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Scosdump 2014 (NSFW)

ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
edited October 2014 in Artist's Corner
It's been a really long time since I made a thread. There are a lot of things I could write to preface this but suffice it to say that I have been feeling very introspective and listless lately. I haven't progressed as much as I feel I need to or should have, both artistically and in my life in general, but I'm not going to spill my guts all over and make a big mess here.

Okay, angst out of the way.

Mostly I'm making this thread because I want to invite some more focused responses to what I'm doing now than what I would get just tossing work up in the doodle thread, and also if I'm honest as a way to help motivate me to more regularly create and post stuff worth remarking on. My computer desktop is a graveyard of half finished PSD files containing works in various stages of completion or total abandonment, and pushing things through to the end seems to be a thing I struggle with.

I also have some sort of vain general questions about my work as a whole to pose to anyone who feels like answering them. I feel like I've been in a vacuum and wrestling with some of these things for too long and I'm at the point where I might as well just ask people directly. I know I don't post a huge volume of work, so some people might be more familiar with my stuff than others, but I invite anyone with an opinion to respond. Don't feel like it's a questionnaire, a casual response to any or all of these is fine:

-Is there anything about my work that you especially like or dislike? (Big picture or very specific. Completely subjective gut responses are valid. Don't feel the need to give a "crit sandwich" if there's a lot you dislike)
-Do you think any of my skill sets are especially strong or weak?
-Are there any recurrent technical fumbles that show up in my work? If you have a notion, how would you advise I approach fixing them ?
-How would you describe my "style" to another person? Is there even a consistent style that you're able to clearly articulate?
-What kind of composition or subject matter would you like to see me tackle that I'm not currently doing enough of?

To answer my own last question, especially after glancing over the images in this first post, I'd say I need to push myself to try doing things that aren't just character renderings-- more environments, anything non-organic, and full blown illustrations especially. I've been grinding away so gingerly on all my various individual technical stills, only daring to combine them in the most tepid ways, that sooner or later I need to just throw myself violently at creating more ambitious work. I struggle with a sense that I'm not ready and have too much more to learn before I start firing on all cylinders, and it's holding me back creatively and professionally.

Okay enough text, make with the pictures.

Here are some master studies. I should do more of them, they feel educational.

herodiadeStudy.jpg
CIRCESTUDY.jpg
pavonia.jpg

Some photo studies. A common thread between these, the master studies, and the character work below is trying to better understand color. It seems I am perpetually grappling with color, and only now just barely beginning to feel like I'm getting a handle on it.

femcport.jpg
mickrfstudy.jpg

And creative work from imagination. It has not escaped my notice that these are basically all portraits. Part of that is I think I've been deliberately focusing on it lately, but it's also true that I need to branch out a bit.

caska.jpg
aliong.jpg
steely2.jpg
dirk2.jpg
cass.jpg
verdigris.jpg



Anyhow, thanks for looking.

Responding to a specific piece or the entire thread are both equally welcome. It's my intention to get some more things in the fire and try to keep updating this thread, we'll see how that works out.

Scosglen on
ChicoBlueIrukaAmmalineTamNightDragontapeslingerMangoesJudas

Posts

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    To be honest you are pretty technically proficient, Your studies (though all a little low in contrast) look good, and Im sure theres is nitpicking to be done on them, but nothing leaps out to me as major.

    I think a an important detail that is missing here is what are you looking to do with your work? Are you just trying to push yourself as an illustrator? Do you want to pick up a specific industry job of some sort? Do you imagine yourself in a gallery?

    You said in the last influence thread that alot of the the artists you like are the same, maybe its time to expand that pool and really see how far your interests stretch. Indulge us in talking about what you like a bit, it may help us guide you forward.

    Ammalinetapeslinger
  • ChicoBlueChicoBlue Registered User regular
    edited October 2014
    The thing I like most about your work is the lovely painterly brush strokes. I've gone and pretty much eradicated them in my own work, so looking at yours makes me intensely envious of them.

    However, I think that you could do with a few more harder edges. Maybe it's just me, but a lot of your stuff, especially in that last image, has the sort of digital fuzz about it. Just going in and picking out some areas with a high opacity and hard edge brush would definitely help.

    As for subject matter, you've already touched on what I would suggest. I'd love to see a big, ambitious, painterly, narrative scene.

