Dashed Expectations

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2015 9:49 am 
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((OOC: I do love drawing, but I've never really been super great at it. Here and there, you'd see something pretty nice, but overall, my stuff has been way too janky and could stand to improve.

Still, I feel with enough guidance and assistance, I could potentially make something that would at least make me happy, especially when it comes to my PMD characters. So that's why I picked up Pokémon Art Academy.

I've played previous titles before and while the lessons were pretty well done, I never did finish any of the games. I think by adding a Pokémon flair, it really appealed to me (it is my drawing jam after all). Anyway, I thought it might be fun to have everyone see my progress as I make my way to becoming a graduate. See where I improved. Enjoy!))


Novice

Here, we learn the very basics of shapes and standard colouring. Everything here is the utmost basic principles of art.

Before we began, we were first asked to draw one of three different Pokémon with guidance. I went with Pikachu, but since it was more or less a preliminary to gauge our initial ability, there were no lessons learned so I didn't bother saving that image.


Lesson 1

The most basic thing: Draw a portrait of a Pokémon. Not at all complicated, especially since they give you an outline as guidance on the touch screen. You are only given a few tools at this point: Ink liner, markers, and erasers. Just do your best!

Now, how this game works is that you'll get a "main lesson" where Professor Andy will guide you step by step on what you're learning. There are also mini lessons with each lesson to help reinforce what you learned. While it is still step by step, Andy doesn't show you what to do and only advises what you should do next and wants you to use your best judgment.

Spoiler: click to show
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First up is Oshawott. Even with a guideline, I still managed to fudge up drawing a circle, something you'll see time and time again from me (I hate circles). At least it looks like Oshawott.

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Squirtle was very similar to Oshawott in terms of design. You can see I was trying to be a bit more careful with the overall head shape though I still smudged up a bit.

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Tepig is where it starts to give you slightly more complex shapes, but nothing too outlandish. Lots of circles and ovals with a bit of a diamond shape over the snout. Professor Andy mentions people sometimes forget to fill in the nose on creatures, which is something I found myself doing in later lessons too often.

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And we conclude with Chespin, who while the most complex, honestly was the most fun to draw. Giving more than just circles was more engaging I feel.



Lesson 2

We are still doing portraits here, but now we are told to do them at an angle. On top of that, we are also given access to thinner inks and markers for more dynamic details.

Spoiler: click to show
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Fennekin was the first lesson, which I'm sure you all saw before. Since we are doing angles now, not everything is symmetrical anymore, but that wasn't much of a problem. Lines still aren't perfect, but they are improving slightly. Zooming in for those tougher parts and even turning the 3DS around helps matters.

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You know I had to jump on Meowth next, as that's always been my favourite, as if that's a surprise to anybody. I probably shouldn't have jumped the gun though since Andy did say that this was the hardest one in this section, mostly because of the whiskers. Nevertheless, I think I did fine. We even got a slight glimpse at what highlighting can do with the charm.

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Torchic was the next one I decided to try. The shape seemed simple and easy enough, and it made for a smooth ride.

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Ending things off here with Minccino, where I started to get a tad sloppy. It's important to take breaks here and there if you're feeling tired. Getting those patterns on the top was a bit tough since I had coloured in the guide by that point, but I think it came out okay.



Lesson 3

No more simple portraits anymore. Now we can do full body Pokémon! On top of that, we've now been shown just what we can do by changing the outline colour from traditional black to something else.

Spoiler: click to show
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Togepi is where we started off. I was a bit unsure because of all the different shapes, but it was made easier by seeing images as other objects. And Togepi ended up coming out quite nicely. Probably one of my best ones.

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Gengar also didn't turn out too bad, though the thick outline made it very tricky for some of the tinier stuff, such as the feet. Still, I wanted to follow the lessons to a t so as to reinforce what I learned, even if it means using tools that I feel aren't properly suited for the lesson.

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Pichu is kind of adorable, I don't care what anyone says! Also, I think I am getting a little better at curves and circles. Been taking things a little slower when outlining.

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I feel I could have done Pachirisu a bit better. The outline looks a bit squiggly. Really like the face though.



