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Questions, Discussion, Tutorials



  • KallistiKallisti Registered User regular
    So I have a question about color and color planning cause it constantly eludes me. Does anyone here ever completely plan out their colors before they approach an illustration? I was reading about gamut mapping in Guerney's Light and Color book and I'm not sure how to incorporate it or think about it. He provides a great example of this in his video:

    I tend to plan out my illustrations using sources of light and lack thereof having taken Sam Nielson's course over at Schoolism- fill light, key light, occlusion, ambient, which is more of a 3D lighting approach and don't really know how to mesh the two ideas together or if they actually do mesh, or if they're sort of the same thing.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Do you do thumbnails of your illustration? You can do color studies of masters just like you study light and form and all that, If you want accurate colors, doing some of that work will help.

    You can also use something like kuler

    and just digitally try out 4-5 different schemes, just to see what works.

  • franciumfrancium Registered User regular
    what is the industry standard for writing a long form comic? do you just need the dialogue written? or like a movie screenplay?

  • m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    edited June 2013
    Try looking up the Dark Horse script submission guidelines, they will give you a fairly good picture of how it is.
    It varies a lot, but you have to remember that comics aren't books with pictures nor movies with words. It's an amalgam and you have to treat it as such, why comic scripts aren't entirely like movie scripts nor entirely like books. Usually you'll have description of how many panels are on the page, what type of angle, perspective etc. are in the panel, what's in the foreground, middleground, background and a bunch of other description.
    As said though it varies a lot, try checking out some of these. Remember, never treat it as a movie screenplay and never treat it as a book, comics are capable of things you can't do in the other two mediums and vice versa.

    edit: oh, and an extra tip I got from Frazer Irving at Copenhagen Comics: don't omit important stuff like plot twists from the script, even in the beginning of the script. It's tempting to want to give the artist the experience of discovering the plot twist for him/herself, but you should never do that because the artist is not your audience he is your collaborator. Let him know if something game changing is coming up.

    m3nace on
  • McDMcD Registered User regular
    like m3nace says, it tends to vary quite a bit from writer to writer, Alan Moore famously describes every detail in every panel on the page, complete with examples of things he wants the artist to look up for reference. Some people play a bit more fast and loose with that stuff and let the artist put their own spin on it. That's a great resource for checking out scripts, though! I'm gonna have a look through those myself...

  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    edited June 2013
    Some friends and I are thinking of doing some collaborative drawing sessions over Skype. What's the current best online drawing application? Still OpenCanvas? Or is it possible to set up a system where we can all see streams of each others drawings at the same time?

    Flay on
  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    Another question: as long as I've had my tablet (a bamboo that's a few years old now) I've been having this issue:


    It's pretty much impossible for me to get strokes to smoothly taper. Anyone know why?

  • KallistiKallisti Registered User regular
    Yeah I believe it's a levels of sensitivity issue. You can try checking your driver to see if there's anything recent, or using a high dpi when drawing so it's less obvious. You may also want to try a program like Painter where you're allowed the option to adjust the initial size of the taper.

  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    I've had that issue before, too. You can try opening up the Wacom control panel and (I'm not sure if Bamboo has this too, but I imagine it would) look for a "pressure curve" setting. Sometimes you can change the curve of pressure sensitivity. Not sure if that would help, but it's worth a shot?

  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    edited June 2013
    Looks like I can adjust the 'tip feel', but I don't think that's the same as the pressure curve. Still, I'll give it a shot.

    EDIT: Hm, that helps a little, but still not fixed. I found this thread on, for people with the same issue, so maybe I'll find something there.

    Thanks for your help guys!

    Flay on
  • Mondo BramptonMondo Brampton Registered User regular
    edited June 2013
    Hey guys, new here, could use your advice. This is a weird one that really has me stumped fellas, hope you can help me here.

    Had a job that fell in my lap this morning by complete random. A woman wanted me to first take a couple of photoshop psd documents and reformat them into an inDesign one. Once done, I simply send a message with the content back.

    And then later he decided she actually wanted it in an ai file format, so I ported it into illustrator and resent her the very same file she gave to me in Illustrator's native format

    That's it.

    What the heck do I charge for this gig? I was basically just a middle man here. Would a hundred sound fair? I want to make an 'aggressive' price that's tough but fair, but at the same time all I did was convert a psd file into an ai

    I just don't even know where to come from here, and i'm not interested in scaring off a (potential) repeat client. Any help or advice?