    ChicoBlue on
    AmmalineScosglentynicTamNightDragontapeslingerNatriUncle PK
  • TamTam Le Buggeur Risible Registered User regular
    edited October 2014
    I don't quite know if this would just be a preferential critique, but in general I see a lack of clean hard edges in your non-study work which leaves forms sort of ambiguous

    edit: and though I'm the last person in the Universe that has any right to say this, it seems like you're focusing a lot on single subject portraiture where I remember you taking on multiple subjects in distinct environments in the past
    that work was in some ways more compelling
    e.g. that one where the people are trying to kill the wurm in the forest

    edit: well never mind, Chico got there first like everything else

    Tam on
    ScosglenNightDragontapeslinger
  • TamTam Le Buggeur Risible Registered User regular
    That said, that penultimate one is the bomb dot com and I would love to see it finished

    tapeslinger
  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    edited October 2014
    Iruka wrote: »
    To be honest you are pretty technically proficient, Your studies (though all a little low in contrast) look good, and Im sure theres is nitpicking to be done on them, but nothing leaps out to me as major.

    I think a an important detail that is missing here is what are you looking to do with your work? Are you just trying to push yourself as an illustrator? Do you want to pick up a specific industry job of some sort? Do you imagine yourself in a gallery?

    You said in the last influence thread that alot of the the artists you like are the same, maybe its time to expand that pool and really see how far your interests stretch. Indulge us in talking about what you like a bit, it may help us guide you forward.

    I suppose this is an important missing detail.

    My half baked plan has always been to eventually get into concept work for games, and my idea was that I would cut my teeth through freelance illustration, or do that alongside a salaried games job. I'm doing neither of those things and my plan has a lot of holes!

    To be honest I'm not 100% sure I still want to do concept work, mostly because everything you ever hear about the games industry is that people are treated like trash, and the norm is to work way too many hours for noncompetitive pay while having to live an itinerant life because you get laid off every year or two. This is my sense of it anyway. I don't know how true that is exactly for visual development and concept work compared to say a programmer, but it's disheartening. I love games and I'm fascinated by the work that goes into making them, and working on a team with other like-minded people who are also really good at what they do, collaborating to create something huge sounds like it would be a deeply satisfying and invigorating job, but there's all this other stuff that makes you squint and frown. Maybe it's worth it? Maybe the trick is finding the right studio? I don't know.

    In terms of what kind of art I want to make I think it's always been more traditional illustration. Concept work has just always seemed like the only thing that you can "do" with an illustration background outside of freelancing in the tabletop or publishing industries. And I'm fully aware that If I really wanted to grind toward a concept oriented portfolio and start looking for a real big boy job then I would need to start crunching really hard on ideation, environments, mechanical stuff, and turnarounds rather than the more surface execution stuff I have historically been very concerned with.

    I would say freelance illustration probably aligns more with my personal tastes, because you get to make something that stands on its own legs and is fully realized, but I have always been a little scared about the inherently inconsistent nature of freelance employment. Then again, given what I just wrote about the videogame industry I don't know which is worse these days.

    I've dreamed about illustrating a Magic: The Gathering card since I was probably 10 years old.

    I think some of my personal work sometimes flirts with being the kind of thing you could put in a gallery, but that's a world I don't know anything about and It seems like It would absolutely necessitate me dropping everything to become an oil painter. I like traditional paint as an educational tool but I don't think I could give it my full focus. I don't consider this a realistic option as a primary pursuit-- I don't think there are enough people with thousands of dollars burning holes in their pocket clamoring to buy originals of the kind of pulpy sci-fantasy genre crap that I like making.

    I like monsters and characters and visual storytelling. Drama and Adventure. I like meaty, full-bodied painting that knows where to be loose and where to be tight. Realistic enough to be convincing but not slavish enough to be restrictive or overly slick. I wish I knew the best way to transform this into money.

    I'm not sure I've answered the question.

    Scosglen on
    Iruka
  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    edited October 2014
    ChicoBlue wrote: »
    The thing I like most about your work is the lovely painterly brush strokes. I've gone and pretty much eradicated them in my own work, so looking at yours makes me intensely envious of them.

    However, I think that you could do with a few more harder edges. Maybe it's just me, but a lot of your stuff, especially in that last image, has the sort of digital fuzz about it. Just going in and picking out some areas with a high opacity and hard edge brush would definitely help.

    As for subject matter, you've already touched on what I would suggest. I'd love to see a big, ambitious, painterly, narrative scene.

