The place I originally posted my sketchbook pages on, Permanoobs, is dead.
I don’t remember the name, but I remember reading on /ic/ one day about one guy who posted his progress every day from absolute beginner to absolute professional on a sketchbook thread on ConceptArt.org, and I found that really inspiring. I thought I’d give it a shot too, optimistically maybe become the second guy ever to do such a thing, realistically just to force myself to do stuff regularly instead of just whenever. Which it didn’t, because that sort of logic never actually pans out. A thing without a motivated person behind it will never actually force you to do it. Eventually though for a completely different reason I did end up drawing regularly, and then, the viewcounts did motivate me a little bit. Every once in a while it’d be the little extra nudge i needed to start things rolling. I get basically no feedback, much less useful feedback, here or on facebook, so it was nice to see the ticker numbers show 50+ every post and have a useful or at least apparently informed comment every once in a while.
Someone’s set up a direct replacement forum, but I don’t think I’ll be joining it for the time being. I need to figure out solutions to certain problems and they don’t seem to be solvable through simply “more work”. At least, not my understanding of “more work”, which is grinding more iterations of torsos and faces, which by repetition I’ve also associated with the idea of posting sketchbook pages to a public forum. Recently I’ve gained more insight by slowing down in some ways and asking specific questions of specific people, so I think I’ll stay on that path for a bit.
No one reads this though so I don’t mind posting here.
These are some of the things I did this month. There’s five other pages which I won’t be posting because there’s things I’d have to crop out. Like some of the pages here I was trying out various things to remove myself from a “grinding”/”perfectionism” mentality. Some of it was pretty neat; I found out I could actually learn the basics of proportions for a tank and a fighter jet in only a few hours each.
The word “perfectionism” isn’t a good way to think about it, I think. If you tell people not to be perfectionist, you’re basically telling them that perfection is bad. All the arguments ala “perfect is the enemy of good” are great for preaching to the choir, but in terms of helping those actually in trouble it’s not so stellar. There’s a phrase on /ic/ which I think describes perfectionism, from the perspective of a perfectionist, pretty well:
“Don’t polish a turd.”
The frame of the world is very different when fecal matter is involved. A much more down-to-earth thought that can be talked through. Rather than having someone first imagine perfection, goodness, all that is holy, and then tell them that they shouldn’t want it, the only thing in the frame is a piece of shit.
“Polishing turds” isn’t too far from how I got myself past an initial hump way back when. These days basically all I can draw is women, but once upon a time it was spaceships in bad isometric, and all my people looked like crap. I looked at, watched, and thought about how other people could draw such beauties, and decided on an axiom: “every drawing is just a collection of lines”. So I drew lines and tried to make them look like faces, rather than draw faces and hope lines didn’t start sticking out everywhere.
If that’s not “polishing” I don’t know what is. And I’ve learned a lot more and gone a lot further with “polishing” than I have “doing it right”, so it should be clear to me which one I should follow.
I wonder how much of the problem is also just the circumstances of how I’ve been drawing. It is vastly more important to get the foundations right on paper because erasing is a pain, and at the size I’m drawing at, placing an eye slightly too far to the right can happen in one or two millimeters. Not so much on a digital canvas where things can be resized, transformed, warped, marqueed, and all the other possibilities.
These are the sorts of things I need to spend more time with.
But it’s not as fun drawing on a tablet as it is on paper.
after D/8_13 i was really wondering what was “the essence” behind rendering. one of the replies i got on the /ic/ discord was “form change = value change”, and after browsing through robertson’s rendering book i thought i’d do values by line boundaries instead, just to cut the “blob question” out of the picture.
the first two curved panels, the two below that, and the three spheres enlightened me quite a bit.
an object has a certain topology, and how to shade something is the interaction between that topology and the light source. directly facing light is brightest, sharper corners means sharper transitions…
not that this tells me how much lighter or how much darker something should be. didn’t get any good answers on that one, just that ‘accuracy isn’t the right way to think about things’ and ‘the important thing to get right are the value relationships’.
for 8/26 i wanted to try and make my stuff look not so boring, and i remembered hands were really expressive. and hair is pretty important to a character’s design. so are their expressions. all things which, being focused on the nude figure and having the “don’t polish a turd” mentality, i never thought much about. i was aware that eyes, nose, and mouth aren’t things you just haphazardly slap onto a face after it’s done, but i wasn’t aware that the same sort of effects extended to all the other things i was ignoring.
