Frank's Concept Colosseum



  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    Thaaaaaank youuuu Iruka :)

    I will take those 2 out, most likely. I don't want the level of finish to be all over the place. Hopefully after a full week of crazy arting, and a nice long portfolio review, I will be pumped and know exactly what to work on.

    I'm really excited! I'm going to take a ton of notes at the workshop!

  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Hey guys! I'm back from my trip and I think I learned a lot! Time to try and apply some of it.

    I've been working on this spy character named Viktor. Early 30s, well off and in too deep! I'm taking longer than usually setting up the sketch and I'm trying to incorporate more character/story.

    Let me know what you guys think of it so far!

    Oh and I'm going to redraw the briefcase, it's just a placeholder right now.

    F87 on
  • NibCromNibCrom Registered User regular
    Is that a bandage on his neck? A different color might help differentiate it from his shirt. Does the combination of those gloves and a business suit make him look suspicious?

    I like the start of the story. Good drawings usually tell a story. I think that's a smart way to start your drawings.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Frank scan your notes! I wanna also enjoy knowledge!

  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    I cannot scan! But I need to type my notes out anyway, they are just jotted in my sketchbook here and there and some are difficult to understand now. Ooops...
    Also, a lot of what I learned just reinforced what you guys have been teaching me here over the last year!

    Nevertheless, here we go:
    Frank's Notes

    Character Design Notes (Wesley Burt/Andrea Wicklund/Marko Djurjevic)

    - Reference everything. (Not 1:1, but figure out why it looks/works the way it does, then apply that to your work.)
    - Be as accurate as possible. (I saw them make such small changes to every part of his character multiple times!)
    - Indicate form and features (Example 1)
    - Absorb as much reference and inspiration as possible before starting. (Helps you "hone in" and good design decisions.)
    - If your characters outfit/props are less design oriented than usual, the gesture/hands/expression become extremely important.
    - In production, it helps to "sample" your color pallet from photos you have. (This is an easy way to capture mood and proper lighting.)
    - If stuck, think to yourself "Why does this look wrong? What would look right?"
    - For certain character types, it's very helpful to "channel" celebrity or elements that are commonly known and fit. (Example 2 He mentioned channeling Einstein for this robot.)
    - For different characters (In his example they where big ass Transfromers), it's important to consider where your camera is. (The transformers are all seen from a human point of view, so it was necessary to design them with that in mind.)
    - Greyscale washes...? (Why did I write that down?)
    - For hair/beards/fur etc. Consider the entire form and shape, not the individual strands.
    - Reference is so important! Materials, textures, gestures, everything! Absorb and retain as much as you can!
    - There is a time and place for each method of generating character concepts. (Silhouette vs. Sketch, etc.)
    - Start with a good idea/brief. Get the underlining structure, gesture, and balance FIRST. Do not move on until it looks RIGHT!
    - Strive for a visual rhythm. (Negative space vs. Details, give the eye places to rest.)
    - Wesley and Marko once had about a month to do 2800 Gladiator concepts!

    Heads and Emotion Notes (Wesley Burt)

    - Emotion and personality carries to the ears and neck! (Neat!)
    - The character addressing the viewer or looking past them can change the feel completely.
    - Just as one tries to capture the gesture of the pose, you need to start a face / expression with a gesture as well. (Don't move on until it looks right!)
    - Don't draw from feature to feature, form the entire thing.
    - Strive for an internal understanding of different complexions and skin types.
    - Hairstyles indicate personality.

    General Notes (Kemp Remillard, Wesley Burt, Nox, possibly others)

    - Ctrl +Shift +C = copy selection to new layer (A lot of the instructors did this to give them "avenues for time travel".)
    - Digest as much reference as you can for your subject.
    - A good process is organic, start rough then dig out your character or subject on new layers. (Leave some rough lines to fight stiffness or allow for happy accidents.)
    - As always, balance Function vs. Form. Pure function can be a bit boring, pure form can feel ridiculous.
    - Sometimes turning your brush transfer (pen pressure opacity) OFF is helpful when you need precise values! (Helps vs. muddy values)
    - See the big image. Work the entire picture at once, don't noodle too long in one place.
    - Draw and paint more. A LOT more.

    Misc. things I remember

    - Paparazzi photos are amazing references! Usually no flash, captures the moment and gesture really well.
    - It seems like a good idea to have lots of thumbnails, variations and ortho drawings in your portfolio.

