resolve that I don't want to be someone who was just a little bit good at a few things, but not great at anything, who didn't have a career or a mission in life and I decided to start drawing like that guy on CA. Then some months later I found this forum! Since then, with everyone's help and support and a lot of hardwork I feel I am moving steadily upwards towards my goal!

>>> rest of original post below

This was my first attempt:

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It took me about a week and at the time I was so happy with it

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Practising anatomy (about 1/4 way through a 70 hour Udemy course by this point)

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First attempt at a value study from a black and white photo

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Second attempt at a value study, focused a lot more here, really astounded at what I could produce if I took my time and worked carefully and thoroughly.

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I find linework on tablet the most difficult, really need to push myself to practise more, so here's me pushing myself and practising more.

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Bought the 'How To Draw' book by Scott Robertson, just practising some simple 2 point perspective and female anatomy (still not even halfway through my Udemy course yet). Where the shadows fall is inaccurate but it's fine for this.

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Some more cartoony perspective practice / linework practice. I teach English to foreign students and will use this for a class. They have to read a text and draw what they read; I did this to show as an example of the correct placement of everything in the room. The text reads:

"Inpector Lewis pushed open the door and took in the scene before him. It was a large room with many expensive looking paintings on the walls. There was a huge French window opposite him with the curtains partly drawn. In front of the window was a large, wooden desk. Papers and files were scattered all over it. Some had even fallen on the floor. Behind the desk a chair had been knocked over. To his right Lewis noticed a dark stain on the carpet and to his left what looked like a long silk scarf had been thrown down carelessly. In the centre of the room lay a gun. There was no-one in the room. “Now where could the Prince be?” wondered the Inspector."

It was a pretty fun exercise for myself to do to practice drawing!

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This is one of my most recent things. It's a value study that I coloured, the man is Josei Toda, Sokka Gakkai Buddhist organisation former president and it was a bronze statue of him that I photographed at the SGI-UK headquarters. This will be used to make welcome cards for members of a course this summer. I'm happy with it, the composition is good, I believe, the values look pretty good to me, it looks like a brass statue. The graphic design with the text looks a bit dodgy. I would like to take my stuff to the next level and improve the detailing - some bits of it look metallic and inanimate (his cheek / lips) but other parts look too soft and fabricy (his robes).

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Hey man. First of all, welcome :).

You've got some nice stuff there, the value studies seem pretty solid. Looks like you're focused on all the right stuff, so just gotta do it now :) Looking forward to seeing more soon :)

@JakeB Thanks for the welcome, I was looking through your sketchbook when I first found this site, the 10,000 rule always interested me; reminds us that the most important thing is to practice! Pretty inspiring to see how far you've come in 2 years, like all the sketchbooks on here.

Ordered a scanner last week and it arrived this morning, so instead of drawing I've been uploading my pencil & pen sketches. The concept of drawing something on paper and then being able to clean it up and paint it in photoshop is really exciting!

Here are some of them:


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Skeletons from memory

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skeleton / upper body muscles from memory

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Arm from reference (Burne Hogarth - Dynamic Anatomy)

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Back from reference (Burne Hogarth - Dynamic Anatomy) - sorry if this one is huge, the BBcode resizing doesn't like this image~

Still Life

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Some of my daughters things; little sunglasses, little slippers, drinking cup

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PS3 controller (drew this before I started studying perspective and getting a handle on how to draw elipses in perspective)

Perspective (based on concepts from Scott Robertsons 'How to Draw')

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Practising freehand perspective drawing - looks a bit wonky but I'm happy with the little characters.

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Mostly freehand perspective practice, pretty happy with this.

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Freehand perspective practice, was a really tiny little sketch, turned out ok for a quick doodle.

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Practising placing elipses/circles in perspective. Elipses are a bit wonky but it looks ok for now.

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Practicing placing circles in perspective and subdividing them, pretty happy with this (used a ruler to construct)

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Practising applying what I learnt in the last sketch - subdividing elipses. Also practising drawing in perspective when vanishing points are off the page. Mostly done freehand. Pretty happy with this, although I'd had grand designs to do a super detailed and textured castle. When I got to this point though I wasn't feeling the look so decided to leave it at that.

That's everything that's worth posting, posted! About 10 months of my journey. My future posts will be shorter and more infrequent. Any comments or suggestions are very much welcomed, or if you just want to say hi! please do : )

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Nice work so far. That spiral stair case came out great looking. Id suggest you practice more free hand ellipses. The exercises on page 19 would help you a lot I think.

(04-03-2014, 02:46 AM)Hypnagogic_Haze Wrote: Nice work so far. That spiral stair case came out great looking. Id suggest you practice more free hand ellipses. The exercises on page 19 would help you a lot I think.

Thanks man. I'll go and do those exercises some more!

I find though, I can form ok freehand elipses when doing exercises but then when it's a 'pressure moment' and I have to place one in a drawing, it comes out wrong or I kinda panic and do it half hearted and scratchy. Just needs more practice though I suppose.

