even awful art is good art [NSFW]



  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    I would think you would would want some light to come through and hit your main focus (the building) because right now literally all the focus is on the waterfall. You could also try and make that figure(?) in the foreground a little more separate either by taking some mist up on to lighten the rock behind him, or changing the scale quite a bit so that he fits under the arch.

  • kevindeekevindee Registered User regular
    Iruka wrote: »
    I would think you would would want some light to come through and hit your main focus (the building) because right now literally all the focus is on the waterfall. You could also try and make that figure(?) in the foreground a little more separate either by taking some mist up on to lighten the rock behind him, or changing the scale quite a bit so that he fits under the arch.

    I took it into a colour rough to get a better sense of how to play up the light, since I didn't want that waterfall to be the only high contrast area in the whole thing. I took out the figure, and I think it's a good thing.

    This is about where I'm at now. I should sort out some of the local colours, but on the whole I'm happy with how it's coming together, it's a pretty big step up for me :c


  • kevindeekevindee Registered User regular
    edited August 2013
    Oof. It's been a while, time to update this.

    I've finished Nathan's Fowkes class now, and would like to do a little brief write-up of the pros and cons in the interest of others who might be interested in taking his class. At 400-something bucks, I know I was hesitant to spring for it, and since I hadn't worked in colour much at all before joining, I consider myself a decent baseline.

    First off, Nathan is a gifted teacher. I didn't get the paintover critiques, but I got to see how he treated 30 other students and came away so impressed with how he could always relate to the level of development in the student, and critique the work on a level that was relevant to their skills. He's a harsh grader, but soft-spoken and kind when he critiques. There's a lot of visual examples involved whenever he makes a point, so everything's pretty clearly illustrated. I learned quite a bit just from watching him critique other students, the guy is just inspiring.


    - Nathan knows his stuff. Really. I couldn't name anyone off the top of my head who has a better handle on colour and light, harmonies, and what just straight up works. I've got Gurney's wonderful book on it and read it cover to cover - still managed to pick up things in this class that I wouldn't have known otherwise.
    - Classes are engaging, and the material is presented in an interesting way
    - Assignments progress nicely, and are varied. I was pushed to do things I never did before every single week.
    - Feedback is meaningful and useful. He got me onto Sorolla in week 1, to make a certain point on dappled light. My mind was blown.
    - You get info on how the industry works, it's not just about technique. I've no specific interest in working within animation, but I love to get info about stuff like this from insiders, because it's so valuable.


    - If you study at your own pace, you don't get the paintover critiques. Nathan grades your work, and you get some written feedback. You could feel like a second-rate student at times, especially when you see the 30-min videos he dedicates to others. Considering the classes are sold out almost all of the time though, you might have to just deal with it.
    - Nathan might not be as proficient in digital as you'd expect, which he freely admits. I couldn't care less about this, since he is basically a wizard in traditional painting, and his skill is glaringly obvious when doing digital work. The core foundation is rock solid, but don't expect to get advanced photoshop techniques or digital-only things out of this. The class focuses on universal principles, regardless of the medium.

    I'm glad I took the class. If I had the money, I'd probably take it twice, cause I know some stuff slipped by me. If schoolism has another discount on this one, I'd definitely recommend it.

    Now..less words, and more damn poasting! I've not done a lot of finished stuff recently and felt like it was hard to focus or get motivated sometimes. Gotta get through this, it bums me out:




    some quick value and colour thumbs



    I haven't really drawn much with graphite at all recently, trying my hand at charcoal and newsprint instead. I really do love gestures and figure drawing - it's just so relaxing.


    character doodling, just throwing colours around


    Still life. gotta learn how to tile strokes.

    I've also started James Paick's Environment Design class at CGMA, and I'm already way behind on that. Environments are something I'd really like to explore, but i'm pretty bad at em. Expect a lot of this stuff over the coming weeks as I go through it. Hopefully I'll get to come to grips with finishing more work, too - i need to sack up, and flesh out some of my ideas. Feels like I'm not doing creative stuff half the time.

