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Author Topic: My Thoughts on Consistency; Where to Put your Efforts  (Read 386 times)

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Offline Ryan

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My Thoughts on Consistency; Where to Put your Efforts
« on: November 21, 2018, 02:31:11 AM »
I have been reflecting lately about consistency, and more-so, where precisely you should be putting your efforts in to grow as an artist in the manga arts or wherever the imagination plays a large role.

The first thing to grasp is the process of drawing as a whole:

>Idea
> Generic rough-drawing that represents the idea in terms of proportions only (i.e. mannequin-esque drawing
> Specific rough-drawing that represents the specifics of the idea
> Lineart/final drawing of the idea.

I have phrased things a bit differently, but I will clarify my terms. The first step after the idea is formed (or not, it doesn't really matter for the sake of my lecture), is the generic sketch phase.
  • Here, you only represent accurately the overall proportions of your subject. You draw the basic forms of the character, or the mannequin. And it's here that the proportions of the character, and the drawing composition overall, is worked out. It's generic because its devoid of style, embellishment, and of any real resemblance to the character you are drawing.

After the generic rough is finished, the specific rough-drawing is created.
  • Generally, the generic rough is put on a layer with low opacity and the specific-rough is drawn on a new layer on top. Since the specifics (shapes, anatomy, expression, etc.) are still being worked out, if you wish to create a high-level artwork, generally this layer will not be tight enough to support coloring itself. The idea here is to create a drawing that will be clear enough for you to ink with confidence, to be continued with later on in further processes.

With that said, I will now produce my main thought. A vital area for consistency and learning lies in between the generic rough and the specific rough.

This is an area of concern in my own experience. I can judge accuracy of my own specific rough, but cannot judge accuracy of my own generic roughs. I also do not have a good understanding of how they relate with each-other.

This is a problem because it ends up with reliance on luck for your drawings to just turn out well. It is luck because until the specific rough is well on its way, you will be producing in the dark (for me, at least). It is much easier to make changes in the generic rough stage and it easier on one's self esteem also to make changes in this stage.

Furthermore, when your drawing ability is attached to specifics, it impedes your flexibility when operating with new specifics. For example, it doesn't do you any good if you only know what somebody should look like in a trenchcoat. All you will know how to do is draw characters in trenchcoats.

The superior investment of time lies in knowing the generics fully. If you do this, you will only need to know how the specifics interact logically with the generics, reducing the quantity of information that needs to be remembered whilst simultaneously strengthening them due to the increase in meaning.

One area where this is a big deal is in learning to draw more hairstyles. If you can only judge the accuracy of your drawing with the hair drawn, you will be increasing the amount of time necessary to learn new hairstyles every time you decide to do so.

And inconsistencies might grow as you cannot relate the generic information between all of them together.

One problem area of mine is drawing scenes with multiple characters. The characters quickly become out of proportion because I cannot make the necessary judgments in the generic rough stage.

I cannot rely on my generic roughs because they do not correlate well with my specific roughs.

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Ways to study to improve the connection between generics and specifics.

  • If you are targeting certain styles, reverse-engineer the process. Learn to draw the foundation underneath(as much as it is visible. Certain themed artworks are good for this *cough cough lewds *cough cough.

    But, also learn to draw the artwork itself.

    In practice, that means having two different practice routines: one that tests your ability to replicate the generic rough, and the other that tests your ability to draw the specific onto the generic.
  • Learn a system for generic roughs and stick with it. You can find these from tutorials from various places.
  • Take speed paintings, tutorials, drawings from youtube and take two snapshots of the work. One of the last moment of the generic rough, and one of the last moment of the specific rough. Study them with first method I mentioned.
  • Knowledge of the generics. The generics present themselves often in the form of numerical proportions. Make note of how different generics present themselves with these numbers.

    Pay special attention to when things can be divided in half, because it is the easiest and most accurate proportion to maintain.

    Furthermore, since there is not just one body type, and there are various age-groups(child, teen, adult, elder) that change proportions, this is a potential area of study.

The further you take this idea, the less and less generic your efforts will become as you become more targeted with your efforts. (The generics of a generic character are super generic; but the generics of an elder character are less so).

Hopefully, this has changed your perception of the generic phase of drawing.

Interesting sources to see the concept in action.:
https://youtu.be/9_yqEV9BGBY?t=6008 (This is my preferred example for seeing how the different stages of drawing can manifest. His channel is now archiving so this should be a good example to see how being confident in the rough generic stage is vital to his speed and consistency.)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-8KzjdTk5s
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjb-oBKXwCu9pmObxwKe__Q
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHY2D7n5YiRUGwJ-saZd3HQ

Online suuper-san

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Re: My Thoughts on Consistency; Where to Put your Efforts
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2018, 09:46:05 AM »
That's pretty much how I draw these days. I used to be able to get away with just the rough sketch layer, and ink straight over the top, but as I've improved, I've needed that extra layer to add more details and sharpen it up for the final ink.
I'd love to get to the level where I can get away with one sketch layer again although that'll be years down the line :P

Quote
If you can only judge the accuracy of your drawing with the hair drawn
Yup that's me. I have no idea what I am doing constantly, so I build up regrets pretty fast during a piece.

yeah time investment is a big issue for me, not that it's a problem, but I want to use my time the best possible to maximize my output. making sure you're putting the right amount of effort and time on the different sketch layers certainly makes a difference.

