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Mightyhog's Sketchbook

MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular
edited June 2015 in Artist's Corner
Hey Artist's Corner! This account is seven years old, which might clue you into how guarded I am with my creative work. I'm surprised it only took seven years to allow myself a thread like this!
I'll just say I'm the worst sort of generalist, frightened of the laser focused “real artists” of the world, but lately I find myself in a much better place. I'm doing more, feeling more confident, and I think It's high time I stop simply spectating. I studied animation at San Francisco State University, and along with getting my first menial job I'm having a fun time fighting my art-demons: sketching in public, reaching out to other artists, et cetera...
I said I was a generalist and the sad thing is I really, really don't know what I want, or where I want to be. I was all about cartoons seven years ago, in school I turned to 3D, today I find myself pretty focused on digital sculpting and trying to get some grounding in realism for my traditional/digital art. The dream used to be 2D character animation, now I'm just sort of flitting between tutorials and personal projects, desperate to finally feel like I know what I'm doing and terrified of a forty hour work week that can't be a worse handicap than what I've weighed myself down with in the past...
Whew! Anyway, in my second post I'll get on with some things I've been working on. Of course I'd love to hear your feedback, that's what I'm here for! These days I have so few artists to talk to, and for the first time It's something I'm hungry for.

Mightyhog on


  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular
    edited January 2015
    A very "crutchy" sculpting exercise that ended with me referring back to Valve's free OBJ file of HW Guy's head, when I was hoping my keen observation skills (and photo reference) would carry me through. Based mostly on what I'm learning in the book "Digital Sculpting Human Anatomy," except of course for the lack of eye subtools, which was an odd choice on my part. Completed after about a month, working on and off, just recently enough that I don't mind starting the thread with it. I'm not too ashamed of this one, but I know speed is going to be a real issue for me.

    A foot that began as part of "Digital Sculpting Human Anatomy," but taken further than the text. I won't post everything I follow along with in a tutorial, but I feel pretty responsible for this foot.

    Finally, a design for a shirt I'd like to print.

    This one actually had a deadline (Christmas!) and it was a weird feeling to be working under one again. Healthy but unpleasant. I'm worried I'm just too "weak" to set my own deadlines. In a perfect world I'd never have a fire under my butt. Here's hoping I post more studies, timed sketches, speed sculpts, whatever, in future.

    Mightyhog on
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    The 3D is looking alright, I wish I had more to say but I dont really know much about 3d work flows these days.

    I encurage you to keep posting, if nothing else showing other people keeps you a little accountable and will motivate you. I would post a few more drawings, especially any studies you're working on.

    Congrats on posting after a few years of hesitation, though, its a good first step that is hard to take for alot of people.

  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular
    Thanks Iruka, I definitely want to post more studies and works in progress rather than dumping what's "done," I think my ego just demanded a bit of front-loading...

    Here's a teeny portrait (Elizabeth Taylor) from this morning, not timed unfortunately:

    I think the arbitrary background tone hurt me more than it helped me...! Painting feels like something that comes and goes, and I've yet to commit to a basic procedure. I stuck to the circular air brush, even for the underdrawing, and looking back I think it's more important at this stage to be bold, solid, planar... something to try I guess.

  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular
    edited January 2015
    "Sneaking the Spoils"


    Value guide (map? plan?) for some Pikmin fan art I started on a whim and have allowed to drag on and on... It's been a mess of out-of-order steps, without much of an end-goal! The bulborb is just waking up, which isn't the easiest read without a little snot bubble. I was inspired by somebody's post of a Muddy Colors article on blocking in values first, so that's what I did in thumbnail- then I did a very rough construction pass and lasso'd in a more substantial value guide. What got me I think was that I enjoyed the "polygonal" lasso effect so much I wanted it to stick around until the end, basically deciding that the blocking silhouettes were the finished silhouettes... now I need to carve some some detail into them, in color I guess. I see myself going as broad as possible, throwing down some gradients, and calling it done.

