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Sketches, Studies, and Stuff

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Posts

  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    Hey, not bad! Two things. First -- SQUINT at your reference to check the values. That should help you see that some values are much brighter in your study than in the reference photo. The arm under the transparent sleeve is an easy one to spot if you look for it -- it's much brighter in your painting than in the reference.

    Second -- is this a study of a family member perhaps? If so, then I understand why you chose to paint that particular image. But that said, flash photography like this doesn't make very good images for learning, because it eliminates all the shadows that would help you describe form. Take a look at this article for some ideas about how to pick better reference images for study: http://fresh.thinkselect.ca/good-figure-drawing-reference-guide/

    Mabelma
  • MabelmaMabelma Registered User regular
    Lamp wrote: »
    Hey, not bad! Two things. First -- SQUINT at your reference to check the values. That should help you see that some values are much brighter in your study than in the reference photo. The arm under the transparent sleeve is an easy one to spot if you look for it -- it's much brighter in your painting than in the reference.

    Second -- is this a study of a family member perhaps? If so, then I understand why you chose to paint that particular image. But that said, flash photography like this doesn't make very good images for learning, because it eliminates all the shadows that would help you describe form. Take a look at this article for some ideas about how to pick better reference images for study: http://fresh.thinkselect.ca/good-figure-drawing-reference-guide/

    Thank you very much for the feedback. Definitely going to try out the squinting method.
    It's actually for a client, they sent me the picture and since this is the first time I've ever tried something like this I wanted to try and get it as best as I could. Although in the future if I do more work like this I'm going to definitely make use of that reference guide, for myself and for future work.

    Have some time, check out my blog
  • MabelmaMabelma Registered User regular
    edited August 2016
    Going to call this one done. I tried squinting but I'm not entirely sure if I understood it. Would anyone suggest an exercise to improve knowledge of values?
    j06n9wicej3z.png

    Would making value scales and properly shading my perspective warm-ups help?

    Old portraits and New one:
    bcogcgzqklsa.jpg


    Mabelma on
    Have some time, check out my blog
    Peas
  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    Here's a good video on the squint method for checking values:

    Mabelma
  • SublimusSublimus AustinRegistered User regular
    One other way you can quickly check your values is to keep a white layer with its layer-mode set to "color" on top, and toggle it off an on while you work.

    Mabelma
  • MabelmaMabelma Registered User regular
    @Sublimus I'm out of the studio for the weekend so I haven't tried it out but would love to know how it would help? Is it a brain thing or a photoshop thing?

    @Lamp thanks for sharing that. I watched it and it got me excited to try out some new studies, still not sure how the whole edges thing he mentions works, as I couldn't see it myself, but I can definetly understand the cylinders cones thing.

    Have some time, check out my blog
  • SublimusSublimus AustinRegistered User regular
    it's just a quick way to see your image in greyscale, which helps you see value more accurately (because it removes the other variables of hue and saturation, which can affect how you see things).

    It's nothing ground breaking, but its a helpful reference.

    Mabelma
  • MabelmaMabelma Registered User regular
    Working on a piece for a client, would appreciate your feedback. Thank you
    k7di5gpo03oc.jpg

    Have some time, check out my blog
    Peas
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    The lighting is still a bit all over the place, It's difficult to tell where the source is.

    It all seems a bit flat because of that, and you don't have much separating your subjects from a very complex background.

    Mabelma
  • MabelmaMabelma Registered User regular
    Thank you for your feedback @Iruka, the ligh should be coming from the windows and the chandelier.

    Not sure what you mean regarding the subjects and the characters, would you mind elaborating? Thank you

    Have some time, check out my blog
  • NatriNatri Registered User regular
    I would suggest putting this in black and white and working out your value structure first, so that the lighting is consistent and you have your focal area (most contrast) well defined. Right now, the arch behind the chandelier is drawing as much if not more attention than your main character. I would subdue the contrast over there a bit and increase it in the main char.
    I like how you used the arches in the foreground as a compositional framing device, but again if you put your image in black-and-white, you'll see that the value of the gold shiny arches in the top is very similar to your background, undoing the depth you want to create.

