View Full Version : WIP thread for LabyrinthineMind, or LM for short :)

04 April 2006, 02:57 PM
Ok - well, I figured I'd dive right in since I wanted to start work on a more solid piece. I've done a few already, this isn't technically my first, but it's my first doing a real WIP here without any deadlines or school assignments. I wanted to show my process from the very beginning on pieces I work on, so perhaps I can be shown my flaws even easier.

I just really really want to get better.

So here is the story behind the first piece I am beginning today in Photoshop.

I was driving my kids home from school one day, and it was a beautiful spring day so they rolled down the windows. I looked back once and saw my daughter staring out the window, her head resting on her arms, her hair back in a ponytail but all the loose strands caught in the wind. It looked amazing. So I kind of mentally captured the image -- then I had the idea to make a painting of it, but instead of a generic background she was looking out to, she'd be looking out into a fairy-tale land of imagination. I /really/ dig this idea. (Don't steal it! :P)

So, I decided that it might be a good idea to take pics of her in the pose, and I took a ton. But her being in the backseat (where she was when I 'saw' her initially) wasn't working composition-wise. So I moved her up front and snapped a few pics in my driveway.

I want some feedback on which composition I should use - and most importantly, why - since I am just learning about all of this, it would be a great help :)

Shot 1:

Shot 2:

Shot 3:

So, that is my work on it today. I will be painting from this, not photomanipulating or overlaying even. I just wanted a basic understanding of which composition is better. Right now, I think 3 is my favorite.

Any help/ideas?

04 April 2006, 03:16 PM
I'm thinking Shot 1, since it encompasses the idea of the "real world" and the fantasy landscape you want outside. Sort of a balance. It may be too much car though. The girl pose is perfect.

04 April 2006, 04:01 PM
I'm thinking Shot 1, since it encompasses the idea of the "real world" and the fantasy landscape you want outside. Sort of a balance. It may be too much car though. The girl pose is perfect.

Yeah, I get what you mean - and it makes sense. #1 was my second favorite hehe but I had the same notion, maybe too much car.

What about this?

Reference 4:

Took a vertical idea as opposed to #3 being horizontal. Any difference?

04 April 2006, 04:17 PM
Hiya LM,

Thanks for the link to your thread. :)

Your concept reminds me a bit of Andrew Wyeth's famous painting, Christina's World:

in it's sort of wistfulness.

Looking forward to seeing your progress! I am sort of partial to your first photo in terms of the composition.

Perhaps you could substitute a fence for the car ~ car interiors are pretty boring I think when might try taking some fence or other reference that might be more interesting to paint. :)

Cheers, :)


04 April 2006, 05:36 PM
I like the first and fourth shot the most. The more girl, the better. I like when she is brought up higher in the composition.

04 April 2006, 06:46 PM
Wow - I've heard of Andrew Wyeth - that painting is just beautiful! Thanks for showing it to me - I too want to achieve a sort of wistfulness.

For now, until I can wrap my head around the idea of throwing the car away entirely (don'tcha love digital art - I could probably rework this a hundred times to suit my fancy)

I want to keep the car in, to sort of illustrate the totally different realities - and to keep the foreground (save the girl) nice and nondescript, because it's what she's imagining that is important to the piece. Does that make sense?


Already this has made me think so much more about this before I ever even have laid paint to canvas (so to speak).

Thanks so much everyone!

04 April 2006, 06:52 PM
Heh, I'm going to see the Wyeth exhibit in Philadelphia soon ~ can't wait! He's actually alive, and a great interview can be seen here. (

Cheers, :)


04 April 2006, 09:08 PM
Ok, so how about this one? I incorporated more of the girl and car, but lobbed off the top and right side...

04 April 2006, 10:31 PM
Well, the beauty of working digitally is that you can make changes ad infinitum to your composition. ;) I say just go for it!

Cheers, :)


04 April 2006, 03:30 PM
Ok, this is only about 30 minutes work, both images. I am a little out of my league (of course!) with trying to do values first, but I thought I would just try it out and see how I could begin.

I don't know exactly what she is 'looking at' yet - so I left that blank. I am taking this one slow - as opposed to almost everything else I've done which was a one-sitting kind of thing. Slow and easy -- and hopefully with lots of help :D

Basic Sketch here:

An attempt at a value study: (I have NO IDEA how to do one, I winged it :) )

04 April 2006, 05:44 AM
i like the concept you have going here. i'm already excited to see you finish. :thumbsup:

04 April 2006, 03:45 PM
Some color blocking today - sketched in the background, some of it anyway. I tried to get the castle in the right perspective to the horizon... how'd I do? I really have no idea other than making things smaller, on how to make it seem in the distance (well, coloring it lighter compared to the foreground too) but as far as perspective goes... <-- n00b. :D

04 April 2006, 05:40 PM
Ya know, I think you should shift the background down a bit, make room for some more sky. It would probably increase the mood as well has help you perspective. I like your concept, and I think this is coming out really good so far. Keep it up! :thumbsup:

04 April 2006, 04:22 PM
Ok, after about 3.5 more hours.

Why does it look so cartoony? The colors seem so fake... I just know there is something I am missing, something I don't know fundamentally, so I am screwing up at the get-go -- please, really need some help here... ?

04 April 2006, 05:21 PM
I'd say it's looking great so far! Nice colors and dreamy mood. I think perhaps the clothing folds on the back of the girl are a little off. But this is looking pretty good so far.

04 April 2006, 05:28 PM
Ok I fixed the colors a little on the grass...

I am still wondering why it looks so cartoony though. I swear its something I'm doing wrong from inception and I don't know what it is so I can't tell... but it's bugging me like crazy.

EDIT: Syl: Yeah, the bottom crease on the left should be more to the right... and the top right should be a little more muted and less defined.

Thanks for your feedback :D

Any ideas on why my colors look so cartoony?

04 April 2006, 05:31 PM
Honestly, to me, it doesn't look cartoony. It looks like an illustration, and it looks like you are developing a style.

Really, the only true problem is that you are not being bold enough in your shading. Put so darker and more saturated tones in there! It would really help to boost the colors overall. Nice work.

04 April 2006, 06:05 PM
Saturated - that is a word I've seen twice today. I don't think I really know what it means! >.<

I have to go pick up my kids from school - but I'll research it when I get back and see if I can't figure it out :D

I fixed the castle perspective even more, I think it might be right now -- and added the trees in the distance and the one in the foreground to try and push the perspective a little more... is it too much?

I haven't started detailing the foreground tree yet, just blocked it out.

04 April 2006, 06:25 PM

Good to see your start! I think the reason your image is looking cartoony is because of the flatness of the color and lack of tints and hues.

Basically, value structure is really key to making form read. Beginners make the mistake of thinking that color is more important, and apply color without really understanding what makes it work.

For some breakdowns of color, check out:

Color Theory and The Human Figure - NUDITY (

What we think of as 'color' is made up of all sorts of different properties which it is important to understand. A pure hue can be lightened by adding white, which tints the hue, and black can be added to the hue to darken the hue, resulting in a shaded hue.

So for example, with the green grass, it is flattening out because there aren't really many tints or shades (lights or darks) of the hue green ~ form is created by light, and light will make some areas of a form light, and some areas of a form dark.

Check out the above thread and try practicing using the HSB Slider of the Color Pallette in Photoshop ~ this allows you to adjust the Hue, Saturation, and Brightness properties of individual hues.

Hope this helps. :)



04 April 2006, 06:49 PM
Check out the above thread and try practicing using the HSB Slider of the Color Pallette in Photoshop


Oh god, I didn't even know there WAS a slider o.o

Man, I'm really showing my arse, aren't I?

Thanks for the feedback guys - I will go study for the rest of the day. :)

04 April 2006, 06:51 PM

Half this stuff I pick up from these forums ~ as people tell me, no one's born knowing this stuff. :)

04 April 2006, 07:27 PM
Ok so, I feel like a complete dope. I want to say DUH.

But then, I learned something I really did NOT know.

I really, honest to god, didn't know that you increased the brightness (add white) AS you lessen saturation of the SAME color to imitate distance. Jeezus. It seems elementary, but when you have never been taught....

So made this little chart, to help me understand - i.e. I found that neato slider and boy o boy it was like a light going off.

Thing is, I thought I sorta did some of that in the shirt... but I guess not? Or not enough... or something. Thing is, I'm learning and that's the best part :)

Whee, I can't believe there was so many shades of just ONE green! :)

So, in regards to my painting(s) I'm guessing that I haven't been using NEAR as many shades as I should, to achieve a more realistic look.

Lay them down and blend, then? <-- just a guess.

04 April 2006, 07:42 PM
Originally posted by LM: Lay them down and blend, then? <-- just a guess.
You've got it! :) Initially, your painting may look quite a bit like a paint by number piece, but that's actually a great way to start.

An exercise we were forced to do in school is to paint swatches of hues ranging from light to dark, very much like this from the Color thread, except divided into squares and painted individually:

What you might try doing is exactly like what you've done with your swatches above ~ choose a light, medium, and dark green and create swatches of them (just create a layer in PS and paint little splotches of 100% color) for each hue that you wish to use.

So for example with the grass, you would have a light, medium, and dark green, and then for the shirt a light, medium, and dark red, and for the car's interior, a light, medium, and dark blue.

Here's another hint: tree trunks are not really brown ~ they're sort of softly mottled greys, the best of which are mixed using complementary colors: blue and orange, yellow and violet, red and green.

Also be aware that when you are in brush mode, you can click alt and your brush will temporarily become an eyedropper, which you can use to sample any color from your canvas. This can be handy, and once you have put down enough hues on your canvas, you can select them and be less reliant on your swatches.

Cheers, :)


04 April 2006, 08:32 PM
Here's another hint: tree trunks are not really brown ~ they're sort of softly mottled greys, the best of which are mixed using complementary colors: blue and orange, yellow and violet, red and green.

Cheers, :)



hehe, I totally didn't know that - gee can't ya tell? :D

I did know about the eyedropper, and I actually use it a TON when blending -- but I'm kinda embarassed you felt the need to mention it! haha! But that's ok, for some reason, I have a pretty thick skin about all this learning to draw/paint thing :D I don't really know why, since I'm usually a pretty sensitive person - but for the most part, even when people tell me straight up that something needs work -- I know it does, and I take it and digest it as help... and MUCH appreciated help.

Is it kinda sad to say that I've learned more here than in my real class? lol

Also, a weird little aside -- I find that I am much more comfortable 'drawing' as I paint... and I didn't expect that! What does that mean?? :surprised

04 April 2006, 10:45 PM
Ok, another update - all I am going to do for today, I am now seeing cross-eyed.

I did a brand new layer of grass with the new 'hue & saturation' idea :) I think it looks better -- I still wanted a Fairy Tale looking grass, kinda surreal and dreamlike, so I kept it pretty greenish.

Re-did the car as well with the same-ish idea, haven't finished though.

Also re-did all tree trunks with self-'mixed' orange/blue and red/green combos and the values therein.

I am going to go faint now. :D

04 April 2006, 10:49 PM
It's coming along really nicely! Keep going, fresh eyes will help tomorrow or when you can next work on your piece.

The trees look a lot better, as does the hill. Looking forward to seeing more progress. :)



04 April 2006, 01:05 AM
It's coming along nicely. Rebeccak's advice is very helpful. I could use some of that myself. :bounce:

I especially like the way you painted the trees in the horizon. Though maybe the trunks there should be less brown.

04 April 2006, 04:16 AM
This is looking impressive, especially with being able to follow it from the sketch stage, on.
(Your enthusiasm for finding out what you don't know is infectious...I'm sure a lot of us are learning with you!)

04 April 2006, 07:44 AM
If you make the closer grass a warmer hue and the trees in the distance more faded in comparsion it would give it more depth.

The folds on the clothes are a bit too sharp when they bend. It's a light, soft and thin material, I think if you make the folds look more like the ones in the ref it will have that look. If you are not sure about how that will look on the current photo then put an adjustment layer on top and make it a lot brighter... so you can turn it on and off to study it so you can use that information you have observed in your drawing.

04 April 2006, 12:41 PM
Thank you everyone for responding :)

It's addicting, working on something like this. I have an assignment for my drawing class and I just *groan* when I think about it. I don't want to work on it, but I suppose the break will be good.

I agree that the trunks of the trees in the back needs to be less brown - I was doing that when I needed to stop for dinner last night and wanted to throw up my latest.

