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I come to believe I always botch the hands. I always have a hard time doing them elegantly, as I find myself often noodling around. I adore how Karla Ortiz pull them off like it's nothing. I'm looking at how Sargent does his hands. I love how he sums his strokes up to a bare minimum. But regardless, I think I need to broaden my perspective on this..

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Smoke and hand painting study:
[attachment=97632]
Garment/Material study:
[attachment=97633]
Personal:
[attachment=97978]

I will be doing Zorn studies. I've been putting off backgrounds for the longest time.. I'll probably be focusing a bit on that on top of the portrait stuff.
Hey John - great job on that hand in post #223! You hit "delicate" right on the nose there buddy!

On that personal piece in #224 watch those arms - they look every so slightly too short to me.

Now get on with those Zorn studies and backgrounds!!!!

Also - give me 10 press-ups on the double!!!!!!
Artloader - I can't wait to apply it, but I feel I must do more studies. I like how it turned out too, but you know that feeling when you think what you've done was just a fluke? And you have to do it again to prove to yourself that it isn't? 

Man.. Sometimes I'm not sure with what I'm doing.

And thanks for the crit on the piece. I will be tackling it soon enough. I have to mention I got a lot of help on it through paint overs from the nice people of discord. And after days of not looking at it, I'm beginning to see the cracks of the piece. Thanks Loader.

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Quick Portrait for some local contest:
[attachment=98086]
Focus on the gesture of the expression of the face, your rendition looks super awkward, unnatural and stiff! Particularly the area around the lips and nose. Eyes look nice though.
Loosen up. See which forms go into which other forms to create that smooth, natural gradient.
Feel it out, man.
Jun - I have no idea what you want me to do! I know. I have to be the marble! 
[Image: j18pOgQ.gif]

In all seriousness, your comment gave me much thought. I can see why you said that. I will be re-evaluating my knowledge of anatomy. Starting with the head. Thanks.

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There were times when I think I know something really well just because of how long I've been spending time on doing it. Scary part is I am oblivious to whatever the mistakes I'm doing. I had a rude awakening when someone working pro in the industry pointed out I was focusing too far ahead, not realizing the cracks in my foundations. I should be doing some more anatomy studies in the foreseeable future.

I should make a study plan..

Zorn composition/environment study:
[attachment=98314]
I'll be doing Suzanne Helmigh's portrait class http://crimsondaggers.com/forum/thread-2727.html

Never did do ecorche, which I'm looking forward to doing.

[attachment=98463]
[attachment=98464]
Aww yeah, getting to twerk now :). I have a few pointers related to your skull tracings if you don't mind:
I forgot to add most people have a slight overbite, so their top teeth end up lining up with their bottom lip. Also, if you're not already doing it, make sure you flip often, I've noticed your sockets are consistently different sizes. You actually got the s.c.m. connection right, I just felt like drawing it lol.
Ambiguity - Thank you for this. To think I've look at enough skulls to say I got a good handle on it. Those details you pointed out made me do a double take on the subject. Ugh.. what am I doing.. Thanks Ambi.

And no, I didn't consciously plot in the sterno mastoid thingy. But I'm so greedy, I'll take the compliment anyway.

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Work in progress portfolio piece for the big 2 comic book company, hopefully they'd visit this year:
[attachment=99063]
I've been drawing women for the past dozen pieces and maybe this is the way my brain is compensating for the lack of male figures in my illustrations.
[attachment=99064]
Note to self: Post brush settings here so I can keep track of the ever changing brushes.
Sargent study from April 8 - 19.
[attachment=99086]
Everytime I go through a Sargent study, I change my brush settings.. Will post them on the next for my reference. I've been accidentally deleting them by clicking on the brush in the presets, unaware of holding the Alt button..
Oooh boy John, thanks for the comment in my thread, i'll have a nice reply for it later tonight!

Well, I can't believe I never stopped by here before, hmm


"I've been knocking on the same not-to-be-named game company's door for at least half a decade already, I still get the same critiques. Weak anatomy. Weak understanding of light. No knowledge of composition. And the list goes on. That's 5 years of me applying what I thought I know was correct incorrect."

I can see why they said that. Umm, let's see...

John I think one thing you could try, is to stylize more. Like, pick some artists you like and rip them the hell off. Some of your things look technically correct and grounded, but they are just not cool looking. 

