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Nsio explains: Know the Rules by Nsio Nsio explains: Know the Rules by Nsio
Time for the second part in my tutorial series. This one will still explain things rather than show how to actually do them.

Know the rules
Of course you can break any rule without knowing them, that's what all beginner artists do spontaneously.

Some may say that there are no rules in art. So essentially there are no right or wrong solutions. However, some solutions are simply better than others. There are many reasons why some drawings just look a lot better than others. And I believe that the reason here is that the artists have followed certain rules.

If you don't know basic concepts how things work, you can't draw anything in satisfactory way. Reality has many things that when followed, can spice up your drawings a lot, even if you don't aim in realism. The funny thing is that even though many of these rules are present in our reality, people can't seem to get them. Neither did I when I started drawing.

On the contrary, when you know the rules, you can intentionally do things differently and apply completely new overriding rules on your own. For example, you can draw more justified proportions for your characters without making them look wonky.

For example there are technical rules that include anatomy, proportions, physics, mass, form, depth, view point, space, execution... and then there are artistic rules, like dynamism, composition, style, flow, mood, idea, simplifying, exaggerating, justifying.... There are surely even more rules, but these are what I could come up for now and I dare to claim that these will take you far enough. An artist in training should focus on technical rules at first, because you can build your art upon them later.

Right and wrong: absolute beginner
As I already mentioned, there isn't really right or wrong solutions. But even seemingly right things can sometimes be wrong. For some weird reason, many people fail to understand such a basic concept as obstructed view. For example, let's say that your character has a bunny tail, but she is seen from the front. You simply can't draw the bunny tail, no matter how much you would love to do that. If you draw it peeking behind her, it's just wrong. So if you really need to get that feature in you drawing, choose the viewing angle accordingly. Make it justified.

Okay, this is another thing people seem to ignore. What ever you draw, it needs to have a reason so that it will be justified. This is evident with the poses people draw. There isn't really any idea behind anything. I don't go into details here just yet, but there are ways to construct your drawing so that the elements will make sense. And this is done by following the rules.

People also tend to hide elements that are hard to draw, such as hands, behind the character. Well this isn't necessarily wrong, but it depends on execution. If it's evident that you are trying to hide your lack of skill, it's an error. While doing that, you may make even more errors that arouse the critical eye. And what's worse, you will be crippling your learning. If you keep hiding those hands all the time, you will never learn drawing them.

Another common issue is that you may have drawn extremely good detail, but it just doesn't contribute to the rest of the drawing. It's an error (or the rest of the drawing is an error, works either way). You need to do sacrifices to make your drawing consistent and sometimes it means erasing that cool detail.

What I find very interesting is that the edges of the paper or canvas seem to hamper the progression of the artists in training. This is commonly seen as weird image cropping, fitting the drawing forcefully withing the canvas or leaving a lot of empty space around. Those working digitally have it easy though: if the canvas is too small, extend it. Once you are done, crop the empty space. This same "fear of edges" as I call it is also present in manga comic panels people draw. Forget the edges. In reality, there are no edges or borders. Draw the drawing first fully and then fit it in the panel. Also, it's good to remember that making the drawing look bigger than the panel usually makes it more interesting.

Realize your ignorance, accept your weaknesses and see what you are doing wrong. Learn from critics, challenge yourself and keep looking forward. It may sound a bit harsh, but it's not my intent to make you feel bad.

Introduction to sketching
Okay now we are really close to get to the real thing. I can't possibly emphasize the importance of sketching enough. A sketch is a visualized form of your mind. A good sketch has all the fundamental things that you will need to construct the final image. I always spend a lot of time just sketching.

Most beginners start from one feature (such as eyes) and then moves to another (chin). It's possible to do it like this, but it takes a lot of skill to pull it off and I can tell you that if you are a beginner, you won't be able to do it, yet. I can do it only to some extent. I still prefer drawing things in phases instead of finishing one feature at time, because that makes it possible to keep the drawing consistent.

