Help in learning to paint.

kismesisterkismesister MuBellevue, WARegistered User regular
edited January 2011 in Artist's Corner
I lean towards cellshade and thick linework for most of my stuff. I love the look, but I'm frustrated that I haven't improved in years. You can only take that so far before it stops helping you improve. So I recently decided to branch out into digital painting. I think I'm doing okay just futzing around, but I'd really like some concrit! My lighting, my shadows, my technique, etc. I'm especially having trouble with hair, I just can't get it to look like... hair. My colors are kind of ruddy, too, even though I started fairly bright :(

So... help!

Here's the piece so far:

And here it is much bigger.

I started off with hard flats and am blending them in using a combination of the marker and brush tools on PaintToolSAI, but they just look so... eugh. You can see where I haven't begun the blending process at the bottom.

Concrit encouraged. Help this stuck-in-a-rut cartoonist learn to paint :(

kismesister on


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    FugitiveFugitive Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Quick drive-by crit on my way to class.

    This painting tutorial by McGibs is a pretty good place to start. It's for Photoshop, but the basic way he works can be applied to pretty much any program.


    Also part of the reason your colors are coming out so ruddy is probably because you're using pure white and pure black for the light/shadow. There's no real rule against it, but when you don't have any shift in hues between light and dark that tends to make a piece pretty boring. It also doesn't make sense for the lit areas to be white, since your light source is red.

    On that same tangent, it looks like the die is your only source of light. If that's the case, then that's going to bathe the entire body in red light. Surfaces can only reflect the light that's there. Even if something is solidly "blue", it can't appear blue if your only color source is red.

    Fugitive on
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    tynictynic PICNIC BADASS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2011
    do you mean muddy? ruddy just means red.

    If this is your first foray into painting, I would probably stay away from really dramatic, difficult lighting for a while. Having a point source light in the middle of an image is a bit tricky regardless, and figuring out the lighting on top of figuring out how to render is probably just making things difficult for yourself.

    On that note, a problem that is common when you first start painting digitally is over-rendering. It's tempting to dive straight into achieving absolute realism, but you usually end up instead with something closer to lumps of muddy-coloured clay. Hair is also a dead giveaway when it comes to poor painting practices, as it's rather tricky ... anyway. If I were you,
    - I would first try a simpler scene or object, or something small like Gibs has done up there, using a really basic lighting scheme.
    - I would get away from ultra-smooth rendering for now, maybe look at Angel of Bacon's speedpaints, Obilex's texture paintings, etc, to get a feel for what can be done with looser approaches. Also, the former has some great lighting and colour advice (http://art-anecdotally.blogspot.com/2010/12/kevin-oneill-part-1-painting-and-light.html, http://art-anecdotally.blogspot.com/2011/01/kevin-oneill-part-2-simplifying-and.html). This is not to say really tight digital renders are bad, just that they're difficult and you may find something like that falling into place more naturally when you're more familiar with the tools and options available.
    - there are a lot of tutes around for how to paint hair, I don't have one in particular in mind that's better than the others so I won't link any, just have a google. But if you want to look at examples, wakkawa is always an inspiration.

    tynic on
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    zombiefriendzombiefriend Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I actually like the hard highlights you have going on. The only thing I really don't like is the face. It just doesn't look right to me for some reason. I don't know.

    I think I will pay attention to this thread as someone may post some other good tutorials or advice.

    zombiefriend on
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    NibCromNibCrom Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    The problem with the face is that the features don't match the orientation of the skull. The ear looks like a perfect profile view, the eye is a front view, the jaw and the nose are somewhere in between. If you're trying to draw somewhat realistically, you need to set up the geometric shapes correctly before you get into details like hair and lighting.

    NibCrom on
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    kismesisterkismesister Mu Bellevue, WARegistered User regular
    edited January 2011
    That tutorial's fabulous and I'm definitely going to try a few smaller pieces before I tackle this sucker again. I think it's gotten to the point where I've lost focus on this piece, haha. I need to improve before I can handle something as ambitious as this.
    I'm actually not painting with pure blacks/whites, except for the 'sharp' highlights on the skin being white. I was sort of trying to make the light more like a pink-white than anything, but it's clear that's not really coming across. I'll have to go back and redo the flats, but I think at this point it'll make for a better picture.

    I meant ruddy. I wanted a sorta cool/hot color scheme (which is why I started with blue tones and added in the red, but everything just sort of blended into this really mucky red when I got around to doing it :(

    That's true now that I'm looking at it! I think I looked my ear ref (...my ear in a mirror haha) a little too dead on. I kind of lost its angle. Since I'm redoing so much anyway I'll have to go back and poke at that.
    I wasn't necessarily going for a too realistic look in terms of anatomy, I just wanted to learn to paint in a more painterly way. A friend did the redlines for me so I think she got it right but I got so lost in what I was bringing to it that it doesn't mashup at all.

    Thanks all! I'll post wips of this in the future, but I'm gonna try and do a few still lifes/small paintings first :)

    kismesister on
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    rtsrts Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I keep waiting for Kevin to come and do a paint over.

    rts on
    skype: rtschutter
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    FugitiveFugitive Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Don't be afraid to just scrap something and start over if you really feel it isn't working out. Sometimes you will do yourself a lot more harm than good by trying to fine-tune corrections on a piece that has fundamental flaws. Plus when you start on something with these new techniques fresh in your head, not only will it further cement them in your mind, but you'll probably end up with a better piece.

    And yeah I went through with an eyedropper when I wrote my original crit, and you really have very little variation in hue between your light and shadow. I'm not talking about the pink blotches you put down, I'm talking about the actual lit areas. The red in the cape, for instance, has a barely perceptible shift in hue from the area bordering the almost absolute blackness, to the area closest to the light source. The only things that change are the saturation and brightness, even thought the darker areas should shift towards the blue of the background.

    I would just suggest trying to find some reference photos of the lighting scheme you're trying to achieve, either for this one or for the next drawing you want to do. Your blue is so dark it might as well be black, but I think if you do some research you'll find that you can make that blue significantly brighter and still present a very dark atmosphere. Personally, I just have a folder that I will occasionally drop random pictures into if I like the colors, and I can refer to this folder later when I'm struggling with a color scheme.

    Fugitive on
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