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Hey there! Thanks for stopping by before. I looked through your SB and you have some really interesting things here and a lot of great advice from some wonderful Daggers ;)

I won't be making this too long (I hope) but here are a few things that I can suggest - and hopefully I won't be repeating something already mentioned.

So regarding materials, if you can, I would suggest joining NMA (New Masters Academy - they have a fantastic range of lectures you can follow along and learn from Glenn Vilppu, Steve Huston a.o. amazing artists at a bargain price. I had subscribed for 3 months and the amount of stuff I learned is really valuable. If there's anything about materials that you want explained, see how to use them, or just plain fundamentals to keep you going, I definitely recommend it. You could spend hours looking at tuts on youtube and other tuts on DA explaining some stuff, but sometimes watching it, taking notes and rewatching a lecture again can really help out.

I can see that you want to be a scientific illustrator and that's a fantastic goal. About doubting yourself.. don't. Doubt and fear are dream-killers, trust me. If you really want this, and you seem to put the work into it, don't stop. Find ways to just keep going, keep learning, spot your weaknesses and work on them. When people don't comment or like your stuff, it might be because they're interested in another art-domain - can't tell for sure, but don't worry about it too much. Communities (and people part of them) differ, so don't let that bother you much. Instead focus and invest your time in doing more studies. Better pay-off, more skills. DONE. ;o)

In terms of classes, taking some would definitely be beneficial if you can find the right ones for what you're after. I don't know your specific goals, but seeing that you're UK based, I'm sure there are plenty of opportunities. For anything else, after a lot of questioning and researching, I've come to realize that nothing replaces knowledge of fundamentals and practice. It's the base for anything else. And even if you won't become a concept artist for the industry, take a look at some of Feng Zhu's videos - he occasionally paints insectoids which could be of interest to you, and you can see how he approaches them through the use of perspective. Granted, scientific illustration is not really close to that, but it might help you a lot to see better. :)

So it ended up being longer than intended, but I hope there are some bits that can help out a bit. Don't stop working hard, keep learning, and keep building on what you already know. You will definitely grow, just gotta give it time and be more patient. :) It will pay off in the end.
Jyonny-Yes, I suppose that is true as well. Oh well, just have to keep trying.

Meat-Fair enough, you are probably right there. I'll try that next time I work with charcoal.

Pnate-Indeed, I think art classes are a good idea. Yeah, it is a shame that I can't learn directly from those in the scientific illustration field. I have heard of scientific illustration classes being held before, but unfortunately not anywhere near where I live. Also on another note, I hope I can come along to one of your streams again soon!

Minksy-Thank you. I'll have a look at NMA and Feng Zhu's stuff. I will keep on, seeing as I feel it's probably the only meaningful thing I do, heh.

I've been thinking more about becoming a scientific illustrator. I suppose I won't know unless I try, even if it is a diminished field. This has got me thinking about what other types of illustration I could do, perhaps stuff for books (as in non-scientific publications). I don't know. I need to get better before I even think about how to sell myself to potential clients.

Anyway, just finished another illustration. I actually kind of like this one. I was compelled to do this one partially by looking at Renaissance portraits, I love the typical use of strong lighting and heavy tones in them.

[Image: Gz3i5Ks.jpg]

Right, I'm off to go do some still lifes, I think.
I don't know what your interests are specifically, but non-fiction illustration is by no means a small market. There are lots of opportunities for things like in national geographic, scientific american (or any other science mag), historical magazines (I follow a medieval warfare magazine on facebook, it has some of the most amazing and detailed illustrations ive ever seen but nobody talks about it) and any other number of magazines and publications. But like I said, they're not strictly entertainment media like the illustration we tend to see most, which is heavily marketed.

