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Author Topic: Where should I go from here?  (Read 823 times)

Offline Adielle

Where should I go from here?
«: February 05, 2009, 12:33:33 AM»
I have a ton yet to improve on with my art.  While I can be somewhat happy with my pieces, I always have that gut feeling that I could have done better on many parts.  I do have some background in figure drawing, though I could definitely use more.  I haven't done realism in quite some time and its definitely something I'm finally getting back into.

I have a bunch of really good and recommended books to help, more so for instruction in technique for complex background, perspective, composition and musculature.  What I want to know is what do you think should be priority in terms of practice at the moment?  Also, any tips would be helpful as well.  I’m primarily a traditional media artist and that’s the area I am pursuing practice.  Unfortunately, my computer isn’t the greatest so when I open a 3000pixelx3000pixel canvas in Photoshop it tends to lag so badly that I see a line a good 10 sec after a draw it which doesn’t really aid in practicing digital painting.  So, until I get a better computer I’ll be sticking mainly with traditional media, but I am welcoming any digital media advice as well, or simply advice on other programs which might be better for a not as fast computer.

I did look for a book on complex lighting and unfortunately they were out of stock at the time.  I know lighting is a big grey area for me.  I get the general idea of shading, but its definitely not perfect and I am looking to practice much more complex lighting to help both the atmosphere and mood of my artwork.  I think in my most recent piece I took a small step in the right direction, but it still needs a hell of a lot of work.



This is my most recent piece of artwork.  Forgive the cropped nature, this piece was quite a lot larger then my scanner so you only get a small bit of the entire work.  I wanted to try a skin tone I have never colored before and I can’t say I’m very pleased with the outcome. 

I’m hoping, however, that this piece is a decent step from the previous piece in the lighting category.  Granted, it’s an indoor setting during the daytime, so the lighting wouldn’t be too dark/light, and I don’t know if the shadows are in the correct places, but I hope I’m moving in the right direction.



I’m practicing a bit more with illustration then I have in the past.  I’m starting a realism project on iconic/historic women throughout ancient history and any advice on what I should be working on for this project in particular will help.

I’m happy with blunt critiques, they are not only helpful, but can help me both pick out and fix my mistakes.  Any advice for digital painting is helpful as well, even if I am not planning on doing it as a main thing at the moment.  My only two digital pieces I can show you so far are these:





A really shitty old attempt at digital coloring (last year):



And here are a few of my realism pieces:





Any help is appreciated!

Goodbye my Sunshine, for we are but smoke and ash...

My Gallery.

 
        

Offline Lovedoll

Re: Where should I go from here?
«Reply #1: February 05, 2009, 05:34:19 AM»
I'll try not to go overly elaborate, but in terms of things I feel would help you if you practiced them, I think these are some things to pay attention to.

- Facial expressions. The 'mood' of a piece depends heavily on the way the characters are portrayed. Besides bodylanguage, the expression on the face is very important to convey that. In the examples you posted here there is very little variation in expression, which limits the emotions the characters get across.

http://www.furaffinity.net/view/1904436

Although this artist has a very cartoony style, it might be interesting if you give it a shot at a similar sheet. Defining facial features to bring across a certain emotion is one of the biggest key factors to give a piece of artwork a certain mood besides coloring and composition.

- White lines for highlights. In a traditional media coloring tutorial I actually read today, the artist advised not to go crazy with the white highlights inside the lines because it flattens the image. Although I think your highlights are very 'you' in style, this may be true with your artwork as well. Instead of plain white have you ever tried using different colors for highlights? In your most recent image, the dark skinned guy, white seems a very off color to use. A tint of lighter orange seems more appropriate to use for that. Perhaps you could try to experiment with colors in these highlights depending on the color of the subject?  Like on his blue bracer, a light tint of blue, purple or cyan might make the bracer look more natural.

- More colors to shade. A 'mood' in coloring is often conveyed by using several colors of shading. e.g. The dark areas on skin in certain settings actually look blue or purpleish. You use several different tones in this image which makes the piece a lot more interesting. It's easier with digital media than with traditional, but if you could somehow work this into your traditional pieces, chances are high they will look more lively and interesting. It's worth a shot at least!

