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Typhus - now with wacom

TyphusTyphus Registered User
edited July 2008 in Artist's Corner
Its been about a year since I posted here and got some pretty harsh (but completely valid) critiques. Since then I've done quite a bit of practice (not enough) and a bought and read a few books . I recently bought a Wacom tablet that I've been trying to work with, but I'm finding this kind of drawing extremely difficult, but I thought I'd get some more up to date critiques.

On top of this I have a few questions.
1) I have real trouble coming up with backgrounds. I know where I want the characters and such to be, but I have difficulty trying to convey it. Any tips to help with that?
2) As I mentioned earlier I have real trouble working with the Wacom. It's easier than a mouse for sure, but I just don't seem able to make a line that isn't wobbly. Is there a good way to practice this beyond just drawing constantly? (Last time I was here, someone gave me some exercises with basic shapes.

Finally here's the only vaguely decent piece I feel I've done. The rez is not great, now I know I guess. ONe thing I really don't like about this are the work surfaces and I know nothing about colour theory, so its all by instinct. Any good resources on this would also be appreciated, but mostly I'm just trying to get the actual drawing down to an acceptable standard.

Typhus-avatar-editedagain.jpg

Typhus on

Posts

  • MKRMKR Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Is that alien Dilbert?

    MKR on
  • TyphusTyphus Registered User
    edited July 2008
    hmm I knew I had seen that tie before somewhere. Ok now I have to redraw that before I go to bed...

    Typhus on
  • TyphusTyphus Registered User
    edited July 2008
    better now?

    I only edited it in the OP as it seemed redundant to have two identical images so close to the top of a page.

    Typhus on
  • mr0rangemr0range Registered User
    edited July 2008
    Wobbly lines may or may not be your fault. Photoshop is a bit of a jerk when drawing lines from a Wacom. But, if it truly is just wobbly lines, it takes practice and becoming confident - and size. A 4x5 wacom is pretty tough to get smooth lines drawing on a small size. I think minimum is 6x8 . Of course, I recommend a Cintiq.

    mr0range on
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  • MKRMKR Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I get nice smooth lines on my ancient graphire ET. It's not even a full-sized small graphire. It's all about practice.

    MKR on
  • mr0rangemr0range Registered User
    edited July 2008
    I had posted in a thread where stuff like this happens (mainly on the Mac) using CS3 and a tablet or Cintiq.
    25percent_at100.jpg

    mr0range on
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  • DjiemDjiem Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Weird, I have a Cintiq, and while it does make lines in Photoshop a little wobbly, it's never that bad. If you zoom in enough, and give a quick but smooth stroke, it usually gives very good results when zoomed back out.

    Djiem on
  • mr0rangemr0range Registered User
    edited July 2008
    Yes, zoomed in at 100% the lines will be fine. At 25%, it does this. NOT for everyone, it's almost completely random as Adobe won't admit it's a photoshop problem (even though it only happens in Photoshop and not other programs) and Wacom won't admit it's their problem. And if I have to install 4GB of RAM up from 2GB, that seems like a lame way it can be fixed.

    You can see it's interpretting lines in a staggered jagged way like as if you were drawing in 8 bit or 2bit color. It's a common problem on forums, usually effecting Mac versions of CS3 but sometimes Windows as well.

    mr0range on
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  • Drew_9999Drew_9999 Registered User
    edited July 2008
    What do you want to do with art? How serious are you about it? It's hard to critique when we don't know your art goals.

    Drew_9999 on
  • Angel_of_BaconAngel_of_Bacon Moderator mod
    edited July 2008
    I'm going to say a few words here, but before I do I want to kind of make a disclaimer; I'm pretty certain that this picture represents more of an exercise to try and get a grip doing tablet drawing more than anything, so much of what I am about to say you might say, "whoa whoa whoa now, I wasn't even thinking about that kind of stuff, cut me some slack." Looking over some of your previous threads, your pencil drawings show a bit more drafting skill than this particular picture, and I realize that some of the weakness of the drawing is because of just getting used to an unfamiliar tool.

    That said, this picture really bugs me for a lot of reasons.

    The following is spoiler for huge. I've been watching youtube videos about Disney's nine old men all day and they've got me all riled up and inspired on the subject of cartoons, so I'm in the mood to ramble on a bit.
    The character; I'm not going to harp on too much about line weight and construction here- not that I think those things are spectacularly displayed here, but because I'm pretty sure from your previous work that you're already trying to work on it on paper, and also because somebody else will probably come along and cover those things anyway.

