My "100 Characters" UPDATED 10/17

  • I decided to do the "Draw 100 Somethings" challenge and so far it's been really challenging. I'm drawing characters and I realized I have SO far to go. I have serious trouble with environments, with lighting and with clothing. So I'm hoping that working on those things in this challenge will get me somewhere. I'm not giving myself a time limit, but I'm giving myself one rule: use whatever I want in the image, but I have to include at least one element from an artist I love so that I can learn from their technique. I really don't want to show image #1, because it's even worse than #'s 2 and 3. This is really embarrassing to show, so I'm hoping the humiliation will push me to work harder, lol.

    #2: Character: Chieftan. In this one, I used the clothing from a Karl Kopinski sketch.


    #3: Character: Wizard. In this one, I used a light fixture from a Jean-Baptiste Monge painting. (I didn't finish the window - I got too tired.

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    @amberwingart I think you are being too harsh with yourself. These are actually lovely drawings! You may be setting the bar too high with this level of detail to do 100 drawings like this - I am sure it takes a ton of time to do all these details! Maybe you could do only characters without environment or maybe even only character faces.
    I wanted to mention that the "draw 100 something" challenge was quite common when I was at school, but in a different form, which may be more useful for you if you want to do it as a learning exercise. I went through this at least 4 or 5 times. One was "draw 200 animals". Then there was 300 gesture studies - no more than 5 minutes per sketch. These were both huge learning steps, but the most impactful ones for me where "500 faces" and "200 hands" . We had to find and print expression sheets from animation characters and hand posture sheets (for this one we could also use photographs) and straight copy them (no tracing). These were 14-weeks time-frames and were on top of the normal assignments.
    This kind of stuff did a few things for me - first it was a hugely impactful learning experience and made my draughtmanship improve by leaps and bounds. Then, it made me realize just how much drawing it needs to learn to draw (one of my teachers used to say that, "you need pencil mileage"!) - I am nowhere close to where I want to be in terms of drawing skills, apart from knowing that it will take a lot more miles. And lastly (and I think this is what they were after), it has given me a habit. To be able to meet the deadlines, you had to be drawing nearly all the time, so now drawing is the first thing I think about if I have idle time. I still do gesture studies from pose reference books. And I still copy tons of drawings from character sheets and animation frames. Sometimes I google "bulldogs" or another animal and do a page of animal sketches from photographs. It is not as intense (and probably I should do a lot more), but I learn something every time and I enjoy it a lot (I do not think doing copies is boring at all, I find it very relaxing and there are so many discoveries in store!)
    So maybe, if your aim is learning, you may think of doing something like that instead of 100 original drawings, which takes a lot more work and emotional investment!

  • @smceccarelli Thank you for your input - that's very helpful! After the wizard, I decided to just do characters without environments, because it does take too long for what is just supposed to be a sketch. My next "draw 100 somethings" challenge after this will be on environments though, because as you can see, environments are extremely challenging for me.

    I actually really enjoy doing expressions & I'm really confident about those (although I didn't do them for these two sketches), but I do need to get back to doing figure studies of animals daily - I was doing that for a while and stopped. And definitely hands - I need to work on those!! Maybe I'll start doing a few hand sketches along with each of my character sketches.

    Thank you again so much for the advice - it's really helpful & appreciated!

  • I also think that you might be being a little hard on yourself. I can understand where you might want more, as I an in that place too. Great advice above about doing more in depth sketches of a very narrow focus! I might try that as well. Thank you both for posting! @amberwingart @smceccarelli

  • @artspreadsjoy That's kind of you, thank you (and thank you again, @smceccarelli for your kind words as well). I can be hard on myself, but I know where I want to be & I'm just not there yet, so I get frustrated & I have to push myself. It's really hard for me to show my work, but I have to get out of the habit of admitting that, lol.

  • @smceccarelli I just re-read what you wrote about the drawing challenges and how to make them more effective & I've got a question...I want to refine this challenge like you suggested, so I'm going to do the "draw 200 hands" exercise, but I'd also like to continue drawing characters, as clothing and anatomy when I'm anthropomorphizing are challenging for me. Do you have any suggestions on how to specifically concentrate on clothing? Should I just work on the drape of the clothing itself without drawing heads, etc.? I guess maybe think of it as a "draw 100 studies" exercise?