    Should have taken construction more seriously... if "accuracy" was a goal, at least. I need a smarter way to plan the passes I make on a piece, and I need a clearer idea of what the end product is supposed to look like. I enjoyed studying and sketching from the official art and some Let's Play videos, and looking back it feels like sketching is all I've ever done. Finishing a drawing almost feels foreign to me.

    Here are the sketches

    Mightyhog on
  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular
    The Pikmin piece got a splash of color, but more on that later. For now, some daily dynamesh skulls:

    I had a nice skull sculpture in front of me for these, but how embarrassing that they went downhill. ClayPolish is doing all the heavy lifting in Skull #1, and I’m sure I went over 30 minutes with that one anyway. The sculptures that followed became experiments in finding a formula, testing techniques… learning from my mistakes, hopefully. I regret certain features in the final skull, but I think I finally hit on a method that feels natural to me.

    I might have ZBrush momentum building, but soon I'll be taking a 22 week life drawing class and helping out around two ostensibly 2D projects... so I feel kind of bad about stopping here. I'll try to find time to sculpt when I can. Hopefully the projects push me back into the realm of animation, which I'd enjoy posting.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    22 weeks of life drawing is nothing to sneeze at, I hope you post what you're working on. I like the pikmin piece but I find the foreground element to be alittle too overpowering, taking away the focus from the pikmin themselves.

    If you can force yourself to keep up with 3D, do it, because I found that my biggest barrier to going back was just the annoyance to having to relearn the technical aspects of the software. If you can keep revisiting the process, you will have an easier time actually moving forward. Every time I open max now its a four day process just to remember all the damn hotkeys.

  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular
    It was probably misleading to call it a life drawing class and leave it at that- It's actually a bit more... holistic...? We work from a live model, but we're actually encouraged to make a break with academic observation, use our exercises to discuss ways of seeing, creativity, et cetera, rather than have something to show at the end of it. "Oh. I see." your response may be. It felt like something I needed, at any rate, and It's nice to be working from a model again.

    Here's where I've taken the Pikmin piece, the Bulborbs were always supposed to be the "fun" of it!

    I imagine I'll be doing quite a bit more with color this year, hopefully we see some improvement! I'll try to keep up my sculpting too. I think I'm sitting on enough things I tell myself I'll sculpt "someday."

  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular
    One of my friends' projects is quite frog-centric, so I ought to do some studies.

    I feel myself fighting the idea of "studies" like I've never felt before, as if I've decided they can't possibly help me. It may just be linked to a fear of wasting time on days I work- maybe nothing will feel satisfying or finished on these days. On top of that, the project demands appealing and totally abstract design, so what am I studying here, exactly? Anatomy? I really need to be more focused.

  • lyriumlyrium Registered User regular
    You're studying what makes a frog a frog. Even a completely abstracted frog needs to be identifiable as a frog, so what will accomplish that? The abstraction should also be appealing right? So you want to see beyond the obvious "two short legs, two long legs, big round eyes" and study the visual impression more closely, to really get the character of the frog. The gesture of the way the spine bends, or the way the little saggy chin curves. What about the shape of their limbs and the way they attach at the joints, or how the mouth sits, are distinctively froggy? How do they hold themselves/move/balance? These are all tools you have available to you in your drawing. What kind of attitude will your frog have and what about the way a frog looks will help you convey that feeling?
    Think of your abstract drawing as an extreme caricature, where the ways you deviate from the natural appearance are only tools to help you magnify the distinctive essence of the thing. And to first identify what that visual essence is, you need to observe carefully, and studies help you do that. If you aren't observing carefully while you do your study then you're right, it's pretty much a waste of time. Studies are practice for observation as much or more-so as they are for technical skill of putting pen to paper.
    What is the point of drawing anyway? You're conveying your impression of the thing, hopefully with some expression of feeling, to give a deeper insight into the experience you had of looking at that thing. Whether it's an abstract piece, a cartoon, a caricature, a realist portrait, anything. It's all the same task of translating your observations in a worthwhile way. You study it to observe what is creating your impression and feeling, then do your best to convey it in your piece.

