Inagada Davida's sketchbook posts
Diary entry 1:  I have been WAY off the bandwagon of doing my art. It is abhorrent. I am really poor at keeping ritual habits, I think because in my mind I keep big goals with vague notions like: "Draw every day." Draw WHAT? Improve WHAT. Chores, Hunger and Life then distract me. What is the big end result project(s) I even want to accumulate out of all of this? Does EVERY sketch have to even have a purpose? Overthinking and getting bogged down with selfdoubt or distractions has been my chief weakness. So here is for my own reminder's sake what I am gonna try to do in the year 2017 to improve my art, as I found being very specific with myself and making a list always helps-

WHAT: 2 whole human figure drawing runthrus every day from the anatomy pose resource site (Feel free to use their service if you are reading this, it's no charge!) whenever I have room to do so every day in the year 2017. I will also execute one original personal  idea sketch per day, be it character, animal, environment concept, etc. At least one page of drawings are to be uploaded on either the day they are made or by the Saturday of each week's end.

WHEN: I intend to try doing these ideally as frequently as possible, will try to rise and do 1 session at 8:00am whenever able....but due to my awareness of my work schedule hours, habits of sleeping irregularly at times/having work at 9am-6pm most weekdays, the official drawing time when I MUST expect myself to sit down and stop everything to draw nonstop is 8:00PM EST. for at least 2 hours. At this time I will make sure I implement the website blocker app "COLD TURKEY" to ensure my compulsive distractions do not take me away from this for the rest of the evening. Will also try to set an alarm for a reminder. On worknights I must stay til 8pm, I will be ensured that this drawing exercise happens at 9pm instead. Uploading of pictures here will take place at 10:00PM every night, or at least by the Saturday (my usual day off) at  end of the week.


HOW: Target mediums desired to improve in are: ADOBE PHOTOSHOP AND ILLUSTRATOR, PEN AND INK, COLORED PENCIL, ACRYLIC, WATERCOLOR, MIXED MEDIA. Will for loose sketches keep to traditional art media that is 'fast' such as pencils, marker and pen and ink, as the lack of focus I have can be strongly attributed to using the laptop and getting bogged down in having a lack of speedy results, while more bigger heavier personal projects I will try to achieve in more often either via digital media and acrylics.

WHO: Must find an art mentor and/or art partner to collab with by end of February to get critiques and motivation/companionship from. Will attempt to regularly push for more increased personal outings with friends in real life in order to prompt better drawing opportunities and social skills. Will utilize CD, N4D, DA, Meetup, and other such forums. Will make attempt to reconnect to the FIT alumni association and former professor Ray Lago. See if he is interested in the chance to mentor me/guide me back down the basics.

LONG TERM GOALS: Book cover illustration, underground comics/graphic novels, greeting cards, video game art, posters, licensing art (stationary, puzzles, tableware, textiles), storyboards/possibly animatics if ambitous, gain a rise in art commissions and the artistic confidence to approach galleries and publishers with a wider more up to date portfolio. Current portfolio is recycling old artwork chiefly from the start of college, and must have at least a set of 20 new pieces that demonstrate strong abilities and a cohesive style. Must figure out ways to blend my pop-surrealism tastes with more contemporary techniques and be able to pin down what kind of a themed series of art pieces I'd like to start working on/developing a 'brand'. Ideally would like to see a personal creation along the lines of Roman Dirge's 'Lenore' Sam Keith's The Maxx' or Jhonen Vasquez' 'Squee'. SEEK TO RETURN TO ROOTS OF WHAT I ENJOYED ABOUT DRAWING, without relying too much on style preferences as a crutch. Pin down characters and ways to express a whole world and narratives around them. Make good on offered promises to many friends about tribute work I would do for them of their characters.

*** This lengthy post was more or less just an introductory list for me, to keep track of what I aim to have done.
If anyone has read this and happens to have feedback or advice on how to keep these habits developed/build upon them steadily, let me know.

