Ice spiced latte. Hey girl. Do you have any sources or recommendations on how to get better at drawing anatomy as well as shading.
I guess the first thing I really gotta reccomend is Pinterest. This site is everything. I personally use it constantly for inspiration and of course, sources on areas of practice. Some pieces I have started just from a quick scroll through that website.
For anatomy, my honest-to-god advice would have to be the most basic practice out there; draw from life. We see others everyday and it’s some of the most essential sources. I have discussed before that anatomy is a crucial aspect to creating a style as it will contribute to any style out there. Here’s the full anatomy talk I gave to an anon a while back. It covers most of the important shit I want to tell anybody.
Anyway, from what I can collect over the years, anatomy relies mostly on basic shapes.
We’ll get into that later. For now, i’ll show you a technique that I practiced when I was younger from some random website. I can’t quite remember what the technique was called but let me just point out that any kind of technique the internet has will work or won’t with different people. It’s what you make of that technique yourself after you’re fluent with it that counts. There’s a lot personalaspects that have changed the technique I’ve used since i’ve stopped using it. Here’s a basic example of that technique;
As you can, most of the lines go after the circles. That’s the most basic body shape. What matters is actually the rendering of all of this. There’s a lot of mistakes that may come with doing any technique; a common one would have to be being neat with it. That’s not the case if you want to have a better flow in your drawing; be messy with your lines. Rendering will sort everything else afterwards. Being messy and almost spontaneous with these guidelines will allow your drawing to be more open to natural positions and prevent your character looking stiff. There’s also a stress that comes along with being neat with it all; you aim for perfect lines and that’s the case you shouldn’t be going for. The human body is flexible, it’s unexpected even. Rendering these lines will give you a clearer guide to the final product;
Rendering out the lines can sometimes mean just basically going over the lines in the first step but trust me when I say that rendering is all about decisions; whether your want to that leg just a bit closer to the other or an entire arm in a different position. And of course, the final lines come around eventually;
These techniques and the understanding that the human body can be defined into mere shapes are what I reccomend to anybody who wants to practice more anatomy. They can be used to sources such as basic pictures online. Here’s an example of the process;
After a few more lines, rendering;
I didn’t do significant lineart here but rather, refine more for the drawing;
As you can see, I fill out some of the blank spaces using lines. This is still part of a sketch process but is crucial once you move on to colouring and all sorts; shading is something I can’t define for everyone. Anyone could have a different take on shading but what I do reccomend is starting out easy! Find the most basic spots where you just know there should be shade. Of course, under the chin, the back of the legs. All these things can be a huge factor for your next step into your piece; it can contribute to how you use colours. The sketch process is the guideline in itself to everything that may come afterward.
As for the lighting in shading itself; I would look into lighting angles around the face first as it is crucial to most of what you will probably draw later on. A book truly recommend is Dynamic Light and Shadeby Burne Hogarth. It is such a beautifully detailed book that not only shows great examples of pieces themselves but also extends upon how the light can affect any work and what mood it can convey as well. Other reccomendations would go towards inspiration from others’ work and like I said, in real life. I cannot tell you how many pieces I have created are inspired by the light I observe in real life. Take photographs and skim through them if you must; I do it most days in all kinds of environments to see how the light can be used in my work.
As for anatomy, here are some techniques you can use;
Others you can find by a quick scroll through the interwebz.
I have so much more to say on these two subjects but honestly it will take years; this is the gist of it all, at least.
I’m not the master of anatomy, i have too much to learn still but over the years, I’ve learned how to cope with things I never thought I could cope with. With practice, I swear to god, things do change. I remember when eyes were like hell to draw but now, I enjoy doing them because I’ve found my own way to doing them. I remember just dying at the thought of doing the goddamned hands but it’s not so bad these days. Everything is a stepping stone and anatomy as a whole will take years for people to really get by and I’m hardly there, so don’t worry if you’re still steady at it, everyone learns at their own pace and that’s okay.
Your my art crush. I really want to be as good as you someday. How did you get started or have you been drawing your whole life? I'm a late bloomer when it comes to anything artistic. Do you recommend any 'how to draw' books?
Heyyy:) I started drawing about 3 years ago, when i just played Mass Effect trilogy series. So.. YEP, definitely Mass Effect and Commander Shepard brought me here. This game inspired me in so many ways and I really wanted to express how I felt & release them. I think all people have their own aesthetic stands and it doesn’t matter when you find yours. So I’m sure that you’ve already got your artistic senses, and you just choose drawing as the tool to release them. Anyway, no more boring talk, here comes some references for you:)
I’ve currently used these two web sites for human figures.