Lesson 4

The training wheels come off here! The initial outlines have been removed and replaced with construction shapes! While you can get the outline overlay back at any time, I resisted the temptation and stuck through with the construction shapes instead. I felt that if I just keep tracing, I'll never actually learn. But anyways, the game got much harder at this point and it really does take some time to get used to these. We were also introduced to the pencil tool to help us make our own guidelines for the lineart.

Spoiler: click to show
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Inkay was our introduction to construction shapes. All we had to start with was a circle for the face, a triangle for its head, and dotted lines to show where Inkay was looking and for where the tentacles would be located. It was incredibly daunting but I had to pull through. If this is how one improves, then so be it!

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The very first Pokémon I ever had. I wanted to do justice to this guy as closely as I could. I was much more careful to make sure I stayed within the shapes as close as possible. Think it came out well.

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Had a harder time with Charmander though. Mostly due to its facial structure being so strange. While the construction shape gives you a perfect oval, you aren't really supposed to copy that line per line, an important lesson for all of the shapes in the future. They're meant as a guideline to give you an idea of the overall shape of the character, but not as a replacement for tracing. It's something I pick up on eventually.

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Victini is where I really started to try very hard to get everything looking just right! And that makes this one another of my favourite pieces. One thing I noticed though, not just with Victini but other drawings too, is that I have a habit of making shapes bigger than they need to be. I'm not sure why I tend to do that, but I at least catch myself. For the longest time, I was making Victini's ears much too big, but after some redos, I finally got a result I was happy with.



Novice Exam

The exams for each segment is where you take everything you just learned and apply them all into one final image to prove you are ready to move on to the next stage. Construction shapes, angles, all that is utilized here.

Spoiler: click to show
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And the result was fantastic. There is very little I don't like about this. I feel I've definitely improved since I initially started with Oshawott and have learned quite a bit!


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Apprentice

We are now ready to move onto more advanced techniques, including shading, hatching, and more paint methods.

One thing worth mentioning is that I could've done these in any order I wished, but I figured I'd just do it from left to right as I did with Novice.


Lesson 1

Here we get to learn the very basics of using slightly different coloured markers to creating shading and highlights.

Spoiler: click to show
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This is just embarrassing. I got so excited after the exam, I must have gotten full of myself. How could I mess up as simple a shape as a freaking sphere?! Well, at least I got the shading down so I guess that's what matters...

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I feel I redeemed myself a little with Chimchar, though something about the face kinda bugs me. Getting those highlights was particularly tricky, especially on the flame.

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Pumpkaboo was my chance at redemption, and by golly I think I did it, even with its more complex shading due to its leafy upper body. It isn't perfect, but I feel it looks quite exceptional, especially the round body, something I couldn't do with Voltorb.



Lesson 2

Our outline pen and markers are taken away from us as we learn to use nothing but coloured pencils and are introduced to a technique known as hatching, which involves drawing several lines close together!

Spoiler: click to show
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Fletchling is where we started things off. Its wings were very complex, but Andy helped guide us by showing that you should keep yourself within the construction shape of the wing and not go beyond the lines. I think I got the overall design down pretty well.

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Snivy was next in line, where we learned the importance of colouring within the shape of Snivy as well as contour hatching. Rather than simple straight lines, I instead was instructed to curve them into the shape of Snivy, giving it a more 3D look.

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Lastly comes the ever fluffy Eevee, and we were instructed to bring out that fluffiness with another hatching technique, this time using a bunch of tiny lines to show off fur. Short lines means short fur.



Lesson 3

Once more, we are not outlining here and are focusing on painting instead using a brush as well as finally being introduced to opacity. Contrast this with the previous lesson, where we were using pencils at least for a good while, jumping into paints is rather daunting.

Spoiler: click to show
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Right away, it gets pretty difficult with Jirachi. Not only is it such an unusual shape, it's looking at a strange angle making getting the eyes positioned correctly very difficult. I guess when you are getting into several new things at once, it suffers a bit.

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Moving onto Chantalure now that I got the basics of painting down now. This was surprisingly more fun to do, probably because adding shadows and highlights to the black parts actually felt kinda fun to do and made for a pretty nice overall look to it.

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Lugia's been one of my favourite Legendaries ever and is the reason I went with Silver over Gold, so I wanted to try extra hard with this one. The head and fins were easily the most difficult part, especially since my sense of scale is still pretty bad, but I do really like how this turned out.



Apprentice Exam

Let's see how well I did in learning all about shades and paints.

