Process Process Process

In my last post about my learning project you got to watch me draw the human face at a flat angle. After that I started learning about drawing at different angles.Below are some pics of a starting point (a long with some other doodles). I did these on paper a few weeks back before I had my new iPad.


I felt like these were an okay start but they still looked fairly flat, and I wanted to try and create something that was more believably three dimensional. I was a bit frustrated because even though I was following tutorials my drawing still felt fairly cartoonish.

Foervraengd has a really strong tutorial where they explain how the simple act of drawing cubes and spheres with lines around them can go a long way in developing a spatial reasoning that can be used for drawing. Since spheres are what is used to as a starting point for the human head I focused on those. Below are some snapshots of little drawing I made while following the tutorial


I found this exercise of drawing a sphere with a flat rectangle on it the front of it super crucial. Since this rectangle is going to represent the face of the head, it was important for me to learn how to draw this at various angles as it will go a long way in helping me to draw a face at various angles. As you can see in the picture below, getting the angle of the rectangle sheet to match that of the sphere is achieved by matching the crosses on both shapes.


And then there were faces. I feel like Dr. Frankenstein as I bring these objects to LIFE!


After I finished with this exercise Foervraengd talks about how learning to draw a human skull is beneficial to drawing a three dimension face. Above you can see the process to drawing one at a flat angle. The images you see below represent the process of drawing a human skull at an angle that better conveys space. The red parts you see are meant to help guide me in determining where the front of the face ends and the side begins, which I’m sure will help me to understand shading a little later on too.


And then I attacked a profile version. This was a little different because if that rectangle is a flat sheet then it disappears to a line in a profile version. As I said in my last post, I am surprised at how much math-like plotting is used to maintain proportions in anatomy. As you can see with the first image below the shape of the face is formed but connecting the lines between what would be the rectangle (which goes down a little passed the circle) and the cross in the circle. The line that forms the jawline goes from the bottom of the chin so that when it extends it just grazes past the perimeter of the circle. This math-like approach to drawing is exactly what i was hoping to learn with this project. I wanted to be able to be sure that I had the portions correct, or if not, easily be able to see where I went wrong.


Watch a sped up video of me drawing this below!




Back to the eyes

After a few weeks of following various eye tutorials, I wanted to see how I did when approaching the subject free hand. I still took a tutorial approach here where I consulted some tips to keep in mind when drawing realistic eyes.

“The eyes are thicker than one might think. Try to visualize the eyelids as a pair of lips” is one such tip. And not making eyelids thick enough is definitely a mistake I’ve made before. As I said at the beginning of the project, a lot of my drawings come out more cartoonish, and this kind of stuff is why. I’m pretty pleased with the results and feel like this little piece of understanding is bringing me a little closer to drawing more realistically.

First I drew an eyeball with the lines around it. I’m starting to see this as pretty essential to drawing objects that look like they make sense proportionally. After that I copied the eye and then started to draw the lid around it.




Digital Drawing with the iPad Pro

As some of you may read on my twitter account, I recently invested in the new 9.7 inch iPad pro. I’ve never had a tablet before, but this Learning Project where I learn more about digital art has really begun to surged my interest in it, so I decided to upgrade from my $60 Wacom Drawing Tablet to an Apple Pencil outfitted iPad.

I’ve only drawn one thing so far but I’m already wowed by how much better this is. The Pencil is much more precise and responsive than what I was using before. Plus the added benefit of drawing right on the screen like you would on a piece of paper makes the whole experience feel a lot more natural. But I don’t want this post to turn into a product review, so before I move onto explaining the learning process for what I drew, I’ll just say that my mind is swimming with all kinds of ideas of how to integrate the iPad and pencil into the classroom. For example, using the Mirror App, you can wirelessly screen cast an iPad onto a smart board. With the pencil you could simply do all your whiteboard writing on the tablet and have it show up on the smart board. No need to write on the board with your back to the class, you can write on the tablet facing your students to gauge their understanding, or stand at the back of the class and see the board from their perspective.

The last few days I’ve been working on realistic facial proportions. The best way to start this, I knew, would be to start with a straight on angle of the face, then work on more dynamic angles.

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A small snippet of the exceptional tutorial “How To Go From Manga To Realistic” I studied for this drawing. Put together by the very thorough FOERVRAENGD.