I agree about the shirt, too (all except the collar part, which is my favorite part of the entire piece so far lol) so I will fix that as well.

So, if I use a warmer green for the foreground - will that be ok that I move out of the one color idea? Or just go darker from the one tone I have... I'm sorry if that is a silly elementary question, but that's the level I'm at :D

and YMS, I am so glad that my enthusiasm is infectious - besides having a weird brain that thinks up crazy things every other minute of the day, my enthusiasm is my only other 'gift'. When I love something, man, I LOVE it :bounce:

Ok, on to a couple hours this morning!

04 April 2006, 02:29 PM
Ok, because of a monster Thunderstorm right over my house and the fact that I need to shower to take my sons to Kung Fu, here is about 1 hour's work:

Made grass foreground slightly warmer

Made trees in the distance less brown and less saturated

Totally adjusted the shirt and softened the edges of fabric (all except my collar :D )

Added many details to car portion and blended, blended, blended.

04 April 2006, 06:50 PM

Added detail to foreground tree

Added detail to grass

finished car portion, I kept forgetting to the right of the girl and up above

Did side-view mirror (no reflection yet)

blocked in color for castle

I am hating this :(

A lot

But, it's all a learning process.

04 April 2006, 08:41 PM
Hey. I really like how this is coming along. However, the skintones and the shirt of the girl are still a little bit off. If you want, I could do a paintover to show you what I think could improve it. :)

Nice work so far, I love the landscape!

04 April 2006, 08:46 PM
Thanks. I'm really sort of disgusted right now with it - but as far as the paint-over goes - I'm not finished with those parts. I don't think any of it is finished yet, I just haven't gone back to them yet. I can't work on something for too long, I need to move to fresh 'canvas' as it were, otherwise I get annoyed. hehe :)

04 April 2006, 10:46 PM
I understand you aren't finished with those parts, I just thought I'd offer assistance so that you know what you should do when it comes to to finish them. :)

04 April 2006, 01:04 AM

Spent 90 more minutes on the grass and castle. Finally like the piece again, at least, the castle part. haha!

Syl, have at it, I just didn't want ya thinking I thought it was done - since I know I will need to go over it all again at least twice! haha!

I was really down today, really upset and sad. I have such high expectations of myself and it's always such a let-down when I can't achieve what I 'see'. However, I bulled through that feeling tonight, which I am really proud of myself that I did - and remembered/realized that by bulling /through/ something is /EXACTLY/ how you learn.

When I added the shadow to the castle, and connected castle to grass, and pulled it back down to 100% from 200% where I was working, I was happy again... I actually succeeded at least in ONE thing I intended... .to make it look like it was sitting ON the grass. Small moves!

Basically, that is the only thing I'm happy with at this point. Still think it all looks cartoony and flat. I need some serious color help or something.. exercises I think... Will study tomorrow.

04 April 2006, 02:10 AM

Ok, here is what I did.

I thickened the flyaways and covered up some of the others. It can be more detailed, but I think you should have a few thicker strands flying away. I also increases the contrast by picking the shade off the tree and shading the hair with it.

I also picked a darker brownish color for the skin shadow, a darker pink for the midtone, and a pale yellow for the highlight. I also worked a little blue in there in the shadows.

On the shirt, I lighted up the right (her left) shoulder and darkened the shadows by the hair. I also tried to fix that slightly confusing area under her armpit, where the shirt is pressed against the door.

Then I went into the levels control and darkened the shadows and midtones and lightened the highlights.

It isn't perfect, but I think it could really help out. Of course you don't have to do all the things I did, you're doing very well by your self. You are improving very quickly. I'm finding it really fun watch your progress.

04 April 2006, 02:24 AM
Wow, the skin/shirt looks great! Thanks a ton, I won't forget when I go back to those places - I soo appreciate the help :D

I have to do a drawing for my class tomorrow, but will update this when I can.

Thanks again Sylanya, so kind of you to take your time and help a gal out! :)

04 April 2006, 02:29 AM
You're welcome! Glad to help!

04 April 2006, 09:36 AM
If you want I can show you what I mean by the warmer grass and maybe some other stuff.

04 April 2006, 12:06 PM
Well I don't mind if you do paintovers if you're trying to teach me the techniques of painting digitally and/or how to use colors, etc (Like Sylanya did) that's fine -- but realize that if you just want to change it to how you see it or how you would do it, that won't help me much :)

04 April 2006, 03:00 PM
Here is what I did with it.

First I did the grass, I used an adjustment layer so I could keep all your details intact... I took out the cyan in the green channel and pushed up the yellow and then i edited the layer mask for it.

Then with a spackle brush I added a few hints of yellow to give it a bit of texture and maybe a bit of tiny yellow flowers effect.

Then on another layer I used a very pale cyan and faded the background trees because I thought their colour and constrast was too close to the hill up close.

Then I got carried away on the girl coz I was looking at the photo. I took out some of her right side coz the ref had her as more narrow. Also gave the girl some more shadow in the hair and clothes I was talking about but I wasn't very good at painting that part :( I think I used the wrong brush :P and getting tired from a long day...

04 April 2006, 03:17 PM
Umm, wow - what a HUGE difference in distance - that is EXACTLY what I need to learn to do..

why can't I figure this out?!?! That looks amazing...

So, umm, what did you do so I can replicate that? Light cyan on an adjustment layer?

Whatever you did I /really/ like to the grass and trees a lot.

And now I'm just looking, the shirt looks amazing, much smoother. I don't feel bad about screwing up myself, since I'm so new - but maybe a longer explanation of what you did so I can learn would be like, SO much appreciated :D

04 April 2006, 05:24 PM
Ok, took your guys' advice and here are the updates:

Warmed up the foreground and some of the middle grass, added little flowers with spackle brush.

Totally changed foreground tree, becuause I learned about how the darkest shadows on a tree are right behind where the light hits, so adjusted accordingly.

Re-did shirt and narrowed girl.

warmed up girl's arms

Added light cyan (hee!) to background trees to increase distance.

Fixed ellipse on left tower.

Added light through castle archways.

Added *-preliminary-* clouds to block it out and see what I wanted.

Thanks for all your help!!

04 April 2006, 05:27 PM
I think there should still be some more contrast in her would give her a more 3D look...yep. And try to reshape her head a bit, it's looking a slight bit lopsided. :) But good job on the other fixes, this is coming along great. And dont be shy on the colors, contrast really helps to bump up a picture and remove the cartoony look you were talking about earlier.

04 April 2006, 06:07 PM
I gotta go pick up my kids from school - but actually the bumpiness of her head is her hair if you take a look at the picture its even worse! haha

Besides that, I haven't gone back to the hair yet - 5million things to do even still o.o

thing is, she has dark brown hair, and I don't want to do any lighter strands - there is enough 'blond' in there already and the darkest dark I'm using is very nearly black - so I'm just at a complete loss....

The only thing I can think of is a light desaturated brown for the highlights, so I'll try that next.

I honestly don't think it's colors (or lack of many of them) that is making it look cartoony. I think it's something else that I don't know about, or know how to do, that is having this affect on everything I do....

Anyway, that's my theory.

04 April 2006, 06:24 PM
You may be using a dark color in her hair, but you're not using very much. Don't be afraid of contrast, experimentation is how you learn. If you want to, you can make a duplicate image and experiment on that one, and if you like something you did in that image, repaint it in the original.

04 April 2006, 07:14 PM
Ok, I tried a little with her hair - but gotta run for a couple hours, errands.

I also discovered the selective color adjustment layer, and really warmed up the grass accordingly.

I totally felt like it was cheating o.o


is it?

04 April 2006, 07:23 PM
This is very impressive, I really like the angle/perspective of it all. Keep it goin'!

04 April 2006, 12:27 AM
The contrast is way better. But you don't have to get extremely detailed in a shadowy area. It's ok to keep it simple there. Here, check out this tutorial. You don't even have to get as completely detailed as Linda did here (because she herself admitted she went a little overboard) but it's really helpful.

And don't worry about feeling like using a blending mode layer is cheating, it isn't professional artists use blending modes with different layers all the time to achieve their desired affect. That's why their there. ;)

04 April 2006, 12:34 AM
If you notice hair is actually transparent when you look at it individually... if there are stray ones in her hair and light is hitting it well I thought maybe it will look a lot lighter than the overall shade of it.

Personally I don't think the adjustment layer is cheating, it's a tool just like the brush help you express your vision digitally. You've already painted in the details, you just decided to change the colour of it...and you use the layer with judgement too; there is a thought process eg.
"I need to remove some of that cyan to make that spot warmer"
Did I mention you have to paint the layer mask too lol..

A lot of people have to use these layers to make their print output look correct so... don't feel bad about it.

About paintover details:
i used 2 selctive colour layers.
First one was:
greens - 68% cyan, +25% magenta, +99% yellow, -56% black.
neutrals - +12% yellow
blacks - +3% black (this gives me back some details as the other adjustments faded it)
I limited the spread of the layer to the hill area.
Second selective colour layer:
greens - 41% cyan, +0% magenta, +78% yellow, +18% black.
This layer gave it a even warmer touch and only on 3/4 of the hill, faded with custom brush to make it very soft.

the cyan I used for the fading and highlights on the skin was #d1f8ff
I darken the hair with #290505 and #020f22 With fading the background... you can just paint your bg on a different layer and adjust the opacity properties so you can find the perfect distance you want too...incase you change your mind at some point.

On the shirt i used #32004b for the shadows and #020f22 to make it darker where needed. These colours are more saturated and looked better than trying to eyedrop what was there. Also they made her look closer.

04 April 2006, 08:45 PM
^^^ Thanks for all the awesome detailed info! I had already went ahead and tried to emulate what you did though, but thanks!!

Here is an update:

worked on hair more
Added detail to foreground tree
warmed up girl's arms more
added shadow to head on arm/shoulder
did preliminary reflection in side-view mirror (girl isn't in the reflection in the photo, so not in here either, easier! hah!)
added 'glow' to castle

Still pondering if I want to add something else with the castle. I might. Haven't decided yet.

04 April 2006, 01:53 AM
It's coming along very nicely! :beer:

I do have one suggestion though. She's supposed to be looking out and seeing a fantastic world right? like she's day dreaming because of the boring ride? Maybe the adddition of something like fantasy creatures (maybe a pegasus flying over the castle) would communicate this more. Right now the scene could simply be mistaken for a trip somewhere in England.

All in all you're progressing very well. ;)

04 April 2006, 02:02 AM
It's coming along very nicely! :beer:

I do have one suggestion though. She's supposed to be looking out and seeing a fantastic world right? like she's day dreaming because of the boring ride? Maybe the adddition of something like fantasy creatures (maybe a pegasus flying over the castle) would communicate this more. Right now the scene could simply be mistaken for a trip somewhere in England.

All in all you're progressing very well. ;)

I totally agree here - but I'm pondering if I try something too detailed I will screw it up :( I've never done anything like that before and well, I'm a little scared too! But my original concept totally had a Unicorn (I just never mentioned it, seeing as I've never drawn one - well, since I've been 9 o_O )

But this is by no means completed! I really do want to add something fantastical to it :)

04 April 2006, 02:31 PM
But my original concept totally had a Unicorn (I just never mentioned it, seeing as I've never drawn one - well, since I've been 9 o_O )

Hehe, looks like now's your chance to refresh your talents :D. Your last post looks great. I gather the car is moving. Now it may be a bit much to ask but do you think you could simulate motion blur on the tree at least, since it's closest to the car, just to get a better sense of movement. Perhaps you could add turrets to the castle so it sort of resembles the Disney castle, then the castle alone will show enough fantasyness (just made that word up) without even having to draw any unicorns. Dunno, hope I might've given you an idea that will help improve your work. Looking great so far!

04 April 2006, 02:59 PM
OMG! I totally did a Unicorn. Totally from a photo reference (omg of course!)

And in the piece, with a few new touches:

I can't believe I managed it - I know its not perfect, but since I was shrinking it, it didn't have to be, but I'm pretty happy with it for a very first try in over two decades.

I did a lot this morning, but it was just tweaking.

darkened the car a bunch - I saw it last night and realized that I mostly paint in a bright sunny room in the day and it's washing things out. Or screwing with my view of colors.... maybe that's my problem overall?!?? I have NO idea.

Added a piece of the shirt that was in the photo to make it look a little more dimensional - top left shoulder acutally bunches up into the hair a bit. Also tried to match the colors of the shirt on both sides some, and slimmed down the girl and fixed the right side even more.

