Artloader - Sketchbook
@Skeffin:  Yeah - I'm not good enough to wing the perspective yet so I like to sketch them in - even when I'm just doing a figure drawing without an environment background.  Also thanks for the crit about doing exploratory sketches - that would have definitely improved the pose on the Underwater Assassin - it looks a bit stiff now that I look at it.

@chubby_cat:  Thanks!  I'm glad I took the time to find the octopus reference - my tentacle drawings were so bad until I bothered to do that!

Anyway - I recently signed of for a Schoolism course: Digital Painting with Craig Mullins.  I read somewhere a while back that one of the fastest ways to improve at something is to find yourself a good teacher and they don't come any better that Mr Mullins in my opinion.

The first lesson was about identifying light, shadow and half-tones.  The things I learned from watching the video lessons were:

1. When rendering a flat shape - try to put in a diagonal variation in value and hue - makes it a lot more interesting.
2. When rendering light and shadow, you can have your light and shadow quite close together in value as long as there no variation in value within the shapes.
3. Near the terminator is where most of your texture and colour is.  Use a texture brush and saturate your colours more here.

And the assignment was to do some studies of light, shadow and half-tones (I tried the low-contrast thing on the skull-head model):

“Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.” -- H. Jackson Brown Jr.

CD Sketchbook

Excellent studies and notes in your latest post! Taking notes as you go along and really thinking about what you are doing and why you are doing it is the best way to go IMO! Especially if you create tons of quick sketches as you go along!

Cool sketchbook, you made great progress since the beginning. I like the notes on the last posts, thanks for sharing . Keep it up
@Zorrentos:  Thanks my friend - yep - making notes really helps me think back over what I learned and solidify stuff in my head.

@Kassatay:  Hey thanks for stopping by and for the encouragement :).

So I've been pressing on a bit with the Craig Mullins Schoolism course.  Lesson 2 was about two different approaches to painting:

1. The Graphic Approach:  Using a full opacity brush and painting shapes in 4 values from black through to white.
My learnings with this approach:
a. It forces you to be decisive about your shapes.
b. I liked how Mr Mullins showed us how to turn each of the value patterns into selections and paste photos into the shapes to give texture and interest.  Not something I'd normally do but useful to keep in the toolbox in case it ever comes in handy.
c. Don't be afraid to use the digital tools to adjust the value levels.
d. You still need to prioritise drawing (placement and proportion) - Mr Mullins keeps on emphasizing.

And this is me playing around with a bit of photobashing an oil painting into the different value patterns:

2. The Glazing And Scumbling approach:  Starting off at a middle value with a low opacity brush and making your painting "appear out of the fog".
My learnings with this approach:
a. You still need to prioritise drawing (placement and proportion).
b. You don't have to get it right first time - you can keep on adjusting all the way through the painting.
c.  I seemed to be able to get more accurate values and colours with this method.

And here's the ref:

Additional thoughts:
Neither of these approaches matches the way I normally paint and I felt a bit out of my comfort zone but I feel like it is useful to try different techniques as I usually pick up a few useful tips and tricks.

“Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.” -- H. Jackson Brown Jr.

CD Sketchbook

Great studies , you’re doing well! Thanks for sharing these lessons. The course looks really informative.
I like the second study, I actually use this approach when doing my portrait. It’s like sculpting.

You can check this video it will help you out with the process

Keep it up!
Hey it might be worth watching some of the feedback videos that Craig Mullins does for other students. (I'm not following my own advice because there's loads and it gets draining )...But the first few I watched were quite enlightening. And kind of hilarious too how he essentially drew a stickman-esque triangle with a smiley face for the guy in the head dress and was like "right, you need to make it more like this"

Looks great, glad you're getting value out of schoolism. Paying for stuff is a good motivator to get on and do the assignments, right!

For the anatomy stuff, what I've been finding useful is to devote a short bit of time at the end of each day to drawing with pencil in a sketchbook and doing a ton of arms/legs/whatever from imagination. I found it's a good test of how much I've remembered and kind of solidifies any new stuff.

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