Ricardo´s Art Journey
I think i still need to go back to the drawing board and refine more the shape and edge control. Also, i should go back and breakdown the brushwork in it´s simplest form, value alone, no colour.

I did another pause on my folio works to concentrate on the esssentials. Forced myself to study artists i admire and their brushwork in value; the amazing work of Igor Sid and Sangsoo Jeong, and one piece from Algenpfleger.
I think it´s helping a lot and i´m seeing some perspective i haven´t paid attention before. All the credit to them.

To push this notion further, i´ve forced myself also to pick an old shelve concept of a samurai and finish it in a short amount of time.
Also two value studies and one commission for a friend.

Studies from Igor Sid, Sangsoo Jeong and Algenpfleger ( and Jeremy but i forgot the last name :S):

im diggin your samura, great improvement.

His biceps are too short, and i think his feet are too big, maybe make his katana longer it seems kinda gimp right now, liking the other artists studies too, i still think youd grow faster by not painting and studying anatomy intensely

70+Page Koala Sketchbook: http://crimsondaggers.com/forum/thread-3465.html SB

Paintover thread, submit for crits! http://crimsondaggers.com/forum/thread-7879.html
[color=rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.882)]e owl sat on an oak. The more he saw, the less he spoke.[/color]
@Fedodika Thanks for the input mate. I wasn´t seeing those flaws. Ended up going back to the samurai piece and nail the size of his biceps, yweak the size of his feet and amplify his shoulder pads. The katana was also amplified to have better readability.
I´m training anatomy traditionally but i´m not posting still as it´s a quite laborious process to digitalize it haha. I´m specially working on the hands.

Found a few flaws on the samurai piece like the values being too dark and no light value to compensate, propotionwise, worked on the composition as the previous wasn´t working at all and provided some tweaks on the background to create some context.
Probably i´m not seeing other flaws but at this point i will call the piece concluded.

Also two quick studies

Found an old parkour girl concept and i´m intending to push her a bit further, probably not as a folio piece but as an advanced sketch.

Her anatomy was a bit off and i´m quite trying to fix it, plus add the correct range of values. Any tips are welcome as always.

i feel like her pose is really stiff, like her body is barely curved at all for such a dynamic sort of activity. Her hand thats lower is enormous and her face seems so plain and apathetic

rock climbing is very perilous and associated with accomplishment through great danger



try to show those things through thumbnail planning and research on the activity, find pictures that really show the best representation of the activity, or most theatrical.

Also from what i know parkour is more an urban thing of like jumping around roofs and walls, which is a whole different feel :)

70+Page Koala Sketchbook: http://crimsondaggers.com/forum/thread-3465.html SB

Paintover thread, submit for crits! http://crimsondaggers.com/forum/thread-7879.html
[color=rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.882)]e owl sat on an oak. The more he saw, the less he spoke.[/color]
Hey man, really cool studies you've got going on.

Just to build of what Fed said a lil bit - at the moment it feels like she isn't actually holding onto anything. There's not a real sense of gravity to her so it makes it look like she's posing, rather than in the middle of a dangerous activity.

A small nitpick is to watch out for your values - her foot, pants and hand are very similar in value to the rockface that all the information gets lost. It's hard to feel the weight of a pose if we can't see her feet. It's hard to feel like she's holding onto something if we can't see what she's holding onto.

Anyways, just things to think about going forward.

Keep up the good work! :)

@Fedo- Agre totally. The pose looked really stiff and i think still is, yet has some gravity. Tried to push her pose a bit downwards and more grounded on the rock.
Worked a bit on her expression to act a bit more concerned.

Made a quick experiment to convert her to a steampunk climber with some vertical iron beams on the BG but it didn´t work.
Still, i´m not satisfied with the piece and still not finished.
I´m intenting to abandon that piece if the next step does not solve it´s main issues. I´ll give it another shot.

@Chub- I agree and used part of your tip on the current pose. Still not sure if the pose i´ve chosen works.
My main concern is that the pose needs to be harmonious with the vertical composition. The thing that drove me to start the piece was the simple vertical composition yet if the pose does not work, the piece will not work.
That nitpick makes perfect sense, even though all those elements were in shadow they should read indepentently as you´ve said. Thanks!!