    Mondo Brampton on
  • MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
    Was payment ever discussed, or did you just agree to do it?

  • Mondo BramptonMondo Brampton Registered User regular
    We discussed payment options and the like (i'm sticking with Paypal for now)

    Just no price was brought up because I was making sure that's all she wanted me to do

  • MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
    Well, if this was happening to me, I'd charge anywhere between $75 - $100. You didn't really design anything, it was just recreating them in another program.... twice....

    Unless it was really complicated, I would not charge a whole lot for this kind of request.

    Don't let yourself fall into the habit of saying yes right away. Protect yourself and discuss payment first, also have a contract.

  • KallistiKallisti Registered User regular
    Anyone have any good tips about color mixing? I've taken classes, I've got the book Light and Color and I'm still having a hell of a time with it. I'd really like to get more fantastical with it, right now my stuff kinda feels expected.

  • Mondo BramptonMondo Brampton Registered User regular
    Alright, I'll go with a hundred at start with room to haggle.

    If she asks me why so much ill tell her it was $10 for the job, $90 for the info

  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    So guys, I'm in the process of designing a print, and for the first time I'm planning to make it available for sale online. I've got a few questions: What are some good sites for selling prints? Should I stick with one site, or try to sell it on many? How do you guys feel about places like threadless, where content is moderated by popular vote? And finally, since I'm awful at self-promotion, how do I go about getting my work noticed?

  • Mondo BramptonMondo Brampton Registered User regular
    Threadless has it's share of problems but it does pay big money compared to most sites

    I'd say stick with it until you figure out what works/sells to the usual crowd there

  • MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
    Alright, I'll go with a hundred at start with room to haggle.

    If she asks me why so much ill tell her it was $10 for the job, $90 for the info

    I have no idea what this means.

    Remember that she might want to contact you again for more jobs, she might expect a $10 project. Don't shoot yourself in the foot, give as little info as you need. If you're charging $100, that's what it cost, period.

  • SeraphSwordSeraphSword Sketch Fetishist Austin, TXRegistered User regular
    @Flay I've never done anything with them, but inPRNT was one I've heard recommended. If you get your prints done elsewhere, I think is pretty popular as a basic storefront.

    Best idea I think is also to get available prints from a few of the places you are considering and see what you think of the quality, maybe email some of the artists and ask what they think of the service, etc.

    Good luck.

    Mastery is the result of ceaseless error, combined with ruthless self-appraisal.
  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    Thanks for the links.

    The quality of prints on inPrnt is pretty crazy, I'm not sure I can compete on the same level. I'll need to step up my game.

  • Angel_of_BaconAngel_of_Bacon Moderator mod
    edited June 2013
    Kallisti wrote: »
    Anyone have any good tips about color mixing? I've taken classes, I've got the book Light and Color and I'm still having a hell of a time with it. I'd really like to get more fantastical with it, right now my stuff kinda feels expected.

    @Kallisti: Could you give some examples of where you're looking to go with color (ie: other artists/works whose color sense you'd like to get closer to) and where in your own work you feel you're coming up short (specific examples)?

    You've made a couple posts now about how you feel you're not using color as well as you could be and not gotten many responses, which I suspect is because your color choices are generally solid enough and are backed up with a charming design sense- there are no obvious 'problems', so to speak- so I think most people are going to feel you're well beyond the "well here's the logical factual way light and color works" level of advice (and the James Gurney book would explain that more clearly and in more depth than anyone here could).

    This kinda makes talking about the subject in an overarching, broad manner a bit difficult; because beyond a certain level of artistic skill, things that you feel are coming up short at will simply come across to other people as deliberate design choices. I tend to do a lot of paintovers on light for people around here, but generally only with people aiming for a semi-realistic rendering quality, because I don't want to come across as a jerk who entirely missed the point of someone's style decisions. Having some more specific goals that you're trying to achieve might give people greater ability to talk confidently on the matter.

    EDIT: Also as much as I love the James Gurney book, the whole gamut mapping thing just strikes me as a fancy was of saying, "limited palette", really- the moral of the story being, you don't need every color of the rainbow to get your points across. Dialing it in with as much precision as he does may be useful, but probably a lot more so in physical media than digital ones; where an oil painter has to have it all sorted out more or less ahead of time (ideas confirmed with small color comps before launching into the whole thing), a digital painter can just slap a Curves adjustment layer on and skew the colors all over the place after the fact. It's good information to know and probably makes for good exercise, but I don't think anyone's going to cast judgment on you or anything for not using it.