    Hope this makes sense!

    www.instagram.com/ceneven
    Mabelma
  • MabelmaMabelma Registered User regular
    First time I ever do this, but here's a black and white version. Going to be working on lighting things better for the next couple of hours and then I'll try and add color again when that's all done. Tried adding more contrast but this is still really new to me, very likely it did not work.xxualfbzqonu.jpg

    Have some time, check out my blog
  • MabelmaMabelma Registered User regular
    An hour in.
    2075nu8aj2ci.jpg

    Have some time, check out my blog
  • MabelmaMabelma Registered User regular
    3 hours in.
    j0s7fx4r14v4.jpg

    color test
    xguc4wp9q0cj.jpg

    Have some time, check out my blog
  • MabelmaMabelma Registered User regular
    Throwing this in the "good try" pile and giving the buyer a full refund. I'm not up to this sort of level yet. xvseb3pfnzt3.jpg

    Have some time, check out my blog
  • I don't understand the perspective that's going on in the background- the base of the columns, the rows of dollar signs in the wallpaper, and the wall baseboards aren't converging towards a distinct vanishing point like I would expect, and the rings around the columns are all parallel rather than being conceived of as ellipses in space, being flatter nearer the horizon line and more curved the further they are away from it. The wallpaper and the figures tell me I'm looking down at the scene, while the columns and their bases tell me I'm looking up at the scene, the chandler appears to be flat-on- the result is a very non-solid feel, as if the floor is built at an angle, lower near the camera, the chandelier tilting to face the viewer at an angle.

    Perspective is important to work out! You can get away with fudging it a bit in thumbnails, but when you start fleshing things out it's really worth the effort to make sure you're working with a solid, believable perspective setup.

    Not having this space solidified is actually going to tie into some of the lighting issues- if you can't pin down exactly where the light and the figures and the objects lie in three-dimensional space, it's going to very difficult to light everything in the scene consistently enough to have everything look like they belong in the space space when everything's all rendered out, and it'll be especially difficult to work out how cast shadows are going to fall. I'd guess that the chandelier is behind the central figure in most of these, which would tell me they'd probably be backlit- but the shading and shadows tell me it's top lit. So now the lighting on the figures to his sides don't make a lot of sense, because they would be more front lit is that were the case, and..etc. etc. It's hard to get a grasp of what's "right" in just a technical, 'how does light work" kinda way, before even getting into actual lighting design- that is, what you're hoping to achieve with the lighting.


    That said, even with perfect perspective, the composition here might still let you down. Lot of space and contrast being dedicated to windows and wallpaper and columns- and these may be of tertiary importance, but they're not the main drivers of the story. You've got a distanced perspective from your central figure- why? This seems to rob the gesture of what he's doing, throwing money around, of power. And the story is what, this pimp money man is bribing the presidents? Or bribing you? Are the presidents being pimped out? Or are they also just being portrayed as the decadent rich? What is their attitude and emotion? Are they enjoying swimming in wealth, or are they ashamed of it? why are they sitting around in a weirdly symmetrical fashion? If they're enjoying it, why aren't they lounging about like these things were big beanbag chairs, big grins on their faces? If they hate it, how are you depicting that? Why the angel wings? Why the halo? Why the sneakers? What are the robes the presidents are wearing all about?

    A good illustration isn't just about things being well drawn, it's about being able to clearly articulate a single, simple idea and having all the technical aspects- perspective, composition, lighting, character design, etc.- serve to hammer that idea home. If something looks cool but it doesn't help, or is distracting, figure out how to get rid of it. For example, the fancy window patterns are very elaborate, but what do they really gain you in telling this story? Got a bunch of blank wall space, how does that help? Can you change the camera angle, or the organization of the composition, to dedicate more space and more energy into the things that are most important to telling the story, to make it easier to understand?

    MabelmaPeasNatriIruka
  • MabelmaMabelma Registered User regular
    Thank @Angel_of_Bacon that was an incredible post! I'd like to know what to do next; I've been thinking of doing the Art Enrichment, and just starting from exercise 1. Really get it all down, but I'm not sure if I should instead practice the things that I messed up on the painting and get does down and try another illustration.

    Have some time, check out my blog
  • MabelmaMabelma Registered User regular
    Not really sure what the next step is. Or what the right way is, so I'm just going to wing it I guess.
    Recently finished a sketchbook on hands. Mostly just 30 mins sessions of pixel-lovely until the sketchbook was filled up. Here are some pictures.
    l7pf5tsp55ar.jpg

    Have some time, check out my blog
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    You aren't doing wrong things so don't feel bad. We all have to try to cut off more than we can chew to see if we can hack it.

