Archive for Enupnion Keep on Dreaming

       Enupnion Forum Index -> Arts and Crafts

Art Assistance Thread

There are getting to be quite a few of us working away at fantasy artwork here, so I thought it might be a useful thing for us to have a place to share tips, comments, and questions regarding this often frustrating pursuit.

If you post a picture in here, it is with the expectation that people will point out problems with it. If you point out problems in a picture here, it is expected that you will provide some sort of advice for correcting it.

If I may request assistance with my drawing? I'm still fairly new at it (this is only my second completed drawing) and only just discovering an interest in it.

Ms. Elf (click to enlarge)

In particular, I would like some help with noses, ears, and hair, though anything would be welcome. Oh, and any tips on drawing masculine or feminine features in just a head-shot?

Thanks in advance for all the help!

Note: On her left ear is supposed to be a tree-ish thing with vines twisting around it, but due to having a fine-point sharpie instead of a regular black pen, some of the... finer details were lost.

First off, the standard technique is to draw in pencil first, then go over the final lines with ink later and erase the pencil lines.

I'd start with the overall shape of the head.  A humanoid head is really more like a squat light-bulb than an oval.  Particularly, there is a distinct change in the curvature at the cheekbones.

Next comes the proportions.  

A plain frontal view of the head should be roughly five "eyes" across.  (One to each side, the eyes themselves, one in between), and about one eye higher than it is wide.  (all ignoring hair, of course)  A nose is just a touch longer than an eye is wide.  The flare of the nostrils should not go much past the beginning of the eye to either side for something delicate like an elf.


The bottom of the eyes are on a line halfway up the head.  The top of the ears (for a human) ends between that and the top of the eye (the elf's point should stick up just a bit).

Other notes:

An upper eyelid is slightly bigger than the eye itself.  I would recommend avoiding drawing anything for the lower eyelid.

A big part of the annoyance is learning what not to draw...

I don't draw the little valley above the upper lip - it really is just a difference in shading and the hard lines look off.

Hair sticks up above your head; and if you're doing the "zig-zag" method of hair, then you really don't want to draw individual strands.


So, here is your picture as I would do it.  I left the line of the head in "under the hair", so you can see where it ended up.



Arts student uses: Ontario Arts Curriculum!

Alrighty. Here's some pointers you may want to take into account.


Since you're drawing face-on, standard proportion is really a must know.

Use an HB (Number 2) pencil; or if you have access to one, a harder tipped pencil. (2H maximum, or you'll be killing the paper trying to make a visible line -chuckle-) If you're a really light handed person, try a B pencil. I like the F personally, however depending on your area you may not be able to find one. Staedtler 'Mars Lumograph' pencils are something I nearly swear by sometimes. Also; if you have a pink pearl eraser... Chop it into tiny bits and get rid of it now. Vinyl erasers may be a bit more expensive, but they'll pick up the pink streaks a pink pearl leaves behind. They also don't go stale as easily, and will not leave WHITE streaks on WHITE paper. Again, Staedtler is good for these, however Vinyl erasers are better than rubber erasers.

Use a reference photograph for your first attempt. A straight on photograph, well lit, no special facial quirks. Serious-esque look; eyes comfortably open. Don't show teeth. Just relax your face to where it sits normally.

The head IS five eyes wide, as Fenric so APTLY stated. It is not, however, an eye taller than wide. The head itself looks like an upturned egg. (I can't give you exact ratios because I don't know them off by heart.)

Start by drawing a circle. Go about... I'd say... one quarter of the circle's overall size below the circle and mark a spot (Eyeball towards the middle of the circle's width). From this, draw a curved line, not ovular, but not too direct, to the sides of the circle. Make sure that the lines actually reach the width of the circle before joining with it. (About one eighth I would say.

The eyes are, in fact, in the MIDDLE of the face, vertically. If a person is looking straight at you, their pupils are going to sit atop a line drawn across the middle.