- And lastly... well, just keep trying new things!! Dynamic poses, 'impossible poses' (these can be VERY fun to make and very helpful to discover how anatomy works and how it can't work. Impossible contortions are a good example. Just draw them and try to figure out how it's not possible, this usually helps tons with anatomy in that strange kind of way. Note that they really should be impossible to do! Lmao)



I'm not the bestest artist in the world myself, but I hope this was helpful. I actually think that the most helpful for you at this point would be the expressions. To me personally, expressions are truly the key to portraying a personality in a character. Plus they're infinitely fun to practice if you ask me. :3

Offline Adielle

Re: Where should I go from here?
«Reply #2: February 05, 2009, 06:30:32 AM»
I'll try not to go overly elaborate, but in terms of things I feel would help you if you practiced them, I think these are some things to pay attention to.

- Facial expressions. The 'mood' of a piece depends heavily on the way the characters are portrayed. Besides bodylanguage, the expression on the face is very important to convey that. In the examples you posted here there is very little variation in expression, which limits the emotions the characters get across.

http://www.furaffinity.net/view/1904436

Although this artist has a very cartoony style, it might be interesting if you give it a shot at a similar sheet. Defining facial features to bring across a certain emotion is one of the biggest key factors to give a piece of artwork a certain mood besides coloring and composition.

- White lines for highlights. In a traditional media coloring tutorial I actually read today, the artist advised not to go crazy with the white highlights inside the lines because it flattens the image. Although I think your highlights are very 'you' in style, this may be true with your artwork as well. Instead of plain white have you ever tried using different colors for highlights? In your most recent image, the dark skinned guy, white seems a very off color to use. A tint of lighter orange seems more appropriate to use for that. Perhaps you could try to experiment with colors in these highlights depending on the color of the subject?  Like on his blue bracer, a light tint of blue, purple or cyan might make the bracer look more natural.

- More colors to shade. A 'mood' in coloring is often conveyed by using several colors of shading. e.g. The dark areas on skin in certain settings actually look blue or purpleish. You use several different tones in this image which makes the piece a lot more interesting. It's easier with digital media than with traditional, but if you could somehow work this into your traditional pieces, chances are high they will look more lively and interesting. It's worth a shot at least!

- And lastly... well, just keep trying new things!! Dynamic poses, 'impossible poses' (these can be VERY fun to make and very helpful to discover how anatomy works and how it can't work. Impossible contortions are a good example. Just draw them and try to figure out how it's not possible, this usually helps tons with anatomy in that strange kind of way. Note that they really should be impossible to do! Lmao)



I'm not the bestest artist in the world myself, but I hope this was helpful. I actually think that the most helpful for you at this point would be the expressions. To me personally, expressions are truly the key to portraying a personality in a character. Plus they're infinitely fun to practice if you ask me. :3

You know, I can't believe I didn't think to put that up as well, but yes, your right, expression is another big thing I could use work on.  So far I did one practice go when I was creating a new character, its here: http://adielle.deviantart.com/art/Razini-the-Goblin-103932239

However, I just printed off the sheet the guy used from the example you showed me and its something I'll have to practice one of these days.  I tend to get too caught up in the pursed lip or "serious" face, which isn't a good thing.  Definitely a trend I need to break.  I can do expression, but it takes a bit more thinking and sketching, which isn't a problem, I just have to be more patient.  :p

I do tend to use highlights a bit much and believe me, that was to my biggest disappointment with me most recent piece on Rehk's skin.  It turned out awful.  Everything else looked quite good, there was still fixing that needs to be done, but it wasn't god-awful either, but the male on the other hand turned out absolute shit.  Sometimes traditional media sucks for that very reason, if you start something, like a line in highlights that you "think" will look good and enhance the drawing and then you end up hating it but you can't exactly take it back...thats not fun. 

I need to expierment with my markers more.  I have tried some blues and purples in the skintones before but it tends to become far too dark because there are only so many colors I can choose from.  I usually end up scrapping this drawings because they just don't turn out in the slightest.  I will, however incorportate the use of more color into paintings, where blending isn't as much a problem.  I may continue to do the same with markers, but I can definitely say I'm not completely confident in using non-skin tone colors to add dynamic color to skin yet, in the shadows and all.  In these illustrations, while the illustration itself is A3 size, the details and the actual people are much smaller and I have been finding it hard to create detail with color other then highlights because like all markers, even the good ones bleed a bit and the tips even to the thinner size can still be too large to appropriately touch up cetain areas.  This can make or break a picture.  Sometimes you'll get luck and the color either blends really well right away or doesn't bleed, or you get unlucky and have a completely unatural color bleed into your skin tone in the wrong area.  I think in order to practice both this and facial expression, I may incorporate the two when I play around with this expression sheet.  <3

