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Drawing something you’ve never drawn before

Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, March 15, 2019

One of the challenges of drawing comics is that you will, inevitably have to put together a scene you have never attempted before. This is an incredibly daunting task as trying to translate what you have in your head (which is always amazing) to your hand can prove to be close to impossible some days.

So how can you go about making the process of drawing something you’ve never drawn before easier?

Use a reference
This is almost a no-brainer. We are super fortunate to have a limitless library of resources to aid us in constructing a scene. But how can you find a reference for something that’s never been drawn before?

Think about the elements of the place or creation is made up of. If it is a futuristic scene, have a look at modern architecture design or concept art from video games and movies. If it’s a creature, think about the different parts of it. What does it’s feet replicate, or it’s eyes? You can find a reference for specific part of the creature and if you’re particularly good at photoshop you might even be able to visually stitch it together.

Use “inspiration” dedicated libraries and sites
Finding it hard to find a reference through google images? Try inspiration dedicated sites like DeviantArt and Pinterest. The quality of reference material is much higher and their metadata is more directed than doing a basic google image search meaning you’re more likely to find a resource that suits your needs better. You can also save images to boards or folders which makes it a lot easier to find a past reference should you need it again which can be super useful if you're in a hurry.

Think about your drawing as shapes
This is an art class staple. The theory is that by breaking down an idea into basic shapes can help simplify the process. Once you get the basic form into your head, you can begin to manipulate it rather than tackling something complex straight away.

YouTube it
Being able to access so many professional tips and tricks can be invaluable. Not only can you begin to see how something can be constructed from the ground up, you can pick up on little tips and tricks to help make your drawings quicker and more accurate. Even if you’re proficient in drawing, going back and studying new ways to approach your art can help expand your repertoire which is never a bad thing!

How do handle drawing something you’ve never drawn before? What tips do you have for those struggling with it? Let us know in the comment section below. And join us on Sunday evening for our Quackchat at 5:30PM(EST)!

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fallopiancrusader at 6:32AM, March 18, 2019

My preferred reference for drawing people is videos. Photo references are always posed, and the model is always trying to find their idea of what is the best pose. With video, I can still-frame the footage, and draw from the more candid movements that occur in-between the cinematic key-shots. Video is also the only way to catch really dynamic action poses.

bravo1102 at 4:00PM, March 17, 2019

@PaulEberhardt: you said it in your post. Imagine it in 3D and turn it over in your head. Or BUILD A MODEL. There are lots of 3D software with downloadable models or if you want it in your hands there's tons of model kits. Just putting the pieces together will suddenly give you the insight into how everything fits together. Kinesthetic relationships can be seen and readily transcribed to paper. I couldn't do 3D modeling on a computer without a model in front of me. Many of your 3D models for CGI are built piece by piece first by hand and then put into the computer.

PaulEberhardt at 8:34AM, March 16, 2019

It seems to be similar with all of us. A lot of my own process consists of me staring holes in the air, appearing to do nothing and doodling seemingly random shapes. It's all about turning around the object of interest in my head, figuring out its three-dimensional shape, forming a mental image of what I want to see in the drawing. After that it's relatively easy. I hardly ever need more than two tries to get it on paper. I don't really understand why so many people seem to have trouble drawing cars, by the way. They're child's play once you have taken a good look and know which part goes where.

Avart at 5:26PM, March 15, 2019

Totally agree. I usually make a big mess of a sketch (that only I can understand) and it's all about shapes and lines and perspectives. But once I finished it, my brain could finally rest. References are a good way to aid you even if you are an experienced artist.

Banes at 5:07PM, March 15, 2019

excellent brass-tacks guidance as usual! Great stuff.

bravo1102 at 11:48AM, March 15, 2019

In art school they make you draw people bone by bone and piece by piece before doing total figures.

bravo1102 at 11:46AM, March 15, 2019

Shapes. It's all about breaking it down into basic shapes. So many people saw "I can't draw X" and I look at the attempts and it's obvious they tried to digest it all at once as opposed to breaking it down into boxes and triangles and circles. You can even do this with highly technical subjects like guns and other weapons. Working in 3D like I do I'm constantly starting with simple shapes and conforming to my image. Some complex things it's useful to build a model of it so you can see how it goes together piece by piece as opposed to one total thing.

JaymonRising at 1:08AM, March 15, 2019

Heh, yeah I usually go for shapes or, in terms of thumbnails, I draw everything in the following default styles: Rodolphe Topffer, Winsor Mccay, stick figures, or discount Danny Antonucci.

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