Print Story Learning to draw
By LodeRunner (Sat Aug 04, 2007 at 08:47:54 AM EST) drawing, learning, tablet, colors, e minor, blue, synaesthesia (all tags)
As a kid, I always loved to draw, but I ended taking up music as a creative outlet and drawing fell to the wayside. Five-or-so years after I bought a digital tablet to encourage myself to (re)learn to draw, I finally got around to start sketching stuff.

After a series of quick sketches, I tried my hand on drawing something more elaborate. I had this scene in my head and wanted to do it somewhat "realistically". But I feel I'm not there yet. Work-in-progress version inside -- advice is welcome.

Here's what I got so far:

E minor

(Full-size (1024x768) version.)

I've been tweaking it on and off for a few weeks. I did take breaks of days to clear my perception and look at it with fresher eyes, and it's been fun walking on the streets at night looking at things trying to understand how they reflect light, etc. It's been getting better, but now I got stuck; don't really know where to improve it anymore. So, what is it that doesn't "look right"? What is it in it that screams "hey, I'm not someone crossing the street, I'm just a drawing!"? It's not that I want it to be photorealistic, but I'd like the scene to hit the viewer, not the lines, colors and brushstrokes.

I've never worked with color much, so this part has been the most challenging. I drew everything with very plain colors, as if lit by direct white lighting, and added shadows and highlights on top in separate layers. Finally, the bluish tint was applied on the overall scene. I'm doing this using Seashore.

Going for realism over freer expression may be less artistically interesting perhaps, but I'm taking this as an exercise to try to learn to "play by the score" first. Until I don't get the basics right, I don't feel the confidence to go out improvising flourishes over the main theme.

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Learning to draw | 6 comments (6 topical, 0 hidden)
this looks shopped by Arbeit Macht Pie (4.00 / 1) #1 Sat Aug 04, 2007 at 09:47:04 AM EST
i can tell from some of the pixels and from seeing quite a few shops in my time

You're fired. by blixco (4.00 / 1) #2 Sat Aug 04, 2007 at 10:51:15 AM EST

"You bring the weasel, I'll bring the whiskey." - kellnerin
[ Parent ]
impressive by fleece (4.00 / 1) #3 Sat Aug 04, 2007 at 01:37:16 PM EST
I think the bit that's bothering you is just the balance.

Maybe adjust the positioning of the brightest bits? At the moment your circles of light fall under the streetlights, but you don't have to obey the laws of physics that literally. Sometimes having too much light is bad as it can wash out a scene and make shadows less dramatic. For this reason, I actually think having two light sources diminishes the effect you're going for. You could just lighten up the subject's spotlight and darken up the other bit.

Thanks by LodeRunner (2.00 / 0) #4 Sat Aug 04, 2007 at 07:00:45 PM EST
The first sketch had only one light source and recently I regretted adding the second one for a while. But I like having two shadows cast from the character. I think I'll try your suggestion about darkening the other one. Maybe painting the wall at the other side of the street with a darker color will help too.

About the physics, I always thought that physics errors were the main cause of the "suspension of disbelief", so I tried to get that right.  (And having two light sources got the lighting so much more complicated, that's why I regretted it mostly.)

[ Parent ]
Pretty good by spacejack (4.00 / 1) #5 Sun Aug 05, 2007 at 08:32:21 AM EST
Most people screw up light & shadow by not understanding some colour basics (light tends to be warm, shadows tend to be cool, rather than simply light/dark.)

I find figures are the toughest to draw. I've been working on improving mine for about a year now and still have a lot of trouble.

Check out for tips, critiques and jams to participate in. It's fun!

thanks by LodeRunner (2.00 / 0) #6 Mon Aug 06, 2007 at 02:32:56 PM EST
Hope I got light and shadows right, though I'm having second thoughts about the color of the light now. Maybe a bit more reddish, towards orange? That would make it more complementary to the greenish blue and would be more like street lights.

Thanks for the tip about, I'll look into it!

[ Parent ]
Learning to draw | 6 comments (6 topical, 0 hidden)