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    @amberwingart Hands are to draw and a great start! And when you do not know where to get models, you can use your own left (or right) hand! But there is a lot of resources out there, and even some hand models apps where you can rotate and see the hand from all angles and in many different poses (but the 3D hands always look a bit stiff to me). If you want something really lovely to start with, look for the hand model sheets of Lilo (from Lilo and Stitch). I love that sheet so much I have copied it already three times....Also "The Iron Giant" for some boyยดs hands. This is animation style of course, which is my taste, so maybe you prefer other references.
    As for drapery, what I did was starting with copying the classification of folds a couple of times - there are different sources for that - the book from Barbara Bradley "Drawing people" has a few pages with the different types of folds and it is the one I used. Another one to study and copy is a super old skinny booklet called "Drawing drapery from head to toe". The book is so old that you can download the pdf for free, but is a little jewel (of less than 50 pages I think), If you see beyond the ยด50s style clothing,...
    As for real-life studies, nothing is easier. If you have a piece of fabric a couple of feet long, you have enough for thousands of drawings ๐Ÿ˜‰ You can drape it on a chair, drop it on the floor, put it on somebody toga-like, around their waist, on their shoulders, wraps it around somebodyยดs arm, take a picture and you are ready to go. It takes a while to grasp folds enough that you can invent them out of your head - it is a bit like anatomy. If you can, use different fabrics: think gaze to thick fleece, silk, velvet, etc....all behave differently and are all their own journey of discovery. Actually, I very much feel like doing that myself now ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I know people sometime say that it is boring to do studies (even Jazza says that on his channel!), but I have to say I completely disagree. It took me a while to understand it though. I was all for doing original drawings and characters and "fun stuff" and then was forced through two years of purely observational drawing and studies and slowly started to realize just how fascinating a rag dropped on the floor is (they are called inert folds and are the most inpredictable and diverse of all fold types)...or anything else for that matter...once you start to really look at it...
    Hope this helps - I am only channeling my experiences and perfectly aware that they may not apply to anybody else!

  • @smceccarelli More awesome information - thank you!! I have Barbara Bradley's book, but I completely forgot about it - I'll pull it out! I'm excited to look for the 50s book you suggested (I like vintage clothing, so I won't mind that at all ๐Ÿ™‚ ). I can't tell you how frustrated I've been trying to draw clothing (especially from imagination). Silly me - I should know by now that I need to practice it like anything else... Now that I have a clearer vision for this challenge, it's a little less daunting. Trying to spend hours on an entire environment without really putting in the details that I normally do in my drawings (which take weeks) would have just made me give up quickly, I think. So thank you again for your suggestions - this will give me something to work on for a while! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I'm curious - how long have you been drawing?

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    @amberwingart Woah, that is a tricky question to answer. I was drawing as a young person quite a lot - until my 20s or so. Still have a lot of that stuff around, some of it is hanging at my parent's house. Then I stopped drawing completely for about 10 years, just doing something very occasionally. Around 2002 I started drawing comic strips and single panels about life as a scientist. They were very popular and quite a few got published in magazines (never got any money out of it, did not cross my mind actually). I also did covers for scientific magazines and a couple of T-shirts for campaigns and events. My "life crisis" was in 2011, and then I enrolled in formal art education. So as of Fall 2011 I have been drawing (and painting) at a serious pace - first drawing and painting foundations for about 2.5 years, before being allowed to do anything "original". So now you know how old I am ๐Ÿ˜‰ Still feel like there is a whole life in front of me, though...

  • "Sketch 100 Somethings" challenge sketch #4: my take on a painting by one of my favorite artists, Jean-Baptiste Monge. I'm excited for Halloween - how about you? ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • @smceccarelli This is so encouraging! It's easy to feel behind when you dive into a passion a little later in life!

  • Sketch #5: I didn't shade this one because I've decided to take it to the painting stage. I went a little too far out of my borders though, so I'll have to adjust that when I transfer the sketch to my pastel paper.

    As always, critiques welcome!


  • Sketch #6: flyer. For this challenge, I'll be doing 10 sketches of each family of animals, so I've got 4 more sketches of the rodent family, then I'll be moving on to coyotes, foxes & wolves, then on to bears, then to birds, then all other animals. ๐Ÿ™‚


  • @amberwingart wow! so Nice!

  • @Leontine Thanks so much! I'm having fun doing these...I can feel the creakiness start to lessen ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sketch #7: My take on a favorite Karl Kopinski sketch (with coyote head inserted)


    Sketch #8: I was originally going to add the coyote's arms and some background to this, but I realized this is just supposed to be a character sketch challenge & I was making it too complicated for myself so I stopped here. The faery is a Brian Froud guy.


    I'm still not feeling like I'm making much progress as far as ability, but I think Jake said it would be around sketch 30 that you'd see improvement, so I'm being patient. Kind of. But not really. Lol

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