Basic questions

Dashboard Forums Weekly Member Message Basic questions

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  • #17994
    Adina Somesan
    Participant

    Hi everyone,

    Glad to be here again! I was a member previously but life got in the way and couldn’t commit as much as I wanted, so now I’m doing my best to get back to a regular practice and daily routine.
    I’m a very organized person and I enjoy very much having a routine and a plan. So in the past few days, I did my best to create such a routine for drawing. I saw that some other members also had questions about this, but I want to ask your opinion/confirmation if my plan is ok, considering I want to dedicate my time solely to learning, and not yet to creating a body of work. I don’t think I could do that yet so I want to focus on the basics which could enable me to create a body of work.
    So my current routine for studying would be:
    – 8.30 – 9.00 warm up (basic forms, peanut shapes, lines, warming up my hand), gesture drawing ranging from 30 sec to 5 min
    – 9.00 – 10.00 short studies, ranging from 10 min to 30 min, depending on the subject. For example, right now I’m studying form and line, so my focus would be to capture form and control my lines by creating short practice drawings
    – 10.00 – 12.00 long studies, these would be drawings that need me to sit a couple of hours, meant to have careful measuring, composition, shading, etc. Basically putting together all the other concepts I’m learning and each adding over the other until I’m capable of drawing complex drawings.

    I decided to split my time like this so that I can add new lessons easily. For example, I can practice the anatomy of the arm that hour a day and then in the 2 hours meant for longer drawings I can apply the new things I learned in a full figure drawing. After a while, these longer practice drawings could be replaced by actual portfolio drawings with my own concepts and in the first 1.5 hours I could keep practicing the old lessons and add new techniques.
    The time for theory is in the evenings or weekends. I find that if I don’t draw in the morning, the day gets busy and it’s more and more difficult for me to find the time or energy. I work from home, but once I get started working it’s difficult to stop 🙂

    I also created a Pinterest reference board with different sub-topics. I need to know what I’m going to draw for that 1.5 short practice hour, otherwise, I’m spending the whole time looking for references. So I decided to pick a single subject and study it the whole week. The next week, for example, is the wolfdog. I gathered a bunch of poses with wolfdogs, also their skeleton, muscles, paws, cranium, and other details to better help me understand their form. This way my study time is not aimless and I also learn in-depth my subject.

    So Matt, what do you think about this learning routine? What routine do you suggest to your students? How much time do they usually practice daily and how do they split their time between sketching and longer drawings?

    Also, because I’m not in contact with the art world, it’s a bit difficult for me to grasp some really simple concepts. For example, I avoided this whole time drawing in sketchbooks simply because I don’t feel comfortable and I don’t know how to hold them. I’m used to putting a cheap piece of paper on a drawing board, then moving my whole arm freely. But this week I wanted to go over some of my older drawings and I realized how flawed my system was. First of all, I’ve been drawing on A4 because I believe it’s the perfect size for sketching. A3 is too big already. So I have a bunch of A4 papers stuck in a folder and if I try to browse them, look on my improvement, have some feedback, it’s very difficult to manipulate the drawings. So I end up not looking at them ever… It might seem silly, but I think it’s important to have some visual feedback especially in the beginning so it keeps you going.
    So how does everyone else hold their sketchbooks? I can’t draw on a table, I 100% need a slanted surface, this is very important for me. So should I just somehow stick the sketchbook to the drawing board? I don’t have the space for a drawing table so I have to deal with my desk + a drawing board. Those desk easels also don’t work for me at the moment because I have a very tall desk and I would be too high up. And I don’t want to keep drawing on single sheets of paper. It was fine for a while, but if I really want to improve, I feel I need to make this sketchbook process work.

    Another question is regarding paper. I know the difference between sketching and drawing papers.
    So basically for practice, we should use the sketchbook, even for more developed drawings. But we can also use sketching pads which are larger in size, like A3 for those longer drawings. Then, the portfolio drawings should be on individual sheets of drawing paper, but where and how should they be stored safely once they are removed from the pad? And the same thing applies to the longer practice drawings, correct?

    I know there are a couple of questions here, but they really bug me 😀
    Thank you for your time!

    #18039
    Ann Marie Soranno
    Participant

    Hi Adina,

    Lots of questions in your post. Here is how I study. I work full time so I usually practice drawing for one to three hours a night depending on how tired I am. I always make it a point to sketch something for at least an hour every night. The evenings are for practicing and watching tutorials. On the weekends and days off, I’ll spend about 6 hours drawing a day. On these days I spend about an hour practicing and five hours working on a long drawing. My long drawings can take me 8 to 12 hours to complete depending on the subject matter. These drawings go into my portfolio.
    I use sketch, drawing and toned paper as well as Bristol and watercolor paper. I use all sizes of paper starting at 9 by 12 inches to 18 by 24 inches. I chose the paper size based on my subject matter. The size paper I like best is 11 by 14.

