What you need to know to draw well?

Original author: David Revoy
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David Revua is a great freelance software artist, a regular member of the Krita Foundation and Blender Institute communities, concept artist for Gooseberry Open Movie Project, Mango Open Movie Project (Tears of Steel) and Durian Open Movie Project (Sintel). In this article, he shares with beginner artists a list of knowledge that must be acquired in order for the work to turn out realistic. He draws attention to the fact that for drawing "in numbers" you need to acquire the same skills as in traditional technology. So, let’s get to know his experience.

“It is difficult to choose what needs to be studied by those who are going to do drawing ... I receive many letters on this subject; novices usually feel lost, lost in the midst of all this. Therefore, I decided to create a kind of table of contents - a list of what you need to learn and what to practice in order to create quality work and learn how to draw better. Each item is equipped with my simple comments that answer the questions “what”, “why”, “how”. Thus, it will be easier to find the necessary material using your favorite search engine. Also, this material may be useful for those who want to improve the quality of their work. I will use these starting points in my exercises and in finding errors in my work. If you are just starting to draw, here is my advice: be scholars,

1. Perspective

What it is: The art of conveying three-dimensional space on a flat surface.
What is the goal: Do not draw flat, depict depth on two-dimensional paper.
What you need to know about this: Perspective grid, how simple forms (cubes, balls, etc. ...) behave in perspective and how to maintain proportions.

Work on the basis of two vanishing points (green and red)

2. Proportions

What it is: The aspect ratio of all the objects in your drawing.
What is the goal: To draw recognizable objects, thanks to stereotypical representations of proportions.
What you need to know about this: Learn to remember proportions, find a way to easily remember the ratios of parts of an object, make a “dictionary” of proportions.

The orange lines show the main proportions and proportions in the figure (left) and the outline (right)

3. Anatomy

What it is: Study of the structure.
What is the goal: To draw objects realistically (people, animals, plants, equipment, etc. ...).
What you need to know about this: Joints, bones, muscles, how they work, how they behave, how the parts connect, etc. ...

Exercise to draw the hands (left), to draw the skeleton (center), study the muscles (right)

4. Composition

What it is: The location and presentation of the visual elements of the drawing.
What is the goal: To convey the viewer feelings and emotions with the help of a drawing.
What you need to know about this: Deal with a set of angles and understand how they affect the perception and "readability" of the work.

Various sketches before starting work; song search

5. Lighting

What it is: Light and shadow conveyed in color.
What is the goal: To create the illusion of light, display the correct shadows, reach the volume and convey the mood.
What you need to know about this: Color values, casting shadows, the influence of surface materials, light reflection, light characteristics (refraction, scattering materials, etc. ...).

Left: the light shows the difference in the material, right: the use of light to show the second character (cast shadow)

6. Edges

What it is: A way to highlight the silhouettes of objects in your drawing.
What is the goal: To facilitate reading of the work, to separate objects and background, to enhance the effect of depth.
What you need to know about this: Style of edges (clear / soft / lost) in drawing, line styles (weight, speed, softness) for contours.

Left and center: edges in the figure, right: thickness of the contours

7. Colors

What is it: The art of choosing the right shades (midtones, shadows, lights).
What is the goal: Add more movement, mood and emotions to your work.
What you need to know about this: Color systems (monochromatic, complementary, etc. ...), especially the influence of colors on mood, stereotypes.

Top left: 3 color circles reflecting the palettes for this work; three complementary colors

8. Poses

What it is: The art of capturing active movement on a static sheet.
What is the goal: Add life, energy, movement and show dynamics.
What you need to know about this: Emotional touches, sketches, quick drawings, studying everything moving, frequent “warming up” exercises.

Left: Penguin poses in the zoo, in the center: learning poses when moving, right: warm-up sketches

9. Style

What is it: Aesthetics, a sense of style. Often depends on fundamental standards (ethical, historical, social, symbolic), art of cultural groups, art market.
What is the goal: Pave the way for the work of the audience.
What you need to know about this: your own taste, culture, creative team as an audience and creators at the same time.

Left: classic black and white portrait, center: a highly stylized (and weird) character and drawing style, right: my comic book style

10. The idea

What it is: Drawing abstract concepts, ideological associations, inventing and proposing a new design. This is mostly a development process.
What is the goal: To propose new images of objects, characters and creatures in order to entertain or inform the public.
What you need to know about this: How things work, how to create new things, associations of ideas, fun situations, the creative process.

A new type of technique (left), a new type of dragon (in the center) and a medieval house that no one had seen before this drawing (on the right)

11. Communications

What it is: An image can transmit a large amount of complex information quickly. The proverb “A picture is worth a thousand words” explains this well.
What is the goal: An artist can communicate (internationally or not) with the audience.
What you need to know about it: Reading images (decoding sent messages, non-verbal signs), conveying meaning, history, information.

The drawing of the sheet does not carry much information (left), but the complex of details and facial expression can already tell the story (in the center). A symbol like a newspaper vulture (on the right) can make you think deeper about the problem of unethical journalism

Conclusion: a significant illusion

If you can correctly combine all of the above, then you will achieve a sense of volume, depth, texture, light, movement and life on a static surface. This will immerse your viewers in your world, and you can easily convey to them your ideas, messages or tell a story. And finally, as I see the result: the art of creating meaningful illusions . All this palette of skills will serve your intellectual (memory, control, determination), as well as emotional development (feelings, emotions, subconscious). This is a complex exercise that requires knowledge, observation, imagination , but first of all you need to PRACTICE, PRACTICE and PRACTICE. The skill of drawing is like a muscle (and you, of course, will not become stronger from reading a book on weight lifting or watching a video), so good luck with drawing and painting, build your own unique experience . ”

David Revois website: link
Community of Russian-speaking users Crites in VK: link

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