Good idea on the tree, I didn't even think about that, so I'll fiddle with that and see how it comes out... nice idea!

Now, turrets - are those the tops of towers that look like rounded triangles? I totally avoided them on purpose - the last time I tried to do a fantasy castle with those, it looked AWFUL IN THE WORST WAY (see my deviant art site gallery lololol) so I was trying for something really... normal looking o.O

Anyway, thanks for the feedback! :thumbsup:

04 April 2006, 03:11 PM
OK I don't waste any time heh.

Good idea, I liked how it came out - I made it really mellow, so not to bang you over the head with it, but you can tell.

04 April 2006, 01:09 AM
that looks great! :thumbsup:

04 April 2006, 01:43 AM
:bounce: thanks a bunch!! :)

04 April 2006, 03:20 AM
The fantasy related background greatly improves the image, it's a great contrast to the girl in the car, great work, keep it up!

04 April 2006, 02:08 PM
Hey LM, I would 'shamefully plug my thread' (quote beginners lounge) even more and put a link in your signature like everybody here. For one thing you don't have to be ashamed of it: it's amazing!!

I even got a little jealous because I go about improving in such a totally different way...this way it looks like you've got more to show:). But anyway, I know I have to follow my own path. Just telling you your progress here is great and nice to watch.

I've just looked at Sylanya's paintover and I really like how she highlighted the girls arms and edge of the car. You did a nice light on the tree already, but maybe you could get more light on the girl that way too? I feel the scene, and the sky for that matter, could overall be more bright and sunny. Just a little more sparkle. But it's just a matter of opinion really:).

04 April 2006, 02:57 PM
Alright, the motion blurred tree looks cool now. Don't know how you did it but it gives a sense of movement now.:applause:

One thing now that stands out to me is that the girl doesn't seem to "connect" with the door, sorry dunno how else to put it. But exactly the way you did with the castle connecting to the grass just darken the areas of the girl's arm and jumper that are closest to the door. For instance the door is quite dark while the clothing next to it is quite bright in comparison. Likewise with the arm. Another area that could benefit with some more darkness is the area just underneath her head where the clothes actually get lighter instead of darker. Maybe even the parts underneath the hair too if you're feeling really good, haha.

I'm just trying to emulate the way light scatters in 3D rendering programs using the same kind of principles, and use them in 2D, which i find works quite well. I'm sorry, I've probably gone overboard and confused you. But there's a remote chance that some of my blabber:p might just help you.

04 April 2006, 05:28 PM
I understand pap! Actually, I've fiddled with Bryce eons ago, so I'm not completely out of it when it comes to 3d rendering, plus, I ALWAYS watch the 'how to' documentaries on our DVDs -- Lord of the Rings in particular :D

You know what? You make complete sense... that IS what is missing -- what is making it look still cartoonish in those parts... thank you for picking that up and showing it to me. That is a marvelous help.

I have to take my son to an appointment this afternoon (and I've been at class all day and running errands) so I will get to that first thing later - after that.

Oh and the tree - I duplicated it and motion-blurred the top copy and set it to hard light and lowered opacity some. All those years doing 'sigs' helps sometimes! lol

Maladie -- OMG such nice words I'm a little embarassed! I agree that it could be more colorful - almost more saturated... I am really not done here, and I want to tweak it more... but I also want to keep it looking like my daughter - and she just plain doesn't have those skin tones... so I was keeping her 'cool-ish' on purpose... she has pink undertones and not a lot of yellow at all, esp with the car all blue reflecting all over her... that was the main reason behind keeping it cooler... it just looks more like her.

I'm so energized to work on it today after have an almost 24 hour break... Will post my updates later on this afternoon!

(Imagine me sitting in a Dr's office, all distracted, thinking about working on my piece, and you've nailed how I'm going to be for the next hour or so - LOL)

04 April 2006, 07:11 PM
All I have to say is... umm WOW PAP - you were /so/ right. That is what it needed. I almost wept with happiness at how much that improved it!

So, what else can I do to tweak it - make it better?

All I know is this much - it isn't nearly good enough yet to put in the Finished Works thread. I'm not sure it ever will be. The stuff there makes me squirm with anticipation to get half as good as that!

04 April 2006, 08:39 PM
Wow! :eek: Ok, Laby, you have officially impressed me. This looks great! The picture is so dreamy, and you really made it look good. The tree is awesome, I love how the sunlight looks on it. The unicorn is really cool too, I love how you have it almost glowing. Great work. This is just fantastic. Giant leap.

And it is good enough to be in the finished works thread, unless your not done yet. It looks finished to me though. :)

04 April 2006, 09:18 PM
Thanks Syl - I can't believe what a huge difference that made at the end, darkening that up... I'm still in a little bit of stunned amazement...

What's even scarier is that I've already got the meanderings of a second idea in my head... which isn't a new idea at all, but I've been holding onto this 'still frame' idea for about 5 years now.

You really think its OK to put it in that Finished Works forum? I'd love more general feedback -- I suppose that's the only way I'm gonna get it! haha! =D

04 April 2006, 09:21 PM
Trust me, it is completely worthy of the Finished Gallery. I have seen some not so impressive stuff in there, but this definitely deserves more attention, from the people who don't visit the WIP section. ;) Go ahead and put it up there!

04 April 2006, 12:46 AM
Really??! What about the clouds? I'm thinking if I overdo them it might be too much, at least, that's my instinct - right now they are kind of subdued and I think that might end up working the best...

I think I'm just afraid to say its done... lol


04 April 2006, 01:04 AM
Oh, go ahead and add clouds, but subtly. Don't make them stand out, you don't want them to take attention away from the girl and the background.

04 April 2006, 05:55 AM
It's been great to follow this project of yours through like this - looking forward to seeing idea number two unfold...

04 April 2006, 06:30 AM
The flying flags seem a bit strong for being so far away from the viewer... that's the only thing that really stands out that needs a tweek to me.

04 April 2006, 11:21 AM
I must say I'm very impressed with the picture but I'm stunned by your comments. You don't know how good it feels to know my help was that much appreciated, so thanks to you too, you've really made my day.
Now it's totally up to you whether you would want to submit it or not. All I'm gonna say is go for it!

04 April 2006, 12:08 PM
The flying flags seem a bit strong for being so far away from the viewer... that's the only thing that really stands out that needs a tweek to me.

Oh duh, yeah I didn't even think about that o.O

I've decided to go ahead and let fate decide - the big honchos need to approve it, so I figure why not just go for it

Plus, I'd really love the feedback - even if it's excruciating. I need it as much as I can get it!

And Pap <3 to you, I am glad I made your day a little brighter, I know you made mine tons! So I'll finish it today and pop it up there. God, I love Fridays!

04 April 2006, 05:54 PM
OMG~! It's completed... and it is >> here << (

I think I am going to go dance around my house with loud music for a little bit :bounce:

04 April 2006, 06:28 PM
Hey! Congrats, looks very cool. :D


04 April 2006, 06:54 PM

^^ that's basically how I feel - relief and excitement to learn even MORE on my next piece...

.... which I'm rolling around wickedly in my brain right now, pondering and mulling....

I'll say this much - a stanza of a song is my inspiration. By Sting. That's all for now! =D

and thanks for the kind words and the comment in the FW forums :)

04 April 2006, 04:38 PM
Ok here is a few shots from a WIP for practice -- I want to learn how to achieve great distance and perspective... so I'm working from photo references from random stock photos.

I decided to save at intervals. Here is the initial sketch (image shrunk 50% from working size):

At 10 minutes:

At 20 minutes:

At 30 minutes:

And then I was annoyed at the interruptions, so I just went for it --- 90 minutes:

I am still trying to decide if I want to finish it or not. A little part of me really wants to dig in and detail every single bit of rocks - I really REALLY dig rocks. But then I need to remember that this is just practice for a general /distance/ piece. So, I dunno. Anyway, there it is!

04 April 2006, 05:00 PM
Wow, my god, that's really good stuff!! I really suck at landscapes, all the more fun to see your progress as well.

Maybe it's time for me to try a landscape too. :thumbsup:

One of the rocks looks like a statue, the one downright in the distance. Is it? :)

04 April 2006, 09:22 PM
hehe thanks! Umm, no it isn't but it sure does look like one now that you mention it heheh

You should try a landscape!! They are mucho fun :bounce:

05 May 2006, 12:23 AM
They seem so complicated to me lol. I always end up reworking gradiations for hours just for fun... Me doing a landscape is like teach a slug to run. :arteest:

05 May 2006, 12:14 PM
They seem so complicated to me lol. I always end up reworking gradiations for hours just for fun... Me doing a landscape is like teach a slug to run. :arteest:

lol! Bah, now you have to do one so I can see =D

05 May 2006, 01:47 PM
Geology was my minor, I love landscapes. That looks to be in either Arizona or Utah... I like the last one you did, but I don't think I would be opposed to seeing you finish it. Anyhow here's to learning *clink* Anthing in particular that you're really wanting to achieve as far as goals go on the sort of art you would like to do?

05 May 2006, 02:23 PM
Oh wow, that's a loaded question... =D

Well, I think in all honesty, my main goal is to be able to confidently bring to life my own imaginings - to be able to eventually sit down with an idea in mind and bring it to life in a digital 2d medium. (Digital because I'm just plain more comfortable with it - though I do enjoy pencil a whole lot)

Now, as far as style - all I can say is I like realistic looking pieces the most, but I go for any flavor. I definately have favorites. I'm decades away from achieving anything close to that, but I don't think it's negative to have a style I'd like to try and come close to emulating....even if I'm aiming high =D

I think the one thing I have going in my favor is a sense of perspective -- by that I mean, I know that I have /years and years/ to go... that this journey of learning is the important part - and that for once in my life, I beleive in myself (which means more to me than ALL of this put together - but that's another story :) ).

I know I'm new, and have lots of hurdles ahead, and bumps and obstacles to overcome and learn - but that's OK with me. I'm really prepared, because I /want/ this more than anything. A lot of my motivation is catharsis, if that makes sense. It's like, if I travel down this path of learning to create the 'still frames' I see in my mind, it's a healing process for all the trauma I've experienced in my life. Does that make sense?

As far as styles, well, my favorite artists are Michael Whelan, Caspar David Friedrich, Cristoph Vacher, Raphael Lacoste, John Howe and Blizzard Entertainment's Samwise (I don't know his full name, but he does ALL their concept art for their games)

I don't pretend to have a molecule of talent compared to these men - but they do inspire me :)

05 May 2006, 02:52 PM
I think having an artistic hero or two you is something everyone should have. I know John S. Sargent and Rockwell are two of my personal favs for different reasons, and that's as far as dead painters. The living person who inspires me the most (though I have to say there's a few) is David Bowers; the guy is at the level I want to be someday with oils, and I think he's one of those living legend types, kind of set him up on a pedestal and hero worship him from afar.

Are the images you come up with in your head often fantasy? Could you give some sort of example? How often do you get time to draw? Do you have any friends that you consider to be really good artists, and if so, are they willing to cut you down to help you? I remember when I first started, I had such a passion for it, I persued it with a great lust and fervor and it dripped sloppily from my being. I would stay awake all night trying to learn. An unhealthy obsession to say the least, and I suppose it still is. I asked a load of questions (I still do, I'm the eternal child that way). haha here goes one last question, and I'm only curious because I remember when I first started pretty clearly, but what do you feel is your biggest weakness aside from being new to painting?

One thing I did when i was learning, was not look at an image for a few days after painting it, and then look at it as if I was an outsider looking at someone else's drawing. Would I like it if it wasn't mine? This wasn't so much to please other people, but to please myself. It was harsh, but I think it helped me loads. lol though, it's probably why to this day I don't like a painting a day or two after I've done it.

05 May 2006, 03:32 PM
Wow, such good questions :D

Yes, they are often fantasy, because that has been my escape and happiness in my life for the most part - it's my favorite literature -- but often as not its Sci-Fi in nature as well. Or sometimes something totally random!! The idea I'm working on right now, and by working on I mean thinking about, planning, conceptualizing and practicing the landscape-distance idea - is totally from a Sting song! But it's something, a 'still frame' I've had in my head after listening to the song for over 5 years or so now... interestingly, this song also spurred on a screenplay, which I have written in parts, but never fully materialized... the fact that I feel like I can 'complete' my idea here in a 2d medium is a heady feeling indeed!