For instance, these girls

http://crimsondaggers.com/forum/attachme...--ver2.jpg

They are not sexy, despite having sexy aimed costumes. They have very plain looking (realistic) faces, no visible curves or big titties/ass/hourglass figure etc. The girl on the right looks like she eats a lot of microwavable food, the girl on the left has just a very boxy body. The poses are very stiff, like just locked up, flat camera angle. If they came to life, they would look like two cosplayers from Wisconsin who want to hit up a doughnut stand

You know for sexy women you want a good angle that, yea, objectifies them, think of the pose and the camera angle first.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/ori...e8c3d8.jpg


http://crimsondaggers.com/forum/attachme...J-MGsm.jpg

This guy has like the dad bod, like superhero's should have huge muscles and a super sculpted body.
http://outalpha.com/wp-content/uploads/2...dadbod.jpg

Like super slim waste line, huge pecs, traps, deltoids, legs, arms you name it. 

His body looks like it's aimed at being correct and functional, but you know, what if he suddenly to life, he wouldn't look very intimidating you know?

You want to go for a sketch in lines that someone could say, hey I want this on a shirt/wallapaper/cell phone cover/profile picture. Something that's just cool you know? I mean, that's what I'd do.


http://crimsondaggers.com/forum/attachme...%20(1).jpg

Now I think this is a step up, but still these superhero characters are just not that "cool" looking. 

See here like Joe Mad stylizes the jaw, the browline to make him look really tough and intimidating, just in the face
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-S8rThmTzDFY/UF...hor300.jpg

His very features look tough, you know?

See also how he stylizes the muscles, making them look accurate, but even cooler than accurate. They are angular and dangerous looking.
http://media.virbcdn.com/cdn_images/resi...irst06.jpg

The way you're drawing the faces and muscles and stuff, they just need some more juice, like make things pointier and more angular. It's not the only way to enhance your work, but it is certainly a good way and a route many take with great success. Like your deadpool in that sketch, I think he'd look a lot cooler if you like slanted his eyes inward to kind of look angular and more menacing. 

Like, sure you could go for all out realism, but you'll have a much easier time just exaggerating the shapes. Remember, at best in realism, it's going to be a cosplay. In art, we can break the rules of reality and push them into interesting areas. 

And everyone stylizes dude, even a little. Even Sargent, just look at his photos of his sitters compared to the painting. You wanna make things look attractive and cool or interesting, not just correct.

Now below I'll provide an example if you do take this advice on something I have done a lot to analyze styles. I'll look at the very line shapes and patterns within the composition to discover how the artist was thinking when making the drawing. Just analyze, don't copy, this would teach a LOT about composition, because that particular field is entirely about the initial scribbles you put on the paper, and how they balance with eachother with shape value and color. I think if you did a lot of these, that would really improve your stuff. and focus on the Line/vs black and white elements of it, more than the color. 

When I had a folio review from Art Director Zoe Robinson, her main advice was to thumbnail a lot and try to make the characters and story as interesting as possible. Design a lot you know? And I think it'd do you some good to like, spend less time on things? try to draw a character in different poses and in different emphases on things. Try to make it look like it could be a great piece without color. Like the shapes are so cool or attractive whatever that it doesn't need painting. You're not bad at values and color matching, I think your biggest weakness is along the lines of gesture and shape language. Doing those analytical studies (on top of other artists work) of how artists arrange shapes would do you a lot of good. And lay off painting for a while if you can.

I learned a lot of this from this thread by Sam Carr despite it's brevity:

Something he said

"I felt like I learned more in 3 days than I had the last few years about constructing images. Trying to drill into my thick skull that nothing should just be on the canvas by accident, and studying these paintings is definitely reinforcing that."."
Fedodika - Hello!

Quote:John I think one thing you could try, is to stylize more. Like, pick some artists you like and rip them the hell off. Some of your things look technically correct and grounded, but they are just not cool looking.

They said to study anatomy. Like pick apart every bit of it starting with the head. From the head, do specific studies, like the eye. The suggestion was to go deeper with the technical aspect. I believe they're right that I don't have my knowledge down to a pat. Ambi pointed out a lot of things from my previous study that made me rethink how to show form.

I actually do have artists I pull up ever so often when I paint (one of them, painfully obvious, is Sargent).

Their word against yours! But, for the sake of dialogue, let's get to it! I might be missing out on something.

Quote:They are not sexy, despite having sexy aimed costumes. They have very plain looking (realistic) faces, no visible curves or big titties/ass/hourglass figure etc.