Once again, gone to the shelve and i´m re-working more two concepts, those two i need to say, i´m a bit more satisfied with in the current stage.
Tried to apply some lesseon i´ve learned by studying in grayscale concept art by Igor Sid in my provocateur piece. ( yeah, the right shoulder needs to be wider haha)

One the second one, the Kalari warrior i was quite suprised. Initially i didn´t give two cents about the piece but after re-working a bit i´m starting slowly to enjoy it.

alot of these recent ones like the proportions are about right but the poses feel very still, the lines of the legs on the new claw girl, kinda like voldos katars. a great way to check if the pose is stiff is to literally take it yourself, like one leg is tippy toed one is straight on a diagonal which, you know could work its not a bad plan, just something aboutthe rest of the body isnt really going with it.

Like she has really dynamic legs, twisting hold weight radically, but the rest of her is straight up and down and her face is somber. Her hands and arms are goofy, like im imagining the arm on the right side of the image without clothing and its disturbingly long, and you got lazy with the fists and they are both dead on views instead of turning with perspective.

The dude with the gun his face is good, but his stance is strange like idk how his feet are supposed to be on the floor, the foot to the left of the image is higher on the ground plane as if the ground is rising, i did a similar pose and yes theres some goofs in mine,


But for your guy the torso is straight on, bend it, make sure everything wherever possible is moving in perspective and you arent drawing things flat as if its straight on. his face and hand are rendered nice, but the rest isnt rendered to any light souce kinda like flat cut and paste shapes. cast some shadows, think about how these forms are relating to one another; first thing i find in a drawing are the cast shadows after the gesture, it helps loads

70+Page Koala Sketchbook: http://crimsondaggers.com/forum/thread-3465.html SB

Paintover thread, submit for crits! http://crimsondaggers.com/forum/thread-7879.html
[color=rgba(255, 255, 255, 0.882)]e owl sat on an oak. The more he saw, the less he spoke.[/color]
Your study of Igor sid are great, I definitly recognize the style . I though it was your own concept at first and I was amazed.

I think you didn't apply it in your last works. His value range for skin for example is very limited, it almost a flat grey tone with some gradient light. All his light feel like its cloudy day, very flat value with gradient throughout the body (example, dark arm to light torso, dark face to light forehead) while the skin in your concept is more like dark to light in every part. The man with the gun has too much hard edge for this style, which makes him more cartoony but he has some personality and charism which is great !
I like the climber a lot, she looks a bit sad though, wonder why. makes an interesting story. By the way, I don't know if it would work in your picture but when you climb you often keep your pelvis close to the wall, its alleviate the burden on arm and shoulders.
The last girl you did has a value range that is closer to sid. I feel her pose is a bit odd though.

Keep up the good work!
@Fedo Yeah, Voldo catars are an inspiration for the Katari concept. To be honest the legs pose was intentional, a mix between a fighting stance and a dancer´s pose, static, like in a fighting game stance. Not sure if it was a bullseye or not but the intent was preciselly the one you´ve mentined; a semi static danceish fighting stance that may be even a bit wired haha. ( dynamic legs, static toso and arms)
I agree, the right arm is quite long, going to reduce it a little bit. Also, rework the hands, gotta nail those hands.

Yeah, the provocateur duelist guy has quite strange ankles. I agree, bellow the knees the pose does not make sense.Yes, the values are still not matching. Going to study how the light might hit/ cast shadows to provide a more accurate volume.

Once again man, thank you for the awesome and honest feedback!

@Baldgate Haha thanks. I hope in a near future my original concepts may be more close to Igor Sid awesom work.
Agree. I need to revisit the value scale on the guy piece. To be honest in his particular piece i will probably leave a hard ege tone on the piece, to contrast a bit with my other concepts, usually i tent to soften too much but i will give a shot regarding softening the edges.
There are already on the way several character concepts that avoid too much hard edges haha.
If her pose is odd, that´s the intent haha, be a quite voldo-ish character but feminine.

Finally managed to give another shot to the "parkour lady", now probably more like prostetic arm runaway piece.
I sense that the anatomy is not there yet on the piece, the piece has an overall tone that i like but i think the piece has suit it´s purpose, to be a sketch, train value, composition and a bit of rendering with a brush i´m starting to admire haha.
I will wrap up that piece

Gonna work harder of the next concepts!