Dynamic poses, the entire reason I started moving into illustration!  I find, that while doing commissions, poses always tend to be rather static.  If I am doing an illustration commission, its a commission of a character in whatever setting they may be found in, usually doing something they could be found doing.  In illustrations I also tend to have a better picture of what the commissioner wants.  When I do a single character copic piece I'm trying to portray the character, but in a way that can be used as a good reference, rather then defining the character in their setting.  I find, this is sometimes the reason for the use of such static poses in many people's artwork, not only my own.  For instance, many amazing artists do this same thing.  When draw a commission of a character, their time and energy is usually going into portraying that character's look and feel as best as possible, but if there is no background or simply a very vague background, they tend to stay more static "up & down" sort of pose.  Look at yumedust on DA for example.  Wonderful artist, but almost all of her commissions are static poses.

However, this does not mean I SHOULDN'T be usuing more dyanmic poses, nor is it an excuse for static poses, but it is a good part of why, my personal work and practice is leading me down the road of illustration these days much more then simply character designs.  I love designing characters and drawing other people's character, but while its fun, it doesn't really help me keep up with my anatomy skills.  I used to be fairly talented with realism and having been away from it for so long has really dwindled my knowledge of anatomy.  Anyone who says that you can just drop realism once you feel you've learned enough and are ready to stylize is wrong.  No one should EVER let go of their realism practice.  I used to doodle people while at a cafe in Milwaukee a long time back.  This is where I used to practice before I moved overseas.  I was a regular and I would sit in a corner and just do quick gesture drawings or some longer pieces if someone was sitting still long enough.  It was always a ton of fun, but now that I've been slacking off and not keeping up with my skills I've really killed my anatomy knowledge.  Realism is something every artist should practice and continue to practice, even once they style and are more accomplished.

I really appreciate all the advice, hon.  I'm definitely going to work on the expressions and hopefully trying to be a bit more daring with color when it comes to markers.  Paintings however I can already do the more dynamic color with, simply need work with lighting, but unfortunately I have none to show at the moment until my camera is fixed.  All my paintings are too large to scan.  D:


Goodbye my Sunshine, for we are but smoke and ash...

My Gallery.

IPGD

Re: Where should I go from here?
«Reply #3: February 05, 2009, 08:17:18 PM»
Lovedoll said most of what I was going to say about your technical execution.


It seems to me like you aren't really visualizing your shapes in a 3D environment, but instead abusing 2D symbolism. This is especially apparent on the faces you draw; the eyes in particular seem very flat and pasted on. Instead of drawing symbols to represent certain features, pay attention to their entire form and what position they take in space. Eyebrows aren't just lines of hair, they rest on a raised brow; eyes aren't just almond-shaped strips, they and the skin around them have real observable depth and volume; lips aren't just blobby red blobs lain across a flat plane, etc.

You also demonstrate little understanding of underlying structure and muscle. It looks like you know what makes up a person, but you have no idea where to put it or why the body is constructed the way it is. Instead of building your figures with proper forms, you seem to just block out tube limbs haphazardly with little regard to proper definition (rather glaring when you attempt to draw characters with actual muscle mass). Studying how muscle and fat are set upon the frame should be one of your top priorities.

From what little I've seen of your digital work, the only thing I can recommend is to not work in detail in such an isolated manner. Instead of carving out every line of the face before you've even set down the base color of the clothes, keep everything at the same stage. The surrounding objects have a great affect on each other, especially when you are working with color; if you work in an awkward and detached manner, your finished piece will look awkward and detached as well. You should only need to use layers for different "levels" of progress (such as the sketch, line art, base tone, values, color, etc.) or objects you're very worried about screwing up with. View the piece as an interactive whole, not a bunch of different parts slapped together.


http://www.itchy-animation.co.uk/light.htm is a decent light tutorial. As always, I have more shit in my signature.

Offline Adielle

Re: Where should I go from here?
«Reply #4: February 05, 2009, 11:54:04 PM»
Lovedoll said most of what I was going to say about your technical execution.

It seems to me like you aren't really visualizing your shapes in a 3D environment, but instead abusing 2D symbolism. This is especially apparent on the faces you draw; the eyes in particular seem very flat and pasted on. Instead of drawing symbols to represent certain features, pay attention to their entire form and what position they take in space. Eyebrows aren't just lines of hair, they rest on a raised brow; eyes aren't just almond-shaped strips, they and the skin around them have real observable depth and volume; lips aren't just blobby red blobs lain across a flat plane, etc.

