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Guest Plastic Brick

Sketchiness Of Linework.

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Guest Plastic Brick

Just wanted a critique of my sketching technique. I don't practice enough and after about 30 minutes my sketches improve. When I try doing it all the time they get worse sometimes. Anyway, the attached images are my practice sketches. Let me know what you think. The first is unpolished sketches (no photoshop). The others are the ones that I touch up.

post-39068-1289524764.jpg

post-39068-1289524785.jpg

post-39068-1289524970.jpg

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It looks like you're suffering from a common problem when people start out and results in the chicken-scratch line quality.

 

1: You're drawing too small

2: You're drawing using small motions in your hand and wrist rather than using your whole arm.

 

I'd suggest getting some big paper (11x17), and just practice a lot more. Practice using your whole arm for big strokes and practice going over the same line multiple times. Sketching is as much about muscle memory as it is about artistic skill, the more you practice the better you'll be at hitting certain lines consistently. After that it's just about rotating the page to where you need it and building up good quality line weights.

 

Practice putting your cutting edge on in your real drawing too, rather than photoshop. Break out either a blue prisma (if you're sketching in blue) or a black sharpie.

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Guest Plastic Brick
It looks like you're suffering from a common problem when people start out and results in the chicken-scratch line quality.

 

1: You're drawing too small

2: You're drawing using small motions in your hand and wrist rather than using your whole arm.

 

I'd suggest getting some big paper (11x17), and just practice a lot more. Practice using your whole arm for big strokes and practice going over the same line multiple times. Sketching is as much about muscle memory as it is about artistic skill, the more you practice the better you'll be at hitting certain lines consistently. After that it's just about rotating the page to where you need it and building up good quality line weights.

 

Practice putting your cutting edge on in your real drawing too, rather than photoshop. Break out either a blue prisma (if you're sketching in blue) or a black sharpie.

 

 

I guess my next question would be what is wrong with the "sketchy" or "chicken scratch" look if the perspective is correct? Is it a personal preference thing or is there another reason behind it?

 

I use that technique to get the right shape and perspective, since intuition never makes an ideal shape. Are you suggesting simply tracing my original sketces? If so that would make sense.

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I guess my next question would be what is wrong with the "sketchy" or "chicken scratch" look if the perspective is correct? Is it a personal preference thing or is there another reason behind it?

 

I use that technique to get the right shape and perspective, since intuition never makes an ideal shape. Are you suggesting simply tracing my original sketces? If so that would make sense.

 

Getting perspective correct and getting good line quality are not mutually exclusive, you can do both of them at the same time.

 

There is nothing "wrong" with the scratchy lines if you're doing quick sketches for yourself. But it makes for a messier drawing and its an easy thing to improve with practice and good technique. But if you showed that to a potential employer or client as a final result of your sketching process, it probably would not fair as well.

 

And regarding tracing - it's perfectly acceptable to do an overlay for more polished renderings, but you don't need to do that for every sketch, and realistically it's a lot faster and easier to try and get the line quality good on the first shot.

 

If you are trying to nail down your perspective, just use a minimal amount of pressure to get very fine or light lines. I personally used to use the technique of roughing in my forms and lines with a very light gray (10-20%) marker so that I could tell if the perspective was correct, then I would go back over it with pen. The light gray would disappear into the background and the rest of the lines would pop.

 

There's no "right" or "Wrong" way to draw. But there are good and bad ways of communicating form and your ideas.

 

Check out idsketching.com for a variety of different styles and techniques which all work well in their own regards.

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Guest Plastic Brick

Thanks for the answers thus far.

 

Is the problem you see mainly in the first page of sketches or in all 3? Is there a particular drawing that is better than the others?

 

I checked out idsketching.com and noticed this drawing and like it but can't tell the quality difference between my last 2 images and in this image, other than the color and the overall layout.

post-39068-1289852124.jpg

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Thanks for the answers thus far.

 

Is the problem you see mainly in the first page of sketches or in all 3? Is there a particular drawing that is better than the others?

 

I checked out idsketching.com and noticed this drawing and like it but can't tell the quality difference between my last 2 images and in this image, other than the color and the overall layout.

 

The first page is definately the worst offender. The second page still has some rough lines and the third page the lines aren't so scratchy but the quality still feels very rough.

 

In the image you posted, notice how there are a variety of different line weights (thick, thin, thinner) used? Your drawings only really have 1 or 2 line weights (thin + very thick cutting edge). You can also see that the lines are very good about starting and ending without much or any commotion in the middle. On your lines you can see where it looks like you start a line, and then take 4-5 strokes to make the line. The goal is to make 1 line in 1 stroke.

 

Per my first sketch - are you drawing with your wrist using short strokes and are you drawing small?

 

If so I would follow the original advice and bump up your paper size and practice forcing yourself to draw one line with one complete stroke. You can go over the line multiple times, but the goal is not to stop and start at different points. When you do that thats when you end up with that scratchy quality.

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Guest Plastic Brick
Per my first sketch - are you drawing with your wrist using short strokes and are you drawing small?

 

I draw small because big paper does not fit on the scanner and most people I see sketching use 8-12" X 11 or smaller paper. I may try doing just one sketch per page and sketch bigger though.

 

I'll keep practicing and see if anything changes.

 

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.

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Per my first sketch - are you drawing with your wrist using short strokes and are you drawing small?

 

I draw small because big paper does not fit on the scanner and most people I see sketching use 8-12" X 11 or smaller paper. I may try doing just one sketch per page and sketch bigger though.

