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Masterwacom
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3.3 Drawing Exercise

Drawing is a skill. Digital or otherwise, it requires effort and practice. It also means that, as with any other physical activity, it is best to warm up beforehand. In this lesson we talk about some regular exercises to get your hand, mind, and tablet into drawing mode!

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3.3 Drawing Exercise

Hello everybody. Kirk Nelson here. Welcome back to Mastering the Walcom Tablet in Photoshop. This is lesson 3.3 on drawing with a pressure sensitive brush. We're back here in Photoshop now, and we have our digital drawing workspace already open. And let's grab that Brush tool. And I'm going to use one of the DP tools just for the exercises in this lesson. I'm particularly fond of the DP Smooth. And just because I really enjoy the way it looks, I like drawing with the blue ink. Before we get started, there's a number of different grips that I want to review. Whenever you're drawing with a regular pencil, traditional art teaches you to change your grip depending on what you're doing, and it's no different when using a stylus on a Wacom tablet. There's three main grips that I like to use. The most common one is the writing grip where you're holding the pen as if you were writing text on a piece of paper. This is the most controlled and often the most comfortable of the grips. Now the weakness of this grip is that you do tend to draw mostly with your fingers, and not with your wrist or your elbow or your shoulder. So getting bigger, broader strokes tends to be a little jagged. It's not very smooth, there's not a lot of fluidity to it. But it is very exact. Another weakness does tend to be that people tend to grip it too tight. And when you grip your pencil too tight, you suffer from the inability to have very loose and flowing drawings. And you get a lot of hand stress. Your hand wears out a lot faster, and the entire exercise of drawing just becomes a lot more stressful. The other grip to explore is known as the overhand grip. We take the pencil, almost in the palm of your hand, but it you have it going along one index finger and you point it downwards. Now you can get some very light and very loose strokes with this. It's often good if you're using a very large brush and you want to get some shading. The benefit of this grip is that you're forced to draw with some of your wrist, but mostly with your elbow and some of the shoulder too. So you can create some very long, fluid strokes. The disadvantage to this grip is that it's not very exact. It's hard to get really precise details with it. But the pressure on this stroke is phenomenally light. Because you're using your index finger to push down that tip, it's easy to very between very dark and hard pressure, to very light ones. The third stroke is known as the paintbrush grip. It's very similar to the writing grip, but you don't hold it very close to the tip. It's a lot looser, and it's further back. So, I like to have the stylus in between my two forefingers. It goes up into the pocket between my forefinger and my thumb. You just hold it very loosely from here. This a good in between grip, as in, you can get some very fluid strokes, but still a little bit of detail in there as well. Its's not quite as removed as that over hand grip is. And it's also very natural feeling, it's the most relaxed position for your hand of any of the grips that I use. The disadvantage to this one is these buttons are not convenient then. They seem to be very far away, and you almost have to shift the stylus in your hand to access them. Before you begin any actual drawing session, it's always good to warm up. It is a physical activity, and a lot of times you have to have your hand ready for the exercise of actually drawing. It also gets you more into the rhythm of drawing, and creates better artwork. These are traditionally known as warmup exercises, and traditional artists use them all the time. There's a couple of them that I want to share with you, because I think they're helpful when you're drawing on a Wacom tablet. Not only will they give you better skills in using the tablet, but they'll help you get warmed up into the drawing process. The first is to simply draw a straight line, as silly as that sounds. Now I know you can use your modifier key here to draw a perfectly straight line. That's the same as holding down Shift. But that's not what I'm talking about. I want you to draw one spot and another spot, and see what you can do with your hand to get a line between them. Now often it's helpful just to sort of ghost the line a little bit until you're ready to draw lines straight across. This will help improve your confidence and your control of the brush. Another great exercise for warming up your hand is just drawing basic shapes. Start with simple ones like squares. You'll find squares can be notoriously difficult to get parallel lines on. So it does take a little bit of effort to get them so they actually look all right. Just keep working at it. This is a continuation of those straight line exercises that we were just doing. Try it at different angles. Try different grips. It's not about the quality of the shapes that you're creating, it's about loosening your hand up, and getting used to the feel of the drawing stylus. From there, move on to ellipses. Attempt to draw ellipses that connect. Ones that are fairly regular in size. You'll find this may be one of the most challenging things you draw, is just a simple circle. That's why practicing it is so important. Once you get it to where you can control exactly where that circle is, you'll find your drawing skill enhances quite a bit. And once again, it's not about how this looks. It's about getting your hand ready and connecting your mind with your fingers to control this implement that you're drawing with. Another great warm up exercise is gesture sketching. Now a lot of times this can be done from life, or from imagination. In this case, I'm going to do it from an image. There's photos available, in the course files, of this ballerina. I have her set on her own layer, above a white background layer. I'm just gonna reduce the opacity so we see just basically an outline of her and add a new layer for us to draw on. So the basic idea behind a jester sketch is just to capture the main action lines of the figure. You want to be able to capture where the head is. You follow along the spine, then you get these main action lines coming through. In this case it is her legs splayed outwards like this. So, connect down here. Her arms also make a really nice set of curves coming through. Slight motion for her shoulder here. You want to try to capture these curves and just really get them in there as a regular set of gestures in just a couple of seconds. I would recommend you going through and doing this for a number of different images, just to get warmed up to start feeling what the human body looks like, how the weight gets distributed, and the poses that it tends to strike. So that's it for Lesson 3.3 on drawing with a pressure sensitive brush. Next lesson, Lesson 3.4 will start exploring the natural media brushes in Photoshop.

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