So I guess putting your art up for critique is a thing now

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So I guess putting your art up for critique is a thing now

Postby TheJGamer » April 2nd, 2018, 3:05 pm

I've never shown my art to a wide audience like this before, but now that I believe that my skills have improved by a lot, I'm ready to show three pieces of art that I like the most!

1. Self-Portrait (Cartoonish version)
Not the most accurate representation of me (trust me, I look way different), but it's pretty comical.
Spoiler! :
Image


2. Self-Portrait (Realistic version)
I experimented with realistic eyes and refined my hand-drawing skills yesterday, and I like how this turned out compared to the first one!
Spoiler! :
Image


3. The first human with a neck I have ever drawn
My mom would always complain/critique about my human drawings not having necks, so I thought today, "Hmm, maybe I'll fix that!" So behold, the first time I have ever drawn someone with a neck!
Spoiler! :
Image


I'd love to have pointers from you guys about my drawings! I'm always looking for improvement and to further strengthen my skills! You can be as blunt as you need to, since I don't get offended easily, I guess.

Hope to see some good tips here!
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Re: So I guess putting your art up for critique is a thing n

Postby TWWK » April 2nd, 2018, 4:29 pm

I like it! It has the genuine feel of a cartoon - easy to understand and made for kids (if that's what you're going for).

Get some work on the hands. You're making a cartoon with simple lines, so I suggest you just make something that feels simple and easy to you, yet remains easy for the reader to understand. I know hands are complicated, but you must use the easy factor in your favor.
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Re: So I guess putting your art up for critique is a thing n

Postby TheJGamer » April 2nd, 2018, 4:45 pm

TWWK wrote:I like it! It has the genuine feel of a cartoon - easy to understand and made for kids (if that's what you're going for).

Get some work on the hands. You're making a cartoon with simple lines, so I suggest you just make something that feels simple and easy to you, yet remains easy for the reader to understand. I know hands are complicated, but you must use the easy factor in your favor.


Thank you! A childish feel was what I was going for.

I normally draw humans with spheres for hands, but I felt that it would be a bit too unrealistic, so I went with 5-finger hands. I'll get working on that! =)
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Re: So I guess putting your art up for critique is a thing n

Postby eishiya » April 2nd, 2018, 5:33 pm

In your second image, the arm that's hanging down has a backwards hand xP When the hand is facing to the front, the thumb is away from the body.

Necks and shoulders are pretty hard, especially if you think of them as 2D shapes instead of 3D forms. I like to think of the neck as something like a conical peg that slots deep into the shoulders, with the clavicles (those bony bits at the top of your chest) forming the front of the slot.
Spoiler! :
Image


Thinking of the neck as a cone helps because the front of the neck has various muscles, tendons, and blood vessels that all create an inverted triangle shape.Plus, if you think of the neck as rotating about the point of the cone rather than where the neck meets the shoulders, it'll help avoid bending the neck at unnatural angles in your art.

The muscles at the back of the neck (the top of the trapezius muscles, the pair of which cover most of your upper back!) are what give the neck that smooth transition from the "shaft" of the neck to the shoulder.
Spoiler! :
Image

(The necks in my examples are rather long for the sake of clarity, real necks tend to look shorter.)

While you don't need to draw details like the muscles of the neck in a cartoony style, knowing how they shape the neck will help you place the neck correctly, and draw it from any angle. The same goes for any part of the body, not just the neck - it's easier to stylise things once you understand how they're structured.
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Re: So I guess putting your art up for critique is a thing n

Postby TheJGamer » April 2nd, 2018, 9:47 pm

eishiya wrote:In your second image, the arm that's hanging down has a backwards hand xP When the hand is facing to the front, the thumb is away from the body.


Oh, whoops! I really wanted to go all out with realistic hands, so I believe I didn't think that through.

eishiya wrote:Necks and shoulders are pretty hard, especially if you think of them as 2D shapes instead of 3D forms.