    Alright! That's the extent of my notes. Hopefully it's somewhat useful, but I'm sure you know most of it already.

    I plan on creating a new portfolio while I try to apply what I've learned and commit it to memory. Expect lots of art!

    F87 on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    Hey guys! I got pretty caught up in Guild Wars 2! It's an awesome game, really beautiful environments.

    Anyway, thought I would shake off the rust with a character. This is Irah, an engineer/mechanic with a mech arm for starship maintenance.


    I like her so far, but I think the design lacks rhythm. This will hopefully turn out good enough to start off my new portfolio. I plan on having a couple si-fi characters and environments, along with fantasy.

    F87 on
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Where are my challenge thread drawings, eh? I want em, alright. Where? I know you got em. You best be postin,

    But I like this lady, shes a little more real and charming than your normal ladies. I like her stocky build, and that you didn't try to overly feminize her for the sake of prettiness.

  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    Haha, about those challenge thread drawings... I thought you would have forgotten about that by now. :P
    I will attempt them again tomorrow.

    And yeah, I tried to go for a different build, it was nice to draw a girl that wasn't super thin.

    F87 on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    A couple of new characters, for the same setting as the above girl. They are the crew for my comic!

    The pilot:

    The captain himself! (A bit of a maverick)

    F87 on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
  • WassermeloneWassermelone Registered User regular
    You've broken through something!

    These are large leap ahead of the work you were doing a year ago.

  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    All of these characters have really straight spines, which kinda makes their poses look really stiff. Throw some gesture in there!

    The captain could have his chest puffed out, a "smarmier" facial expression (try to really push it), and bigger hands. Also his flexing arm is very oddly posed - typically when flexing the bicep, the wrist is pointed inward (back towards the bicep) rather than sideways.

    Also, they all have extremely tiny feet, and the legs are a little too short. The woman's legs seem fine in length IMO, but the crotch of her pants is a bit too low. Remember that male torso-to-leg ratios are different than lady ratios! :)

    Pilot's hanging arm also seems a little too long.

    In non-crit news, I really like the mechanic girl - I might like her the best overall of these four, actually. Her pose isn't dramatic, but it feels realistic, as does her face and general body proportions. :)

  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    ND- Thanks! Your feedback inspired me to redraw the captain and adjust the posture of the pilot. I think the doctor can be stiff, she is the most uptight and professional of the crew.

    Wass - Yay! Level up! Thanks for the kind words.

    I reworked some of the proportions too, mainly the feet.


    I think the captain needs more design work. And a new face/hairstyle. Other than him, I think the crew is looking pretty good! :)

    What do you guys think?

  • squidbunnysquidbunny Registered User regular
    Pilot still seems a little hunchy to me; maybe it's intentional though. Generally these are great and I agree with Wass -- the work you've put in is really visible. The two female designs in particular are fantastic.

  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    Much better Frank! Good job :D

    Agree'd with squid that the pilot still seems a little hunchy. I think the revisions you made though are great!

  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    Thanks guys! :)

    I wanted the pilot to be a bit older and hunched. So maybe his age isn't showing enough in the face. I'm really not liking the captain still. Maybe I should try another version, more of an anti-hero perhaps.

    Here are some quick env thumbs, it feels like a long time since I've done anything besides characters.


    I spent a bit longer on these:


    With these I tried to slow down a lot, I think it helped.


    F87 on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    More thumbs! I want to get more comfortable with environments before I dig in a start finishing pieces for my new portfolio.


  • HalenHalen Registered User regular
    I'm a big fan of your lighting in the bottom two of the environments with colour.

    Draw an egg.
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    Thank ya, Halen!

    New character I'm working on:

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Looks like you are pushing yourself out of your comfort zone a bit more, Im glad to see it.

  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    His thick forearms going into his thick, square gloves is kinda making him look like he has wrist-cankles. Also, you're trying to mimic the style of the guy you posted about in the Questions thread, right? I'd try to add a little more vibrance to your colors, especially in the shadows. Also, in that style, he tends to make the edges of the character a little darker as those edges hit the background (he also lightens the background behind the character a bit) to help it "pop". Your character seems a little flat right now, so maybe try to implement some of these tricks to help it pop?