A sketch represents one possible solution for the final image. It's a sort of a quick note, so that you remember what you're doing. If you are not happy with it, you can easily discard it without worrying about the effort used in it and draw a new quick one. This allows you to try out various of possibilities and to find the ideal solution for your drawing. Sketches are also ideal for practicing, because you can draw them a lot in a short time lapse.

Remember that the sketch is there to help you out. It's fine if other people can't understand it, but make sure you do. That said, make clear sketches and focus on important things.

In my next tutorial, I will be covering human figure drawing, simplifying things with basic shapes and human proportions.
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:iconobviouslynat:
ObviouslyNat Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2015
These are phenomenal.  c:  I like to draw, and am trying to improve, and these tips are excellent.  They're in depth and are just really awesome.  Thanks for making these.  You're great! ;v;
Reply
:iconnsio:
Nsio Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you. I have been doing these because they are helpful for me as well :)
Reply
:iconnadiathepanda:
NadiaThePanda Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2015  New member Student General Artist
I really need all of these tips!Umi Nervous Icon
Fantastic tutorial!!
Reply
:iconangelkite:
AngelKite Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2014
I've been trying more full body pictures and the thumbnail sketches really do help! (: I'm glad to see that I'm doing something right, but I need loads and loads more practice to start doing dynamic poses TvT
Reply
:iconkouta-aburame:
Kouta-Aburame Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Holy cow you go so far in depth with these tutorials!  This is exactly what I was looking for, hope you don't mind me faving all of them :D
Reply
:iconopenskyline:
openskyline Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I love your descriptions!!
Reply
:iconcherrymeringue:
cherrymeringue Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
this is really helpful actually
but why does the little girl have boobs I am confused
Reply
:iconbluboiart:
BluBoiArt Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
This is awesome!! Never hurts to chekc the basics and read various tutorials, lord knows i still got a bunch to learn. But great tutorial on the "what" to do and look for when creating. Two Thumbs Up 
Reply
:iconmochathescientist:
MochaTheScientist Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Love these tutorials! And I'm surprised for the "hiding hard elements" bit You didn't use the example of hiding an eye behind hair- I see it alot more than hiding hands, although that could just be me.  Anyway, I appreciate your bluntess in these, it's nice Refresher.
Reply
:iconnsio:
Nsio Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks! I have seen people hiding the hands more than they would hide the eyes. Besides, it was just an example about hiding features in general
Reply
:iconyams83:
Yams83 Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2014  Student Digital Artist
the wrong type of drawing actually reminds me of shin-chan :P
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:iconsketchyrae:
SketchyRae Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2014
I hide hard elements sometimes~ :iconuhuhuhuplz:
Reply
:iconnsio:
Nsio Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That's very common thing to do. Now that you acknowledge that, you can work on avoiding it. Of course, elements can be hidden if it's justified (like in example).
Reply
:iconsketchyrae:
SketchyRae Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2014
I was actually planning to practice on them today. ;w;
Reply
:iconandresitoxd:
AndresitoXD Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm actyally a pretty good drawer on paper BUT... I'm horrible on tablets ;~;
Reply
:iconriceballs4me:
RiceBalls4Me Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I feel ya. My skill is reduced by 50% on a tablet. It's like I skipped back four years or something. 
Reply
:icondatweet:
dATweet Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2013
good.
Reply
:iconvoneyezine:
VonEyEzine Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
you sure do some kick ass tutorials on manga being from finland
Reply
:iconnsio:
Nsio Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks! I really love how the mangaka draw their manga comics. However, I find that most tutorials don't really explain why something is done in certain way. I'm trying to cover that hole in my tutorials :)
Reply
:iconvoneyezine:
VonEyEzine Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
yeah they suppose alot of stuff thats critical to the effect, I know what you mean. I find tutorials are skimming over the raw details and just telling you 'what' was done, rather than tell you 'how' it was done , or 'what was involved' in doing it.
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:iconk-haza:
K-haza Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hey, I need some help with making nice faces. "My style" has been programmed to my hand and I always end up drawing similar face that i have been drawing. I'd like to evolve my style a bit with faces, what would you suggest?
I'm enjoying your tutorials really much, they inspire me first time in... years!
Reply
:iconnsio:
Nsio Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Good to hear that you like my tutorials! :D

