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Nsio explains: Constructing and Analysing by Nsio Nsio explains: Constructing and Analysing by Nsio
It's already ninth tutorial in my "Nsio explains" series. This time I'll talk a little about constructing and analysing your drawings.

Why should you construct and analyse your drawings?
First of all, if you are an artist with no prior experience about drawing, it's unlikely that you can draw anything right in first go, yet alone in one go. It takes a lot of practice and experience to be able to draw things without sketching first.

Let's imagine, that you are drawing a human figure. You start from one eye, then draw the other. You keep going and draw the cheek and chin. At this point you might already have done a mistake. If you spend some time to analyse your work now, you can probably still save it. However, you just keep going, drawing more individual details. And if you are really fond of details, you might have spent a lot of time on a detail which may not even be right. If your great detail doesn't contribute or causes problems, it needs to be sacrificed. However, the time and effort you spent on that fine detail makes you unwilling to sacrifice it. The next details you draw are forced to follow the wrong detail, accumulating issues one after another. When you finally look what you have done, it's already too late to fix the drawing. It would take too much effort and the results wouldn't probably be satisfying either.

This is why constructing and analysing your drawings is so important. If you construct your drawings in logical manner, you can save a lot of time and effort in fixing your drawings. Analysing your work in regular intevals as you keep working on your drawing ensures that you won't be putting too much effort on something wrong.

Self-analysis is the foundation of improving yourself. You will need to evaluate your actions and be able to see what you are doing wrong. Once you know our issues, you can start working on getting better at them.

Here I compiled few common issues, but seriously, the amount of possible issues are numerous. And even the matters I have covered are explained in very general level. Also the source of the issue isn't always as obvious as it may seem. For example, the character head may look too small in comparison to the body. However, you can also consider that the body appears too large when compared to the head. Either the head or the body needs to be fixed. It can also be, that the scale and proportions of the torso just makes the head look smaller. That said, there may be only one or several factors affecting the perceived issue. You will need to decide which feature you will sacrifice for the greater good.

I'll talk about few issues I tend to struggle most.
  1. Symmetry: It's fairly easy to draw something perfectly symmetric by drawing one half and then mirroring it. The problem emerges when you need to draw something symmetric in 3D space. To see the symmetry, you need to understand how perspective works. Also, you need to know that human body is rather symmetric, even if the pose isn't symmetric. Most common issues with symmetry tend to emerge around the head. The neck may appear to start from the shoulder, the mouth and nose have taken the liberty to locate themselves indiscriminately and the eyes are not from this world. You will need to learn to see the relative positions of the bodily features and make decent guesses when drawing them.
  2. Proportions: You will need to learn seeing the body proportions in perspective. Probably most common issues are arms and legs that differ in length. Even when foreshortened, the arms and legs need to look equal in length. I usually compare the body parts together to see which is longer. Then I evaluate whether it's enough if I fix only the other, or do they both need fixing.
  3. Scales: Often accompanying proportional issues, it's quite common to draw some body parts larger or smaller than it should be.
  4. Orientation: This is very important and hard. To see the orientation, you first need to see the perspective. Then you will need to know how each body part can move around and how the other body parts are affected. Drawing the hand in certain orientation will restrict arm positioning. If you fail with the orientation check, you may have poses that are physically impossible.
  5. Dynamism: Here we have the dynamism yet again. Without dynamism, everything looks plain and boring. Having been dabbling with dynamism for years, I can already come up with quite good dynamism. It gives reason for the element in your drawing, making them not only natural, but also justified.
  6. Patterns: These are often really annoying. There are two types of patterns: wanted and unwanted. Usually unintentional patterns are unwanted, for example starry sky with rational star placement. Unintentional patterns usually manifest themselves on elements where a lot of similar features are drawn next to each other. Such things are wrinkles and drapes on clothing, strands of hair and frill to mention some.
  7. Logic: This is neglected very often. Even if it's possible for the character to take a certain pose, it may not always make much of sense. Usually these poses are unnatural and stiff.