    Angel_of_Bacon on
  • KallistiKallisti Registered User regular
    Hey thanks for listening, I'll try to do my best to explain. This is something recent I'm working on and I'm really just at the beginning of understanding color from a more painterly perspective, I've never really pushed myself in this avenue before so maybe I should go a little easier on myself as it just takes time, but I would like to keep pushing what's capable. I guess what I want is to be a bit more wild with my color and lighting, to push away from the sky is blue tree is green warm light cool shadows. I feel like I need to figure out a way in which I can make it more exciting, by possibly injecting more color into my shadows or adding a colored light to the mix or keeping the color scheme more minimal? Maybe I'm just thinking out loud and need to explore these ideas on my own.

    Examples would be this guy, I really love what he does with color and light.

  • Balin-the-TackonautBalin-the-Tackonaut Registered User new member
    ctrlpaint might be worth checking out.

  • Angel_of_BaconAngel_of_Bacon Moderator mod
    Cool, I think looking at that dude's work helps a lot in teasing out what you're trying to get at, and I think (hopefully), I can give you some pointers in that direction.

    The big thing that stand out to me in making the work stand out isn't so much the technicalities of light/color, so much as knowing when and where to 'chose his moment', so to speak- pushing everything back so when it comes to the one most important idea, he has room to punch it up a lot and really make it stand out; by doing so it gives the composition a lot more impact than simply relying on local colors of objects to make the picture work.

    There's a couple ways he's doing this, so to break them down in no particular order:

    1) Carefully regulating saturation for effect, rather than relying on local value/color

    Take this picture, for example:

    One thing that's great about this is that he's managing to demonstrate color is all relative, by making a color that would be kinda gross and ugly by itself and making it seem bright and vibrant, by how he's surrounding it.
    If you throw this pic into PS, and use the eyedropper to see how the colors change as you move from the background to the foreground, you can tell that it moves from a very, very desaturated, almost gray background, and become progressively more saturated as it moves closer to the viewer; if he'd lit up the background with as much saturation as the foreground, the foreground would fall flat- it's the contrast between the two that makes the impact.

    Now, you could say, that's just the natural effect of it being an overcast day, there's atmospheric perspective in play, so of course it's going to look like that; how do I know that was a totally deliberate artistic choice? Well, because he then does the complete opposite in another piece:

    Here, everything is saturated EXCEPT the guy in the foreground, and it pops him out right away because of it. He's choosing his moment with saturation.

    A good exercise you might want to try sometime is coloring something with a duotone scheme- that is, black, white, and one other color. This forces you to use saturation control to the utmost, in using saturation changes rather than hue changes to achieve warm/cool color effects.

    A good example by some pros:
    And my own quickie effort- not what I'd call great painting, but should serve as a decent illustration of why you don't always necessarily need to go all the way to opposing colors to get color compliments, if you can make a mid-grey look like a blue sea, provided you have enough orange.

    2) Color toning
    On a similar note, he often tones his palette with a certain central color, so almost everything shares a color harmony right off the bat.
    James Gurney had a good bit on this on his blog (can't remember if it's in the book):

    These all, for example, keep almost everything within a brown/orange palette:

    And where he breaks with the color tone, he does so for delibrate effect:
    Everything blue EXCEPT the embers

    Everything blue EXCEPT the man and the lightning, and a little bit in the rock:

    Everything is kinda toned back by that beige/brown tone of the sky, EXCEPT the teal wall which drives the eye towards the character:

    This is a thing an idea that's both very simple, and not at all obvious- why would you make a fire hydrant blue or green, if you know it's actually red? But it all comes back to the fact that everything is relative; If everything else in the scene is blue, you can make the fire hydrant basically blue, and it will still look red if it's just that tiniest bit more red than everything surrounding it.

    And the reason to do it is because usually, in terms of composition you're probably going to have bigger fish to fry than what specific color each and every object is (unless you're an interior designer and you need to work out the PANTONE colors for everything). The situation could there's a ton of dust kicked up, could be fog, could be night, could be blinding daytime; all things which will dramatically change the overall feel of a composition, and your colors need to change to suit that feeling, the mood (that's the important bit).

