View Full Version : Malpractice: Maladies practice thread'

03 March 2006, 10:29 PM
Okay, this is my first WIP-thread ever...a tad nervous folks:blush:. I'm working on this piece to learn about colours, light, and composition. The characters are a crossover between a centaur and a 'pan' figure (half goat) and a thingie/being I call a pythia. She's the bad guy ofcourse:). They need a lot of work too...if anybody feels like giving C&C, it is greatly appreciated!

Plus close-up on face:

03 March 2006, 11:08 PM
Hi welcome.i remember when i first started posting here i was overwhelmed by the talent,and i got like 0 replies.gunne throw in my 2 cents..

iIalways say before u start battling with colour and lighting etc,u should have a good foundation of knowledge of just plain drawing,composition and line.

drawing from still life (random objects) and nude life drawing classes help with this.

But i won't bore u with that,what i'll do is list u with some things u could work on.

2.composistion(the clearest and most dynamic way of depicting a scene
3.dynamic posing.your characters seem a tad stiff.

start off with a few thumbnails sketches of the scene and figure out which one works best.

03 March 2006, 01:43 AM
Hi. Maladie.

first thanks for stop by my joruney thread...

my 2cent advice is, we are (going to be) aritst using paint tools.
so keep trying to express(shouting out) your story by drawing.

don't think about technical stuff(like prespective, brushing technique, what kind tool you going to use) first.
just trying to tell your story clearly....... ONE DAY you will be in contemplation, GREAT QUESTION FROM BEGINNING>>>>HOW<<<<.

then digging into (or back to) basic, technical stuff....

.. what story you going to tell us?..

03 March 2006, 01:58 PM
Thanks for the advice and help. I did some first thumbnails for this scene. Boy, am I struggling with composition! Strumkim, I really like your approach:). But I have always solely focused on characters (when I drew, which was not often till a month ago...) and now I want to learn how to express a scene that's in my head.

It's a long journey I guess:)

03 March 2006, 12:49 PM
I've gone with another composition and tried to give the characters a more dynamic pose. The result so far (far from done, but I work very slowly since it's my first ever):

03 March 2006, 01:06 PM
It's coming along pretty well!

One more thing to think about (sorry!) is lighting direction. How is it being lit? Try to light everything logically.

Also, you may like this. (

03 March 2006, 12:09 AM
Hi Maladie,

here is something that opened doors for me: work in greyscale! You needn't drop what you have done so far for this, just either desaturate this or set it back to greyscale (preferrably using a channelmixer - tell me if yo need help on this)

Why is that?

Because, the value (how light or dark tha applied colour is) decides on what your forms look like. Instead of having to tackle three parameters (lightness, hue, saturation) you need to think only about one. And when you are done with that you can very simply add the right colors while still keeping the lightness information in your pics.

While this is suitable for beginners, it is also a pro method. Take a look at this! (
As you can see, he starts out in grey and applies colour later, when all the questions about form and light are settled.

In my anatomy thread (link in the sig) you can see on the first page my first figure painting in colour (which I just left there for the purpose of referring back to some really crappy painting I did) and the second in greyscale. It was a real eye-opener.

Just ask if there's anything I can be helpful at.

And keep it up, put work into this and it will be a good painting that you will look back to once and really love.


03 March 2006, 10:59 PM
Inspired by Mr. Mu I worked on something new today - in grayscale:). I was inspired by the suggestion I should enter the challenge. I don't consider myself up for that yet, but it gave me the idea to make a comp of a travelling fellowship (and no, they don't carry a Ring).

I might do a grayscale of my previous painting later. Seems good practice...

03 March 2006, 11:47 PM
Well, the forms look much more 3D now!

I forgot to tell you it's advisable to only use three tones. black, white and a middle grey. After you applied the first strokes you can pick colors from the canvas.

Also, make sure to check out this thread on composition by Kirt ( maybe post your versions of the assignments there)

03 March 2006, 09:32 PM
deleting a few distracting images that I thought at the time were cool:)...(the system has me type something in order to delete)

03 March 2006, 07:01 PM
took the silly image away...

04 April 2006, 09:25 PM
A study of a girl I'm working on. Rendered the face a bit today. By the way, does anyone know how to change the title of my WIP-thread? It's more like a practice pile up to now...:).
Anyway, enjoyed this very much, if you feel like it c&c away, I'm eager to learn!

04 April 2006, 10:12 AM
Here's an update. It improved (I flipped it:)), but now the chin is a bit strong imo. Anyway, here it is:

04 April 2006, 12:26 PM
Her cranium and forhead is too small. It's a common error, but it looks like she has no top skull.

Usually, the eyes are right about the center line of the head, so the top of the head is the same distance from the eyes to the chin. Then on top of that goes the hair. Right now, the hair is where the top of the head should be.

This isn't an absolute measurement, though, but it's usually true. Also, at certain angles of perspective the ratio changes, but with the perspective you have on her face her forehead would be even larger. Just make sure that when you alter the proportion you're doing it by decision and with a purpose.

04 April 2006, 08:40 PM
Thanks, Vertrucio! Your tips were definately helpful. Also, in this update I tried to go for a little more of the atmosphere I imagined, so changed the colours a bit and gave her a rudimental hairdo:).
Never mind the rose, that was just a quick placeholder to establish if the idea would work. It's a photo blurred and adjusted (I'm admitting this now to avoid beat-ups about using it:)).

04 April 2006, 11:33 AM
Still not enough forehead volume. It slants back way too quickly so she looks a bit like a gorilla. Also remember to factor in the volume of anything that attaches to the head. The hair has volume, along with the thickness of the cap. These things also wrap around the head in perspective, so remember to include at least a hint of them on the other side of the head.

Here's a paintover to show what I mean:

The eyes are slightly too big as well.

I do like the changes made to the colors, and addition of a purple cap works well in the color scheme. The skin tone looks very warm and alive now, and the blending is really getting there.