Spoiler: click to show
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Better than I expected, all things considered. One important thing Andy told us is to clean up our lineart along the way as we paint the picture. Unlike the previous painting lessons, we did get to use pencil for lines. This is also the first time I deviated from what was being shown on screen, which the game encouraged me by suggesting to do a female Pikachu as opposed to the standard male one. Because of that, I needed to look up a source, but the results came out fine.

I've learned some pretty clever shading techniques that I'd be willing to try in the future.


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Graduate

It's the final stretch before we become full fledged artists. Because of that, from this point on, we have to construct our own construction shapes! Needless to say, the first time I learned this, I started to get really nervous, but having dealt with premade shapes before, I feel I've got a better understanding of what needs to be done. From this point forward, everything I draw will be on a clean canvas. No help other than watching how it's done on the top screen.


Lesson 1

Here we get to use a tool that hasn't been used since the preliminary exam: Pastels! We are also introduced to the smudge stick to fix up some of the grainy details and create more natural outlines and highlights.

Spoiler: click to show
Image

It's a Vulpix, in case my efforts weren't clear enough. First time drawing my own construction shapes but I think I got the overall design in place. Had a bit of trouble using the smudge stick though, especially for the little tuff of hair on its head. I'm not sure, do you think it came out okay?

Image

Doing Sylveon made me realize that I am just not cut out for this kind of style. It's very, very hard to get down properly, not to mention the lines often end up looking super messy after smudging up. I just want my markers back...



Lesson 2

We're back to using outline pens and markers again! Hurray!! We get to do some tapering and shading with the outline pen here for some pretty neat effects.

Spoiler: click to show
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I am really thrilled with this one, even though I can still spot some mistakes, but overall, this is pretty fantastic. It was nice going into more depth about tapering, which is something I did do earlier with my Apprentice Fennekin without even knowing what the terminology was called. Starting with the thinnest pen then moving up to a thicker one also opened up my eyes to new and better possibilities too.

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Lucario was a much tougher challenge compared to Lapras. There are just so many complex shapes, though things were simplified by drawing each shape separately, starting with circles than moving onto more angular shapes. There's a lot of spots I definitely messed up on (honestly wish I could zoom in closer to smooth things out better) but I think it looks okay, messy lineart aside.



Lesson 3

Paints are brought back here. This time, we learn some advanced techniques for more dynamic shadows and highlights.

Spoiler: click to show
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Dear me, this was exhausting. And the worst part is I don't even know if I really learned the lesson well in regards to "softening the edges" as Andy put it. I mean, I guess it looks fine, but the fact that I didn't really understand what I was doing makes me wonder if maybe I was half asleep. Now, every lesson can be done as much as you want so I could go back and redo it all, but considering how long this particular one took, I'm not sure I'm ready to head back any time soon.

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It's Mewtwo! Once again, ran into the same issues as I did with Charizard in that I don't think I really understood how to make a smooth looking dynamic shade with the brush. Like, I guess it looks okay, but I don't understand how to get the results that were shown in the example image. Andy's always looked smooth whereas mine look kind of janky and blurry. I think, officially, this is the first lesson where I feel I didn't learn a thing, or maybe I did and I just don't realize it yet. On the plus side, the shapes are looking better.
Also, we got our last tool for Mewtwo, which is unique since usually you get new tools during main lessons, not mini-lessons: The airbrush! That's what helped give that glowing look.



Graduate Exam

This is it! The one where I'll finally put together all of my knowledge into one final picture of Pikachu. Let's get this done and dusted!

Spoiler: click to show
Image

Pretty great, really. Blowing it up, I did notice a few errors. Ah, the troubles of working with such a tiny canvas like the 3DS. Nevertheless, the progress I have made is astounding, and I feel like I learned some really nice new techniques even from this one piece. The highlights from the lightning was a lot of fun to do, as was the lightning itself, but more importantly, I was actually smiling during this. Drawing was feeling less like work and more enjoyable, which is probably the ultimate achievement, no?
Nevertheless, I am super happy I bought this game and will definitely start doing my own work soon But before then...there's a couple of bonus lessons Andy has for Graduate students...



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Bonus Lessons

(Coming Soon)

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Free Paint Fennekin

A little activity I thought I'd try alongside learning. The game has a free paint mode with templates you can use to try and draw Pokémon without any sort of guidance. I figured, at the end of each course, I'd try to see how my own personal progress is growing, using the same image of Fennekin each time. I'd like to see if this program really can improve one's ability to draw.