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welcome, good to have you here. Keep working those perspective studies until it 'clicks' also don't forget to have fun ;) keep posting up your progress

@JonHop - cheers mate, and yes indeed I have fun! I love this pursuit! It gives me much enjoyment : )

I've been playing with my scanner a bit; was just scribbling at random while watching my daughter play and saw some nice shapes, doodled around them and scanned it to see how far I could take it - it was a tiny 5cm x 5cm scribble that turned into something nice!

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I've always been apprehensive about rendering things like mountains, mine always looked like childrens drawings but something must've clicked in me recently as these are starting to take shape! There's a texture slapped on top, I'm not ready to attempt a hand-painted texture yet, although it's one of my goals.

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A journey through portrait

I sketched my daughter's portrait a couple of days ago, she's nearly two and doesn't stay still for long, so these were really fast, like 2 minutes to get the defining lines down - they turned out pretty rubbish! She looks like a baby from an old victorian portrait, with an adult like head on a tiny body - it was good practice though.

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Based on how rubbish they were, I decided I should practice portrait drawing some more. Here's a couple of my wife:

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- still rubbish, she's a very beautiful girl in real life - minor improvement over my daughter's - at least it looks like a human!

Some more practice today; I wanted to bash out as many as I could to really practice so I went for speed:

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Not the best idea! I regressed - such a beautiful actress made to look like a 2 year meth addict <_>

I slowed down a bit for the next ones:

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Definite improvements over Blake Lively's; I think I got the nose down at least, the first one looks more like Jay Leno than Sean Penn though XD

Slowed down a little more for the next one; tried mapping out the features of the whole head before defining any contours instead of starting from the eyes - which I did for Sean Penn.

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Not sure if my Geoffrey Rush is better or worse than my Sean Penn but I was having a lot of fun by this point (it looks more like a caricature than a portrait though!)


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My best one so far, I really took my time with Scarlett, mapped out the positions of her facial features - refined it a few times before I started defining anything. I used an eraser with this, which I'm trying to avoid 'cause I'm already slow, and when a drawing takes me too long I kind of burn out a little. My wife tells me that no, it doesn't look like Scarlett Johanson but she would've thought the face looked familiar (she's pretty hard to impress).

Anyway, when I looked at my first attempts with my daughter, and my latest with Scarlett, I see such a world of improvement, and I've found I really enjoy doing these pencil portraits, they take just enough time for me to really get into but not so long that I get sick of them.

I need to practice a lot more. Does anyone have any tips for portrait drawing? As you can see My proportions and features are all over the place, despite having mapped them out - do I just need to draw more and my eye will develop on it's own? Or is there some things I can do to help? Any advice is much appreciated!

One last picture, to do justice for my beautiful daughter, so no one thinks she's a victorian baby, here's a w.i.p value painting I'm doing of her.

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More portraits; I'm determined to get better at these. Going to keep doing them til I feel more comfortable and get better results.

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I had to go to court today as a witness in a trial; it can take all day so I thought some great time to practice sketching.

Sketched this of one of my students (also a witness) in the witness suite:

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It's not my best portrait but it felt really good drawing it; there is something really nice about drawing from a live subject, especially someone you know. The three quarter view feels more interesting to draw as well.

I started to draw a portrait of my boss after (also a witness) but some police in the room got paranoid and thought I was sketching them and I was told not to draw anymore... so I had to wait it out like everyone else.

The trial was wrapped up before lunch though so I went to try my hand at landscape sketching in the city.

I found it really hard - which means I should do it more - but I didn't find it that enjoyable. Will try to find a location that I like better next time.

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Another quick one because I just watched Game of Thrones:

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Today's portraits:

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They always seem to look better on the paper, after scanning them they look a bit rubbish to me, I'm tempted to put a filter or two on them in photoshop.

I think I need to work on my eyes and lips, tomorrow I am going to spend most of my drawing time doing eyes - mine always end up too oval, or one bigger than the other and the pupil / iris shape and position is always a bit off.

Anyway, I feel like I'm improving.

Any comments or advice! please tell me : )

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I like the sketch of the witness, and from life, too! He has a good expression. It's hard to draw from life, but if the person is watching tv, sleeping, or playing minecraft, it makes it easier.

This is a good course to work through for faces, by helmighs. http://crimsondaggers.com/forum/thread-2727.html She goes through anatomy and face angles, and expressions.

The perspective studies look really solid.

Proko has some good face and feature drawing tutorials. Observation is good, but these help you know what to look for in faces:



I also found it helpful to study facial plane models (or at least, photos of plane models). Just google "planes of the face."

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The second best time is now.  
-Chinese proverb


@Tygerson - He was really intently playing a game on his phone, it was a nice pose to capture. Thank you for the links! This is fantastic! I'll work through all this stuff! I knew I'd need to study the anatomy of the head properly at some point, might as well start now!