I am a stay at home mom, so I have hours upon hours to draw. My kids are older (youngest is almost 8) and they are for the most part self-sustaining.

Not a single person I know is an artist outside of this forum, unfortunately. All my neighborhood ladies are quite... well, not my type of 'gal pal' as it were... and I'm being so kind my teeth ache ;) The only real artist I know was my Drawing 101 teacher - and well, she thinks computer art isn't really art and that you cannot really draw or paint for real that way.. so, umm.. heh.

My biggest weakness? Color. Hands down. I just don't understand it very well at all. I find that lately the way I get any 'right' colors is by duplicating the layer I already painting and using some sort of blending mode to get the /right/ colors. This could be because in my initial painting attempt (daydreaming up there) I used such saturated colors that now I'm afraid to use them at all... I just know I know NOTHING about colors. Though I'm more than willing to do simple grinding exercises (if I could find any) to learn.

Another weakness: Value - though this I understand a TEENY bit better than color... but I'm just chalking all this up to the fact that I'm so new :D 8 months now that it's May! Whee =D

As far as hating a painting goes - I hate literally everything I do. I know the most important thing is to never EVER be too confident in your work. It can always improve. Always.

I don't want anyone to ever get the impression that I sit back and pat myself on the back and say 'yeahhhhh I rock'. Bleh. No. Since 'Daydreaming' I consider my very first finished piece though, I'm kinda new to everything about having a 'finished' piece! hahah!

I am critical of myself, but the amusing thing is, my criticism goes so far as 'That isn't how I REALLY want it to look' but because I just am not so clear with all the proper vernacular, I really need objective outside views to help me learn how to crit myself as well. So far, everyone I've come in contact with at CGTalk has been /so/ great and helped me a ton. I certainly didn't come here for cheerleaders or yes-men. In perfect honesty, I want crits hardcore. I really just want to get better.

I figure the more I do, it's like practice, the better I will get - as I try new things or what not... but most importantly I need to find out what I'm doing wrong, so I don't make a habit of it, ya know?

05 May 2006, 12:05 AM
Lovely conversations here!:)

Laby, I feel you've got a very sensible approach to becoming an artist. The way I trained to become a professional writer was doing exactly these things: criticizing each others texts in class, focusing on what a specific effect of something was, instead of what the artist 'meant'. Kind of what Cypherx was saying: looking at your own work like someone of the public instead of as an artist. Also: putting it away for a couple of days to get a new perspective on it, asking other (accomplished) people to point out your 'blind spots'. And ofcourse: practise, practise, practise.
I guess I just want to encourage you, because you're already doing all those things! So from somebody who's had the training (in another field, but hey:)): you're doing great there!! I hope I don't come across as a know-it-all, I'm just getting excited for you.

Anyway, I read your criticism about colours and I immediately thought of the OFDW016. I'm copying a Rembrandt right now and I've learnt tons from that! Maybe that's something you can do too, even if it's just for yourself and you don't post anything.

05 May 2006, 12:16 AM
Anyway, I read your criticism about colours and I immediately thought of the OFDW016. I'm copying a Rembrandt right now and I've learnt tons from that! Maybe that's something you can do too, even if it's just for yourself and you don't post anything.


I'm doing it! But I'm posting my results in the Beginner's Lounge - since I'm such a n00b.

I've been kinda in a weird space all day - I've begun this great conversation and done all this self-reflecting and then felt kinda...... bleehhhhhh...

I need like, a brain break. I think I'll watch my recorded Desperate Housewives for an hour of no brain activity =D

Thanks for your supporting words - you totally do not sound like a know-it-all, I completely took it as you intended, and it made me smile :)

05 May 2006, 12:56 AM
everything looks great labbyrinth. :thumbsup:

05 May 2006, 08:02 PM
Thanks Salubri :)

I've been working on the OFDW (Open Figure Drawing Workshop) Master Copy series this time around (#16) which is a rembrandt. We had a choice of 4. I chose the fellow in the Monk habit because well, it looked the easiest. I ultimately think that was stupid of me to think, because they are all hard! It's frickin Rembrandt! :scream:

Anyway, just becuase this is my WIP thread - here is my copy in 3 stages so far:

Initial Blocking in of color, probably 30 minutes or so:

Then I did some more work, I can't remember how much more - probably an hour total:

Then I just this afternoon blended in the face and fixed some proportion errors. I realize the nose is a teensy bit off from the original still, but I wanted to stop working on it. Probably an hour more:

I was saying in the beginner's lounge thread that I think these Master Copy workshops help us see better. At least, that is the 'muscle' I feel I am working when I do this. :)

05 May 2006, 12:35 AM
your progress is amazing. :thumbsup:

05 May 2006, 01:35 AM
Agreed, I definitely see some heavy improvements in your technique already. Keep it up!

05 May 2006, 01:37 AM
why are you drawing rembrant is there some competion or work shop and wher can i find it?
ps nice mountins

05 May 2006, 01:59 AM
Sorry to hijack your thread, LM, but with respect to adrianospm's question about the Rembrandt Workshop, it can be found here:

Open Figure Drawing Workshop - Rembrandt Master Copy - with Rebeccak 016 (

Anyone is free to join in at any time ~ there are three weeks left in the Workshop, plenty of time to complete a painting. :)


I agree with everyone else, your progress is amazing! :thumbsup:



05 May 2006, 02:34 AM
Rebecca!! You're always welcome =D

Thanks for all the positive words guys, it makes me smile :D

I'm kinda double posting, since I posted this in the beginner's lounge too - but my STUPID retarded Photoshop (omg my new video card comes tomorrow, YAY) hung up on me and I lost all my progress.

So now, between posting the devastating news in the Beginner's Lounge and posting it here, I think I might try another Rembrandt maybe, since this one went bunk. Anyway, here was what I had. Stupid PS.

It seems when I use the "dry brush" it does this. Grr.

05 May 2006, 10:28 AM
"Not respeonding"... pity. But next time you'll do even better in less time. Nice painterly look you had there. Let's see some more! :)

05 May 2006, 01:56 PM
*dodges bullet over tardy response. I did read this, I just hadn't responded, I guess. The great thing about anything and everything we ever do is, we CAN always improve, that goes for everyone, including your fav artists (aside from the dead ones, Iím afraid they had their run *blinks*)

Colour to me is pretty important, you ever look at a painting and see certain colours in it that just strike you? Might be good to take a look at where they fall in photoshop using your dip brush. Or just go into photoshop/Painter and browse the colours. I find I really like the highly saturated reds, oranges, blues & greens that fall at the upper right (not quite to the corner, a little to the left, anyhewt), and often will use them for accents in my paintings because I know I canít do an entire painting with them (lest the viewer go blind).

You know, every art book Iíve tried to read thru reads like stereo instructions. I donít have the patience to learn that way. I have taken one art history class, and one intro to art class, and the intro to art class was taught by a post-post modern guy, so yeah, he wasn't too keen on computer graphics either. I guess the only real advice anyone can give is "practice practice practice"Ö This forum does seem to be pretty decent as far as crit goes. Not as many "oOooOhs and AhhhHhhhs" as some other places, and itís nice to get feedback from people who really do know their stuff, and there are several noteworthy artists here willing to give it.

My advice if you want to do more fantasy paintings, stay away from things like the pose with the girl in the car, find some good stock photos somewhere, and start working with them for good dynamic poses. Fantasy often times entails drawing human-esque type creatures, so youíll probably want to work from nudes unless youíre opposed to that. Thereís also animals in fantasy, so you could always reference animal photos as well. For landscapes, if youíre going for a fantasy type landscape, you should probably study other fantasy landscapes. While working from a photo is great, fantasy style backgrounds differ considerably from any photo youíre going to find. Photos are a great way to learn shapes/light/shadowÖ hell, Iím the worst person in the world to give any sort of advice on backgrounds.

One of my buddies hooked me up with a PDF file that pretty much has been e-tattered and torn since, and thatís "Loomis figure drawing". I don't know if they still have it online somewhere, this was about two and a half years ago, but if you don't have it already, you should.

Funny thing, I almost never finish anything I do. I get to a certain point and I just can't stand looking at the image any more. I would very much like to do a complete piece as well, but it seems to be just too difficult for me at the moment. I'll try to remember in the future that you want harsh crits, though you have to remember that while people can tell you things they believe are technically wrong, in the end, it should be you who decides. Just listen to them, try to see what they were trying to say, but donít necessarily change it for them.

Also, sad to say it, it does matter who it's coming from. While people who don't even paint well do have eyes, and might have some useful insights, the truth is, if it's coming from someone who doesn't seem to even have their own stuff together, it's not as useful to you as someone who does and is explaining why it looks wrong, and how you could fix it as opposed to "That just looks weird".

I've learned that no matter how you do something, there's people who will like it as is, and people who won't. If you change it, change it for you.

~End long ass transmission

05 May 2006, 04:29 PM
Sorry I took so long to reply to your reply, but I got my new video card and I was fiddling :D

I get what you mean, about generally all of what you said, and I thank you for your encouragement within reality. I sometimes sound like I can get pie-in-the-sky but that's just my 'net nature. I'm an effusive person, and I get really enthusiastic, but I'm too down-to-earth to flit away entirely. I'm just too linear for that :)

I was thinking about getting the gnomon workshop DVDs a shot - a couple anyway, of the artist's that I admire. I wonder if they will really help that much, but I figure it can't hurt.

05 May 2006, 03:15 PM
I got a Gnomon workshop DVD (one of Ryan Church's) and I would say that it was a help, and certainly was full of tips and things. Fundamentally though, the DVD I got tended to flit around on the surface, didn't really tell me why the painting worked. After all, it's just Church painting and firing off a comments as they come to him (at least that's what it sounded like..), so it wasn't as structured or a helpful as i anticipated.

I reckon there's no substitute for experience, particularly drawing from reference and from life, even if sci-fi or fantasy is the end point; so I have to agree with CypherX there. I also find that 'finishing' images is a difficulty, I never start an image with a view to rendering it complete, and I can't spend very long on one either without ending up hating it. Plus there's the whole issue of what 'complete' even means in art...won't go there.

05 May 2006, 04:27 PM
are you kidding me? Aim for the sky. Hope I didn't come across as saying you shouldn't. I definitely think you should have the whole "there is no sky" mentality. No roof that you can't crash thru with a little work. I don't know about the workshops, never heard of them myself. I'm willing to give sort of "private" lessons (lol no charge, of course!) on charcoal/graphite rendering, basically telling you what I know. They're a great place to start because they teach you how to percieve things differently. That is if you're up to it. I think it can help a person come lightyears with their computer graphic skills as well.

05 May 2006, 05:25 PM
You know, I would totally go for that - esp since I really really dig charcoal and graphite as a traditional medium.

I had to say, I kind hated the pen and conte work we did -- I don't know why really, but I just kept going back to my pencils and blenders.

I'm like the best little student in the world since I'm so linear minded. Give me a task and I tow the line. :D I love doing 'workshops' and tutorials and basically getting feedback so I can improve my mistakes. I hate making mistakes, but I understand fundamentally that making them is only how we learn!

As a total aside, I was driving today and was totally full-on inspired with a 'still frame' idea for Lancelot and Guinevere for the DSG. I'm so working on that today, will post here too :)

05 May 2006, 05:48 PM
OK, well, firstly, you'll need to find an image that you want to draw be it personal or something you found off the wonderous web... I guess I'll do the training thru notes on here. When you're done with the other project you're going to work on we'll get started. Like I said, figure out what image you want to draw, before you can do this sort of drawing without a reference, you're going to need one. Let me see it too, and I'll tell you whether or not it's an ideal image to work from. I'm going to teach you what I was taught. Should be fun to see if the student can become a teacher. I'm not as pro as some other people might be, but you can always pass over me in skill level just by knowing the basics.

05 May 2006, 08:28 PM
Wow, I'm so excited to begin this - and really honored you would be willing to take me on!

I have to take my kids to Kung Fu this evening - but I'll pick out an image tonight. Should be a be a person or anything? A copy of another piece or a picture from life?

Here is my DSG sketch, but I think I might want to finish it...

05 May 2006, 11:18 PM
I say get a photo of a person. Someone you admire, etc. The first thing we'll do is have you draw that image now, before I teach you anything, so you can see how far you've come when we're done, and also so I can see where your skill level is.

