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Hello all, just found this forum and I want to see if any experienced drawers (draughtsmen/women that is...) out there can give me some advice on how to make a big breakthrough with my drawing technique. I have been drawing off and on since I was a kid (55 now, going on 22...) and have some technique but I am still quite deficient in the flair to get good sketches down in minutes with reality and proportion and so on. I know this it is absolutely essential to good painting to be able to draw well first, and I adore graphite for its own sake.

As an alternate "trick" to get myself channeled to retaining objects in my head (so as to be able to get them out again without copying an object in front of me), I am trying tracing of anything and everything, from line drawings (Frank Frazetta is a great study). I remember when I was a kid I would trace elaborate drawings for fun, and I could then draw the thing back freehand a lot better after that. I'm not sure if that's the best way, but I'm going to dive in trying it again. What I'd like is to hear from anyone who's made their own discovery for breaking through with sketching, I'm all ears!

thanks much,
gitpen
jtguitarspot.com
 

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Hrm... I may be young and inexperienced but I'm sure I've at least briefly experienced such a period. I remember gridding in elementary school (I'm a teen, mind you) and finding that to be sort of helpful, and seeing as how tracing helps you I can see it helping too. By drawing a grid over a picture and gridding your paper, you have to focus on being able to copy a picture exactly block-by-block, one block at a time. It'll be a good way to ween off of tracing while still having guidelines and improving accuracy. See this website if that isn't clear. http://drawsketch.about.com/od/drawinglessonsandtips/ss/griddrawing.htm

Gridding has been debated on quite a bit, over whether or not it is a "crutch," but going on what you've said I think it'll help. I guess the long-time goal though would be to help you recognize the shapes inside a picture in order to be capable of draw it independently. After some time, try flipping through a drawing book and following it step-by-step. Keep in mind while your doing the beginning sketch that the circles and squares that people tend to skip over are a part of finding what makes up the picture you're looking at.

What's been helping me lately is this thing... http://www.posemaniacs.com/thirtysecond
The pictures remind me of something from an anatomy book. They're nude figures, but they're skinless, so all you see is muscles, fat deposits, etc., and they're on a timer, so you have only so much time to capture the pose. Get the head, the spine, the movement in the arms, legs, and then add muscle to this stick figure, before moving onto the next one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcsMuSXiLvk&feature=related This guy used that program and sketched on his computer, but of course, it works with paper instead.

If you use that website, keep in mind that you'll never be able to capture the entire pose with any real detail. That's not the idea of it. The idea is to capture the basic shapes and the movement in it, sort of like the line drawings we've reviewed in class (Alexander Calder's wire sculptures). After a while, you should start to recognize these basic shapes with a lot more ease than you do now, and you'll be able to sketch on your own.

Long post, but hopefully it helped!
 
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