That was a cool bunch of tips, and great video. The artist was going on about some random stuff lol although he did mention some stuff earlier in the video about his sketching methods and how they are different from other mangaka. It was quite fun to watch and listen.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2018, 09:47:50 AM by suuper-san »
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Offline Ryan

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Re: My Thoughts on Consistency; Where to Put your Efforts
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2018, 04:00:25 PM »
OH! Please tell me what the artist was going on about in his videos haha. What did he mention about his sketching methods?  :o :o :o :o

Online suuper-san

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Re: My Thoughts on Consistency; Where to Put your Efforts
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2018, 04:28:48 PM »
I didn't watch the whole 2 hours but pretty sure it was like this. (I need to learn more manga and PC terminology >_<)

He was talking about how he plans his page layouts really roughly with stick figures (around the 60 minutes mark), whereas other artists (I think he mentioned names) practically draw the whole thing ready for inking when planning. He likes to be able to make changes so he doesn't want to spend extra effort at the planning stage, and has no idea how the other artists are able to plan it so well straight away.

also he said his productivity dropped for a while and he didn't realize why, and then decided it was probably because he was nervous while streaming lol

he talked a bunch about his washing machine and how it has a drier feature built in, and wondered which used more energy.

what was also interesting was the comments he made to himself about minor decisions, like "hmmm does this look alright?" "maybe I'll change it make it darker", "does this character speak like this? (when typing speech)" little things like that that help you to get in their head.

my favorite line was "eh, I can't delete this selection, I wonder why?"
this happens to me a bunch so it's good to know even a pro isn't perfect.

I've watched that artist before but only on a speedpaint. I'll have to listen to a bit more.
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Offline MahluaandMilk

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Re: My Thoughts on Consistency; Where to Put your Efforts
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2018, 07:39:44 PM »
This sounds so right. Only this year had I started drawing the rough "stick figure" of forms before fleshing them out. Sometimes I've gone through as many as 8 or 10 layers of sketch refinements when working digitally. I remember when I was much younger (see the thread: When Mahlua was a Baby Artist...or whatever I called it...), I would try to have the whole outline down in pencil without even breaking down the form at all. Needless to say, because of my youthful inexperience, it never really worked out well.

Deconstructing and reforming forms is one of those things that's so important for an artist to be able to do that it cannot be overstated. It is essentially how an artist learns to "see". I've noticed many young novice artists, even some who have come and gone here, try to skip that step because they only see the final product of many of their favorite artist's works, and have this weird rose-colored lens that they believe through, in which those artists "never learned theory". You hear this a lot with musicians as well. They cling to this myth that some people are great geniuses who "never learned or practiced theory", or that they were "innately talented". I've come to hate the popular idea of "talent" because of it. It is possible that some people "get it" more quickly and may never really formally "study" these things, but that doesn't mean that the underpinnings aren't there. But, hard work and application are less romantic, I suppose, than the idea of a genius.

Fact of the matter is, no matter the case, part of the point of a genius is that they're a rare occurrence. It's not something just anyone can "be", but rather, I find, something they become.

Hope you don't mind my slightly tangential rant.

Offline legomaestro

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Re: My Thoughts on Consistency; Where to Put your Efforts
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2018, 06:13:06 PM »
The thing is, your rant is correct and my brain understands it, my bastard heart does not. It sees great art and says 'Witchcraft! Impossibru! Must've been born with two right hands'  But yeah.

As a patron saint of sketchiness, I do have a very positive relationship with roughs. I truly understand even as a fan why completed works are objectively great but without sounding pretencious I really think that sketches have more of the essence of an image than anything photorealistically rendered. And drawing tends to either be mind-numbingly boring or stressful for me, and the only happy moments I find in that are in going with the flow and feeling out the image rather than planning it out mathematically. (I know they're artists who find beauty in the math of it all but I love the chaos)

Well formulated stuff here Ryan. Do moar plz.


Meanwhile I'll go learn more about the generics.

Online suuper-san

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Re: My Thoughts on Consistency; Where to Put your Efforts
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2018, 02:52:15 PM »
@Lego I totally agree with you about the sketchiness having expressiveness. I spend a lot of my time when inking, wondering how I can keep the dynamicness of the sketch, but somehow neaten it up at the same time. I think that might be why some artists don't use layers, and just keep erasing and redrawing with the one layer, so you keep the expressive lines. even some animes and mangas change styles to more sketchy to be more expressive in certain scenes.
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