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Thread: Sketch Practice

  1. #1
      Ascension is offline
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    Post Sketch Practice

    I've been fairly quiet lately, as far as maps go, and have been generally burned out. So Friday I figured that I'd practice my basic drawing skills as I haven't actually drawn anything, other than maps, in over twelve years. After a few hours I decided that I could do this up as an evolving tut but I am unsure whether to actually post as a tut since it's not really map related. There's a million tuts for drawing things, some better some worse, but this is how I go about it. I did this completely in Photoshop and so therefore it went a lot slower than what I'm accustomed to. I used a tip called "graphite pencil" for the sketch phase and a 3-pixel soft round brush for the inking.

    1. Start with a basic pose. For this I chose something simple because I'm pretty rusty.

    2. For this pose I put in 4 lines equally spaced, roughly. Because I want the figure turned toward the viewer his left side will be closer and hence why the lines angle the way the do...basic one-point perspective that trails off to the left side of the screen. These lines are important if you want to make your people look right, too often they get drawn with legs that are too short. If you make feet to knees = 1/3, knees to hips = 1/3, and hips to shoulders = 1/3 then things will look right. Bear in mind that these proportions are for humans and that dwarves and children will have proportions closer to legs = 1/2 and body = 1/2. [fig 1]

    3. The top line will get the shoulders, the next line down will get the hips, the next line down will get the knees, the bottom line will get the feet, and the head will be above the top line.

    4. Draw in the basic stick-man wire-frame skeleton. Here the arms are important...the elbows are just above the hips and the hands come to the middle of the thighs.

    5. Give the head some volume by roughing in some lines that represent how the face is oriented. The eyes are in the middle of the head, too often people draw faces with the eyes too high which produces a long face and a short forehead.

    6. With the setup done I rough in some basic oval shapes to rough in where the muscles will be. Starting from the top; I rough in a jaw and chin and place an ear at the end of the jaw line, slope the neck down to the shoulders (big muscley men have triangle-shaped necks while women, children, and less adventurous people have straighter necks), rough in some basic delts (shoulders), rough in the pecs, rough in the ribcage, rough in the abs (there are 8 not 6), give him a package, rough in the thighs (quads and hammies), rough in the calves, next is the ankles (inner ankle bone is a little higher than the outer ankle bone), and put some triangles in for the feet (foot facing viewer is a triangle and foot angled away is more acute). [fig 2]

    7. Refine, detail, and basic shading of the musculature. For this step, I suggest looking at either comic books (pretty much unrealistic) or muscle magazines (those guys over-develop every muscle so it's a great resource). I haven't looked at either since 1992 but it's rather ingrained and second-nature to me...I actually wanted to be a professional comic book illustrator 20 years ago so learning anatomy is important. [fig 3]

    8. The neck has three parts on muscley dudes - the main tube, the trapezius (the triangular bit), and the adam's apple. The arms have two main muscles to be aware of - the biceps (front of the arm) and the triceps (back of the arm). The forearms have lots of little muscles on the outer part and two big ones on the inner part. Hands are hard because there are a lot of things going on - just likes faces and feet - my guy is going to be holding a sword and shield so I won't mess with them too much, they're not that important for this. My guy is also going to be wearing boots so I won't mess with those either. The abs do not start right under the pecs, they are separated by some space and there is also a little round oval area just under the middle of the ribcage. The side of the ribcage has a bunch of little muscles called obliques - I generally draw these as two sets of little overlapping arcs. The front of the legs have the quads - three big muscles arranged in a triangle plus one that sorta wraps around the inner part of the thigh, and the back part of the leg has the big hamstring that is visible from the side. The knees are drawn sort of like diamonds with flat spots on the side. The calves have one big muscle that wraps around the sides and back and lots of little muscles that aren't really important unless you're drawing a body-builder.

    9. On a new layer I refine the face and add some hair.

    10. On a new layer I add some rough shapes for the clothes and accessories - shield, sword, scabbard, daggers, sheaths, gloves, boots, mantle, kirtle, belt, and cape. Basic attire for a low level adventurer. Doing folds in cloth may seem hard but that's why I draw all of those muscles - to see where the cloth will get pushed out and deformed. If you need to practice then take a blanket and drape it over a chair and see what the folds look like. [fig 4]

    11. On a new layer I start the "inking" process which is basically something with a black line instead of gray pencil-sketch lines. Depending on what your hero is wearing this part can vary widely. Plate armor is fairly easy to draw as it's basically just big shapes...make sure that you leave open areas around the joints to provide some flexibility. Also, don't draw fantastic armor with spikes and things hanging all over it as that would never work in a real fight...you'd poke yourself in the head with shoulder spikes the first time you raised your arm. Chainmail is hard to draw so just make a bunch of tiny tiny squiggles or tiny tiny circles. Scalemail is tedious to draw, sort of like drawing a snake scale by scale by scale. My guy is about level 5 or so so he can't afford fancy armor yet. He has a leather mantle and kirtle over basic clothing and spent his money on a good sword with a weighted tip and a good heater-type shield. [fig 5]
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Sketch Practice-fig-1.jpg   Sketch Practice-fig-2.jpg   Sketch Practice-fig-3.jpg   Sketch Practice-fig-4.jpg   Sketch Practice-fig-5.jpg  

