I am looking for suggestions of daily exercises to get better at drawing. I really want to get the fundamentals down before I focus on more complicated pieces. Right now I practice drawing shapes and holding the pencil overhand, and tripod style. Anyone have a practice routine? Know any good exercises that can be applied to broad areas of drawing?
Thanks so much!
A couple of things that could help you to improve (at least i like to think that they help me ):
I use the web quickposes to draw figures' shapes/poses. You can set diferent intervals of times to draw them, so you don get lost in the details, and is something nice to do even as a warm up exercise.
1x1 minute image.
Look at an image during one minute, close or hide it, then draw it during other minute. It's not about draw the image to look like the original. The idea is to focus in the part of shapes, forms, perspective, etc.
Check out our own Jake Parker's 8 minute Drawing Challenge... helps with developing a style and can be used for characters, elements, you name it!
My humble opinion :P
Fundamental for drawing: In my experience, live figure sketching is the best excercise if you want to improve your drawing skills. Human figures compels to see like an artist. You can also use pictures as reference.
Fundamentals for painting: First, value simplification exercices and composition estudies. Second, color (color harmony, color schemes, mood creation using color)
Please, excuse my english :P
I second what's been said so far. I have to admit though, that I don't always follow my own advice. I really should.
Here is what I would add...
Along with the drawing suggestions that have been included here, I am a strong believer in making time to view the works of other accomplished artists. More specifically, artists who create work that you are personally drawn to. At first, you may not quite understand why certain pieces jump out at you. But after a while, things will start to become a little more transparent. Maybe it's the looseness or tightness. Or the use of a limited color palette. Or a wide color palette. And when these discoveries start happening, I think you'll see improvements in your own work. Surrounding yourself with good art is key.I find it similar to playing a sport. Let's take basketball for example. If you play with people several levels more advanced than you, after a while you can't help but improve.
@Nobebocafe thanks! I actually recently discovered sites like the one you described. Covering the image after looking at it for 1 minute is something I have not tried. Thanks!
@Bobby-Aquitania I did an 8 minute challenge it was very helpful. I actually liked my 30 second drawing best which was interesting
I agree with @Nobebocafe about the quick poses, I really like the site quickposes.com because it's the only one I've found so far that has custom time limits, I highly recommend trying ten second gesture drawings, it's a challenge at first but you can do over a hundred quick sketches in under twenty minutes, do that every day and you'll improve at drawing poses quickly.
Another one I like is doing quick paintings from observation, I do them digitally on my tablet or phone, you don't even need anything fancy, I just use Sketchbook Express on a Kindle Fire with a cheap stylus, or even just my finger when I use my phone. Here's an example, nothing fancy just a basic study, it really helps you to learn more natural looking color and light.
I'm going to add some stuff here that's not necessarily in line with what others have said. Take it not as a rule, but another perspective.
My suggestion to the topic of "what should I be doing?" is figure out where you want to go first. The reason being is that traditional art training bends the look of your work to a certain way (realism) and it's extremely difficult to get rid of that thinking once it's ingrained. Take a look at these examples below. One is a figure drawing in the style I learned it, the next is an industrial design technique based style which is very distinct and almost all industrial design students end up with, and the last is a folk style painting by a book illustrator.
The training for each of these styles could be very different. The exercises you do will (and should) lead you to where you want to be as a pro. It would be a sad day if I directed this folk painter to do some perspective exercises. The same way it wouldn't be as helpful to direct the ID student to focus on life drawing. (BTW: I LOVE drawing the figure, I'm not saying it doesn't have any value at all because it does). I'm just talking about what you primarily focus on.
So if you are going to be a concept artist, focus on environments, props, and character design (which includes life drawing). Almost all concept artists would be benefited by choosing industrial design type sketching to focus on (form based drawing, drawing through objects, etc.). If you are going to do realism, by all means get your butt to a figure drawing session, If you are loving quirky work that is way off perspective, it may not totally be necessary to go through traditional training. The more important studies here may be graphic design, composition and color control.
Anyway, to make a long story short, pick what you want to do, then do that. : )
Thank you for that advice Lee as someone knee deep in realism, I have been struggling with converting to a more whimsical style. My question is, do you think it's possible to do both styles? Or do you think one has to focus on one only?
I'd answer yes to both of those questions. You CAN do both styles, but you SHOULD focus on one primarily. Typically artists have many interests and styles. That doesn't mean all of them should be shown, but you can do any thing that you want.
At one point after graduating art center, I had three separate websites. One was for concept design, one was for figure drawing/painting, and the third was for children's book work. They didn't even link to each other. When a client comes to my site, I want them to think that is the only thing I do. I want them to feel as if they are buying that specialization.
If a site has all sorts of work and styles, it can be confusing to art buyers. It's also very hard to be a "pro" at each thing. It was an exhausting time in my life to work in those three areas at the same time. But it's what I had to do to get a start in the this business.