  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular
    What is this, the shame/inspiration variety hour? That was beautiful! Soon enough I'll have a sheet of my first pass at this character, but for now I just have one more study to post... A tadpole- the frog character evolves! ...I recall this being the actual size of the piece, before you ask.

    I'm saving what you wrote, that won't go to waste. My worst habit is definitely working myself to a place of "Why Bother" from time to time. I crave much more instant forms of gratification, which art is such a great fit for.

  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular
    Two more studies, and a look at the characters I'm working on. First, some not-so-accurately copied frogs (click for source)
    An exercise in just modeling form, trying to forget that texture is a thing that exists...

    This I had fun with, even if it's more obviously skewed. I blew up a teeny thumbnail and enjoyed limiting myself to a hard round brush.

    Speaking of teeny thumbnails, I'm really enjoying keeping a digital sketchbook page "on hand" just to fill with incredibly small drawings as I work alongside bigger things. It's almost therapeutic.

    Here's the character I've been working on:
    Water/drips/drops are important to the character and game world, so he's taken on very drippy qualities...

    An idea I'm toying with is a "splash" effect accompanying each contact in a series of hops, if more than one hop is to be had. Woolgathering jumps/poses follow...

  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular
    An art dump! I queue these things up on Tumblr, so most image links originate there.

    Life Drawing

    A study I'm not too proud of, looking back... click for photo source

    An imagined environment that I don't think color totally destroyed... progress shots at 15 minute intervals

    Another imagined environment. Fell far from image in my head: I wanted nostalgic and got creepy instead.

    Shorpy Studies! I've been trying to do one a day in March, thirty minutes, though for quite a few I've let myself go over. Images/progress shots link to source photograph.











    A bit more work on "Raindrop Hop," and an attempt at a color study


    Finally, my first exercises returning to 2D animation, all out of the Animator's Survival Kit. No creativity required, and I'll admit I got crutchy with these, like animating with cutouts.

  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular
    Struggling to find a language for Raindrop Hop

    Exercise in emphasizing "contact" out of Animator's Survival Kit

    Monsters: a study of a Diablo II Fallen and a free hand sketch of something-like-a-Fallout-mutant

    I could write at length about the anxiety I've had just beginning to concept the visual language of Raindrop Hop... but I don't want to be pathetic! Why do I drag my feet with art, why can I never "not wait" to dive back in? ...I've come up with lots of answers to that one, actually, but again, pathetic! If I had to boil it down, there's a voice in my head that assures me I should be better than everyone else, and art is just such an easy way to find out "no, dogg, you're not." Why should that be unbearable?

    There's a quote I've been thinking over a lot by Robert Henri, concerning the object of any artwork: not the piece itself, but a record of "that wonderful state which makes art inevitable." I don't know if I'm in that state very often.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    self doubt is pretty normal, If you are doing studies and pushing yourself forward, you are often in the state of "problem solving" rather than sitting back and just enjoying the skills in your comfort zone. Its a bit frustrating, but pushing yourself is good.

    Its hard work though, but sometimes its easier to get back into it if you know that going in. Sometimes people build up this impression that you should love every second of drawing and its fun! Its a dream right, to draw for a living or whatever? Its okay to not feel like that 100% of the time, or even not 30% of the time. satisfaction usually comes after a hard days work, not before it. Its kinda like working out, in that way.

  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular
    "Reality check" might not be the right word for it, but I'm always grateful for that sort of pep talk. Part of the problem may just be how few other artists I know in real life to talk to about these things!