04 April 2006, 01:03 PM
That's helpful, thank you.

04 April 2006, 04:00 PM
As I ahve seen in this thread and the Beginner's Lounge you already got all the hints you need, which mainly is to increase the foreskull a bit - apart from that you already have a fascinating piece (which might be the reason why it gets so helpful c&c in the first place)

So keep working on it!

And, as concerns any other things like improving lights and contrasts or whatnot you can always do refinements later on!


still a fascinating face... still got me dreaming...

04 April 2006, 02:58 PM
Here she is, bald, but never mind. Tell me if it looks like a gorilla or a giant forehead-disease:).

04 April 2006, 12:29 AM
Leaving the bald gypsygirl mercilessly behind (don't worry, she'll have hair one day;)) I'm moving on to another portrait. Lessons from fellow CGists and experience have taught me to really start at the beginning. I keep wanting too much, while I should really focus on learning to draw shapes and lines from ref. So...

I want to do a man's portrait now. It's based on a ref picture of Jake Gyllenhaal, but not sure how much I'll get it to resemble the real thing (sorry gals:)). I'll be tackling this from different angles. Here's a first sketch (20 minutes):

04 April 2006, 12:55 AM
And here's a quick value study:

04 April 2006, 11:49 PM
keep up the good work Maladie!

04 April 2006, 08:10 PM
Thanks for the encouragement:)! Here's an update. Inspired mainly by beaux, I'm trying to make this a much looser portrait with more visible brushstrokes. His nose is crooked, I'll try flipping asap...

04 April 2006, 08:30 PM
He Maladie!



This last value study is really beautiful.

I just don't know if I can let you get away with not finishing the girl, though. Maybe I'll let it slip. Maybe...:D


04 April 2006, 08:54 PM
Okay Mu, I guessed you were right...

So here comes, especially for you..*drumroll* an update on gipsygirl. I know the hair sucks, but I worked mainly on giving the eyes and features more depth, and cleaned her up in general so she doesn't have to lay in the fridge with a bare skull:). (she became more like film noir-girl, though:))

04 April 2006, 12:46 PM
I continued working on the male portrait. It's coming along pretty well, even starts to resemble the real thing a bit. I love painting in this loose style; it's good for my values, too. So I guess I'm gonna do more stuff like this.

04 April 2006, 07:41 PM

This male portrait is really good. Really good. It may sound "unexcited", but it is something I would not say about anything I did.

The value transitions, the blending, the proportions - it all just works in that one.
Make some decisions on the level of realism and the level of detail you want to have in that painting and then see to it that you apply this level to anything in there so it gets a unified look.

As concerns the girl: just don't stop, hehe:scream:

04 April 2006, 07:37 PM
For continuity, as this is really becoming a progress-dump instead of one WIP, I'm putting up some recent studies. One done as a line study, the other a value study. I hate to admit it but I'm learning much more from these then from my own clumsy, ref-less tries:)...

To spice it up I'd love to share a zen koan I read recently (it's also in the sketchathon):
A student monk and his teacher are walking along. The student asks: "How can I become enlightened?"
The teacher just slaps him in the face and says: "Keep walking!".

Kind of my motto these days. I keep walking, loving every step. And who knows, one day...enlightenment:lightbulb.

04 April 2006, 09:29 PM
I was working a bit more on old Jakey tonight. I'm at that stage where everything you do can make it worse instead of better. So, I decided to leave it at this for now and consider it 'finished'. By the way, I like the loose style; I tried to clean it up a bit without losing the flow, and think it worked out pretty well.

04 April 2006, 10:22 PM
Or do you think the sketchy hair is weird? It was a conscious decision, but I'm wondering now whether it's not too much of a style-clash...

04 April 2006, 10:40 AM
Hey maladie. You're making big progress. Keep it up.

For a crit, I'd say the same thing I say to myself: gotta do more life drawing. I can tell you're working from photos on these things. Usually it's best to do at least a year or two of painting heads from life before you resort to photos. At least, that's what I think.

04 April 2006, 02:28 PM
Good progress in here! Funny to keep the name of the thread the way it is for a doodle thread, but it's hard to pick out. :p

Jakey's looking pretty good now! I never dare draw people on the streets, I meander too much to stay still that long anyways lol. But a good thing is to force yourself to memorise faces almost like a photographic memory. And keep staring while they're not staring at you.
When they walk by you get all the angles :). hahaha, I feel like such a creep. :)

04 April 2006, 02:54 PM
Hi Beaux, thank you so much for visiting my WIP-thread. I wanted to ask you a question about what you said. How can you tell when someone is working from pictures? A certain flatness? I was thinking I could get good just with this practice, but as it seems I must consider life-drawing courses (or pestering friends for posing)...

That's a really loaded question. Definitely enroll in some life drawing courses. I've taken our college's figure drawing class 9 times and still feel like I'm barely begining to learn. When you've done a lot of study from life, it's easier to have life in your paintings. When you look at work that's done from photos without lifedrawing experience, it just lacks life. Hope that helps.

04 April 2006, 01:23 PM
I made this sketch today with a reference pic from Liv Tyler, and I was happy with the style, so I'm putting it up here too...ten minutes, no eraser, no rescaling.

Over the weekend I have pestered friends and family for posing, I was really shy and the sketches suck, but I will scan a few at work anyhow:).

04 April 2006, 08:37 PM
For experience and enjoyment I have embarked on another ridiculously ambitious project. I know, I know, I should stick with the basics. But I can't help it (I have evil right hand syndrome:))...

This image has its inspiration in a poem I wrote. It's about a girl getting lost in voices from the past, when all the world has come to a standstill. I would love to be able to transfer the images it evokes in my head, to the canvas. That's a long way to go, though...

A no doubt hilarious notion about this, when you aren't actually the one working on it, is that I spent all night on the face then HATE it with a vengeance. *mirthless laughter:)* I wanted to go more sketchy, less realistic, but failed miserably. I'll have another go though!

Aaaargghhh!! It's female Chucky from Child's Play!:twisted:

04 April 2006, 08:51 PM
Nice work on her face if you ask me. What strikes me as a nasty misstake though is her pose, her lifted hand is on the same side as her lifted leg. Human beings generally can't/don't walk this way to balance their weight and rpeserve kinetic energy (oooh big words), try it perhaps, you'll find it is pretty annoying. Interesting topic. Like where this is going.