    First week's starting assignment was to get five value thumbnails out:


    I've not done much of this, so I'm curious to see what I can pick up.

    kevindee on
  • sampangolinsampangolin Registered User regular
    Inspiring stuff dude. Sorry I can't offer a more helpful post than that. That egg still life is awesome.

  • kevindeekevindee Registered User regular
    edited August 2013
    Studies are boring, personal work is fun!




    I was thinking about doing a whole series of value paintings like this to try and develop my chops. values are seriously hard for me still.

    Lemme know if any of this stuff has merit, I might revisit some of these later or rework things for the portfolio!

    kevindee on
  • F87F87 So Say We All Registered User regular
    I really like your texture and values. These are all pretty great, but the top one is super great. I do feel like it could use more of a focal point though.

  • kevindeekevindee Registered User regular
    F87 wrote: »
    I really like your texture and values. These are all pretty great, but the top one is super great. I do feel like it could use more of a focal point though.

    Oh definitely. You have no idea how many things I tried to force in there, and it just didn't work. I had a roman tent and legion, a decrepit farmhouse, all sorts. Just couldn't get it to read right so I had to ditch it. I'm glad you sort of dig these though!

  • kevindeekevindee Registered User regular
    edited August 2013
    Ugh, environments are such a pain. It's gonna take hundreds and hundreds of these to get a really solid read every time. I'm doodling a bunch out in my sketchbook at work whenever I can, but it'll definitely take time.

    The digital ones are all over the place, and I'm still dealing with quite a few basic drawing problems whenever I get into em. here's one:


    The next few weeks of the class deals with ideation and trying to work our way to a final concept. I really don't feel like I picked up much at all, so I'm pretty bummed out. It doesn't help that the Q&A software used is a joke, and I'm missing critiques for some weeks.

    Other stuff I've been messing with to get some variety in:




    kevindee on
  • tynictynic PICNIC BADASS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    Your brushwork and colour handling is superb, and your still lives have excellent light. But weirdly, the latter isn't as prevalent in your environments - a lot of mid-range tones being used, and even in the greyscale value studies above, which have more variation, you seem to be depending on the "foreground darkest, background lightest" trick a lot. Which is an effective layout! but I wonder if playing around more with value placements and highlighting, and using that to inform your environment compositions, would help?

    Personally I find the big three with environments is accurate perspective, interesting composition, and good lighting. Nailing two of them makes a piece work pretty well, nailing all three and even sans colour you've got a winner.

  • McDMcD Registered User regular
    I'm liking that skull piece and the wee red guy at the bottom... The brushwork on both of them is really interesting.

  • kevindeekevindee Registered User regular
    @tynic : You're definitely on the money with the big three of environments, and I agree with the critique - I try to stay around the mid-range because I tend to go overboard on the contrast otherwise, and I want to evoke a cloudy diffuse sky most of the time - but it isn't really working out too well for me. I definitely use the "foreground darkest, background lightest" principle in pretty much everything, because I have no idea how to approach it otherwise.

    I tried to change value placements and highlights like you suggested in some value comps, but I just couldn't get it to read. I try to be really, really safe and generic on all of this because I feel like I've not got a handle it on it at all. It's daunting. Give me a single object, and I can light that in my head and be alright. Give me a landscape, and I have no idea what's going on.

    I've got 4 colour environments I need to finish by tomorrow, if any of those turn out decent I'll post them.

    @McD: cheers!

  • tynictynic PICNIC BADASS Registered User, ClubPA regular
    Hmm, I think you might be approaching this backwards and doing the most difficult stuff first, by trying to be 'safe'.

    To clarify - I think overcast sky and diffuse lighting is absolutely the hardest thing to do in an environmental piece, because you can't let the light pinpoint the interesting bits for you, and it's much harder to intuit things like cast shadows and bounce lighting. A strong, single, directional source is the easiest to envision and render - both in still life and in environment work.

