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Kaeldahn's illustrations, comments and crits appreciated!

KaeldahnKaeldahn Registered User regular
edited September 2013 in Artist's Corner
Hey guys

So I recently took the plunge and quit my profitable but boring career in favour of somehow producing art full time (I appreciate that not everyone has the luxury to do this). At the moment I'm producing websites and promotional material for people I know to be able to get some income, but I'm looking towards some sort of freelance illustration gig as I go forward.

I've been reading these forums a while and have found the discussions very informative, and would welcome some feedback on what I'm producing. Note that none of the images below were produced for anyone else, they're all purely for my own practice/amusement.

2013_08_15___yoda_by_kaeldahn-d6iyhla.jpg

wolverine_by_kaeldahn-d6icruc.jpg

2013_08_20___garrus_by_kaeldahn-d6j9gen.jpg

So yeah, not big on the colouring yet, but I've been focusing on value and form so far. Feedback appreciated!

Kaeldahn on

Posts

  • mullymully Registered User regular
    Do you have any original art?

    If you're going to be a full-time artist, we need to see some of your original work, I think. Your Garrus is great, though.

    What kind of freelancing are you aiming to do?

  • NakedZerglingNakedZergling A more apocalyptic post apocalypse Portland OregonRegistered User regular
    So these are all existing images right?
    We need to see some original stuff. Sketches too.

  • FugitiveFugitive Registered User regular
    It'd probably be helpful to see some color work as well, since that's what the vast majority of your clients are going to be expecting. It might also be nice to see some other pieces that you've taken to full completion.

    I will also third Mully and Zergling's notion that you really need to get some original, imaginative works in there. It's wonderful that you're doing photo studies, but ultimately they're only studies. People are going to hire you to bring their ideas into a visual medium, not to reproduce already existing images.

    Some quick things that are popping out to me

    You're off to a decent start in terms of observational skills. You really need to work on edge control and material rendering. Right now, most of your materials look pretty much identical. There's not a lot to really differentiate skin from metal from cloth.

    You also need to pay a little more attention to how you're using shadow to define the forms. Wolverine's deltoid, for example, has these really dark shadows cutting into it making it look like he's got these deep gashes in his shoulder.

    Both of these are basically the result of not quite getting the values and value transitions right. That is, how bright your lightest lights are, how dark your darkest shadows are, and how quickly you transit between the two. Referencing the photo you studied from, you'll notice the transition between the highlight on Wolverine's pectoral and the darker areas is a bit more gradual and soft than what you've drawn. Same with the bicep/deltoid. You'll also notice in both of those that your values of your lights and darks aren't quite accurate, particularly in the bicep example. These quick transitions between very light and very dark are giving him a metallic look.

    This problem is also being exacerbated by the fact that you didn't include any of the (very dark) background, which makes the extreme darks of the shadows all the more awkward.

    I'm picking on this one piece in particular, but the other two have similar issues with value, contrast, and transitions.

    My prescription is lots of practice. If you're planning on really going whole-hog and doing this professionally, you should be practicing like it's your full-time job, particularly at your current skill level (that's not meant to be a diss. You just have some ways to go before you're up to an entry-level professional standard). That means drawing 8 hours a day, at least 5 days a week.

    Draw from life, in addition to your photo studies. Photos can distort objects and reproduce colors and values inaccurately, particularly outdoors. Drawing from life will provide you with a much better sense of how an object is constructed. Assemble some still life setups and draw those. Find some figure drawings sessions in your area. If you have paint, go outside and do some plein air studies. If you don't have paint, at least do some charcoal studies.

    Gather a ton of photo references of things with different materials and try to render those really accurately, and really pay attention to how light interacts with cloth vs flesh vs fur vs chrome vs brushed metal vs concrete vs satin vs burlap vs dry leaves vs etc.

    Do a lot of imagined works. This will allow you to flex your creativity while also reinforcing all of the lessons you've learned from your studies by putting those lessons into practice.

    Invest in some art books. This thread has a list of great resources. Invest in a class, either locally or online. I can personally vouch that Noah's Art Camp provides a pretty excellent, well-rounded foundation for learning, and it's pretty cheap to boot.