04 April 2006, 08:59 PM
Thanks! I imagined her half-asleep, stumbling over something, hence the weird pose. Might just turn out to be a cop-out, though:).

04 April 2006, 10:04 PM
Then maybe some tweaking is only needed, thing is you personally might understand why or what because you imagine it, but without slight or extreme exaggeration some paintings are hard to read. Since there's no inherent motion to read from so to say, blah blah. I'm sure you'll figure it out :). I didn't see a rock, anyway :p.

04 April 2006, 11:00 PM
I couldn't resist The Painting...The was calling me...ok, I sound like a madwoman, I'll stop it. Much happier with this comp and face. Ain't she sweet?:) Also, almost no blending! My painting is improving a little after all.

(After seeing post: ok, head's too big and not blended in very well...that'll teach me not too post in a rush of excitement:argh:)

04 April 2006, 02:43 PM
Another update on the face. I tried to think more about the lighting (hardly any from the front) and the style I want. I'm learning a lot doing this. I might just go on till I have the right face, then go on.

04 April 2006, 03:01 PM
Looks very good!

04 April 2006, 09:04 AM
I'd say block out the lighting on the whole body before going into too much detail on the face. Otherwise you may have mismatched details. It also saves you some time and a headache later by establishing your lighting on the whole, so that you can make sure the head fits in with it. This way, if something ends up being off on the head, you won't have to redo all that detailing, or try to fudge the image to make it look right.

Also, be very aware of how and where the hair attaches to the head. That girl has way too much forehead and also lacks sideburns, or ears for the matter.

04 April 2006, 02:57 AM
interesting. i certainly like the liv tyler sketch. :applause:

i'd like to see you finish that painting based on the poem. i think it will be nice. what do you plan on putting on the background? right now it looks kinda empty but the girl is so detailed.

04 April 2006, 10:18 AM
Hello guys, thanks for all the feedback!

I've decided to abandon this thread for a while to work more with pencil and paper. I don't have a scanner, but will probably look one up in a week or so.

All this practice lead me a little off-track, I felt. I know this sounds bad, and everyone should start at the basics and all that, but what I really want to do, apart from gesture and value studies, is learn how to develop characters and stories (and eventually model and animate them). So next to the basics, I should search for my own style and what stories I want to tell.
Right now I'm making loads of studies of the girl. When I'm happy with her I will show her off here:). In the meantime, my practice studies will be in the Beginners Lounge.

See ya in a week or so...

04 April 2006, 01:45 PM
Be sure to look for some good resources so you know what to work towards. All the chatter on the internet can be pretty misleading... :) Good luck.

04 April 2006, 01:52 PM
Hmmm...I couldn't really stay away for long in the end. For the moment I've decided, next to my regular drawing practice, to search for a 'mood' or a 'style' with line sketches. They seem to be what I'm most comfortable with now. I'll bother with paint, light and composition later.

The girl is still fascinating me. Here's a quick study:

and also a Rembrandt line study that I like to share with you guys:

04 April 2006, 02:20 PM
Here's a sort of monster from her world (it's the friendly kind):

04 April 2006, 04:29 PM
The girl is lovely, very emotive. That's really one of your strong points if you ask me! :thumbsup:

in the end shading is only a good understanding of form, which you only have to train (once you get around to that). This is dah stuff! You're on a good track!!! :D

04 April 2006, 03:24 PM
Totally getting into linestudies. It's seems to be a technique that's really speaking to me right now! I'll add a few of my own later, this is just a ref practice study:

04 April 2006, 12:35 AM
Maladie!! I'm so ashamed I haven't been by here yet. I love the title =D

My first impression so far is that I LOVE the little monster guy from the girl's world. He is SO cute... he reminds me of the little mouse character in Spirited Away. I have a little plush of that guy up on my rear-view mirror in my car :)

I think you have improved a LOT since just the start of this thread, and of course I see your work in the beginner's thread as well.

The line work above is really good, and the form is really defined a lot better. Can't wait to see more now that I've found this thread! :)

04 April 2006, 12:54 AM
Thanks, LM, it's great to see you here!:beer:

I've worked on a comp for the girl and the monster tonight. I really love the atmosphere of this world somehow. Stylewise, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it. Either keep it really loose and work with colours, or keep it crisp and work with stark black and whites, like a comic.
If anybody feels like voting, polls are open:).

04 April 2006, 08:13 AM
I really like that last one- I think a comic style would go well with the rather harsh, emotional feeling of that painting.

Just a teensy tip- use a thinner, harder pencil for drawing the outlines (for now) and a reduced opacity soft one for shading... you'll find it easier to maintain a consistent shading tone.

So far you're really good at producing emotion and that is a MAJOR thing that artists need- I need to work on that myself! It's what makes paintings interesting to look at. You have a lot of potential, now keep plug plug plug plugging away! (like the rest of us all, eh? :D )

04 April 2006, 01:20 PM
^^ I like that shot Maladie, I hope you work on it more, would love to see it colored and shaded, etc.

I think paper made a good point... my art teacher told me yesterday that she'd rather have a student with good concepts who didn't know how to draw than one who could draw but had trouble with ideas -- because you can teach drawing, like riding a bike. It gave me such great hope for myself LOL!

We just need to keep banging away! hehe

05 May 2006, 08:27 PM
I haven't been here for a while and I'm a little ashamed. It's hard to admit, but developing a whole piece is just beyond me at this point. I come across detail after detail that I can't get to look right, I just don't have the skills yet to make the images like they're in my head.

I'm guessing - and I really tried until I was almost crying... - that my progress is better with short-spanned 'snapshots' where I work on one thing at a time. Like: how does the facial anatomy look when lit from one side? Or: how do I make a haughty face look haughty? Pieces are just one bridge too far for me - I hate to admit it:).

Positive things of the previous try with girl and monster:

- comp is more interesting than my first attempts;

- emotion comes across;

- characters have a unique feel to them.