If you keep working on your drawing for quite some time, you will become blinded to it. If you mirror your drawing, it will look like a completely new drawing, making it a lot easier to see the issues. Digital artist have it easy, but traditional artist can use a real mirror and rotate the canvas as well.

When you trace your sketch, remember that your goal isn't copying it. The sketch is there only to give you some rough idea of the final results. That said, you don't have to follow the sketch too strictly, especially if it's not perfect.

Example of constructing and analysing
I though an example would be most useful way to explain how to work on your drawing.

When I draw, I work on phases. Each phase has it's own focus points and goals to achieve. The benefit of working on these phases is that I can focus only on few things at time. The phases are
1. Idea
2. Rough Sketch
3. Refined Sketch
4. Lineart
5. Post-processing

The first phase is useful for trying out many alternatives without using too much time or effort on the drawing. If I don't like the pose, I can easily discard it. I can also try to find a pose that's more fitting or justified for the character I'm going to draw. I went with the third. The fourth is there just to "pre-evaluate possible errors with the drawing".

Second phase is the most important of all of the phases. All major issues should be fixed on this phase. Well done work here will pay off on later phases. At first I draw the full body without paying too much of attention to the issues. After I'm done in 5 mins or so, I start analysing the errors. I use lasso selection to relocate and rotate body parts. I also redraw many parts to fix major issues. I have included my quick rendition and it's fixings. Drawing the character naked is important, because that's the only way you can truly test where the body parts go. Also, naked sketch will serve as a base for the clothing. If the drawing requires major changes, they can still be done. However, a good rule of thumb is that "when you have chosen a pose, stick to it".

I really recommend spending a lot of time on rough sketching. I used to draw at least two or three rough sketches of the same body, because drawing the body from scratch was often easier than fixing the faulty one.

On third phase, it's time to make a preview of the final drawing. All important details and features should be present here. The line quality doesn't matter though. I often draw most important and hard details (such as fingers) quite detailed already in order to make it easier to draw them on next phase. I usually draw some sort of shading as well, and often I won't take the drawing further than this. It has already served as valuable practice work.

On fourth phase, it's time to draw the final lineart. On this phase, the focus should be solely on the linework. While issues should be fixed when they emerge, the point of the two earlier phases is to get rid of them so that the focus can be put solely on making pretty lines. If I'm going to color the piece, this is enough work for now.

Fifth phase is either coloring or inking. Here i just went with solid black and one bluish shade. When the work is done, I usually appreciate it for some time and then after few days I do post-analysis. This piece came out pretty neat, though the legs could have benefited from some extra attention, especially the armor parts and feet.

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kukuro-kun Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow. This is very useful! Thank you for sharing this one!
Sin-T-A Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2016  Student Digital Artist
do you have clothes tutorial? folds and all
PersonInGinkgoForest Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is very usefull, i have a question, at least for you, what is the best way to get better when you draw in perspective?
Nsio Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
To get better in perspective, you will need to learn understanding what kind of visual cues invoke depth perception. Perspective guidelines are just tools, so you will need to be able to read the visual cues to place the guidelines in right positions.

For example, you know that a cube is a cube, regardless the viewing angle. When you know how a cube behaves, you can apply that to more complex things, like human figures. Everything follows the same rules, it's just that forms with sharp edges and flat faces (such as cubes) makes it easier to see the perspective.

So, whenever you are drawing perspective, analyze what was your intention and how it really looks to you. Study real life objects and spaces to figure out the where the guidelines should be placed.
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Nsio Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Size in perspective? Not really, but it's the relationship between objects that's important. If you have two characters, one tall and one short, in different distances, you need to mind their height even in perspective. That said, tall guy at distance may look smaller than short fellow at the front, but he still needs to look taller than the shorter guy. Drawing characters 7,8 or 9 heads tall is just about proportional differences. Nothing prevents 7 head tall character from being taller than 8 heads tall character. Of course, if both characters have exact the same head size, then 8 head tall characters are obviously taller than 7 head tall characters.