    3) Letting colors underneath 'peek through'by using textures
    This might be more of a 'trick' than anything, but worth mentioning, going back to that first pic:

    If you look from far away you don't notice anything weird with the grass, but if you look close you can see he's thrown in these tinest flecks of a complimentary red in there, just to give that little extra bit of subtle contrast to the color. It's not overpowering, it doesn't call attention to itself, but it's there and it kicks things up just that extra tiny bit more. This is something that good number of painters will do, introducing little color compliments by roughly scumbling a cool color over a base layer of warm, or vice versa. This works well if you're going for a textured look; not sure if you are, but it's something worth experimenting with if so.

    4) Not being afraid to 'lose' edges
    Lots of people coming from a strong linear drawing background have a hard time letting go of the habit of delineating literally the distinctions between objects, whereas in paint it's often preferable to group things together for the sake of effect. A good example of grouping is this:

    Now, if you were told to draw this scene based on a description, it's easy to imagine you might draw out all the joints and panels in the robots, describe how those structures are all built, etc; which is great if you're trying to describe something so it can be modeled in 3d, but can end up undermining the mystery and mood that can be produced by leaving the information out- merely implying it rather than describing it. On the flip side, losing edges also give you room to really make a decision on where you ARE going to have some sharp, crisp edges, and how you can put them best to use; a crisp edge in a world of crisp edges won't draw attention, but a sharp edge in a sea of softness will stand right out.

    Now that I've yammered on about this dude for about forever, it's probably worth trying to figure you might apply some of this stuff:
    Roughly hacked some color in over what you've done thus far (hopefully you'll forgive me because the original was so polished, that in a lot of ways my paintover just makes it look worse...maybe just pretend what it would have looked like had I spent like 10 extra hours rendering it out to the same level. :/)


    So what I tried to do was pick out what I wanted to emphasize- mainly the light on the bottom of the face- and pushed back everything else. Washed that background green over everything to create a color tone and make more of an effect of a lot of light bouncing around a lot of green leaves in this forest. Lost a lot of those distinct edges and details on the lower body in shadow, reduced the sword + sword hand almost into silhouette- cool details, but not the main thrust of the composition (at least as far as this paintover goes- your own priorities may be different). Pushed back the distinction between the hair + the hood, lost it in shadow. Took the background and organized the saturation; high saturation/brightness up top, low saturation below, blending it into the cape. Splash of color in the background by the face to lead the eye to that area- just a couple strokes to imply greenery, without rendering or detailing it.

    Not the greatest paintover in the world, but hopefully it gets across a bit of the sense of painterliness and atmosphere you're trying to achieve, and gives you some ideas on where you can do some experimenting going forward.

    Hope this helps!

    Dversedm3naceIrukaSpaceMoosefranciumMonkey BoxMuddyParasolKallistiMcDToasticusbeckerskullsmageormiketapeslingerninjaiFlayNightDragonRed RaevynbombardierBegforrain
  • KallistiKallisti Registered User regular

    Ah dude thank you, you totally hit the nail on the head, thank you for eloquently explaining what I couldn't put into words! I'm going to take some time to digest this and I definitely need to do some exercises next, so I'm probly going to come back with lots of questions. The duotone exercise sounds great, can you recommend any others?
    This is a thing an idea that's both very simple, and not at all obvious- why would you make a fire hydrant blue or green, if you know it's actually red? But it all comes back to the fact that everything is relative; If everything else in the scene is blue, you can make the fire hydrant basically blue, and it will still look red if it's just that tiniest bit more red than everything surrounding it.

    So, this. I guess my question is where do I begin, how do I get my head in that space and work inside it and stop myself from thinking grass is green sky is blue? How do I decide to make the fire hydrant blue or green, is there a good approach for this? I'm guessing it's a matter of thinking about the mood I'm wanting to achieve with the color and what I want to emphasize? I feel like I should make a laundry list of questions I should be asking myself when approaching a piece. But yeah, awesome, thanks a lot.

  • Angel_of_BaconAngel_of_Bacon Moderator mod
    (Forewarning: I haven't really proofread this very closely and it's late- forgive the rambliness, this probably isn't as coherent or complete as would be preferable.)

    I think a lot of it is just going to come down to observation and experimentation.

    So on the observation front:

    One thing that might help to think about in breaking the standard habits is that you never actually see grass a standard Crayola "green", even in the most mundane setups, since the color is always being effected by the color of the light. This isn't artsy-fartsy speak, this is just the literal facts.

