WanderPony

I wish I could draw

Recommended Posts

WARNING: This post is angry. If you can't handle an angry tone, please click the back button. If you can, then keep reading.

 

"Anyone can draw! Keep on drawing, and you'll become an expert overnight without any help whatsoever!"

 

Those words still make my blood boil to this very day. Every time someone says that to me, I really want to hurt them. Because the advice they give has helped me absolutely zero percent.

 

Here is my story.

 

When I was a child, I drew all the time. I was a big fan of comic strips like Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side, so I drew comic strips of my own. I drew Far Side-style single panel comics, some of which have aged better than others. (Sometimes the joke was something as cliche as a dog walking a man on a leash.) Still, I was proud of my work, and my family members liked it too.

 

Then, in school, I saw what people my age (and even younger!) were capable of. They were so much better than me! No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't emulate their perspectives and anatomy. (What really hurt me is when a kid in the seventh grade pointed to this really good drawing of an alien gargoyle creature on the wall and said "Look at that. Isn't that kid a better artist than you?")

 

I drew less and less as I got older. I still drew every now and then, but it looks barely any better than how it looked when I was younger. My mom got me some cartooning books, and I tried following their instructions (like drawing lines to make the heads more spherical and breaking down the limbs into basic joints) but that just made the drawings look WORSE.

 

If you don't believe me or think I'm exaggerating, here's a gallery of stuff I drew in the past couple years.

 

lgvaULZ.jpg

 

iqqpubK.jpg

 

43e7OdR.jpg

 

MGHsgjF.jpg

 

SiK1u7G.jpg

 

W1WNSK8.jpg

 

Look at those abominations.

 

Gaze at the crooked lines, the deformed limbs. You can practically see the pain in their crudely drawn eyes. "END US!" they scream. "JUST PLEASE END US!"

 

I'm not the only one who thinks my art is terrible, by the way. I once tried posting the griffon drawing on my deviantART. (It should be noted that I looked at Lauren Faust's sketch of Gilda as a reference.) How did one of my friends (who IS a good artist) respond? "The beak is too long and the hindlimbs are too thin. Also, the lines are crooked, but that's normal for newbies."

 

That wouldn't hurt as much if I WAS a newbie. But I'm not. As mentioned above, I DREW ALL THE TIME AS A CHILD. Why does my art still look terrible now that I'm in my twenties?!

 

And I would be nowhere near as upset if one of my biggest dreams was to make cartoons myself. But that is indeed a huge dream of mine. Why am I such a failure at what I WANT to be good at? Does ANYONE here know how that feels?!

 

"But you WILL be a good artist if you keep on drawing!"

 

SHUT. UP.

 

As I said, that enrages me. Because guess what? Every time I draw, my art NEVER improves! Each drawing looks as bad as the previous.

 

So, because just thinking about my lack of drawing talent makes me a mixture of angry AND sad, I decided to vent about it here to make me feel better, though I'm not sure if this is breaking any rules or not. So, if anyone wants to post any supportive and helpful comments (that DON'T involve the stupid excuse mentioned above), that would be nice. But if I get any stupid troll comments...I'm not sure what I'll do. Is there a block feature?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But really, if you've been drawing for as long you claim to be and nothing's improved I think it's time you go back to square one. Head back to the fundamentals: your basic shapes.

 

And of course much more, but tackle things one problem at a time. It sounds high-time you go into doing fundamental drawing and drawing from life; even if it's sketching shitty cups and dolls and shit. Get into some art-reading, study some stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, WanderPony said:

Does ANYONE here know how that feels?!

Yes. I have the same issues with talking English. I can understand writing well, but may level of expression is still low. And I watched tons and tons of movies/videos and I still can't understand spoken English. Practice day after day, month after month, years after years, and no noticeable improvement, never, despite of all your work. Around of me, people just watching a series and become bilingual instantly. ez. I KNOW WHAT YOU FEEL BRO ! SO MUCH !:gonkity:

I expect that is a psychology mechanics, but it's so difficult to unlock that I wonder if is it possible to break, seriously. At least, not alone. Maybe you can find some help to teach AND to motivate you to draw everyday what you learned, step by step ?