    Anyway, a study of an aquarium feature, and a small version of source:


    It felt good to finally pick an image to study after collecting a ton of reference... collecting reference puts me in the same head space as rearranging furniture: it feels like I'm getting something done. I'm still not motivating myself very well, but am holding onto this brief impression I had in the thick of this drawing: I can learn a lot from one thing. Hoarding and filing images away as "to-study" really keeps me from getting started.

  • MabelmaMabelma Registered User regular
    You got some really nice studies going on, I like that aquarium sketch, maybe further the study and add some color in? The little frog jumping, I would say needs a bit more squash when he makes contact as right now it feels pretty sudden when he lands and jumps again. Maybe also add some stretching when he jumps off again.

    Have some time, check out my blog
  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular
    I took the study one step further, but the animation will have to wait I think- I'll definitely be doing more hops, but It's tough to justify opening up Animator's Survival Kit before I meet some Raindrop Hop milestones.

    The aquarium feature in color

    The forms are all just "lassoed" in- this actually began with an attempt at more polygonal rendering.

    Study of another stone

    Study of and two original "Bacopa Caroliniana" plants

    and some fun sketches: Enrico Dandolo ala Civ V and a Diablo 2 Fallen

    Here's a random question: Are there some good resources for watching other artists at work? Ryan Lan's TMNT fan art is a prime example to me, I like the context he gives every decision, but I'd settle for anything: time lapse or not, live or recorded. I've thought about recording myself, maybe just as an exercise in self-consciousness...

  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular
    Trying to learn what I can from cute (read: Nintendo) games as a daily May thing- though I worry about my approach. I tend to start these with a vague idea of attempting to absorb what I see in 30 minutes, invariably going over and feeling like I haven't learned a ton. Occasionally I'll try a creative sketch. There aren't fourteen because some are getting held back, and the Kirby piece ate up a bit of time...
    study of scenery from Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards
    From the first week in May, this one dragged on. Never quite sure what it was or what I was trying to learn, beyond “cute” aesthetics. Learned a bit about Photoshop’s vanishing point filter, though!

    Study of Animal Crossing box art, over 30 minutes, then more for the Gyroid

    How to kill an appealing sketch
    Original, from Yoshi’s New Island. More like Yoshi’s Ew Island. What a pose I settled on.

    Study from Yoshi’s New Island, one of the fuzzy background elements I found compelling

    Quick painting from Super Mario Sunshine. As of this writing, thus ends the Yoshi fixation. ...But if I continue to work from Mario Sunshine and Yoshi happens to get in the way, we can acknowledge there’s some sort of problem.
    Final painting took *mumbles, trailing off* with the 30 minute version next to reference at bottom

    Some work on concept art for Raindrop Hop, the whole of which has yet to come into focus for me.

    Original exploration

    I want to do more, share more frequently, maybe it will motivate me to spend my time better. I just worry that if I write something to go with what I'm working on each day, I'll start to repeat myself. "Scared I'm not doing enough, or enough right, why aren't I satisfied with this... someone please massage my ego!"

  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular
    I had a self-imposed deadline on this Raindrop Hop concept image which I'm a bit down having missed. I'm far too cautious, but had some moments that felt less constipated- which is a step forward for me!
    work in progress
    color ideas

    I'm stumbling through a finished digital painting, running into all of my odd little decisions. Nearly everything in the working image is rendered differently, and I'm so afraid of what won't be preserved in the final piece. Things will be simplified, at any rate: the modeling on Raindrop's three forms felt natural, but my instinct is to light everything in two or three tones, maybe with a soft, subtle pass at shading. So- they'll be redone. The clouds will take on a more solid form too. I wonder what other workflows exist that depend less on "covering up" the appealing early sketches. Maybe I just need to plan it out a little better next time.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Mightyhog wrote: »
    Here's a random question: Are there some good resources for watching other artists at work? Ryan Lan's TMNT fan art is a prime example to me, I like the context he gives every decision, but I'd settle for anything: time lapse or not, live or recorded. I've thought about recording myself, maybe just as an exercise in self-consciousness...

