I spent the majority of my child hood avoiding Illustration books that put two circles together then they draw a face on one of the circles and then a completed illustration out of nowhere. It has never made sense to me because it would be so much quicker to just do the end product. why would you waste your time drawing the guide lines.
It has taken me many years to understand the power of guidelines and I want to try to explain it to you. I kinda wish I would have started using them years ago. I will try to demonstrate and explain how to use these to your advantage when copying an image or when starting from scratch.
The first problem I have with drawing Instruction books is that they don't let you come up with the beginning shapes on your own. I never understood this, and to be honest I don't believe I have ever followed the instruction the way it was intended. Why would I, I had no understanding of the concept. they were just telling me to follow these rules, which is kinda not what I wanted to do. In turn you're not really understanding what they are doing or where the guide lines are coming from. Instead of giving you the guide lines, I am going to explain to you HOW I come up with the guide and explain WHY I do it.
Draw lightly durring this step. It is important to be able to erase the loose lines made so the final lines are not messy.
So the first thing I do is look at the object I am drawing and think about it's silhouette, I ignore all details at this point and simply look at the frame I am going to be drawing in. It is important to eliminate as many decisions as you can. I use simple shapes and piece them together to form a really basic guideline. once you get the hang of it, it's one of the easiest parts of illustration. It is also a very important one. Don't be afraid to make this ugly or even technically bad, In the beginning I made it a habit to throw away my first two tries. This trick got me thinking the first two were not a big deal and in turn made me relax.
You should only have one figure drawn, but here is a breakdown of what I wrote above.
for those of you who looked at the original object and do not see the blocks and circles (I don't blame you).... easy fix. Do not be afraid to trace while learning. it is amazing what one can learn with a tablet of tracing paper and a pencil. This step is all about getting the anatomy right, it's about lining things up to make sure you have everything ready before you switch your focus to the detail. and it is also the step that will bring life into your illustration. I will explain more on that in a later post, but I'm tellin ya. It's important.
You want your mind focused on the task instead of thinking in many different directions. Focus is your ally.
Next week I will explain further on filling in detail to give your object some much needed character.
Sign up for my mailing list below for more Illustration and design tips. Also please drop me an email and let me know what your struggling with in your own illustration work at email@example.com!
have a good week.
Designer & Illustrator