    Feeling like you are spinning you wheels is common, so it's actually good to flip between studies and trying to take something to a more finished state. Remember that you are breaking your problems down into parts, so ask yourself what failed about that larger illustration and make it way, way simpler. Can you paint a few cylinders with a back drop? Can you separate objects into three planes (foreground, middle, and back)? Doing these small exercises is how we tackle our large problems.

    Look at these Sam Neilson studies:
    SNielson_Light_and_Form_Basics2.jpg

    SNielson_FrogLight.jpg

    Looking at the frog especially, can you think of how doing small digital studies might apply to a larger illustration? Can you set up a still life that replicates the scene you want to create, and light it how you want?

    A master of this is James Gurney:



    This is a good reference for the actual process:


    Heres a more concept art/entertainment industry approach:


    If you have the money, I would look into the self taught schoolism courses. They are video classes you can sit and watch and you can begin to plot a course for your own improvement. You've reached a really important milestone here, which is recognising your own limitation. That is an excellent step forward in that you can start to rely on yourself for the next step. Get out there and find the processes that will turn you into the artist you want to be. Study the things you want to actually paint, but do it academically. Being able to sit down and separate your technical skills from your emotions and subject matter is a huge deal.

    Angel_of_BaconMabelma
  • Mabelma wrote: »
    Not really sure what the next step is. Or what the right way is, so I'm just going to wing it I guess.

    It's a broad question- and as such, as frustrating as it may be, I can only give an appropriately broad answer.

    It's very difficult to ever recommend to anyone, "this is 100% the most correct thing to study next"- nobody's ever 100% perfect at any one skill, so everything can always use work. And doing anything means there's always an opportunity cost to not doing something else instead. So say you take another pass at an illustration, you'll be wondering if it wouldn't be going better if you'd spent that time working on perspective exercises, construction, anatomy, etc, etc. Or if you spent that time instead working on those perspective exercises, that nagging thought will be, 'can all I do is dry technical studies, shouldn't I be working on something more creative??' This is a struggle that never really ends.


    All I can say is to recognize this- you can't do everything all at once, and you're never going to master any skill in a day, or a week, or a month, or a year. What's important is that when you practice- whatever it is- you are doing it effectively, seriously, and consistently.

    Let me go over what I mean by that, one by one.

    "Effectively" means that you are studying it using a method that has been vetted by artists that have produced good work using it. You know what results that method is supposed to produce, you are interested in acquiring the skills to produce those specific results. Take your 30 min hands sketchbook- it's great to see the effort put in, but can you articulate the purpose of each hand study, or the series as a whole, beyond "I want to be able to draw hand better"? Because there are many ways to study how to draw hands, and there are many purposes for doing so. If you want to do cartoon, or comic book hands, your method of study may favor a construction-based approach- simplifying everything down into cylinders and boxes. The method for studying in this way can be found in the Preston Blair book Cartoon Animation (using very simplified cartoon hands), or How to Draw The Marvel Way, or to some degree in Bridgman's Book of 100 Hands/Complete Guide to Drawing from Life. If you're looking to work on intricately rendered hands, spending a lot of time meticulously rendering a copy of a plate from Bargue's drawing course over the course of 20 hours may be the way to go. With the former, that half hour may be best spent doing a few different hands- with the latter, that half hour may be woefully inadequate. How was that 30m time limit chosen in the first place? How is that decision serving your purpose?

    The point is, these methods (or whatever other method you may choose, vetted by whatever other artist, of whatever subject) have been proven to yield results, if given their due. Whatever you choose to study, there's no need to flounder about wondering what an effective method is- if you don't know an effective method, do your research and find one, or ask somebody who is likely to know what they're talking about. So many artists are stymied simply because they try to invent a method wholesale, rather than drawing on the hundreds of years worth of available knowledge at their disposal.