Novice
Spoiler: click to show
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Boy, this Fennekin looks to have put on some weight. The design is there, but I definitely need to work on getting the right shapes. A big problem I have is I tend to see things as bigger than they actually are, hence why the face looks much too big. I will need to adjust to that.

Funny enough, I thought the ears with its tuffs would be the trickiest part, but that's probably the best looking of the bunch, personally speaking.


Apprentice
Spoiler: click to show
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What a massive difference already, I can see. The lines are a lot cleaner and Fennekin is no longer some mishapen blob. There is still room for improvement however, since I can still make out those annoying squiggles, but I think one thing is clear: It's working! Learning new art techniques combined with drawing a little bit every day is actually making me better! And not once did I ever use the outline!

I am incredibly happy so far, but there is still much to learn. There are at least 3 tools in this program that I haven't even tried out yet, which I'm sure I'll learn during Graduate courses.

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Last edited by The Great B-Man on Fri Oct 16, 2015 7:48 pm, edited 10 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2015 1:36 pm 
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Professor Andy??

Also most of these drawings are adorable so far, well done.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 25, 2015 9:46 pm 
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I haven't touched any Art Academy at all, but I'm always happy to see the results from people playing it.

And Pokemon's overall design philosophy, at its core, is one of the best things to learn the fundamentals on. Very simple monsters that evolve into more complex monsters, yet usually still inherit the same ideas along the line. And still, they're very easy to see the simple shapes at their core. You can figure out quickly how important the main shapes for construction are in drawing them.

I'm sure you'll be better and more confident with this in no time, B-Man. From what I've seen, these lessons are fairly easy to transfer to paper or tablet, too. (which I encourage you to do)

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2015 9:43 am 
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Pikmanipulator wrote:
Professor Andy??

Also most of these drawings are adorable so far, well done.


((OOC: Never even clued in with that Andy. Makes a lot more sense than the first Andy I thought of. Good catch! Though for the record, I doubt they're the same. This Andy is the brother of Vince, the main character and teacher from other Art Academy games. Those who play Smash on the Wii U can get a trophy of Vince as well!

I appreciate the kind words and will continue to do my best and learn more techniques.))


Falcon6 wrote:
I haven't touched any Art Academy at all, but I'm always happy to see the results from people playing it.

And Pokemon's overall design philosophy, at its core, is one of the best things to learn the fundamentals on. Very simple monsters that evolve into more complex monsters, yet usually still inherit the same ideas along the line. And still, they're very easy to see the simple shapes at their core. You can figure out quickly how important the main shapes for construction are in drawing them.

I'm sure you'll be better and more confident with this in no time, B-Man. From what I've seen, these lessons are fairly easy to transfer to paper or tablet, too. (which I encourage you to do)


((OOC: There's a lot to like about the series. I got First Semester using Club Nintendo and was quite surprised by how in depth they can get into for those who really want to start drawing. It's not perfect with a huge emphasis on "learn by copying what I do" but it seems to be working out okay. The lessons seem to stick and I am starting to see things in drawings I never did see before, various different shapes and constructs. These are things I never did grasp growing up but I'm getting a much better understanding, which in the end is going to be really helpful.

If you ever do wanna try them, Pokémon is a good beginner course, though I've seen more people point towards the Wii U game mostly for the larger tablet on the GamePad, which makes sense. Both games due net around $30 so keep that in mind. I just went with Pokémon because, he, that's my thing and it's what I actually want to draw more of, but it's working out great even as a general art tool as well. Everything I learn here I could potentially put towards any number of different subjects, not just Pokémon.

Anyway, once this is all wrapped up, I do intend to continue practice on paper and tablet. I'm not about to stop once the game is finished, naturally. I'm not playing the game just to beat it; I actively want to improve myself. I do hope you will continue along for the ride and look forward to future projects, however.

To be honest, part of why I decided to pick this up was seeing you get back into drawing on Twitter, so thanks for that bit of inspiration.

