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December 5, 2012


Replies: 37

What is the deal with drawing with guidelines?

Pix3M Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2012   Digital Artist
After I had that art class in high school, I realized that I had a bit of artistic ability that I could definitely work on. I was instead interested in drawing stylized anatomy (who wouldn't?) a.k.a. a 'manga' style but I had an interest in styles what leaned closer to realism like ones from the Vagabond series of manga. Of course, knowing next to nothing about art, I make a mistake of looking up drawing tutorials on drawing manga. I made no effort in replicating the typical manga style so I went my own direction with nothing I can easily compare my work with. The tutorials I find are the sorts geared toward for 'people who don't wanna invest time in learning but wants quick easy results' as a friend recently said. Considering that I kept hating my results but thought that I should 'just try harder', it kinda shows how useful some tutorials can be.

Though my art hobby never really went full speed until late April, I still went a direction of using guidelines to do all my anatomy. It wasn't until early summer when somebody comes along and knew more than I do. I learned the more proper way of learning how to draw, and that's actually using references to know very well about what you're drawing. Ironically, I was told this by a non-artist. I end up taking my time to train my eye further and I'm liking the direction I'm going now.

At this point as a pixel artist, my medium allows a workflow I use for smaller scale works doesn't involve any line art at the start - I slather my colors, starting with silhouettes and just refine and refine. There are others who definitely has this sort of workflow because their memory of anatomy (or faux anatomy in my case) is good enough to produce convincing proportions to more than enough people.

So... what's the deal with guidelines? Thinking back, its funny to swallow misleading advice and get meh results, and now I've just gotten started with pixelling from memory without guidelines and not dislike my own results. Guidelines seem pretty ineffective with teaching me anatomy it seems. So, I'm a bit curious about others. How dependant are others with guidelines? Are they as useless as my story suggests they are?

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Devious Comments

Vineris Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
If you never do anything particularly complicated then you're unlikely to need mnemonics. Just about anyone can memorize a grocery list, it's when you need to memorize Romeo and Juliet that you start thinking "HMMM I wonder if anything would help with this?" And guidelines are mnemonics that tell you where everything goes.
LadyKuki Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Student General Artist
I draw with guidelines because it helps me get the anatomy right.

At times, I do try and draw without using them, but when I do, it comes out looking really sloppy and inaccurate. I guess it's because all artists learn differently. Maybe you just have a knack for drawing without guidelines while some of us artist don't. Or maybe you understand shape structure more. Normally when you know how to draw things by breaking them down to simple shapes, drawing without a guideline comes in easier... if that makes any sense. ^^;
Pix3M Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012   Digital Artist
In my case, I get away without using any guidelines because the exact knowledge to know where to place my guidelines is the exact same knowledge to know where to place and shape my body parts to begin with.

Considering I work with a digital medium that gives the most absolute ease of modifying my work, guidelines aren't gonna be as useful as they are to others who work with a media that's a bit less forgiving with mistakes.
LadyKuki Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Student General Artist
Ah, that makes sense.

Digital art does seem to be a lot easier when it comes to creating pictures without guidelines anyway. I just use guidelines since I'm still a novice. :laughing:
Kizziesama Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012
I always start with basic shapes and guidelines, rather than just going straight in. It just helps me with posing a character and getting the body measurements the way I like them :) It makes it easier to fix when you can see how you broke it down in the first place, should you mess up.

When I was younger, I used to not use guidelines, and when I made a mistake in the body, I wasn't sure what to fix because I didn't know where I went wrong in the first place. You just know it doesn't look right :XD: Making guides has made this happen less.
Xadrea Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
I think by drawing guidelines you mean like a canon of proportions? In that case, they are there to help you make sure that your anatomy is correct :D It helps you develop your technique and get better at drawing altogether ^ ^
lucas420 Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
i think they are helpful, but not always needed.
beginning and intermediate would require them, but if someone has drawn a certain pose or character enough im sure they don't need them anymore XD
i don't use guidelines when drawing sonic fan art, because i've drawn him for years [plus i mean??? sonic is kinda like no anatomy??? what is he?? lol] but when i draw humans, i usually just oval everything, and draw on top of the ovals XD
narutokunobessed Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Student General Artist
It really depends on the guidlines and what your really talking about. You can say drawing the form like circles, spheres and squares are guidelines. Those are for the form. You can say that a line down the center of the body is a guideline. Thats to get the flow of the body, and how it sits or stands. Its understanding that bodies are not straight, but are curvy. Or just the lines in general. They help understand where the body lines up and how many heads across. If you take a figure drawing class, they will ask you to measure with your pencil how many heads across. Or especially if your animating, you want some guidlines to know how your lines are lining up with the previous frame. Other wise, your lines can get wobbly.

And its also to ensure for paintings that you don't suddenly run out of space, esspecially if your not a digital painter. Its not easy if you just suddenly paint on a canvas, and then you have to repaint everything. Its actually better to at least have a backup plan so that it looks done. The sketch and guidelines serve to complete 50% of the drawing.

So nope, they aren't all useless. The point of constructing the form, whether its with shapes, with a ton of guidelines, is to be a good draftsmen and understanding your craft. If your understanding your craft, then its ok. No one has to use guidelines, because that is just what they are. They guide you to make your piece better.
Riaayo Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
As a kid I started really "learning" to draw by mimicking manga/anime as well. To this day I am wrestling with getting away from Yu-gi-oh eyes; that crap is so ingrained into my brain, and it's painful to rip away from. I'm definitely feeling the problems behind learning off mimicking an anime style over looking at real things and then re-interpreting/envisioning them my own way.
Tetchist Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
well, there are two possibilities, both of which may be true:

1) you were given some really crappy advice. it happens. it also doesn't mean that all advice is bad.

2) you're actually still really unskilled and have no idea what you're talking about. I looked at your gallery and I don't think this is the case, but all you have in there is pony stuff so I can't really make that call. perhaps you are a secret idiot. :meow:
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