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January 7
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Jan 4, 2014, 11:25:12 AM
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How I study: Part 1 by Sprias How I study: Part 1 by Sprias
Hey everyone,

In response to receiving a few questions as to how I go about improving - figured I'd may as well put this up. It's a huge question, and I can't answer it in its entirety just yet, but when it's something specific then this is typically how I go about it:

First of all, since it's drawing heads, there's a HUGE amount of study material, reference, and course guides available for improving. You could just sit down and just draw from a bunch of references and still improve; albeit, not in the best of ways. Still, moreso to the point that any drawing, or painting, or even time spent considering and applying things to memory, is better than nothing - so don't get caught being indecisive about it for too long. 


I was working on this at the time anyways, since my drawing ability and knowledge about facial structure was woefully lacking. Typically in situations like this, I begin with the most basic construction I can give it, and work my way up, occasionally looking at reference and drawing that out as well. Here, construction was from Andrew Loomis, Bridgman, and Vanderpoel. The references were just faces on the internet. After a day, I begin my next sketching session by drawing out everything that I remember from yesterday, checking to see what I missed, and redrawing it; if you don't commit your studies to memory as soon as you can, you've wasted a lot of potential knowledge. Also, check and see what you've learned by drawing from imagination - it's hard, but very fun and rewarding when they come out alright. As I continue to work and grow more familiar with the subject matter, I begin to do drawings after people who I think have a mastery over the subject; in this case, it was Burt Wesley. This way, I can begin to connect the dots with what he knows, and what I'm learning - like why his line weights shift at certain points, why he creates the shapes he does, etc. etc.

Working like this, I've found that the construction helps commit concepts to memory and allows me to draw whatever at most any angle as a 3D object; The reference helps with practical application and also exhibits what quirks can take place within the actual thing; and drawing after better artists helps me see how they've arranged the information I've gathered, and more, into simple, beautiful drawings. 


I've been waiting for some time to put a hold on finished illustrations for the sake of working on my figures and faces, especially from imagination, and I've decided to push the time I have to stop finished illustrations entirely and work on improving my paintings and thought process. With all the positive feedback I've gotten from getting a DD - which I'm still freaking out about, y'all are lovely - I feel like this is a good time to slow down and really focus on the how and why I do the things I do, and how I can improve. The light at the end of the tunnel; I have an idea for a finished painting that I'm really looking forward to getting to.

If any of y'all have any more questions, feel free to ask :] otherwise, thank you so much for the lovely feedback. It means the world to me.

- Sprias


Oh, right.

Row 1: Loomis, Bridgman, Burt Wesley, A few from imagination
Row 2: Loomis, Bridgman, Burt Wesley, A few from imagination, A few from reference
Row 3: Mostly imagination, one or two from reference, also Bargue plates
Row 4: All from imagination, or reference
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1V1-Ace Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist

Sprias Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014  Student Digital Artist
:] Thanks!
Hiitachai Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2014
Thank you for sharing this! :)
I was wondering how do you go about studying colour?
Sprias Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2014  Student Digital Artist
:] No problem.
That depends, like color as in color and light interaction? How light bounces around, fills a room, comes through the sky, fades into the distance and whatnot? Or working with color harmonies?
Hiitachai Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2014
Ah, both actually :)
Sprias Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2014  Student Digital Artist
:> I'm afraid I'm still figuring it out myself, but at least what I think for right now:

For how light works - how it reflects, bounces around, creates specular and diffuse highlights etc. - read what's available at David Briggs' while finding photostudies to do that reinforce exactly what you've read. Take notes, and take it slow, each page is very concise and full to the brim with information, so limit yourself by a page or three a day and focusing on wrapping your head around what he's given you. Afterwards, with notes in hand, find some photos online that reflect the concepts learned and paint from them - don't worry about doing the whole photo to some ridiculous amount of detail, just whatever you need to paint and see what he was talking about. Maybe even do a few examples from imagination.

I'm not as academic when it comes to color harmonies; I find it strange to think in triads, split complements and whatnot, though complements are good to keep in mind regardless. It's a bit more so that whatever works for the mood and emotion of the pieces - how colors feel, how they can feel together and whatnot. I typically just look at paintings by the old masters and think about how they're using their colors and values to evoke a suitable emotion. It's all about what the piece is about, though - if it's a sad piece, blues and greys work just as well as reds and yellows if you spin them right.
Hiitachai Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2014
Thank you very much for your answer and the link!
I think your use of colour is pretty good so far.
Good luck with your further learning : )
Sprias Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2014  Student Digital Artist
:] It's no problem, and thank you for the compliment!

And to you as well; it may as well be fun if we're going to be up for it for the rest of our lives, anyhow.
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