-------------

With that said, I finished up everything in Lesson 3 of Apprentice, which was all about using paints! Obviously, a stylus isn't a proper substitute for a brush, but the strokes still felt natural to me. Here is what I had to paint:))


Spoiler: click to show
Image
Right away, it gets pretty difficult with Jirachi. Not only is it such an unusual shape, it's looking at a strange angle making getting the eyes positioned correctly very difficult. I guess when you are getting into several new things at once, it suffers a bit.

Image
Moving onto Chantalure now that I got the basics of painting down now. This was surprisingly more fun to do, probably because adding shadows and highlights to the black parts actually felt kinda fun to do and made for a pretty nice overall look to it.

Image
Lugia's been one of my favourite Legendaries ever and is the reason I went with Silver over Gold, so I wanted to try extra hard with this one. The head and fins were easily the most difficult part, especially since my sense of scale is still pretty bad, but I do really like how this turned out.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2015 4:10 pm 
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Unless the paint tool is severely limited at that point, I'm curious if that grainy effect on the sides of your lines are something you could prevent or not.

The fuzziness sort of hampers on the overall effect of the three. Not to mention the blurred feeling to it.

Still, I think you're getting the idea of the lesson.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2015 5:13 pm 
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Falcon6 wrote:
Unless the paint tool is severely limited at that point, I'm curious if that grainy effect on the sides of your lines are something you could prevent or not.

The fuzziness sort of hampers on the overall effect of the three. Not to mention the blurred feeling to it.

Still, I think you're getting the idea of the lesson.

((OOC: It's definitely a tool I'm not used to using. Not to mention, it's actually a fair bit harder to see on a 3DS screen, but when I blow it up on here, I can definitely see what you're saying. It can be a bit tricky to remove that grainy effect though without a steady hand since it involves several brush strokes in the same direction.

With that said, throughout the game, you are taught "8 Rules" of being a Pokémon artist, though some of these, like the one displayed for painting, could apply to other things too. In this case, after drawing Jirachi, we were given Rule 5: Bring out the best in the artist, with the whole point of the lesson being to experiment with many different tools so we can better understand our own abilities and limitations. I like to think of this, and everything really, as a learning experience, and where exactly I should go ahead with this.

I can't see myself using this paint style in the future, but it helped me to learn a bit more about myself. Maybe with a bit more practice and patience, I could remove that grainy style (to be honest, I initially thought it was intentional).))

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 3:59 pm 
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((OOC: Alright, just finished up Apprentice Lessons. Here's what the fruit of my labors have bared for this section:))

Spoiler: click to show
Image

Better than I expected, all things considered. One important thing Andy told us is to clean up our lineart along the way as we paint the picture. Unlike the previous painting lessons, we did get to use pencil for lines. This is also the first time I deviated from what was being shown on screen, which the game encouraged me by suggesting to do a female Pikachu as opposed to the standard male one. Because of that, I needed to look up a source, but the results came out fine.

I've learned some pretty clever shading techniques that I'd be willing to try in the future.


((OOC: And, as I promised myself, I redrew that same Fennekin to see how I have changed. As a reminder, here is what I drew when I only finished Novice. Now let's see how well I did after Apprentice:))

Spoiler: click to show
Image
What a massive difference already, I can see. The lines are a lot cleaner and Fennekin is no longer some mishapen blob. There is still room for improvement however, since I can still make out those annoying squiggles, but I think one thing is clear: It's working! Learning new art techniques combined with drawing a little bit every day is actually making me better! And not once did I ever use the outline!

I am incredibly happy so far, but there is still much to learn. There are at least 3 tools in this program that I haven't even tried out yet, which I'm sure I'll learn during Graduate courses.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 6:16 pm 
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I've been considering getting this game, because I don't tend to draw as often as I used to and I think this would help me out with shape building. That, and drawing pokemon is just fun.

It's great to see you improving! Nintendo really has an excellent teaching tool on their hands here.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 5:14 am 
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McKnackus I wrote:
I've been considering getting this game, because I don't tend to draw as often as I used to and I think this would help me out with shape building. That, and drawing pokemon is just fun.

It's great to see you improving! Nintendo really has an excellent teaching tool on their hands here.

((OOC: The results speak for themselves, I think, if you are really looking into it. I, too, fell out of drawing for quite some time but want to get back into it because, oh look, new Mystery Dungeon on the horizon and those games always inspire me. I decided to give this a go to get myself back into the habit and it's been paying off quite well.

