Paintings, sketches, tutorials, videos, and art related DIY projects.

Tag: graphite

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Comparison of my arms before and after this month's practice.

Before was with ref, after was done without.

September's Daily Sketches

In this video I go through all the sketches I did this month and some new methods I used to practice.

If you have a tablet and are interested in trying 3d sculpting, I would suggest Sculptris which is free and very easy to use (also look out for Zbrush Core which is supposed to be an easier affordable version of Zbrush, all 3 are from the same company, Pixologic). Just note it's not meant for point modeling (that is for very geometric shapes like the rib cage). It's more like sculpting with clay, for point modeling you need something like Blender but it has a huge frustrating learning curve.

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Glass Jar Still Life

The pencils I use are Lyra ArtDesign if you’re interested. I found them the smoothest of the ones I tried.

The eraser pencil is from Faber-Castel but to be honest if other brands exist I’d try those instead. I find the Faber-Castel one a bit too harsh and yet not hard enough to really keep a sharp tip. It feels and looks similar to a pink school eraser. I’ve not had mine stain that I can remember but there have been reviews complaining about that.

The book I mentioned is called Course in Pencil Sketching by Ernest Watson. I’ve mentioned it briefly before here and here.

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Week's Worth of Figure Drawing Practice

The image is just the thumb. I'm not scanning 100 pages. I go through them all in the video.

For the references I used a mix of pixelovely, quickposes, and characterdesigns, hence why unfortunately I did not have very early poses that repeat later. I have saved a few of my favorite poses for next time so hopefully there will be more to compare.

The anatomy book I like to use is Classic Human Anatomy by Valerie L. Winslow. If you can only afford one book get this one. The only downside is it's all drawn but I have found no other book so well done.

As for Michael Hampton who I mentioned, he has a wonderful blog full of sketches that I found very helpful. He often shows his reference and I recommend you first attempt to do the pose from the reference, then look at his approach for help/comparison. He also has a book (Figure Drawing - Design and Invention) that looks very good.

The lightning bold figure drawing method I mentioned can be found here.

Oh also, this is kind of unrelated, but I fixed the noise on my microphone! I'm using an iPhone with a mic app plugged into my computer and I thought the noise was just a side-effect of the cable or being so close to my fan, but turns out it was all Windows. I had microphone boost turned on because otherwise I couldn't use the computer mic before without it, turns out this just seems to introduce hideous amounts of noise.

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Final Site Design Brainstorm

Because the first brainstorm ended up not being used (design wise) I did another one. This time I put more thought into how the mobile side would function.

Sometimes as designers we’re tempted to include things in our designs that look nice or can be attractive on a desktop interface, but just slow down the site and make it annoying on mobile platforms.

So I only left stuff to the top that I felt was useful for users. You’re usually not going to try to go through a blog’s archive tree from mobile for example. But at the same time it’s not completely inaccessible (there’s a link to the page). I think decreased functionality is just as bad as interfering functionality. By interfering functionality I mean things like the following. These are just things that annoy me as a user. Yes most phones are getting bigger screens but some of us are still stuck with 3.5 inch screens.

  • Fixed Search/Menu Header - They are really annoying on screens smaller than 3.5 inches (original iPhone size).

  • Popups - Don’t, just no, don’t do it.

  • Lightboxes - I have mixed opinions about these. If they’re super fast they’re great, but otherwise they suck. It’s a fine line. I ended up using inline thumbnails and pictures with easy links to the full image.

  • Un-hoverable Menus - Make sure if you have menus they “hover” when tapped once on mobile devices instead of going straight to the link or appearing then disappearing.

  • Infinite Scrolling - I would strongly advice against it. 90% of sites with infinite scrolling still crash my iPod Touch (4th gen). Even on a desktop this is a bad idea if users are likely to scroll past the 3rd-4th page (who doesn’t want their users to read a lot?). Each page that you load is added to the memory and therefore slows down the site. There will be a point at which it becomes sluggish on almost any device. The only way you might get away with infinite scrolling is if you only have text.

  • No Next/Previous Gestures - I don’t know who thought this was a good idea, but some blogs allow you to “turn” to the next post. But all that happens is that you accidently turn a page when you don’t want to.

  • Anything that messes with the font size when rotating the device.

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Sketches of:

Scene of two men fencing


Two women fencing

Two Fencing Sketches

Flickr has a large collection of photos from museums and such that are out of copyright or with no known copyright restrictions. You could go to the individual museums but it’s much easier to search them through Flickr. Anyways, I will occasionally search such images. They’re usually old and rather boring but occasionally there will be some interesting ones like the two above.

I had actually planned on sketching the faces and everything as well with the first sketch, but I had started with the shirts, finished those first, and I just loved how they looked without hands/faces so I left them like that. Both sketches were also drawn with the figures closer than they actually were which I think gives them a strange dynamic. I like how it ended up so much I’m thinking of doing a painting in a similar style.

Here’s the original image for comparison:

Two People Fencing

The second one is more similar to the original because I wasn’t quite sure where to stop. I didn’t draw their faces, but everything else was covered and therefore you don’t get the same effect from just drawing the clothing / inanimate objects.

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Course in Pencil Sketching - Exercise

First Sketch from a Course in Pencil Sketching

A sketch from the book I mentioned two posts ago, Course in Pencil Sketching by Ernest Watson.

The sketches are all from the same image for the first exercise. I was experimenting with different techniques.

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Logo Brainstorming

The many ideas I played around with before settling for the current logo.

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First Site Design Brainstorm

These ended up being unused for the most part because I forgot flexboxes couldn't really do some of the things I was expecting from them with a double column layout.

Still, the pre-planned media queries came in handy for the two columns.

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Sketches of:

Lake Boukou at Ounianga Serir by David Stanley/ used under CC-BY


DSC064820090402 by Dom Crossley / used under CC-BY

Two Landscapes

Okay, sketches from now on have accurate dates. Before I only used the month or the date I edited them. Still, I’ve changed the post date so that they don’t sink below the sketchdump.

Anyways, as you can see I’ve made more notes. I’m trying to keep all my sketches clean and presentable like I talked about in my resolutions post.

Now I struggled a bit with the dark shading in the tree sketch and I want to mention this because it just so happened I had started to read a Course in Pencil Sketching by Ernest Watson, and it mentioned something interesting that I’d never considered and that is the surface on which you’re drawing and whether it’s hard/soft. I would usually draw on a hard surface because you can get more precise lines, but as the book explains this is a horrible surface for shading.

So those blocks of shading at the bottom are me experimenting with different surfaces and pencil combinations. My favorite where the last two. I used a 4B (Lyra) pencil and did two passes over two surfaces (4 & 2 paper towels thick). The order didn’t seem to matter. I’m not going to do that for all sketches, but it’s something to keep in mind for large areas of black like the grass. For general sketches I’ve moved over to drawing over a plastic folder filled with paper (where I keep my sketches).

I still have to try those notes/to-do’s I left myself.

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