    So maybe throw away the diffuse sky for a bit, start with something easier - sunset/sunrise, or bright day but with the sun not overhead - and a clunky chunky scene with lots of rocks and features and outcroppings. Man-made features are actually good for this (castles, buildings, walls) because they give you some regular forms to build up and some straight lines to emphasise perspective. And play around with the relative lighting directions - sun behind you, sun to the side - this will force you away from the foreground-midground-background dark-medium-light pattern. From then on it's about practise and not being afraid to experiment.

    This may sound trite, but playing it safe when it comes to art usually just means you don't learn, or not as fast - best way to get a grip on something is to launch grand experiments and then figure out why they don't work. That said, using strong colours and lighting and bold shapes is actually playing it safe, in a lot of ways, because it's letting the features of the scene do the work for you. To expand upon my point earlier, you have to spend way less time making things look convincing when you've got a strong light source, strong composition and accurate perspective.

    I know you can do it, because you definitely have the skills, it just feels like you're shying away from applying them. Perhaps think of it this way. When you're doing an environment, it's basically a collection of objects; the only difference between that and your still life work is scale. Both take the same approaches in form, lighting, shadow, colour. I don't know what your process is; I do things differently depending on whether i'm just speedpainting and noodling around or working out an actual composition, but in the latter case I tend to draw the scene fairly thoroughly first, so I know what physical features I'm working with, and then block in the light (sometimes with colour, sometimes just getting a value composition down). And I often do two or three different lighting or colour paintovers at this stage, to see which one works best with the mood of the piece and the elements of the picture that I want to emphasize. And after that at least half the work is basically done, it's just a matter of rendering surfaces and cleaning up/tweaking bits (the fiddly crap).

  • kevindeekevindee Registered User regular
    @tynic : thanks for the write-up man, I appreciate you taking the time. You're probably right, and it's possible I've let the type of stuff that I admire most influence me to the point of detriment. I'm trying to change things up in value studies like you suggested before, and I'll get on some colour comps this weekend and try to hit a nicely lit scene.

    My process is basically...non-existant. I open a file in photoshop, and I paint on a single layer. I don't ever draw linework out for anything. Which is probably a very stupid way of working, especially if you're learning like I am. For faces, I do a rough outline and then block in. I think it's sort of like an alla prima approach, but what do I know.

    I get the feeling I also need to do some serious environment studies to build up my understanding, or try to do a quick study, and follow it up with something from imagination myself. I'll keep what you said in mind, and change things around.

    Thanks again!

  • nocuddletimenocuddletime Registered User regular
    Got some great stuff here. Very reminiscent of John Singer Sargent in places (in a good way). Some great fundamentals too. Keep it up!

  • kevindeekevindee Registered User regular
    edited September 2013
    Doodlin', weee




    kevindee on
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    First off: Awsome write up on the Nathan Fowkes class, it is really informative and It sounds (and looks) like you got a lot out of it. It sounds like it may be much more put together than Noah's class, with more reasonable goals. Really awesome to watch you go through it.

    But I have a general crit, you seem to consistently have weak faces in your drawings. With someone with such a blocky, painterly style, it seems to indicate a lack of study in the area. Alot of your faces have an overly flattened profile line, and not alot of defined planes in the cheek area. You need to get a bunch of pictures of this guy: http://24.media.tumblr.com/a4ce083b7a7b1c5a812e808271524384/tumblr_mgbimj0f3Q1r0v3zro1_1280.jpg and just go to town on it. Also, really get reference for your faces. Try to make something look like someone specific, there are many different types of faces. You if you want to expand your toolkit in that area, I would put aside some time for it. Even if your goal isn't character art, when you do a figure its an area our eye is heavily drawn to, and you want a good, sturdy structure to be there.