4 hours ago, WanderPony said:

"But you WILL be a good artist if you keep on drawing!"

I don't know, but I'm sure you will never if you give up. You need motivation (teacher ? goal ?). My own motivation is the mlp fandom and all the creations (mostly videos) to keep on learning. Sign in this forum was one of the consequences of my motivation.

When a thing is too big for you, just cut it. If it's still big, cut it again, etc... I think for drawing, if you can't draw a dragon, draw his head. If u can't, draw his eyes, etc...

I believe in you bro !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They're not that bad in my opinion. Actually i believe they're kind of cute. Perhaps you should try creating your own graphic world with characters of your own, under such premise people (including you) would be forced to judge your work as a whole by its own merits and not the likeness regarding an external reference. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You've got the most important quality of an aspiring artist already: you hate your own work.

Okay maybe that's an exaggeration, but it's good to be able to look at your own stuff and see the flaws in it. That means you'll know when it still needs improvement and when things start looking decent. I spent... let's see, June of 2010 to maybe October 2016, so that's about six years, pretty much hating everything I drew, before it finally started to look good to my eyes. I'd force myself to make a drawing every now and then out of a sense of obligation to myself, because I really, really wanted to be able to draw well. It was never fun and I always wanted to be doing something else. I've hit a point now where I'm still not *good*, but I spend more time drawing a picture than I do fixing my errors on it, so. Progress?

And you're right, you're not going to magically get better just by doing it a lot. Drawing every day just gives you time to go through the slowwww process of rewiring your brain to think visually. But, it's an active process. You've got to learn why what you're doing doesn't produce the image you see in your head. That takes constant observation and critical thinking. Here's what I would suggest: pick one drawing. Perhaps the pony head in profile up above. I notice you fixed her mane several times, which is basically the idea with this exercise. You want to look at your one drawing, pick a detail, or several details, that look wrong about it, figure out how it's wonky (references for pony heads abound on the internet), and draw it again, exactly the same, except for fixing what you figured out is wrong. Then if it still doesn't look right, find more things to correct, and draw it again. You could also erase and redraw, but if you go that route, keep your lines sketchy and light so you can go through plenty of iterations without ruining the paper. To get you started, I notice the pony's muzzle line is lower at the base of the face than at the tip of the snout, so maybe just bring that end up and reassess. You might then notice, looking at your reference, that the mane usually obscures the top of the head to some degree, so you'd change that. And repeat.

Of course, learning to pinpoint where you're going wrong is a skill in itself, and one you'll need to develop. Drawing from life or carefully copying other pictures helps with that, because you've got something to constantly be checking your work against.

Hope I could be of some help. I know it's frustrating that the only advice a lot of artists give is "keep practicing", but the thing is, everyone's brain is different. No one else can teach you everything you need to know to become a good-artist version of yourself. You've got to build a whole mental library of little tricks, techniques, and understandings of how different things look, and also recognize your own unique flaws as an artist, and get out of whatever those habits are. It may seem like you're making zero progress, but really it's just too slow to see from drawing to drawing, like how people's faces change as they get older, but you'd never notice it unless you sped up time. Super encouraging, right? Well, no. You're going to despise your own art for a long time. That's normal. Everyone goes through it. So take comfort in that, as you grit your teeth and saddle up to keep making pictures.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@WanderPony I don't see anything but positive responses on their profile and deviations. Someone called them an "inspiration". They're sure as shit not Rembrandt, but they're making stuff they want to make. That automatically makes them a better person in my book than a thousand critics who laugh at them for not being perfect while protecting their own egos by never trying to draw anything themselves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, Friendship is Horses said:

@WanderPony I don't see anything but positive responses on their profile and deviations. Someone called them an "inspiration". They're sure as shit not Rembrandt, but they're making stuff they want to make. That automatically makes them a better person in my book than a thousand critics who laugh at them for not being perfect while protecting their own egos by never trying to draw anything themselves.

