learning illustration from the beginning
Hello artists,

Enough lurking, time to open a sketchbook. :D

I'm fairly new to this. I've liked drawing since childhood, but only have been taking art classes for the last 14 months. So I am just beginning to understand how much there is to learn, and quite frankly, am a little overwhelmed. :P

I am interested in learning illustration. My education so far has been under an atelier trained teacher, who taught me the basics of sight-size and comparative measurement, figure and gesture drawing, and watercolor. I also took a perspective class, which is the most I've learned about drawing from imagination. I don't have access to classes anymore, as I now live in the middle of nowhere, so I will be using books and the internet for the next little while. I want to stay disciplined to practice, hence this sketchbook to record all the terrible stuff I draw. xD

Oh right, and I'm almost completely new to digital.

Thank you for checking out my sketchbook. :)

Just finished this last night, and I'm not sure if I should've added more contrast to it. But it's watercolor, so I didn't want the paint to get muddy. It's partly from photo reference (for the shapes), and partly from imagination (the lighting and color).

This is a colour mixing exercise from Ctrl+Paint's Digital Painting 101 class.

This also from Digital Painting 101--trying out brushes. I don't have the exact flat brush Matt Kohr uses in the tutorial. Thinking I might be able to figure out how to import it into Manga Studio somehow, though.

3rd exercise from Digital Painting 101

Was so excited to learn this. Here is the tutorial I used from PinUps Eu on youtube, in case anyone else is as n00b as I am.

Another attempt at a cat. I used reference, but tried to make the cat's fur longer, and... *facepalm*

From imagination, so anatomy is wonky.

Thanks again for checking out my sketchbook. :)
Hi there!

Thank you for dropping by my sketchbook and leaving such a great comment, it really helped!

Matt's exercises are really good especially when you're starting out - did them myself last year I think. The more little tricks in terms of technique you use, the easier it becomes to incorporate them into your general workflow and make your (digital) life easier :3

That being said, I think you're off to a really great start! Would love to see some more traditional stuff of yours. That watercolor piece is really gorgeous. It seems that you have a solid amount of foundation/knowledge, so it will all just transfer to the screen the more you practice with digital. :) Looking forward to seeing more!

Big Grin 
Thank you so much for checking out my sketchbook, Minksy!  Insane, ecstatic I appreciate the encouragement.

Here is a small sampling of assignments from a traditional pen and ink class I took last summer online at CGMA (highly recommended the school, their instructors are so helpful and talented): 

I learned so much from the instructor. The class pushed me to speed up my sketching and capture the essence of the form and texture of the subject, instead of getting tangled up in the details.

My digital art has slowly been improving. xD Trying to understand how to do line work on a tablet:

Messing around with colouring, which I don't grasp yet.  Grin I need to keep doing black and white studies to understand value first. 

Like this one, which isn't done yet.

^I keep working on ctrl+paint lessons.

This portrait is of one of my friends, and I'd like to try adding colour once the value is finished, cause I'm ambitious like that and apparently enjoy failure.  X-smile Will post how it goes.
But from failure, you learn! If you only do things you already know...there is no fun in that ;).

Great sketchbook! I love the watercolour and ink studies you did. And I think your digital is improving as well.
I was wondering; How much time per week did you spend on the CGMA class? I want to take classes as well at some point, but I do want to know if I have the time to make it worth the money.

@Eyliana Haha. True enough!  Thumbs_up 

I think the time spent on homework from CGMA varies a bit depending on skill level and speed and how far you want to take the assignments (in Dynamic Sketching there was a minimum amount of homework, but you were told you could do more pages or add complexity if you were a more advanced artist--but to give you an idea, homework for week two was 4 pages of organic forms, 1 page of textures, and 1 page of organic forms with textures). 

CGMA recommends from 6-8 hours per week, but in a chat convo with others in my class, everyone agreed that the class took more time than they anticipated. Personally, I spent about 3-4 hours a week just watching the lectures, Q&A session (which was an hour), critiques (you can watch the other student's feedback videos--they're roughly 5 minutes or so each, but that adds up if you want to watch several of them), and of course scanning and uploading the assignments on an ancient scanner and laptop takes some time too. :P

Add that to 6-8 hours of drawing per week, and I spent 9-12 hours. I hope you get the chance to take a class there at some point, because having the personal feedback is a huge motivator and helped me progress faster, for sure.
Thanks for the information :) I heard some good things about the classes so I was curious. For now the courses are way above my budget, but maybe in the future when I actually have job :)

Nice start. Keep up the ctrl paint lessons those really helped me in the beggining :).

them gestures you're doing look very robotic though, I can't remember how Loomis taught them but micheal hampton and vilppu taught me a lot about gesture so i'd heavily reccomend them.
i'd also reccomend the proko vids, they are based a lot on the loomis method but imo are better(never could get into loomis) and he did some really good vids on gesture as well(portraiture as well).

@Eyliana I'm not sure which CGMA courses you're most interested in, but there is an awesome free sketching series that is based on the same principles as Dynamic Sketching 1 &2 at: http://drawabox.com/ 

@Triggerpigking Thanks for the helpful feedback! Happy I'll have to add Vilppu's gesture stuff to my (long) list of classes/resources to save up for. Tongue Tried doing some Proko style gestures this afternoon with the old intuos, and I realized it's pretty hard to lay down an accurate line with that thing. X-smile So I might have to get out the charcoal pencils tomorrow.