Also, the distance between beholder and the object is important, because the closer the object is, the more the beholder needs to look around or move her eyes to see the object. That causes some distortion when drawn on flat canvas. Classic perspective with straight guidelines doesn't take this viewpoint movement in account though.

Analysis is most important part in drawing practice. That allows the artist to judge her strengths and weaknesses.
Azifri Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I still have so much to learn. Thanks for sharing this, it's very useful for me :) <3
MarcDaArtist Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I often find myself overly critical of myself real early in the process. Sometimes I just stare at the page, too afraid to make mistakes. You see, I'm self taught, and I've developed a terrible habit of getting in my own way when drawing. This post has helped me somewhat, in making drawing a practical, constructive, and analytic process, but I can't even seem to shake the doubt and frustration. I'm drawing less and less because of it. 

I've read this post dozens of times, in hopes of finding a different mindset, but to no avail. I even printed it out, to be honest...

I've no idea where I'm going with this, so I'll just ask a few questions.

1) Is it better to start quickly or slowly?

2) Should I start with the head or body?

3) Any ways to deal with doubt or frustration?

I'm really sorry to bug you with all this, but you're the most concise and specific artist I've ever seen. Anything you say will likely be of great help. 

Thanks in advance,

Marc (who is now wondering whether he should've sent this as a note)
Nsio Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You could try "brains-off mode" some time. Just draw whatever comes to your mind. Something like this: Brains-off-mode: Herbert! :D

1) I say slowly. There is no need to hurry is there? I enjoy drawing the most when I just draw without worrying about finishing the drawing in set time. When you build up your confidence you can then start drawing quicker, or if you want to try something, it's good to ignore all details or perfect anatomy and just make quick drawings to get a general idea.

2) It depends which is most familiar for you. For me head is the way to go, because I base all proportions on head. With hard viewing angles, it might be easier to start with the torso if it's in easier orientation than the head.

3) By not worrying what's the outcome or what others think. What is there to lose if you make a mistake or two? If you feel something is wonky but can't fix it, just discard your drawing and redraw it. Kill your darling early and you will save lots of time. You don't need to show everything you draw either.
MarcDaArtist Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for the quick response. I'll put these tips into practice for sure!

I appreciate your help! :-)
BJbear2001 Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2015
You need to author a book if yoou haven't already! I wish i could have all your tutorials to refer to in a book format. I love your tutorials! Keep up the great works!
ShinigamiRyuku Featured By Owner May 12, 2015
Awesome tutorial!
marceydevimon78 Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
TonyBius Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
now the problem will be finding something like this but in music production... fuck
btw, nice tutorial
Rica-R Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Awesome tutorial! Just what I needed. I tend to jump into details early on and then want to go back to either fixing or changing the pose, and just like you say, it causes so many issues. 
Dziny Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Thanks, you are amazing!
RealSunsetShimmer Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
uh amazing *_* i'll try it xD
Altern8ty Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2014  Student Digital Artist
thank you very much! this is the tutorial that I've been looking for! :D
tempestofazure Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
These are some awesome and helpful tutorials. I don't mean to request but do you have any tips on lighting/shading? While the sphere example is good for breaking down the complexities of shadow it does very little for me in the way of demonstrating how light wraps around a more complex form(ie muscles, clothes, textured surfaces, etc), so my shadows end up looking improperly placed. I imagine it has something to do with planes facing light but can you help me expand on this?
Nsio Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
For starters, read this tutorial to understand how light works… . It's good to note that the transition from light to shade isn't just fussy gradient. Also, you don't simply add white to lighten  or black to shade things. I suggest reading a little about 3D rendering, especially about terms "radiosity" and "color bleeding".In short, the perceived colors depends on the environment. For example, in candle light the lit areas have very warm coloring and the shadows are dark. If you stand outside under the sky, the shadows get pale blue tint because of "global illumination". Consider it as a secondary light sourcewhich illuminates the subject all around, although it's only visible on shadows because it's weaker than the sun.
tempestofazure Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you! This gives a explanation as to why my areas of shadows have made my characters look like flat lifeless dolls. Also being able to take the color of the light source into account (which is oddly something I hadn't considered before bunneh icon17 ) gives me more options to establish contrast within the picture. I realize I will need much practice on the aspects of shadows (especially refracted light within a shadow) but it's nice to have sources to draw information from. Once again, thanks!
KaishoSohando Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2014
Wow this is really damn detailed in info, thanks for doing this!!! Freakin amazing! :happybounce: La la la la Clap 
KaishoSohando Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2014
Wow this is really damn detailed in info, thanks for doing this!!! Freakin amazing! :happybounce: La la la la Clap 
KaishoSohando Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2014
Wow this is really damn detailed in info, thanks for doing this!!! Freakin amazing! :happybounce: La la la la Clap 
candyblossomchan Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2014
this is ULTIMATE!!
thank you so so much for taking your time to do this! I am so grateful ;v; It helped me a ton and i know it helped so many other people! /pat on the back + kissu
KillerDrock Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
You Rule!!!
Elika2000 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2014
You are AMAZING!!! (that is all I have to say!)
kerrens2003 Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2014
I can't ever draw pretty digital lines, they always come out raggedy and not smooth, and the line width varies along the length. I'm pretty sure I shouldn't be using photoshop for line drawing, but I have no idea what program to use to get nice lines, or how to set up to do it.
Kurt-is-cry Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
May I ask how to do the "color on top of the shadow, multiply" thing at the end?
I feel it makes your finalized drawing so much better and I'd like to try my hand at it.
Is there an equivalent for pencil drawings too?
Nsio Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist

