Practice, practice, practice!

6I did get my iPad Pro with my apple pencil. I also got a nice Starry Night decal for it, and a holder for the pen that straps around the iPad, as well as the Apple keyboard that goes with it.  I’ve been having a lot of fun playing around with it, and I can tell that I will love making art in Procreate.  For what I want to do, it’s perfect.

7It does have it’s drawbacks, it isn’t as fully featured as Adobe Photoshop, or GIMP or Clip Studio, and the biggest drawback is the limited number of layers. But too just play around and draw on, do basic coloring and so forth on, it’s amazing. I can draw for several hours straight on a single charge, and the pencil actually only takes 5 seconds(!) to charge enough for a half hour of drawing.

I also picked up a very basic sketchbook. In the past I’ve always gotten kind of…fancy sketchbooks, and I think they really create this kind of need for it to be perfect. In fact, the first thing I did was open it to the first page and just messy scribble random lines all over it on the first 3 pages and write “Practice not perfection” in sloppy letters on the third page. On the 4th page I started sketching.

4Today I watched a few videos on drawing faces, and this particular one stood out. It started with drawing the basic shape of a curved piece of paper. It was straightforward and easy. I followed along and drew several at all the different angles. As the video progressed I realized that I was struggling especially with turned-down faces. I attempted to draw a few just to practice on them, and didn’t feel I was getting anywhere. So I took out some bristol paper and created a 3D model of what I was trying to draw: a curved paper with a nose shape on it.

2Using that I was able to hold it at the angle I wanted to practice drawing with one hand, and draw it with the other. I did several turned down angled examples until I felt I got the hang of it. Also, seeing the nose especially in 3D really helped it kind of snap together in my brain.

This is really the first time I’ve ever sat down and done sketches like this, with the sole purpose being to practice and to improve on one single area where I know my skills are lacking. Before this I’ve always just tried to draw complete finished art type images, and so when they don’t look right I get annoyed and give up.  I think that this, that sketches for the sole purpose of practice, with there being no intent at all in the image being a “finished product” so to speak is something I should have been doing for a long time.

1After some practice with the 3D paper mask I was able to draw some turned down perspectives much easier, showing some improvement already after only 30 or so minutes of practice. I was also able to better understand the basic shape of the nose, and what areas of it are visible and by how much depending on the angle.

I plan for this little sketchbook to go with me everyone just like my new iPad Pro, and that it will serve for me to practice in, and only practice. Nothing in it will ever be drawn with the specific intent of it being a finished piece.

In addition, I also want to begin a method of design that I’ve learned from watching Jazza’s videos, which is to sketch in my sketchbook first various options for a character design first. For example he will start with the face, and draw 3 to 9 (or more) versions of just the face trying to see what he likes. He’ll then move on to the body, doing basic poses and costume designs until he lands on one he likes. Only then does he move on to create a finished work.

For me, the design work will be done in the sketchbook, and when I have the idea down I’ll move on to the iPad in most cases to create the finished work. Or, in some cases, I may go to my Bristol pads and Copic markers.

I am hoping that this new interest in improving my drawing skills sticks with me for a while, and that I continue to improve. I also hope it leads to regaining a desire to sculpt as well.

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