    And if you aren't already, start working in color ASAP. Color is basically one half of painting, and until you're good with it, you can't expect to find work.

    That said, good luck. You've still got a lot of work ahead of you, but you're off to a good start, and if you really focus on your studies and take them seriously, you'll get there sooner rather than later.

    IrukaWassermelonebrokecrackerbombardierKaeldahnNibCromtynicmully
  • KaeldahnKaeldahn Registered User regular
    edited August 2013
    Ahhhh, that's the critiquing I was looking for!

    Thanks for taking the time to draft out that response Fugitive, I appreciate it (and to Mully and Zerg too).

    Points definitely taken, and the comments about the differentiation between materials was certainly justified as I haven't been able to figure out the best way to accomplish the effect - do you guys generally put down some value and then apply a texture over the top, or paint it in as you're adding the lights and darks (I know it's also about how the light bounces off the materials differently, but at the moment I'm more confused about how to apply texture)?

    Time to crank out some original work!

    Kaeldahn on
  • bombardierbombardier Moderator mod
    edited August 2013
    Check out @Iruka's texture balls and more on this and the next page of her thread. This site also has a lot of good information on lighting in general and would probably be useful for someone at your skill level.

    bombardier on
    tynic
  • NakedZerglingNakedZergling A more apocalyptic post apocalypse Portland OregonRegistered User regular
    edited August 2013
    bombardier wrote: »
    [/url] This site also has a lot of good information on lighting in general and would probably be useful for someone at your skill level.

    NO matter how many times i see this i still love it. Its so good.

    NakedZergling on
    mully
  • FugitiveFugitive Registered User regular
    edited August 2013
    Kaeldahn wrote: »
    Ahhhh, that's the critiquing I was looking for!

    Thanks for taking the time to draft out that response Fugitive, I appreciate it (and to Mully and Zerg too).

    Points definitely taken, and the comments about the differentiation between materials was certainly justified as I haven't been able to figure out the best way to accomplish the effect - do you guys generally put down some value and then apply a texture over the top, or paint it in as you're adding the lights and darks (I know it's also about how the light bounces off the materials differently, but at the moment I'm more confused about how to apply texture)?

    Time to crank out some original work!

    You might be surprised how much legwork is being done just by the way light interacts with materials. You'll notice rubber, ceramic, brass, felt, and so forth, don't really have a lot of "texture" to them in the sense that you seem to be thinking. By that I mean, zooming in and rendering out the bumps and crevasses, or overlaying a texture file, doesn't really describe the actual material itself as much as the interaction of the light does.

    It's important to understand that texture (or, more specifically, detail) and material aren't necessarily the same thing. A lot of texture can be implied just based on how you've depicted the lighting (how you're painting the edges of the form is also a major consideration). As an example, the artist Bumskee was brought up in the chat thread a few days ago. His work is a great example of how, by just varying the way you use soft-brushes, specular highlights, and define the edges of your structures, you can depict an easily recognizable forest without having to define the blades of grass or the exact texture of the bark.

    Of course, there's nothing wrong with being detailed, but my point is that texture isn't nearly as important as you might think when it comes to depicting materials. I would argue that super detailed texture is probably not something you should even be too concerned with unless you're trying to create a really polished piece, but that's just my opinion. I would definitely argue against using photo-textures at this stage, until you're feeling really confident in doing it by hand, since its really easy to go overboard.

    The art_tut.htm link Bombs posted might be the single best general tutorial I've encountered, and it lays all of this out in a way that's really easy to digest.

    Looking forward to seeing your progress.

    Fugitive on
    tynic
  • KaeldahnKaeldahn Registered User regular
    Ahoy (unfinished) original content!