05 May 2006, 11:29 PM
Well - I've done all of 3 drawings of people, ever. If you want to see my skill level for non-people (lol) I don't draw anything without a reference, well, 95% are with references anyway, take a look at my Deviant Art page and check out my scraps too. It shows my progress when I first started drawing back in November '05 til now. I also haven't taken pics of /all/ of my stuff from drawing class - but you can get a general gist.

Honestly, the master copy is pretty recent (like, yesterday! haha) and I didn't trace or anything for that - it's all eyeballed.

05 May 2006, 02:27 AM
Ok I started over on the Guin/Lance piece -- which I think I do want to at least moderately finish now that it matches what I 'saw' more. I had this most excellent moment in my car today.

Today was a great damn day. Paid off all my credit cards and closed them all except one. I'm one happy chicka. I think that likely had to do with my mood today when this moment happened.

Anyway, I did a quick sketch and color block, took me about 30 minutes to get my idea down. Here it sits for now:

05 May 2006, 06:14 PM
Hey LM,

I think you have a great feeling for big, vast landscape compositions! It's cool because I totally lack that - not that I've tried to many landscapes, they scare me:).

I'm not quite sure what's going on in your thread. Is Cypherx going to be giving lessons here or privately? If here, can other people still react to your work? Or even secretly participate and learn from that? Just asking because I've never come across a workshop within a WIP thread!:)

It's great you're getting such expert help, but I think it's because your enthousiasm seeps through everything you write and do. That's really motivating - at least for me!

05 May 2006, 07:38 PM
Maladie you're so sweet! =D

Cypherx was offering to help me and we took it to PMs so we wouldn't muddy up the WIP thread - I feel really honored she wants to take me under her wing!

I think you should try a landscape then - and I should try more people! Your work on figures is really promising, I need to work on that so much >.<

05 May 2006, 08:20 PM
You know what - I'm gonna do it! I'll still work on my Egyptian queen, but my next practice piece will be a landscape. Let's dive right into our incapabilities, shall we:)? As long as you promise me a nice figure study as soon as you got one;).

05 May 2006, 08:33 PM
I totally will! I will even get my husband to pose or something, for a real life study. He can stand still for about 30 mins at the very least, I'll make it worth his while =D

Here is some more work on the Guin/Lance piece ---

Worked on the trees, background foliage, shadows on the ground blocked out more clearly. I think I might have to finish this one o.O

God, it's really hard during the ugly phase -- when I'm the only one who can 'see' the eventual outcome (even if I never get it to the level I want it, it'll be better than THIS stage anyway -- at least I can hope)...

I saw Beaux once do a little song about the Ugly Phase....

I think my ugly phases last longer than other's... hehe :D

05 May 2006, 10:02 AM
Good luck with your new piece, and thanks for helping me with mine. :)
Right now there's not much to say on this pic, like you said only you know what you want it to look like right now. I'll keep a vigilant eye over this.

05 May 2006, 04:06 PM
Thanks Pap :)

Did a little more work, not much -- have to go catch up on some family time :)

Added a teeny bit more texture to the back ground foliage and laid down the basics of where the light might fall and saturated the shadows a little more. Like I said, not much work. Heh

05 May 2006, 02:58 PM
Ok so I extended the canvas, which I think helped the composition a lot - but that's just my opinion :D

Worked on more highlights, leaves, details. I had a small crash in the middle somewhere and it really ruined my mood, but I pushed through and re-did the work I lost and I am glad I did. Had put a sun in, but lost that and forgot to put it back, will do that next, heh.

05 May 2006, 03:42 PM
incredible improvements!

I think the the more canvas move was a good move ^_^

05 May 2006, 07:45 PM
Thanks :) I hope to work a little more on it today some, will post updates. Any crits so far? Anyone?

05 May 2006, 08:37 PM
I like the textures, even if you cant see them that clear. That, i.e. being subtle, make them even better ;)

Only thing i see to critique : The woods there (that big green thing :p ) look a bit too small compared to the trees... or you have to seperate the foreground and the background more. But thats just my humble opinion ;)

P.s. : See my signature please... :)

05 May 2006, 09:05 PM
Acutally, they are just bushes/clumps of ivy things =D But thanks for making it evident that I need to make that clear in the final image, so people don't go wondering...

Then again, I sort of dig the idea that the golden trees are HUGE...

So, something to think about =D Thanks!

05 May 2006, 02:48 AM
Ok did a little more work tonight.

Detailed the back foliage some more
Added sun, sunset light
added rays of light
added more highlight detail
added leaves and leaf highlights/shadows

I'm not sure if I want to add the people now - only because I stink at people -- but, people make things more interesting - so we shall see, it's still up in the air :)

05 May 2006, 03:41 AM
That is looking really nice! I assume you are going to make the area of the sky around the sun much more intense, because right now the highlights on the trees are more intense than the sun itelf.
The leaves are quite impressive. They look translucent because of that glow, which is good if that's what you are going for. Same with the grass between the tree shadows, looks really great!
Yeah, I reckon just tidy up the sun area, just make it a lot more brighter and the lighting will look very convincing.
Looking forward to next update! :arteest:

05 May 2006, 11:48 AM
Hmm, I didn't consider that, but it of course makes sense o.O Thanks again Pap :) I plan on working on it today in and around the piles of laundry that I need to do! haha!

05 May 2006, 01:17 PM
Ok, added a more intense effect around the sun, and added some highlights around a bit, also darkened up the areas of leaves that would be darker.

I think I want to add the people, which will immensely slow down the progress of this, since I will work on them seperately then add them in later, shrinkydink style lol

Anyway, here is what I have so far:

This is 50% working size.

05 May 2006, 05:35 PM
hi LM - great progress! i think next you could put some more intensity into the are bad can see what i mean

Your lightsource is similar to this, I think, so maybe experiment with stronger lighting...increase saturation and contrast, and perhaps introduce a redder tonal key.

Also, about the leaves, possibly get rid of the darkening effect you have at the top. Looks too much like a gradient at the moment. Contrast is good, as there will be strong contrast given the time of day, but it wouldn't be so uniform. I wouldn't advise painting the hundreds/thousands/millions of individual parts of the tree, and then deciding what's light and dark. Better the other way round.

Hope that helped, anyhoo...keep on with the progress :)

05 May 2006, 06:39 PM
Basically, instead of using white as your highlight, use some color.

05 May 2006, 07:04 PM
Wow thanks Audit, that was awesome :) I totally understand - and I can just move the darkened layer underneath the leaves - thing is -- all that was done wonky because I didn't have a plan -- so you know how THAT goes... it's why the stages have been funky.

Umm, Stuh505, I don't mean to be rude, but perhaps you need to check your monitor. I haven't used white in a single solitary piece of any of my digital paintings, ever - never ever. So sorry mate. ;) I've used black, but on one about 6 months ago, and was told never to use black again, and I haven't used black again, either.

Just go calibrate your monitor - that'll do the trick. Your brightness is probably jacked up.

Back to Audit. I don't want to use any more red than I already have... so I'll figure out something :) It's not supposed to look 'real' really... but I'll jack up the sunset more.

Thing is -- after I paint something, I 'apply image' and use some sort of blending mode - and that generally gets the colors how I want. Pathetic I know... but I can't seem to get out of them being so desaturated for some reason. I'm even using a 100% opacity brush and adjust only the flow. Bah. Who knows.

Anyway, thanks for your help - it /is/ a huge help!

05 May 2006, 07:09 PM
Umm, Stuh505, I don't mean to be rude, but perhaps you need to check your monitor. I haven't used white in a single solitary piece of any of my digital paintings, ever - never ever. So sorry mate. ;) I've used black, but on one about 6 months ago, and was told never to use black again, and I haven't used black again, either.

Just go calibrate your monitor - that'll do the trick. Your brightness is probably jacked up.

There's nothing wrong with my monitor. I did not mean that you are literally using the color [255,255,255] which is white, but it is obvious that the highlights in your latest picture on the leaves and bright side of the tree are nearly the same hue but with brighter values (eg, more white) than the dark side. I'm suggesting that you change the hue, rather than just the value, which is what is shown in audit's examples

05 May 2006, 08:09 PM
I guess I don't really mean to be a pain - but I gotta show you something.

It's not the same hue at all.

Thanks though. It's apparent I need more contrast so the different hues are more apparent since you can't distinguish them, so that helps. :)

05 May 2006, 09:13 PM
Audit, I took your advice. I did all kinds of wonky things to test stuff out. I kinda like the result so far :)

I only did one tree with details for now, but will get to the rest.

05 May 2006, 03:06 AM
It looks much better, but I still think the sky should be a lot more intense. Look in the photo that audit posted, you can't acutally see the shape of the sun, it's just all an overblown yellow, which is so strong it actually "eats" into the horizon close to it. Give that a try and see how it looks.

05 May 2006, 12:52 PM
What if I don't want it any more intense? hehe I think it's almost unbalancing now as it is anyway - I'd need to darken up the left part even more to have it not falling over on the right side if I made it any brighter/intense... besides, it isn't supposed to look real :)

I'll try it on a new layer and see, because I'm up for that - but in reality, I'm kinda thinking it's enough.

05 May 2006, 03:00 PM
Okay, okay you can say "I told you so" -- you were right, it did improve it :) Thanks for that!

Finished the texture of the trees, added little pollen motes and stuff. Haven't even begun the people yet, all I've done is find reference images so far.

05 May 2006, 03:23 PM
I'm liking the texture you've added to it... it's looking a lot better

05 May 2006, 03:54 PM
Thanks :) I think this is image 200/10000 of my crap. :bounce: :D :D

05 May 2006, 08:10 AM
This piece is looking great LM.

There's just something about the leaves that seem a little off. Maybe it's just me but in case it's not... I think the highlight on the leaves are off... perhaps be sparing with it a bit?

Anyway this is already great as it is. That's a sunset I can sit and enjoy for hours. :thumbsup:

05 May 2006, 11:03 AM
Okay, okay you can say "I told you so"

I told you so.
Haha, just kidding. But it truly does look much nicer now. And with the pollen stuff flying around it's even nicer!

Only one problem I've noticed now. Not sure if you'll be able to correct it though.
Theoretically all the light rays in the trees should go towards the direction of the sun. I just noticed the rays at the top go in a wrong direction. If you've drawn them in different layers it's no problem to fix, but if you haven't ...

By the way I'm an anal person. :)

It's still a beautiful picture, and making the change I noted won't make it more beautiful or anything. It's just something to consider if you want everything to be physically correct. Artistically it'll look no nicer.

05 May 2006, 11:58 AM
Nah, you're right Pap, and I plan to fix that - but they are on a seperate layer and that's like one of those things you toss to the back of your mind because you know it's so easy to fix.

Salubri, yeah, the leaves are wonky to me too -- but I haven't gone back to them, either - mostly because I'm panicking over the people I said I would put in there - haha!

Thanks for mentioning both things guys, I totally need/appreciate all the crits I can get!

Gonna work on it more this morning. I love mornings!!

05 May 2006, 12:10 PM
Very good progress :)
The pollen makes it look so magical.

Just a few things...

The space between the tree and the sunset... can that be smoother as they merge? It's a bit straight the where the yellow becomes more saturated.

05 May 2006, 01:40 PM
Ok Pap, Salubri - took your advice and fixed the rays of light and the leaves, I detailed the trunks of the trees even more where the light hits and added some more foreground and middle ground grass. Added a teensy bit more highlights and darkened up some areas.

I want this to be done, but at the same time I think adding the people will make it a complete piece... so maybe I'll start actually doing the people today.

Frostblade, I didn't see your comment before I did my work this morning - I can check that out when I go back to it later today. :)

05 May 2006, 02:02 PM
I just did this in about 15 minutes. I wanted to see if I could even manage to make it look like a concept-type piece. To be perfectly frank, I had a reference that I based the sketch on, then I tried to stay loose and pick my own light source. I can't just 'draw' without a reference yet - I don't trust myself at all yet to make it right - too new at this still... probably old and crotchety too -- all that youth you guys have gives you confidence that I just... have trouble with. Anyway, for 15 minutes, I don't think it's TOO bad.

Hmm, now that I look at it in the preview pane, it's crooked! I wonder if I tilt my head or something... I tend to always skew to the left... It could be my workspace... I'm cramped as hell on this tiny desk. Or, it's just me and I am a retard.

Ah well, I won't cheat and turn the canvas - so here it is.