As for the things that went 'blerk', check this out:

Discovering I can't do a comic-style shaded face:

Discovering I can't get a crayon-effect in Photoshop:

05 May 2006, 08:45 PM
It seems the crayon effect is doing ok, I'm no good with those things though, perhaps it's in the building up with layers to achieve the effect? :)

I believe, in comics generally, only the very darkest shadows get some outlins to sharpen them, and a general form shadow line I've also seen.

You're really creative, it's fun watching these experimentations develop.

05 May 2006, 09:13 PM
I just don't have the skills yet to make the images like they're in my head.

I'm so with ya on this one. I feel the same way! You do have a really good eye though! Luckily drawing is just about practice :) It's the creativity that can't be taught.

05 May 2006, 09:34 PM
awww, guys...thanks for the kind words!! What I like most about this forum is everybody seems to encourage eachother, and I really needed that after my little breakdown:).

I'm much happier already, because I tried a haughty face and oh yes! it's haughty. Look!

and a close-up:

I did this without a ref. She turned out some sort of Egyptian queen which I like a lot. As you can probably see her body anatomy is off and looks way too stif, I'm going to need good ref for that. Also the face looks alien and needs tweaking.

I will take heed of my previous mistake and keep this a snappy (by which self-made English word I mean 'a quick sketchy attempt to catch or practice something specific'). However I would like to practice on the haughty pose:).

Last but not least I attempted some sort of speed-paint. I saw this a couple of days before, cycling home from a satisfactory evening. I was in a happy mood and nature did it's best to make me even happier. I thought the colours of the tree, the sky and the light contrasted so beautifully I wanted to paint it.

05 May 2006, 09:41 PM

I need to stop coming to your thread: your creative outburst along with the incredible progress you are making is intimidating me...


05 May 2006, 09:43 PM
Can I coax you back with a cookie?

05 May 2006, 12:51 AM
i'd say you should continue that piece. it might not turn out as well as you want it to but you'll learn a lot. keep the finished piece and when you've gathered enough knowledge and experience do a rendition. :thumbsup:

05 May 2006, 11:48 AM
Okay, I couldn't resist and worked on it further. I still have no ref! Help! Particularly in the hands it shows, and the pose is also a little stiff even if I tried to resolve that. Overall I'm happy with the atmosphere, though.

THE STORY SO FAR (really profound): the haughty queen is pissed off because her shoulder strap has slid down. She is, however, too lazy to pick it up and at the same time she knows nobody will dare to laugh at her. You wanna get killed for lookin' at me, boy? Not so funny now, huh?:)

PS. I should add that I'm the worst at looking up ref on the internet. A friend could pose for me but I'm still too shy to ask...

05 May 2006, 11:58 AM
I think the head seems a bit big in comparison to the body.

05 May 2006, 07:02 PM
Your last piece shows a lot of improvement! My way of learning is to just forge ahead, do as many pictures as you can and do practice pieces too, where you practice just working in greyscale or proportions or anything else you need to practice on. I heard someone say once that everyone has 10,000 'bad' pieces inside them (I'm still in the first 2,000) , so....get them out of the way!

I think your queen needs some work with the proportions, but you're improving splendidly! Here's a ref picture or two for that pose:

05 May 2006, 08:06 PM
I heard someone say once that everyone has 10,000 'bad' pieces inside them (I'm still in the first 2,000) , so....get them out of the way!

I never heard that before, but you just explained a lot of things to me! :D

05 May 2006, 08:35 PM
Yeah, that's a very good one, Clippie!

I had so much fun today. I ended up using myself as a ref and doublechecking with the ref Paperclip and Tizianoadmirer so kindly looked up for me (thank you!!). There was only a small mirror in the house so I had to sit on the opposite side of the room and try to pose haughtily while sketching with one hand:). One of those times when you go: 'if someone walked in on this, now what would they think?'.

Anyway I got much more insight in the pose now. It's turned out a little more sensual, which is fine by me, and it also looks more like she's actually got some weight to support. The only difficult thing was turning a quite big, busty girl (me) into a more slender type of posture. But that was fun as well. I even tried to shade her a little bit.

For help: anybody visiting must have noticed how lousy I am at comping. It's just hard for me to see complete scenes in my head; I see moods, light, expressions. Just snap shots really. So: does anybody have an idea to make the comp more interesting? I like the fluent lines but somehow it lacks drama. I'd be glad to hear your thoughts on it!:)

05 May 2006, 08:48 PM
Actually, I like the layout you have done up now, with the swag and pillows - it fits just right imo. The girl is out of proportion though :( Don't hate me for saying it! *cringe* But I figure you can handle it.. Besides, it wouldn't be helping you much for me to be a yes man all the time, now would it?

Sorry, it's just harder to crit for real on the Internet, so many tender feelings and you can't hear my tone of voice and stuff.

So, anyway, about the girl - I like the new pose, but I almost like the old pose better -- at least if you wanted Haughty. But if you 're going for more sensual this works too. Her torso is too short though and her right upper arm (left to us looking at it) is a bit too skinny.

You know about the 8 heads thing, right? Its generally how you can always get the right proportions for a body. Draw the head, and then add 7-8 of them measured down to get the proper length body for the head size.

From Wikipedia:

For those working without visual reference (or as a means of checking one's work) proportions commonly recommended in figure drawing are:

An average person, is generally 7-and-a-half heads tall (including the head).
An ideal figure, used for an impression of nobility or grace, is drawn at 8 heads tall.
An heroic figure, used in the heroic for the depiction of gods and superheroes, is eight-and-a-half heads tall. Most of the additional length comes from a bigger chest and longer legs.
Note that these proportions are most useful for a standing model. Poses which introduce foreshortening ( of various body parts will cause them to differ.

Ok, so, she's sitting so out goes the 8 heads thing... but you know, a really easy way of fixing proportion errors in photoshop is using the Lasso Tool. Put feather on around 10px, then lasso around what you want to move carefully - then just drag it to where you want it to end up.