    No, what bugs me is just- what the hell exactly is his deal? His body language doesn't express anything beyond that he exists- if you saw somebody standing like that in your company break room you'd think he'd just had his mind wiped. Stock still, standing perfect vertical- what the heck is he supposed to actually be doing?

    To paraphrase a Stanislavski acting tip, unless someone is currently in a military drill, nobody just stands stock still and recites lines in reality. People are always doing something, so if you want to create the impression of a character being alive, you should give him a purpose and reason to his actions, his poses. So he's hanging around the break room- what's he doing there? Just gotten a soda out of the (unseen) fridge? Show the effort of him opening it. Is he waiting for something he just threw in the microwave? He could be up on the counter, swinging his legs, staring at the thing. Has he just stolen some unsuspecting office jockey's clothes to use as a disguise? Maybe he could adjust his tie, look himself over.

    typhus.jpg

    This may seem unnecessary overthinking of the situation, but really it's very far from it if you have any ambition of creating cartoon characters with character, and not just lifeless puppets. Also, personally I've found that when I know what a character is supposed to be expressing and why, it makes actually drawing the thing both easier and more likely to succeed than if I just trying to make a drawing that says "here's a character". I know one of Pixar's character designers begins by doing small sketches not of what they think the design should be, but drawing out small stories about what the character is supposed to do; by drawing out the unique personality and action of a character, it makes finding what visual elements that will emphasize that character's traits that much easier.

    Similarly, this sort of thinking also applies to the backgrounds.

    Right now, it feels like you draw the character (office worker alien) and you draw a background (office kitchen) later, as a separate entity, a separate thought. He could just as easily be on the street, or be in a plane, or be in a jungle. "I've drawn my character and now where do I put him that will be interesting?"

    Don't think about it like that, because you'll probably get a boring result, especially in terms of composition. Think of the background as another character in the scene, for your main character to interact with. How does the character respond to it? What does that background say about character? It's more than just a bunch of props and perspective lines; it's a tool for expressing thought.

    Take an example, say you've got a picture of a man walking with his hands in his pockets. Putting him on a sunny city street with a bunch of fruit vendors and shit will say something completely different about his emotions than had you put him in a barren street on a stormy night, even if the guy's art is exactly the same. But once you put it like that, it seems a bit simple, doesn't it? Throw it the other way and create an interaction: if the guy walks down that sunny street where everybody is happy and he's frowning and kicking puppies like he just got laid off from his job, or if he's dancing and skipping in a storm ala Singing in the Rain, there's a whole new interaction.

    For that reason, you need to think of what sort of effect you want the whole piece to convey when you draw, and draw the characters and background together from the start. Lay it out and see what's working to accomplish that effect, and what doesn't. Do these colors and this lighting convey the mood I want? What framing best expresses the character's attitude (ie: my character has just been abandoned in a forest- do I want a close up to show their face as they show panic, or do I want a very long, wide shot to show how they are isolated, a tiny spec in the midst of a huge, bewildering forest?) Does the setting express the character of a place? (What details would make this seedy alley feel seedy? How do I make this laboratory feel cold and clinical? What could I do to make this enchanted castle feel more enchanted?) How does the character interact with his surroundings?

    The more you know about why the drawing needs to be a certain way, how to draw them becomes easier; at that point it just becomes a matter of finding the right tools to solve the problem, whether it be perspective, or anatomy, or foreshortening, or color theory, or line weight, or whatever. You and your characters, and your art, should act with a sense of purpose in mind.

    So getting back to the current drawing and why I am yammering on so much; as a viewer, I can't tell what the intended effect is supposed to be, so I can't really give much specific advice by the way of what tools you could be able to employ to strengthen that effect. Now there's some obvious things, like the microwave being out of perspective, and the isometric perspective being a tad dull and there are no shadows and the dude has one flipper hand and one with fingers and the cupboards have no door handles and what the heck is that giant blue rectangle and man is that giant red text gaudy as all hell; but I could go on and on about that, but even if you did fix all that minor niggly stuff, I still probably wouldn't think it was a particularly good picture, because I'd still have no idea what you were trying to express.

    I gots to know.

    EDIT: I hope at least some of that was coherent/useful.

    Angel_of_Bacon on
  • TyphusTyphus Registered User
    edited July 2008
    Ok, thanks for the feedback.

    To start, you are spot on (as usual in this crowd) about about the disconnect between the kitchen and the alien. I have no idea what he's doing in there,who he is or why he is, so how the hell should I expect you guys to?

    This was drawn specifically as a picture of a guy. That's it, that's all the forethought I put into it so I can see how that translates badly and I end up with a poor quality picture.