Yeah, good point. Come to think of it, I've never thought of any 3D aspects whenever I draw humans. I'll be sure to keep that in mind!

eishiya wrote:knowing how they shape the neck will help you place the neck correctly, and draw it from any angle. The same goes for any part of the body, not just the neck - it's easier to stylise things once you understand how they're structured.


Well, guess I better study more anatomy then! =)

I'm still at a pretty young age, so I do understand that I still have a lot to learn. Thank you for those pointers!
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Re: So I guess putting your art up for critique is a thing n

Postby kayotics » April 3rd, 2018, 1:31 pm

My question is: where do you want to go with your art? Do you want to stay in a cartoony realm? Or do you want to get more realistic? Do you want to bring in anime influence?

One thing that I used to do a lot when I was in high school is I looked at a lot of tutorials online and I read a lot of "how to draw" books. My personal rule of thumb for art is "learn the rules, then break them." Taking a look at some in-depth tutorials helped me out a lot when I was about your age and drawing.

Either way, no matter what direction you want to take a drawing style in, getting those foundational drawing skills (anatomy, form, line) are important to understanding how things are constructed.
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Re: So I guess putting your art up for critique is a thing n

Postby TheJGamer » April 3rd, 2018, 2:23 pm

kayotics wrote:My question is: where do you want to go with your art? Do you want to stay in a cartoony realm? Or do you want to get more realistic? Do you want to bring in anime influence?

One thing that I used to do a lot when I was in high school is I looked at a lot of tutorials online and I read a lot of "how to draw" books. My personal rule of thumb for art is "learn the rules, then break them." Taking a look at some in-depth tutorials helped me out a lot when I was about your age and drawing.

Either way, no matter what direction you want to take a drawing style in, getting those foundational drawing skills (anatomy, form, line) are important to understanding how things are constructed.


I want to stay in a cartoonish realm, but I do want a bit of realism at hand.

As for watching tutorials, may I ask how long it took you to make progress with it? I am willing to spend time improving, but at the same time, I think it will be very hard juggling school and art, especially when I have to live with the pressure of college prep.

Thank you for your thoughts! =)
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Re: So I guess putting your art up for critique is a thing n

Postby eishiya » April 3rd, 2018, 2:50 pm

Improving your art doesn't have to be work that you need to balance with other things.

Tutorials are great to get you thinking about structure, and to provide you with some mental models of things, do that you don't have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to thinking about the world around you. But, going through a tutorial takes minutes, while mastering its contents can take years. Fortunately, that's not years of focused studying or years of drawing. It's years of paying attention to the concepts from that tutorial as they apply to the artwork of others and to reality.

Because of this, you can improve at art even when you're not drawing or reading. When you find yourself on a bus or in a car, why not look out the window, and try to apply what you've read in tutorials to what you see, or to just try to figure out why things look the way they do. Why is a particular part of a building in shadow? Why can't you see a particular part of a person from this angle? How do the colours of objects change depending on the weather/lighting? What do your own hands look like in various poses? Why does a particular car look more interesting from one angle than from another? Thinking about these kinds of questions will help you improve even when you're not drawing.

Dedicating time to do exercises and studies is very helpful, but you can still make great progress even if you don't have time for those things.
Plus, art isn't a binary of success or failure. You'll improve gradually as long as you continue to try new things and challenge any formulas for "what things look like" that your brain tries to come up with. Even the patterns explained by tutorials are there to get you thinking and experimenting, not to be templates/formulas.
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Re: So I guess putting your art up for critique is a thing n

Postby cloverthegreat » April 3rd, 2018, 4:07 pm

What media do you usually use to draw? You don't have some of the normal mouse wobblies that I'd associate with pc not using a tablet, so I'm guessing you either have a tablet or scanned in the lineart and did the coloring on the computer.

Try everything. It doesn't have to be expensive, it just has to be different. There are some great simulations with computer brushes, but it just doesn't feel the same as physical media. Charcoal and newsprint is super messy, but it's cheap and there's a lot you can learn that you wouldn't get with pencils. Stare at yourself in the mirror and do some self portraits. Stare at your face. Make faces in the mirror. If you're having trouble, copy off of a photo of yourself or if you're really having trouble figuring out what goes where, try tracing. Just don't show off tracing results as though you drew it properly. Try a cheap brush pen if you want to do lineart, they're a lot of fun.