    I would just casually browse Picarto.TV, and see if anything appeals. Its alot of porn/furry commissions but there at least a wide variety of people in one place. You can also just browse around youtube, I usually just stumble on interesting things.

    For the painting, it seems like its still pretty early on so I wouldnt get caught up in the what it looks like now. Learning to finish work means pushing through the awkward mushy stage, You'll be making choices the whole way through. In a digital process, everything is pretty much reversable, so I would really try to not sweat it in the middle of a piece. Save off multiple copies if that helps you feel like you'll be able to go back easier.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Oh also, stop putting your stuff in spoilers, Its your thread. If people are coming in here, its to see what you are posting, no reason for all the extra clicking.

  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    I think that in the earliest stages, soft rendering might be fine, since you're playing around to figure out what works. I'd suggest that you try for bolder/stronger shapes when rendering light and shadow in future pieces, though...especially for hard surface things like that house. When you're trying to clean something up that's been very, very loosely defined in the first place, it can be a huge challenge.

    If you work out those issues in the early stages of the process, I think you'll have a much easier time with things, and you'll end up with a less muddled looking final piece.

  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular
    Thanks for the advice, and I'll definitely give Picarto a look. I feel like it will help when I have those sensations that I've forgotten how to draw- something about seeing other people in the thick of it themselves I guess.

    Spoilers no more! ...I just seemed to recall it being annoying having every image loading at once, but you're right, why hide the content?

    Here's the finished concept piece for Raindrop Hop:


    It's hard for me to ask for specific critique with such a vague goal for this one, but I'm all ears. I'm happy to have taken something this far, at least.
    The eternal question: Now What? I guess I could explore critters and environment art a little better, just keep concepting until the aesthetic starts coming into focus for me. I'm meeting with my partner on this thing on Wednesday, maybe I'll get an assignment!

  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular

    A jam working out critters for Raindrop Hop

    Worked within various limitations (only use softest brush, only use green and yellow), rotated through multiple canvases working for a minute or so each go-round. Some were allowed to be fleshed out without time limit.


    Started reading through "Confident Color" after this one, here are some early exercises...


    And a study of an oldie, original in spoiler

  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular
    Wanted to make something just for me, started with the vague notion of drawing "cel shaded people and monsters," follow a sort of Wind Waker impulse. Here's what I've come up with, and I'd love some thoughts on color, especially.


    I don't really know how to tackle color. I'm using a trial of Coolorus and trying to take advantage of its color-scheme functionality, but picking out a palette still feels like a missing line of code in my idiot robot brain. Studying art on the basis of its color is something I know I should get in the habit of doing, but I'm never sure where to start. Take this little number:


    I find it to be pretty inspiring, but I'm still clawing about for some rules to follow. What would you do first, dear reader, a thumbnail? A palette? How many colors would you start with?

  • m3nacem3nace Registered User regular
    DON'T look at Renaissance or baroque art for colors. Basically all paintings pre-1850s were painted in black and white first, and then had color glazed on top, their color is unremarkable and unsuited for learning about color. Instead look at people like john Sargent, Degas and the likes. They know about color, the above is flipping simple color, it essentially amounts to putting a color layer on top of your black and white art, and while it's easy to get okay results with that technique, you won't learn squat about color.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    nakirush wrote: »
    To add to what NightDragon said:
    @nakirush just posted this in @Faded_Sneakers thread, maybe useful to you as well.

  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular
    Really enjoyed the video, it covered a lot of what Confident Color (that learn-to-be-creative-by-following-these-rules-you'd-have-learned-if-you-went-to-art-school book I mentioned reading in a higher post) introduces early on but the focused examples and use of commercial art really got through to me. I'm trying to take the exercises in Confident Color to heart, and here's what I have so far:

    An original sketch from a found color-scheme (from the cover to "What's the Matter With Batman?" which I actually got all wrong- looking at just a printing of the illustration, I assumed the right portion was the front cover, and the left was the back cover- so I left out green!)