  • kevindeekevindee Registered User regular
    @iruka : I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm still taking James Paick's class now, but am disappointed by how it stacks up against Nathan's - there just isn't much being taught at all.

    re. the faces: whoa, eerie. I started on the Asaro head literally last night, but it got too dark for charcoal (I think I covered it only once before, like last year or so). I'll work through it this weekend, and do some further character studies. You're right though, for someone who likes to paint faces as much as I do, I have no excuse not to get the fundamentals of them down pat. Like you said, when I doodle stuff out it's just from imagination, and I can end up with a generic-ish, weak face.

  • kevindeekevindee Registered User regular
    Aight, bumping time.

    @Iruka : I took your advice to heart and went back to fundamentals a bit. I'm glad I made the effort, cause it became instantly apparent how little time I'd spent on this in the past:








    Chronology is from top > bottom. All the heads with planes are from reference, all the other ones are from memory. I'm going to spend some time on portrait studies next and see how that goes.

    Other stuff:




    a quick Tom Scholes study:


  • kevindeekevindee Registered User regular


    digital cast drawing and a charcoal 20 min cast lay-in.

    I still haven't found anything in photoshop that handles as elegantly as a charcoal pencil, i wonder if anyone uses tilt settings to their benefit.

  • kevindeekevindee Registered User regular
    Been struggling recently, and getting a bit too lazy. I had a friend over and was on holidays abroad, so I didn't get a lot done. I kind of like posting stuff here to feel like I at least accomplished stuff when I feel like I'm not hitting my stride, and it helps to know some people might look at it. It's been tough this week, and my mind's not been in the right place.

    Not sure if I'm just off my game or having a hard time because I'm doing harder things:


    30-40(?) min lay-in. The first of many, since these ruin me. Proportions are hard, man


    environment doodling


    @tynic: I'm still trying to get better at value comps, this is one I never took to a finish.



    a one-hour study before bed. I've not done enough of them lately but they're so damned good for you!

  • kevindeekevindee Registered User regular
    More dumping. A lot of stuff from imagination (I've not done many studies outside of charcoal the past few weeks):


    I'm pleased with the collar. the rest is a failure.






    I should do some environment studies from Life and reference. Getting the light to feel 'right' is real tough, and it's hit-or-miss.

    I've also started doing this new thing where I carry around a pen and post-it notes in my pockets, and whenever I have some time I'll do a super quicj (30s-1min) sketch, just in my hand, like so:


    I've not got the mentality to carry a sketchbook around, but I do want to sketch. Consider the post-its a compromise. At the very least it should be good for working on my dexterity.

    Gunther Hermannm3naceadmanbtapeslinger
  • Gunther HermannGunther Hermann Registered User regular
    No offence intended but to say any of that is a failure is quite insulting to people like me who are really struggling to draw well. I'm aware that I'm likely being hypocritical since I say the same things as you about my own drawings. But that face, which I assume is also from imagination is nowhere close to being a failure. And from reading the start of your thread it seems you've only been drawing for a few years, so showing such progress is a grand accomplishment.
    Even though that may sound like I'm being a total arse, I'm genuinely impressed. Also I'm jealous of your talent, can you tell?

  • kevindeekevindee Registered User regular
    Oh no, it's not from imagination. That first portrait is a velasquez study, sorry I forgot to mention that. And I guess goals change as we go through the process, I wasn't happy with it is all - no slight against anyone else.

  • kevindeekevindee Registered User regular
    edited November 2013
    Dump time! There's really not a lot to post this time around, as I've just not done enough work at all. I am trying to take more stuff to a full finish nowadays though, so there's that.


    A portrait study that's loosely referenced. I'm still trying to get faces up to snuff, but I do think I'm heading in the right direction.


    I'm on a big Zorn kick these days. Consider this WIP the first of several studies.