    I think the comment about lack of hard edges is an artifact of my working process. I tend to work from messy and loose with big sloppy brushes up to a tighter finish, like a lens being focused, and I think sometimes I forget to go the last 10% and put the rest of the focus down where it's needed. It's something I'll have to keep an eye on.

    Everyone seems to agree that I need to be doing more ambitious stuff, so I'm gonna put my money where my mouth is and start thumb-nailing a full composition tonight and commit to actually seeing it through.

    Scosglen on
    NightDragonIruka
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    The various industries that employ artists are all fucking weird right now.

    You should submit a portfolio to fantasy flight, though. They send out huge call for artists every time they update a game, and nothing will motivate you like a due date and a payment, even if its pocket change. We are in an era where board and cardgames are pretty popular, so you may want to consider just mocking up some fake cards. Even if you only do three or four of them, you'll have them as an example and get a good idea of what you could be pushing yourself to do.

    I don't know many artists who don't do (or, aren't trying to do) a bunch of work on the side of whatever they consider "their job". I think that's because most avenues of being an artist are kinda unstable unless you are at the top of the ladder. I've always received advice that it was time for me to hunker down and focus on one thing, and I couldn't describe conditions that made me more unhappy. I say this to point out, if you are surviving, I would not hang your hat on what seems more like a viable "primary pursuit" if it is at odds with what makes you actually want to make art. There aren't people with thousands of dollars in the pockets really clamoring to buy anything that wasn't hustled at them. Its okay to work at the slow grind, its the majority of an artist life will be that part of it.

    I typed that up before you made your second post, but I would also recommend opening up some of your more recent files and play with finishing them up. If you are used to starting up and painting in one sitting, the very idea of opening a week or month old painting may feel kinda foreign. Getting over that is good practice and unless an image has glaring errors there's no reason you couldn't work back into stuff youve done. That second illustration for instance, what would happen if you just threw another three hours into it?

    You're a great artist and ive always loved your shapes and tones. I'm excited to see you push forward.

    tapeslinger
  • NatriNatri Registered User regular
    edited October 2014
    This thread feels so familiar to me, I'm struggling with the exact same questions and things. Not really knowing what direction to go in and being intimidated to start big illustrative work.

    I like your work, you've got a very good technical foundation and a lot of potential. Like you yourself said, I think it's just that last 10% that is sometimes missing, which could make a difference in the end result.

    I wish I had more constructive things to say. Just keep at it and don't give up, you've clearly got the skills in there.

    Natri on
    www.instagram.com/ceneven
    tapeslinger
  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    edited October 2014
    Chico's comment about sharp edges seems to have been a bit of a kick in the pants and I find that I'm paying much more attention to edges. It's all stuff I knew intellectually but I was perhaps getting a bit lazy in my process. I think virtually every painting in this thread so far was done with a single, not particularly hard brush. I'm now making a conscious effort to incorporate a second, harder edged brush into some areas!

    I also went back and just quickly crisped up some of the contours of the last painting from the OP as an experiment. It's not a profound difference but it did help. Side by side comparison:
    verdigrissharp.jpgverdigris.jpg

    I must confess that after making this thread I did actually lean into a larger composition and got maybe 5 hours of work into it before I realized that I hated it and it was not turning out well. In my zeal to get my hands dirty on something I somewhat glossed over the important preliminary steps of planning a composition and basically just started hacking away at it. Proper planning has always been something I've neglected in my process and I now realize that it's probably an important factor in why I tend to prefer simple character illustrations. The truth is that almost every painting I've ever made is literally an over-embellished doodle where I set out with little or no blueprint at the beginning of the process and started firing from the hip. It's creatively exciting for something that can only go so wrong, like a character, but it's become clear that it's a very unreliable approach for more complex compositions. It's something I'll need to perhaps spend some focused attention on learning.

    Anyway, instead I opened up an older project in which I had spent at least a *little* bit of time thumb-nailing and planning but that I had lost interest in and decided to see if I could finish it. It started as a CGhub activity, with a simple prompt of "Guardian". I had an idea about a dragon that died while protecting its clutch of eggs that would take centuries more time to hatch, and how even in death it could be a menacing warden.

    guardiancolor.jpg

    And the state it was in when I revisited it:
    guardian2.jpg

    I've got a couple other things nearly done, afterwards I think I'll give another crack at a bigger composition and this time make a full effort to go through all the proper preliminary steps. It's funny, I often find myself knee deep in a painting only to realize I still have some obnoxious unsolved drawing or compositional problem and working on it any further quickly becomes a very painful and frustrating experience. You'd think that I would cling bodily to any methodology that could help prevent that from happening, but here we are.