You're still learning anatomy, aside from that your main problem is that your drawings are pretty stiff. Using different media and drawing self portraits will help you figure out where your strengths lie and where you can learn.
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Re: So I guess putting your art up for critique is a thing n

Postby kayotics » April 3rd, 2018, 7:03 pm

TheJGamer wrote:I want to stay in a cartoonish realm, but I do want a bit of realism at hand.

As for watching tutorials, may I ask how long it took you to make progress with it? I am willing to spend time improving, but at the same time, I think it will be very hard juggling school and art, especially when I have to live with the pressure of college prep.

Thank you for your thoughts! =)


eishiya covers a lot of good points about making improvements and studying form in the world. Instead of parroting what they said, I'll go into what sort of direction I took to get to where I'm at today.

When I was in high school, I looked at a lot of tutorials online and had a couple art books that I would go through and do the exercises for. I also took a fair amount of art classes in high school that helped me develop drawing skills through trained courses. The classes helped me develop the foundational skills I needed for drawing, the supplementary materials helped me develop a cartooning style that I enjoyed doing in my free time. At the end of high school, I applied to an arts college and was accepted, so I'd say from the start of me taking drawing seriously to applying to college was maybe 3 years? Those three years weren't me constantly trying to improve, it was just me having fun. So, if you focus on trying to improve you can probably see pretty good strides of improvement in less time than I did.

Another example is I helped a coworker develop herself as an artist recently. In just a few months she made leaps and bounds in how much she improved in her figures, but she was also drawing every day. You'll see yourself improve as you develop your own ability to "see", and how long that takes is different for everyone!

To push eishiya's point: tutorials are there to help you develop your own thoughts and skills, but not to be a formula.
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Re: So I guess putting your art up for critique is a thing n

Postby TheJGamer » April 3rd, 2018, 10:21 pm

cloverthegreat wrote:What media do you usually use to draw? You don't have some of the normal mouse wobblies that I'd associate with pc not using a tablet, so I'm guessing you either have a tablet or scanned in the lineart and did the coloring on the computer.


I have a touchscreen laptop so I use a stylus to draw on the screen. I have no idea when I got it, but it's pretty old and still works fine. It seems to be from iPearl, if that means anything.

cloverthegreat wrote:Stare at yourself in the mirror and do some self portraits. Stare at your face. Make faces in the mirror. If you're having trouble, copy off of a photo of yourself or if you're really having trouble figuring out what goes where, try tracing. Just don't show off tracing results as though you drew it properly. Try a cheap brush pen if you want to do lineart, they're a lot of fun.


I've been thinking about doing that tomorrow actually! I'm thinking of taking three or four perspective shots of myself and then try and draw them so I can get a feel on perspectives and angles. I'll also see if I can get my mom to buy me a cheap brush pen!

cloverthegreat wrote:your main problem is that your drawings are pretty stiff.

Pardon me if I'm wrong, but that means that my drawings are kind of bland and doesn't have much "flavor" to it, right? (As in, those people I drew don't have much style and are kind of just standing there)

kayotics wrote:When I was in high school, I looked at a lot of tutorials online and had a couple art books that I would go through and do the exercises for. I also took a fair amount of art classes in high school that helped me develop drawing skills through trained courses. The classes helped me develop the foundational skills I needed for drawing, the supplementary materials helped me develop a cartooning style that I enjoyed doing in my free time. At the end of high school, I applied to an arts college and was accepted, so I'd say from the start of me taking drawing seriously to applying to college was maybe 3 years? Those three years weren't me constantly trying to improve, it was just me having fun. So, if you focus on trying to improve you can probably see pretty good strides of improvement in less time than I did.


That's pretty impressive! Unfortunately, the only art class in my high school(?) (I put the question mark there because the system there is kind of weird. Deviates from average high schools, I guess) was last year, so I doubt I'll be taking more classes anytime soon. The art books do seem helpful, though. I can try and get my parents to buy me those as well.