It's very simple thing to do, although the terms might vary between different programs. Anyway, I use Painttool SAI, which has "clipping layer" option. So first you need to have a layer for the solid color shading and then you make a new layer on top of it and make it a clipping layer. When you clip the layer and paint on the layer, only areas that were previously painted on the layer below will get the new color. As you are painting on the clipping layer, the original solid colored shading on lower layer remains intact, completely safe from any accidental mistakes.

If you rework the original shading layer either by erasing or drawing shading, the paint on the clipping layer will either disappear or get revealed. If you "unclip" the layer, all the areas that were previously hidden will become visible (if you painted those areas). It's also good to remember that you can clip as many layers on the base layer, for example adding three colors on separate clipping layers and adjust the hue, saturation, brightness and contrast individually!

In order to make the soft gradation effect, just use very soft brush with reduced opacity and use large brush size. Thanks to clipping layer, you can't paint wrong areas. Then it's up to you if you want to change the layer mode to give additional effect such as "multiply" or "luminosity" to alter the color. Experiment how different layer modes affect the color and see what suits your needs the best :)

With pencil drawing, are you referring to traditional drawing on paper? I don't think it's possible on paper, you would probably need to make a mask with another piece of paper and place it on top of the drawing to avoid drawing wrong areas.
Kurt-is-cry Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Ah thanks I tried it out It works pretty good ^^
cuppear1201 Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Student Photographer
 为什么不是中文 ~~~~(>_<)~~~~  英文看着好累啊,要慢慢地一个个词看过去才行  诶。。。。。。。。。
TheLegendaryArkaius Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I like this tutorial I say! I'm trying to learn how to draw the human body so I can generally move on from my "current" theme. I could say that my worst habits when it comes to drawing is the perspective, scale, and the "mirror" effect.

I didn't even know about Dynamism until I saw your tutorials. Thanks. This will be very useful I say! :D
Earth9uake Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2014
Sun tutoriaalit on tosi hyödyllisiä! :)
Yritän itse opetella helppoa hahmottelutapaa ettei mun piirrustuksista tulisi niin jäykköjä niin mietin, että kun hahmottelet niin aloitatko hahmotella asentoa yksinkertaisesti viivoja piirtäen ennen kuin lisäät kropan muodot vai miten hahmottelet? 
Tää kysymys saattaa olla aika vaikee ymmärtää, mutta toivottavasti tajusit mitä meinaan! XD
Nsio Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Kiitoksia! :)

Ei huolta, mie yleensä ponjaan kysymykset varsin hyvin :D. Katsoppas vaikka tämä youtube video jossa mie piirrän jonkun satunnaisen hahmon nopsaan… , 5 minuuttia riittää hyvin.