One thing I’ve learned about drawing realistic anatomy is how mathematical it is. In the tutorial above, you can see that a grid is applied to help map out the proportions and maintain symmetry. Every face starts with a circle to form the upper half of the head. A ‘V’ then extends from the bottom of the circle, which both helps to frame the lower half of the face, and it also shows you were the cheek bones would be. Every feature of the face, eyes, nose, mouth, has it’s place along the grid. Essentially every feature has a fixed adjacency to every other feature. So if you’ve done a good job at placing one eye, then the next should be easy, which will then make placing the nose a simple matter of finding their half way points (the tip of the nose is half way between the eyes and the chin, and the mouth is half way between the tip of the nose and the chin).

Below you can watch my application of the grid to draw a face in the video below. I drew this in Procreate, an app for the iPad. I’m used to doing all my drawings in Adobe Photoshop CS6, but I’m finding that Procreate is way better for my purposes. It’s much more user friendly and  it was only $8 in the app store vs the many hundreds of dollars Adobe Suite costs (something that would be much easier for a classroom to invest in). Plus it has a nifty feature where it records you drawing so that I can share the process with all of you!

Looking ahead, I’m not confident that I’ll meet all my goals for what I want to learn in this project, but I’m okay with that because I’ve learned a great deal of things that weren’t on my list of goals (but if I could revise that list they definitely would be). Even though I probably don’t know as much about how to draw realistic human anatomy as I wish I did by now, I’ve learned a lot about the practice of digital art itself. The resources that are out there, the different apps, the different processes, the communities, are all discoveries that have unexpectedly enriched my learning and have succeeded in hooking my into this art form that I will definitely be continuing long after this class is over. These extra learnings that don’t necessarily line up with my learning goals also seem to be a lot more relevant to my role as an educator, so I’m delighted with where the project is headed.

An Update on learning to draw

Here’s a bit of a look at some of the things I’ve been doing in the last few weeks. I’m not going to attempt to display all of the images I’ve been working on. The main reason for this is that the process in to nailing a technique in drawing has proven to require a lot of drawing the same thing over and over again, almost like drilling. I’ve accumulated pages (both paper and digital) that are full of the same shape over and over again. Below is one such example. Here I’m at the very start of a tutorial on an eye. Honestly, this phase of the drawing was the most time consuming and frustrating. I couldn’t find a pencil or brush that would give the effect I wanted which was something that looked more calligraphy-like instead of a pencil sketch look. Getting the shape right was difficult too. Ultimately I think most of my frustrations stemmed from me not being able to trust the process that the tutorial was laying out for me. I was so caught up in a brush to make the outline which ultimately wasn’t going to be visible by the time the work was done anyway. It came down to the fact that that I wanted each phase of my drawing to look like each phase in the tutorial, and which I learned isn’t all that necessary to making it look close to the finished product.

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This next picture is from the tutorial I worked from. The picture under it is what I begrudgingly settled on for the outline of my eye. Pretty not good, hey?


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I decided to push forward with the tutorial, and if you do your best to follow each phase there is plenty of opportunity for a “smoothing of the rough edges” so to speak.  If you look at the first phase of the tutorial below you’ll see that the outline is not present in the final phase because it’s undergone so much much change in the subsequent phases.


The tutorial I followed Via Ryky


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By the time I got to the end of the tutorial I was actually pretty proud of how my eye turned out, and it was probably the best thing I had ever painted so far.

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Here’s another eye I did. I actually did this one before the coloured eye. As you can see my approach with this project is to start small with one body part and work my way out front there. First I did just an iris, then I moved onto a full eye and surrounding skin. Next I’ll move out into a full face which will be a whole new ball game.  Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 2.30.39 AM.png


Learning Project: Episode 1 (Finally)

Finally, here is my first post documenting my ECMP Learning Project (What is that? Explanation in the video). I actually started this project a long time ago since I wanted to do a video blog, getting some things together for it, then editing it, made for a delayed premier. So check out what I’m doing in the attached video! If you don’t want to sit through all 13 minutes of it, here’s the gist.

  • I’m learning to draw. Not to copy something but to draw a realistic image from my imagination (main focus on the human figure).
  • All sketches will be done digitally using a drawing tablet and Photoshop CS6
  • I’ve found many tutorials on youtube and deviant art that have helped me a lot already
  • To illustrate my starting point I free-hand drew a soccer player.
  • There is a lot of room for improvement. My goal is to draw less cartoony and stiff looking figures and more realistic ones.