I might pick up the Wii U one later down the line too for more general practice and shapes. I like how it sort of eases into you when learning how to draw before it takes off the "training wheels" so to speak.

Case in point...

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I hit Graduate level, and immediately I am told I have to draw my own construction shapes! Up until this point, I either used outlines or premade construction shapes. If you guys remember that Inkay pic and how dreadful it was, that was the first time I ever worked with construction shapes before. From that point on, you were provided with premade shapes to work with, but now we have to draw the shapes ourselves.

In other words, we are being treated as real artists now. While Andy will still show us how it's done on the top screen, we need to fill in the blanks ourselves. We are now using a 100% clear canvas, so buckle up because I think my work is going to take a hit in quality.))


Spoiler: click to show
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It's a Vulpix, in case my efforts weren't clear enough. First time drawing my own construction shapes but I think I got the overall design in place. Had a bit of trouble using the smudge stick though, especially for the little tuff of hair on its head. I'm not sure, do you think it came out okay?

Image

Doing Sylveon made me realize that I am just not cut out for this kind of style. It's very, very hard to get down properly, not to mention the lines often end up looking super messy after smudging up. I just want my markers back...

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2015 9:13 pm 
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The Vulpix feels solidly constructed from what I can tell.

Sylveon isn't that bad, either., though the smudging does feel like it's losing the potential quality you could build on it. Just something you got to work on, no big deal.

The Great B-Man wrote:
Doing Sylveon made me realize that I am just not cut out for this kind of style. It's very, very hard to get down properly, not to mention the lines often end up looking super messy after smudging up. I just want my markers back...

Don't forget that you aren't going to be forced into this forever. It's trying to teach you some very important methods that won't come out quickly through hard lines. Primarily the idea of how shading and lighting curves on surfaces when you color it in, and how shapes are important to create an appealing form.

You can't learn it right by using a hard shade, because it's not going to properly show off the way the shadow curves. Essentially, despite how brilliant and vivid the color design is for The Wind Waker, you probably shouldn't learn shade from it. You COULD, but it doesn't convey it as clearly.

The same applies for the lack of lineart. You get to see the importance of shapes more when you focus on having it make sense without the easy to end our eye's view of the character. Taking out lines is a good way to make you go "Okay, does this still make sense?" If it does, then I feel like you're doing fine with construction. It's up to you to make sure you stay fine.

Also, just remember that you aren't going to be forced into the style forever. You can do this entire game's courses and end up drawing grotesque imagery or hot anime babes if you want. Learning from it doesn't mean you're going to have to do it that way. Same reason why artists shouldn't be drawing nude models and think "I guess this is my life now." You do it to find the "ahah!" moment where something clicks about how the body works or how something as small as a twisting hand could change the dynamic of the pose or something like that.
Same with this. If you keep trying, you'll find something through the style that makes you go "Huuuuuuh....I never thought of it like that." You could end up never using this style ever again, yet you'll still learn from it and apply something from it. That's how powerful the fundamentals can be. They can pop up in the simplest of styles and still hold the same amount of impact. Sometimes, you just gotta find it.

Anyway, keep at it. I'm sure the game mentions things like this, but don't be afraid to go out and look up other Pokemon you haven't had to mess around with and think about how your latest lesson could apply to them. You don't even have to draw it. (though it'd be preferred obviously)

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 5:49 pm 
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((OOC: @Falcon

I see what you're saying. Different styles convey different ideals and different feels, which then lead to further experimentation in my "comfort zone" so to speak. It's certainly not like I got zero out of these.

I've definitely had several moments throughout this experience where I did get to see things that I never thought to look for before, like using smudge to add a natural gradient as you can see on Sylveon's bows. Overall, this experience has been a rather fulfilling one. Already, I've come away as a much better artist than I did when I started, and I don't just mean in what I've actually drawn and painted. I learned so much from it that I actually have a much better understanding of what it takes for one to make something halfway decent now. Did you know I never used construction shapes until recently, for example? I just never understood how to make them and how they could help me, but now I can't imagine life without them.

I guess what I"m trying to say is, this was $30 very well spent and I highly recommend it to everyone! Sorry for such a short reply but I wasn't sure what else to say other than "Uh-huh, yep, I understand." You mean well, Falc, and I do appreciate that. Let's both continue to do our best, shall we?