Nyt jos hyvin lyhyesti koittaa selittää, nii mie hahmottelen yleensä eka pään, sit keskivartalon ja sit jalat ennen käsiä. Usein tulee piirrettyä jonkin sortin "action line" kuvastamaan kehon tai sen osan liikettä tai asentoa ennen ku varsinaisesti alan muotoa pistämään paikalleen (kuten videossakin huomaa kun eka koitan vartalon tehä palleroilla, mutta teenkin sitten eka dynaamisen viivan ja pistän ne pallerot paikalleen sen mukaan). Vaikka kyseessä onkin vaan abstrakti viiva, pitää se mielikuvituksessa mieltää kehon osaksi ja visualisoida mielessä miten se oikein menee. Tälleen saa säästettyä paljon vaivaa kuhan harjautuu tekemään : D

Ekassa skississä on tarkotus saada vaan kehon perusmuodot paikoilleen ja tarkistaa että hahmo on tasapainossa (tai hallitusti epätasapainossa jos kyseessä on toimintapläjäys). Vasta kun yleiskuva näyttää pätevältä, alan tekemään varsinaista piirrosta.
Earth9uake Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014
Kiitos tosi paljon! :) mulla tulee ongelmia aina kun pitäis hahmotella vähän vaikeampaa asentoa ja sä osaat piirtää asennot niin hyvin!! Että kiitosta! Tää autto tosi paljon! :D
FatVonD Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Aw, all these are great! (Your art in general is awesome aswell, of course!)
I've faved a couple of them, and I'll certainly have a look at them next time I draw something, anatomy has never really been my thing, haha.

Thank you for making these, I'm sure you've helped countless other aspiring artists so far!
dragos1912 Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This one doesn't have a download?
dragos1912 Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
BTW. Lets say I am not too amazing at drawing, in general ( Drawing legs kills me ). I really want to be able to draw, in as many styles as possible, because I often space out and have those amazing images in my mind, and I often want to immortalise them, but I never really succeed. Any particular route that I should take?
P.S. I already look up to you. Please don't shoot me :D.
Nsio Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oops, I have forgotten the download option. Thanks for the notice, I made it downloadable.

It's hard to tell any specific means that suit you the best without knowing your age,  how long have you been drawing and how you draw currently.

Young people learn things easier, while older people can take advantage from analytic thinking. Experience plays important role to evaluate your current standing at drawing, as it reveals how much of understanding you already have about drawing and how much of effort you will need to see in order to improve.

The way I learned to draw included drawing from reference, mostly manga and anime. I also read many tutorials about drawing and tried many ways to drawing and adopted the ways that I found most suitable for my needs. I've analyzed my own works and compared them to other works in order to find their merits and issues and then tried to address the issues on following drawings. And lastly, I have been drawing a lot, nearly every day for 10 years. Repetition is the key, as it allows you to recall any drawing from your muscle memory and redraw it easier. For example, most of the time when I draw hands, I just draw them the way I have drawn them before.
MrElagan Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I got completely blown away by the how the last one looked like! Awesome stuff man, you have a lot of knowledge :)! May I ask what kind of tablet you use? I would assume it's one in the Cintiq series.
Nsio Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks. I'm indeed working on Cintiq, 13HD to be more specific. I used to work with Wacom Intuos 4 L for four years.
KaylaKedziora Featured By Owner May 7, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
im in love the with the ninja design you made
artisticallystrange Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh man I need this.  This is a great tutorial that will help me catch the many, many, MANY mistakes I make when drawing.  I like emphasis on the rough sketch part, that's really useful for me.
dauntlessoul Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014
useful! thank yuou! :3
SeanPatrickKelly Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Student General Artist
very informative. these tutorials have been awesome
apolloEldon Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2014
Your tutorials are priceless. Thank you so much!
UndyingResistance Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I love this , Incredibly helpful, I intend to put into action what information I've learned. Further improvement is always welcome.
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Submitted on
February 13, 2014
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