  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    @Iruka : You know, I think the discomfort zone challenge, at the very least, made me more aware of how little I push myself in terms of what I'm comfortable with. I wanted to imitate a certain style with this guy, but I also wanted to have more fun, be more stylized and focus on expressing a simple character concept.

    @NightDragon :Thank you! I just now saw your post so I will implement your feedback tomorrow and finish this guy up!

    Update: (still playing around with the pick design)

  • McJohnstableMcJohnstable Registered User regular
    Some really nice work here. Do you go to life drawing classes? If not you really should, and practice with gestural swirly strokes to really try to catch the fluidity of some poses. At the moment some of your poses appear slightly stiff or rigid, and using more gestural draft lines at the very beginning of your planning can really help you get the characters weight across.

  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    Thanks, McJohnstable! I've only ever been to one life drawing class at a workshop. :( I will work on it, can't have all my characters being stiff!

    In other news, looks like my site is down.

  • desperaterobotsdesperaterobots perth, ausRegistered User regular
    Your new stuff looks like it's finally breaking out of that sort of middle-ground F87 mould, which is awesome! Keep pushing! I recommend deliberately attempting stuff you don't understand or necessarily know what the outcome will be because making mistakes is probably going to give you your best pay-offs right now. Also, consider blatantly copying some other peoples techniques, just to get a feel of how exactly they make their stuff work or look a certain way, so you can incorporate those ideas in to your more authentic F87 stuff going forward.

    Also your colours are still looking a little muddy. Get out of those mid-range values and start really pumping up the contrast and saturation, even if its just for funs! And remember to fill in your shadows with some bounce light, it will really, really help to build your forms.

  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    @desperaterobots - Thanks man, I'm glad to hear I'm making progress! I will experiment more, try some studies and find more art to imitate. The bounce light is a great idea too, thanks for reminding me of that! Hopefully the colors are more exciting in this update!

    This gem hunter is getting close to finish. I really tried to push it today, and ND's feedback was a high priority. The legs/feet need a bit more TLC and I wouldn't mind giving the entire thing another once over. I'm kinda happy with it so far, but I'm already ready to move on to another character. :P


    Do you guys have any feedback before I finish this off?

    edit: Ignore the shadow for now, it makes no sense.

    F87 on
  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    Much better! Definitely getting there.

    I have some additional feedback, too:

    The colors are looking better, but it still looks like you're using black to shade. Changing the hue between the highlights, midtones, and shadows is really important to help make the colors feel alive and vibrant. Changing saturation is also helpful (As an example, a medium-red cloak may be a more sautrated, red-orange color in the highlights, and a slightly more desaturated cool/muted-red in the shadows, maybe even purple-ish.) [edit] This can be really easy to overdo, so just be mindful of how much seems right. I typically build up these transitions, rather than hitting the right mix right off the bat. On the other hand, you can push this quite a lot before it looks straight-up "wrong" - it depends on the look you're going for, really....but since this is stylized, and you're out to mimic a certain style, I think you can probably get away with pushing it. Start out slow and do it over the whole character - it'll help you balance the transitions if you're working on the whole thing at once.[/edit]

    A lot of your values are going straight to black or straight white, but even for things that are supposed to be grey or black or white, try adding color in there instead.

    Material definition is important, too. Different materials are capable of different levels of contrast. Fur is soft, and doesn't have as high of a value range (or sharpness in form) as something super-reflective, like metal. Skin will also not match metal's contrast. A lot of your value ranges for different materials seem pretty large.

    And overall hint (and actually, another thing the artist did in that image you posted): highest levels of contrast character-wide should be around the focal point - typically the face.

    Same can go with level of detail, sharpness of detail, saturation, etc. You can pretend that there's a slightly stronger, soft light around your character's upper chest and face.

    Reflected light can also bring in surrounding colors to areas that are lacking in hue variation. This can also help tie the whole character together, rather than having it feel like "sections" where radically different colors have been placed.

    NightDragon on
  • desperaterobotsdesperaterobots perth, ausRegistered User regular
    Also, really exaggerate some shit. Like, fog some shit up in there (eg play with a grey wash of a similar value to your background) say, between/beneath the axe and his body. Then make that back leg even more 'foggy'... which basically means lowering the contrast between light and dark areas in my non-art-term brain. It could give your work some dimension that it's lacking. Or it could look shitty. But experiment!

