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  • Sketching

    I have never had good handwriting. My x-height and ascenders and descenders are all over the place just to start. I can't draw a straight line or close my circles.

    I have tried using my shoulder more for larger images and holding my pencil the 'correct way.' No matter how many lines or how many circles I practice I don't see improvement.

    * Any tips? I have watched enough youtube videos to kill someone.
    * How do you use your shoulder in smaller areas? When I write for instance, which use simple shapes I can't help but use my wrist or fingers.
    * With the paper being upright it is easier, but most of the time we don't have that luxury.

    Just curious what the gurus thought

  • #2
    What's your main motivation for good handwriting?

    Would studying basic calligraphy or classic penmanship help you?

    Not long ago, I decided I wanted to improve my handwriting. It was never terrible, but it wasn't wonderful. I studied a few scripts like Spencerian script and Palmer method to get a feel for how letters are formed.

    Now I write shopping lists and telephone messages (in what I call) nice writing. It's not Spencerian or Palmer but that wasn't my intention. It's all down to practice, and for me, slowing down.

    Personal preference...I like big descenders. Of course, there is such thing as too big.
    It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" Winnie the Pooh

    Comment


    • #3
      Sketching, handwriting and drawing are two different things, so what works in one might not work in another.

      Buda mentioned the Palmer Method. This was a handwriting technique that was taught in most grade schools back in the first half of the 20th Century. The whole method is predicated on learning how to sit and hold your arm and hand in just the right position to ensure consistency and continuity in cursive handwriting from one letter and word to the next.

      You don't really use your shoulder muscles, you use the mussels in your forearm to move your entire arm from the shoulder on down, while trying to minimize the quirky inconsistencies that result from moving the pen with your hand and finger muscles. You can't learn it in a week or two -- it takes weeks of practice to master the technique, but it is doable. I mean, millions of kids did it back in the 1930s. But how it'll help your drawing skills, well, I don't know. You will, however, at least learn to draw a million circles in endless procession as part of the course.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by <b> View Post
        Sketching, handwriting and drawing are two different things, so what works in one might not work in another.
        Buda mentioned the Palmer Method. This was a handwriting technique that was taught in most grade schools back in the first half of the 20th Century. The whole method is predicated on learning how to sit and hold your arm and hand in just the right position to ensure consistency and continuity in cursive handwriting from one letter and word to the next.
        You don't really use your shoulder muscles, you use the mussels in your forearm to move your entire arm from the shoulder on down, while trying to minimize the quirky inconsistencies that result from moving the pen with your hand and finger muscles. You can't learn it in a week or two -- it takes weeks of practice to master the technique, but it is doable. I mean, millions of kids did it back in the 1930s. But how it'll help your drawing skills, well, I don't know. You will, however, at least learn to draw a million circles in endless procession as part of the course.
        I will say that my penmanship has never been great. But, I can read it. So, I have always considered that to be okay. My circle drawing is getting better. But, as the <b>-master has suggested...it takes A LONG TIME to get right. A friend on an art site has suggested that, if you want to draw a circle...why not just use a compass or stencil. I think it's a personal vendetta for me to be able to draw a perfect circle any time I want.


        I will suggest that you just not concentrate on circles though. Remember that the simple act of drawing anything is good for the muscles, coordination, brain, etc. So, I recommend doing it regularly. In fact, I have started learning Blender and I find myself utilizing more drawing than I have before. I guess I am using it as my excuse to put more images in sketchbook.
        "Go ahead, make your logos in PS. We charge extra money to redraw your logo into vector art so it can be printed on promotional product. Cha CHING! " - CCericola

        Comment


        • #5
          Awesome-I need to learn Blender and can't wait, but I find sketching the basis of all art. I started sketching daily, but man, ugh after years of being absent from the creative field-in fact the exact opposite field-chemical engineering-I have lost my ability lol. I am too detailed to do anything.

          I just mentioned the hand writing because it essentially uses the basic shapes, but all the info provided I understand it better. I will try out some copperplate for fun and continue drawing.

          I don't understand why everything takes years I keep seeing the work everyone does on here, well a lot of you, and ...I wanna do that! Wow whiny I am today.

          Thanks all-very helpful!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Michah99 View Post
            after years of being absent from the creative field-in fact the exact opposite field-chemical engineering-
            What creative field were you in before chemical engineering and did you sketch in that field?

