Wednesday, September 7, 2016

DProject 01: The Fundamentals of Digital Art - Practical Intro

This is based on what I teach at the SAE but more in depth and with my own examples

For the links to videos and stuff go look into the description.


This is the first video of a series based on what I learned over the past 12 years since I first started using Photoshop, including my experience as web designer, from bachelors study in media systems, from my experience as level designer, M.A. in Games, concept designer, 2d artist and from my experience as educator.

I thought a lot about how to begin this series and I already prepared a few videos but even I learn more and more new stuff the digger I dive into a topic. When you look at other videos they talk about graphic tablets and painting softwares because that is what a "digital" artist needs for a basic. I don't think so. I think at first we need to learn the fundamentals and it is best to do that by working traditional with our brains and eyes and hands with a pencil on a piece of paper.

This video is a practical approach to the basic drawing skills for the first timers (I get that as well) and it will show you that even the more advanced artist practice and improve their skills because most of the job ads still in the games and industry will still ask you to be able to draw on paper.

We will then go more and more into the fundamentals of digital and real art and design with each video.

But the first thing that I think is great to learn is that anyone can draw even if you think you can't. Yes you can. And I want you to take out pencil and paper or any tools you like and draw with me.

I will show you and you follow along. The lessons you can see are videos I use for my lectures in order to talk about it to my students.

The first thing we are going to do is drawing characters.
Follow along...

We are going to do is relax and completely focus on drawing lines by combining 2 dots.

The goal is to hit the dots instead of drawing through them. You will improve your motor skills a lot if you try to be as good as possible.

Let it be known that this a warmup that even Professionals do. As a student you will practice this for a long time.

Some people say draw the lines slow and controlled others say draw fast and determined. Try for yourself and see what works best for you.

Practice with ghosting. Ghosting means you move your pencil or tool of choice from start point to finishing point without drawing the line.

Focus and imagine drawing the line before you actually draw it. Do not think you are not makeing a mistake instead visualize drawing the line correctly.

Draw the dots and look in between them. Practice peripheral vision and then draw the line. I find it a good approach because I know where the line is supposed to go. The closer you get to the finishing point the more you can focus on it.

Make sure you have enough room in order to move your entire arm and do not draw from the wrist.

Also not to move your body while drawing the line. Instead move you arm only.

Practice not just drawing from side to side but also from top to bottom and all the other directions.

Have a flat surface so that you don't get interefered by things stopping you from drawing your line. Get some artists glove if you tend to get sweaty hands or draw on a touch display.

If you practice this 20 minutes for 20 days and you will see improvements...

After practicing straight lines it is time to start drawing curves. try drawing 3 points and combine them with a line.Don't draw from point to point.Practzice drawing one line that goes through all of them.

If you ike you can also increase the number of points.

Use your tablet or paper or whatever you want to practice. You will notice huge differenceswhen working on a tablet.

Also instead of erazing you simply want to make it better with the next try.


With the same basic principles we can now draw ellipses and circles. Try to look into the center of the circle and practice your peripheral vision. At this point using a tablet may make it especially challenging. At least for me it does.

The next idea is draw a line and make this the minor axis of you ellipse. The minor axis is the shorter one.

Another practice is drawing a cone and aligning the circles inside.

When you think you are ready you can start  thinking in 3d.

You can try to create a cone with lines and align ellipses inside of them and imagine them in perspective.

 The following ideas comes from a concept artist i found on Youtube. His Youtube Channel is Marks Drawing Tutorials..

The most interesting thing from Marks Tutorials is draw  an ellipse and try to align circles of equal size around is. This is meant to help you think in 3d and get basic shapes down without many lines.

And now what you can do is Create some basic squiggly lines and make a 3d shape out of it as if it was made out of polygons

This concludes the Basic Training practices which and now here are a few things that I like to practice drawing at the moment.
One thing that I do is drawing cars. Cars have some specific design formulas and this what we might lean in a different lecture.

Another thing that I like to practice is drawing humans and especially anatomy because there is so much to remember that I tend to forget if I don't practice regularly.

Even if I have jobs as a character concept artist I tend to use 3d or other tools instead of forcing me to draw the muscles all the time. Usually the character I have to design is wearing clothes anyway. So practicing it is a good habit.

The way I draw the characters is based on the Drawing course by riven phoenix. His new remastered course has a so called mannequin system. So based on the initial landmarks I draw a mannequin and add in some muscles.

I like to draw them in different poses each day and from my mind. Later I look up what I forgot or how the muscles tend to behave according to that pose....

And the last thing I do is Speedpainting. Go to the Daily Spitpaint Group for new topics every day and draw for 30 minutes...

Let me know what you think and the next video will be about techniques and tools used in the industry and what I started with.