    ND gives good crit. Personally I usually work from dark to light, painting the light hitting the form I'm painting as I go - with an aim of eventually eliminating all of that darkness if necessary. I kind of picture it like lighting a subject in a photograph... only with my brain!

    But I think you're on the verge of awesomeness! Yay!

  • desperaterobotsdesperaterobots perth, ausRegistered User regular
    Axe? It's clearly a pick.

    Brain no good.

  • lyriumlyrium Registered User regular
    The character is cool. He seems a little off-balance though, like he needs his left leg swung out a little because his torso is leaning out. It's not too bad but when I shrank the image down to see it all at once he kind of looks like he's going to fall.

  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    @Nightdragon - Basically, I colored it all wrong? :P I really appreciate the in depth feedback, I tried really hard to implement hue changes and saturation variance. I think it looks a lot better, but I need to keep in mind what you said about the focus and level of detail. Do you think it looks better now?

    @Desperaterobots - Thank you very much, Sir! I tried to push the body of the character back some, to make the pick pop out in front more. Eliminating the darkness is very important it seems!

    @Lyrium - Thanks man, I'll try to swing his leg out some after lunch!


    Update - Putting a lot of effort into addressing the feedback I received, what do you guys think?


  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    edited September 2012
    Not bad! I think it's getting there, though it helps for there to be *reason* for the color the bright green marks on the top of the pauldron don't entirely fit.

    I did a paintover:


    And I decided it would be easier to *show* areas with notes, rather than type it here's the paintover w/comparison and notes (you can open the image in a new window if it's too small for you - apparently spoiler'd images auto-resize):

    Also, for the record, I wasn't entirely clear on what was supposed to be glowing, and what wasn't...but I guessed that the thing behind his head was supposed to be emitting light, right? As a side-note, when you're designing a composition, try to think about potential conflicts in focal point. Putting something that big and glowing right next to his head is going to very much compete with his face, in terms of where-your-eye-wants-to-go. I used some tricks to try and counteract that, but it's hard to knock that thing back and still communicate to the viewer that it's emitting light. So, just something to think about in your next composition - try to eliminate conflicts like that with your design, if applicable. :)

    A lot of the palette seemed very "straight from the tube" (generic brown/green/teal/purple...and then straight black+white) I changed them a little here and there to make them more interesting, but still "readable" as those original, vibrant saturated colors.

    The paintover isn't all that "done" in any area, but I hope the general ideas came across. For things like the skin (especially if you're trying to match that guy's style), you don't have to push the hue values that far apart between light and shadow for everything, but it helps to do that at least a little, even in areas meant to be monochromatic. You can make monochromatic things actually look more interesting by doing this by keeping the hue variation subtle. (I think another technique that guys used was make a lot of the dark/light transitions less varied in hue, but then took a few things and REALLY varied them in hue. It's a tough balance to find, and one that you get better at the more you practice, of course). :)

    NightDragon on
  • desperaterobotsdesperaterobots perth, ausRegistered User regular
    It's looking more and more solid! I'm trying to keep my suggestions vague because I feel like I'm being maybe a bit too prescriptive, but I still think you should be going to more extremes and pulling back if they don't work. Or maybe you're already doing that. I just feel like you could really exaggerate or push this one further - you just need to allow yourself to do it. I think it's important to live by the phrase 'KILL YOUR BABIES!' when you're trying to extend yourself artistically - The amount of time's I've gone over paintings completely with black or white paint to force myself to fix things that weren't working...! I recently just went over about 15 hours of work on a detailed sci-fi landscape environment thing that I had hit a wall with. I covered the canvas with loose, opaque, drippy slaps of paint and it's turning in to something 100 times more interesting and cool. You have the benefit of Revert To Saved, but take some creative risks!

    Less philosophically, maybe think about tightening up some of your edges and make what ever adjustments you can to make sure your silhouette is reading well. If that backpack thingy is supposed to be a glowing lightsource, help yourself out and darken your background... at the moment it feels like you're piling light on to light, but it needs more contrast to pop.

    And maybe while you're doing that, consider working back in to your dark background with some shapes and colours that suggest forms, lit from the single light source of the backpack, and suddenly this guys in an environment of some kind!

    Can I ask how many hours more you think you might need to work on this until it's finished, and how many hours you've spent so far?

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited September 2012
    Man @NightDragon thats a great crit, Can I post it on my bloooggg pleeaassseee????