Isn't it just a good thing to be able to draw the face very consistently? Of course, it can be a bit problematic if all characters have the same face hehe. I would suggest copying other styles for a change. Trying out different eyes, noses, mouths and head shapes is useful to broaden your artistic skills. :)

...Miulle saa myös puhua ihan suomeksi xD
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:iconk-haza:
K-haza Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oho, en tullut huomanneeksi!! :D Yllätyssuomalaisia, apua! :D

Mut joo, vois tosiaan kokeilla vaikka ihan suoraan puhdasta kopsaamista ihailemiltani tyypeiltä. Katsoo, meneeks noi käden lihakset vähän eri asentoon, ja ei aina tuu tota täysin samaa naamaa :)
Kiitos nopeesta vastaamisesta!
Reply
:iconcasandraguimauve:
CASANDRAGUIMAUVE Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2013  Student General Artist
WOW thanks
Reply
:iconindygonagaretton:
IndyGoNagaretton Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2013
Thanks for making these tutorials, I've been trying to reconstruct down my skill on drawing (after being a beginner but still abadoning it completely for 3 years). Hopefully I might get somewhere one day.
Reply
:iconrynn8825:
Rynn8825 Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013   Digital Artist
I do enjoy these tutorials, it keeps me always reaching for my anatomy book by my desk, just to make sure my posing doesn't interfere with how a human body really works. I may draw stylized, but in the end- it MUST look human and feel like it for the appeal to be there. Being self-taught and educated gave me the challenge of figuring out on how and when to bend the rules for the sake of my art. I appreciate your frankness on the matter. I used to suck at hands, but now I'm not afraid to draw them, using a little trick I taught myself. Thanks again.
Reply
:iconnsio:
Nsio Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you :)

If someone wants to draw humans, but ignore the very essence of anatomy, they are just lying to themselves. It's the greatest joy for me to be able to overcome the challenges and finally get the drawing look "right". Good to hear you are also being honest with your drawings :)

Frankly speaking, I haven't really studied anatomy much, but rather focused on proportions and shapes. :D I'm slowly adding anatomical details as I'm improving.
Reply
:iconmorikun-rinari:
morikun-rinari Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Student Artist
Omg...the bad example drawing is just hilarious. :lmao: I've never seen a drawing of someone with only one boob to the side (or maybe it's a cross between a tumor and a cyst).

Anyways, this is a really helpful guide. I'm trying to improve my drawing skills and something like this would really help me.
Reply
:iconnsio:
Nsio Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes, it looks pretty ridiculous, but there are surely people who draw just like that :). I drew it myself so that I wouldn't offend anyone personally.
Reply
:iconkainless:
Kainless Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I plan on getting back into the swing of things with meh own art... this has all been veryyyyyyyyyyyyyy Good for me!
Reply
:iconelsanalabasterblack:
ElSanAlabasterBlack Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow.... This is interesting. Just like you said, I was sloppy in drawing like everyone else. But I never quit no matter how people judge me. And now they can't believe my level in drawing.

In the improving of my skills in drawing, I never relied or even bothered to look for tutorials in books or internet. I merely observed and practice. Somehow, without knowing what the rules would look like in words, I actually just figured it out. Materials that helped me know anatomy are merely anatomy books, my body, and other people's body. I even have never been to any art schools or workshops. That surprises everyone I talk to, even to me... 

It's just this year that I started to look at tutorials in drawings to assure myself if I'm doing great. And I say I'm quite so (not bragging. i'm telling the truth.). I just need more improvement especially in coloring and also in backgrounds. I'm fine with drawing animals or humans. But now, I'm merely looking at drawing humans tutorial for fun, and see who has the best. Apparently, yours is one of the best. :]

I'm not even sure if I can make tutorials like yous since I only learned how to draw by observing and not being taught by anyone. 
 
