Not too bad, considering. But not the kind of thing anyone would pay for. Then there's this:
I went on my first mecha kick sometime in 2000/2001, but this piece is scarcely original; I copied it out of an art book for Heavy Gear, a mecha video game that was popular back then. All I did was add some extra hardware and label the heck out of it all.
Sure, this one's decent. Too bad it came from a "How to Draw Muscle Cars" book.
Yeah, this was a step up from the Heavy Gear rip-off. I drew this based off a Witchblade/Tomb Raider comic that a friend of mine brought to school one day.
Hey-hey! Here's a nice piece of crap.
So basically I look back at what I drew in those days and I don't esteem it very highly, at least not in the context of whether I would buy it. I like to think I've improved over the years, which is what brought me to the point where I could make this:
That's from the upcoming novella REBEL HEART. Still aiming for a mid-April release, but whatever the date ends up being, I'll announce it when I'm sure it will launch.
This is the last REBEL HEART sketch that I will post online. I have maybe a dozen more to do, but since I've posted them all on the Facebook page, I want to leave a few surprises for the final product.
My friend T.J. mentioned recently that he wished he could illustrate one of his own books, I think he said it in the context of drawing out the characters to get a visual. Obviously not everyone draws, or even esteems themselves to have an inclination toward it, but don't let that deter you from trying.
Learning how to draw isn't merely a matter of innate talent, though it does come easier to some than others. I've done it my whole life and I'm only as good as the piece above. (When I was living in Spain, I met a man who'd taken up painting in his sixties, and after only one year he was producing the kind of stuff they'd hang in the White House.) It's all a matter of pinning down some basics, and elaborating from there.
In no particular order, here are a few steps you can take if you want to get good/better at drawing:
1) Get a "How to Draw" book. That Dodge Charger sketch up above might have come from a how-to manual, but I still drew it. It gave me a sense of perspective on machines, which I've definitely used in my art since then.
2) It's like the relationship between reading and writing. If you want to write better, you need to read more. If you want to draw better, you need to observe more. Pay attention to light values, angles, relative size and so on. Or read more graphic novels.
3) Start simple. I spent a lot of time freehanding Disney characters before I figured out how to make distinct-looking characters with simple lines and shapes.
4) Do it in your downtime. Get a small sketchpad and draw small things--someone's face, or their profile, or a fire hydrant, your iPhone, whatever. I put together big, varied drawings by looking at pictures of lots of small things, placing them where they're needed, and then shading them appropriately so that they look like they belong. It's a trick I'd have figured out a lot sooner if I'd done it more often (but I spent all that time writing. :)
5) Stop telling yourself you can't do it. Because there are plenty of damn commies out in the world that will tell you you can't do something, you don't need to put your own name on the list. I could be an astronaut if I wanted, I'm just not willing to do what it takes to get there. Fortunately drawing isn't so exclusive.
As with anything in life, if you break it down to its most necessary component parts, learn those, then elaborate, with practice you'll get it down. It helps if you don't hold yourself to someone else's standard; set your own. I'll never draw like James A. Owen, and that's fine. I draw like Graham Bradley. After enough people see my work, they'll always be able to tell mine apart. It's like penmanship.
So T.J. (and the rest of the world), that's how you learn to draw.
Or do anything else, really.
Also, get back to work.