Hello!! I just stumbled across your blog. Your art is very gorgeous and inspired me to start drawing humans. Do you by any chance have any beginning tips? I have absolutely no idea how to start and I’d appreciate any tips, like how to get proportions right, how to use references/where to find them, etc. As an animal artist and 2bg fan; good job on your work. I especially think your headshot of Max Black was lovely ;w;
Aaaah! First of all, thank you! The fact my art make you decide
to drawing human figure makes me really happy! Also sorry for the late reply, i
tried to decide what to write… i don’t think i’m the best person to ask tbh,
99% of the time i don’t know what i’m doing orz but i’ll try to give you a few
general tips that i hope will help you!
One thing you will always read
about drawing tips is drawing from life: take your sketchbook and go outside
sketching people and places. And it’s a very good advice but… i can also
understand that awkward feeling when you do it because people may notice you
drawing (seriously, i’ve been able to do it only in airport or during a
flight). So, while this is still a good advice, here’s an alternative: Croquis
Caféis a youtube channel that posts videos with various
naked models in it and with a great variety in body shapes (mostly females).
It’s perfect to do some gesture drawing and it’s also good when you’re art
blocked. There are also a lot of sites (like this one) that offer the same service but using
pictures, you can set up what kind of models you want and the time that has to
pass between each picture. I personally prefer Croquis Café but i’ll put it
this option too, just in case.
Study anatomy. Whatever kind of
style you want to achieve, knowing anatomy is important. There are a lot of
good tutorial here on tumblr, and a lot of blogs reblog them along with
references and other useful stuff (like these: 1,2and 3). I also have one where i reblog tutorials and stuff, here, if you need it! I dunno what you’re trying
to achieve, like drawing human portraits or super realistic figures or
comic-like figures, but either way find a good anatomy book to study, like Burne Hogarth or Andrew Loomis books.
Speaking of anatomy, a good exercise i used to do when
i was attending school of comics was this one: take a picture from a magazine
(naked or underwear models are better, so you can see the anatomy), put a sheet
of transparent tracing paper (or just a new layer if you’re using photoshop)
and trace the figure trying to stylize the body in simpler geometrical shapes:
This way you can learn to draw
the body in simpler shapes, this also helps when you have to move the figures,
pose them or put them in a scene. This trick also work for single
body parts (head, hands, feet, ecc):
This way you can learn to stylize
the human figure into simpler shapes, creating your own “mannequin” to move and
pose as you please!
References: Google is your
friend. No, literally! When i need a pose, i usually google it (and being
weirdly specific about it). Another good resource are stock photos: DeviantArt
has a lot of users that offer their pictures as free stock to use for drawings
( @senshistock is a good start point, her gallery is huge and offers various kind
of pictures. She ha salso an app that can be used for gesture drawing: http://www.senshistock.com/sketch/ ).
Be sure to read their disclaimer tho! Also, the already mentioned art blogs often
reblogs references pictures. As for how to use them, you can
try the excercise i mentioned before, check proportions, learn about various
body shapes, and, once you’ll get better, you can use them and mix them for the
poses you need it, and also collect them so you’ll have a good resource for
everything (not only human figures, but dresses, animals, backgrounds, weapons,
ecc). Another good exercise is to look at your reference and sketch it, using
I’m sorry if this post looks short or not really goes into deep,
but since you said you’re at the beginning i tried to keep it simple and cover
some basics, but if you need anything else just let me know (even via pvt) and
i’ll see what i can do once i have more time!
Hey! So I really want to get into character drawing. I'm gonna be honest and say that my experience with it is like zero to none. So I was wondering if you have any book recommendations for me to read or any advice on how to start out. Your art is always so wonderful and I just love your style. Thanks in advance!
Hi! For books, I’d recommend anything byBurne Hogarth for anatomy. He breaks the form down into basic shapes in space that make sense. Also did a book on drapery/clothing behavior that’s really nice.
For color,James Gurney’s books are the best. For perspective, I loved“How to Draw” by Scott Robertson. Very intuitive way of understanding space and how to apply grids to both mechanical and natural forms.
Here’s a post that has a much more comprehensive list of art books.
