Drawing people I can do. Animals-I'm okay. Landscapes-no hills I can't climb there. But BUILDINGS! I've used tons of resources, but the buildings I draw still seem to lack...something....that makes them looks believable, even for a comic. The lines are straight and all, I can do windows, they have doors, but for some reason the structures I draw look childish. To anyone who knows a thing or two about drawing these complex shelters: what do you do to make your buildings look comicly-realistic. If you know what I mean. :) Thank you from the bottom of my basement.
hmmm.....study perspective. And post some of your buildings so we can see. But be patient with yourself. It can take alot of trial and error before you get better. Also, use shadows and learn to spot 'blacks'. That can give your buildings more 'weight'.
And using referances is a great way to start.
heres a practice exercise- pick a scene out of a comic or magazine and try to copy it, using the same 'perspective lines'. And just begin by breaking down buildings to their most basic shapes. Then when you have a grasp of basic perspective, then start adding more artichitual detail.
Christopher is very right. Find artists that have a similiar style as yourself and study/examine their buildings. Bill Watterson ( Calvin and Hobbes ) is done in a cartoony style yet his backgrounds and props and buildings are 'to die for!' haha. I actually started studying his style first, before I moved on to more realistic versions.
David Chelsea's book: Perspective! For Comic Book Artists: How to Achieve a Professional Look in Your Artwork---IMO this book has the best presentation of practical perspective for a comic's artist--including a lot of handing shortcuts and tricks.
I have something of a tough time with this too. The think that helps me most is remembering to create parts of the buildings or other elements in the piece that give it scale. Something where our mind has a ballpark figure of how big that object always is, so that other things around it get compared to the thing that's familiar. Often it's the characters, but Mike's piece uses several items to give scale, the tree, the parked cars, and the smaller people. He's also using some variations in line weight to show the distance, but that's more specific to his particular composition.
Anyhow, most often when a bg isn't working, it's a problem with scale reference. This is why it's hard to draw environments small. To draw a big impressive building, you need scale reference, so it doesn't look like a box. when drawing small, it's difficult to make tiny things recognizeable.
Also, if you haven't read it yet, check out "How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way" by stan Lee and John Buscema. The chapter on perspective is basic, but a good primer to really lay a solid foundation.
It sounds to me like you have an understanding of perspective, and what it takes to draw a building; but that what you are looking for is a way to make the buildings come to life.
I find it helpful to think of a building or background as a character itself. It has a history, a story that can be told. It helps me to think about places I have seen from a distance or from inside, and the impression it gave me. Did it make me feel happy, anxious, lonely, sad, excited? If so, what was it about the building that spoke to me. I sometimes look through magazines and try to imagine the story or scene in the building or location. Does it fit? Will it help the story?
Sketching buildings and scenes from life regularly also helps me to become familiar with the elements of architecture and furnishing that I can take for granted. If i spend 20 minutes in a drawing focusing on the hoses, or powerlines, or drains on a building, I am more aware of it the next time I look at a building.
I do have to say, having started with the perspective training and moved away from it for a while, I find that I turn to it more and more today, as it helps me to simplify the shapes, and to clarify the drawing so that the extra details do not distract from the whole.
Just so everyone knows, I've been checking this disscussion every day, and following the advice posted here. My buildings have drasticly improved so far, so THANK YOU very much to everyone. Please continue posting, as I still love to get advice and I will always need it.
Thanks again and again,
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