Simplifying is complicated. I found it helpful to make a more detailed sketch first and then simplify from that. Trying to simplify directly from the reference was too much at once. I felt like an intermediate step of simplification helped. The number of shapes used seems like kind of a subjective measure, but I kept it to what I considered 10. The rooster's comb and the buffalo's horns don't seem that simple to me. But, I drew them as a single shape anyway.
While working on this, I realized that I have never done anything like this before. I've never studied someone else's drawing through replicating it. So, I'm not sure if I did this correctly. But, it was interesting as I found myself thinking about the drawing in a lot more depth than I normally would - going past general observations of technique down to low level details while still trying to stay connected to the overall energy of the drawing. Anyway, I chose this picture by Bill Sienkiewicz. I like how the lines communicate the menace of the bear. It first appeared to me as though there were just a lot of frantic scratchy lines in a evil bear shape. In trying to copy it, I found that there were a lot fewer lines than I thought and that their placement was not as random as I thought. I did my best to recreate that. I left out a lot of the solid black part because it would have taken too long and I didn't think it was important.
This was a fun assignment. I felt like it helped me to become more aware of when I'm using chicken scratch strokes instead of smoothe ones. Often when there's some uncertainty about how/where a line should be I'm catching myself drawing little short strokes with my fingers. So, it's definitely something to work on going forward.
Day 2: Shoe I've been drawing casually for a long time and I'm realizing that I learned to draw with the pencil pinched in a death grip between my thumb and index finger. In addition to causing my hand to cramp up in a long session, I think it encourages me to draw with wrist and fingers only. I'm working on holding the pencil in a very loose grip - just enough pressure so the pencil holds steady and doesn't fall out of my hand. For whatever reason, it feels like a looser grip encourages the use of my arm instead of my fingers/wrist.
After watching the demo, I saw a few big issues with my first attempt: - I spent like an hour and a half doing the whole thing. So, I sort of rushed it and this caused all sorts of problems. - The brightness on my display was too dark. I was not seeing some of the highlights and half tones. So, I set my display to full brightness and took my time -- especially on the lay in. I don't know how long I spent, but it was at least 4 hours to complete the drawing. I think that made the biggest difference. The other thing that made a big difference was following the order Stan used in applying the different values. In my first attempt, I took a kind of random approach to shading which yielded an uneven and disjointed look. Following his approach helped a lot.