Generally, my advice would be to get a bunch of cheap sketchbooks and draw a ton (and draw in pen). Keep it loose and don’t overwork anything. Just experiment! If you mess up, just move onto another drawing. You’ll improve a ton this way. Like Chuck Jones said: “Every artist has thousands of bad drawings in them and the only way to get rid of them is to draw them out.”
ugggh naf the way you draw muscles!! how do you do them so well?
thank you so much!!
I dedicated a lot of my college life getting better at anatomy, studying artists like Glenn Vilppu, Burne Hogarth, Paul Cadmus, etc. For a while my anatomy was very technical and mechanical looking, so I spent my post-college years learning how to soften my figures. Most of this came from life drawing, but I also spent a lot of time outside of classes and timed studies just looking at reference photos and poses. Lots of time looking in the mirror and observing myself and others. Seeing how skin and fat lay on top of muscle, and even beyond that, how different body types effect proportion and shape of musculature.
I’m still learning but that’s generally how I’ve gone about it!
Hi, I'm sure this has come up previously in someone else's question but i couldnt find an answer on your tumblr. I wanted to know if you have some tips, or books or exercise to draw better. I draw fine, but im trying to improve, i try drawing based on comics i saw, or drawings that inspire me, but i cant seem to draw what i envision. I saw a few posts about life drawing classes or related stuff, but where i live theres kinda zero chance to get something like that. Do you have any advise?
While there are all kinds of amazing books on drawing and life drawing anything by Peter Loomis or Burne Hogarth, and even the surprisingly effective how to draw comics the Marvel way, you also have, if you have the Internet which I think you do, all of these YouTube videos of artists from all walks of life videoing themselves illustrating and talking while they do it. They are so helpful and Sometimes soothing.
Your art style is TOTALLY AMAZING. Would you mind giving some tips for bodies and/or mouths?
there are a lot of art tutorials/tips out there for bodies and mouths and i don’t have much to add except this: the fastest way to get good at drawing people/faces is to study the old masters. rubens, rembrandt, durer, raphael, michaelangelo (you wanna be careful with him because he tends to invent his own muscles lol), carracci, cambiaso, etc, etc
also look up george bridgman, burne hogarth, andrew loomis, harry carmean, glenn vilppu - some modern(ish) artists who are unbelievable draftsmen ^^
Generally, I’m rubbish at learning things out of books and benefit a lot from having a teacher. So if you know someone who knows how to draw- bribe them with hugs or something to give you the basic tools.
There are also tons of tutorials and videos online for you to peruse to find the method that might work best for you.
2. Know if you’re just starting out you’ve got the benefit of never having learned it wrong.
My first two years of undergrad in my drawing minor were correcting things I’d taught myself just by drawing/doodling all the time. (For example- I used to draw the eyes, nose, and mouth and then draw the head around that- turns out you can make things way more proportional if you block in the head shape first and then the features. General to specific.)
That being said- from my many years of drawing incorrectly I did have better dexterity and control over the muscle memory in my hands so when I did learn to draw properly it was easier than going in cold turkey. (And it also wasn’t because I had to relearn the muscle memory I’d had wrong.)
3. Observe and draw from real life- your style will come naturally.
4. Don’t be afraid to trace, copy, or emulate your favorite artists at the very beginning (as long as you’re not claiming it as your own…) I’d be lying if I said I didn’t start my drawing career trying to draw Rurouni Kenshin.
5. Don’t get frustrated when it doesn’t look exactly how you want. Stuff I draw still doesn’t look the way I want it to look. I’ve done exactly 3 drawings out of half a million that came out looking EXACTLY how I’d envisioned them. Drawing is a journey.
I hope this was helpful… I could talk on and on about drawing. (I’m a bit scatter brained at the moment and might update this when I am more together.)
“Hey man, I thought perhaps you might be able to shed some light on something;
Where does one start with getting into your world? illustration? Animation? General fine art? I’m 28 and looking at rebooting my life by advancing my favourite lifelong hobby into (hopefully) a better job, but to risk 3 years of my life and upwards of £30k, I don’t want to go in the wrong direction right at the start.
I know you’re USA and I’m UK, but what course did you do? What’s your origin story, and your advice to someone who wants to follow a similar path?
Cheers bro, really appreciate the time you take to read this meaty message.”
First off, sorry for the late reply. I let messages build up and answer when I can. I wonder if you’ve already made some decisions about your direction toward comics and this response is way too late! But regardless, I’ll answer anyway! I’m up in the middle of the night unable to sleep, so you get my long winded reply.
