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I got comments saying that the pose is flat and the form has no shape and that I should draw simple 3D shapes. I don't understand what they mean by form having no shape or pose being flat. Here is my finished drawing:

Newborn Baby Asleep

Honestly, I have drawn simple 3D shapes before. Trouble comes when I try to both shade and color. If I just color, like I did here, I can get the color to be perfect. If I just shade I can get the shadows to be perfect. But both and trouble arises, for me at least because then it leads to all these questions of "Where is the light most intense? Does what I am drawing even have a reflective surface? Are there multiple shadows from multiple lights?" etc.

And I don't have a large set of high quality colored pencils such as Prismacolor to settle the shading + coloring issue. All I have for drawing with pencils is the colored pencils you would get from a store + lots of HB or no. 2 pencils and 1 2B pencil.

So yeah, I would either be putting graphite on top of color or color on top of graphite, not many options. This is primarily why I have gone with drawing it as though whatever I am drawing is at the subsolar point of a planet and thus has no shadow(really, Lahina noon which only occurs in the tropics = no shadow because the sun is directly overhead). No shadow = no worries about which way to layer the color and graphite and in what direction or if there is more than one of them which is great for me because this shading + color gives me much more trouble than either shading or color alone.

To me, it isn't worth it to go through all that trouble related to shadows unless I am doing a 100% graphite drawing where I know I can get it to look right(which clearly, I am not doing). And likewise, if I am doing a realistic drawing, I don't think it is worth it doing 100% graphite. Grayscale just does not look realistic to me at all, regardless of shading, especially for humans. No real human is black, white, and shades of gray all over their body, so no reason to go 100% graphite in my opinion. Sure, to someone completely colorblind, they couldn't tell the difference but I know no one with such condition.

I also got comments about using proko to learn how to draw humans. I don't see how that will help with newborns. Pregnant maybe but newborn? I think that is unlikely since all of proko is designed for drawing adults, not babies.

Anyway, how can I improve my drawing method for babies and potentially all humans? Here it is:

  1. Find reference image
  2. Try to draw as close as possible in pose to the image
  3. Press lightly for pale skin, hard for dark skin
  4. Add pink, particularly for pale skinned babies
  5. Finally add hair
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If you're drawing for a hobby, some tips for beginners can be found here and here.

Firstly, you can improve your drawing by:

  1. Drawing newborn baby anatomy - I found a cute example for you here.
  2. Reading this.

Control your drawing. You can practice some baby gesture drawing, and add light and shadow.

Here is an expert tutorial: press hard for dark skin tones and lightly for pale skin tones while coloring; only mix colors by coloring the drawing layer by layer; different shadows, tones, and highlights will yield a better result.

You can find many references by searching for 'baby portrait', 'cupid painting', and similar terms:

  • A newborn baby is similar to a sleeping baby in appearance.
  • Cupid painting has a long history and references can be found easily for many styles and periods.

You have a long way to go to become a realistic artist, but if you seriously want to be an artist, you can find short courses or even follow higher education in fine arts to enhance your skills.

Good luck!

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