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Portfolio stuff (Finished? 3/6/08)

biiirdmaaan!biiirdmaaan! Registered User regular
edited March 2008 in Artist's Corner
I am trying to get into a program for scientific illustration. This one, in fact.

I've been taking art classes this year (intro and a figure drawing class) to help me practice and build up a portfolio. I'll post some of my work from these classes if there's any interest. Something struck me lately that none of these classes have delved into color so I didn't have any work in color, which struck me as a deficit. I worked on a couple things on my own, and this is what I have thus far.

bonsaicopywq9.jpg

A bonsai tree at the local conservatory. Lines done in person and colored with help of a photo ref I took while there.

bathabbeycopyfx3.jpg

Bath abbey, from a ref found on flickr.

I'm not happy enough with either of these to include them at the present time, so any critiques would be awesome. I have a few days before I have to mail this out without anything else to do, so I still have time to make substantial changes or even start a new project if you think that's wiser. If you don't think this is worth my pursuing at this point of the game, you can say that too. I have enough charcoal stuff I'm happy with to make up the 10-15 item portfolio with just that, but I thought I should try some color stuff.

Thank you so much in advance since this has been increasingly panicking me lately.

biiirdmaaan! on

Posts

  • MustangMustang Arbiter of Unpopular Opinions Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Wow I didn't realise that was an actual field you could go into.......totally unappealing (for me), but still you learn something new everyday.

    I quite like your tree, it is obviously still in it's infancy but I like where you are heading with it.

    You look a bit lost with the abbey, but you are still so early in, the base looks a little wide on the left, but the overall perspective looks generally ok to me. I'm assuming the photo ref is in the afternoon sun, the colour is very intense.

    Mustang on
  • biiirdmaaan!biiirdmaaan! Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Thanks. I guess the field is something for me to do with my physics degree without actually doing physics :P In all seriousness, I like the idea of conveying nuanced, technical ideas with art.

    I guess my problem is I don't really know how to take the tree any further (I originally envisioned it as a simple water color-ish wash over the line art, but that probably wouldn't appropriate for a portfolio), but I that's something I can figure out while working on it. Further define the trunk and make more distinct leaves probably.

    The photo ref on the abbey is actually taken at night, so it's all artificial lighting. I'd guess there's on the order of a dozen light sources on it, which probably makes it a really bad decision for my first serious foray into digital painting and I'm sure contributes to how "lost" it seems.

    biiirdmaaan! on
  • MustangMustang Arbiter of Unpopular Opinions Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    The photo ref on the abbey is actually taken at night, so it's all artificial lighting. I'd guess there's on the order of a dozen light sources on it, which probably makes it a really bad decision for my first serious foray into digital painting and I'm sure contributes to how "lost" it seems.

    Indubitab..indell...inda.....definately.
    However you may find as you start adding the finer points, both works will start finding their form. I'd keep at them and then ask the greater minds here here how to continue if you still find yourself lost.

    Mustang on
  • GreatnationGreatnation Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    "I like the idea of conveying nuanced, technical ideas with art."


    Yes! That is so good, i love it.


    Both of these images can rock. Just focus and refine and refine and refine. Take a look at this guy, http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6167278083166388456 to see how far you can take something so vague. At this point, its all about focused work staying in the frame of the whole big picture.



    stick it to the queen man.

    Greatnation on
  • biiirdmaaan!biiirdmaaan! Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Two steps forward, one step back. Tons of work still to do. Any thoughts?

    bonsaicopyxv8.jpg

    biiirdmaaan! on
  • biiirdmaaan!biiirdmaaan! Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Greatnation - Hey, thanks for the video. That shit's insane.

    Small update here. I basically restarted the church picture, taking care to think about the light sources and how everything interacts. Still really fuzzy, but I think all the forms read much better.

    Any crits at this stage?

    bathabbey4608ro3.jpg

    biiirdmaaan! on
  • biiirdmaaan!biiirdmaaan! Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Work work work....

    posting mainly to keep myself on task, but I like how it's coming along

    bathabbeyprogress0zd8.jpg

    biiirdmaaan! on
  • biiirdmaaan!biiirdmaaan! Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Allright, I think I got both of these as far as I can. Any final crits? Please?

    bonsaifinalcb7.jpg

    bathabbeyfinishedre2.jpg

    biiirdmaaan! on
  • MustangMustang Arbiter of Unpopular Opinions Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    I reckon you could take the church much much further, it's starting to look really exciting. I love how you've progressed with it so far, and I want to see more.