    Scosglen on
    Iruka
  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    edited October 2014
    Regarding the hard edges...I think that you can push that even further. Mainly in the focal area. You've established where that is certainly in the dragon piece, but try to really clean up the skull and eggs and make those areas polished. For the last piece - the portrait of the character with green fire - I had to flip back and forth a few times to see where the newly-hardened edges were, and which piece you'd sharpened up. I think you can push that a lot more, again mostly in the focal point - the face. I know you're likely done with that piece, so just a critique to consider for future things, and the dragon. :) It's coming along nicely!

    NightDragon on
    tapeslinger
  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    edited November 2014
    I think I can stand to polish up the dragon a bit more, but I'm approaching a bit of a point of struggle with finding the balance between loose abstraction and simply being slovenly. It's something of a recurrent conundrum. I'm also a bit eager to simply move on to the next thing if I'm honest, also a perennial problem when I get to this stage of the process. I'll give it one more session and see where I end up.

    As for today, another character. I might be a pitiful broken record to say that I'm still trying to master working comfortably in full color from start to finish, but it was the principal challenge and purpose of this one, and every color painting in the thread really. I have a white-knuckle death grip on the knowledge that getting the values right will steer me true, but beyond that I am honestly flying by the seat of my pants every time.

    Saure.jpg

    Scosglen on
  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    Glorified doodle. Trying to be a little less straightforward. One of these days I will care enough about a gun to bother drawing it right.

    cornered.jpg

  • Uncle PKUncle PK Registered User regular
    edited November 2014
    -

    Uncle PK on
  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    edited November 2014
    Some study fodder from today. I'm going to try to grind away at some master copies each day for a while. They're always a bit tricky for me, so that seems like a good sign that they're worth doing. Bonus quickie portrait/value study.

    I am also working on a more complex "full" illustration currently, where I did actually go through some kind of preliminary process, though it's proving challenging. Hopefully I can wrestle it down sooner than later.

    Spirit of the Summit-Frederic Leighton
    spirit-mastercopy.jpg

    tumblr_mdwio1UB.jpg

    Scosglen on
    Irukatapeslinger
  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    Here's a lousy Zorn study for today.

    zorn-mastercopy.jpg

    I'm getting into the cleanup and polish stage of the larger piece I've been working on, so I figured I might as well post what I've got while it's still red hot and I'm willing to consider changes.

    I wanted to revisit a doodle I did a while ago that I thought had a neat idea but wasn't something I spent much time on. I decided to give it another crack and develop it a little more fully. I started with some terrible thumbnails, and spent a few extra minutes fleshing out the two that I liked the most. Ideally I should have done many more, but this is already like boiled brussels sprouts for me, so baby steps.

    thumbs.jpg

    I went with the more dynamic one because I knew it would be harder. I drew it again with a slightly tighter sketch and a goal of solving my major drawing and compositional problems before leaning into the actual painting. Some flat values laid down to help figure out some idea of a value composition and the lighting. I never, ever, do anything like this or the thumbnail step in my usual work.

    valueprelim.jpg


    And here's where I'm at after hacking away at it for a good number of hours.
    travelersWIP.jpg

    Solving most of the drawing, design, and spatial composition questions beforehand made for a relatively pleasant process in some regards, but other aspects have been painful.

    Arriving at this color palette was basically me slapping down some initial colors, working for a while, and then nudging colors to a better spot with a hue adjustment layer, working some more, and nudging them again. Mostly it's been in service of making the background and sky much more vibrant that I would ever have picked off of a color wheel. I like where it's gotten to, but the process was a lot more accidental than I would have liked.

    The other thing was that having all my principal actors lit only by diffuse sky light is a lot more challenging than I anticipated. Figuring out what color everything should be when the whole foreground is in a giant blue shadow was difficult. I think the monsters fared a bit better than the giant. This piece has also reminded me of the incredible compositional usefulness of direct light and how cast shadows are so wonderful for describing form.

    IrukaMangoes
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Seems like you are going in the right direction, it feels way more thought out than your normal simple portraits and it portays a good mood. I think the colors look nice, and in my opinion its Alright to have a little room in your process for experimentation and happy accidents.

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