    What the video had to say about dominance certainly seems to point out another mistake of mine. In the illo yellow-orange was clearly dominant.



    and a study of color combos in print (Mental_floss, in this case)


  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular
    Here's where I've taken the ol' girl


    Not much to say myself- just happy to have "rendered" something in any sense. It's a place I ought to practice getting to faster!

    Sorry I sort of glossed over your comment m3nace, but I knew I'd get around to it because one of the exercises in Confident Color involves learning to distinguish between "colorists" and "value painters." It's surprising to look back at the piece I posted and notice just how "dull" it really is, you're absolutely right! I don't know if better terminology exists (I've only done some cursory google-fu...) but it's tough to turn up info on "value painting," or "tonalism" or "colorists," everything has a different meaning to different people. Nice to have the assumption to work from though that "colorism" can be dated. It's probably quite easy to eyeball once you actually start paying attention to color, which clearly I've taken for granted. Any more artists or ideas to share would be greatly appreciated!

    Here's a rundown of some of what I've been looking at

  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular
    Color sketches from a view finder:

    (Clockwise) Monochrome, analogous, Triadic, Complimentary

    All variations of split complimentary

    I'm trying to look at older art, "old masters" and all that jazz, but it's hard not to be inspired by the sort of modern art I'd have "written off" just a month ago- not denigrated, but just not have cared so much for. Robert Delaunay's Air, Iron, and Water stands out. Would you call it triadic?


  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular
    Some recent activities

    I've been neglecting color somewhat (took a strange detour into a very info-graphicky animation... that is not yet finished...) but here's a quick color sketch using split compliments

    A study that's more concerned with holding a figure in my memory (left is with reference, right is without. I guess the thread is officially NSFW? Should I mark that?)

    An exercise in recreating a figure in Z Brush from photo and sketch

    And a charcoal sketch (physical media, scary!) of the Asaro "planes of the head" bust. I finally have a space set up to do studies from life or take reference footage, now I just have to remind myself to make use of it. That's always my problem.

    I think for July I'd like to try a hand at speed painting every day, cultivate some good habits in the realm of color and composition and just starting things. My instinct is to ask for any advice on composition exercises, but maybe the best exercise is just doing it and getting the feedback.

  • NightDragonNightDragon 6th Grade Username Registered User regular
    Mightyhog wrote: »
    I think for July I'd like to try a hand at speed painting every day, cultivate some good habits in the realm of color and composition and just starting things. My instinct is to ask for any advice on composition exercises, but maybe the best exercise is just doing it and getting the feedback.

    I know speedpainting is trendy, but honestly at this stage I think you should slow down and aim for accuracy. The last painting study you posted here doesn't look like a study. It is so blurry and rushed-looking that I'd be amazed if you learned anything from it at all. For your next studies, aim for things like accuracy in shape, color, composition, values. Change up your brush size. Take the time to see what you're doing rather than guessing and making an approximation of the image. Really try to get it right in your next set. I can see you took more time in the Asaro drawing, for instance, and that's great. Just continue to do that.

    Speedpainting may teach you raw speed, but it will not necessarily teach you how to make a good painting. You can certainly do quick studies for composition, but don't aim to "make a speedpainting". If it's taking you awhile to get right, don't worry about that. You will learn a lot more in trying to fix and improve things, than you will if your main goal is to simply "bust something out really quickly". Color in my experience is also something that is not learned through really fast studies, but through careful and thoughtful study that takes a bit longer.