    I just want to say, this guy has a ton more character than the anime people you posted just a few days ago. Its not that your usual style is bad, its just you seem to fall into the same shapes and the same faces no matter what you are trying to draw. This Alien dude allowed you to push the anatomy because you weren't thinking about people anymore, but you are allowed to do this with people as well. You can draw cartoons with alot more flow and movement too them, more extreme shapes, and perspective.

    Keep finding people to emulate and look up to, and keep making the effort to actually copy what you see, and you will continue to make forward progress.

    Iruka on
  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    Haha sure thing @Iruka, if Frank agrees too :P

  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    Of course I agree!

    @desperaterobots - Probably about 10 hours on this guy so far, I feel pretty slow when it comes to finishing something, but I hear of people spending longer so I'm not sure. After seeing ND's awesome paint over, I will probably spend a few more hours at least trying to apply her feedback. As for experimenting more, I will keep it in mind, thank you so much for the feedback!

    @Nightdragon - Your paint over looks SO much better 0_0 ! It's so snazzy! Thank you so much for all the help :D I will study your notes/feedback and make this character badass! I was getting burnt out on him some, but now I'm pretty excited to finish it! : D YOU ARE AWESOME :D

  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    Awesome mang! Glad you like it. :)

    (I almost added a note that "I know you've spent awhile on this, I won't feel bad if you want to move on rather than play with it some more" but I'm really glad you're sticking with it to the end!) :D

  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    edited October 2012
    Alright, I studied your paint-over and notes, got pretty frustrated, but eventually ended up with this:


    While I really do think it looks a lot better, I'm puzzled as to why it looks less "snazzy" than your paint-over. The way I understand it now, hue variation is key to vibrant colors. It's important to balance the subtle changes in hue with more drastic ones. The focus of a design should have the most contrast, saturation and brightness. And in general, the painting had too much black in it, I could really see what you meant about "straight out-of-the tube mixed with black" colors.

    Am I on the right track? Also, this isn't finished just yet.

    F87 on
  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    edited October 2012
    I do think you're on the right track. You might be seeing a few different things that make yours and mine different still - I'll try to give you a quick overview (don't have time today to go really in-depth :P)

    Something that would quickly show you the differences would be if you took my paintover, put it over your image (line it up well), and then set my the paintover to "Color" or "Saturation" or "Luminosity"...and then turn the paintover layer on/off.

    Fading effect:
    I think that when you did the faded effect, you used a really desaturated color (maybe the background color exactly) and by adding that on top, you're removing color from the image. There's a fun brush setting called "Lighten" that you can use that would probably help you add that fading the background color, then change the color by adding more saturation/blue to it (sometimes you have to lighten/darken the color a little after doing this, because it will look lighter/darker with the added saturation). "Lighten" is cool because it only lightens up to the value of the color you're you only lighten things that are darker than your selected color. That way, you're not lightening the background or the highlights.

    * Smaller, sharper glints of reflection off the metal

    * Reflected light is not as strong as the original lightsource, especially on objects that aren't very reflective. You can get away with a really bright reflected light off of very reflective objects though, like the pauldrons.

    * Another thing about light...if you look directly at a very bright lightsource, it will generally have less saturation than the light it will cast. It will also tend to have a slightly different hue than the light it is casting. If you think about bright yellow-orange fires, they tend to give off a deeper, red-orange glow.


    * The belt is kinda over-saturated. In the paintover, I tried to match it to the leather of the gloves.

    * The face looks a little "dodge + burned" to me (though I know that's probably not what you did!) but it's very, very saturated, and that goes quickly from super-bright to almost black again. Try adding more midtone.

    * Lastly, in the areas I didn't want the character edges to fade (the focal point, and near the head), I darkened the edges of the character slightly so he'd pop off the background. If you think about his head like a sphere or cylinder, the lightsource would be brightest not up to the very edge, but in from the edge a bit (with a nice gradient in value). In yours, his shoulder area is almost the same value as the background, and the edge of his face seems to have just a darker line on it. Try to show that those forms are gently curving away from the lightsource, hence their getting darker towards the edges.

    Keep going! :D

    NightDragon on
  • HalenHalen Registered User regular
    I'm definitely no expert, but I'm really not a fan of fading the back leg in either paintover. I think it just looks odd?

    Draw an egg.
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