    Is it a sunny noon day? Parts of it will be yellow because of the sun, part of it will be bluer as the light bounces off the sky into the shadows.
    Is it overcast? The green will be grayed out by the light.
    Is it a dramatic sunset? It will get washed out almost entirely by the orange cast of the sun.
    Unless you're in a controlled studio environment using special color calibrated lights against a black, light absorbent background, chances are you will never be able to see that standard color of "green" in your grass, and indeed you never have; You might think you see it in all these other conditions, but you only think that because you are perceiving it relative to the environment, and not really taking in the color that's actually there.

    Before, you no doubt just chose green because it made a logical, left-brain sorta sense- but in reality, it's kind of absurd- why would you paint a color you'll never see? It doesn't make much sense at all. But in order to break the habit, first you've gotta figure out what colors you actually do see.

    An easy way to figure that out is to take an index card and punch a little, pencil-width hole through it. Hold that card at arm's length at point it at something in the distance; this helps divorce what you're seeing from the surrounding context, and instead puts it up against a neutral context; this way you can actually perceive the true color of what you're looking at, rather than what color you think you're seeing. (You can also do this by taking photos into PS and observing with the color picker what the colors you eyedrop at various spots actually turn out to be; it can be pretty surprising just how far off you can be in your assumptions.) I can ask you to believe me that the red fire hydrant can be blue, but until you kind of see it for yourself, it probably won't really click as to how and why.

    It's good practice to do color studies from master works/photos to hone these skills; trying to get the colors right by choosing them yourself, and then cross-checking those choices against your reference. The more practice, the more eye for subtlety you'll have. Beyond that, try to make a habit of taking note of how the light is working around you as you go through your day-to-day business. Notice how different the warm color of your lamps at home is from the green-white fluorescents of the office, and how that effects how you feel about each place. Notice how the clean crisp shadows of the cars lose distinction and pool into blurred mass as a cloud passes overhead, diffusing the light. Never look at the color of an object without also taking in the color and quality of the light- without having both, you don't have anything in terms of usable information vis-a-vis painting. Keep that part of your mind going as much as you can, so you can draw on it later.

    This is the sort of thing you may want to just logic your way through with a set of rules, a diagram in an art book; but there's no replacing good observation. All the logical rules don't create the reality, so much as they are there to explain those observations, and make those observations and effects malleable to your own purposes; but first you have to do the observation, and do it all the time.

    Now the other half of the equation is experimentation- right now you want all the rules. If you've done a bit of studying you've got some observation information to bolster those. But, none of that does you much good if you're afraid of the paint, because you're overly concerned about something being "right".

    With color and light, almost ANYTHING can be "right".
    You can figure out a color scheme in a totally abstract manner, and it'll work because it invokes a mood- to finish a piece you then design your light and color AROUND that; to start with light and color of your objects and then just trying to form a mood or a color scheme after the fact is a backwards process.

    So what I would suggest is take up some practice in speedpainting. Quick, 20 min-1 hour paintings which are complete, color compositions done with no preplanning or underdrawing- essentially doodling with color. (If you know Craig Mullins' "sketches", you know the deal: ) It's actually the total opposite of 'asking yourself a laundry list of questions' before putting anything down.

    These likely aren't going to be masterpieces out of the gate, and they're not intended as such; the drawing and detailing will suffer, obviously, but that's not the point. The point is to attack the big picture first, fearlessly. Once you get over the initial fear of throwing down color more or less arbitrarily, you'll be able to experiment more fearlessly. Maybe you spend a painting just trying to explore a very toned palette- maybe even one you'd initially think would be garish, just to see if you can make it work. Maybe for the next you want to try a duotone scheme. Maybe for the next, what can you do for complimentary; maybe flip it on it's head from what it'd normally be, with a blue sun and orange artificial light in the shadows- not because you KNOW that'll work, but because you want to see if you CAN make it work. Maybe for the next try out how far you can push saturation control. The next, start with that blue fire hydrant, and all you are trying to do for the next 40 minutes is to figure out how to make it seem red.

    Just because you start arbitrarily and aimlessly, doesn't mean you throw out everything you know, it's just gives you something to react to, something on which to apply what you know to in a sort of no-stakes environment (you're not going to clam up and get precious with a random bunch of squiggles)- which is always an easier way to start than staring at a blank page (or a big post/book of text about principles).