If you want to get into comics, I wouldn’t recommend college. I know, parents hate hearing that. (And probably colleges too) But accruing that kind of debt for schooling that you could learn on your own might not be the best start for your comics career. And really, if you don’t already have a talent in drawing, schooling won’t help you much. Ask anyone that went to an art school, you will see plenty of students that lack talent and took school to make them better. And guess what, it didn’t work. But then there are those that were already talented that took schooling and they used that time and the assignments to get even better. Well, you can do this on your own. There isn’t tons of secrets to good drawing. It’s talent plus skill. And skill can be learned by doing.
My path went a little something like this. Drawing comics was a dream job since I was 15 and I always drew and practiced, and after a few years I heard about Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art but couldn’t afford it. I forget how old I was (maybe 20?) but I did a correspondence course from them, they sent me a book which I drew in and did assignments and then they’d do corrections over them, (much cheaper than going to the school! About 200-300 I think?) But it was very helpful since I couldn’t find many books on sequential art. But at the same time it made me realize that I didn’t need to spend thousands for schooling. I think a big reason I wanted School was to be around other artists like me, since I knew zero artists. But the learning part, I can do that one on my own with all the art books around. So I schooled myself with large doses of Burne Hogarth, George Bridgeman, and later Andrew Loomis. (All great artists with an emphasis on anatomy, not comics) Sure I didn’t get that correspondence like I got with Joe Kubert courses, but after a while I found online forums and got feedback there, more on that in a second! Now I always drew but I did it slowly, I gave up the dream of comics due to low confidence and even lower confidence after submitting to a few companies and was rejected. I still drew but slowly and with less intent. But after being fired at the age of 26 from a warehouse job I decided to try again. This time I tried harder. I was hungry for work and to learn. My personal schooling was back to anatomy books, but also, I did free short stories with writers for anthologies and webcomics. I figured studying anatomy was good but I needed to do actual sequential storytelling. I didn’t worry about getting paid, these anthologies and things didn’t make any money anyway. I looked at this free work like it was my schooling! I basically pretended I got a scholarship and was doing school for FREE! I had a great time! I did inking for a couple comics because I thought maybe my pencilling wasn’t good enough. But the online forums were huge for me, I got that correspondence that is invaluable by posting art. Other artists commented on the posts and let me know what they felt was off or on about it. My confidence went up because the reaction from other artists was that I am good enough. (Digitalwebbing.com, Penciljack.com) But at the same time my bank account was looking terrible haha! I was three years married to my very supportive wife Erin who always told me to not worry about money and keep pushing for my dream job, even when we had to move into her Moms basement. It was nice getting help so I could concentrate fully on my “schooling”! But very difficult battling others advice of getting a job and stopping what I’m doing. And battling my own worries if what I was doing was worth it or not. It was quite the struggle for sure. I was pretty sure I could get work I just needed to keep pushing. And then Robert Kirkman contacted me on a private message on Penciljack.com forums asking if I wanted to work with him. I was 28. Thats when I started Invincible. And that’s really when most of the learning started. By reading Invincible you can see my growth in the last ten years. And I’m still learning and growing and evolving.
So my suggestion for getting into comics? Work for it, find your own way in. You might have to write for yourself, give yourself assignments. Fill up sketchbooks. Study artists, draw from life, collaborate on forums. It might be a hobby for a long while. So getting a job in the meantime will probably be necessary. You don’t need to follow my way or anyone’s way to get into comics. Do it your way. I was always told that the only way to get into comics was by submitting. I stumbled upon a different way, many artists have. And now mail submissions are a thing of the past. It doesn’t happen. Go online. Go to cons. Make friends. Enjoy it, dammit. Hopefully my middle of the night rambling was coherent enough to understand. Thank you.
What construction method you used to draw anatomy?
I mostly freehand everything now since a lot of my construction is internalized but I’m mostly thinking about simple shapes. Check out Vilppu’s videos, Michael Hampton’s book on figure invention, Burne Hogarth, Bridgman, stuff like that. Anatomy is really complicated and you just gotta accept that you will never have perfect anatomy or a complete understanding, so don’t make it more complicated and confusing for yourself with over-thinking and break everything down into very simple very manageable shapes. If you can get a good grasp on shapes like cones, cylinders, cubes, and spheres existing in a 3-dimensional space anatomy is a lot more easy and fun to draw.