The nose drops about an eye height before actually being a nose. If it looks stubby, then make it two. I can't remember that part exactly, I just eyeball it. (Pun intended)

The nose is an eye's WIDTH. It can be drawn with three lines, and none of these go about the actual curvature of the nose. Imagine please, one of those old m birds you would see kids drawing. Curve the middle part and put that kind of shape at the bottom of the nose. At the end of the 'wings' try to draw a pair of handkerchiefs but make them simple, somewhat curved lines, like brackets turned on their curved sides.

Alright... if it doesn't look somewhat more nose-like, then you'll have to PM me for more details. Most of the nose is shading, in art. Sometimes people will draw the curve of the nose if it is especially robust.

The ears are neat. They start at the very middle of the face, where the pupils sit, and they go up about an eye's height and a half. They then go down to the bottom of the nose before connecting with the side of the head.

Draw hair in clumps. Look for sections that would fit together if you're drawing from reference.

Alright; now for your eyes. Eyes are a peculiar thing... Mark off where the edges are by dividing your face's width into five. Drawing LIGHT lines, mark off where they would be (remember, an eye to either side, and one in between). Now, starting with the pupils; draw a dot on the mid-face line, not too big, realistic pupil size.

From that draw the iris; which will just be a circle about a pupil's width distant around the pupil itself in comfortable lighting. Now, cut off the top part of the iris with your upper eye line, make it taper towards the outside more than the inside (but not by much). For the bottom, you need a simple line, similar to the upper line except a little less tapered (still to a degree.) Refer to the photograph for assistance.

Eyelashes should never be drawn individually. A couple here or there, but not many. For said elf-girl; use slightly clumped, thin strokes. On a human woman, they will be generally shorter (Without makeup) However for a male; just a couple towards the outer upper edge, and maybe one or two on the bottom. Female eyelashes generally go most of the way around the eye (To accentuate the fact that they are female... -shrug-) but in reality, on guys and girls, the eyelashes may be the same.

Again, check your reference photo for the details of the eye.

Lips are intriguing. I was told a story once about how to draw lips. They're an eye's height below the bottom of the nose, and one-and-a-half from the bottom of the chin. If it doesn't measure up, something in this was wrong, of you did something incorrectly.

Draw a line downward, very gently, from the middle of both pupils. Straight down. Those are the corners of the mouth. Now; draw a line between them with the slightest of dips in the centre. Not TOO massively straight, remember the lips have volume. For the upper lip, imagine that line as the deck of a suspension bridge. Draw a line up and across to somewhere just outside of the dip in the nose; but only about a quarter to a third of the way to the nose itself. Dip over to the other side and draw the line to the other corner. You've got yourself a bridge. The lower lip is very much a curved line; about half to a third as 'tall' as the upper.

Males tend to have more sculpted facial features. Rigid and linear. Females have softer features because; and I'm sorry ladies; they have extra skin, and fat. (Not a lot of it, I promise) If you look at an anorexic woman, the jawline is actually very chiseled for them as well; however because of that slightest bit of fat you girls have, your faces are softer than ours.

I'm at the point where I just eyeball everything I draw. I don't even use standard proportion for the face really; I do it naturally without thinking about it. That took three years; so don't expect it to come quickly. You'll get it if you keep trying.

For standard body proportions and for more information about the face's structure, a former teacher of mine has a book published. (Three in fact... I think).

If you have a bookstore nearby, ask them about Manga Madness by David Okum. I know, Manga. Ugh!. But it's good proportion and it will show you about perspective as well as character design and shading.

This isn't a sales pitch, but I own the book; it cost me $30 when I bought it. I rarely use it anymore, but the proportion stuff is top notch. (All of the information I just told you I learned from the guy.)

Um... I may be wrong on a few points; It's been awhile.

Look stuff up on the internet, check out the book; but don't draw what you know. Draw what you see. I hope this helped somewhat.

If you want help with full-body representations; I can help with that too. Perspective, not so much.

Okay, I'll swear by the Staedler Mars technico (which comes with its own sharpner [very cool]) with 2H lead.  I use 2B occassionally and very rarely HB.  But unlike you, I LOVE my Pink Pearl erasers.  So do the animals.  I can't keep ahold of one.  But they're less expensive and rock.