05 May 2006, 09:06 PM
Totally cool, thanks for the feedback! I think you are right, I was already tweaking away with the lasso tool. The 8 heads thing I knew nothing about though, I'm going to try.

I know she's less haughty now, that's true. I like this one, but I could also try to find a correct haughty pose. Maybe I should. After all this is an exercise - I shouldn't get lazy.

05 May 2006, 10:56 PM
delete post

05 May 2006, 09:27 AM
Hi Maladie,

great to see this, I think you improve very fast. I know what you mean, there is an idea about a pic but only rough and incomplete fragments. When I start to sketch my ideas, I struggle with those details, because it is hard to fill the areas I never imagined complete.

Fate of a newbie like me, lol. I think to be inspired by old masters is a good idea.

Composing... hmm or to bring life to this piece. I would think about what this lady is doing there, how does she feel, sad or angry. Perhaps she is tired or wakened up even. Or she lost her love and wants to take some poison?

Not to think about how it looks, but what it is doing with the spectator. You can express everything on that moment you know what it should show. This is theory, I am not good in composing or bring my ideas to life. :D

Luxurious, I imagine dark red velvet and gold tones, very rich materials like silk or china.

Composition, perhaps this helps:


05 May 2006, 12:32 PM
Oooohh Mal, big improvement!!! She looks so much more natural now, good job - like the coloring so far too, can't wait to see more :)

05 May 2006, 01:40 PM
If you have a clear idea of lighting and mood, it could be a good idea to work on really small resolutions and sketch out colours and values to see if the composition will be balanced, you can go by feel more easily then.

I always try imagining a good composition, but I imagine alll the detailing too then. Pretty difficult subject. Good progress! :thumbsup:

05 May 2006, 05:57 PM
hey maladie - why not check out some of craig mullin's ( they are a great great help with colours and lighting - the guy is a genius. I found a relevant piece - I really think the mood and palette of this painting are perfect for evoking opulence. Hope this helps, good luck with the continuation.

PS sorry it's so large. I can remove it if you like, just say so...only I can't hotlink directly to the image unfortuately..


05 May 2006, 07:48 PM
Audit has a great point, try zooming outon that picture. There's still a given vibrancy in it.

05 May 2006, 08:20 PM
Hey, wow! that is certainly helpful, thanks audit! For tonight it will first be a grayscale I'll be working on though...hehe, JM, I think your avatar is going to be a great help with that:).

05 May 2006, 12:36 AM
delete post

05 May 2006, 12:44 AM
Oh, that's really cool! Looks very good, how flattering. :D I was just thinking lol, what are you doing out of bed eh? *stern gaze*

I really love her facial features, but there are a lot of anatomical issue I see. I fyou want I can sum them up 'logically'. :) Because I could say this and that, but people tend to run of like myself. SO I'd rather take the time.

05 May 2006, 01:09 AM
Yes, please do, I need some help there, particularly the stomach area where I'm just sort of vaguely plodding away:).

05 May 2006, 10:23 PM
Can anybody give me some crits or comments? Or is it so bad that it simply stuns people out of words?

I am one insecure :arteest:with feelings of :sad: about this pic because the anatomy issue has been :banghead: and I feel too :blush: to pose with no clothes on:).

05 May 2006, 12:18 AM
Maladie!! *hugs* You don't have to model yourself, there are literally thousands of models that are in stock photos in thousands of poses just waiting for you to paint them!

You can try Google Images (

But you might get some sketchy content there -- or

Deviant Art (

Just do a search up in the top right hand corner with 'haughty pose woman' and I bet you'll find something ;) They have nudes, too. And lots of them are quite tasteful and beautiful - perfect for a reference.

Or you can always try one of the free Stock Photo places. One I like is Alamy ( - they are pay for the large res, but the small ones are right-click free! :)

05 May 2006, 08:59 AM
I'm doin' it I'm doin' it... It's not that bad at all.

Looking back I'd lengthen her torso to start of with and then bring her hips a little further away from her shoulders. And her forehead seems a little short. It might help to sketch out the rudimentary shapes first and then work back from that, it simplifies things a bit.

sort of like this:

05 May 2006, 09:41 AM
Believe it or not I got some reference on this pose. ENough to see the wrinkle placement and proportions, I can't post these here though. If you want them you can PM me. :)

05 May 2006, 09:50 PM
delete post

05 May 2006, 10:53 PM
Well it's a good job! Glad someone agrees with me :). Cool thing, I stepped back from the screen to get tea, and at a glance it looks like a sculpture of sorts. A painter once told me to use that, or squint, or turn the image upside down to 'reset' the brain. :thumbsup:

Good going.

05 May 2006, 11:21 PM
Great improvements so far :)

I just wanted to say that the arm that's straight and supporting her looks like it could do with a bit of positioning adjustment... eg move the hand to the right a bit more so the arm is on and angle (makes an A shape with the side of the body) to support the body in that pose. If you try to pose like that it kinda really hurts the shoulder and is very uncomfortable.

Have fun with the draps :)

05 May 2006, 11:29 PM
nice work maladie...glad you're still working on this. one thing I would love to see is a bit more variation of hue in the skin tone. I understand you're using the Kimmel Technique(TM) and colourising but really there are a lot of unexpected colours in the skin which would give a lot more vibrancy to the figure. At the moment the hue is very uniform, and in general feels a bit 'overexposed' - like a photo. Try limiting the brightest highlights to just one area (the area most directly in line with the light source). This will help the flow of the work and improve the 'believablilty' of the composition. Check out the Mullins I posted a while back to see how this distribution of high-contrast areas works.

(Also if possible give her a bit more forehead and some longer legs!! :D)
And, as frostblade said, have fun with the drapes :)

05 May 2006, 11:56 PM
audit might be right (on everything you said:)) because up to now, I only applied one layer of colour just to make it a bit more lively than the grey. I used the 'color' mode in PS with a low opacity. I will now start to paint over this with more varied skintones. Maybe I'll use Klimt for inspiration (next to the wonderful image you've sent me!).

Longer legs...hmmm. They're bent backwards, which makes them look short 'cause I didn't do the best possible job there. Will ponder on this in new dream (hope it won't be a nightmare:)).