8/27 and /28 take up the ~25% column to the left.
i can see that most of /29 was grinding in retrospect, but it’s difficult to tell in the moment. at that point in time given the past several pages of doing whatever and learning the basics of jets and tanks in half a day each, i was pretty confident in my ability to basically “set up” anything. and the crotch section / leg spread was something i was interested in solving, even though it felt like i’d been there several times before. maybe the idea with projects determining what to grind is actually set up some creative idea, and then stop in the middle to grind out whatever problem you have? i can accept that there’ll always be something you’d probably want to stop and practice a bit before putting it in the big one, but it feels like that shouldn’t account for more than 5~10% of any problem.
copied a bunch of blouses/skirts from some book to try and get an idea for the basics of clothing design. some of them have folds as part of the design, whether they manually set up the frills themselves or not.
made me realize basically even t-shirts have folds incorporated into the design – you’re never going to see a t-shirt on a person and have it be fold-free. if you saw such a thing you’d wonder if you were dreaming or looking at a picture; there’s always going to be folds at the armpit/shoulder, and probably around the waist. this is a very different way of thinking about folds than when i was reading hogarth, where the idea is almost “all folds are unintentional and only exist due to physics”. which is a little bit silly and is borne out by his examples. it’s not so much that physics doesn’t play a part, but folds by physics alone have a different meaning than folds which look like they were put there intentionally.
i didn’t think this stuff consciously while i was doing it.
bottom right i put a bunch of things together because it was the end of the day and i wasn’t about to spend an hour or two filling it up. wanted to see if i’d sufficiently addressed the problem from a few days ago, namely whether i’d succeeded at making my women look not boring.
and i did. she doesn’t look boring at all.
she looks like a slut. and her arms are wrong, her neck is too long, and something else looks off about the orientation, with the shoulders being almost flat and the ribcage being pointed toward the left.
but this is probably closer to what i need to be doing. the magnitude of the error isn’t terrible and could be sufficiently compensated with decent enough lighting.
i don’t remember what i was thinking. but i stopped because on one hand i didn’t want to recreate the same aesthetic from 7/21, and on the other anything i was doing just felt like aimless blobbing. i’d watched a few artists process videos off of patreon, but it didn’t really clear anything up for me at the time.
no idea what i was doing.
still no idea what i was doing, but i needed to do it. maybe i’d learn something if i stumbled upon it.
so after C/8_16, reciting “form change = value change” a few times, i managed to get the idea of “blobbing” out of my head for a bit and try to think of how the form was changing rather than how the value was changing. the other problem though was what exactly the value range should be. robertson had one guide in his book, something about “halfway to black”, but said the logic only worked if it was midday sun on a cloudless day, or something. that with the ‘accuracy isn’t the right way to think about values’ led me basically back to where i started: what am i supposed to do with values?
all the top objects have the same mid value and all the bottom objects have the same mid values. second row has the same value range as the second object in the first row. top and bottom rows are basically value range tests and the middle row is basically edge softness tests.
i didn’t learn anything. i probably could figure out something looking at it right now, but even that wouldn’t really be learning; i’d be describing without internalizing.
tried to simplify the slut from C/8_30, and succeeded, but she just looks boring now. There’s not enough detail. and a big part of it is because of the linework. it’s too smooth. her right armpit and right jawline has a bit of life in it but everything else is dull. part of the problem is that my line thickness is way too high for the given size of things i’m drawing at, but that’s not as big a deal as this. my lines are basically as bad as if it was vector art. the stabilization is too high.
i don’t understand how inking works if it isn’t high stablization, but i’m gonna have to find out, because it’s really clear that the completely fluid and even strokes kills life in a drawing.