I guess I have a generic taste for faces! For the character on the left, she's supposed to be a sexy character yet covered in non-form fitting clothes. The character on the right isn't supposed to have in your typical cheesecake features due to the fact she's a high school student.

Quote: The girl on the right looks like she eats a lot of microwavable food, the girl on the left has just a very boxy body.

You mean the girl on the right looks fat? Or sickly? Or sickly fat?

Quote:The poses are very stiff, like just locked up, flat camera angle. If they came to life, they would look like two cosplayers from Wisconsin who want to hit up a doughnut stand

The one on the right was intentional. The pose is supposed to be stiff to show awkwardness. For the left character, you're probably right. But that's the best pose I can think off at that moment.

Not sure what to make do about your cosplayers comment! I don't know how to take it. It's either an awkward way of saying it looks okay-ish, downright sucks, or it's just you trying a bit too hard an attempt of an insult comic joke :)

Quote:You know for sexy women you want a good angle that, yea, objectifies them, think of the pose and the camera angle first.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/ori...e8c3d8.jpg 


I think that approach is way too vulgar for this piece. I wanted to nail that brief of 'awkward meeting between an energetic character and a more conservative one, while having their wardrobes switched.'

Maybe for some other piece!

Quote:This guy has like the dad bod, like superhero's should have huge muscles and a super sculpted body.

http://outalpha.com/wp-content/uploads/2...dadbod.jpg 

Like super slim waste line, huge pecs, traps, deltoids, legs, arms you name it. 

His body looks like it's aimed at being correct and functional, but you know, what if he suddenly to life, he wouldn't look very intimidating you know?


I agree. That guy could've hit the gym before he struck a pose.

Quote:You want to go for a sketch in lines that someone could say, hey I want this on a shirt/wallapaper/cell phone cover/profile picture. Something that's just cool you know? I mean, that's what I'd do.

Apparently I missed the mark. I did try though. I thought it was good enough. I did recheck my proportions the other day and I agree some features could've been tackled better.

Quote:Now I think this is a step up, but still these superhero characters are just not that "cool" looking. 

See here like Joe Mad stylizes the jaw, the browline to make him look really tough and intimidating, just in the face
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-S8rThmTzDFY/UF...hor300.jpg

His very features look tough, you know?

See also how he stylizes the muscles, making them look accurate, but even cooler than accurate. They are angular and dangerous looking.
http://media.virbcdn.com/cdn_images/resi...irst06.jpg

The way you're drawing the faces and muscles and stuff, they just need some more juice, like make things pointier and more angular. It's not the only way to enhance your work, but it is certainly a good way and a route many take with great success. Like your deadpool in that sketch, I think he'd look a lot cooler if you like slanted his eyes inward to kind of look angular and more menacing.

I don't quite understand how to incorporate 'pointier and more angular' to my piece. I understand Joe Mad can easily translate that into his, given his love for cartoon style renderings. But I am not quite sure how to handle that in mine. Maybe you could show me?

Quote:Like, sure you could go for all out realism, but you'll have a much easier time just exaggerating the shapes.

Not sure if exaggerating shapes is what the piece calls for, especially when I intend this to be more geared to have a realistic approach.

It might be easy! But it's just hard for me to make it look good. At least for me.

Quote:Remember, at best in realism, it's going to be a cosplay. In art, we can break the rules of reality and push them into interesting areas.

I don't think the ceiling for realism would be cosplay..

That's true what you said about breaking rules in art. While that notion is perfectly valid, I strongly believe for one to be able to successfully break the rules in favor of a clear direction in one's craft, one must know what they are and understand why they were there in the first place. I do have some sense of what they are, like design principles, anatomy, perspective, etc.. But I think I need to understand them a little bit better before I go improvise. I believe my knowledge is still shaky on a lot of things.

Quote:And everyone stylizes dude, even a little. Even Sargent, just look at his photos of his sitters compared to the painting. You wanna make things look attractive and cool or interesting, not just correct.

I agree. I may operate under the guise of almost realism, but I'm clearly aware I still do wing it. For example, how I render colors and material. Which both need work.

Quote:Just analyze, don't copy

I don't understand what that means. What do you mean by analyze? What do you consider a balanced shape, value, and/or color?

Quote:Design a lot you know? And I think it'd do you some good to like, spend less time on things? try to draw a character in different poses and in different emphases on things. Try to make it look like it could be a great piece without color. Like the shapes are so cool or attractive whatever that it doesn't need painting.
 