05 May 2006, 10:11 PM
Beautiful last update on the trees! Ofcourse you want everone to say 'no, you're not old and crotchety at all!' which is just what I'm going to say:):).

Personally, I think your process here goes really fast. Your thing is landscapes, mine is characters which is a totally different thing ofcourse, but still, I find it hard not to get jealous! You seem to have a natural feel for lighting and atmosphere. I've been going for a few months now but I wouldn't know how to make lighting, pollen or treestems like that. So there you go:). It's going really well.

Also I recognize very well how you feel. I mean, I've spent five years training to be a writer, then discovered I don't really want to write. Errr...Still, I believe that if you are doing something now that you're passionate about, you're on the right track and it doesn't really matter where it's going. I don't always believe in that myself:), because I'm plagued by doubt on 'what my carriere should be' or 'where I'll be heading next year' but hey, all that really matters is here and now. (advice coming from a younger person, easy for me to say maybe:)).

As for no ref: I wouldn't really be concerned about refless work. I've discovered every form of drawing or painting uses some sort of ref. Matte painters work from collages of photos, comic artists have fixed tricks to draw the shape of the body. Famous artists use models and 'inspirational' material. Don't be bothered. You'll progress much faster carefully studying shapes of good ref than doing it in the blind. At least, that's what's true for me.

05 May 2006, 12:16 AM
Maladie, you are so sweet :) I am old and crotchety though!! But that's ok :D Isn't 33 old and crotchety to you young folks anyway? hehe

You never fail to put a smile on my face with your kind words of encouragement. Hey I promised to do a character next, and there is one that figures prominently in my next idea! Maybe we can swap ideas :D

05 May 2006, 12:26 AM
Yeah, that would be so cool! I'll PM you asap (now 2.23 am here). Maybe we can give eachother some sort of (non-strict) assignment or so. BTW I'm only nine years your junior:).

05 May 2006, 12:30 AM
Maladie, you are so sweet :) I am old and crotchety though!! But that's ok :D Isn't 33 old and crotchety to you young folks anyway? hehe

ahem. 33 is not old and crotchety. :wise:
come to think of it, we're not that far apart. i'm turning 28 this year. lolz.

anyways, great work on both pieces. don't worry about whether the second one is crooked or not. i agree with what most of maladie said LM. in addition i'd like to say that you also have a great eye for detail. oh and to add, even our glorified 19th century genius, Mr. Bougereu mostly used references with nearly everything he worked on. So I figure for realists, that's pretty much the norm.

05 May 2006, 02:08 AM
You guys are awesome :)

I suck at being all supportive and you guys are so kind and effortless at it! See. It's proof. Old and crotchety.

I have some good news though, I did finish the Sunset image. I went on a flurry today and decided to be done with it, I want to move on.

You can find it here: Sunset Grove - Guinevere & Lancelot (

And yeah Maladie I did add people, but they are soooo teeny they don't count. :D

I'm way tired (and it's only 10pm <-- old) so I'll post about the person piece I have in mind in the morning :D We can bounce back ideas :)

05 May 2006, 02:48 AM
I just saw your reply in the finished art thread, Lol!! Hurry up and start a new pic so I can ruin everything for you! Haha. :scream:
Nah, seriously it's always rewarding helping you, you can take crits very well!
And don't be so modest, all the work is yours and yours alone. We just tell you what's wrong, but you are the one who fixes it.

05 May 2006, 03:51 PM
Ok, another quick practice for my next work - in the sense that, I want to show distance...long ass distance, with a super close foreground... big panorama kind of thing.

I wanted this to look concept sketch-ish - but damned if I know what damn brush to use, and I LOVE to blend... so it ended up looking more finished and watercolor/impressionist -- which is bizarre to me, but I'm just trying to get the whole close close up and far far away in ONE image.

Sorry for the wide viewpoint:

05 May 2006, 05:02 PM
Ok so - my next idea is inspired by a song written by Sting. It's called "After the Rain has Fallen"

The lyrics that inspired me are as follows:

The palace guards are all sleeping
Their fires burn into the night
There's a threat of rain on the dark horizon
And all that's left is a quarter moon of light

He climbs up through the darkness
No weapon but his surprise
The greatest thief in the high Sahara
Enters the room where a sleeping princess lies

All your money, your pretty necklace
This is my work on such a night
There's a storm coming over the mountain
I'll be gone long before the morning

So, since about 5 years ago now, I've had this 'still frame' in my head that those words, whenever I listen to the song, invoke. I've got it down solid, I know /exactly/ what I want... which of course will make this diabolically difficult to do... but I'm up for the task!

I've already done an extremely cursory 5 minute sketch. Debating on whether or not to show that or something a little further along. The most important part will be getting my husband to pose for me... so I'll get that done tonight (or at the latest, this weekend).

I'm a little worried about all of this - but hell, I've never been one to not dive in (and mostly always being the first one!) so what the hell. In the end, I will have learned something, so why not?

05 May 2006, 12:52 AM
hi :)

well - i think your work has certainly been getting better over the months. i don't know whether cypherx is acutally giving you exercises...however, improvement...apologies if you've heard any of this before...

I know it's easy to become overwhelmed by the need to draw things you see in your head, images and ideas. All I can offer is that the accurate and satisfying depiction of these things comes in time, but not before wading through the nitty-gritty of studying real life.

I think you should begin seriously to study anatomy first; figure drawing is very valuable (as for myself I'm only now realising its fundamental importance) - it teaches proportion, gesture, line, contour, form, value, and eventually colour and all that that entails. This stuff doesn't necessarily have to take a long time to learn, just lots of effort. :D Plus, there's the anatomy forum here - an amazing resource..

Regarding landscapes and such, it's really helpful to study good references closely, or better yet to become observant of enviroments in everyday life. I have read a good few books on landscape painting...pretty glossy books, mind, but they help a lot in explaining the principles of perspective, palette and mood, the appearance of objects in different lights, and specifics on textural/material and weather effects etc.

basically there's only one thing, whatever you're doing, which is practice. I have to stress that you should just go into art-sponge mode whenever you have time set aside for it: it's all mentality (not sheer technique) - if you are highly observant and questioning why things look as they do, draw and paint constructively, critique yourself constantly, and always seek out new points to learn, you will improve. And there's so much depth, it's a case of learning to realise how little you really know - at ANY stage of proficiency.

As for technique itself, well, that will grow mainly out of practice and picking things up through reading and looking at others' work. Over time you can evolve techniques and styles unique to you, but i wouldn't advise it before laying down the groundwork. All drawing is self-expression, so your personality will inevitably come out in everything you make with your own hands, no matter how generic it may seem.

For guidance check out the lovely art techniques and theories forum ( and the anatomy forum. There are others who can help you better than I can.

good luck!

05 May 2006, 12:27 PM
Audit, thanks for coming here and taking the time to help a gal out :) I appreciate that. You are right on so many levels. I know its all about practice, I just want to do the right practice, ya know? :)

Thanks again, I totally appreciate it!

05 May 2006, 10:12 PM

Just some clouds.

05 May 2006, 10:13 PM
Wow! I really like the clouds ^__^

05 May 2006, 11:39 PM
I like the clouds and the stone stairway! Good progress once over. :thumbsup:

05 May 2006, 12:08 PM
Thanks guys. It's a tutorial gone horribly wrong - but that really isn't my fault, since the tut kinda assumed you knew some things - which I did not. Haha!

05 May 2006, 01:58 PM
Just how did you do those clouds? I too, like the stairs they've got a nice texture, and you've paid good attention to the light. Honestly it looks better that it is crooked, it makes it look older, as if it's sunk into the ground.

05 May 2006, 04:01 PM
Thanks Pap :)

Umm, the clouds... I put three colors down - dark saturated blue, medium blue and light purple -- then per the tutorial, I actually changed the brush mode -- which I have NEVER done before -- I used overlay and soft light... it frickin opened my eyes. I was ALL over the place with brushes, textures, blending modes for the brush.. I was just playing, really. :) I could not really make them look like the clouds in the tutorial, so I just had fun.

05 May 2006, 06:03 PM
For the DSG: "Envy"

05 May 2006, 10:20 PM
I love the colours, and her expression - you can see the envy in her eyes. I would suggest more shading in the eyes though, some highlights and shadows to make them look a little more realistic. That's only a suggestion anyway - but really, it's very nice! I love how the colours are fluorescent, as if she's glowing green with jealousy.

05 May 2006, 11:00 PM
Wow Laby that portrait is great!! Don't tell me you didn't use a ref or else I will be green with envy myself:). Really good improvement there!:thumbsup::thumbsup:

05 May 2006, 12:55 AM
great stuff once again. i especially like the clouds. :thumbsup:

i agree with what audit said. when i got back into painting the first thing i did was buy books. lolz. the books i currently have deal with figure drawing, portraits, watercolor landscapes(because i like water colors probably why my colors look a bit washy. lolz.), one that deals with mood and atmosphere and color theory.

i even recently bought a book on drawing trees as a trouble shooter coz i kinda suck at doing trees. lolz.

05 May 2006, 02:11 AM
You're improving leaps and bounds, keep it up! Great to see you're doing a lot of speedpaints as well, they generally help improve your work flow (I really need to be doing this too).

05 May 2006, 02:50 PM
Hey everyone, wow, a flurry of activity in my thread, yay :)

Thanks for all the positive comments guys - but keep them crits coming!! I totally WANT everyone to tell me honestly what I need to work on.. it helps me SO much.

Maladie, I totally used a reference! My own daughter - but I aged her (lengthened and thinned out her face/cheeks/nose/lips) but those are her eyes and hair. She has those perfect arched eyebrows. She's gorgeous, imo - then again, I'm her mom :D

I'm kinda excited - I got 3 Andrew Loomis books on eBay, his Heads 1/2 and Figure Drawing For All Its Worth. I think I realize why he is a genius -- its his ability to completely and utterly explain things concisely and efficiently. I've read stuff in his books that hasn't even come UP on the Anatomy forum - I think people there assume you know stuff that beginners really don't know. Anyway, I feel ready to start on another branch of my road, headed upwards!

There is a part of me that wants to slow down working on another 'piece' to practice more before I dive headlong in again. I dunno. I learn a lot with each one I do - but there is a part of me that gets sad when my results aren't what I 'see' in my mind's eye too.

But it's all good. In 10 years, I can go back and re-paint them :D

05 May 2006, 03:02 PM
Ok, everytime I try to comment here my internet connection dies, how odd.
I hope this works, hehehe.

I must say I really love your experiments with colour and texture in the landscapes. I particularily -love- the woods ( , everything worked out so well there!

Congrats on the Loomis books, you're in good company ;) He's a wonderful teacher, I need to go back to him myself.

05 May 2006, 07:07 PM
thanks Hiiri! What do you think I could work on more? You're an inspiration I would love to hear your input :)

This is just a short 25 min sketch for the Daily Sketch Group, topic Dune (the movie)

05 May 2006, 12:41 AM
Concept 1 would give you a little more depth to work with. Unless you were planning on somehow creating contrast between the two subjects(the girl and the windowpicture), then that may work out for concept 2.

05 May 2006, 01:46 AM
Thanks for the reply, but if you followed down the thread, you'd see that I have finished that piece awhile back :) Thanks though for taking the time to give me a response anyway though :) That's always appreciated!

05 May 2006, 02:03 AM
La la la... more driving inspiration. Doodle-icious:

And I thought - what would the same idea look like with a different theme?

Both were about 10-15 mins each in Photoshop. Intuos3 and all that.

I tried to use totally seperate brushes for each one. I umm, found the PS defaults. I'm trying to 'learn' them by doodling this sort of stuff. I'm so proud of myself though, I'm using 100/100 opacity and flow, letting the pen do all the dirty work. :)

05 May 2006, 11:11 AM
Your style is changing already!
The dune pic has great colours. Dunno if you used reference, but I think the shadow is a little intense.
The first of the last 2 pics you posted has a great style. Really looks like a sponge painting. Your taking a huge leap forward by using full opacity and flow. I'd probably be able to draw better with my foot than if i used full opacity/flow. Yet you still managed to get a good result!
Big thumbs up to you:thumbsup:!

05 May 2006, 12:10 PM
Thanks Pap! I dunno about a style, but I definately like trees :D :D

I did use a reference for the desert, a stock image -- and the shadow was really intense like that, though I have comment a comment from Syl that I could lighten it up. So that's two now... hmmm :)

I dunno if I want to go back to it though, just for a DSG hehe

05 May 2006, 01:32 PM
This was from a kinda suckball tutorial - so it ended up as a kind of suckball tree. To be honest, I lost my progress to PS hanging up on me again as I used the 'Dry Brush' (again!) But still, it's mostly just bleh.