Inking pens: ZIG Millenium.  Used also for calligraphy.  Everything else seems to leak into the paper and create fuzz around the picture.

Paper?  I use plain printer paper for most.  Card stock for special occassions.

As for drawing styles?  I don't know how to help anyone else.  I'm not a teacher.  I haven't even been taught myself.

For paper; there are really nice student grade art papers. I'd only recommend these if you want to be serious and have your work in a museum or something like that. Art shows and stuff...

Cartridge paper is nice, but if you're buying a sketchbook, look for one with about 'hundred pound paper. I don't remember exactly WHY it's measured in pounds, but it should have a nice tooth to it and be sturdy enough to survive most erasers. Pink pearl erasers eat through my sketchbooks so I will never use one. (The paper is coarser, so the pink pearl will tear it to shreds if you make a mistake with a dark line. Vinyl erasers tend to be softer, and also wider. If you've ever tried one... you probably had a pretty bad experience.)

They may not be made of natural rubber; but even natural rubber gets processed to hell before becoming a pinkie.

So, the tooth of the paper (or graininess) will determine to a degree, what erasers you should use. And pencils. The coarser the paper, the harder the pencil to get a lighter line. Harder pencils dig into paper easier than softlead ones, which is why I love my F pencils.

Mechanical pencils don't need to be sharpened, and come in different lead-hardnesses, so that's always a good choice, but they have been known to tear paper from time to time.

I'm not happy with it on several features, and I do apologies for the low quality scan.

Anywho, this is the first paper drawing of Osnagard. Anything look fixable?

The birds are well drawn. There are quite a few standard proportion issues though.


Alright; now your standard every day comic book hero is usually portrayed as being six head-heights tall, which literally means the size of their head. I'll go with somewhat average human here and I'm going to give you some pointers from there.

A standard adult human is usually five heads tall; (refer to the previous spoiler from me for head details). They will vary in subtle ways mind you. In measuring heads; use the actual head as one. A one-third head makes up the neck; so starting at one-third of a head below 1, you have 2 to 5.

An adult human male has a shoulder width of two head WIDTHS. So, measuring from the horizontal centre, one head on either side, (Or half a head wider on either side of the head).

The torso is generally one and a quarter heads wide, but don't worry about tiny numbers. Use your eyes, and put the arms about half-a-head wide. The elbow comes to be just below the ribcage at the bottom of head 2.

At the bottom third of head three is the groin, which is literally the centre of the body.

The wrists are at the groin in terms of length as well. The hands are, open fingered, the same size as the face (from chin to hairline, ear to ear.) Hands are tough to draw for a lot of people. I couldn't really help with that though...

The legs make up the rest of the body height, the knees are essentially in the middle of the legs. The feet can be drawn at any angle seen fit, and straight on would show the toes specifically.

I hope it helps SOMEWHAT. His shoulders seem super wide but that may be the ornaments. He seems chunky, but that could be the lack of definition. Keep practicing and study anatomy a bit more. That's really all that can be done to get better at art for anybody.

Return of the ametuer non-art-student Very Happy

One caution: from what I've read, the 5/6 head-height is for teenagers, Aiki.

All of my books have 7 to 8 heads tall for adults.  I personally am about 7.92 times my head height. (( All my quotes include the head itself in the measurement. ))

I would also mention that there is also a significant matter in what it is you are going for:

I am not trying for fine art - I am very purposely working out a mostly line-art style suitable for comic work.  For realistic pictures, there are many things that you do with shading, as Aiki said.  But if you are not planning to shade (or not much), then you have to make comprimises with hard lines that don't strictly belong.

Also, I am not going for a paper picture; more on that in the next section: My take on materials.

I always draw in pencil, ink over the final lines, erase the pencil entirely (as much as possible, anyway), then touch up with the ink.  Then I scan it in and finish the picture in Photoshop.