You also demonstrate little understanding of underlying structure and muscle. It looks like you know what makes up a person, but you have no idea where to put it or why the body is constructed the way it is. Instead of building your figures with proper forms, you seem to just block out tube limbs haphazardly with little regard to proper definition (rather glaring when you attempt to draw characters with actual muscle mass). Studying how muscle and fat are set upon the frame should be one of your top priorities.

From what little I've seen of your digital work, the only thing I can recommend is to not work in detail in such an isolated manner. Instead of carving out every line of the face before you've even set down the base color of the clothes, keep everything at the same stage. The surrounding objects have a great affect on each other, especially when you are working with color; if you work in an awkward and detached manner, your finished piece will look awkward and detached as well. You should only need to use layers for different "levels" of progress (such as the sketch, line art, base tone, values, color, etc.) or objects you're very worried about screwing up with. View the piece as an interactive whole, not a bunch of different parts slapped together.


http://www.itchy-animation.co.uk/light.htm is a decent light tutorial. As always, I have more shit in my signature.

I definitely see what your getting at in your first paragraph.  THats actually one of the major things I'm attempting to overcome and not really doing very well at.  Because, when using markers, the spaces for these features is so small I tend not to be able to put enough detail in color to really emphasis ANY depth.  Do you think not inking the face until I have the colors within the piece might help?  I know, it effects most of my images and not JUST the faces, but your right, faces are definitely a weak point in depth.  I have about 3-4 tones of each color to use on any particular areas.  Do you think, adding other colors to the skin other then simply a single tone might aid in adding more depth and making the artwork look a bit more 3d rather then 2d?  At least from what I have seen, correct and well composed shadows and lighting tend to be one thing which can make a picture turn from 2d to more of a 3d perspective, which is why its a definite area I need work in.

And that tutorial is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.  I love it, its quite helpful and most likely will give me some good pointers for my color practice.  I might draw some simiplistic images today and work on dynamic colors and lighting to see if I can get the basics down-pat.

As for musculature and the underlying body structure, its definitely an area I have never looked into until just recently.  I have been involved in drawing workshops when I was still in the States for figure drawing, but once I moved I lost a lot of skill because I sadly, didn't keep up with it like I should have.  I'm actually trying to find a class hopefully somewhere around Sydney now so I can get back into figure drawing and get some much needed practice.  However, as I said, muscule structure is something I never really looked into, even when taking figure drawing classes, but I know its an area I am lacking.  I bought a few books recently that just got here in the mail last week that illustrate not only how the muscules sit when not in motion, but also how they move in motion.  I'm hoping it will help in that area quite a lot. 

Haha, I'm amazed at how well you were able to break apart my digital piece.  I know its by no means good, but you very easily could tell what I had done and how I reached point A to point B.  I am definitely not comfortable with photoshop at the moment, I know how to use the program when it comes to graphics, but digital painting always frustrates me.  I never know if I should have the painting on a single layer or multiple layers for each main area.  I suppose your right though, this creates almost a "gap" between the areas that looks unsure, rather then letting everything flow together naturally.  I'm also a big culprit of overusing the smudge tool, mainly because for the life of me I can't figure out how to get my pen pressure to work.  everyone tells me it will help and I won't need to smudge, but I don't know how the hell to change my tablet to pen pressure.  I know, thats probably really stupid of me for not knowing, but I am definitely not very good with a tablet, nor photoshop.  I have trouble drawing straight lines in photoshop as well with my tablet.  I have to ink or sketch by hand on paper and then scan.  Anything I try to draw straight onto the computer ends up looking ..."off?"  Are there any good ways of taking a scanned picture into photoshop and more easily being able to color it?  Should I simply change the opacity of the painted layer to 90% so I can see the lines?  Or put the painted layer below the lines and change the lines to like 10%?  I think I am screwing up with digital mainly due to how I'm starting.  Starting out shit doesn't boost your confidence in digital meda by any means.  XD

Anyhow, I really appreciate all the tips, 'specially that lighting tutorial.  I don't ever plan to work as an artist, because quite frankly, I enjoy doing art as a hobby and nothing more, but just because I enjoy it as a hobby doesn't mean I don't keep striving to get better.  I have a hell of a lot to work on, I'm rarely completely satisfied.  I'm glad you've pointed me in the right direction.  Sometimes when I feel there is so much to work on, I just don't know where to start.  If I focus on too many problem areas at once, I don't really find I grow, but when I focus on a few areas that are most important its easier for me to push forward.

<3
Goodbye my Sunshine, for we are but smoke and ash...

My Gallery.

 

anything