Case in point, science/history/non-fiction illustration is bigger than you might think. Some of these are kind of niche markets, but that doesn't mean you can't make some sort of a living off of it. I'm not well informed on the kind of illustration youre interested in, but my guess would be its like those other ones that I mentioned. They're just not as much in the mainstream as the illustration we're used to seeing. You never know; if you get really amazing at this later on down the line, you might create the demand for it to exist again. Nostalgia is a powerful thing
Hmm, that is true, while it isn't mainstream as such, scientific illustration isn't dead. Perhaps I just feel it's been diminished as a result of the advancement of other mediums like photography. I have the view that there is much an illustration can convey that a photograph can not, however, which is one of the reasons I advocate illustration as a medium for communicating scientific subjects. Perhaps if I get my head down I could get somewhere with it.

I suppose my area of interest would be invertebrates, particularly arthropods, though due to my fascination with a lot of biological subjects, I would be happy to do anything in the vein of zoology or anatomy really. I will probably start focusing on building a scientific illustration portfolio again once my capabilities are considerably better than what they are now.

Anyway, enough text, here's some aesthetic oviposits:

[Image: Tl0aaUS.jpg]

Yesterday's warm up study of one of my mannequins. I've been focusing more on working with compressed charcoal rather than vine sticks, like Patrick suggested previously.

[Image: SGM5ywk.jpg]

A painting experiment from the other night. As you may possibly observe, this was heavily influenced by Francis Bacon's work, hence my use of heavy, layered brush strokes. I also attempted to emphasise texture by mixing my acrylics with calcium powder. I don't think this one is that good, but man, it was fun to paint.
It's been a bit difficult recently, mainly because I keep getting overwhelmed with the sensation that no one will ever like what I do. It is petty, I know. Still, I've been talking to LaleAnn and JyonnyNovice and they suggested to me that I need to follow some sort of structure with my work, in terms of what I focus on. Going by their suggestions as well as those I have received in this thread, I'm going to focus on simplifying forms and perspective for now. Anything else you guys might want to suggest along the way would be greatly appreciated.

I finished this still life painting last night, did it in greyscale because colours scare me.

[Image: ryQGTKv.png]
Been working on what has been suggested to me. Here's a selection of observational sketches in which I intended to break down forms into simpler 3D forms. Any guidance you guys may have for this would be great, as I don't feel that I really know what I'm doing with this.

[Image: 9ch6TEqh.jpg]
Looks like you have the hang of it to me. Don't forget to ramp up the difficulty from time to time, try some shapes that you're not comfortable with. What do you feel you aren't understanding? We can offer advice if you go in a bit more detail

Also watch out for the pinched corners of your ellipses. It's tempting to pinch them but ellipses are still effectively circles in perspective, and circles have no sharp turns even in perspective
illustration beats photography not for the realism but for the approach to the eyes of a viewer. With illustration you can take off some stuff that could be useless and distracting like shadows and details that you can't avoid with a photo. But you should improve your lines, I suggest you to start drawing with the pen (or other mediums that can't be erased). This will help you having more trust in your hand and thinking more about what you're going to draw and its structure (well, this happened to me). Of course I'm not saying that you have to leave pencils. Just give pen a try or draw more with it if you already saw its potential.
Analyzing what you see and translate them into simple 3D form is very good practice that even pros do all the time. They just been doing it so much for so long they don't think about it on purpose anymore. So keep it up!
Hey Stardust, Stick with it man, don't give up. Anything is possible.

Did you ever look into Scott Robertsons How To Draw? Im no expert but I think that one would be really great for you considering the genre of art you are aiming to do :)
Patrick-Thank you for the advice. I guess what I meant was if I was being thorough enough, I was worried that what I was doing was too simple and not properly analysing the forms.

Valve Gear-Exactly, that's why I believe that there is much an illustration can convey than a photograph, not so much through detail but the reduction of it. Thank you, my lines do need a bit of work, so I'll make sure to get onto that.

Meat-Yes, hopefully I can get to the point where it doesn't require as much effort. Thank you!

Agverkist-Thanks a lot man. To answer your question, yes, I have looked into Scott Robertson's How to Draw book. In fact, as you will see from what I've attached to this post, I've been practicing working with it a bit more.

