How to Draw -- Wukei StyleA Beginning Note:
I've been asked several times by several friends to teach them how to draw. I must warn you now that I've never taken an art class outside of sculpting, so this is all learned from practice, not from learning itself. My biggest rule: practice. Don't get upset at your skill and throw your pencils and pens out. Art is a living skill. It grows, just as a baby grows. Soon it will be skilled enough and it thinks it knows everything, just like any teenager. Then it will be almost the best thing you've ever seen, a good job, the perfect adult. But remember that life doesn't end at adulthood. Neither does one's art. When your art reaches it's twilight years, like an old person you are wise enough to know where you shine and where you falter. Though you can usually tell people how to reach those places that you couldn't. My art, right now, is only a young adult: I think I know more than those who ask for my help, but I am nowhere near the best looking art that I could have.
Chapter 1: Tools of the Trade and Shortcuts
Chapter 2: Bubbles, Bubbles, Everwhere...
Chapter 3: East Meets West
Chapter 4: The Face
Chapter 5: Basic Body Shapes
Chapter 6: Hands and Feet
Chapter 7: Clothing
Chapter 8: Action
Chapter 9: Backgrounds
Chapter 10: Coloring the Picture
Chapter 11: Doing Comics
The Tools of the Trade and Shortcuts
Unlike most artists, I use very few tools. I am what is known as a line artist: I don't put too many details into a picture when I draw it. If I do details later, they're usually done on the computer. (And that is not my strong suit at the moment.)
The tools that I suggest are these:
A Staedtler Pencil: It is a mechanical pencil that you can switch out leads in, and it has a sharpener. (It is mostly just like any normal wood pencil, but it provides its own sharpener, and you don't have a million different types of pencils depending upon the hardness of pencils. You can carry around the leads in one tube. [Each tube of leads is cheaper than buying new pencils. And each tube comes with three leads each (all the same size. So you will have to buy all of the leads that you prefer to use separately, but it's worth it.)]) But any pencil will do if you're just starting to learn. Just know that the softer the pencil (and all pencils you can get in the office supplies section of your local store are HB [#2. It's soft, but not the softest.] and tend to blur a bit if you keep your hand on the sheet. To keep from blurring it you can use a pencil board or just another piece of paper. Put it between the sheet you're working on and your hand.
A Pack of Staedler Inking Pens: Buy the 4 pack, not the one pen that you have to switch out the tips. They're expensive, but they flow easier than others. If you can't find Staedler, my second choice would be ZIG. But if you're just starting out, a normal pen would work fine. I would suggest something that flows well, like a gel pen or one of those Pilot Precise V5. It's what I used and didn't tend to stop working mid-line. It does have a nasty habit of bleeding into the paper, however.
A Pink Pearl Eraser: You know, those erasers you see all of the time? It's the best in erasing things perfectly. And usually the cheapest of all of the art supplies.
Paper: I've never been one for those silly art pads. There's no point, especially when starting out. Instead, use a pack of printing paper. That way, if you mess up, you can throw it away without thinking that your book doesn't look quite right when pages go missing. I use card stock quality for my commissions.
A Ruler: Those lines don't just draw themselves, you know. And I don't know one person that can draw a straight line accurately. If you wish to draw backgrounds, boxes, a comic, or anything else with tons of straight lines, you can't do so accurately without having a ruler. When it's missing--as mine often is--a CD case, a book, or a checkbook can work in a pinch.
A Portfolio and/or a Notebook. If you're serious about your artwork, I would suggest using a portfolio. Keeping your art preserved in a portfolio enables you to show off the art in a professional manner. For pieces that don't fit into your portfolio, or--again--if you're just starting out, a notebook keeps the pages from getting messed up.
A scanner. If you want to color your art, and you're using this as your only reference, you need to be able to scan your pictures to the computer so that you can color them. The computer is an obvious tool for this, as well.
MS Paint and GIMP. I use MS Paint to color the pictures, for the most part. I use GIMP for my shading and adding a few little extra special tricks to it. This will be discussed further in the coloring chapter.
These tools aren't all essential. And as you can see, I suggest many cheaper routes to take if you're just starting out or just aren't that serious about your art. I would never suggest to invest so heavily into your tools if you aren't sure that this is what you want to do. The tools do not make art any better when you're first starting out. Knowing how to use them properly does.
There is no point in getting every different softness of the pencil leads unless you're doing it in pencil only. I would, however, suggest two different hardnesses. I use 2B and 2H constantly, and put the same constant pressure on the page, for the most part. 2H allows me to draw the bubbles lightly enough that they can't be seen if I forget to erase a certain area of the page before I scan it. 2H makes it easy not to apply a bunch of pressure, and yet I still get an image dark enough to see easily. I personally have no use for any of the other hardnesses.
Should you not be able to find the inking pens in your art store in the drawing section: try the scrapbook section. Inking pens are also used as calligraphy pens. Also, the Staedtler pens come in 4 different sizes: .1, .3, .5, and .7. On the ZIG pens it's .005, .01, .03, .05, and .08. With a normal size image (a character that takes up the whole page) I use the .3 for the face, .5 for the rest of the body, and .7 to outline. On a comic, I use the .1 for faces and judge the size of the comic box on whether I should use a .3 or a .5 to outline the rest of the character. Things in the background I tend to outline with a pen size lower. (So if I'm outlining someone with .5, the background would be .3.)
Moving on to shortcuts, I have something very important to say: DO NOT USE THEM! If you like to draw someone with their hands behind their back or draw a skirt all the way to the floor because you can't draw feet: stop. This doesn't benefit your image. It hinders your progress as an artist. If you continue to use shortcuts and cheat like this, you'll never learn how to draw hands or feet. You have to be open to the fact that they may suck right now. You have to show it proudly that your hands and feet suck! That is the only way you can move on to making them better.
Another shortcut seems to be drawing a bust of the chacter. This tends to happen when one can't draw any extremeties. So your forearms are a bit short: so what? I still have that problem. Practice makes perfect, and that practice cannot happen without you being willing to practice all parts of the body.