For hardness, I like HB and F, personally.  I've found 2H a mixed blessing: easier to erase, but with an obnoxious tendency to gouge the paper.  It gets annoying when you erase a line and try to change it, only to have your pencil keep finding the dent from the previous line and following it.  Also, the scanner loves to find old dents in the paper and revive them as ghostly lines.
B and 2B don't make such horrible dents in the paper, but take more rubbing to get off, and I frequently end up ripping up the surface of the paper, even with a nice Staedtler eraser.

I don't draw directly in my sketchbook.  I have a nice clipboard that I use to draw on.  I take the sheets out of my sketchbook and use that.  After my first mistake of drawing directly in the book and putting ghost lines on the next four pages, I tried slipping the clipboard between the pages; but that ended up being really awkward.  Now I just take the sheets out.

For inking, I have a set of Staedtler lining pens that I use.  They're felt-tipped versions of technical drafting pens in .1, .3, .5, and .7 mm, which are quite nice.  (I have a set of proper Koh-i-noor pens, too, but they're such a pain to fill and clean...).  I have had no issues with bleeding at all, though I have had issues with the tips gradually fraying - no big surprise with disposable pens.

My final paper pictures are generally a bit smudgy and rough in the end.  That doesn't bother me, though, because the paper is only the first step.  I scan the picture in and bring it into Photoshop.

Magic wand select with setting [tolerance of 60 to 100 depending on how good the final contrast ended up, anti-alias, not contiguous] gets pretty much all the background out.  Brightness -50, contrast +50 darkens the lines.  Now I use the eraser and brush tools to fix up the line art until I'm happy with it (Occasionally the final picture is significantly changed from what came in from the scanner).  A quick pass of the "Despeckle" filter takes care of any lingering blotches.

I duplicate the layer (which firms up the lines even more) and do my coloring on the new layer.  I start with the bucket-fill, and finish up with the brush tool.  One more pass each of the "Despeckle" and "Dust and Scratches" tools generally gets the picture to the state I like it.

I highly recommend a Wacom tablet for this work.  The mouse gets really old, really quickly.  I have an Intuios3 4x6, and it makes things very much easier.

The next step for a lot of folks is to make yet another layer now and set the blending mode to "Darken" to put on the shading... but I need more practice with this before I'm going to give any recommendations (or even post any of the attempts).

...Am I the only person here who prefers soft pencils for drawing? I always find 2b+ to be best for my needs...normally 3b/4b is what I use...

Although maybe that's because I do a weird pseudo-shadingy styley thing. *shrugs* Ah well.

*disappears once again*


Have you considered getting a pencil board for your sketchbook?  It's basically a very stiff piece of plastic that you put between the page you're working on and the next page so that it doesn't leave divits.

I don't have one, but I don't use sketchbooks.  If I had a sketchbook I'd insist on getting a pencil board.

Yeah... That's a thought (and no, I didn't think of it before), but I have basically ended up repenting of the bound books.  After I'm done de-binding the ones I've got, I plan to get loose paper instead.

The spine seems to fight with me all the time.  That's why I hate sketchbooks.  That, and I don't like the feel of the paper.

If you ever are going to apply somewhere for any sort of art-related job or education that requires a portfolio, a sketchbook counts as one piece. You can show off everything in your sketchbook and several other larger-scale pieces. For that reason, I would be wary about tearing your sketchbook apart -snicker- If you have thicker, heavier paper in the sketchbook, the lines from the previous image shouldn't really be that deep. Also, a sketchbook helps prevent the corners of your drawings from getting dog ears, those folded corners.

For digital art I use a tablet as well; and though most of you haven't seen my digital art (There's a picture of Myobu in my art thread done digital) I usually draw completely into Corel Photo-Paint v.10. I do the lineart in a layer above the background and and all colours go in layers between that and the background. That way, I can quickly switch between the clothing and the hair, and they won't get mixed together. Shading and the like I do on the same layer as the colour. If you're ever shading with pencil crayons; never use black to darken a colour. It may be easier; but it will flatten the image. (Of course, if you don't really care about the image jumping out at all then go ahead). Use that colour's compliment in small amounts to darken. Red = Green, Yellow = Purple, Blue = Orange. However; it takes some getting used to to get right.

