Brushfist's Sketchbook
I like critique alot.. so hit me where it hurts!

Environment thumbs

Self portrait from life, 3 hours

Portrait practice by nationality

Hi there!
You´re doing a very nice job with the portraits, capturing the features of the different nationalities.
Even though i´m still learning i see that your biggest issue for now in terms of painting are the values. The values are the core of a painting, and nailing them will make you nail the truthfulness of the painting.
Hope you don´t mind my paintover to illustrate my point.

Hope it helps man!

Hi there! Welcome to the forum :) There are a few things I noticed about your environments that I think you could improve on (please ignore me if I say stuff you already know):
  • Values - First off, what environment artists typically shoot for in terms of values is what is called a 1-2-3 read. This means that there are three distinct values, or planes, in the image that create the illusion of depth. You can see some examples if you browse Feng Zhu's videos on youtube, but basically how it would apply to your images would be to push the values of your foreground more (Like in number 4, making those two foreground rocks darker, and that mid-ground hill on the right lighter) and also to research examples of the correct lighting schemes through film stills (preferably) to get a feel of how lighting actually works in a real setting (For example, in number 3, the values in the foreground are so bright, they look like they are in complete noon-time daylight, while the background is at night time, which creates a weird contrast).
  • Colors - This is one thing that would definitely require looking up real photos as reference. Right now the vibe I get is that you are thinking of what color in your head would most logically be there. For instance, the water being pure blue, or the mountains being reddish brown, and the grass being pure green. However, in real life the colors of natural landscape are often very different than what we think so it's always a safe bet to look at a photo of a similar environment while you're doing these and ask yourself, how saturated and desaturated are these colors in real life really? That will, I think, definitely help boost some of the realism you are going for in these environments. (And avoid photos that have HDR done to them, the values and colors are not representative of what you see IRL)
  • Perspective - This one is a little trickier because we don't usually think of natural environments as having perspective. An exercise I would suggest is to take a photo of a landscape from the internet, and put a perspective grid over it and really observe how things grow or shrink in size. Then, try to draw it from imagination by keeping that perspective in mind or by drawing in a grid. Then, compare the two, and see how your mind is distorting the reality of it. I can see you definitely have a sense of scale and you are creating that in most of these, but take a look at some environment artists who are really good at creating scale (Kekai Kotaki, Dorje Bellbrook, Feng Zhu) and try to copy the "tricks" they employ to make things look super small in the background and super large in the foreground.

In terms of your portraits, I would recommend as an exercise doing value blobs (dark spots for the eyes and under the nose, shades for the planes of the head), and rotating that with different lighting schemes so your focus is more on the overall structure and less on the features. But those are looking good regardless!

Hope that wasn't too much or too obvious as a crit, keep it up!

@RickRichards Great stuff! Awesome paintover! I'm going over it now side by side with my version, and comparing to see my mistakes. Thanks a bunch!

@pnate - Wow, that's a ton of information! you're really helpful, thanks for taking the time! Once I'm done with the portraits I'm giving my environments a push.
Continuing with ethnicity portraits.. again, one from study and one from memory to improve visual library.
I watched some idrawgirls portrait tutorials. Good stuff

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started working more with color blobs and less with line..
Also the soft brush. Idrawgirls portrait tutorial really helped

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