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Is learning how to draw necessary?

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  • Is learning how to draw necessary?

    Hello everyone! I am new here, and I am blown away by how awesome and full of useful info this forum is. I just wanted to ask you all a quick question because I am going through a bit of a struggle. I have always enjoyed taking pictures, and the reason why I do that is that I cannot draw a single line to save my life. I would like to learn how to retouch my pictures, and because from what I see there is a big correlation between photo retouching and painting, I have started taking some art classes. The fact is that I am not making any progress whatsoever. I am in my 20s and do not recall having ever drawn a single picture even as a child. They keep making me practice drawing straight lines (and I cannot even accomplish that) and nothing else. My question is: is it necessary to learn how to draw in order to learn how to retouch? I understand that retouching has got a lot to do with painting, but is it possible to learn what is necessary to know about colors and lights and shadows while working directly on the photographs and following tutorials rather than by learning how to draw and paint a picture from scratch first? As far as drawing goes, I am a lost cause for real!
    Thank you all for your help

  • #2
    Re: Is learning how to draw necessary?

    …………....No.

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    • #3
      Re: Is learning how to draw necessary?

      That is good to hear! Are you sure about that? Because I keep hearing how important it is to be a good illustrator in order to be a good retoucher and I do admit that sometimes I wish I knew more about painting when I need to work on a photograph. I plan to work on that but I really wish there was a way to learn all about that which doesn't require actually drawing and painting from scratch because I can't do that.

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      • #4
        Re: Is learning how to draw necessary?

        The people who say that are BFA grads or dropouts who fell into retouching in order to pay the bills, and who want to feel superior to other non BFAs working in the field. Or maybe they are using Photoshop as a tool to do illustrations, which isn't retouching.

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        • #5
          Re: Is learning how to draw necessary?

          You don't have to be able to draw or paint but it does help. Art school or classes teach you how to see which in turn determines what you produce. Constant practice improves draughtsmanship and composition skills which IMO are essential especially for creative retouching and complex montage. If you are using a stylus and tablet it stands to reason that your capability in making strokes will determine the speed and accuracy of your results. Ultimately the more core skills you have in your bag the better!

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          • #6
            Re: Is learning how to draw necessary?

            Originally posted by Repairman View Post
            You don't have to be able to draw or paint but it does help. Art school or classes teach you how to see which in turn determines what you produce. Constant practice improves draughtsmanship and composition skills which IMO are essential especially for creative retouching and complex montage. If you are using a stylus and tablet it stands to reason that your capability in making strokes will determine the speed and accuracy of your results. Ultimately the more core skills you have in your bag the better!
            So far my manual dexterity looks like an absolute zero, which is a bit discouraging. I hope it is true that if you keep practicing you actually do get better. The fact is that I am 21 and I feel like it is a bit late to learn those skills seriously, which is what discourages me

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            • #7
              Re: Is learning how to draw necessary?

              LOL 21 - I've got clothes in my wardrobe older than you! Look, many people are just starting at 21 so you're ahead of the game already. You're under no pressure to be a great figurative artist and not all retouchers have formal training; the point is that improving your hand/eye dexterity will yield results, even if only from time to time.

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              • #8
                Re: Is learning how to draw necessary?

                Originally posted by Isolde View Post
                So far my manual dexterity looks like an absolute zero, which is a bit discouraging. I hope it is true that if you keep practicing you actually do get better. The fact is that I am 21 and I feel like it is a bit late to learn those skills seriously, which is what discourages me
                It's not late. I'm probably one of the bigger advocates of learning some basic illustration, but there are a couple reasons. One is it helps you think beyond the scope of the individual tools provided by photoshop. The other is that it helps build dexterity. You're more likely to notice specific strokes that are off than a subtle adjustment to a photo, yet dexterity helps a lot when it comes to speed and accuracy. The other things are issues like perspective scaling, convergence, and choice of colors. Learning to break down what you see and repeat it helps in these areas. It helps even more if your initial learning is independent, where you would not be able to learn technique by emulating the actions of others within a given shop. Drawing exercises are also fairly fast in photoshop. Set your tablet mapping however you find it most comfortable. Try more than just straight lines, but try 500 of them before bed. Try the same thing the next day. Muscle memory will build up quickly.

