Sketchbook
#21
Good stuff, man, and you work so quickly it's insane. :) I'd say to start improving your material reads a bit more. The metals in the armor and sword, for instance, are a bit too matte to really come off correctly. They need sharper contrasts to make them really "sing". They key to reflective materials is specular highlight and, well, reflections, so try to make sure to keep those in mind when rendering. Great stuff.

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#22
Thanks MrF. I hadn't noticed just how flat some of that armour looks; feels like it's made of plastic in places :p. Tried messing around with it a little by adding an overlay layer and some reflections but that's definitely something I need to watch in future. Thanks for the heads up; much appreciated.



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#23
Use the color burn tool. Works well to saturate/add high areas of contrast.

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#24
I completely adore your works and style... I mean it's so appealing. The colors are lovely, they "fit together" so nice. You don't have to draw stuff saturated or overbrightened to get proper contrast and reading. How do you even do this? :)

It's a somewhat solitary existence, a bit like a lighthouse keeper throwing a beam out into the darkness, in faith that this action might help someone unseen.

BombMy Sketchbook (critique welcome)Bomb
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#25
Thanks Kerm. I always feel like a bit of a fraud giving advice about art as I'm still trying to figure this stuff out myself, but here are three things that really helped my understanding of colour;

1. Don't be afraid of the greys. 'More paintings fail because of too much intense colour rather than too much grey'

2. Colours don't work in isolation. Every colour you put down affects all the colours around it, sometimes completely changing our perception of it.

3. Buy a copy of James Gurney's Colour and Light from which the quote from point 1 was taken. He explains everything much better than I ever could. It costs less than $20 and is one of the best artbooks there is for explaining colour in simple, easy to understand language. It's also full of his beautiful plein air oil paintings which he uses to demonstrate his points.

Here's the next character which is, ironically, almost monochromatic.



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#26
I think you made a point earlier about getting slower with each one.
I necessarily don't think that a bad thing as it means you are thinking more and more about each stroke you place down. Each piece seems to be getting better and better. Something I would suggest to make each of these REALLY pop would be to use some varying texture in the background of the opposite color of the character itself. The texture doesn't have to be at full opacity, but it really bring the character forward from the background.

Are you painting the portraits from studies or just from the head?
If from studies, I think this is an awesome exercise to give a portrait a body. It makes me want to just sit and paint a bunch of portraits and then make myself give them bodies.

Anyway, off on a bit of a different train process.
All I'm saying is that these are looking good, but they just need something more to really make them POP!

Keep it up, I can't wait to see more :)

LE SKETCHYBOOK ~ BLOGGY
There is usually more on my blog...

GIVE A CRIT, GET A CRIT!
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#27
(10-25-2013, 11:10 PM)Ignatz Wrote: Thanks Kerm. I always feel like a bit of a fraud giving advice about art as I'm still trying to figure this stuff out myself, but here are three things that really helped my understanding of colour;

1. Don't be afraid of the greys. 'More paintings fail because of too much intense colour rather than too much grey'

2. Colours don't work in isolation. Every colour you put down affects all the colours around it, sometimes completely changing our perception of it.

3. Buy a copy of James Gurney's Colour and Light from which the quote from point 1 was taken. He explains everything much better than I ever could. It costs less than $20 and is one of the best artbooks there is for explaining colour in simple, easy to understand language. It's also full of his beautiful plein air oil paintings which he uses to demonstrate his points.

Here's the next character which is, ironically, almost monochromatic.

Thank you for your answer. I must say I do have both James Gourney books, they're great, but still I'm feeling a big gap between what I can render, drawing from imagination and observation. Most times, when I paint with grays I get mud and when I paint with saturated colors I get cartoony feeling. Well, my observation color studies aren't that bad, but still I have all the colors in front of my face when I paint them, so it's waaay easier. Do you do a lot of value planning before you go ahead with color? Are you keeping your painting very desaturated most of the time and at the end of process add a few saturated accents?

It's a somewhat solitary existence, a bit like a lighthouse keeper throwing a beam out into the darkness, in faith that this action might help someone unseen.

BombMy Sketchbook (critique welcome)Bomb
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#28
@matkaminski. Thanks mat. The decision to keep the background the same was a deliberate choice. Part of the exercise was to create illustrations that worked independently of any background so they could be placed on a white page or pasted onto other promotional backgrounds, just as a client would use them. As for the heads, most are just made up but a few are inspired by random photos. Thanks for the feedback.

@kerm. I didn't do any value studies for these but I do for bigger compositions. I start with a rough line drawing and then lay in flat areas of mid value colour to make sure everything reads, then I just render it up, laying in darks first then the lights. I keep everything down to two layers; background and foreground.

If you're having problems with oversaturated colours I would recommned Gurney's gamut masking exercise and Sycra has a video here discussing the same method from a digital perspective. It forces you to restrict your colour choices. I would also suggest finding an artist who you really like, whether it's a bright, colourful style like Jesper Ejsing or the muted palettes of Donato Giancola and just colour picking some of their images to see what colours they use; I found this quite a useful exercise.

I know it's frustrating to keep hearing it but you just have to keep practicing. Suddenly things will click and you'll think, 'oh, now I get it', and then you'll realise it opens up a whole new level of stuff to learn. It never ends, so enjoy the ride ;) Hope that's of some help.