  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular
    Ha, you caught me red handed. I'm just desperate to feel prolific. I'll try to pump the breaks and work with a little more focus, drawing from life and from art, at my own pace.
    I can tell you why I was desperate to tackle the challenge to create something new every day: the teachers that have inspired me so much in the last half a year (one living, one long dead) are both really quite keen on "inventing" or "selecting" as opposed to "copying," the former downright opposed to seeing in order to "gather data." The effect this has had on my attitude towards study has been... a mixed bag. It's only recently I've given myself permission to re-engage with more traditional art education. Whew, but enough of that! Just keep prodding me in the right direction. Thanks!

  • Angel_of_BaconAngel_of_Bacon Moderator mod
    [Kind of a tangent on one sentence rather than anything about your work in particular follows, I hope you will indulge my little ramble]

    On the subject of inventing/selecting vs copying/gathering data: your teachers have a point that is both correct, but at the same time risks being very deceptive.

    When an artist that draws in a way that would generally be dubbed 'realistic', or 'accurate' makes a picture, they are likely still 'inventing' a great deal- just at a more subtle level than someone who draws in a more obviously stylized way might. An elbow may be pointed more than is accurate to emphasize the feeling of bone there, a muscle may be given a touch more emphasis to help articulate the structure more, a shadow may be pushed deeper for effect, a pose may be modified for a better silhouette- things that a viewer would only pick up on if they viewed the piece side by side with the model.

    The issue that crops up when the advice to invent and select is told to young artists that haven't had prior education in how to observe and draw with accuracy, is that they don't have accuracy as a choice to draw upon. So they don't know when accuracy is the choice they should be selecting for- and even if they did, they wouldn't be able to achieve that goal.

    So you wind up with a lot of students "selecting" on the basis of whatever their default ideas are- the fastest, easiest thing they can put on paper, or trying to crib a 'cool style'- without pushing to explore where deeper, more diligent, more accurate observation would do their work a lot of good. Thereby, the 'selections' of a young artist that hasn't put in the time to know how to play it straight is not really making a choice at all- in order to make a genuine decision, you need to have more than one option available.

    And it's easy to want to avoid doing the work that would open up that option, because doing so takes a lot of time, takes a lot of patience, takes a lot of practice, and most people don't want to do it, because in the moment, it can be a lot less fun than playing fast and loose. But the people that make it aren't necessarily the people having the most fun in the moment, it's the people that produce the best work at the end of the day. The best artists are the ones that can have their fun doing the kind of deliberate practice that other artists lack the patience to stick with.

    On the issue of speed, I know guys that can draw amazingly, and a lot faster than I can- but watching them draw, how they get there is not a matter of them moving fast- moving their hand fast, trying like hell to get things done in a time limit.

    Rather, they move slowly- slower than I draw- because they are taking their time. They are taking their time with their observations. They are visualizing how each next stroke is going to go down on the page, making their decisions in their head. So when they put something down- that's it. They don't spend a lot of time erasing, remeasuring, reobserving, redrawing, because they've taken their time both in that moment, and in their education. By drawing deliberately and diligently, they save much more time in the end than the artist that rushes to a finish. Nothing slows a drawing down more than haste.

    People tend to forget* that Craig Mullins, who is kind of the guy who helped popularize the whole idea of 'speedpainting', didn't start out that way. He studied product and transportation design first, and you can be sure that the skills of long, solid, foundational drawing and perspective had been drilled into his head far before he became and internet sensation. It's the experience of the hard, long work that allows him to do great looking work fast- not simply the act of moving fast.

    * including myself, back in the day- I'm still, years and years late, having to make an effort of undoing a lot of bad habits I formed in a largely pointless quest for speed. I wouldn't say I learned nothing from the experience, but most of it is more about not having fear of a blank canvas, trying little experiments, and learning how to be brutal in wiping things out when they aren't working. The first 2 are useful- the 3rd is also useful, but is something I wouldn't have to do as much of if I'd spent more time being deliberate in the first place- doing my thinking and exploring in pencil thumbnails, being carefully observant, seeking out good ref, just focusing on general drawing practice, etc.