    "Seriously" means putting in the time and energy into any given single drawing in front of you. When you draw, the only problem you should be thinking of is the one right in front of your face- not the drawing you did yesterday, not the drawing you'll do tomorrow, not what this drawing could look like if you tried another method, not how good things are going or how bad things are going, not what your big hopes and dreams of what could be someday are. You've got a method you know works, according to someone that can prove it in their work. You're going to stick with it, committing however much time and energy that requires to do it justice, to get some of that learning into your hands and brain so you can actually use it.
    A lot of people fail because, oh sure they'd love to draw a Bargue drawing, but never will because they'll only put 10 minutes into what should be a 30 hour effort. Or they'll try a new thing and get frustrated that it's not working immediately, and fall back on old habits that still don't get good results, but they are at least familiar bad results rather than these new, scary bad results. So much effort gets wasted because artists -especially artists working on their own, rather than in a class- rush through things looking for quick results, rather than taking the time to get things right; and a lot of the time someone working on their own will have simply no idea how much time that is, given they only see results- which makes the artist look like a genius- and the artist actually doing the work by spending weeks on prep work and 100 hours working over a canvas- which makes the artist look like an ordinary idiot joe schmo that gets to the end mostly by toughing it out, more than anything.

    Art is like Tai Chi- you have to master it slow, in order to do it right when going fast. Or to put it another way- look at like you're building a house to live in. It may be more satisfying in the short term to slap a bunch of boards together, it may be vastly easier to make something that's maybe 87% "right" than one that's 99.95% "right". But when you move in, the hour you saved by rushing through is going to mean 40 years of a roof leaking over your head, a door you have to kick to close, a toaster that blows a fuse every time you want something crispier than a Pop-Tart. Take it seriously, slowly, and methodically if you don't want your bad habits haunting you.


    "Consistently" means doing whatever you have to do to keep working at this level of effectiveness and seriousness. It may be tempting to hammer down on one thing or another- and certainly talking about "seriousness" can lead to this thinking- to really push yourself in one big training-montage-esque effort to finally win at learning at a particular subject. "I'm going to draw nothing but skulls for the next month, until I can draw skulls with my eyes closed!", you might say. But usually when people try this, they rarely ever succeed. It gets too repetitive, it gets too monotonous, they may be missing one piece of the puzzle that it would take to make it things come together, and taking the effective and serious method requires so much concentration, while the actual development of skills happens very slowly. It tends to make people feel like they're not getting anywhere fast (even if they are), and generally they give up, and go back to studying methods that are easier/faster/more comfortable. Consequently, they may be less frustrated in the short term, but in the long term they end up just running in circles, in terms of progress.

    So my suggestion would be to schedule your time in such a way that you're allotting enough time to give each subject a genuinely serious effort, but cycle through to another subject that you can study with equal seriousness afterwards, so you don't burn out on any one thing. This may mean working your time out like a class schedule- rarely would you have a class that's just 8 hours a day for an entire semester on a single subject. You'd have a 3 hour class once or twice a week, and other classes with the same timeframe commitment. Heck, if there's a school or college that produces artists doing the sort of work you want to be doing, even if you can't attend that school, you'll probably at least be able to figure out an example schedule from their curriculum. Lift it wholesale for your own purposes, why not. (This is also a good way to research books/resources/teachers that can help you). It also means, hey maybe you need to schedule time to just have fun drawing. It's easy to get wrapped up in how to draw that you can lose sight of why you draw- and reminding yourself of that is also an important thing to not discount, if you want to remain consistent, serious, and effective in your studies.


    When you're at your desk drawing, be serious, and spend the time. In between drawing, you need to remember that even the most serious student requires time to develop, and you shouldn't worry too much because you will be back, there's always another tomorrow. A balance has to be achieved.


    So I can't tell you what to do specifically, say, tomorrow. But I can give you the broad categories, which you probably already know- construction, light and shade, perspective, life drawing, gesture, composition. It doesn't matter so much which of these you tackle tomorrow, it matters that you know which you're going to be hitting, over and over, over the course of the next 3 months, six months, next year, and you know how to work at them effectively and keep yourself motivated to keep coming back to them again and again. It's a marathon not a sprint- and a marathon is not just a bunch of sprints slammed up against another. What's going to keep you going for the next mile is more important that worrying about how fast you could go over the next 100m- that might get you through those 100m, but blow your energy pointlessly and you won't finish the race in the end.

    IrukaMabelmaProspicienceYoshisummonsPeas
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Yo try to keep your image sizes down please. Those are huge.

    Mabelma
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