    Regarding sketch books, I have a lot of them. I usually carry a small 5 by 7 sketchbook with me all the time. When I take breaks at work, I go outside and sketch a tree or a car for 20mins. I’m usually standing when I’m drawing a tree, so I hold my sketchbook at a slant when drawing. By the way this is a hardcover sketchbook. A spiral sketchbook doesn’t work very well when you are drawing outside. The sketchbook I use at home are big and cheap. I like 14 by 17 size sketch because it gives me a lot of room to draw my ideas. I have a desk top easel that I put on my kitchen table when I’m done with my evening meal. The easel has a 30% slant that works perfectly for me and my sketchbooks. To bad you can’t use a table easel, it makes my sketch life very easy.

    Ann Marie

    #18045
    Nancy Gilbert
    Participant

    Hi Adina,
    Re: holding one’s sketchbook, I used to lean mine (hardbound for longer sketches, studies and finished drawings and spiral bound for timed gesture and expression sketches – both types 8 1/2 x 11″) against my knees and a table to get the right angle. Very impractical and uncomfortable. Then I found a bamboo “laptop” desk (that I think is meant to be used in bed). 2/3s of the top can be angled up and the static 1/3 is great for holding my tablet for references. I set it (with the legs closed) on a small computer table for drawing in the evening, though it could probably be used on a desk with a proper chair. See pic attached – if it works. (For a comfortingly capable background listening/watching show I recommend catching up on the Great British Bake Off or listening to random science podcasts, but each to their own). 🙂

    #18046
    Nancy Gilbert
    Participant

    (one more try to post the pic of laptop table setup for sketching)

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    #18068
    Matthew
    Keymaster

    Hi Adina,

    I will answer some of your questions in tonight’s podcast. It will be late, I’m currently out of my studio on the road. Rare for a Monday. In the meantime a lot of your questions about paper can be answered via the begin here step by step course paper lesson.

    You also might want to check the gesture drawing course, lesson three, physicality.

    Looking forward to it.

    Matt

    #18070
    Adina Somesan
    Participant

    Hi everyone,

    Thank you for all your answers, very kind of you!

    Ann Marie, so if I understood correctly, you use the large sketchbook 14×17 at home for practice, correct? Then you do your portfolio drawings on the drawing paper. Where do you store these drawings? I also have a hardcover, hardbound sketchbook, but A4. Larger it seems too big for me, especially in a portrait format.

    Nancy, nice table! I wish I could use something like that, but I found a workaround. I’m still experimenting with this setup. If I’ll find it uncomfortable, I’ll just use my drawing board and somehow make the sketchbook stay on it.
    I recently got into podcasts and I’m listening to SVSlearn, 3 point perspective: the illustration podcast and 10% happier. All interesting until now 🙂

    Matt, thank you for considering my questions! I already watched those lessons, I guess I still have some questions:
    – the recycled drawing paper pad and the bristol pad are best for portfolio drawings, correct? In the video, you say to keep them in the pad, but for a longer drawing I would remove the sheet and pun it on my drawing board. How would you store the drawings then?
    – you say the Canson 1557 pad is good for life drawing. Could you please explain the difference between a life drawing and a portfolio drawing? Is it the number of hours that go into it or the fact that life drawings from a class are considered practice, so you don’t use the best paper?
    Sorry, it’s a bit confusing for me!
    In my mind there are the following options:
    – short practice drawings in the sketchbook (30sec to 30min)
    – long practice drawings in the sketchbook or sketch pad (larger and thicker paper than the sketchbook, but not the best, like 1557 Canson) if it’s a complex composition, or full figure maybe? I would do these to prepare for portfolio drawings, get used to putting more time in a single drawing, more time into measuring and rendering (1h to 6h)
    – portfolio drawings on drawing pad (Bristol or other options). These could take a lot of time, depending on style
    – for smaller portfolio drawings, would you use the paper from a drawing pad and simply rip it to a smaller size?
    Would this be correct? I’m not considering newsprint, charcoal and toned papers because I don’t really have an interest or use for them at the moment.

    Thank you for your time and patience with a noob!

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    #18077
    Ann Marie Soranno
    Participant

    Hi Adina,

    I store my good drawings in Itoya art Profolio. It is a presentation Album for photos, art and documents. A little expensive but I like them. I can get them at my local art store or online.

    Ann Marie

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