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To become a good fantasy artist, you must treat it in the same way as the acquisition of skills in any area—you must practice. It's impossible to express ideas unless you have the necessary technical ability. Develop your rendering of form and structure, light and shade by drawing from observation in your sketchbook.

This does not mean that you should not also sharpen your inventiveness by drawing and doodling the kinds of fantasy subjects that interest you from imagination—but you need to keep your art rooted in the real world. Anything you see in the everyday world around you is worth a sketch—street scenes, vehicles, and people on trains or in cafes.

Always keep a sketchbook handy, preferably a cheap one, as you should get through it fairly quickly. There's no substitute for hard work, so if you want results fast, you're just going to have to keep practicing. With practice, you will develop the link between eye and hand that is the key to fantasy drawing, and once the link has been forged, you will have begun to access your own creativity

Drawings Skeleton Keys

A Simplified skeleton

Start with a skull, ribcage, pelvis, hand and knees that are all represented by primitive oival shapes. Finish the rest o, the skeleton with lines. Establish your figure with the right dimensions, shape and posture. Get familiar with these simple skeleton so you can reproduce them quickly and easily.

Easy Free Hand Sketching Building

Freehand sketches These are the kinds of sketches you'd find in any life drawing studio. Drawing a finished figure without first building it up in stages (see opposite page), takes a lot more hand-to-eye coordination and skill, but it's an ability that's useful for any fantasy artist

•4 Adding muscles

Continue to think in primitive shapes as you start to map out the muscles. This and the previous stage are the most important steps to master.

Drawing Figures ActionDrawing Fantasy Figures
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Sketches Action Figures

< Quick sketches

The samples here are by fantasy illustrator, Ron Tiner, working in ballpoint pen to sketch out very quickly the main components of an image—the man, his outstretched arms, and lightning coming from his eyes. Even though the sketches were done in moments, the dynamic of the finished image is contained in the shorthand sketches.

< Quick sketches

The samples here are by fantasy illustrator, Ron Tiner, working in ballpoint pen to sketch out very quickly the main components of an image—the man, his outstretched arms, and lightning coming from his eyes. Even though the sketches were done in moments, the dynamic of the finished image is contained in the shorthand sketches.

Drawing Figures Action

Don't try to draw fully rendered illustrations every time. It's more effective just to doodle something easy, like your simplified skeleton, as this will loosen up your hand and improve your technique. If you feel the need to do something more finessed, work on just one feature at a time, such as a hand. Work more on the areas where your technique is weakest.

Don't be a perfectionist. If you want to get really good, you'll have to do hundreds, if not thousands, of practice drawings, so learn to let yourself run wild. It's difficult at first, but at this stage you should be drawing to improve your talent, not to compile a portfolio. Remember to keep your workspace clear of stacks of old drawings. A clean workspace makes everything much easier.

Experiment with other styles and media. Working on a diverse range of styles will force you to try new techniques and you may stumble on ways to improve your own method,

Believe it or not, this is by far the easiest stage because you can concentrate on small sections at a time. Add clothing and accessories, and give the tigure some more definite outlines by drawing over the light pencil lines already laid down. This stage is more about design than artistic ability so think about the theme of the character and how this should be communicated by his expression, dress, and adornments. This is not the time to be refining the shape of the character - if it looks wrong at this stage, go back to step one and have another go.

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Pencil Drawing Beginners Guide

Pencil Drawing Beginners Guide

Easy Step-By-Step Lessons How Would You Like To Teach Yourself Some Of The Powerful Basic Techniques Of Pencil Drawing With Our Step-by-Step Tutorial. Learn the ABC of Pencil Drawing From the Experts.

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