 

You clearly haven't seen how people on Derpibooru feel about this user, then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Friendship is Horses said:

references for pony heads abound on the internet

As I've already mentioned, references don't help. I used Lauren Faust's sketch of Gilda for the griffon picture, and look how that piece of shit turned out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hm. I've actually been trying to improve my own artistic skills as well, and I'm gonna support AaronMk.

12 hours ago, AaronMk said:

But really, if you've been drawing for as long you claim to be and nothing's improved I think it's time you go back to square one. Head back to the fundamentals: your basic shapes.

 

[...] It sounds high-time you go into doing fundamental drawing and drawing from life; even if it's sketching shitty cups and dolls and shit. Get into some art-reading, study some stuff.

 

So, to elaborate, what that meant for me personally is that a few years ago I began with drawing things I could notice errors in pretty easily. Perfect squares and circles are a good place too start; that exercise showed me that in my drawings I often exaggerated the vertical axis. Personally, I've been sketching (and maybe shading) simple lineart. A pencil such as this one is a good starting point because the lines are fairly interconnected, giving you good reference points while sketching, and because the drawing is simple enough to clearly self-diagnose what went wrong and where. Two major point of focus in these studies might be sketching, (many quick, small lines, not a few deliberate, long ones) and understanding proportions (making sure one part of the picture isn't too big or too wide relative to another part).

 

If you're also interested in studying perspective, my personal favorite subject of study for perspective is the paper airplane. It can be pretty easily reduced to lineart and you don't really have to worry about adding volume or shading it. What's more, you can make a real-life model for study very easily. If you can draw a paper airplane from any perspective, including from underneath, you've got a pretty good intuitive understanding of localized single-point perspective.

 

That being said, not all lineart is equal. Geometric objects are more easily drawn and studied (in my experience) than organics. Fabrics are probably the hardest part of organic shapes, especially if you later need to deal with transparency and shading.

 

Good luck! I hope this helped.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, BlueDragonAura said:

Hm. I've actually been trying to improve my own artistic skills as well, and I'm gonna support AaronMk.

 

So, to elaborate, what that meant for me personally is that a few years ago I began with drawing things I could notice errors in pretty easily. Perfect squares and circles are a good place too start; that exercise showed me that in my drawings I often exaggerated the vertical axis. Personally, I've been sketching (and maybe shading) simple lineart. A pencil such as this one is a good starting point because the lines are fairly interconnected, giving you good reference points while sketching, and because the drawing is simple enough to clearly self-diagnose what went wrong and where. Two major point of focus in these studies might be sketching, (many quick, small lines, not a few deliberate, long ones) and understanding proportions (making sure one part of the picture isn't too big or too wide relative to another part).

 

If you're also interested in studying perspective, my personal favorite subject of study for perspective is the paper airplane. It can be pretty easily reduced to lineart and you don't really have to worry about adding volume or shading it. What's more, you can make a real-life model for study very easily. If you can draw a paper airplane from any perspective, including from underneath, you've got a pretty good intuitive understanding of localized single-point perspective.

 

That being said, not all lineart is equal. Geometric objects are more easily drawn and studied (in my experience) than organics. Fabrics are probably the hardest part of organic shapes, especially if you later need to deal with transparency and shading.

 

Good luck! I hope this helped.

I'm going to add to this too:

 

If you're starting to feel like this is getting daunting and you're starting to sweat over how to go or where to start in fundamental shit than I would say it might be time to hunt down a class to take. Some guidance through the steps will do you good. If you're in High School then you have the opportunity to go in and take some free basic drawing or art classes. If you're beyond that then you'll have to find opportunities in the local colleges or universities, or the community college. I know mine offers the opportunity to take classes at a big discount, but you don't get any credit for taking it; actually I think it might be close to free because of that.

 

But there are options, however you want to take them.

 

And then when you're through with that you can start worrying about composition elements, color theory, leading lines, and all of that!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I did what some of you said to do and tried drawing simplistic stuff.

cFTjrhZ.jpg

 

Even when I do something as simplistic as a cube or beach ball, it comes out looking horribly disjointed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Friendship is Horses said:

Okay, so where do you think you went wrong on the cube and the beach ball? What, specifically, is less than ideal about them?