    Demon%20v1.jpg

    I'm going to try and apply the tips on materials to this picture (especially the shirt), but I wanted to know if there are any glaring errors I need to address or any general advice before I continue adding those details and tidying up

    Also, a bonus sketch that I might turn into a proper pic:

    Prof%20v1.jpg

  • KaeldahnKaeldahn Registered User regular
    Progress on the demon guy, I'm deciding how to do the flame lighting up the cigar. I'm reading through Bacon's tips in another thread and want to try and get the same sort of saturation blending effect of the character into the background. If I wanted to "wash over" some areas with a colour (or a desaturating effect if that's possible?) is it best to use a soft edged brush on an overlay layer and then merge, or try and paint in the effect on the same layer?

    Demon%20v2.jpg

  • KaeldahnKaeldahn Registered User regular
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Hey, these are looking alright! You may want to try some quick little observational studies, like rendering a marble on a fuzzy cloth that's just sitting on your desk. Learning to render texture and light quickly and effectively is much easier to do when you are referencing real life.

    This video is also great:

  • KaeldahnKaeldahn Registered User regular
    edited August 2013
    Thanks Iruka, I'll definitely get on with some material studies over the next few days

    Progress on professor sparklehand, would welcome anyone's input/advice!

    Prof-v3.jpg

    Kaeldahn on
  • KaeldahnKaeldahn Registered User regular
    Also, might put some flames on the demon guy image and call it a day there unless anyone's got any major issues with it? It's not as if it's for anything other than my own practice, so I don't need to polish it up too much

  • McDMcD Registered User regular
    Hey, first off, very jealous that you're able to quit your job to pursue arting full time. It's a big step, but the fact that you're able to commit to it in a big way is fantastic... I hope I get the means and then the balls to do the same at some stage.

    Digital painting isn't my forte, but what I would say regarding the image you've just posted above is that the lighting seems a bit off. I think part of the problem is that all the light is coming from the same direction (screen right) and there's not really any fill or rim lights to speak of. Also, the shadows on his clothes don't seem to correspond to the light source, although that could be me mis-reading where his hand is supposed to be in relation to his body. Drawing-wise, it looks very clean and confident, but one of the things that stuck out to me was the way the folds in his shirt go. For example, on his right arm it looks like the material is pinching up at the bend in his elbow, rather than hanging down. There's a similar problem with the folds in the left arm in that they don't seem to hang down in the way that they would in this pose. This is a fantastic document all about drawing folds and creases in clothing: http://punchandbrodie.com/leo/FamousArtistsCartoonCourse/facc_09.pdf

    One other comment would be about his upper body. The folds around his chest help to show the form of his torso, but the fact that the strap on his right side seems very flat kills it since it doesn't curve round in the same way that the left strap does. I'd also suggest that it feels a bit too near the centre of his body.

    That's about it, for now... I'd also second (or third) what the other guys have said about studies and so on. Just keep on keepin' on, you're off to a strong start.

    Kaeldahn
  • KaeldahnKaeldahn Registered User regular
    edited August 2013
    As prescribed, some practice with fabrics, from life and photos

    Fabric%20v1.jpg

    Kaeldahn on
    m3nace
  • FugitiveFugitive Registered User regular
    Hey, you're off to a great start with those studies!

    No specific critique at this juncture. Keep it up!

    As for energy-hand guy, I agree with McD, particularly on the point that compositionally, you should avoid having two strong light sources coming from the same direction and competing like that. At least, I'm assuming there's another light source in addition to the purple light, since you have a lot of neutral light hitting the face and body.

    Kaeldahn
  • KaeldahnKaeldahn Registered User regular
    Thanks for the input McD and Fugitive, I totally agree with what you've said, and that pdf linked for the clothing folds was really useful!

  • KaeldahnKaeldahn Registered User regular
    Potential marketing tie-in for the next Dragon Age game?

    enchantment_by_kaeldahn-d6kflzl.jpg

  • nocuddletimenocuddletime Registered User regular
    Looking good so far. I will say that they lack that last pass of detail and polish to give them that finished look of the "industry standard" stuff. Keep at it!

    93acff97bUk2g.gif
  • KaeldahnKaeldahn Registered User regular
    Tried doing some head angles from reference. Definitely felt it getting better as I went through the angles, then had a crapfest at the end.