Thanks for the encouragement guys!!

05 May 2006, 01:37 PM
I didn't have time to work on my queen today, but I made this little sketch. It's funny how my creativity works; I don't see images in my head like other people. I just have an urge to draw and when I do it, I start to feel a mood that I try to follow. And then when a couple of lines are there already, suddenly I 'see' where it's going.

Previously I've been worried that this means I don't have a lot of imagination, but I've decided to go with my own flow now.:)

I think this came about because I've recently read quite a bit about the suffragettes. I imagine this woman to be a poorly dock-worker, staring out enviously over the ocean, at men doing the work she is not allowed to do. Essentially it's a woman who can't join in, I guess. Or something:). Oh, and she's on a break ofcourse, with the smoke.
I like these quick character sketches and might start a separate thread for them. Do you guys think I should? I mean they're not exactly WIPs as I'm trying to improve by doing a lot, not working them all out.

05 May 2006, 04:02 PM
Wow Maladie - that is an amazing start...the backstory is incredible!

Have you seen the HBO film Iron Jawed Angels? It's a true story of American Suffragettes in the 1910's -- it blew me away what those amazing, inspirational women did for the rest of us in this country. Wonderful film.

I REALLY love this concept - and of course you have an imagination!!! By virtue of even /wanting/ to draw and paint that proves it :)

In regards to the image, I think her torso is just a smidge too short, unless she is slouching? Her right hand (the left to us) is a little too long in the wrist and her left eye (right to us) needs to be wrapped around her head more -- those are the only things that pop right out to me. This is really a solid good start, I'm excited for the rest :)

05 May 2006, 03:37 PM
delete post

05 May 2006, 03:49 PM
Well I gave it a go yesterday(the discussed method), but I'm not sure I understand the mthod fully yet. So I'm waiting a bit with the explanations, unless you want to hear the abstracts for the heck of it.

Looking good.

05 May 2006, 05:56 PM
But it seems a bit strange to paint all over it with colours

Maybe these are the abstracts jmBoekestein was talking about, but here goes...

i don't know a lot about colour theory. it's a complex topic, has to do with physics...i'm still learning, but i do know that first of all you have to realise the term 'colour' is in fact a combination of three things: value, hue and saturation. Your greyscale study provides information about values as it has neither hue nor saturation - value is most important in determining the form and solidity of shapes. Hue and saturation are next; hue is the attribute which enables us to distinguish colours from one another ('red' from 'blue'), saturation is the amount of pure chromatic colour present. Hence you can change the hue (red to blue) without changing the value or saturation i.e. you can add more hues/'colours' without negating the greyscale values.

That was probably wrong somehow, but you get my drift :D There are many tutorials and books about this. This ( for example. It is excellent for understanding colour fully.

05 May 2006, 09:07 PM
Hey Maladie,

I can't remember if I posted the following links already, but better once too often than not at all...

This is Steven Stahlbergs tutorial ( in which he explains the reason for doing grayscale first and how to color it properly...

audit gave an excellent explanation by the way!

this links to a thread with exercises for character sketch composition ( with priceless hints on how to achieve a proper sense of depth in the whole painting! Make sure to read it all...

keep up your inquiring, sketching, wondering, and the insane amount of work you put into this.


05 May 2006, 01:41 PM
delete post

05 May 2006, 01:49 PM
Gray :)... Well practically the technique involves using dark area's to darken the colour layer below. Then you can go all out on the colours becuase the form won't be lost as easily. you try and select a range of values and set the layer transparancy acordingly.

But I can't get it to work in every situation yet. :hmm:

05 May 2006, 01:18 PM
Uh oh...all the images have disappeared and I have no idea why. Is it because of the nudity? The folks from Photobucket took the link away or something?


05 May 2006, 01:37 PM
Yeah, somewhere in the terms it mentions "no nudity".

05 May 2006, 01:54 PM
Okay, now I'm pissed off. After weeks of toleration overnight the Photobucket people have turned fervently rigid and have removed all the nudity images. Leaving this thread messy like a torn sheet.

Oh well. When I post my next update the Egyptian queen will sport a modest bikini and will carry I sign stating 'I'm naked for aesthetic, not pornographic purposes'.

I know I'm being unreasonable, just pissed off, sorry:).

05 May 2006, 02:07 PM
Sucks... I better start looking for a host again, before they zap mine as well. :o

05 May 2006, 06:40 PM
removed all the nudity images

Hi there, Maladie

That's a big blow for you and others. I just checked my photobucket account and the same thing has happened to me. I'm about to check my anatomy thread, which must be full of holes, too.

(On a much brighter note, your sketching/painting is making a lot of progress!)

Even some of my clothed images have gone from photobucket! I can't see what's missing on my pages here at CG as they must still be showing up from a cache or something.

05 May 2006, 08:59 PM
Hello everybody!

I'm a little bit put off the queen, now. I have found a place to host the image, but an additional problem is I still find it hard to work with color on grayscale. Also I really don't like to put all the images back up and sort out the mess.

I've decided to leave the image for the time being. I will get back to it and get the colours and the rest done. Here's a tribute:):

Today I was inspired by hiiri who paints beautiful faces without ref. So I thought let's try that, just for fun. Hihi. I'm almost too embarrased to post it, but then again this is a practice thread:). Plus, I never did any eye tutorials or skintone work or something. I might want to after this disaster:scream:.

05 May 2006, 11:16 AM
I never did any eye tutorials or skintone work or something. I might want to after this disaster:scream:.

Disaster? Are you kidding? I see no major issues with this head, it's perfectly reasonable. Besides, it's unfinished. Just a little more contrast and some sharper details, some definition at the base of the neck, then you can call it whatever you want.:)
It's a huge improvement over the queen picture. Surely you can see that.

05 May 2006, 11:40 AM
I have to admit it looks better now than it did last night. I worked with soft brush in PS and I really have to get used to that look I guess. I wonder what brushes hiiri works with to get those broad strokes. If I try with a big hard round brush and low opacity, I end up with a mess.