    The point is you're taking a lot of shots on goal in rapid succession, and wasting very little time on concerns that would slow you down. Even if only 1 in 10 really speaks to you, you've at least learned a ton, and that 1 in 10 can be reverse engineered and given a proper drawing, repainted from the ground up with this color scheme you never would have arrived at trying to just figure out everything in your head beforehand.

    It's also a lot of fun, actually- just stream-of-consciousnessing a complete, if rudimentary, painting into existence in extremely short order. (It's something I don't necessarily recommend to people who don't have very strong drawing skills already, because these little sketches can be seductive to the point where it's easy to lose sight of practicing structural drawing fundamentals and hold back overall artistic progress; something I feel I suffered from myself. But since you're already really strong at linear drawing, I have little fear that this is something you'd fall prey to.)

    A similar exercise is color comps- where basically you take the same sketch, copy it out a few times, and quickly paint over the copies with several entirely different color schemes, in order to figure out the best one. This is usually done with a set mood or idea in mind, but it's also an interesting exercise to just see how different you can make each one feel in terms of mood.

    Think of it like a cinematography exercise; you've got one backlot set to use, but you need to figure out how to make it work for any genre of movie anyone would want to make. Maybe your initial sketch is of a standard suburban street, just a row of houses- see what you can do just with the color and light to make it look like it belongs in a modern day comedy, a post-apocalyptic wasteland, a film noir, a 50's sci-fi flick, a horror movie, a western, a gritty war film, a grindhouse low-budget 70's exploitation movie, a Disney all-ages movie, etc.

  • NakedZerglingNakedZergling A more apocalyptic post apocalypse Portland OregonRegistered User regular in photoshop and using a brush. I press ALT for the eye drop and it's selecting the background color...HOW DO I CHANGE THAT?!?!!? (to the front color)??

  • FlayFlay Registered User regular
    edited June 2013
    If anyone is thinking of getting an entry-level drawing tablet right now, this one is going for $50 on amazon, and has twice the levels of pressure sensitivity compared to a Bamboo. The stylus requires batteries, however.

    Flay on
  • brokecrackerbrokecracker Registered User regular
    Hey @nakedzergling Open your color window and single click on the foreground color block, that should set that as your default again. It is super annoying and happens to me all of the damn time. If there is a shortcut I would love to know it as well.

  • MolotovCockatooMolotovCockatoo Registered User regular
    Don't know if this will help your problem @nakedzergling and @brokecracker, but 'x' in photoshop will swap the foreground and background colors. Also 'd' will make them black and white respectively.

    Killjoy wrote: »
    No jeez Orik why do you assume the worst about people?

    Because he moderates an internet forum
  • ninjaininjai Registered User regular
    edited June 2013 in photoshop and using a brush. I press ALT for the eye drop and it's selecting the background color...HOW DO I CHANGE THAT?!?!!? (to the front color)??
    had thesame problem. All I did was click on the OUTLINE of the swatch indicators that I wanted it set to.
    Don't know if this will help your problem @nakedzergling and @brokecracker, but 'x' in photoshop will swap the foreground and background colors. Also 'd' will make them black and white respectively.

    this is obnoxious to have to change back and forth, also if you ever need to erase it will show your current background color. Which is terrible and breaks work flow. It must have taken me a week to figure out to click the OUTLINE instead of the swatch itself.

    ninjai on
  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    I'm making a one off project (small poster) for my Dad's 60th birthday and I'd like some critique. Should I ask questions about it here, or make a separate thread?

    I'm not planning to make a portfolio and it's been years since I've done anything with any type of art, but I'd really like this to look nice. I've done a pretty good job of documenting what I've been doing so far and have saved my progress at several different steps so I can go back and change/rearrange certain parts at will.


    making a small poster, should I make a thread about it to get critique/advice?

  • m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    Xaquin wrote: »
    I'm making a one off project (small poster) for my Dad's 60th birthday and I'd like some critique. Should I ask questions about it here, or make a separate thread?

    I'm not planning to make a portfolio and it's been years since I've done anything with any type of art, but I'd really like this to look nice. I've done a pretty good job of documenting what I've been doing so far and have saved my progress at several different steps so I can go back and change/rearrange certain parts at will.


    making a small poster, should I make a thread about it to get critique/advice?

  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    will do, thank you!

  • beckerskullsbeckerskulls Registered User regular
    Hey everyone. Any tips/resources for learning to design machinery for art?

