new book beginnings ~ db

Shoulder Ride redraw





This is a portion of one of the tight ink roughs I use to transfer onto final paper. The lines need to be really sterile so I can see them clearly through the paper. I find them really disappointing in comparison to the original sketch, because the energy gets sucked right out of them in this format – and sometimes that can be incredibly disheartening and I get scared that I might not be able to breathe life back into them in the final artwork stage. But beyond just the (required) lack of personality in the linework, this one needed some structural rework – it’s embarrassingly poorly drawn (so embarrassing that I almost didn’t want to post it). The pose is awkward, the proportions are off, there are bad, bad things going on with that arm and wrist, the viewing angle is wrong and it’s lacking the energy I really wanted.





For corrections of  individual elements at the rough stage, I usually just redraw them on a scrap of tracing paper and paste them in rather than redrawing the entire scene. It always feels like cutting corners to me, but the reality is, where time can be saved, it really should. (Recently, I bought Hokusai One Hundred Poets, and was thrilled to see that many of his sketches for his prints contain areas where he carefully cut out and replaced elements.)

But the issue was beyond just that arm. So I set out to try to fix it by redrawing the dad and child.






But it was just the same old thing – redrawn and redrawn – badly. There was some real foreshortening required, but the body just kept flattening out under my pencil and I was stuck in a repetitive drawing loop.




When things just get mired in details, I pull back and do little gestural drawings. Then I refine from there. Once I did this, I knew what I needed to do.







Now it’s a matter of getting the arm length and proportions right.



4 thoughts on “new book beginnings ~ db

  1. I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog. . .it is truly and inspiration! First of all I must say that you an amazing draftsman and your drawings are breathtaking! But I feel your pain about losing the wonderful gestures in the final drawings! (Even though I don’t see it in yours) this very thing often keeps me from continuing with my drawings and I quickly lose motivation – I thought I was the only one! I see you take stock in tracing paper as well. . .can I ask if you use photographic reference for your images? I think your ability to draw with feeling and gesture is really amazing and I’m glad I came across this for inspiration!

  2. Hi Vera,

    thanks so much for your comment.

    Yes, I do use photo reference for a lot of my images. Though I don’t use at the very start when I’m planning things out. I also try to alway use is as general info just to get an understanding of anatomy, structure etc, and not as something to directly copy (things get very static otherwise). I try to shoot a lot of my own reference – especially feet, hands and poses – but I do reference-less drawings first, and make photo reference based on them. In the last stage of drawing, I generally only refer briefly to the reference, so I make sure I’m not too tied to it.

    The hands in the last sketch above are actually made by viewing my own hand in a mirror and drawing the reflection.

  3. the redraw is fabulous! I can definitely get more of a sense of the child’s desire for the balloons with this posture than the other one, although before you changed it, I wouldn’t have even noticed! It is inspiring to watch your work unfold!

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