7-days Roll of paper challenge
I started without knowing the lenght of the roll. But I needed to set up a time limit to the challenge. I took 7 days, fair enough.
The challenge is not about making each sketch a piece of art, but a design journey to study and explore “new sketching territories”.
What really matter here are:
- How am I able to multiply ideas
- How my sketching skills will improve
- Know better my self
Which Theme ?
I decided to focus on 1 theme to get more results. I decided to explore bots, mecs, spaceship from Concept art.
A roll of paper for fax, width 210mm. The length is up to you, different lenght are available.
You can find some Fax paper roll on Amazon.
- a Ballpoint pen: Thin lines and great pen pressure – great for drawing details
- a Sharpie Ultra fine point: Deep black pen, slide great on paper – great for loose sketching.
- a Pilot Twin marker and a Papermate Flair: Thicker than Sharpie – great for focusing on simple shapes (you can’t draw much small details with it).
To me, the Papermate Flair is better than the Medium tip of the Twin Marker.
- Know more about the pen I used here.
THE Difficulties I met during the challenge
At start I was super motivated. I draw more than 5m the first day. The day after, I did half of it. Then Wednesday and Thursday I took a break. Plus, I was busy with other things (Making the first sketching video tutorial included).
TIP: I personally like to take some break. I spend some time at studying pictures from Concept artist works such as John Park, Feng Zhu, Scott Robertson and many others. Keep in mind that looking for reference is part of the sketching process.
If a Blank paper scare you, relax. There is couple solution to start being Zen.
- Use reference pictures
1- Don’t be ashamed to look at reference pictures. Sometime, I like to look at concept artist for 5 minutes or more before starting a drawing session. My brain calibrate itself viewing things better volume with outlines. Plus I try to absorb that Concept art mood. I like to look at great artist such as John Park, Feng Zhu, Scott Robertson, Daniel Simon…
TIP: I draw a lot following my feelings. If I draw a vilain, I try to imagine myself being a mad men. My lines get naturally more edgy. If I draw a Despicable Me Minion, I imagine having one beside me as a friend ! It’s fun and my line get smoother and rounded.
2- I open Google image on Ipad. Anytime I get some pictures from any kind of machine, spaceship, motors and so on. If you have books, it’s even better.
TIP: Try to type your keywords in multiple language to get wider your results. I type my keywords in English and French.
- Give yourself a story
If you don’t have any ideas, then provoke them. Start with what you like. What was the recent movie you watched ? Use the “What if” technique. Or draw something you already know, and try to improve it or adding in new elements.
- Start with many small sketches
When we are beginner, we like to start 1 sketch and stick to it for hours.
However we skipped an essential step: the phase of research. This is when we create and multiply ideas drawing many sketches. Each of them may take 10 sec to few minutes only.
Keep focused: Eliminate the distraction
This is maybe the biggest enemy we have nowadays. The distraction is virtual. It come from your phone, Facebook, email, Instagram, Youtube. To be able to finish the roll on time, I need more discipline as usual. It’s good to shut down the phone and computer (not in sleeping mode but shut down). I only allow Google image on my Ipad or Instagram artist for reference.
TIP: Go out for drawing. I like to go to some cafe and draw. It may be more noisy, but my brain can focus more on the task. There is a cafe nearby I like. It happenned I stayed there from morning to evening. I had lunch, cafe, dinner keeping studying new stuff and drawing all day. Time flies.
TIP: Music ! Put your earphone and get ready to sketch for hours. Do not shuffle your music among different artist or style of music at every song.
Don’t listen to music from Youtube playlist. The advertising will interrupt your concentration. You could make some playlist with Soundcloud.
Expect to see your first drawing clumsy. You don’t only warm up your hand muscles, but also your brain concentration. At start, we are still quite distracted. It may take 2mn, 5mn or even 20 minutes to get a good concentration.
TIP: When I can’t get that concentration, I tend to be a bit frustrated. So I stop drawing for a while, I make sure my drawing posture is correct (straight back), and I breath deeply.
It’s a kind of small meditation session that calm me down. It works even better if I breath slowly and deeply 5 times. Focus on your breathing. Don’t think about anything else.
I invite you to try it now, and see how your brain will feel lighter. 🙂
During that challenge, I tried new things and faced difficulties that I couldn’t solve easily. That gives a strange feeling of frustration.
TIP: I remember each time I felt that before. And there was so many ! A big one I had years before was drawing symmetrical eyes. One eye was always higher than the other. I studied why for very long. At the end now, I can make it pretty ok. Keep going. Keep study. Good things will always come.
I could fill the roll with stuff I already know. But what the point ? The aim is to learn new things.
When we start getting some results, people tell us that we are doing great stuff ! So, we may tend to keep drawing what we are good at only. We stop taking risk and maintain that illusion of being good.
It was the same thing when I as a kid. If I got the kind words from my friends about my drawings, I would be still drawing clumsy drawing of cartoons. Set up your own standard. Make them progressive.
TIP: Welcome positive feedback. But don’t take it as “Wow. you are a great and accomplished talent”. Instead, take it as”Wow you impress me, I can’t wait to see more from you !” It is great to be proud. But the best alley to progression is not pride but humility.
TIP: Get a secret sketchbook, that ONLY yourself will see. Nobody else. You will be able to draw all the crap you want. Nobody will judge you. Be sincere with yourself, face your problems and you may save years of progression.
TIP: Each time you feel improving. Enjoy your new skills, then target the next level.
Let’s see some Sketching Tips !
Instead of just showing you my sketches.
Why not giving you guys some sketching TIPS as well :).
Highlight the line of the Bot. Your eye understand the bot shape in a micro second.
Highlight the internal joints of the Bot. Focus on how much area is covered by the bot “armour”. Usually, visible mechanism, joints is a sign of vulnerability.
Fusion. Crab + Scorpion fusion.
Study the robot postures with doodles. These few minutes of research will rise your chance of success.
Highlighting the front of the Space ship. Usually, what is closed is bold. What is far, are sketched with a very light pen pressure. We purposely ommit some details, especially when the sketch is symmetrical.
Start from a human base. I like this method because I have a base that I am familiar with.
Impressive body. Strong shoulder, narrow waist. We often see this effect from american cartoons and some comics. Don’t hesitate to exagerate the proportion while drawing cyborgs and robots.
Studying joints. This need a lot of study to explore all types of joints. In sketching, the most important is that your creation looks cool and credible.
Getting inspired from a driller and nuclear central.
How to start from scratch.
1- Start drawing spaceship with an abstract shape, yet symmetrical.
2- Add Spaceship details !
This exercice is not that easy, but it’s definitely very fun !
Start with the branches, then add details.
It’s good to warm up sometime at drawing certain type of lines. Here I trained at organic body shapes before drawing the organic spaceship.
Draw simple bots ! Start with a symmetry axis, then add details on both side.
Draw people for scaling. The bot will become more impressive.
Science fiction like to use spider legs for there creation.
Simplify complex shapes into simple volumes.
This is how you will be able to draw without using any model, a character in multiple positions.
Remember to start basic. Then you can refine.
This is a TIP we saw earlier.
If you want to see the WHOLE roll, let me know. I will send you the pictures by email.
If the challenge inspire you, and you also want to try, let me know !