Okay, /ic/, help a brother out.
I'm a new artist working my way through drawing and I've about completed the better part of the Dodson book, but I'm having trouble really increasing my grasp of fundamentals, and as a result I feel that I'm not improving nearly as fast as I could be.
I come from a musical background where technical improvement is something that can be pretty clearly mapped out in terms of the grind. I can grind scales for technical precision, then learn or write a song to apply, I see the order of things and it makes sense.
What's the equivalent fundamental practice and application cycle for drawing? I don't mind grinding something mind numbing for hours, and in fact I kinda enjoy it, but I'm not certain what that entails in this case. What's the scale + metronome combo for drawing? Do I just draw hundreds of still lives back to back with additional hundreds of figures? I'm interested in comic book art in the long run, if that matters, but I want to learn realism well for obvious reasons.
what >>2389610 said. drawabox is a great grind.
go do gesture drawings, too! i did music as well, and just keep in mind - just like when you're transcribing music, don't worry about the individual notes at first. get the general flow of the phrase and then work to get the individual notes (details).
for now. Those exercises are good, but not what you want. The grind you seek is academic cast drawing. Start sight-size method then switch to the comparative method. Take your time and do it right. In the same way that scales train required muscle memory this will train "muscle memory" for four important faculties:
Accurate value observation
Accurate proportion observation
Accurate value reproduction
Accurate proportion reproduction
Pepper in life drawing/ imaginitive drawing and bridgman studies, but focus on the academic drawings. Once you have developed those four faculties you will have and easier time absorbing master studies as well as *observing* the world around you for detail that you will *reproduce* in your sketches, imaginitive or not.
Oh and accurate color observation/repro can be effectively developed this way too, but they're not as integral as the other four.
I'm not saying to do away with construction. your construction will be limited by your ability to observe the things you'd like to construct; not vice versa. Construction is merely a (very) effective shortcut to reproducing what you have observed. It IS a shortcut though, and you'll be robbing yourself if you never work accurately without it.
>figure drawing from the internet would be a direction towards it?
No, not at all. Drawing from photos/3d software renderings of any kind is like sitting at a player piano and pretending like you're the one playing.
Casts are pricey, buy you only need one or two, you can just change the lighting on it a bunch. http://www.giustgallery.com/products/eye-detail-from-davids-head
Is reasonable. If you can't get casts, get a few of the bargue plates out at their original size and use those. Hell, do this anyway, shouldn't be too pricey.
If you absolutely can't afford $45, go buy a garden gnome and spraypaint it flat white. academic drawing methods are about drawing what you see and doing so exactly. Your subject doesn't matter much as long as it has a variety of edges, planes, form etc. You're only copying to draw what you see: the image that is formed from light bouncing off the cast onto your retinas.
copying figures from internet photos will help you learn the figure a *little*, but a better study would be copying bridgman illustrations. Neither is good for developing the important faculties I mentioned though.
>figure drawing from the internet
if we're talking about proportions, it's not a bad idea to rely on 2D prints. it might be better at a beginner's stage to train proportions strictly from 2D sources. once that's developed, it's easily applicable to IRL and 3D sources, don't you think?
for a beginner, IRL drawing can be very intimidating and too much things to consider.
anyway TL;DR for op and everyone else is that just go draw every day
When i say proportion, i don't mean human proportion. I mean making marks at the correct length+size relative to others, as they appear on the image you see.
All i know is I've seen the most improvment from bargues+cast drawing+bridgman+live figure drawing sessions, or more simply, life drawing and drawing from master illustration using traditional methods. I used to draw from photographs a lot, but I wish I had started with life drawing and proper method from the start.
Honestly i really like the instrument analogy. You have to practice proper form from the beginning. Otherwise, you cheat yourself and develop bad habits that will be hard to break later.
I'm not memeing or trying to be an elitist. I've just done a lot of drawing and spent time with lots of people also learning to draw. I've found there is one really successful way to improve if you're committed to the grind.