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                • #9
                  Re: Is learning how to draw necessary?

                  Originally posted by klev View Post
                  One is it helps you think beyond the scope of the individual tools provided by photoshop. The
                  That is a key point. It is liberating to approach retouching problems in terms of what you can achieve by your own hand.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Is learning how to draw necessary?

                    I know retouchers who used to work on physical prints and transparencies and they suck in Photoshop. I know people who can draw amazing images on paper and in Photoshop and they are great at retouching. I know people who will never create a good drawing on paper but are great at retouching in Photoshop.

                    Retouch is a skill that can be learned and improved over time, like most other arts. The key is to practice, practice, practice. Even the best sketch artists drew body parts over and over and over again until they perfected their skill.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Is learning how to draw necessary?

                      Thanks a lot guys, everything you have said is really helpful. Klev and Repairman, I especially agree with what you said about being able to notice specific lines. So many times I have looked at one of my pictures and realized that something was off, yet felt uncapable of locating exactly what it was because I am not trained in perspective, lighting etc.

                      It's just that most kids my age who decide to get into professional retouching like me seem to be the kind of people who were born holding a sketchbook and learned how to use a tablet along with their first steps. But still, retouching really makes me happy like nothing else and it's the only job I really want, so I guess I have no choice but give it my best shot and try to learn everything I can from my art classes

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                      • #12
                        Re: Is learning how to draw necessary?

                        You're going to be working with a tablet, so it's probably best to get into that straight away. Experiment with making flowing, confident marks, and try to get your arm moving - not just your fingers. There is virtually no friction between the stylus and the tablet surface, so you may find that you can gain better control by adjusting the pressure of the heel of your hand on the tablet surface to create the right amount of drag.
                        Last edited by AKMac; 02-13-2014, 10:26 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Is learning how to draw necessary?

                          Well, its not very necessary, but it will always be a plus point for you when you'll have to sculpt a model's figure, like taking in the wider waist and broad shoulders while still maintaining the body proportion.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Is learning how to draw necessary?

                            Originally posted by Isolde View Post
                            Thanks a lot guys, everything you have said is really helpful. Klev and Repairman, I especially agree with what you said about being able to notice specific lines. So many times I have looked at one of my pictures and realized that something was off, yet felt uncapable of locating exactly what it was because I am not trained in perspective, lighting etc.

                            It's just that most kids my age who decide to get into professional retouching like me seem to be the kind of people who were born holding a sketchbook and learned how to use a tablet along with their first steps. But still, retouching really makes me happy like nothing else and it's the only job I really want, so I guess I have no choice but give it my best shot and try to learn everything I can from my art classes
                            One makes the other easier. I agree with AKMac that you should go for the tablet and become comfortable with it. The things I suggest are to make some of the more difficult stuff more approachable. They aren't necessarily about drawing. They're just basic art skills. Even if you wanted to be a photographer, I think you would see some benefit from a strong understanding of perspective rather than one that only extends as far as to be able to tell when something is obviously wrong. The other thing is that fundamental art skills do make significantly easier to approach other subjects. If you are set on doing this for a career, I suggest eventually developing some basic 3d modeling skills as well and an understanding of render passes. They may be seen as a plus in some of the better shops, depending on your market.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Is learning how to draw necessary?

                              Originally posted by Repairman View Post
                              That is a key point. It is liberating to approach retouching problems in terms of what you can achieve by your own hand.
                              It is. I guess I tend to think this way for a couple reasons. One is that some of the most talented people I've met had backgrounds in fine art rather than photography. The other is that at one point I was frequently unsure what made an image feel dull or how to get perspective right on comped elements. This is also someone who is not yet working, so I'm prone to suggest anything that is more likely than not to improve their chances of success. Doh meant to edit that onto the first post.

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