Well it’s been a while since I’ve drawn or painted, and I was thinking it would be nice to get back into working on my drawing skills. I decided to try out a class I found on Craftsy called Figure Anatomy for the Artist. Roberto Osti is the teacher, and he’s a fine artist as well as was a medical illustrator. The class was only $20 for over 5 hours of instruction (spread over 8 lessons), so I figured I had nothing to lose. I’ve used a lot of anatomy books in the past to supplement my life drawing classes, and some were more helpful than others. I wanted to learn how to draw real-life people, not cartoons and not caricatures. I find life drawing to be the most challenging form of drawing as if your proportions are off even the tiniest bit, it’s blazingly obvious to anyone who’s looking at your drawing. That’s why I’ve never really been a fan of landscape art, you could easily put in an extra tree and no one would know. The only landscape art I’ve ever really liked was by Emily Carr and the Group of Seven, but that was more about their style in expressing the landscape than it was about the content directly.
So, up to now I’ve done two of the lessons from the class, and I’m really enjoying it. Roberto is a very skilled teacher, and he uses the correct anatomical terms for each structure he’s describing. He also shows you very easily how to depict these structures in your drawing. I laughed when I did the first lesson, my resulting image kind of looked like we were learning how to draw stormtroopers. 🙂
I did the first lesson twice, there’s so much information you really need to do each lesson multiple times to absorb it all (which I think is a great “problem” to have). I’ve done the second lesson only once so far, I know I’m going to have to do that one multiple times as well as it’s getting into quite a bit more detail.
One “issue” I did have was with my stylus. Of course, I’m using my ArtRage iPad app to draw with, and at first I was using my regular stylus (one of those ones with a soft squishy wide rounded tip). It wasn’t bad, but I don’t like the drag of the tip against the glass screen nor the fact you can’t see exactly where your line is going to start or end, so I looked around to see if I could make a fine-point stylus. I didn’t want to use my new capacitive brush that I talked about in this post, as I wanted the tip to be firm to draw with. I had a look online and it seemed there wasn’t a lot available demonstrating how to make a fine-tip stylus yourself. There are some spectacularly awesome looking styluses available for purchase (that have Bluetooth to add features like palm rejection) that would be compatible with ArtRage, I just didn’t want to spend a lot of money if I could come up with a solution I was happy with on my own. I found this article online demonstrating how to make a fine-tip stylus. It took a while to make it (as the description was a little tricky for me to follow, it was easier for me to look at the pictures and figure it out that way). But, when I was done my new stylus looked pretty similar to the instructions, and away I went.
It took a while to figure out where the exact point was that the line would start and stop (as I couldn’t get it centred), and even then it wasn’t that accurate as it would change depending on the exact angle you held the stylus at. I found my lines were pretty wobbly, and not very accurate. Normally I wouldn’t really care, but as I went further and further into the second lesson, it was quickly becoming apparent that I would have to be really accurate to make any sense of what I was drawing as there were many lines that needed to connect up perfectly. Near the end of the lesson I gave up and switched back to using my finger, and that seemed much more accurate despite the lack of a fine point. So I’ll keep playing and see, maybe I’ll look into buying one of the Bluetooth stylus or maybe I’ll just keep using my finger for the meantime. One really distinct advantage (other than palm rejection so you can rest your hand against the screen to draw and not screw up the system) is that the Bluetooth styluses allow you to use differing pressures that are registered by ArtRage. Right now, just using my finger, I have to either hover my hand above the iPad or rest it on a cloth on the screen, and my lines are identical whether I barely touch the surface or whether I press a little harder. The size and density of the line is completely dependent on the settings, not on how I’m drawing. I’d love those features to be standard in the app in general, but I understand why they likely only work when connected to a Bluetooth device.
Anyway, that’s it for now, I’d love to hear feedback if anyone else has a stylus they love, or online art lessons they really enjoy! 🙂