Yo guys,

Ever since I've started drawing when I was a little kid ( 18 now ), I've been drawing... cartoony. Now, I've realised I haven't the slightest idea on how to draw something to actually look like a real thing. I can't draw a portrait, I can't draw a cup, I can't draw shit. I don't know how to draw.

I'm trying to fix this. I want to improve. So I want to start studying. For this, I plan on buying either Drawing On The Rights Side Of The Brain or Keys To Drawing.

Which one should I get ? I want EVERYTHING to be explained to me. Shapes, construction, perspective, light and shadow, values, etc. Is one of these two the answer ? Or do you have something better ?

Thanks !
  • Lmerrill


    Just draw. Practice drawing what you see, not what you know. Look at objects, or maybe start with photo references, and analyze the shapes, textures, shades, composition etc. and draw. You'll only get better with more practice, not with anything a book tells you.
  • zinodaur

    Of course you only get better with practice, but there are certain techniques and exercises that can help a lot when trying to learn. Going outside and just drawing shit won't get me any better if I don't know what the hell I'm trying to do.
  • Streetcorner

    I don't disagree that practice is the most important thing but a bit of instruction can't hurt can it? These books are old school but I assume the basic priciples remain the same: http://www.alexhays.com/loomis/ (They are free!)

    P.s. Thank you Quaker for posting the original links here http://www.mintees.com/talk/201212-official-critiques-wanted-post-2/ but the link is dead now.
  • zinodaur

    The Loomis books are a little complex for me right now. I'm trying to start with the complete basics.
  • Streetcorner

    Sorry, I guess I didn't read your post properly. I think you should take Lmerrills advice and just get started! I can't help you with the books as I don't know them.
  • Lmerrill

    I literally started by drawing squares, circles, triangles, and shading them with gradients. Then I started drawing cubes, spheres and pyramids. Keep in mind the direction of the light source, observing the different shades of each of the planes of the objects in comparison to each other, as well as the direction and gradient of the shadow cast by the object. Keep practicing this, with pencil. You'll start getting better at drawing the shapes and shading them, and then you'll start noticing the importance of contrast and a smooth value spectrum. Eventually you'll move up to drawing more complex shapes. At this point I'd recommend books on anatomy, foreshortening, and color theory.
  • Decappuccino

    Just buy some Burn Hogarth books and try to draw everything in there.
  • zb

    Take a drawing 1 class at a local college if you can.
    You'll learn a ton of the basics on anatomy, perspective, etc.
    Things that would take years to learn just by drawing random things (in my experience and opinion)
  • closetnerd

    Lmerrill said:No.

    Just draw. Practice drawing what you see, not what you know. Look at objects, or maybe start with photo references, and analyze the shapes, textures, shades, composition etc. and draw. You'll only get better with more practice, not with anything a book tells you.

    Studying is just as important. Burn Hogarth has some amazing books. I'm reading the dynamic figures book right now, and it's extremely helpful for learning how to draw figures without reference.

    Draw from a reference, it's important. But pick up some books, read them a FEW times, and keep drawing. Speed is important... if it takes you 20 min for a drawing... do 10 min instead. You'll draw shitty for awhile, but you'll learn to keep up with the demand.

    Draw to improve every time and you will.
  • Charmer

    Hey, I didn't read everything above but let me tell you this: you can't say one thing is the right way and another one isn't. In the end it comes to your personal preference and to some kind of feeling by reading books of different authors.
    I have life drawing class one time every week and since I joined that my figure drawing grew a lot. The thing is just to keep focused on what you love to do.

    In the beginning I'd say 100 quick drawn heads are way better than one full portrait in the same time. But I'm still not a pro yet, but I try to focus as much as possible on working hard to get better :)
  • Balefire

    Honestly, if Loomis is too complex, then you probably don't have the mental toughness to get good at drawing. He has a book for beginners - Fun With A Pencil.

    And then move onto figure drawing.
  • Matt Borchert

    I would HIGHLY suggest looking to see if you have any community classes available in your area for life / figure drawing. Having a good instructor to watch you in person can definitely help, but even more than that, your peers in the class will allow you to see how different people approach things and possibly learn from their styles to assist you in finding your own.
  • Massanisso


    This dude helped me a lot when I was younger..
  • Nightland

    If you naturally draw cartoons, then I would say just stick with that and become the best you can. You can't force something...
  • zinodaur

    Nightland said:If you naturally draw cartoons, then I would say just stick with that and become the best you can. You can't force something...

    That is not true at all.

    It's not as much about "forcing something" as it is about learning. It's a necessity ( imo ) for people to know how to draw realistically, no matter the style. Knowing the basics of anatomy, perspective, etc. can really help, especially when doing a cartoon makeover.
  • Nightland

    Yeah sure, but don't confuse learning anatomy and perspective with drawing realistically. The first is fundamental to be any kind of artist, the second is a choice you can make if your work naturally leans that way and you enjoy it.

    If at 18 you have no concept of perspective and anatomy and Loomis is too complex, then I would question whether drawing realistically (to a professional standard) will ever be within your grasp.

    Many designers and illustrators draw in styles which are unique and fantastic in their own right, but it doesn't mean they could all draw like Aaron Horkey and chose not to. Some people have a gift for realistic drawing some don't - both can be good artists.
  • zinodaur

    Yeah, sorry, that's what I meant by "drawing realistically": anatomy and such.

    I want to learn those better so I can apply them to my style and improve.
  • tidyink

    Try out 'Drawing With The Right Side of the Brain' great new perspective on drawing. Like if you are drawing from a photo, turn it upside down and you'll draw the lines perfectly. The right way up, and the brain can interpret images to how they "should" look and perspectives, arms/legs, faces can all look wrong.

    Damn, I'm going to go to my parents house, find my dad's copy and read it again.
  • Geoff May

    In art school we had an exercise where we'd draw a bunch of 5-10 second sketches of our model, then a 30 second sketch, then a 5 minute sketch, then a 30 minute, and so on and so on.

    The point of the exercise is to get you loose and also to get you to see the basics of whatever it is you're drawing. You gotta get your brain programmed to break down anything to it's most basic forms and build off of that.

    By all means, get as much knowledge as you can. Read books, look at online tutorials, etc. I understand what people are saying when they say they're self-taught (come on, anyone who draws seriously is self-taught. There's some things you can't teach), but I've never heard of an instance when learning was detrimental. It's like people who say "I don't care about the rules of graphic design because I'm just gonna break them all anyways". Sure, that makes you sound cool to some people, but to me it makes you sound ignorant. It helps to know what the rules are you intend on breaking.

    I digress, though. I just had to chime in, due to some of the comments and general attitude towards getting any instruction.
  • advertees

    If Loomis is too complex, then like the others say, definitely try some of the exercises that build up to it. Michael Hampton (who has a fantastic book on learning anatomy) recommends certain exercises for learning and practicing form structure. Practicing 'perfect' circles, then tilting them, connecting them, making tubes and combining with other shapes. The sort of stuff you can do on scrap paper in your spare minutes. The rest of the book may seeming overwhelming if you flick through straight away, but learning the exercises will help prepare for that.

    Peter Han has a few videos on Youtube for improving line quality and building forms as well, perhaps check those out. http://youtu.be/wgDNDOKnArk and http://youtu.be/YFVggG7ajXM (30 minutes each)
  • RichardClayton

    I got this, it got some great basic stuff in there.
  • Balefire

    Here is a different approach - this guy breaks down Loomis into simple application: http://www.youtube.com/user/prokotv and www.proko.com

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