Plus I still think the eyes look very 'comical', not real at all. I think I'm going to use this a base to do an eye tutorial and a hair tutorial on:).

PS. And the colors are, I still can't see it's better than the queen (her color is weird too, but that's just a placeholder over the gray).


05 May 2006, 12:27 PM
I read where you said earlier that Photobucket removed all of your nude pictures. Well I have a solution for that. A lot of email addresses hosted by a company that allows you to use you email address as a URL. My email is and I have a small website I host my images through using my email. The URL is

I don't know what kind of email address you have, but it's a thought! :D

05 May 2006, 12:29 PM
Is this the "monster" you referred to in my thread? BAH! I think this could turn out to be a beautiful image. Really, I'm just going to repeat what pap87 said and say it just needs a little more contrast and details(darker in the corners of the mouth and nostrils, under the eyelids , the pit between her collarbones etc)

I like how the Egyptian queen is turning out, especially the attention you have given to the background. The drapery looks lovely!

Something I try to do is try and imagine the blobs of paint I put initially as a lump of clay. I try and sculpt the face out of it. I think it generally helps to try and visualise your image as a 3d image and place your darks and lights accordingly( if I want a depression in the clay, like the the eye socket for example, I'd put some dark tones there. Then I'd put lighter tones for those parts I want to project out)

The brush I use mainly (and almost all the time) is a Photoshop default brush. If you see the list, it starts with the hard round, then goes to the soft and then after the largest soft round brush (no 300 I think) it goes to brushes that are the hard round brush (I think) with the opacity set to pressure.I just use those, I must start using more texture brushes :D If you don't find it let me know and I'll upload it for you :)
edit :Here ( you go.

One more thing to remember is that the background always gets reflected in the face, mainly in the darker tones. So if you're stumped about the colour to use in the shade, just colour pick it from the bg and paint with low opacity, gradually building it up till it looks ok ;)

edit: I just looked back at your WIP thread. You've come such a long long way since ..March! Your progress is really phenomenal. Keep drawing and you will get much better! I've had 4 years of life drawing/painting and I'm still stuck here :P

05 May 2006, 05:17 AM
I wouldn't call that face a disaster maladie. I think it's going ok. I'd agree with hirii and pap there regarding the contrast as well. I kinda suffer from the same problem myself but mainly because i'm a smudgeahollic. lolz

In addition the eyes look crazed because there's no shadow in the upper portion of the eye. the lids there should partially cover the iris and the lashes would cast shadows there. That would make it look better. The pupil you did is a little too dark in contrast to the main iris. Try to bring those two closer together.

All in all you have good contruction of the face there and your understanding of the planes of the face is pretty good. The proper skill in coloring will come in time and with practice.

I'd also advice something I just learned recently(though people here probably do it all the time. lolz. if you already do this please ignore this advice. :D ). Flip your work every few minutes to get a fresh look. It just magically reveals the flaws with shape and form! lolz

05 May 2006, 08:10 AM
Maladie, Malada,...

Support all of my pre-posters (lol) and would like to add:

The one thing I would have you change is the overall values. They are to light, so you "run out of value range" (kimmel.exe).

I know this was probably supposed to be a lightskinned beauty. Well, the beauty part worked out, but you have to juxtapose the light values to dark values to make the light pop out and hit the viewer over the head.

Just go over it with a reeeeal soft edged brush and darken things down a bit and watch how your lights start to shine against the darker tones.

Otherwise great work, I like the nose and the lips especially!


05 May 2006, 02:15 PM
Wow people, thanks for the support!! You convinced me to go on with my 'monster':). The brush setting hiiri suggested really worked out (after I finally found it)! It's like a magic stick, so easy to blend. Here's my progress. I tried to incorporate all your suggestions, but it doesn't look very good yet. I will go on though. Eyes are better but will try hair tutorial.

Let me know your suggestions for farther improvement!:)

05 May 2006, 06:16 PM
Playing some more with my new toy (opacity = pressure setting):).

This is called 'sad waiter'...aawwww:).

I would like to have some expert eyes judge where my areas for improvement lie, I'm just too excited with this setting right now!:scream:

05 May 2006, 06:28 PM
Hi Rinske.

WOw, the woman now has really much more balanced values. The blending works good there, too.

I would say: increase the contrast still a little more. Darker where the dark areas are, lighter in the core of the light areas. Also, you could add a tuber (I think that's waht it is called, it is the little protruding part in the middle of the upper lip), along with a cast shadow on the other side of the lips.
Also, the chest area needs the same treatment.

So, in case you wonder: yes, I suggest you continue work on the female portrait.

You know, it is a good feeling to actually finish a portrait. Will give you a stronger sense of the amount of work you can put into a painting, too.

05 May 2006, 10:04 PM
Thanks Mu! I kind of hate the woman now though...feel like I've started out on the wrong foot with her...but oh well, maybe I SHOULD finish something for once in my life:).

Here's a last ugly doodle before I go to sleep. Any comments on the waiter?

05 May 2006, 07:48 AM
on the waiter:

try to correct the way the eyes tilt. right now it's tilting upwards which i think kind of creates happy eyes. the lips are good but i think there's too much dark shadow in the middle which makes the mouth appear open a bit(was this the intention though?).

i have to say that your improvement is very much obvious with the waiter though. i like the way you did his skin tones. mine tend to suck... :D

05 May 2006, 07:50 AM
Writing this from work, so not that detailed, but here goes:

- the ears are little bit too high. Their upper edges should be line up with the eyes

- he has got strong facial planes which is a good thing

- the hair is too much of a helmet. Read Linda's tutorial on painting hair. Even if you follow only the first four steps or so you will end up with a nice rendition of hair. You need not follow it through til the end to get a good base for a hairdo. I did on my last portrait though and it was very rewarding (in fact, the hair ended up being the part I was most happy with)

- facial expression is overall too neutral. Add a little twist in the corner of his mouth to make him express something.

- the eyebrow arc on his left eye is a bit too thick, I think.