    Some creative friends and I have taken it into our heads to create a steampunk world which will obviously require drawing a lot of mechanical stuff. While I appreciate that machines can be awesome, there is a small problem which is that I HAVE NO IDEA HOW THEY WORK.

    So right now I'm sort of stuck drawing highly-stylized, whimsical machinery that isn't meant to look functional. While I really enjoy whimsy, it seems like familiarizing myself with machines to the point where I could make stuff up that looks like it might do what it's designed for would really enrich my art. (Also, slapping a few gears on something and calling it steampunk would probably cause me to lie awake nights fretting over my eternal soul).

    Has anyone been down this road that could give some advice? This piece (while it misses the steampunk mark) pretty well represents my starting point, just trying to get my toes wet drawing mechanical things.


  • gavindelgavindel The reason all your software is brokenRegistered User regular
    edited July 2013
    @Beckerskulls : Mechanical drawing? Old free engineering textbooks aren't a terrible place to start. Since you probably aren't a mechanical engineer, I would say that you are best off picking a single defining trait for a machine and then adding on supportive details.

    For example, the machine in that picture looks like a boiler. A boiler generates and holds heat - so have a bulky cylinder in the middle. It needs ways to get that heat out - so draw tubes of various sizes heading in any direction you feel like. It needs a way to control how hot it is - add a valve or wheel with temperature gauges above it. Thermodynamics (if you squint hard and aren't being tested on it) acts more or less like a river of heat, so draw metal conduits that imply where the heat is going or being held back.

    Shafts and gears only appear complex when you don't know their functions. So let's say you want to have a steampunk nailgun. Google can give you a reference of a gun's inner parts. Make them larger and flip them so the parts are external. (Which is a terrible idea, really, but when you say steampunk I assume you mean rule of cool.) The hose extends back into a pack of nails. Well, how do the nails get loaded through the hose? Add a notching gear that connects into the magazine of nails. How is the gear powered? Toss a battery box onto the side of the gear.

    If you want machines that really, truly work, pick up mechanical engineering and physics books. (Shigley's Mechanical Engineering Design is a good textbook; old versions work fine) Open the hood of your car and look at the various bits. For rule of cool, its more about picking the function of your doodad and adding pieces that loudly announce it in gold and chrome.

    For real world references, look at:
    Farm equipment (tractors, combines, hay balers all can look pretty terrifying in the right size and light)
    Cars and trucks (if you look from the underside carefully, its mostly storage bins and shafts; steal bits of the engine if you need a suggestion of complexity)
    Power tools (remember that you don't necessarily have to show the guts inside, as long as the bits that poke out imply the function.)

    Common bits that make up machinery:
    Drive shafts
    Pumps and pipes and hoses
    Filters and belching smoke or steam
    Bolts, rivets, or welding between pieces of metal.
    Spray paint, rust, or sinister interior glow for mood and character.

    Hope that helps!

    gavindel on
    Book - Royal road - Free! Seraphim === TTRPG - Wuxia - Free! Seln Alora
  • KallistiKallisti Registered User regular
    Hey guys, I hope this isn't too weird or bothersome, I was wondering if you could give me some advice. Would it be possible to get a brutal critique of my portfolio? I've been staring at it so long now it'd be nice to get an outside opinion, I feel right now it's not showing what I'm capable of. I'm currently in between jobs and was wondering what I could do to make my work more attractive to prospective employers. I'm trying to apply to concept art and artist type positions which there have been so few of and was wondering what else I could add to make it more appealing.

    Right now I'm working on color studies and I just started taking Nathan Fowkes' color and lighting class so I expect that'll help me improve a good deal, I'm just wondering what I should add to my portfolio right now that'll give it a more professional look. Possibly more elaborate work? I'm interested in environment/background, character, and props for the most part and most of the companies in this town center around either indie games or animation. There's also so little out there right now, it's been pretty tough. My husband has a good job in the industry so I can't just up and leave. @angel_of_bacon hoping you could chime in? Thanks in advance. >__<

  • Tidus53Tidus53 Registered User regular
    Does anyone know what an inverted Earth would look like? Where instead of the planet being 2/3 water, it would be 2/3 land; where every continent is now a great ocean and all oceans are now landmasses? I mean I know what it would look like in a sense on a map, but not how it would look in terms of terrain. Like if the planet was 2/3 thirds land where would the deserts and mountains be, the forests, the cold zones, etc.

  • MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
    Kallisti, where can I see your portfolio?

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