As just mentioned, I have decided to have another attempt at working with Scott Robertson's book. I felt pretty intimidated by some of the exercises in the book, hence the reason I shied away from it for a while. Thankfully, JyonnyNovice was very kind and helped me out by working with me in the hangout, which has helped elevate my understanding a bit more. Below is some samples of sketches in which I have practiced some of the exercises from the 3rd chapter of the book. Yes, I know Robertson advises you to draw with pen rather than pencil when plotting lines, so I will make sure to do that in future. I also have a number of sketches from observation, in which I attempted to analyse the forms of my subjects.

[Image: QanNllUh.jpg]

[Image: luxvwf0.jpg]

Also, here's a silly doodle I inked, in which I attempted to draw a subject by plotting the basic 3D shapes first.
looking great ^^ if I can offer one more piece of advice for the perspective stuff - start training yourself to draw smooth freehand ellipses, they become really crucial for the later stuff in that book, and the how to render book relies on them a lot too. The exercises on page 19 and the video that goes with it shows a great way to practice. It's taken me 2 months of doing them everyday and only now can I just about draw decent ellipses reliably (ones that fit into boxes perfectly on a minor axis) (about 70% of the time anyway). Start that training right now! It's frustrating if you get to the later parts of the book and can't do them.
Hey your very creative, I love your use of media, I've neglected my traditional tools and I can see your having fun with yours
Jon-Since you mentioned that I've been working on ellipses a bit. Still a long way to go...

Rork-Thank you very much, I appreciate your kind words.

I've been a little inactive recently on the drawing and painting front. When I have been working I've been practising exercises from the Robertson book and more structural simplification sketches. Still kind of getting overwhelmed with the negative feeling that no one will ever like what I do. I wish I could stop thinking about that because it's petty.

Anyway, here's a work in progress I would like feedback on:

[Image: fKPo1MV.jpg]

Very early stages, I know. I'm applying what I (think) I have learnt from doing sketches of simplified forms, by sketching out the internal shapes first. I intend to build upon them with more details. Am I doing this correctly? Is this the sort of structure my work has been lacking?

Additionally, here's a couple more samples of my recent sketchbook drawings:

[Image: ZDU4pDi.jpg?1]

[Image: mvTmlG5.jpg?1]
More experimentation and such in this post. As you may have seen, I made a post in the critique section asking for feedback on a layout sketch I did for an upcoming illustration. I talked about it with Jyonny a bit and he suggested (like Meat had in the thread) that I utilise a composition that isn't so stifling. I've been working a bit on that. I've taken a slight diversion from my current study focus at the moment but I intend to get back to it shortly. Someone suggested I study the Norling book on perspective again, so I think I'll do that.

Anyway, here's some trimmings from the craft beast:

[Image: mucqDXe.jpg]

Some quick thumbnails I did by Jyonny's suggestion, both of the aforementioned upcoming illustration and a large-scale drawing I would like to do.

[Image: Kv6S0Sa.jpg]

The second painting in my Studies of Dying Curiosity series. This one was largely an experiment as I recently acquired a palette knife. I kind of like this one despite its obvious flaws and general messiness.

[Image: OO8M2WI.png]

Lastly, this one was for laughs more than anything, but I ended up downloading Sculptris after seeing it in the 3D thread. This is my first attempt at creating anything in 3D. It looks awful, I know, but it was fun to do!
I like the long-leg version of the asexual family portrait better than the Artist Mannequin shaped short leg version, and the Dutch Angle in your final drawing too. I'd say keep using real world objects to get your perspective and use the book as support study material.

You're doing 3D too? :D Remember we all have to start somewhere, and as long as we keep moving, it's a sure shot we'll improve. 10 SB pages later you'll look back at your first model and palette knife experiment, and be amazed by where you started from!