I'm confident to say can draw characters in different poses. But I don't think I can draw characters in believable poses. There are still anatomical problems I need to address every time I think of a pose. I try to hammer both down with what I got in my head and what is considered realistic. Ergo, more studies.. Ergo, I think I'm slacking in that department.

Quote:You're not bad at values and color matching, I think your biggest weakness is along the lines of gesture and shape language. Doing those analytical studies (on top of other artists work) of how artists arrange shapes would do you a lot of good. And lay off painting for a while if you can.

False. 

I'm terrible at values and color. If it looks good to someone else, even though 80 percent of the time I work on are values and color, I eked in just enough effort to make it look passable. But for the most part, it's one of the hardest stuff I'm trying to figure out. Yet surprisingly, fun. Or at the very least, the discovery of doing things a certain way and finding out it's working swimmingly is..

Don't worry, I lay off a lot. Too much in fact!

Quote:I learned a lot of this from this thread by Sam Carr despite it's brevity:

Something he said

"I felt like I learned more in 3 days than I had the last few years about constructing images. Trying to drill into my thick skull that nothing should just be on the canvas by accident, and studying these paintings is definitely reinforcing that."."

Sound advice. I think Sargent said something along those lines too..

Thanks for the feedback!

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Sargent study:
[attachment=99210]
Thinking I'm going to deal with a lot of dark values in my current piece, I might as well be studying how he did it.
Hey dude! I really enjoyed looking through your sketchbook. Seeing the amount of work you have put in, and the progress you have made in a short time is inspiring! Really loving your studies - especially the values you have going on. I think I'm struggling with that, so it's definitely inspiring to see your work..

Beginning my journey here is really making me re-evaluate my study practices and seeing how you constantly do the same is pretty cool. You're not afraid of the dark man. You just grab a torch and figure that shiz out. Love it. Consider me officially inspired.
Badassery is happening here. That was AWESOME how you traced out the skulls from the pictures of celebrities. You've got such a good handle on form... And I'm inspired! Back to mah sketchbook
EmEl - Hi! And thanks for the kind words! But I think I led you to believe that the improvement came in fast. To tell you honestly, I've been at this for years. I think there was half a decade, probably more, just trying to understand figures and perspective. I was making comics back then and those were the most important elements. 

It's kinda more embarrassing to say that there are still a lot of aspects in anatomy and perspective I am still not confident with as you can observe in this thread.

There's another point I'd like to address. There are still times that I am still afraid with regards to this art thing. You name it: not being good enough, will it make money, was all those years a waste of time, etc... No doubt that I still struggle with the same anxiety problems I've had for a long time. 

One of the things I find comfort is, especially here in the forums, that it's okay to bomb and make mistakes. I think almost everyone shares that same trait: that willingness to fall, push our egos aside and just to get up and try do things better. It's commendable that this is something we, regardless of skill level, all uphold here in the forums, consciously or otherwise.

Bookend - That badassery can be directed to helmighs, and her portrait class right here: http://crimsondaggers.com/forum/thread-2727.html

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Portrait study because I'm losing my mind over that Batman piece:
[attachment=99847]

Thanks to Hob for the tips.
Nice last study, you did well with the colors ;)
Nice textures in that Sargent study in post #234 John.

That Suzanne Helmigh course looks good, I might try that myself at some point.

Keep pushing!
Nice studies man, your eye for proportion and color/value is improving quite a lot. However, these could still do with some improvement if you *really* examine your work. For example, the red head girl. A few small changes that would make your study much more accurate:

-Nose is too pointy, round it off
-Her eyes aren't brown, rather a greenish-grey
-Shadow under her chin/jaw isn't quite so red/maroon, but rather an orangish-brown
-Neck is too wide by a hair, slim it down
-All around, the edges are too hard; soften them easily by using the blur tool at a low opacity, anywhere from 10-30%

Overall, try smoothing everything out. The brushstrokes don't look so much painterly at this point as unfinished, and by taking the time to smooth them out, it typically looks much better. Also, make sure to watch your edges for implying texture; the hair is a good example. By taking a little extra time to tighten down your strong base, be it proportion, edge, value, color, etc., it can really take your pieces to the next level of realism.

Hope that helps! Keep it up, you're really improving!
Lovely sketchbook! Keep it up :)
Studies look good, but that Sargent lady looks a bit masculine to me, or is she supposed to?
And are you going to finish that superheroes piece?
Too sleepy to read your convo with Fedodika but hopefully you two figured smth out.
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