Reply
:iconnsio:
Nsio Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well said! I like your honest attitude, because you are indeed great at drawing, a true artist should I say (I had a look in your gallery). You have gained the artistic understanding and it shows in your art, which is why you can apply "the rules" without knowing them by name. Thus I find that you have the right to claim you are doing great. Of course, if you can't put that knowledge into words, then you can't teach others.

I've been looking many tutorials myself, without really understanding them. Many tutorials I see just show how to do things without really explaining why it's done like that. Things I saw there dawned to me much later after vigorous practice. Now when I'm doing my tutorials, I try to relate to my old self who didn't understand anything and try to give as clear explanation as possible. I do that by shaping my understanding into a set of rules, that can be applied.

Funny, I have exactly the same weaknesses as you do with the coloring and backgrounds. Although I find that I'm quite capable drawer myself, I aim for humbleness. Each drawing is a new challenge, getting one done nicely doesn't guarantee the success of another. I believe it's my honesty that made it possible for me to reach the level I'm now.

Thank you for seeing the effort to comment. It was great pleasure.
Reply
:iconelsanalabasterblack:
ElSanAlabasterBlack Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Your welcome. :] 
And thank you to, for that comment. It somehow gives me an idea on how to make a proper tutorial. Cause seriously, Many of my friends, classmates, or relatives want to learn how to draw too, but I am not a good teacher myself. 
It'd be great if I can show my friends these tutorial of yours. But I guess I can also make my own tutorials.
Reply
:iconendartica:
EndArtica Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2013  Student General Artist
This is like, the thing.
Reply
:icontreesamurai:
TreeSamurai Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2013  Student
HEY! you're doing awesome with the tutorials keep up the great work :D


One thing as a side note though.
Would you be able to make a gallery folder with all your tutorials in it. i want to forward some people to your tutorials as they're always asking me for help, but i keep putting it off because i have to link them all the tutorials you have. i also think it'd help others out to easily flick through a tutorial list to grab the ones they need instead of having to try and sort through your art and tutorials.

Anyway keep them coming :D
Reply
:iconnsio:
Nsio Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks :D

I used to dump all my demonstrations in my scraps, but I have thought making a new gallery folder just for tutorials. It will be done :)
Reply
:icontreesamurai:
TreeSamurai Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2013  Student
wonderful :D you are a champ!
Reply
:iconyamuii:
Yamuii Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's fun to see how you work so hard on drawing something that is wrong xD
And hey! I see the feedback you gave to me! :D

Thank you so much for doing this..
It helps me SO much *-*
Reply
:iconriniuu:
Riniuu Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2013  Hobbyist
Siis aivan mahtavaa työtä!
Sun pitäis tehdä oma kirja tai jotain. ; v ;
Reply
:iconnsio:
Nsio Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No, eihän tässä ole vielä oikeastaan mitään... mutta kiitos :D

Niinpä! Kyllä tästä aiheesta pystys hyvinkin tekemään
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:iconyumegiwa:
Yumegiwa Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2013
Your wrong examples are so funny!
Reply
:iconnsio:
Nsio Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I may exaggerate them a bit... but I have seen drawings with these issues a lot : D
Reply
:iconshinguamito:
ShinguAmito Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2013  Student General Artist
still working on the sketch part myself haha xD Another great round of advise and help :D
Reply
:iconchaos28561:
Chaos28561 Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2013  Student General Artist
You pretty much said my only comment already, in regards to the hand hiding.  XD
It's not a problem if you hide the hands, cut off the feet, etc. if you do it a few times.  It is a problem if you do it consistently.

-Chaos
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:iconmiss-ellanius:
Miss-Ellanius Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Thank you for doing this, I really want to improve :) 

Hey, would you mind critiquing my sketch please? I'd like to know what I did wrong ;3

miss-ellanius.deviantart.com/a…
Reply
:iconsummersalmon:
SummerSalmon Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you! This is really helpful (: Haahh.. I need a lot of practise.. especially with the sketching.. ^_^U
Reply
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