- Add the protruding part in the center of the upper lip. Don't forget it casts shadows on the lower lip as well as on the far side of the upper lip.

- the most important problem is: too narrow value range (see previous portrait which you should finish) which makes the portrait flat. Add real dark values and real light lights. Also you will see that as soon you are going to increase the contrast manually (cause that's what you will be doing then) the values which are in there start to work much better.

Let me say it once again: I do like the female portrait. Take it at least one step further...:)

05 May 2006, 10:12 PM
Thanks, Mu!

This is a part of a Sorolla copy for OFDW017. I tried to copy his bold style:). I never seem to get farther in the OFDW's than a couple of sketches like this, but it's good practice!

05 May 2006, 02:05 PM
That last pic looks very nice!
I agree with the comments about the eyes on the waiter, but you could also argue that it's your personal style for drawing eyes. I tend to draw them drooping the opposite way to yours, mainly because that's how my eyes are. The mouth and the surrounding area feels strange because of the way the expression lines are running, the top lip looks too long compared to the bottom one. But again you could argue this how you want it to look, in which case it's fine. The only thing left to do is to put more contrast to get depth.
The woman at the river (actually i first thought it was a man!) has good proportions, only the neck is a bit long.

Definitely though that Sorolla copy has opened up your shading skills greatly!

Keep up the good work!

06 June 2006, 03:07 AM
good job on the master copy maladie. you're progressing steadily. keep it up. ;)

btw... i'm curious about your name... what does "Rinske" mean in your country?

my name is irish in origin. i once read it means "little king" which was nice when i was younger. but now that i'm 27 it's not so nice. lolz.

06 June 2006, 10:46 PM
Thanks, Salubri!

Finally I've come back to this thread. I've spread myself a little thin lately, but now I've gone back to the good old ref practicing:).

This took a little under an hour. Just practicing facial planes. I think she's sweet (at least, the ref was:)). I'll also try for more convincing hair. And don't mind the body, I hardly touched upon it.

06 June 2006, 01:12 AM
that's a really good one maladie. you're showing lots of improvement. keep it up. ;)

06 June 2006, 07:44 PM
I made this with help of a great tutorial by audit:) Only about 20 min work and I blocked out the whole flamenco dancer on account of it looking better like a silhouet...

Salubri3i, thank again; my name by the ways comes from 'Regina' which means queen. And Maladie means sickness in french. I know:). My boyfriend nicknamed me 'Ravage Maladie'. It's a sort of migraine-girlish alter ego:)

06 June 2006, 08:03 PM
Oooooh Maladie I LIKE! Very nice! Love the red outline/halo

06 June 2006, 10:44 PM
Another 'auditesk' experiment. I know the colors are over the top. I just tried to be as bold as I could:). I like trying out all this different stuff, I feel I'm learning a lot from everything I do, in different ways.

06 June 2006, 10:51 PM
woo, cool stuff maladie! it's psychedelic :D i feel the green is a bit dominant, clashing with the orange somewhat. i would go with the reds and blues and perhaps a sharp green accent. great texture though.

'auditesk' the patent's pending...!

06 June 2006, 10:54 PM
You're right, I feel back in the eighties when I look at it:)

06 June 2006, 12:06 AM
Look who's back! I figured it was time to come back to one of my practice pieces like I promised, and process the crits and comments I got. So I tried to give her more contrast and better colouring. Also I flipped it and made her posture more dynamic. I didn't use a ref for it. It's kinda nice to see how far you can get without a ref:)

I'd love to hear how I could push this farther (apart from refining it ofcourse). Like, point my obvious mistakes out:).

06 June 2006, 01:29 PM
Hi Maladie! Cool new sketches-very bold, very nice :)

About the face, I'll just share a quick tip that I can't remember where I picked up from ( a lecture in class or one of the books anyway). The face can roughly be divided into 3 horizontal colour areas. The forehead leans towards yellow, the area from the lip to the chin is blue/green and the area in between (nose/cheeks etc) is reddish. While this may not always apply depending on your light sources and such, it's generally a nice base to follow. I think right now the face is just looking a little monochromatic.The hair is also looking a little flat, some more darks in the shadow area maybe. Working from imagination is great practice though, it helps to look harder at references when you do use them. You're doing great work :)

06 June 2006, 02:03 PM
Maladie wow, what a great job so far:)

The only thing I'm noticing is that her nose and lips I think need to point to the left (her left) a little more, right now they look like they are pointing at us instead of where she is looking.

Thanks for the color tips, Hiiri =D

06 June 2006, 11:12 PM
Thanks as always friends:).

The tips were immensely useful. I'm actually a little satisfied with this one. It's not perfect, but I can see my own improvement in regard to the last version. Still no ref, though she starts to look a bit like J.Lo...which wouldn't be a bad thing to most women but I want to make my own creation:).
I finished reading 'Eva Luna' by Isabel Allende for about the tenth time yesterday, and I would like to make this a representation of Eva's mother Consuelo. She'll need redder hair for that though.

06 June 2006, 11:29 PM
Itīs coming along nicely!
I think that woman gonna be lovely!
keep it up:D

06 June 2006, 11:52 PM
Maladie!! Lovely!! Keep plugging away w/the blending -- you fixed the nose/lips to perfection :) Nice job!

06 June 2006, 07:26 PM
Hey very nice portrait, interesting shapes, not the usual. :D Nice one! KEep it up.

06 June 2006, 01:24 AM
good job on the latest one maladie. you've improved a lot. :bounce:

maybe check the side and tip of her nose (her left our right) the shape looks a bit weird to me.

06 June 2006, 03:58 PM
Thanks salubri!

I can't work further now, because I'm at my parents. The advantage is I get to draw them and scan:). This is my mom. She can never believe how old I make her look (but the truth is I omit wrinkles instead of adding them)...

06 June 2006, 11:57 PM
Totally different portrait today. I really need to get a grip on the hard round brush. My work keeps looking I can't do hair, that's why I made it purple in an act of total irony:). Promise to do hair tutorial soon and stop hurting your eyes.

CGTalk Moderation
06 June 2006, 11:57 PM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.