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Heya welcome to the forums , and to starting your new sketchbook!  I like that you are thinking about small daily goals as well as longer term ones. One observation I have had from experience and I sense in your post, is that you have a long road ahead and lots to do and listing them all is overwhelming. Almost too overwhelming. I felt overwhelmed just reading it.  

I would suggest starting very simple but focused. Plan maybe a week or two at a time in advance and see if that works for you. Keep your deadlines and accountability simple. For example, say you will draw 2 hours a day regardless of when/where by what time. If you can handle that fine, then perhaps you can start refining it more. Posting on sketchbooks is a good idea; does it need to be daily?, probably not, but if that's your little reward or goal post then fine.

Making it simpler, gives you flexibility but still has a clear achievable goal. I would also say start to be more granular with your goals once you're comfortable you've developed a consistent drawing habit. "Improving perspective" is not really a good goal. It's too broad. Start to research and break it down into actual defined actions such as doing 3 1pt perspective drawings that day . Same goes for all other areas. Figures...anatomy, maybe it's leg week, or heads, or proportions etc. You might not like to work this rigidly, I know I didn't, and that's fine, just tailor it to what works for you, but be focused and clear what your study aims are.

You want to do so many different things long term, which is fairly normal, but they are so widely ranging that I feel it is going to be a stretch to try and hit them all well. I don't want to be a downer, but it may be better to as you go start to narrow down a bit at first on what you want to get into when you start professionally. One can always branch out after that, but if you try and shotgun everything at once, it's a recipe for disaster.

Personal projects are different, those can be started any time and I recommend doing them no matter your skill level. Just keep them small and pick only one at time.

From your first sketches I would say you definitely need to focus on those fundamental skills, basic drawing in perspective, form, anatomy, values etc. It shouldn't all become about study because I think that is dangerous too, but I think a decent focus will bring those skills up.  

Check out for some really great free exercises.
Dorien Iten's gumroad packages,
Loomis / Villpu / Steve Huston / proko's YT channel/ Others swear by Hogarth and Michael Hampton for anatomy and figures. Bridgeman for when you get more advanced

Search for the study schedule thread here on the forums. People posted their (often too crazy) study schedules and experiences, which might be interesting or useful to you.

It's a shame your university was so rubbish at giving you the skills necessary, but you can definitely do it on your own if you do one thing and one thing only, and that is always love the process of doing art whatever you might be working on.
I was entirely self taught while working full time in non art related job, and I am now full time freelancing, and others have similar stories. It can be done, just takes dedication and passion.

Good luck!

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You're so encouraging!! Thanks for the advice. I do feel stuck and overwhelmed. I am not really even sure quite what I want to do professonally anymore. I don't think there was a period I was ever sure, I just 'was the kid who liked to draw all the time' as a form of mental escape and that seemed to be the main thing I am 'good' at. I feel bummed now all the time, that my work decayed this far. (Bear in mind those images I posted were all 30-60 second gesture sketches, not real long studies, so thats why they appear loose, but that doesn't excuse them when I know more seasoned people have much more flow and greater readability to their pose silhouettes. I didn't always have work that looked this way. But i can't dwell in the past.)

Anyhow, thanks for the website I will check it out. Is there a suggestion in terms of how you think I ought progress in the line of growing better? Should it be like- "Whole Figure> Hands > Feet> Hair> Faces" etc or should I work from detail parts up to the whole human body like this- "Hands >Feet>Eyes>Figure>Crowds" etc.??

Would it be wiser to focus more on developing anatomy first or developing scenes and perspective first? Or should I be going even MORE back to basic basics before even TOUCHING anatomy, like still lifes and shape forms and light on textures? Or should I try doing projects and exercises that blend all these lessons (Like a man on a horse wearing a fur cloak in a desert with ruins, for a perspective/lighting/material/anatomy lesson combo??)