    Last edited by Ascension; 09-22-2009 at 12:52 AM.
    If the radiance of a thousand suns was to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.
    -J. Robert Oppenheimer (father of the atom bomb) alluding to The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 11, Verse 32)


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      Ascension is offline
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    12. Next, I'll pick out some colors and create a palette on a new layer. Reds, oranges, yellows, browns, greens, blues, purples, grays, etc. I'll rough these in just to give me an idea as to where I want to go. I pick a few colors along the range so that the lighter ones can be used for tinting (highlights) and the darker ones for shading (shadows). [fig 6]

    13. On a new layer I start refining my coloring. I zoom in real close, about 300% or so, and use a pencil tip to lay in the basic color. I switch to a 9-pixel soft round tip and do the tinting with the lighter colors and shading with the darker colors. I'll grab the blur tool and fuzz out the lines, sort of like using my finger to blend charcoals or conte crayons. I'll also use the dodge and burn tools to strengthen the highlights and shadows. [fig 7]
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Sketch Practice-fig-6.jpg   Sketch Practice-fig-7.jpg  
    If the radiance of a thousand suns was to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.
    -J. Robert Oppenheimer (father of the atom bomb) alluding to The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 11, Verse 32)


    My Maps ~ My Brushes ~ My Tutorials ~ My Challenge Maps

  3. #3
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    That's really quite good.

    I wish I could draw figures - it's the one thing that I never could quite get the hang of.

    You should do something for the CWBP in this style (if you feel like it).
    My Finished Maps | My Challenge Maps | Ghoraja Juun, my largely stagnated campaign setting.

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    Guild Adept icosahedron's Avatar
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    Great drawings Ascension.

    Me too, Steel.

    Painstakingly following the tutorial, I can get to fig 1 and make a crappy attempt at fig 2. After that, my talent is totally outstripped. I can see fig 3 but my hand just won't replicate it.

    You just can't teach talent.

    If you're currently on a figure-drawing spree, Ascension, how about this?

    A call to Arms, legs, heads, etc.

    Sorry, gotta plug it.
    Mapping a Traveller ATU.

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      Ascension is offline
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    I had thought about that when you first posted it but I don't know if I can do all of those pieces parts like that. Maybe I should give it a whirl, though. My practice is completely financially motivated, at the moment, though. I have a project and I could pick up some extra dough by painting up a bunch of things.
    If the radiance of a thousand suns was to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.
    -J. Robert Oppenheimer (father of the atom bomb) alluding to The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 11, Verse 32)


    My Maps ~ My Brushes ~ My Tutorials ~ My Challenge Maps

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      ravells is offline
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    Fantastic stuff, Ascension - I'm suitably jealous! How long does it take to get from stage 1 to stage 4?

  7. #7
      Ascension is offline
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    Depends on practice so the more ya do it the faster it gets...like mapping. If you've never done it before then it can take quite a while because there is a lot of erasing, undoing, and selecting and moving things around to get them proportioned right, angled right, or just making the line look good. I spent an hour just on the face and I'm still not that happy with it (I drew the eyes about 3 times and the lips about 15 times). Paths can help a lot for things like swords and shields for people, like me, who have a shaky hand.

    To put it another way, paper and pencil for this same thing would take about 45 minutes when I was still in practice (sketch and ink). Those speed painter guys can even color it all up and be done in 30 minutes. I'll never get that good so I just want my PS time to be more like my pencil n paper time...2-3 hours start to finish.
    If the radiance of a thousand suns was to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...I am become Death, the Shatterer of worlds.
    -J. Robert Oppenheimer (father of the atom bomb) alluding to The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 11, Verse 32)


    My Maps ~ My Brushes ~ My Tutorials ~ My Challenge Maps

  8. #8
      misteradam is offline
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    not bad for a 12 year hiatus!
    Adam Schmidt
    Illustration and Cartography
    http://www.misteradam.com

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      Gandwarf is offline
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    The first that popped in mind was: "Quite good".
    Check out my City Designer 3 tutorials. See my fantasy (city) maps in this thread.

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  10. #10
    Guild Adept icosahedron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gandwarf View Post
    The first that popped in mind was: "Quite good".
    QUITE??!!

    Only quite??

    Remind me never to expose my scribbly stick men to Gandwarf's criticism...

    I'd be perfectly happy if I could draw 'quite good'.
    Mapping a Traveller ATU.

    See my (fantasy-based) apprenticeship blog at:

    http://www.viewing.ltd.uk/cgi-bin/vi...forums&sx=1024

    Look for Chit Chat, Sandmann's blog. Enjoy.

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