  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular
    It really means a lot to me that some of you find so much to give, just out of my little bumps in the road. All I can say @Angel_of_Bacon is that I won't let all that go to waste.

    I've selected a piece called "The Lime Shade Tree" to study, and am experimenting with rotating between two canvases in Photoshop. So far I worry I'm being too fussy about line and simple shapes- neither image is at a place worth posting yet- but here's the painting and a palette I eyeballed, at the very least:


    I suppose this is something like a split complimentary scheme, based on yellow and letting the cooler, green end of the spectrum dominate? Any advice on organizing my palette, or just how to go about using it? ...Or reevaluating it?

    Thanks again, hope to make this one count.

  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular

    (remember, two working images!)
    Blocking things in even as far as the blotches of paint- which felt a bit silly, yes. Maybe that's the sort of thing to block in... in color? I'll start applying color soon, just to get over the fear of it at any rate.

  • MightyhogMightyhog Registered User regular
    I roughed in the colors on one canvas and surprise surprise, found them closer to the original only after applying a glaze of yellow. There's a term for that, isn't there? Our inclination to "auto correct" what we see, filter out the glaze? This canvas followed the palette from two posts above.


    Obviously not perfect, could definitely stand to be desaturated to match the particular reproduction I'm working from

    I'd like to take the other to a slightly more accurate place, and am working more seriously at blocking in the greatest divisions of color. I'll probably revise my palette, as well.


  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion Pronouns: He, Him, HisRegistered User regular
    Definitely showing progress in these. Keep working on it!

  • LampLamp Registered User regular
    edited July 2015
    I kind of think that the idea of creating a color pallete that you're going to stick to is kind of an unhelpful idea for digital painting. Digital colors don't blend the same way that physical pigments do, so you won't necessarily be able to create the colors you want by blending them directly in your digital document. It has to do with the difference between additive and subtractive mixing (digital colors are composed of light from your computer screen which combines to produce different results than physical pigments). You can do some googling about that subject, since it can get pretty technical, but the bottom line is that you're going to struggle with a lot of muddy colors if you are trying to paint your scene only by blending from your digital pallete, which can cause your colors to lose a lot of saturation in the process. The limitations of our digital painting software right now means that much of the time, you're better off picking colors straight from from the color picker. I actually think this is one of the ways that digital painting is harder to learn than traditional; it's hard to tell which colors to pick when you have billions to choose from in Photoshop.

    The idea of limiting your overall color pallete is a very good one, in order to create a cohesive color scheme, but digitially this can involve a lot of simple mental compartmentalization of colors rather than limiting your pallete up front via hand-picked swatches. On the other hand, picking a pallete might be fine, so long as you understand that you're going to have to manually bump up the value and saturation, and tweak the hues, using the color picker at times.

    I'm hardly a color expert by the way, someone please jump in if I'm getting something wrong.

    Lamp on
  • tynictynic PICNIC BADASS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited July 2015
    I disagree with a lot of that. Personally I wouldn't get into the habit of using the colour picker, especially not at this stage of your study. It's bad for training your eye, and depending on your source it can be bad for developing a coherent palette. If you're using photos it can be a terrible idea, all sorts of colour artefacts creep in, and photos do not necessarily represent true colour (thanks to sensor spectral sensitivities and lens interference). Also there are lots of times where you don't necessarily want to replicate a reference palette, because you want to reinforce a particular mood or pull or push various elements into the foreground/background.

    Creating a digital palette is a perfectly fine method to use, but as Lamp says you may have to be careful to resample from your palette at full opacity or you'll lose values during your process and the contrast will drop (though this can also be a good method for blending, by proximity sampling as you work). Choosing a palette by eye is largely a matter of experience, but I think it's an important thing to be able to do/judge. I wouldn't short yourself of an important tool in your artistic library just because using a colour picker is easier.

    In terms of colour blending and mixing, how closely that mimics actual media depends a lot on the program

    tynic on
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