About 15 minutes, PS, yadda yadda

05 May 2006, 04:53 PM
Great, Laby! The tree looks really woolly and friendly.

Due to the Photobucket scr*w up of nudity pics, I was kinda put off the Egyptian queen for a bit. I think I'll leave her BW for now and come back to it later (JM has promised me a good 'tutorial' on colouring grayscale).

That means...landscape time!! I'll start working on a comp for the suffragette soon and will PM you my progress. Also, I really want to know what your exact plan with the Sting song is!
In regard to working from ref or not, I just treat myself to one creative piece at a time, I just use ref for all the different parts. That way I'm still studying but also having a bit of fun:).

05 May 2006, 11:24 PM
Sorry for not getting to you earlier, but I wanted to get enough free time to be able to read the whole thread. I figured I would sound like a dumbass if I just jumped in without doing some research. But since you asked so politely, I would feel like a jerk if I didn't jump in here and try to help you out.

So far you've come along quite a way in terms of color choices, which to me is the most important part. It definitely seems like landscapes are your thing right now, so I would go with it for a while. I happen to like landscapes, too. One exercise I do from time to time is see how much depth I can get into a picture. Trying to paint whats past that branch, then past that tree, then past that forest, then past the hills behind it. Kind of like what you were doing here ( It would be fun to try some more of those to help train yourself to give the impression of depth clearly.

I like this ( For some reason, the highlight areas seem to be a very pleasant and fitting color. It just matches in the right way. Some of the time, your highlights don't seem like they match the light source or the object and it feels off. I'll give an example. In this ( one, the sun looks to be casting saturated yellow light on the clouds, which is fine. But the light sides of the trees and leaves are lit a very pale yellow. Physically this doesn't make a whole lot of sense; they should both be lit by a more similar yellow. If either the clouds were more of a light pale yellow, or the trees had a sharp yellow highlight, along with the greyish grass and everything else, it would look more like a cohesive painting. As it stands, the sun half of the painting and the tree half look don't meld together; they look separate. I think stuh505 was trying to tell you that, but was just misunderstood. I don't know if there is a way seeing these things can be taught, but i can tell by some of your more recent paintings that your improving a lot in this area, so maybe just painting more will help you see.

You look most comfortable with a soft textury brush when you paint nature, which makes sense. It is a little less intimidating I think because you never make strokes that could stick out like a sore thumb and look distracting. That being said, my favorite sketch of yours is the stairway because it seems a little looser and had some energy, in part because of a little crisper brushes. I'm not saying I think you should stop using the soft impressionist brushes, but maybe add a little definition and excitement from time to time with some different styles (you do this, I just want to emphasize the importance of it).

You say you like critics, so I'm trying to cut a lot of the fluff out of what I'm saying. I think you're making a lot of good progress. I'll stick around and tell ya' anything else I think of.

05 May 2006, 02:40 AM
Maladie! You totally inspired me to look at my Sting song idea again. I'd been putting it off - it's another big project and I'm a little stretched thin on time -- or I was... I'm back to the regular grind now. Looking forward to our new projects! Your dock worker is great!

GSmiley -- thanks /so/ much for taking the time and effort to really give me your full attention and advice. I think I understand about the light in Sunset image - and I feel bad for chewing Stuh's head off -- but he wasn't clear (and he was obnoxious :P ) and you were very clear, and direct.. and I had one of those 'ahhhhhHA!' moments when I read what you said, so that makes a whole lot of sense to me.

I find it I feel a little sheepish that you can tell I am looser with the soft texturey brushes... and WHY (*ahem* no glaring "ouch that's a sucky stroke!" hehe)... but I don't want to rely on those... actually, I'm in for realism - I just sometimes need to 'get stuff out' if that makes any sense... plus, I envy so much how those concept arts look in the DSG... but I would never be satisfied if that was all I ever did. So... I'm all wonky that way and like to do tons of different things.

Believe it or not, when I get thoughtful crits like this, I actually feel braver to try to improve. I feel like someone is noticing (even if I asked you to come and crit :D :D) and that I should work harder and be a little bolder. Hard words aimed at my techniques don't bother me in the slightest when the intent is genuinely an attempt to help me.

And I don't think these generous people who post here realize how much their observations /do/ help! Thanks again GSmiley - I totally appreciate it.

05 May 2006, 03:01 AM
You are very welcome, and I will check this thread now to see what you're doing. I feel like if I'm going to try to help, I should put some time into it so that I don't give just some worthless "good work!!! keep it up!!:thumbsup:" comment. If you've seen when I give comments on DSG threads, it can take a long time (hours? (, but I'm happy to do it if it is appreciated.

05 May 2006, 04:33 AM
i have looked over the last few pages, they do show a good deal hard work and effort and you do appear to be grasping the concept of tone and colour range, , these for some are hard to grasp and understand, you do appear to be a bit fond of loose and soft brushes, try using nothing but hard brushes on a peice and dont worry about mistakes, we all make mistakes and some times those mistakes are what allow us to learn and be different in approch and technique.

again good show for pushig your self forward, many do not

j mac

05 May 2006, 02:42 PM
Thanks you guys! I totally appreciate the time spent, and I really do soak it all in!

So since I bought those Loomis books I thought I might spend some time with them. So, I spent about an hour or so this morning. Here are 10 studies in order of completion. I did have a reference obviously, the Loomis books -- but it's more a general line reference than exact face.. though in the later ones they 'looked' more like people so I tried to copy more.

You can tell which ones I was rushing on and which ones I spent more time on.. hehehe me so lazy sometimes

05 May 2006, 02:42 PM
The rest of them:

05 May 2006, 03:36 PM
Those are cool sketches!! Some time ago when I worked for a caricature stand, they made me draw from Loomis' book too, only the faces though. But then they told me to do big head and little bodies so that messed me up when I try to do realistic figures now. :(

I really like your sketches though :) Keep it up!

05 May 2006, 04:13 PM
Lots of sketches LabyrinthineMind, great!

I'd recommend sketching from the head building part in the figure drawing book( page 172 in my copy). You know, the one with the sphere and the lines running horizonally marked as the hairline/brow/nose etc. It really helps in placing the features on the face.That's how I begin my drawings too, hehehe.

The eye studies are rather nice. I'll just comment on the eyebrows and lashes. Try to draw the eyebrow hair in direction of the brow.They start mostly at a 45 degree angle facing out and proceed to go horizontal towards the edge of the face.As for the lashes, the tips usually clump together and are a little thicker at the base than the tip. I usually put in more pressure at the base and reduce it at the tip.
Ok that's all I can think of right now. Practice, practice, practice! :thumbsup:

05 May 2006, 04:27 PM
Thanks Hiiri and Kelandra :D Keeps me motivated!

I actually think all of them are crap except the bald male head and the girl looking down - only those have any quality at all, and even then, it's kinda sketchy at best.

I mostly erased the lines, but I did use them -- but I tend to rush.

I will promise to do another more complete one, and take my damn time. I am sooo impatient! :D What a horrible shortcoming o.o

In any event... here is a 5 min sketch on my next big piece -- problem is, it's all from my imagination, and I think I need to take a break from that for awhile. So I'll post the sketch just for the sketch's sake, but I will be doing more copies/references for a long time coming. I just don't feel comfortable doing crap out of my imagination yet. It all looks awful to me! Which is fine, because we should never ever feel complacent :)

So, meh - I will eventually get to this, but it's back to learning what to do for real now.

05 May 2006, 04:38 PM
Laby, really. It really, really, REALLY does not matter whether any of these have 'quality' or not. How could they? You've never done this before! The thing that matters is you're doing them!!!:thumbsup:

I've now given up all thoughts of being 'good' at anything yet. I just want to get better and enjoy the practice. Really, my real life sketches suck so bad! And that's okay. 'Good' is irrelevant! Even people who do jawdropping pieces are still very critical with 'that shadow in the corner that looks too obvious' or something:).

I'm sorry, I don't know why this got me so fired up. I guess just because if you're going to relate the importance of what you do by relating it to being 'good', you're going to get frustrated. That would be such a shame!!
It might just be a bit early for hitting 'good' all the time, but it's never too early for improvement, of which you have already made a huge deal! So I hope you'll keep on sketching and posting, and see your sketches get better with time:). Keep up the good work chicka!

05 May 2006, 04:49 PM
Ohhh Maladie you're so sweet :) *hugs* I'm just PMSing - we all know how that can be. I am generally pretty down on myself. Since I have finally started exercising and feel pretty good about that - I have to pick on something else. It's just how my brain works. Actually, in reality, I know that this all is about practicing -- I think I'm just really peeved off today because I have to stop and take a shower, and take my kids to Kung Fu and I don't want to. I just want to get in my zone and draw draw draw... and I can't... and I'm peeved off.

And my husband is out of town til tomorrow (he left yesterday) and that peeves me too. I miss him :(

And, umm, yeah. I can't just sit in a pile in my corner and draw til I want to stop. Life intrudes and some days, that just IRKS the hell outta me! :D

05 May 2006, 01:39 AM
Okay so, back to references. Since I still wanted to do something with a desert feel, I found this awesome shot of a little dirty alley somewhere.. and tossed out all the modern pieces and this is what I have after about 2 hours or so. I had to stop though, my need for detail is getting the better of me... time for a break.

This is probably 25% working size.

05 May 2006, 03:43 AM
Wow, you got busy! I'm looking forward to seeing another character piece from you. You've become quite good at laying down those gritty textures now. Keep it up!

05 May 2006, 07:47 PM
Thanks Pap :) Whatcha mean by character piece? Sorry that I don't know what that means o.O

I'm still working on the desert town piece though - but becuase my eyes get weary of looking at the same thing for so long, I had to doodle:

More car inspiration -- for some reason, while driving, my brain goes wonky with ideas.

Probably about 25-30 mins work. Was trying brushes I usually hadn't used before. All my 'doodles' are basically brush tests.

05 May 2006, 02:26 AM
Update on the desert alley: (For some reason totally unknown to me, for this isn't even where the reference is from, I'm calling it: Tunisia. So whatever.. lol)

05 May 2006, 02:42 AM
i like the impressionist like green filed shot , rather calming , but perhaps you are forcing the depth a bit to much , ease the forground object a bit more out of shot and allow the eye room ot roam the landscape

the second one looks good the perspective looks ok at the moment and some nice texture work on the walls
j mac

05 May 2006, 02:56 AM
but perhaps you are forcing the depth a bit to much , ease the forground object a bit more out of shot and allow the eye room ot roam the landscape

Hmm, I wonder how I could do that... *ponder* maybe pull them out to the sides more? I'm trying to figure it out in my mind's eye now that I think about it... widen it all to 'open' it?

This is good to know - thanks :)

05 May 2006, 03:27 AM
Whatcha mean by character piece? Sorry that I don't know what that means o.O

Lol! For a second I thought you were being serious.
I'm really liking that "Tunisia" piece.
Keep it up!

05 May 2006, 11:47 AM
The alley picture reminds me of this cartoon i watched as a kid... I think it's Aladdin by disney.

05 May 2006, 03:52 PM
Lol! For a second I thought you were being serious.

Ack! I was. I seriously don't know what you mean by character piece. :eek:

Aladdin eh? Well, it is from a photo reference, all I've taken out was the truck on the road and the people and added the hanging 'flag' things. I can't lie though - it's probably an influence. I've seen that movie a few times, having had a brood of 3 children in moderately quick succession.

Maybe in my efforts to saturate my colors more I've cartooned it up? Will have to work on that. I want it to look illustrative, but not cartoony. Hmm...

05 May 2006, 04:42 AM
I did more on Tunisia - but not enough to warrant an update (just rocks in the road) -- I worked on a portrait - B&W - which was amazing,since I've never worked in B&W digitally and it felt like charcoal - I won't show an inprogress though, because I dunno why but I'll show it when I'm done w/the reference.

Doodle-licious again:

20 mins or so, PS. From reference (of course!)

05 May 2006, 11:14 AM
So, you ... are ... being serious ... ?:curious: :argh::banghead:
So sorry:blush:! All I meant was another picture of a character or something with a character in it.
I wrongly assumed what I said was fairly self explanatory... you know I still can't shake the feeling you're joking (can't tell with some people, my dad's like that), but since you insist that you aren't I won't carry on with it.