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#29
That's a great answer! Thx!

It's a somewhat solitary existence, a bit like a lighthouse keeper throwing a beam out into the darkness, in faith that this action might help someone unseen.

BombMy Sketchbook (critique welcome)Bomb
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#30
Dude, this last one is fantastic. The armor detailing is great, as well as the emotion in the face and the silk and hand...ugh, good shit. I'm not sure how well received paintovers are for certain people, (so you can just tell me to go to hell if you want) but I did a quick demo of how you can bump up more contrast in your reflective surfaces to really show what the different materials are in your pieces. Of course this is quick and crude, but hopefully it shows just how much more you can push the values to really help sell your awesome images even more. Again, tell me to fuck off if you disapprove. :)


Attached Files Image(s)



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#31
Hey MrFrenik, fuck off. Seriously though, I'd never get offended by anyone taking the time out to help. That's why we're all here right; to get feedback and advice and a fresh set of eyes on our work. I think the point you highlight is indicative of a larger problem though; too many soft edges and too flat a value range creating a lack of contrast. This studying always feels like two steps forward, one step back. Thanks for the crit, much appreciated.:)

Here's the next one.



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#32
I think the lack of contrast tends to stem from using black in a painting being taboo, much like the smudge brush or burn/dodge tools. The reason you don't see jet black in any master paintings is because there is no pigment of paint that can actually reach that value level, so they had to go as dark as they could. In digital, of course, we can achieve much broader ranges of value. Black does exist in nature, since it's simply the absence of light (ambient occlusion is a prime example of this). If you're wanting to paint in a compressed value scale, I think that's a valid approach. It's the way a lot of artists do paint, in fact, and it's what you've been using for these. They all fall mainly in the middle ranges of values and work well because you're still accurately describing the form. If you'd like to push your value ranges, you'll simply need to start employing darker darks and lighter lights. :) Or something like that. I dunno, I've been up all night and am kinda just talking outta my ass. Keep it up.

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#33
Okay let's see:

The cloth on her leg (the one closest to us) seems a bit strange in the way it catches the light. The plane seems to flatten out to a perfect rectangle almost. When you shove cloth into a boot, it usually tries it's damndest to push upward.
(http://www.deviantart.com/art/Journeyman...-119405043 for ref)
Next, her head feels a bit too small.
I would also place the stance a little off-center as left foot (our right) seems to make her stance a bit awkward.
I'm loving the expression and the use of patterns all throughout. Patterns are a pain in the ass to paint!
I'm only having to pick out small things to critique as it's looking pretty damn good.
Anyway, keep 'em coming! :)

LE SKETCHYBOOK ~ BLOGGY
There is usually more on my blog...

GIVE A CRIT, GET A CRIT!
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#34
Thanks mat, all good points. Appreciate the feedback.

Here are the next two. Hit a bit of a wall with these; I'm currently going through one of those 'everything I produce is crap' phases that so many of us seem to suffer from. Nothing to do but knuckle down and push through it.






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#35
These characters are top notch, keep it up.

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#36
Thanks crackedskull.

Here's the last one. I really need to start thinking about getting a portfolio together so I thought I might make a couple of triptychs using the three best male and three best female designs. If anyone has any opinions about which ones they think are best (or least worst) I'd be glad to hear them. Whichever ones I choose I think I'll need to rework them quite a bit.



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#37
Yes! An updateeee ;D *drools some more*

Well, if I had to be specific - I'm in love with the Necromancer crow lady (even though you feel that way about it), I feel the silhouette is so lively, you captured her character wonderfully.
Then, I certainly love tubsy - the (what I feel to be) decadent monk of sorts i.e. your 3rd post. He too has a real character about him that I find fascinating.
The mad old mage/alchemist guys is another fave, along with albino warrior/soldier heroine.

But shiiit, that's just the tip of the iceberg... you know I'd say..."render 'em all!!" as I replace my bucket full-o saliva.

Hope you receive more opinions, maybe posting in the critiques/paintover section for more feedback <3

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#38
I agree totally with smrrfette, the crow necro is fucking fantastic. You have a great sense of how to capture the essence of your character, and it comes out through the stance and emotive signals you're putting in there. A lot of people that want to design characters miss this important factor, and it greatly hurts their work. Not the case here, so keep it all up. If I had to take a guess, I would say that you disliked the hunchbacked old woman the most because it lacks the aforementioned things. Actively searching for those genuinely interesting characteristics is crucial stuff. :) Keep rocking it.

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#39
Wow, what a fascinating array of characters! I love them all!

The design of the albino lady is really intriguing. I like how her white hair is mimicked by the veil sort of cloth around her waist. The swirls on her green armor are really lovely. She's one of my favorites.

I love the personality of the pirate lady.

Raven lady rocks.

I like the bard, although her face and hair are similar to the pirate, so pick one or the other.

The purple and yellow merchant is corpulently unforgettable.

The fellow with the turban has really striking features.

I love the thief, although I wish his face was more like the portrait.

The wizard's hair and face are awesome--he looks like a really brilliant fellow who is also half a bubble off plumb.

It's hard to pick a favorite!

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The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The second best time is now.  
-Chinese proverb

Sketchbook

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#40
Thanks MrF, smrrfette and Tygerson.

Not been around for a few months; real life stuff getting in the way.

Still trying to put together a portfolio. Here are my latest efforts.













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