A lot of my classmates on elementary school thought I was really good at drawing back then too, so that should be motivation for my quest to get good in drawing!

eishiya wrote:Dedicating time to do exercises and studies is very helpful, but you can still make great progress even if you don't have time for those things.
Plus, art isn't a binary of success or failure. You'll improve gradually as long as you continue to try new things and challenge any formulas for "what things look like" that your brain tries to come up with. Even the patterns explained by tutorials are there to get you thinking and experimenting, not to be templates/formulas.


Good point there! I'll try to be more confident about what I draw in the future. For example, I've always wanted to draw a dragon, but I kept, well, not drawing one because I worried about how it would look bad. The same thing happened yesterday when I wanted to draw a mecha, but had the same problem. Guess I'll have to push myself to try drawing new things, and see how I can improve from there!

Those are all very good tips! Thanks everyone for taking the time to help me out!
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Re: So I guess putting your art up for critique is a thing n

Postby kayotics » April 4th, 2018, 9:44 am

TheJGamer wrote:Good point there! I'll try to be more confident about what I draw in the future. For example, I've always wanted to draw a dragon, but I kept, well, not drawing one because I worried about how it would look bad. The same thing happened yesterday when I wanted to draw a mecha, but had the same problem. Guess I'll have to push myself to try drawing new things, and see how I can improve from there!


In regards to worrying over being bad at drawing something: everyone is usually pretty bad at drawing something they've never drawn before. If you've never done it, why would you be able to do it perfectly on the first try? That's how it is with anything you do! Like, for example, cooking. If you've never cooked before, how could you be expected to bake a perfectly done cake? The first time it might turn out terribly, but the more you practice and learn, the better you'll get.

What I'm trying to say is don't worry about being bad at something, because you can always try again and get better. You don't have to show anyone the bad drawings. I've done pages and pages of just hands to try and figure out how to draw them, and I don't show people those because they're bad and messy. But it did help me figure out how to draw hands better, where I'm not afraid to show people. Another example is I just sketched out about 20 pages of comics in a week. That's a lot of comics, and by the end of it, my art had changed and improved because I had done so much drawing in just a few days.

I hope this helps. Good luck!
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Re: So I guess putting your art up for critique is a thing n

Postby cloverthegreat » April 4th, 2018, 2:28 pm

TheJGamer wrote:I have a touchscreen laptop so I use a stylus to draw on the screen. I have no idea when I got it, but it's pretty old and still works fine. It seems to be from iPearl, if that means anything.


That explains it. Keep working with the tablet (it provides good experience, but also try using physical stuff. Your stuff will loosen up a bit even just with a ballpoint pen and printer paper (ballpoint pens are actually REALLY good for sketching.)


I've been thinking about doing that tomorrow actually! I'm thinking of taking three or four perspective shots of myself and then try and draw them so I can get a feel on perspectives and angles. I'll also see if I can get my mom to buy me a cheap brush pen!


Good! Self portraits are a good way to learn. You're going to get so sick of drawing yourself. A brush pen might not be the best tool since you're going to be looking at working with shades and value. Ballpoint pen or a cheap pencil set (you're looking for a mix of B, HB, and H, probably about $5.) Charcoal and newsprint will do the job too, but it'll be big and messy. Don't expect good results your first time.

Pardon me if I'm wrong, but that means that my drawings are kind of bland and doesn't have much "flavor" to it, right? (As in, those people I drew don't have much style and are kind of just standing there)


It's not quite what I meant. Your art is heavily stylized and some of what you'll be doing is unlearning and relearning it. The lines themselves are stiff and relatively expressionless. I think a lot of that is from working on that tablet specifically, which is why I keep harping on physical media. You should notice a difference in your lines right away and it'll improve over time.

That's pretty impressive! Unfortunately, the only art class in my high school(?) (I put the question mark there because the system there is kind of weird. Deviates from average high schools, I guess) was last year, so I doubt I'll be taking more classes anytime soon. The art books do seem helpful, though. I can try and get my parents to buy me those as well.