 

I'll keep practicing and see if anything changes.

 

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.

 

Those sketches are fine if you are doing brainstorming or thumbnails, I have probably half a dozen of those in front of me. I don't care about how they look cause they're just me working through an idea.

 

But if you get to the point where you want to present or communicate an idea it helps to work larger, even if it is only 1 sketch per page on an 8x11 sheet. You can also scan an 11x17 in 2 halves and then stitch them together in photoshop if needed, I would do that frequently in school.

 

If you ever look at any of the guys who crank out some of those killer car renderings you'll see they're typically working huge.

 

http://c2.api.ning.com/files/WibqPlrqxXQzz...RL/P1040627.JPG

 

While you don't need to be doing hotrod renderings, drawing big and shrinking it down always yields a better looking sketch on the computer than a small drawing blown up big.

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Guest Plastic Brick

So it sounds like you are saying ideations can be drawn however one wants, sketches have to look differently for presentation.

 

I just ask all these questions because I have more control with my wrist than my arm. I used to bowl every week and always had the same 40-90 scores every time. I got some big baper and will try sketching big, but may also just re- trace my some of my sketches (drawn with the wrist) to clean them up for presentation.

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So it sounds like you are saying ideations can be drawn however one wants, sketches have to look differently for presentation.

 

I just ask all these questions because I have more control with my wrist than my arm. I used to bowl every week and always had the same 40-90 scores every time. I got some big baper and will try sketching big, but may also just re- trace my some of my sketches (drawn with the wrist) to clean them up for presentation.

 

Then as a fellow bowler I'm sure you can relate to when you first started bowling and weren't very good. It's not just about control, it's about muscle memory. Being able to hit the same shot, or draw the same ellipse over and over again aren't just about strength.

 

This isn't new, it's what most sketching classes in college should teach. If you draw with your wrist you might think you have more control, but in reality you're being limited by the physical range of motion of your wrist - and it's why it makes it difficult to draw clean lines in a single stroke. Your wrist wants to arc so you pick up the pen and draw another line.

 

When you start using your wrist, arm and shoulder you now have a lot more range of movement, it's just about building up the strength and muscle memory so that you can put down lines consistently.

 

Even if you practice taking a big sheet of paper and doing nothing but practicing straight lines and ellipses it will help develop that coordination that allow you to consistently hit the same over and over. And it's all about practice, the people who sketch the best sketch the most.

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Guest Plastic Brick

How's this for a technique? Many of these were originally done as sketch renders with chalk and I retraced them and added some color contrast in photoshop (since I have no markers). The first image is what it was before. The second image is what it looks like now. Is this "cartoon" look a good way to present? The size difference is just because I had to shrink the second image to upload it. In reality they are exactly the same size.

post-39068-1290093743.jpg

post-39068-1290093755.jpg

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How's this for a technique? Many of these were originally done as sketch renders with chalk and I retraced them and added some color contrast in photoshop (since I have no markers). The first image is what it was before. The second image is what it looks like now. Is this "cartoon" look a good way to present? The size difference is just because I had to shrink the second image to upload it. In reality they are exactly the same size.

 

The bottom one definately looks better than the top.

 

Watch out for overworking the shading/texture. The center sketches on the top row are good examples. When they get overworked with shading it makes it difficult to understand which part is which. If you don't have a marker handy, thats a good area to just leave alone, or use a more traditional cross hatching method of shading it in to indicate that it's an inside or shaded surface. (It looks like thats what you did on the second image even though it's a bit small for me to tel) You can always bring it into Photoshop later and add color/texture.

 

Definately an improvement. I think you can now go back and push to add some clean areas of color or materials.

 

Again - drawing big for things like that can be a big help. When you draw large you can add texture and when it gets scaled down it will look much better on the PC screen.

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Guest token

Hi!

I'd like to take this chance and pay my respects to guys like Cyberdemon. It's just beautiful to see how some people have the kindness, energy and patience to take beginners under their wings and give them this invaluable support. Although they too have a busy schedule. So here's a big cheers to you guys out there. ;-)

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Guest yladmac

for real token. and not just invaluable for the OP, but for all of those reading it as reference (like me).

 

Plastic Brick, the advice given by Cyberdemon so far is spot on, and he has made plenty of points that many of us have had to learn over the years (and are still learning).

 

The points made about drawing one line with one motion really hit the nail on the head. As much as many of these sketches might now be for your own reference and information, if you get in the habit of doing clean, accurate lines in everything you do then it will be that much easier to produce the killer hero shots and renders that you see the experienced guys doing.

 

Drawing from the arm is something taught not only to people doing design sketches, but also to classical art students, architects, engineers, airbrush/spray artists etc. You might feel particularly comfortable using your wrist to produce the lines you do now, and you may well currently have greater control that way, but think of it as the potential quality of your work being dictated by the ability of the tools you are skilled at utilising. As already mentioned, your entire arm has a far greater range of motion than your wrist alone; so although it might be more difficult at first, as you master drawing from the arm you'll be able to produce work of a wholly greater quality.

 

As for drawing large, it's something I struggle with, but the benefits are clear. I've stubbornly brought small pads to uni for drawing because they're easier to carry, but at the end of semester it's always obvious how my sketches have been limited by the bounds of the paper. A larger sheet gives you more possibilities for detail, clarity and communication of ideas.

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Thanks guys...it's nice to give advice and have people be receptive to the point where you can see an improvement. Sometimes it's like beating your head against the wall when people refuse to listen then wonder why things aren't improving.

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