    I made the effort and bought a load of canvas and some oil paint, and made my first forays into actual painting today! I started painting my friend, and realized after a while that the titanium white I had gotten was actually watercolour. Whenever I tried to mix tones with white in, the paint thinner would just clot up the whites, and it would peel off the canvas. Just an absolute disaster, but I guess I know now. I've also gone through about 100 post-it ballpoint sketches, and went through a pen in the process. I'm glad I made the choice, as far as dexterity and line confidence go I really feel it's helping. I'll see if I can make a collage of some that are worth posting later.

    In slightly less positive news, I got told that I'm essentially going to lose my job after New Year's, so I'm feeling a lot of pressure to try and assemble some kind of portfolio / website before that happens. Doing so was my original goal for this year regardless, but knowing that I'll be out of a livelihood doesn't make things easier.

    I've never given much thought to putting together a portfolio, or a blog, or some kind of display of work, so I'm hoping to glean info from you guys who have actually been through it before, and maybe get some support. The business side of things doesn't terrify me, but it's unfamiliar territory. Ugh,

    kevindee on
  • kevindeekevindee Registered User regular
    edited December 2013
    Time to update! I've been under the weather for a while, still trying to put the hours in though.




    Tam scolded me for not having seen anything by Miyazaki a while ago, and I've had Totoro on the brain non-stop since

    Some other stuff:




    This one's a work in progress, and I'm looking for some critique as I'm pretty stuck on it. I think the values and light are alright, but I'm unsure of how to render this thing out to a finish, or what to add into the scene as additional subject matter.

    Oh, I also bought some proper brushes and got some more canvas. I don't have clove oil or fixative, and quickly learned that my only option for now is to work alla prima, since any charcoal lines just smear all over the canvas when I do apply paint.


    This is like five minutes in, it got a bit better after, and then a whole lot worse. So, so much to learn

    kevindee on
  • kevindeekevindee Registered User regular
    Bumpin' time:

    Tough month. bit of burnout around winter due to the cold and darkness, but I've had some more luck the past few days just trying to relax and enjoy drawing, rather than being too focused on putting in hours.


    Spent some more time on this, before Photoshop crashed and corrupted my .psd file, what a bummer. I wanted to sort out the composition some more, but I guess i'll have to move on.

    Some more studies, faces and nudes are always fun to try and work on:




    Onwards to 2014! I can't wait for the light to come back, so I can get some proper oil practice going.

  • kevindeekevindee Registered User regular
    First 2014 update, the pressure's on:


    Gesture figures


    Face studies, still working on structure

    I also did a bunch of drapery studies, since I'd never looked into that stuff before and it was about damn time. But nobody wants to look at that.


    some environment that's a bit too empty for me to take further.


    This started off as a doodle, but then turned into a possible portfolio piece. I'm looking for crits on it, since this isn't over yet - I'm going to try and push it some more and see what I can get out of it.

    I also made a tumblr, like the other cool kids. I haven't put anything on it yet though. I'd rather go in in a few weeks or months and dump a backlog of stuff I think looks decent, and then add to it frequently. I don't really have much I can throw up there I think. Maybe I'm wrong.

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Tumblrs are for updating regularly, not for backlog creating. Link people to it now, and just let it grow slowly over time.

    I like the last piece, but it feels pretty simple and rough. I'll be interested to see how you refine it.

    There's been some huge leaps in your work, when I go back and look at the first page of this thread, its kinda crazy to see the rapid improvements a few classes sparked. The facial structure still strikes me as being a bit off, But its getting there. When you say portfolio, what exactly are you aiming for? What are you trying to get into with your work?

  • kevindeekevindee Registered User regular
    Thanks, @Iruka! I'm glad I'm moving up, and am not cranking out turkeys all the time any longer. I'm not sure what changed, but I think my eye got better, and when I spot my own mistakes now I'll generally fix them to the best of my ability. Doing pen work was a good decision as well, I fucking love sketching in a little notepad during the commute to work/home and just thinking about what to draw later.

    I guess you're right about the tumblr, I'll scan / picture up some work and start adding things this weekend, get that thing going and see where it takes me.

