At the beginning of 2019 I began taking Dynamic Sketching 1 with Patrick Ballesteros at the online school CG Master Academy. The class was interesting, but by week 5 I was getting frustrated. They were asking me to draw things I really didn’t have the skills to do. I really felt like I had missed a step or something as I went from doing okay and understanding all the lessons to being lost.
I did receive feed back and could ask questions of my instructor, but I honestly got lost. While taking the class I also felt I didn’t’ get to put as much time into it as I had wanted, my job was demanding more of my time, so the frustration continued to build. I finished the class, and I did learn some things, but I still fill something just wasn’t clicking.
I then discovered Drawabox.com. It is built on the same foundations as the Dynamic Sketching class, and covered a lot of the same material, so I decided to give it a try. I opted for the paid Patron version of the class. The lessons are covered with a video and written material and support is given through a Discord and subreddit groups. With the Patron subscription, my lessons will be critiqued by either the founder or a teaching assistant, non-patron subscribers can still submit their homework for critique, but it would be by a member of the Drawabox community, although I have seen the founder make comments as well.
I have just finished lessons 1, which covers three topic, lines, ellipses, and boxes. I enjoyed this lesson and the homework. So far, I am liking the structure of the class, and I really appreciate that the reason for each exercise is explained, it really helps my analytical brain.
So, what did I learn from lesson 1? First, I like to have a death grip and press rather hard with my pen. I really had to loosen my grip and not dig into the paper. I think this will be something I will have to constantly remind myself of throughout this whole program! Second, I really need to use my shoulder for drawing my ellipses and lines. I’ve known this and have tried practicing this, but when looking at my homework I can tell you when I used my shoulder and when I didn’t. This is just a habit I’m going to have to form and muscles I will have to train.
Finally, I’ve learned that I can’t draw an ellipse to save my life. No matter what I try they come out wobbly and off in some way. I do think I’ll invest in the ellipse guides that are suggested, but I’ll keep practicing them without the guides as well.
To supplement this lesson, I did rewatch my Dynamic Sketching class, I also watch YouTube videos on similar subject matters, especially on drawing ellipses (some of which where over my head and way to technical!) and rotating boxes. I also picked up a copy of Peter Han’s The Dynamic Bible and Scott Robertson’s How to Draw. I also watched as many videos of Peter Han as I could find, and I watched Scott Robertson’s videos as well.
Overall, I thought lesson 1 is a good start and will use the exercises as warmups in the future. This lesson is teaching the foundations of pen control and perspective as well as muscle memory, so getting a good understanding of it is important. The homework can be tedious and rather boring, but I really feel this is an important lesson and that you should give it all the time you need to really learn and absorb the exercises.
To view my homework submissions look here. Below are the notes I made to myself for future reference:
- Use your shoulder, lock your wrist and elbow so you’re not tempted to use them.
- Don’t push you hand, arm, or pen into the paper or desk, let them slide across the surface, but don’t “float” let the surface support your arm.
- Don’t grip the pen near the nib, keep your hand further back on the pen so you aren’t pushing down too hard!
- Keep a steady pace when drawing lines and curves, try not to speed up or slow down. Going too slow is just as bad as going too fast.
- Try to move your eyes and hand at the same speed, look forward a little so you know where you are going.
- Take your time when drawing ellipses, find a steady pace to go at.