Once you head off to college, there will probably be some liberal arts requirements. This is a good time to take an Art 101 class. There'll be a bunch of people from different majors, so don't worry about being a great artist. Alternately, try a community college class.

Good point there! I'll try to be more confident about what I draw in the future. For example, I've always wanted to draw a dragon, but I kept, well, not drawing one because I worried about how it would look bad. The same thing happened yesterday when I wanted to draw a mecha, but had the same problem. Guess I'll have to push myself to try drawing new things, and see how I can improve from there!


One thing to learn is to be wrong with confidence. Don't pet your lines when you're sketching, and whether something's wrong or not, make it look like you did it purposefully (but take critiques!) Don't expect one drawing to be the end-all be-all of your art, each piece is a learning experience. For something like a dragon, think about the qualities of the animals it's based on. For example, usually Western dragons have bat-like wings and Asian dragons are based off of serpents. For something like a mech...I can't really help you there.

Those are all very good tips! Thanks everyone for taking the time to help me out!


Happy to help!
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Re: So I guess putting your art up for critique is a thing n

Postby TheJGamer » April 5th, 2018, 4:44 pm

Everyone's got great tips and pointers, which is really making me glad. Thanks to everyone for helping me out!

I just finished drawing my first dragon also! This wouldn't have been possible without motivation from your kind words!

Link to picture is below since it's too big for SJ's spoiler tag image inserting thing. (3000px by 2500px, for the record)

https://i.imgur.com/5caK7Jt.png

Just like my first post, any and all constructive criticism is appreciated!
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Re: So I guess putting your art up for critique is a thing n

Postby cloverthegreat » April 8th, 2018, 12:18 am

First, you don't need that high of a resolution unless you're looking at printing. For sharing on the web, it's better to shrink the image size down. I'm going to repeat this since it happens a couple times in this image, if a line crosses an area, that makes it in front.

Alright, you're drawing fantasy animals, which means it's time to look at real animals.

I'm going to start with the wings because this is what I get excited about.

Let's have a look at dragon wings. Here's a picture, if you want higher resolution, do an image search for dragon.

Image

Okay, so what are all the thicker parts between the membrane that hold everything together? When people draw wings, they generally use birds or bats as a base since that's what exists in nature. Those thicker parts?

Image

They're FINGERS. That's the reason why the arm of the wing curves the way it does and why the membrane at the bottom also has arcs. (I love bats so much.) Here's the fun part: since wings are basically just arms, what about the actual arms? Most artists put the wings and arms on top of each other. Some decide that this isn't anatomically correct (I get the point, but it doesn't exist anyway) and basically draw them without those front feet.

The wings should look closer to
Image

although they're still far too small for a beast that size to fly without magic.

Next:

Here's where anatomy gets tricky and subjective since you're picking and choosing anatomies. The main thing is that the dragon's back legs should be at least as long as the front legs. There are artists that make the super swole front legs work I guess, but you really have to know what you're doing. On a lot of animals, the back legs are for speed/power and the front are for grasping/balance/whatever and the limbs are structured that way.

Here's a dog.
Image

You can see how the front legs match up to a human arm and the back legs match up to legs.

Not all animals look or move like that though.

Here's a salamander.

Image

Front and back legs are way different in proportion, but you also have to take into account how the animal moves around. (Same bone names though.)

It's something to think about when deciding what limbs are going to look like, but generally with longer legs, the back legs are going to be larger and stronger.

Image

There basically isn't a shoulder/chest area and the front leg closest to us is narrower and shorter. He's bending his leg, but since it is narrower and there isn't chest in front of the other leg, it just looks smaller. On the back legs, the way the line intersects with the torso, it looks like the shorter leg is in front and that the dragon's legs are crossed awkwardly. Not sure how hips work? Have another look at the dog diagram or find something that suits your needs better.

Here's something closer.

Image

You've got the same issue up here:
Image

There's more, but I've already covered a lot and I'm tired.
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