    As for artistic goals, I suppose I'm aiming for general self-improvement. I have no intention of making a comic-book, or animating shorts, nor of any type of commercial endeavour, I also don't wouldn't say I'm trying to plumb the depths of human experience (to quote Bill Bailey). I just draw because I enjoy it and I would like to be able to do it better both cartoony and realistically. There are no well thought out goals (much like with my picture really - this seems to be a recurring theme).

    So to quantify what I have to do now.
    1. Before I start drawing, think about who the character is, what he is doing in this scene. Make sure he isn't in a military parade ground (unless he is!).
    2. Check another art program to see if the wobbly problem is really me or Photoshop. For the time being I'll assume its me and just practice more.
    3. Line weight, perspective and consistency. Perspective can be worked on by drawing from life I guess? I think in this pic I could have benefited from actually drawing the horizon and vanishing point as opposed to just trying to imagine them. Line weight I know more or less what I should be doing, but getting it looking right is presumably a question of practice. Consistency is pretty obvious really.

    If I missed anything or someone has a any good exercises to help with any of the above please do throw them out. Also thanks to AOB for taking the time to look at my old threads and really give some in depth advice. I really do appreciate it.

    Typhus on
  • desperaterobotsdesperaterobots perth, ausRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Maybe try doing this with pencil/pen/paper and then scanning in to colour. Do you have any pen/pencil work to look at?

    desperaterobots on
  • TyphusTyphus Registered User
    edited July 2008
    Scud.jpg
    Promo.jpg
    MuscleStudy2.jpg
    Armmusclestudyloomis.jpg
    Mannequin1.jpg
    Threequatershaded.jpg
    FlipscanResized.jpg

    I tried to get a good mix of Cartoony and more real ones. These are just from my photobucket, as I no longer have a scanner or a camara (well they're both in Scotland). So scanning then colouring is difficult to say the least.

    Typhus on
  • desperaterobotsdesperaterobots perth, ausRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I looks like you just need more practice and to learn how to cast a critical eye over your own work, so you can spot flaws and work on them yourself.

    And yeah, stick to real media for now. I don't own a tablet, but I borrowed a friends and I found there was a big disconnect between my hand and the screen and I didn't like it at all. And I can draw pretty well with a biro or whatever. I don't know, it might just be a personal preference, but I'd suggest heaps of practice with real media before, or at least at the same time, as using the tablet. For me, too much 'stuff' interfers with the focus you should have on the drawing and the reference when you're using a doohickey on the whizzwhazz computron. It also makes for easy fixes (ctrl-z) and you wind up learning less because of it. Let your mistakes be permanent.

    desperaterobots on
  • Angel_of_BaconAngel_of_Bacon Moderator mod
    edited July 2008
    Typhus wrote: »
    1. Before I start drawing, think about who the character is, what he is doing in this scene.

    Yes, but on the other hand (and I should have mentioned this) don't just think. Meaning, if all you do is thinking thinking thinking and not drawing, you can easily paralyze yourself into doing nothing, because you're not getting anything onto paper and you just sit there second-guessing yourself to death. Maybe he should have 4 arms or maybe he should be in space or maybe he should have 3 arms and be in space or maybe he should be in a space circus or maybe...and you never do figure out what's going to work.

    This is why keeping a sketchpad at hand and doing loose, quick sketches and thumbnails as you think is important, so you can get a sense of what's really going to work and what just seemed like a good idea in your head- you should be able to think with your pencil, not just your brain, if you get my meaning.

    There's a mantra that I've seen kicked around a lot of companies and industries that do creative work- Blizzard, Pixar, screenwriting, etc.: "Fail fast, fail often". Obviously these companies don't set out to fail (indeed, Blizzard and Pixar have some of the best reputations in the business for not failing), but the point is by being quick about getting their ideas out into a form that can be seen, whether they be animatics or thumbnails or first drafts or prototypes, etc, they can step back and be critical about what they've really got, then turn around and change it just as quickly if it's not quite what they imagined it was going to be. It should be the same here; get your thinking onto the paper quickly, reevaluate and change it quickly. Experiment with the composition, experiment with the color, experiment with the posing.

    If you just experiment in your head, you can convince yourself you've got some good ideas and then be miserable when they just die when they're suddenly thrown into existence as final art. Thinking about it and doing it should be done together, not as a step 1, step 2 process.

    Angel_of_Bacon on
  • TyphusTyphus Registered User
    edited July 2008
    Ok I think I've got the idea then. I was doodling a little at work today, sketched out some of my ideas which I'll develop in pencil and paper, then I'll scan them and post them and maybe even try and digitize them with the wacom. This won't be till the end of the week though cause I'm going through a real work crunch at the moment and I'm just exhausted when I get home.

    Typhus on
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