    When I say portfolio, I mean just that - I want to be able to have a little wordpress site or something similar, where I can showcase some work. I used to be all about thinking of doing concept work for the gaming industry, but the more I learn about the environment and corporate the more I think I would just as likely head into fine art or illustration. It's so early and I've got so much to learn I feel weird thinking like that, but honestly, as long as I get to draw or paint at work it'll be good.

  • kevindeekevindee Registered User regular
    A bit of a mixed bag this time:







    The small pocket notebook I got is proving useful. i kept smearing every sketch though and had to flip it upside and go backwards just to have anything usable in there.
    Some of these are quick studies of portraits, some are commute sketches of passers-by. Going to revisit some features and fundamentals on these, but I'm learning.

    Doodles / whatever:





    Started all of these without thinking things through too much, so I'm not really hyped about any of em. I kinda like the monster one, though.

    I figured it would be a good idea to revert to some fundamentals, which is why I spent some time on compositional stems:











    These are really simple, and quite quick. I guess they look sorta cartoon-y, which is probably due to my lack of knowledge in making things truly realistic. I just went for clarity and value separation with these, but there's clearly a lot to learn here. I haven't revisited any of these yet, as they kind of burned me out around day two. I have no real sense of how to judge if any of these would work as a full piece (i rarely, if ever, do compositional or value studies), so I'm looking for crits here. If you see anything looking really off or just not working, lemme know!



    Made time for a Lipking study the other day, and I'm glad I did. I really ought to do several of these every week, they're just good practice. This one I think took about 4 hours.

    I think that's about it? Felt like a huge dump this time, whoa. I'm not sure what to spend time on this week, but I probably need to work more on landscape studies and figure stuff. We'll see.

  • kevindeekevindee Registered User regular
    edited February 2014
    Update time!








    Still sketching, still commuting - running out of paper in the small one I got soon, so I'll probably change up the size and see if I can work on something a bit bigger on the train. People never sit still, and the whole carriage is shaking all the damn time, so it's good practice in both drawing form life as well as inventing. I've been really enjoying sketching portraits of people out and about, it's crazy how fast the time goes by when you're doing these. Half the time I just completely miss my stop.



    Some environments I did at random. Ugh, I need to stop just going in with no idea and noodling something out. I end up getting so obsessed over what the light would be like that I end up with totally half-assed compositions. Really want to work on this, it's such a bad habit. I'm going to take a value comp to a full finish this week, even if it kills me. It's about damn time.


    Masterstudies. I'm going to try to do these regularly, and keep the time to a couple of hours apiece. They really don't need to take forever for you to learn stuff from em.

    Oh! Oh! I took @Iruka 's advice and got a tumblr! I'm hella lonely, though, and totally shit at this sort of thing. I've started following people from the forums, so don't freak out if you see notice I added you. Follow me if you like, it's always appreciated!

    kevindee on
  • ninjaininjai Registered User regular
    Mad good things happening here. The last face painting from november and the girl sitting down, something about them jump off the screen and feel alive.

  • kevindeekevindee Registered User regular
    Man, I need to update this thread. It's been ages.

    Some more recent stuff:





    I've been to a couple of figure drawing sessions downtown, which was cool. The room is ridiculously small, though, so it's always cramped and uncomfortable. They also charge 5 dollars for water, fuckers:





    I finished my current sketchbook full of value comps, and am probably going to just start another one full of pen line drawings. Gotta get that draftsmanship up. Some sketches/doodles:




    About to start working some more in oils, and doing some plein air stuff in the archipelago, but unfortunately I don't have anything to show for it yet. It should be fun / horrible! We'll see.

    I came into some unexpected cash recently, so I decided to go to California this fall and do a bootcamp at Watts. I'm not sure how accessible everything is, and I can't drive a car, so we'll see if I can make my way around or if i just end up getting mauled by cougars after dusk. If you're in the area, come say hi!

Sign In or Register to comment.