Keep going!
Thank you very much, Meat! I'm currently thinking of exclusively studying the Norling and possibly the Robertson book for a couple of weeks, going by another suggestion when I was talking to Jon last. It might help. I did that 3D model after looking through the 3D thread. It was honestly a bit of fun more than anything, but I suppose learning a 3D program could be handy in the long run.

Anyway, forgot to post the final version of that piece in this thread. Here it is:

[Image: GdVklAJ.png]

Whilst I'm at it, here's some scruffy samples of some of the exercises from the first few chapters of the Norling book.

[Image: nWNz66S.jpg]
mmmm it's a beedle hmm hmm, my only friend... besides smrrrfeete ofcourse hehe,

well let's see i like how you're trying to improve your lines, it's always good. One thing that really helped me with line quality is contour drawings, where you don't lift the pen at all. Didn't you order that niccolaides book? try to work a little on that, it'll help you a lot.

Also, i highly reccomend studying figurative work and human faces, as this is an easy recource to get a hold of and will improve confidence in lines even though they're not beedles 3l8Ol> hehehe. XXXXX <(0^0)> uuuh pixelovely and quickposes are great one stop spots for those; really just do stacks of em, 60 seconds each and do a longer one between each.

Niccolaides can walk you through much better than i can; trust me it will help your beedles mmm hehehhe,.... you will learn anatomy and why things fit together, and this will only improve your work and give you the mileage you need :)

It will also improve spacial awareness and 3d understanding!
Oh look, it's my koala friend! Thank you. I kind of forgot about the Niccolaides book, but I suppose I should get back to it. I'll probably do as you suggest and work with figures (even though they're not insects or monsters, URGH). Thank you for the advice, Mr Koala!

Anyway, I don't really have anything to show this time, I just want some advice. I'm finding it difficult to stay committed to studying perspective and am perhaps finding it difficult, even with studying the Norling book rather than the Robertson one. Maybe I'm just incompetent, I don't know. I'm just wondering if anyone has any advice on helping to stay focused on these things, as well as any other resources on learning basic perspective that could be useful?
i never learned the in depth perspective stuff and well i don't think it's hurt me too much. I'm just gonna tell you what i did, even tho not i'm not the best and i know you want to do characters and not complex city scapes and machinery, so it isn't too crucial to learn the really technical stuff.

The most important thing about perspective is understanding it; i've never learned from a book or studied why perspective works in certain ways, but I can draw out grids and place things on them in space because i understand form. Say you draw a beedle, right? try to draw him as cyllinders and cubes first then add the details. This goes for pretty much everything; anatomy, costumes, heads (hard as fuck), and environments, city scapes; it's all sitting in space and uses the very same philosohpy and science as to how we see it.

I made a little example here involving beedles... hmm... You see i created the beedle with spheres and cyllinders and i could have used a cube but cubes ain't for cuties... ehh off topic uhh. See the best exercise you could do to understand perspective is to try a draw a beedle spinning around in all angles, using simple shapes. This will teach to you connect vanishing points in your head and all that good stuff that super technical and makes no sense and is super boring and impossible to learn without good application.

Think of it like an RPG, like you have 3 sets of skills, you have form, perspective and design. Right now your design skill is high because you know how things look, such as insects, but your form and perspective are low. If you follow niccolaides and do gestures, you will level up your form and perspective skills because you are placing things in space, regardless of what they are. That why people say to draw cans and cups and stuff, because it forces you to put things in space which you can apply to anything else you understand the design of, like beedles.

Take a famous artist for example like sargent, he never draws beetles, but he can draw people and clothing very well because he understands the form and perspective well, and the design of humans. If he looked at a reference of a beedle, he could draw a beedle from any angle because he knows the other two skills. But without the reference, his drawing might look silly like mine because i don't remember what a beedle looks like hehe.

In short, i think it's a complete waste of time what you're trying to do with these grids and stuff since it's not gonna be applied to what you're doing. Start making those drawings and follow niccolaides and all that perspective stuff will make sense as you try to draw things accurately. I hope this makes sense...
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