I feel like the cube is too bendy, I guess. And I don't know how to fix it.

 

The stripes on the beach ball are bending in a way that resembles a basketball. Once again, don't know how to fix it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, WanderPony said:

I feel like the cube is too bendy, I guess. And I don't know how to fix it.

 

The stripes on the beach ball are bending in a way that resembles a basketball. Once again, don't know how to fix it.

 

ruler_40cm.png

 

44748.jpg?mark64=aHR0cDovL3d3dy5qZXRwZW5

 

Get crackin'

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@WanderPony Some tips, then. The cube is bendy because the lines aren't straight; that pretty much comes down to muscle control, which is something you train your hand in by continued practice. Assuming you know which lines are supposed to be parallel to which. If you want lines of absolute straightness, go with AaronMk's suggestion and use a ruler, because freehanding perfect geometrical shapes is damn nigh impossible for anyone. Also, a hypothetical picture of a cube looks different than some cube-shaped object one would see in the real world, because of how perspective works.

C6gq7xh.jpg

So you can see that with the simplified cube, the horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines are all parallel. I mean, in theory. I didn't use a protractor or anything. With the cube in perspective, the horizontal and vertical lines are still parallel (again, in theory), but the diagonal lines all converge towards the vanishing point. You can google 'one-point perspective' and find all sorts of resources about vanishing points and horizons and junk.

With the beach ball, it's important to recognize that the borders between the different colored patches all follow the curve of the sphere. You've got to think of it like a 3d object that you're capturing as two-dimensional from a certain point of view. Looking at it from the top down, all the lines appear straight. From the side, they curve more as they get close to the edges of the circle, and less as they get near the center.

Don't be afraid to take your time and sketch, erase, and redraw before you put down your final lines. Your brain knows what looks right, so make a bunch of quick, light, tentative scratches in the general area of where you think your lines ought to go, and then incrementally close in on a finished drawing.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"practice makes perfect!!" Is what I clicked on this thread expecting to be able to say, seems that's not the case.

Really heartbreaking story, all I can suggest is what's been aforementioned already.

Go back to basic shapes, practice your circles and squares, lines and curves, possibly change how you grip your pencil, maybe even try the other hand and practice with that until you find a comfortability. Move slower and more calculated, move faster and more passionately, change your flow to match the show. Find what works best for you! Keep us updated, I'm facinated to see how you progress.

It may sound cheesey but I thought of a way you could find more stability with your pencil pressure, get a 'how-to-draw' book and some tracing paper, copy pictures in the book until you have a less forced pencil motion. That's how I originally picked up the basic essentials of how to draw, most of my pictures up until 10y/o were traces, it was just a means of refining my comfortability with the pencil and achieving a desirable result (which will motivate you to draw more, I can almost assure you).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know that feeling all too well. I practiced drawing quite a bit when I was younger. I never did get very good at it, and I ended up reaching a plateau and never improved any further no matter how much I practiced. The same thing happened to my sister, though she plateaued at a much higher level than me.

Anyway, from looking at your drawings, it looks to me like you're making dark, heavy lines without lifting the pencil much. It might be better to draw your lines with a lot of light, sketchy strokes where you lift the pencil frequently. Drawing this way makes it much easier to get your lines looking right (it does in my case, at least). It also makes erasing much easier, and if you're anything like me, you'll be doing a lot of erasing.

If you do end up giving up on drawing, maybe try 3D modeling instead? The skillset is somewhat different, and I've had better luck with that than I've had with drawing.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alright, anyone want to give me a suggestion? Prompt me. Give me something to draw.

 

You know as well as I that it's going to look terrible, but anyway...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow! That looks intimidating and complicated.

 

Here, I tried to draw the skeletal part.

 

79hUhGV.jpg

 

Looks like a piece of shit, doesn't it? I wish I knew how to improve it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Might be a good idea to save a copy of that reference sheet. It actually looks pretty helpful.

As a next step, try drawing the legs around those bones. Remember to sketch lightly rather than using heavy, solid lines. The sketches on that reference sheet are good examples of what I mean by that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now