            Originally posted by Michah99 View Post
            I don't understand why everything takes years
            Do people master chemical engineering by doing a few tutorials on youtube?
            Sketching not only helps you work out good ideas, it helps you get past the bad ones.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Michah99 View Post
              I don't understand why everything takes years I keep seeing the work everyone does on here, well a lot of you, and ...I wanna do that! Wow whiny I am today.
              I've read in numerous places that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to really master a new skill. I suppose that varies quite a bit depending on what skill is being considered, but to build upon already-existing creative talent in order to really get good at playing the piano, writing novels or becoming a graphic designer, yeah, 10,000 hours of practice sounds about right.

              Comment


              • Michah99
                Michah99 commented
                Editing a comment
                I think it takes 3 days to start a habit and 3 weeks to stop one. Isn't that the adage?

              • PanToshi
                PanToshi commented
                Editing a comment
                3 weeks to start, 10,000 hours to master. *smile*

            • #8
              Originally posted by PanToshi View Post
              What creative field were you in before chemical engineering and did you sketch in that field?
              My mom owned a painting studio so I grew up painting with acrylics and taking some drawing classes. However, she deterred me from art due to her financial struggles and I went the complete opposite direction to ChE. I love to learn.

              After she passed away suddenly my eyes were opened I left the miserable field and started riding horses professionally. Within that field I started updating web sites for small barns with my knowledge of programming.

              I realized my body couldn't ride professionally for years (thinking long term) and realized my true love was design after seeing such great work.

              Unfortunately, I can't go back to school all at once so I am going back to basics of proportion, balance, unity, color, ect, ect. Within those basics I realized I can't draw anymore! AND I so desperately want to run before I can walk by creating custom typography, sites, logos, the way the professionals do. For now I am doing stuff for myself. BUT I am constantly AMAZED by the work you peeps do.

              Ok my life story in a nut shell your turn.

              Originally posted by PanToshi View Post
              Do people master chemical engineering by doing a few tutorials on youtube?
              Yah duh


              Comment


              • #9
                Have you tried this book? I never heard a bad word said about it. Start by learning to stand before you strive to fly. You'll get there, if you keep at it and apply patience and dedication. Most successful designers have been working at their craft and adding to their knowledge and skill-set for years. Yep, years. Sorry. Unlike ChemEn, you can't pick it up watching a few youtube videos.
                Sketching not only helps you work out good ideas, it helps you get past the bad ones.

                Comment


                • Michah99
                  Michah99 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Yes Yes I know Youtube videos don't cut it. Although, I did find this fantabulous pen and ink series....

              • #10
                You're trying to learn to have good handwriting skills or you mean calligraphy or do you mean lettering? If it's handwriting, i have nothing to add besides a decent fountain pen and practising the style in which you wish to write. If it's lettering or calligraphy, I have a whole lot to share but I'd like to know if you meant that.

                Comment


                • Michah99
                  Michah99 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I am horrible about communicating my thoughts, but what my original intent of the post was connecting simple shapes (found in typefaces and daily handwriting) and practicing those shapes and straight lines for sketches.

                  I DO want to learn calligraphy too though. I just took a short class on designing fonts and started practicing copperplate script a little. Any info you have feel free to add. Unfortunately, my shoulder, wrist, and fingers are just not that steady

                • illustrative
                  illustrative commented
                  Editing a comment
                  As far as calligraphy goes some get it and some don't. But more importantly it's using the right tool to get good at calligraphy and I had my fair share of trying it and got a whole speedball set and what not. Besides for blackletter, I'd prefer just using a regular pen to do the rest because I felt more comfortable that way.