    Head-angles-v1.jpg

    Got frustrated with that last one, so decided "fuck it, I'm gonna get this one"

    Balding-dude-ref.jpg

    Progress in spoiler:
    Balding-dude-v1.jpg

    Balding-dude-v2.jpg

    Balding-dude-v3.jpg

    Balding-dude-v4.jpg

    My first time doing a portrait, and especially messing with colour like that, so pretty happy with how it turned out. However, I've looked at this one too much and can't see it anymore, so I'm open to crits (I'm thinking the chin doesn't jut out enough, and the colour of the lips is wrong, but the colouring in general is really new to me so I'm not gonna stress on it for this one).

    Angel_of_Bacon
  • HeartlashHeartlash Registered User regular
    You're absolutely doing the right thing to improve. Look at the difference between the head you just posted and the heads in your other original pieces. There's a ton more depth and detail. Keep doing them exercises.

    My indie mobile gaming studio: Elder Aeons
    Our first game is now available for free on Google Play: Frontier: Isle of the Seven Gods
  • KaeldahnKaeldahn Registered User regular
    edited September 2013
    picklechu_v1_by_kaeldahn-d6l3qvs.jpg

    Anatomy-v1.jpg

    Kaeldahn on
  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    I don't have any specific corrections for you right now, but I wanted to say that everything you're doing here is worthwhile and you are on the right track. Loomis stuff in particular is great to see.

    I might have one suggestion for a study to try. You made a pretty admirable effort on a full color 3/4 head study there, but that lighting situation with the blown out white rimlight and the rest of it being lit by subtle indirect light can be really tricky and there is still a lot of knowledge-juice left to squeeze out. I think it would be useful to try something similar to that again, but this time try reference with a less extreme light, and with the light more directly illuminating and casting shadows on the planes of the face-- something like this.

    Learning how to handle subtle indirect light is definitely important, but for someone at your stage in development, mastering those fundamental structural cues of the head and face is a higher priority and something that is more easily accomplished when you can easily see the light falling across those planes, if that makes sense.

  • KaeldahnKaeldahn Registered User regular
    Thanks for the input! To be honest I chose that reference pic completely on a whim, I wasn't even thinking about the relative value of studying it, but I see your point now and I'll try to consider it in the future.

    Challenge accepted!

    Hair-bun-dude-v1.jpg

    I already know I'm gonna hate doing that hair...

  • KaeldahnKaeldahn Registered User regular
    Hair-bun-dude-v3.jpg

    How's this looking?

  • KaeldahnKaeldahn Registered User regular
  • KaeldahnKaeldahn Registered User regular
    edited September 2013
    Hugh-v1.jpg

    Can I get some opinions on this please - have I gone overboard with the highlights and spores, how does it read? It's late and I'm pretty sure I've gone cross-eyed...

    Edit: Oh, and this is a portrait of someone's Guild Wars 2 character, so not an original character design but the pose, lighting, etc is all from imagination

    Kaeldahn on
  • HeartlashHeartlash Registered User regular
    I think you've gone a bit overboard with the green halo. It implies a light source behind the character that illuminates from the top, bottom, left, AND right (i.e. almost all visible edges). I wouldn't be afraid to keep certain areas completely invisible (with no highlighted edge) to create a more intense value contrast.

    Other than that, it looks like it's on a solid track but could benefit from sharper rendering all over (another pass with a smaller brush). Hope you keep at it and would love to see it continue to evolve.

    My indie mobile gaming studio: Elder Aeons
    Our first game is now available for free on Google Play: Frontier: Isle of the Seven Gods
    tynic
  • KaeldahnKaeldahn Registered User regular
    Thanks for the input, I've updated it a bit accordingly:

    Hugh-v2.jpg

  • KaeldahnKaeldahn Registered User regular
    Just a quick Judge Doodle

    Dredd-v1.jpg

  • KaeldahnKaeldahn Registered User regular
    Took the Judge a bit further

    Dredd-v2.jpg

  • arinyaarinya Registered User regular
    Saweet Dredd!

  • KaeldahnKaeldahn Registered User regular
    Thanks dude

  • ElkoVituciElkoVituci Registered User regular
    Dredd is awesome! Would love to see Garrus painted ;)

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