General Resources For A Rusty Artist?

Discussion in 'Art and Illustration' started by Riley (TGS), Mar 17, 2017.

  1. Riley (TGS)

    Riley (TGS) A Beak With Eyes Who Draws.

    Hi again!

    Long story short, I am painfully out of practice in some areas when it comes to art. I took a very long hiatus for various reasons which include physical health, depression, some bad luck on the family front, culinary school, and job-related endeavors.

    I'm just now coming back to drawing and it's proving to be quite the challenge for me. When I began learning I was about fifteen years old. Unfortunately for me my main subject at the time was anime, and instead of learning to build a piece from the ground up using a solid framework I free-handed and added my version of "guidelines" here and there not knowing what I was doing at all. Once I outgrew my taste for anime, I changed my subject matter and expanded my horizons. I still spent a good while freehanding and not really understanding things like color theory and negative space.

    Right before I stopped drawing, I remember being in a good place, art-wise. I had a system that was working pretty well, doing photo-realistic studies of people, plants, and animals both on paper and in OpenCanvas. That helped immensely and I saw a slow and steady improvement in some areas in which I struggled greatly during and after my two-year "anime" phase. I was happy with what I was producing, as were my commissioners and friends and I'd often experiment by doing gifts for friends or gesture draw using the 30-second pose tool on, which was enjoyable for me.

    Now that almost four years have passed since I sat down and actually tried, I've become very rusty and my weaknesses are really showing. I attempted to use PoseManiacs to gesture draw this evening and was it ever atrocious. I caught myself pretty much half-ass freehanding again and it really bothers me. I'd like to break myself of this habit by stripping my procedure back down and starting again.

    Bottom line is...I need to figure out what works for me and repeat, repeat, repeat until it becomes habit over my sloppy sketching and floaty figure issues. I love the look of dynamic, fluid poses; something I feel much of my past work has lacked even at it's apex.

    When I was younger, I drew almost every day and was never afraid to try new things, but looking back on that art I see that all my figures were so boring and stiff and there was no rhyme or reason as to why I put anything anywhere...I would just guess and sometimes it was a hit, sometimes a miss, but I enjoyed it so I didn't care. As I grew up I became more critical of my work but (and I'm being very honest here) I was never able to break my old habits of free-handing.

    I could really use some help in the form of resources and suggestions as to how to block out an effective piece. I remember a lot of the 'rules' of such but it's very hard for me to perceive an image as a three-dimensional object and strip it down in my head to bare-bones. I've always been a bit of an anatomy-nut, but I feel as if I cannot use my knowledge in a productive way unless I'm able to get out of this rut I've been in with posing and's very, very frustrating.

    Tattooing has been a hindrance in a way as well. During my apprenticeship I was trained mostly in portraiture and in American Traditional flash designs. Basically I was a tracing/copying machine, as these forms of tattoo really don't have much room for creative liberty. My eye got pretty keen to picking out shapes, colors, and line weight, but the subject matter had close to zero wiggle room because learning how to use the machine was an imperative point of my training, plus the traditional imagery is designed the way it is for function and altering it too much is considered a bastardization and frowned upon in most circles. Most of the work I've done for others has been flash-based (think Sailor Jerry, Cap Coleman, Ed Hardy, etc...) because that's what I learned to do and it's seeing a resurgence.

    Still, I want my anthro art and my humanoid character art to have what I severely lack.

    I know that it isn't going to happen overnight and a lot of my skills and things I learned right before quitting drawing for a very long time have atrophied, and I'm curious if anyone else who likes to draw has had a similar experience.

    I need to re-train myself very badly but I've been away for so long that I don't know where to start? What do you other artists do besides drawing from life (which I will be doing when I return to school this spring) when you're in a rut? I would deeply appreciate any advice or resources that you've found helpful in creating a nice, solid image layout with good flow.

    At this point anything would help, I'm going to take every suggestion into consideration and keep on trying until I find what works for me! Websites, explanations, videos, practices, books, everything you can offer that may help me fix my problem would be enormously appreciated. I've got a lot of ideas in my head just itching to get out and be illustrated.

    TL;DR version:

    -I suck at poses and making guidelines.
    -I suck at mapping out an original image that looks dynamic and eye-catching.
    -I draw too many freakin' heads and I need to do more body-centric work.
    -I know about PoseManiacs.
    -I want to stop seeing things in my mind's eye as some flattened image. My perception and preemptive thought disappeared when it comes to art. It's just gone and it's making me bonkers.
    -I can't seem to find the guideline process that works for the way my brain functions and I'm stuck in old habits after coming back to art for the first time in 4+ years.
    -I need help badly because I'm determined to improve my weaknesses.
    -I will love you forever if you toss suggestions of any kind at me.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
  2. Orcashia

    Orcashia Blue Orca

    Best suggestion I could give would be to just start putting on paper what your ideas in your head are. Draw something basic and then start improving upon it. The net is a great place for looking for help. Other artists works for inspiration and ideas. Photos. And just doing. I'm sure there are tutorials on the net as well for every aspect of creating art.

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