    Mustang on
  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited March 2008
    you stuff is really good, dude, but the only thing I see is that it doesn't quite exhibit the level of precision or detail that I would associate with scientific illustration, at least not at the stage it is at. Of course, you're applying to the school to try to learn that, and your drawings now show plenty of solid art foundation, but the two pieces you're showing here feel much looser and less detailed than would normally be exhibited in a precision field like scientific illustration. I'd focus on adding more definition and clarity of detail to the drawings, tighten up the lines and the colors, but you are definitely on the right track.

    Rankenphile on
    8406wWN.png
  • rtsrts Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    I would like to see your figurative work. As for the other two pieces, give me the reference and I will give you some specific information about what you need to work on. Painting is made up of four main principles, well five but we won't talk about temperature at the moment, and those are Shape, Value, Edge and Color. Right now your value and colors in the Bath Abbey thing are good, but your edgework is pretty bad (which isn't surprising because I wonder if you have even been properly introduced to the concept of edges) and you have only an ambiguous control over your shapes. That is a basic drawing issue though, and something you will have to work on for years and years.

    The tree is just way to light in both value and color. throw a black onto the background right next to it and you will see what I mean. That is not to say that the background has to be black, but that will put your value range into perspective.

    Neither piece feels finished, I suffer from the same problem. I get to a certain point in almost everything I work on and then I lock up. I will try to do a paint over on one of your pieces later tonight if you provide some reference.

    rts on
    skype: rtschutter
  • biiirdmaaan!biiirdmaaan! Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Mustang & Rankenphile - Thanks for the words of encourage ment, and I was afraid you would say that they look really unfinished. I have to agree, but I suppose wishful thinking took over.

    Cake - Thanks for your advice and your offer for a paintover. You're right that I haven't been introduced to, well, anything in painting. I'm kind of learning as I'm going, and I totally see what you're saying.

    Here are the references -
    dsc0099ie1.jpg

    bathrefyx4.jpg

    I'll post some of my figure work in here in the future.

    biiirdmaaan! on
  • MustangMustang Arbiter of Unpopular Opinions Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Ahh I see some of the problem with your tree here that cakemix was pointing out, the contrast balance sucks on the photo and I think you may have unwittingly transfered it over to your painting.

    Original Photo
    trorigda9.jpg

    Quick Re-work
    trnewyn0.jpg

    Getting the contrast right gives the image much more depth.

    Mustang on
  • rtsrts Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Nice catch Mustang, yeah people put too much weight on photos when working from reference. The camera is a tool, it is not as good at detecting subtlety as the human eye, and sometimes your settings are just bad. Make sure you are working from the best reference possible. I have to go to my illustration class now but I will do some work on one of your pieces later.

    rts on
    skype: rtschutter
  • biiirdmaaan!biiirdmaaan! Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Mustang - Yeah, that's what happened, for sure.

    biiirdmaaan! on
  • rtsrts Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    I did some work tonight but it is not conveying what I want it to quite properly yet and I need to get up in 3 hours to go plein air painting, so I will have to work on it some more tomorrow.

    rts on
    skype: rtschutter
  • biiirdmaaan!biiirdmaaan! Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    So I redid the lines (which I kind of want to keep in some capacity) and tried for more pronounced lighting. I am so totally lost on this.

    bonsaiprogressbg6.jpg

    biiirdmaaan! on
  • DeeLockDeeLock Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Why are you even using outlines?

    DeeLock on
  • biiirdmaaan!biiirdmaaan! Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    My original idea for this was something akin to a field guide for a tree, with a line drawing being complimented by a (fairly simple) coloring. That also contributed to how light it was at first - I didn't want the original linework to be over powered by the coloring, so I went really light, really low saturation everything.