                  As for lettering and studying connectors in cursive/script, it's just about practise and studying various script types like copperplate and spencerian and so on. Knowing how weights are applied for different script typefaces is crucial when doing hand lettering. If you use a calligraphy pen to script, your work is cut out for you by 30% because the nib does the weight handling for you so long as your position of writing is accurate. For both lettering and callligraphy having a smooth wrist, shoulder flow is important for smoother strokes and for creating swashes, fleurons, etc. The more breaks you have in a stroke because of an unsteady hand flow, the more crappy it starts to look. Some like the imperfections in hand lettering and some don't. I don't, I like to get it as steady as possible to the point where it should look 95% print quality. So you pick and choose what style your favour. For practising lettering and for a smooth hand flow, draw any and all shapes from squares to circles to swashes without measuring tools. Like say for instance, using a pencil, draw a large swash with a about say 8-10 inches long with a few areas up and down, erase it clean it up, make the swash as smooth as you can. Once done, run your pen over it but make sure you don't break up the swash too many times, as I said earlier, the more breaks, the more crap and all smoothness is lost and transition. You want to draw that swash with maybe 2 splits or 3 for starters but keeping in mind when you go from one split to the next you want to maintain a smooth transition to complete the whole swash. As you get better, try to draw the swash in one go but matching that of the pencil stroke as much as you can, such that if you run the pen over it, one shouldn't see the pencil stroke lying under it. Getting to match the pencil stroke 100% is quite difficult specially without any splits but this is just as an exercise. For this exercise, from your wrist all the way up to your shoulder will be used more often than your wrist alone. If you use the wrist alone, then you have too many splits. This applies for straight lines too. Most of this exercise is for areas covering maybe 22"x22". Anything bigger and you have to obviously split things up. Having said all that, there is a certain greater level of appreciation for hand lettering without "measuring tools". This falls along the lines of hyperrealistic art vs taking a photograph argument. If you're going to use measuring tools like a french curve and rulers, etc then it defeats the purpose of hand lettering, you might as well just get it printed, why bother? But if people knew you had not used anything besides a pen and if the result is so print like, the appreciation for it is threefolds and the level of skill is taken seriously. As I said, pick n choose which style you favour, imperfections in your hand lettering VS produce something that looks very print generated with subtle hand imperfections VS using measuring tools to do hand lettering that look print generated.
                  Last edited by illustrative; 07-19-2013, 11:33 AM.

                • Michah99
                  Michah99 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Thanks so much!

              • #11
                I took a different approach to lettering and writing. My "real hand" penmanship is horrid. Full of caps, lowers, some letters are cursive, some not and I have several Caps that are two different forms. My lettering though is great. The reason is that I think of lettering as just another object orientated artform.

                I started lettering by printing out type and tracing over it to get used to the forms, then side by side using lined paper, tried to make the letters the same. Then on blank paper tried again. I'm pretty sure I went through a few reams of blank paper. It also helped to draw the letters upside down. Especially old english or other fanciful type. Then it became less about the letter and more about the art of type.

                How that helped me creatively is in logo type: I can then manipulate the type or draw type that is independent from hand writing. I see the company name more as a composition than letters.

                I have no problem using tools to help draw, whether that is a lettering guide (a drafting tool), compass, ruler, angles, or french curve. Tools were made for a reason - use them.

                If you really want to draw from scratch - same principle applies. Trace over a photo and shade first. It will help you learn forms and contrast. Then continue to draw side by side, then look at something real and draw it. Then you may be able to draw from your head.

                I have drawn since I can remember. For myself to draw something realistic, it takes upwards of 10 to 40 hours to complete something just right. Sketching may have 3 to 4 revisions just to get the base drawing in proportion. Thumbnail graphic art sketching is akin to a child's drawing. Very very loose concepts. Each of those concepts may be just a couple minutes each and I can guarantee there is not a perfect circle or square among them.

                Comment


                • Michah99
                  Michah99 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Exactly-I also think of lettering as another object oriented art form.

                  I guess I will keep at it and hope my arm steadies over the years. I am also focusing on not 'chicken scratching' anything. I'm trying to use one stroke for as much as I can, which is something new for me.

              • #12
                I don't think handwriting have a lot to do with drawing. What I usually do is that I watch enough youtube videos, look at different artwork, and read tips about drawing and painting. All of that helped my sketching improve a lot. My drawing used to be so flat and too cartoonish but now I'm adding a little bit of realistic touch to my new drawings. Try to force yourself to draw even when you don't feel like it. Sometime you come up with ideas even better than when you're inspired to draw. There was a time when my computer crashed and I had to spend about a week without it. During that time I held my pencil and drew a whole portrait for the first time in my life. I have always liked drawing but I used to copy lineart and never drew out of my imagination. After drawing my first portrait I was too happy that I feel confident when I hold my pen.

                Comment


                • Michah99
                  Michah99 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Nice. I need to be better about that. I started carrying a small notebook with me to doodle while I 'm waiting for appointments.

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