PS: Also a Sonic Tails fanart concept i´m finishing for a deathline challenge among friends ( not yet concluded)

You seem to be working a lot on values right now and I can kind of tell things aren't really clicking into place. On a lot of the color and value studies on prior pages seem to be focused on gradients, modelling and copying over some general values rather than trying to organise your values in a manner where you can more easily understand them. At times this isn't too costly when you're working from reference (although things would be better if things were better organised) but you end up really paying for it in your imaginative work where you have to fall back on your understanding of light and values. The things you seem to be struggling with are very common and that makes it much easier to address.

One of the primary issues you're running into when it comes to values is that you overestimate small differences and underestimate large differences. So when you're trying to model the form with halftones, you overestimate the how different each halftone is from the one next to it. This can often make the skin feel dirty or metallic and it really weakens the overall impression. On the other hand, the difference between light and shadow is often underestimated, your lights are too dark and your shadows are too light. This is further weakens the light impression combined with how much you overestimate the halftones. So instead of having a clear light shape and shadow shape, the image devolves into a mist of halftones.

It's a good idea to develop a way to orient yourself within a value range. The traditional way to do this is by grouping values together and focusing on getting the big impression established between these groups before subdividing them into smaller sections. In the real world, values group themselves much more than you maybe think. We all have a natural tendency to look at details and small variations in the halftones on a surface but our brain is poorly wired to put that into perspective with the big differences of the impression. So artists for as long as art has existed have looked at ways of overcoming this tendency.

This kind of big value grouping is part of what you want to study because it's that big impression that is the core of your painting, it's what makes stuff look like stuff. So try to squint down and break every local color/value into two values forming the light shape and shadow shape with a well studied edge between them varying from sharp to soft depending on the type of light and form. But really try to keep things flat, try to communicate more with the transition edge between these two values rather than breaking it up with further half-tones. When squinting you'll probably notice that most shadows tend to merge into one and the same value and it's a great opportunity to group them together to strengthen the core impression.

If you keep your values well grouped and flat, changing them becomes very easy because you just have to change the color of one shape rather than trying to figure out how to change a complicated gradient. The even flatness makes the information more solid and tangible, like how straight lines are more tangible than complicated curves, it lets you work with them in a much more analytical manner.

I've moistly addressed direct light but you may wonder what things are like under ambient light. It's basically the same thing but instead of two values, you're mostly just comparing local values, so every object basically just gets one value that contrasts with whatever is behind/next to it. Try and keep away from gradients and communicate the form with the contour information, with its drawing and edge.

Once technique I remember Krøyer talking about in some of his letters is basically value triangulation. This is when you've establish a two values on either end of the spectrum, often your lightest light and darkest dark (but this can also be subdivided into smaller areas of value), and you compare it with a third value and compare the contrast between both sides of the spectrum to see if one needs to move that value closer to the light or further to the dark. So if your lightest light is value A, and your darkest dark is value B, your new tone is value C. You look at your subject, find value C and first compare the contrast between A and C, then compare the contrast between B and C. You then do the same thing to the the values on your painting and if the contrast difference is the same between A and C, as well as B and C, then the new value is probably correct. If however it's contrasting too much with one and too little with the other, you then adjust the value to fit correctly between the two.

This system allows you to work with your values in a fairly easy manner while remaining completely relative to your subject, meaning that you don't have to work in 1:1 values, but rather you're expressing the contrast range instead of the literal each object is. This is very useful when working from life because you can't always paint the value of the lightest light or darkest dark, so you have to compress things and work in higher or lower key. I use this system a lot and it was a little awkward at first but you quickly get into it and it really helps.

If you post a study, consider including the reference and explain how you tried to study the values, it makes it much easier to talk about it. Value studies don't need to be perfect drawings so don't put so much pressure on that quality when making them, and critiques addressing the drawing of a study that is about the big impression of values can probably be ignored. Having more information on what you're doing, what you're trying to learn and what you're struggling with will really help anyone interested in giving you feedback. I know feedback on the internet generally sucks but maybe we can change that.

But regardless of any advice on particular methods and techniques, remember that broadly realist art has a history spanning hundreds of years and there are a lot of ways very different artists have solved the same problems they run into. So feel free to think for yourself if something doesn't resonate with you.

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