Didn't mean to sound like an asshole by the way. I truly thought you were joking, like you were just deliberately avoiding the topic but in a joking way.

*Forgot to say, looking forward to seeing the portrait you did.:thumbsup:

05 May 2006, 01:07 PM
Hey Laby, what brushes are you using nowadays? You got Photoshop, right? I use the Natural Brushes palette or the Dry Media Brushes a fair deal, but your textures look really good, so I wonder how you made them! (might use that knowledge in my landscape that I'm still pondering on:))

05 May 2006, 01:23 PM
Pap - don't feel bad - I'm one sarcastic wise-ass most of the time, so it's no wonder you feel that way. But then, sometimes, I'm also this complete wide-eyed 'huh?' kinda person. It makes me complex!

Anyway - I think why I didn't really know what you meant was because I hadn't really done a character piece in my mind yet... I dunno why. I guess I just kind of consider everything I'm doing as practice.

Maladie! I use those too - but I also downloaded some sets I got from people here (in threads that I've seen) One is from Goro (omg it's awesome, it has some of Linda's B's fave brushes in it) and one is from Zhi (? I think I remember that right) and at this point I cannot even remember where I got them - however, I can toss them up here :)

Goros Brushes (

Let me know when you have downloaded it, I'm not sure I have enough bandwidth to handle all the DL's I'll get from hosting it.

05 May 2006, 02:19 PM
Downloaded them - thank you!

05 May 2006, 04:30 PM
Cool Maladie :) I hope you like them as much as I do :)

Ok -- this is the portrait I did - the first one I ever tried for real (and not just practice) to finish it all the way. In the end, I just wanted to get it done, so it looks painterly, but that's intentional - I didn't want it to be photorealistic, I mean - I HAVE a photo... hehe

here is the reference pic:

Here is the finished product with the palette I used. 7 colors.

And here is the Final. It took me approximately 5 hours work total.

05 May 2006, 08:07 PM
Laby, that's great work. Good work on values, mouth and left eye especially. If you wanted to improve this, here are a few points you could work on:

- right eye (it's her left, but right for us) is a bit too lopsided. Try flipping the photo and the painting to see what I mean.

- the shadow under it, caused by the hair, looks a bit too run-through/messy. Try making it a little less dominant.

- at the left side of her forehead where her hair starts, you 'cut back' a little too far. I know you followed the ref closely but in the painting it looks a little weird. Try filling that triangle just a tad more with fluffy hair.

- t-shirt: just a bit too sloppy for my liking, compared to the face. You could balance this by either making it even sketchier or working it out a little further.

It's really good already, don't get intimidated by this list please:). I just want to help...:)

I have a question for you BTW: in which folder on my computer do I put the brushes so I can use them? Thanks!!

05 May 2006, 11:16 PM
I have a question for you BTW: in which folder on my computer do I put the brushes so I can use them? Thanks!!

Thanks for the comments Maladie =D The brushes file goes in the Program Files/Adobe/Presets/Brushes/Adobe Photoshop Only folder - as soon as you drop it in there, it'll show up on your 'load brushes' list. :)

05 May 2006, 12:57 AM
great work on the portrait! you caught the likeness... now i feel so envious. :D

05 May 2006, 02:28 AM
Thanks Salubri =D

Ok, I did an update, because I couldn't stand the mistakes. Hah.

05 May 2006, 07:53 AM
it was good the first time and it's great the second time around. if you push it to a third it could be perfect. :thumbsup:

i'd say use artistic license and correct her left eye(our right) a bit. the heavy shadowing there creates the weird look. i remember reading in craig mullin's tutorials somewhere to create form and shape even in dark shadows. so maybe if you try to make the forms inside that dark area of shadow on her eye it could look better.

this is already a great piece as it is though. :bounce:

05 May 2006, 10:21 AM
I have a bunch of doodles, finished stuff and DSG updates. Feeling kinda crappy about it all actually. All from references (only practice I'm doing now til I improve, which will be forever apparently)


DSG = Detail: Flower

05 May 2006, 10:26 AM
NUDITY WARNING!!! So umm, scroll down if you don't want to see a breast.

This is OFDW #17, I worked on just a little bit so far. Not sure if I want to continue or not. Kinda lost in the shuffle in that thread among bigger more popular people.

Finished that desert piece, but something is horribly wrong with it - probably the composition, whch is just... meh. Damn photographs :p

Gerard Butler - in Pencil, scanned in and cleaned up in photoshop. So weird having just ONE copy of the original hehe.

05 May 2006, 07:19 PM
I think the deesert scene looks great. Composition-wise, I don't see any big problems. Maybe having the light areas on the stairs lighter would bring it out more as a focal point, but it isn't bothering me the way it is. The only problem I see in it is around the bottom of the door on the right side. It is hard for me to make sense of what is wall and what is floor. The perspective is off on some of the windows and doors on the left, too, but it makes it look more charming. Like its a very old street/alley and things are falling apart. The stair cracks and rocks in the street look cool, well done.

05 May 2006, 01:10 PM
Thanks G :) It's nice to hear some positive words - but what I really want to know is what can I work on technically?

I do not want to be one of those people that have an excuse for everything when given a crit, so I just listen - don't be afraid to tell me what I'm doing wrong and can work on!

Here was the ref image for that desert pic:

I didn't notice until I had drawn it and blocked in the colors that I had squished the hell out of the left side of the canvas. I made 'do' the best I could and just tossed out a window. That is probably where the problems with the windows/door perspective issues come in I think.

Overall, I still have this feeling I could have done more, and that in itself is frustrating -- so I went ahead and started working on another piece to get my mind off it, then yesterday (Sat may 28) I was sick as a dog and slept 75% of the day away. Being that sick kind of readjusts your view about stuff, so today I have a very fresh eye.

Thanks for taking the time to look and comment, it helps a lot :) Feedback for me (positive or negative) is like water!!

05 May 2006, 01:41 PM
Hi LabyrinthineMind (can I call you Lab? Your name is too long:P But I don't want to make it sound like "labrador either, eek.)

First, I would really like to congratulate you on the portraits. The little girl's drawing has turned out so well. You've really managed to capture her "essence". I would just suggest a little more work on the hair. It would be perfect then :) The guy's portrait is nice too. Something off with the eyes though. I usually hold my pencil works in front of a mirror to check (horizontal flipping, haha).

Wonderful use of textures in the desert landscape. I think the orange (the light part of the buildings, not the shade) is a little saturated. The sky will be reflected and so the saturation would go down.It's just looking too intense right now. Also, the row of rocks/stones right next to the steps (done very well by the way, I like how you have kept them weathered down) are in a stright line. This causes some perspective issues, you could curve them along the road maybe?

I hear you about the OFDW. It's so wonderful but it has grown so fast that it's really difficult to catch up with everyone's pieces. I haven't updated for a while there myself, busy with other stuff :(

05 May 2006, 03:05 PM
Thanks for the responds hirii :) LM is fine hehe

I actually made a desaturated version of the desert piece this morning:

I think that helps it along a little bit -- you can see stuff better LOL

You're right about the eyes, they are a little high, millimeters, but still. I just checked in photoshop with an overlay of the scan. I didn't think (or even know) that you could use a mirror to flip when doing in pencil! I'm just happy that when I showed my husband and kids, who didn't even know I was doing it, they knew who it was right away :D The fact that it looks like Gerard Butler is a success for me personally LOL It's really hard to get the likenesses. I might actually go back and adjust and blend in the eyes on the photoshop version - it looks 100% better when I fiddled with it in photoshop just now. Thanks for picking up on that. It helped a lot!

05 May 2006, 08:05 PM
Ok I fixed the eyes, but I completely used the lasso tool and moved/blended. Probably cheating but, hey at least now they are right :p Also fixed up stuff in general.

Also been playing around with the desert piece, but the light is so damn bright in this room in the afternoon I can't tell what's what, so I'll work on it more tonight.

My latest image: A LOTR Fan Art -- what else can I push to complete this? I feel like it's basically done, but anything else I can push a bit further?

05 May 2006, 01:16 AM
hey LM. hope you're feeling much better now.

anyways, about the dessert scene; i think you're right that the left side was squeezed in a bit. also i've been looking at this and i think the way you established depth might need a little review. i'm not sure, but it might be the values of the colors between the foreground houses and the midground(is there such a term?lolz) houses. It kinda looks cramp and all elemnts tend to jump up to you and grab your attention. Maybe you can try and shift the focus more on the foreground and push the midground(if there's no term like this can i patent it now?lolz) a bit further. there should also be a noticeable size difference between the foreground houses and the others. also i think the road is sloping a little too steeply.

i hope i made sense and that it helps. oh and your new works look great. :thumbsup:

05 May 2006, 06:42 AM
Wooo, LOTR! I like the way you do foliage--it's not super blurry or over rendered. Only thing I can think of is the foot might need a little more...fleshing out? At first I couldn't tell whether that was the right of left leg. Hmm, maybe the front tree on the right and the one in back of it can be separated a little more? It seems like they're kind of blending together.

Hope that helped a tiny litttllee bit!

05 May 2006, 01:02 PM
Hey thanks guys for the responses! Yeah, Saubri, I've fixed that image up a lot, changed it with the feedback I've gotten here and at It's on the gallery thread I should update it!

The Hobbit foot is proving most irksome, as even in the screencapture it looks bizarre and unnatural. I mean, there isn't a Hobbit anatomy book to help, either lol - though I imagine I could look at a human one for ankle reference, which is the sketchy part.

Thanks guys for your comments and feedback, it is much appreciated!

05 May 2006, 04:39 PM
Hey all, I've finished the Frodo of the Shire fanart :)

It's here ( at the Galleries

Thanks for looking! :) Crits are really appreciated.

05 May 2006, 09:15 PM
I did this one today - because she so friggin beautiful and I saw X-Men III on Friday. (And Loved it -- Nyah!)

About 7 hours work, all in Photoshop. I OF COURSE used a reference, but I didn't trace or color pick. I used the grid system to draw her. I swear I painted her from scratch - I'm kinda in awe of it - I can't believe I did this... o.O Even if it is just a copy of a photograph.

Dark Pheonix/Jean Grey

05 May 2006, 01:16 AM
wow. :eek: 7 hours and you have that? I can work for 7 hours and all i'll have is a sketch that needs a lot of improvement. :D

Anyways other than the lower lashes and the sharp lines on the left side of her lips this work is superb. :thumbsup:

05 May 2006, 01:16 PM
Umm, so who is she? ....

Haha, kidding, of course she is instantly recognisable, just the eyes alone are enough to tell who it is too.
You been producing some amazing portraits lately and they just keep getting better and better, and you SHOULD be proud of this picture, seriously, it's crazy!

The noise on it adds extra photorealism to it as well ... damn I'm so jealous!

Please keep these pics coming!! :drool:

05 May 2006, 01:26 PM
Thanks guys =D

That noise filter is what finished it really, I saw that neat little trick in ImagineFX and was like... "so THAT'S how they do that..."

I paint so much all day long, that I'm headed into the Doc office today to find out what the hell is wrong with my right arm and leg -- I think I tense them while I paint, and since I'm in the chair for hours on end... it's playing havoc.

But, I can't stop painting.. I'm more obsessed with learning this than ever playing an Online Game (which I was madly obsessed with before)... the magnificent thing about painting though, there is no 'end game' where you're done! I finally found something I can just keep going like the energizer bunny. Suits my moderate OCD to a T... hahahah!!

Yah, I'm insane. :P

05 May 2006, 01:45 PM
I was just looking at that ref picture last night...

Very nice work :thumbsup:
I like how it's very vibrant and you are improving a lot, it's crazy.

05 May 2006, 02:20 PM
Its femke janssen
the only crit i have is that the facial feautures femke has are a bit stronger than the ones you used in your drawing.
the right side of the drawings looks better though.

06 June 2006, 09:31 PM
Hey Laby, now Runecaster (I'll not start calling you Runey or your efforts will be for nothing:)),

I just wanted to tell you great progress here!! I can't believe you said you suck at portraits. You obviously don't! I'm really impressed and hope you continue these. If you keep improving at this rate I want to see you next year, you'll be rocking then!

06 June 2006, 12:34 AM
Ack I wanted this thread to die, but you're sweet Maladie, to check up on me :)

I was going to make a new thread with the present piece I am working on when it's a little more presentable.

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