On the computer; I will actually use a darker shade of the colour to shade it, because for one I'm lazy, and for two I can control the colour I get in return.

Yeah, I noticed about the heads thing Fen, however are you a freakishly tall man? I AM actually five and a quarter heads tall. (Maybe you just have a teeny head -giggle-)

It's just a general rule. Like I said, draw what you SEE not what you KNOW. Get a model to pose for you; best friend, spouse, etc, and keep your attention on them more often than the page. Don't try to get it in proportion, and keep everything the exact same distance away. Sit upright, and don't tilt your head.

Or do like I do, and just fudge your way through Razz. It's up to you, but this is how the teachers drilled it into my brain.

I don't know...if I remember right, he and I were about the same height...

I'd always read that it should be 7 heads tall for men, 8 for women (don't ask me why...maybe men just have big heads [though I think the opposite....])

I've never seen any use for teachers, really...I can learn what I want from a book.

Why stick to proportions?  My entire art style is based on warping them.

Thank you Aiki!

Glad you like the birds, they're my favorite part.

I'm 6'1", I don't think that quite counts a freakish Very Happy

And yes, I've heard the sketchbook as a displayable item for such things.  I personally am not particularly concerned about interviews or applying for classes with my art, but that is something to keep in mind for the younger folks.

And I want to echo what Aiki said:  Draw what you see.  It's amazing how inaccurate your memories of how things look can really be.

NecroPaladin wrote:
Why stick to proportions?  My entire art style is based on warping them.

Know the rules before you know how to break them -chuckles-

Os, you're welcome.

Fen, Yes. But more importantly, if you draw what you KNOW, you'll always draw things as how they look straight on. Legs don't bend to some angles, and arms don't just slip behind your back. You have to watch for the angles and stuff. So draw what you see.

Thanks for all the critiquing! I'll be sure to remember them next time I draw something.

In Lykan's thread, Renom asked:

What program does everyone use to create art? Everyone seems to be using the exact same program. Am I missing something?

I personally use Paint.NET on a Lenovo X61T for my main drawing and shading, moving to Photoshop CS3 on a Macintosh for final coloring and texture.

I believe he was specifically asking about the oots style, though.

Ooh.   I used just Photoshop for that.  I have Illustrator now, too, but I don't really like it.

I am personally a fan of MS paint for the oots style avatars. It has a very nice rough feel to it, while still being able to get some detail in.
The Chilli God

I use Fireworks MX almost exclusively for any non-flashie works, now.

<.< >.>

For OotS art, I always use Inkscape. Easy to use.

Used to use MSpaint.

I also made animated OotS art through Serif Drawplus. Didn't have as great quality as Inkscape, but looked cool. =)

Does anyone have the ability to make moving gifs?

I'd like to make these 4 images flip:



Danke, Hun.

How do you put a picture in your post? A few people have put scans of their art on here to be critiqued, how did you all get those pictures in the post?

You may all call me clueless now Razz but I really want to know.

[img.]address of the picture here[/img.] remove the periods

What if it is a file such as Gimp?

If you won't listen to what I told you last time, I can't help you.

Photobucket will not let me upload my gimp artwork...
Ms Elaneous

Because it's not the proper file type.  

Merge the layers and save it as a gif, jpg, or whatever file type works with Photobucket or Imageshack.

A question about inking: Is it necessary before scanning?

I'm trying to scan in a drawing I did, and it came out alright, although my lighter lines dissapeared on me. But I'm afraid to ink it, mostly because you can't erase ink and I'm afraid I'll screw up my picture. Help?

No, it's not, you can do many things to darken the lines without inking, but it usually depends on the scanner.

Darker lines. Got it. Thanks.

My scanner isn't the greatest, apparently. But we'll see.

*wanders off to make an art thread for herself*

Just check the settings when you're scanning.  You may be in B&W or Grayscale 8 instead of colour, which is what you'd want.

       Enupnion Forum Index -> Arts and Crafts
Page 1 of 1
Create your own free forum | Buy a domain to use with your forum