Finished this lesson from Ctrl+Paint:

Tried a fashion-y style.

The pot looks great aside from the top which is a bit lopsided.
Also on that last figure, the proportions are very off, and looking at the shoulder it does'nt look like you drew the figure before adding hair and clothing as the neck is very wide, the heads too low and the linework on the right shoulder leads upwards into the hair rather then over towards where the neck would be.

@Triggerpigking You're right, I didn't construct that figure, which was a mistake! I used a magazine reference, and tried to stylize my drawing. Later realized the magazine image was heavily photoshoped and distorted to begin with, which doesn't negate the fact that I made the head way too big among other errors (haha), but I want to note that I will avoid that kind of reference in the future.


I'm sooooo bad at keeping up with forums. xD But I've been much better at keeping up with drawing, so that's something haha. Still, can always get better at both, and will try!

In summer, I took an in-person anatomy class taught by an instructor from an animation college. We focused on gesture and landmarks and proportions, but also covered planes, the bean, exaggeration, line of gravity, drapery (the 7 folds), muscles, the skeleton, and animal anatomy. It was only a week-long class, so it was a whirlwind. 

I don't have many of the gestures photographed/scanned, but here are some of the sketches I did from life during the class:

(Yeah, we went to a pasture to draw horses! :D The one was aged and near death, so was emaciated. =/)

Here's a digital value study in colour (was more focused on getting the value accurate than the colour :P):

It's far from perfect, but I did see improvement as I repainted and adjusted parts of it several times.

The last month or so I've been evaluating what I learned about drawing/painting in the last year, and how I can improve more this year. If the goal is to learn to create an illustration, then I need to focus on learning some difficult and complex skills (composition, abstraction, memorization, simplification, stylization), and draw from imagination as much as I draw from reference. Sometimes I do mindless copying, instead of analyzing what I'm drawing, which does develop observation skills but not the understanding necessary for imagination drawing.

So to start, I have done three things:

1) I made an influence map. A lot of the illustration I like best isn't work with detailed rendering or academic realism (even though that inspires me, and I do love it!). I would prefer to do more cartoony/exaggerated stuff, so I should focus more on linework, simplifying form, and expressiveness. 

2) I've just started the gesture drawing class at Schoolism (the subscription, which doesn't include critique). It's super hard to break down the figure in such abstract ways, but I know once I get the hang of it it's going to be helpful! (Goal: Make gestures less stiff and more clear/animated!)

3) I've started some Draw 100 challenges, with a focus on construction (using Bridgman and Loomis to reference planes and form) and memorization/drawing from memory.

That should keep me focused for the next little while! Will have to scan/photograph some gestures before too long (have done most of this work on newsprint).
Wow seems like it's been a while since you last posted - nice update though :).

Those gesture notes are great - I love the note about line of action - it's the "main idea" of a pose - I learned something myself there - thanks for sharing :).

Good luck with your goals and post more ;).

“Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.” -- H. Jackson Brown Jr.

CD Sketchbook

@Artloader Hey thanks for the comment! :) The line of action wasn't something I'd learned in either figure drawing class or anatomy class, so it's a new concept for me. Pretty awesome way to think about posing eh! Yeah...will try to post more this year haha. xD 


Third lesson in Woo's Gesture class was on silhouettes:

They're supposed to be done fast (like 20 seconds)... I kept erasing and redrawing. Not easy to do at that speed, and I think I spent like a minute or two (not counting redrawing heh). Some of them look pretty off, but I think I'm understanding the silhouette concept at least. Not sure I'm always presenting the "idea" in the best way though. Will keep trying. xD

From a class on painting hair by Ty Carter:

Fundamentals with ctrl+paint:

This is for Will Terry's Draw 50 Things Challenge, and it took me forever to do:

Had fun drawing it, and am glad I finished it. :P It probably would've been faster if I'd done it with actual ink, and not my tablet, cause I'm not super accurate when inking on the Intuos. Did this drawing completely from imagination. There were a couple times I went to look at an object to remember a unique detail about it, but nothing was referenced insofar as copying a photo directly or whatever. The kitchen is based on my parents kitchen, though. xD

Feel like this is a bit of a breakthrough piece for me, at least as far as proving to myself that I can set up a complete drawing that feels fairly consistent stylistically. I need to do more complete drawings like this, with characters doing something in an environment. :) So I can improve and practice composition and perspective and all that stuff.

Still working through the gesture class. I'm always wondering if I should slow down for accuracy, or keep speeding along however it turns out. I'm doing the later since Alex Woo stresses the importance of speed. :P

From imagination, not finished. I don't really know how to finish a digital painting at this point haha. Need to keep doing the gray scale studies.

Not finished either. Maybe If I work on bringing the studies to a better finish I'll get the hang of it. There's soooo much to learn about edges when painting, and I'm pretty confused about it all.

Need to photograph some of the traditional draw 100 stuff I've been working on at some point. xD


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