Some stuff from today:

Haven't attempted gesture sketches in ages, I need more practice but they are really fun to do,

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Then just playing around with colour (I don't know what I'm doing really but it's fun to scan and paint stuff!)

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Then some more portrait stuff, practising eyes from reference:

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I think one of the main issues with your portraits is you're still drawing whilst thinking in 2 dimensions instead of 3 dimensional forms. doing some skull studies could benefit your placement of eyes etc and also help you to build your visual library of the underlying structure of a face. But when copying photos try to think and imagine the form as a 3 dimensional object, even draw on the photo ref how the lines would wrap around the form to give a sense of volume.

Loomis has a free pdf book online on drawing the head if you haven't already accessed it.

It's good that you slowed down instead of going for speed, speed will come with experience but that experience comes from the hours you spend taking your time to learn to do things correctly instead of rushing them.

Keep up the hard work!

Thanks Jon, I came to that realisation too and spent some time today studying Proko's summary of the Loomis head method.

Planning to study the book itself, practice some more and then study the skull lessons from the link above.

Here's my results so far:

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And some practice: (my circles are weak so they look cartoony, also need to work on foreshortening on the head)

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Next I tried to attach them to some figures, just to vary things a bit and practice gesture type stuff too. Had some difficulties as you can see by the really long necks on some of the drawings. I think next time I will start with the oval to define the tilt and turn of the head and then draw the circle around it - on these I started with the circle which made the placement of the chin off.

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More Loomis heads from imagination:
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From an anatomy book my sister got me for christmas - I don't find it that nice to study from, it aims to make things easy but seems to just skip out a lot of important steps and I find it hard to follow.
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I got some toned paper and felt tip + markers after watching Peter Han's Dynamic Sketching video. Trying to improve my technique by using pen to stop my hesitant scratchy pencil work that tends to creep in. Having a real blast playing with this new medium.
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I've started studying Andrew Loomis's 'Figure Drawing for all it's Worth'. It's an excellent book, will post up my progress soon.

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You've got just the right attitude about this I think. Keep up the hard work! If your not familiar with measuring techniques for drawing, Proko has a video explaining it. The more planning you do the better the drawing will come out. After enough practice drawing references as accurate as you can it starts to become second nature to see the relationships of proportions without even having to measure them.

Keep up the good work.. :)

Do bunch of faces with reference, they don't need to be accurate but what you learn from it is important and when u feel confident enough, then draw something from imagination to test what you learned and see in which point's you are still insecure~good luck !

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@Hypnagogic Thanks my friend! Happy to know I'm going about it the right way. Definitely I need to do more planning and measuring when I draw. I'll look up that video on measuring.

@ShinOkami Thanks for the encouragement! I kinda thought that if I just kept drawing portraits I'd get better - and I have felt benefit, my line work is much better, but because I wasn't thinking too much about them I don't think my portrait drawing skills improved much. Gonna take your advice and try that out when I get back to studying heads / portraits. Thanks : )

In December I started studying human anatomy, I learned the skeleton from all views and the muscles, where they connect and what shape they were for the torso / back / neck and upper arms. About 6 weeks ago my momentum was interrupted and I haven't returned to it. Since I really want to draw characters from imagination I decided to get back to it. I've put my portrait / head studies on hold for a while until I've got further in studying the body and I'm working through Loomis's 'Figure Drawing for all it's Worth'.

Here's what I've done so far:

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It really tires me out drawing these; I need to concentrate so hard that after I've finished a couple of full body drawings I am worn out! It feels really great though, as I know it will get easier the more I draw them and the more familiar I become with the proportions. In fact already my speed is increasing and it's not taxing me as much, after just a week.

Because the anatomy study is so intense I've started to study some fun drawing, just to unwind where I don't need to think about where to place lines and can just have fun creating; currently flicking through a PDF on Hello Kitty style 'Kawaii' drawings.

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Then played around with a couple in photoshop:

This one I kept my original linework, used a 'threshold' adjustment layer and then a 'median' noise filter to smooth out the lines (not 100% happy with the result but it was better than what levels / curves gave me). For the colours I just googled 'cute colour palette' and picked a set that had a fleshy tone in it - colour theory is something I'll study later.
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And this one, since it was a scrappy sketch on a bit of old paper I tried to redo the linework digitally. It wasn't very fun, it took a lot of messing about with layers and the result doesn't look that great - I think I'll stick to doing my lines on paper for now.
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Been continuing with Figure Drawing for all it's Worth; here's what I've been up to:

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All those illustrations are copied from the book; now I've reached this point with the mannikin frame I want to master it before I continue, here is some practice from reference pictures on the internet. I did them untimed to give me enough to get it down completely.

I struggle with the ribcage in any kind of 3/4 view, I just can't see it in 3d yet. Also the positioning and foreshortening of the pelvis discs. I like the curvy bones though.

And I'm having a lot of fun drawing these ~

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I've also been drawing manga, just for fun to do something easier than anatomy, I'll post up some of those at some point.

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