    But it is moving away from that, so maybe I should consider scrapping the lines altogether and going for more of a traditional painting.

    biiirdmaaan! on
  • biiirdmaaan!biiirdmaaan! Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Chucked the lines, worked some more on the trunk

    bonsaiprog1kh0.jpg

    The one major problem I have right now is that the pencils kind of conveyed some of the texture of the tree, which is now entirely smooth. It's not yet time for me to be texturing it, but does anyone have suggestions for that?

    EDIT: Not worth a bump, but now with some leaves.

    bonsaiprog2eh9.jpg

    biiirdmaaan! on
  • DeeLockDeeLock Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    It looks MUCH better!

    Try using bigger brushes...there's a lot of evidence of small brushes just scribbled back and forth to cover large areas...it'll look a lot softer and more natural if you keep your brushes as big as possible.

    DeeLock on
  • SublimusSublimus Artist. nowhereRegistered User regular
    edited March 2008
    My advice for the church piece would be to bump up the saturation of your shadows, they are really muddy and are killing the overall color. Also, solidify the drawing in that piece! Its getting sloppy. If you tighten up the drawing, it will be much more impressive.

    The tree looks a little desaturated as well, and lacking contrast.

    Each post has brought improvements, and I hope you continue to push these.

    Sublimus on
  • biiirdmaaan!biiirdmaaan! Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Too much saturation?

    bonsaiprog3nh2.jpg

    Slowly tightening this one up.

    bathabbeyprogress1or1.jpg

    biiirdmaaan! on
  • BroloBrolo Broseidon Lord of the BroceanRegistered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Both need texture. The tree especially looks like it's made out of putty.

    Brolo on
  • RankenphileRankenphile Passersby were amazed by the unusually large amounts of blood.Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited March 2008
    the leaves of the tree need definition badly, and the ends of the branches need a lot more detail - right now they both look rushed and incomplete, like you just went "okay it's thick and gets thinner and then oh geez a bunch of stuff happens okay"

    focus on fine detail. How does the light hit the leaves, how does it create different shapes and clusters, and how does it effect the branches below it. This is scientific illustration you're aiming at here, it needs more precision.

    The church drawing is getting better, but still needs more focus on accuracy - the vertical lines in the lower left are crooked and non parallel, and they lack any real definition as to what they are and what purpose they serve. The perspective on the windows on the left side of the top tower seems to change depending on which part you're looking at, and the windows to the right are hardly defined at all. The top spires in the original painting are much more geometric and defined than your drawing, which just makes the rooftops look like rounded off lumps.

    Take your time, if these are portfolio pieces you need to show an attention to detail and the ability to represent what you see, not what you know. You're doing good work, but slow down and focus on what is really there.

    A trick to doing this, sometimes, is to flip the picture 180 degrees. It forces you to stop seeing what you're used to seeing there and to focus on the actual images themselves and the details within them.

    Rankenphile on
    8406wWN.png
  • MustangMustang Arbiter of Unpopular Opinions Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    A trick to doing this, sometimes, is to flip the picture 180 degrees. It forces you to stop seeing what you're used to seeing there and to focus on the actual images themselves and the details within them.

    That's good advise, I've just started doing this myself and you pick up all sorts of worrying trends in your work.

    Mustang on
  • biiirdmaaan!biiirdmaaan! Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Hey - sorry about the lull I've had in here.

    I want to thank everyone for their advice and critiques. Unfortunately, the time to send it was on Monday, so I did not have much time to put some of the later critiques (especially Rankenphile's) into action. The later iterations were mostly just lateral moves from the last stuff I had posted.

    I would finish it up to a higher standard just to prove it to myself that I could, but I'm honestly kind of sick of those projects by now. I'll try to integrate what I've learned and all your critiques into later things I do because I intend to keep practice until (hopefully) being accepted to UC. Maybe I'll revisit those projects later as a kind of meter stick of my progress.

    I'll be turning this thread into more of a dump in the near future. On that topic, can anyone think of a good title that combines "bird" and "dump"? I feel like there's a passable joke in there, but damned if I can find it.

    biiirdmaaan! on
  • MustangMustang Arbiter of Unpopular Opinions Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Yeah ok, I want you to finish the picture of the church ok, do it!
    Owen%20Starsky%20&%20Hutch%20Signature%20Do%20It.jpg

    j/k I've got a folder with about 30 unfinished projects that I keep meaning to get to.

    Mustang on
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