Mistakes are important, because they teach us where can can still improve.
I've already made previous posts concerning the ideals and goals of Etude in previous posts, but it's been a long time since then and now so I'll do my best to clearly state my intentions with the return of Etude, as well as the end goal.
What Etude is:
- Focused, daily practice of topics related to drawing/painting.
- A window into my mindset as an artist trying to learn and improve. This means you will see all my mistakes, struggles and failures. I hope that this will encourage others to draw more often, without the fear of making mistakes or looking bad.
- A video archive of my personal journey as an artist, the things I learnt, how I learnt them and my progress throughout.
What Etude is not:
- A tutorial or guide for others to follow. I've made it clear in the past that I am not capable nor skilled enough to be teaching others how to draw, or what they should be doing, as these are things that I myself am still in the process of learning.
- A club. There is no exclusivity, and while Etude is a personal journal of my own progress as an artist, that is not to say that countless thousands of other artists do not undergo the same process, be that either in private or via other forums. Feel free to watch and join in with the practice, or do so in your own time. There's no right or wrong here.
My short term goal:
Based on the topics I've listed, my immediate goal is to greatly improve at drawing figures, both accurately and artistically. I'm aware this is a narrow scope to be dealing with, and there are many other things that could be tackled in the journey of becoming a more competent artist, but for now these are the things I want to focus on. If Etude ends with me being a capable figure artist, it will have succeeded.
My long term goal:
Like almost any artist, it really is just mastery of the artform. To me, a good artist is capable of creating amazing pieces, which is often more than just a simple figure drawing. Mastery over lighting, form, colour and composition are all requirements of a truly excellent artist. I know there's a long road ahead before such a goal is met, and I'm fully willing to invest the time and effort to attain true mastery, however long that will take.
These 5 topics are the ones I feel will benefit me most in my road to learning proper figure drawing.
For me personally, I think I will mostly be dealing with arm/hand studies, in particular the muscles in the arm as I think that's something largely overlooked in my drawings. Torso/breast studies will be more useful in figuring out how the body looks in action.
Like the upper body, the legs and feet will be my primary focus on the lower body. A greater understanding of the muscles and how they interact when bending/stretching is required before I can draw proper legs.
This is what I feel is perhaps my weakest point as an artist, in the posing and interaction of characters. A lot of it comes down to less understanding of the upper/lower body, but I think the largest reason is just that I haven't drawn enough interesting poses, or put enough thought into what a character should be doing before starting the picture. I hope this session will make me more conciously aware of such issues when starting a drawing.
Bad lighting is passable, but good lighting makes an illustration truly beautiful. A deep understanding of light, form and tone is something that I feel not only myself, but many "anime" artists lack (not all). Proper lighting is the difference between making something feel like it belongs in a picture, and making it look completely out of place.
This session is perhaps the most unconventional session of the 5. It will not be simple colour studies like some of you might be expecting. Instead, the focus on colour will be a more mechanical approach. My plan is to, over the course of many weeks, create a large "colour archive/library" that covers the colour range of many objects and materials. To do this, a large amount of colour sampling will be done to figure out, for example, the colour ranges used for brown skin, and then how these ranges change under different lighting conditions. I understand this may not be the best/preferred approach in many people's opinions, but it is one I feel will be greatly useful to me.
I feel that overall this structure will work better than previous Etude sessions, which were either entirely study-based or entirely freeform practice. Under the previous session structure, I would often times not retain a lot of information from, let's say, my hand studies when later in the week I would be drawing hands from my head. By leading into the practice with studies in the same session, I feel I'll be able to get more pratical value from the studies.
Much like Etude was before, I plan on having 10 minute warm ups before each session. These don't have to be anything in particular, just something to get my hands moving. Anything from quick gestures, to random scribbles/doodles.
Reference work. Reference work everywhere. Depending on the daily topic, these will range from muscle studies, to object studies, to colour sampling from images. It is during this time that I should be very carefully trying to absorb information to use in the next section.
The freeform drawing section, this is where I will be drawing with no direct references, and trying to create something from my head, which by this point will hopefully be filled with all kinds of useful information gained beforehand from the studies. This is also the section where I am most likely to make mistakes, and overall just look like a shitty artist.
I figured I should actually give the Japanese practice more time than simply writing down a few words in Hiragana. Maybe even repeat some words a few times just to try nail it into my dense head. It's also a nice way to relax at the end of the stream.
So, that's my plan. It might not be the best plan, but it's the one I'm working with. Like always, Etude is not some rigid, inflexible approach, and over time it will evolve to suit my goals and needs. Now for a small personal note to end this post on.
I'm really happy and grateful to everyone who tunes into these sessions, it means a lot to me that people find time in their day to join in on the practice, or even just watch and point out mistakes I make, I appreciate it more than you probably realize. It's not like many viewers tune in, but Etude was never about that. The small amount of people who I have spoken with, and encouraged me have had a tremendous impact on my outlook as an artist, and it feels really nice to have people join in! I don't say it nearly often enough, but thank you all for keeping me company over the course of Etude, it made the entire journey that much more enjoyable.
Keep practicing, don't worry about your mistakes, and as always, thanks for watching!