-----------------------

Anyway, on to Lesson 2 of Graduate (there aren't many mini lessons anymore) where I go back to what I'm more familiar with and to do something that Falc and I both haven't done in a while: Comic style!))


Spoiler: click to show
Image

I am really thrilled with this one, even though I can still spot some mistakes (such as the mouth being a bit too crooked), but overall, this is pretty fantastic. It was nice going into more depth about tapering, which is something I did do earlier with my Apprentice Fennekin without even knowing what the terminology was called. Starting with the thinnest pen then moving up to a thicker one also opened up my eyes to new and better possibilities too.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2015 5:07 pm 
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((OOC: I debated posting this next one since I wasn't entirely happy with it, but since the point of this whole experience is for me to actually learn and improve, I think sharing it with you guys is probably the best idea.

Anyway, first thing to note: This is not one of the Lessons. The game provides you with several image templates to draw from. While not every Pokémon is featured, a good chunk (roughly 100) can be found to use as a template. That Fennekin Free Paint I've been doing is one such example. However, while doing those drawings, I did use the pre made construction shapes, so as impressive as that Apprentice Fennekin looks to me, I don't feel 100% satisfied until I can get that same quality while making my own construction shapes.

Anyway, to prepare me for that day, I decided to start practicing using these others. Everything is made from scratch with this piece:))


Spoiler: click to show
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It's supposed to be an Espeon. This is a bit discouraging. While the shapes are fine, it's the size that I seem to have the biggest issue with right now. The body is way too small! Like, I think I got the right idea, but once again, the biggest issue I keep running into is scaling. I see things as either too big/too small all the time. When I drew the construction shapes, they looked too big, so I shrunk it down...and then ultimately made it too small!

Not sure where I should go from here. Guess I'll just keep practicing. That's the only thing you can do, right?

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:18 pm 
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The big thing is that you're understanding what it is that you have to improve at, or that you realize there is something that needs to be improved. If you look at it as simple adjustments, the process itself becomes less arduous.

Look at various references that Sugimori and other popular Pokemon artists draw to examine how they solve the problem you're having, then just study it. If you feel up to it, lower the opacity of such a drawing on the computer, print it out, and trace on it. There's no harm there as long as you aren't going to sell it or claim you did it. Examine how they drew it when you trace it. Once you do that, consider how they used a shape for it. You're essentially doing that with the templates in this game.

Don't consider anything you draw right now as discouraging. It's easy to do that and start to feel annoyed or frustrated about how you aren't "there" yet. It's hard to accept that your growth as an artist is going to be plagued with many, many, many pratfalls and tumbles. That's the point. You fail in order to learn how to succeed.

If this Espeon drawing causes you to think about what you need to improve on, then it's successful. You may not like it and it may not be structurally what you want, and it could even be incorrect as a drawing, but it is working the way it should. And that's the only thing that matters in the long run. If you keep going, you will look back at this Espeon and go "Man, I can't believe I didn't realize how to do that. I do it all the time now!"

It's important to think about it like that.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2015 7:11 pm 
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((OOC: Took a short break to refresh myself. I just needed a bit of time away I guess as I was starting to stress out with some of my practice drawings. A little break seemed to do me some good, though. Went ahead and finished up with Lesson 2 of Graduate here now.))

Spoiler: click to show
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Lucario was a much tougher challenge compared to Lapras. There are just so many complex shapes, though things were simplified by drawing each shape separately, starting with circles than moving onto more angular shapes. There's a lot of spots I definitely messed up on (honestly wish I could zoom in closer to smooth things out better) but I think it looks okay, messy lineart aside.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2015 10:43 am 
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((OOC: And another lesson was learned...I think. Honestly, I'm not sure what I learned from this one, to be perfectly honest, which I imagine is a bad sign. Not sure if I was in the right mood for this today.

Anyway, first part of Lesson 3 of Graduate completed, which means I can do the final exam, but I'd like to do the mini lesson first before moving on.))


Spoiler: click to show
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Dear me, this was exhausting. And the worst part is I don't even know if I really learned the lesson well in regards to "softening the edges" as Andy put it. I mean, I guess it looks fine, but the fact that I didn't really understand what I was doing makes me wonder if maybe I was half asleep. Now, every lesson can be done as much as you want so I could go back and redo it all, but considering how long this particular one took, I'm not sure I'm ready to head back any time soon.

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