I am my own harshest judge and it is so crushing to not know where to begin.
(01-20-2017, 07:53 PM)Amit Dutta Wrote: Check out for some really great free exercises.
Dorien Iten's gumroad packages,
Loomis / Villpu / Steve Huston / proko's YT channel/ Others swear by Hogarth and Michael Hampton for anatomy and figures. Bridgeman for when you get more advanced

Oh and Proko's a fantastic YT channel, I already been following them a while now!
Haha, well first, take 5 really deep breaths :)
I would start with trying to land a daily drawing habit first. Whatever it is, to get back into the swing of things.

I would go right back to fundamentals first like a primer. Drawabox is a decent primer because it mostly focuses on perspective, form, volume etc. Perspective in drawing (realistic forms) is absolutely essential so that's a good place to start and keep practicing all the time.

With figures, well many of the books by the authors I listed will have different approaches to the figure and every artist will have the ones they swear by. I admit I was never a good study guy, I just winged most of my learning. In general I guess I would focus on constructive drawing techniques and building figures from basic primitive shapes and understanding overall proportions first. It makes sense to start from general and go smaller. Michael Hampton's book is sworn by by many, I haven't looked at it myself so I can't say for sure. Loomis definitely has some good info and easy to find online for free.
I highly recommend going through Walent 's sketchbook here. He approaches figures in what I would consider the best example on CD of a very smart and efficient and stylistically unique way to boot, so you might get some inspiration and ideas from him.

The Crimson Cadavers group here which isn't active anymore has a link to a document that is the start of an approach to understanding anatomy which might also be useful. General proportions, then skeleton/bone study and knowledge and how to find general landmarks on the body from these, constructive building of basic forms of the body in perspective, while trying to finding rhythm and line of action in poses. I often see gestural drawings overemphasised for figures so people do countless 30 second short gestural drawings without really understanding what they are trying to draw or how to break it down or construct. This can be a red herring. So even if you do gestural studies, don't be concerned about how quick they are done, it's better to do 10 accurately well drawn things in an hour, than 60 really shit ones.

Specific anatomy study does have to come into it, so looking at attachment points of muscles and knowing the muscle groups of various areas and a large focus on the head itself, which will in turn make your understanding of constructing the general figure get better. It's a huge subject so don't approach it like you will "finish it" and move on. It's more like constant revision of knowledge and understanding that will be constantly upgraded every time you go back.

Life drawing combined with constructive techniques and building up specific anatomy knowledge is probably one of the best things you can do for your figure drawing if you have access to sessions somewhere, but photos will do. Also croquis cafe on yt has video life drawing sessions.

I think it is always good to test yourself relatively frequently (once a month?), with personal drawings / illustrations and whatever you struggled with will be able to inform your focus during your study time, and allow you to adjust study if needed.

If you want to mostly only do stylised work it might seem there is too much emphasis on this kind of "realism" study, so I would say keep doing those things as well, they can only improve with more knowledge.

And about being one's own harsh judge. Trasmute that to being your own brutally honest but constructive critic. Remove the emotional judgement part out of it, it doesn't help anything. Judge how well you are learning and what you need to learn next, but then just do it. I recommend talking to the artists in the discord channel, we're all friendly. Most are in early- mid stages of learning and not professional, though there are some, but you can talk out things more directly there and meet other people too! Just a warning though that discord has occasionally become a degenerate time sink of unproductivity :)

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Hey there Inagada, I like those figure sketches - nice work :)

I think Amit gave you some really good advice - definitely don't try to take the whole world on all at once. Take the pressure off yourself, get into a routine and try to enjoy doing art :). If you enjoy it, you will stay motivated and motivation is fundamental.

If you're starting off with and Proko - they will get you a very long way - I study from both of them myself :). Proko does this great thing where he shows you muscle origins and insertions - really useful.

Keep going and remember to enjoy the journey :).

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

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