Need a critique on this stuff

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  12 December 2012
Need a critique on this stuff

Hi guys,i made this portrait only to improve my skills.
I'm new in digital painting,so,I need a critique on it.
  12 December 2012
You must post the reference photo if you want a critique, because we cannot tell how far you've strayed from the reference without seeing the reference.
  12 December 2012
I can add to this, with some digital painting experience, that you should try and get the big shapes done right before moving to individual face features. Start with a very small image if you must, or just zoom out your canvas. You can do the same with the reference, preferably in black and white at the start. Observe the values. What shape is the head in 3D? how is that communicated in the image? Where are the darkest grays and where the brightest highlights? They all convey the bigger shape (the spherish nature) of the head.

Start from mid-gray and block in the major shapes by going towards white and black. Zoom out a lot and see if the shapes convey the threedimensional form. Only after you have the basics correct you move in to work out the details. That way you'll have depth in your painting instead of a collection of locally developed features that combine into a flat result. Remember that it's all about representing a 3D object in a 2D medium and it's all based on correct shading in the big scale.

Hope this helps a bit in general.
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  12 December 2012
Thanks for your comments guys! This is the reference:

Thank you for your comment Retronator,it helped me a lot!
When you say "you should try and get the big shapes done right before moving to individual face features" what do you mean for "big shapes"? What should I do? I have to do great black strokes? If you tell me what brushes I have to use too I'll be grated to you
Thank you again for your comments guys!
  12 December 2012
The reference you chose is a bit difficult, yes, in regards to lighting. Putting the reference into grayscale (with the option that gives the most contrast) helps distinguish volumes a bit, but it's a very front-lit photograph to start with which makes it very flat. For example her neck shows barely any sign of curvature where the Sternocleidomastoid muscle should be, so it might even be retouched to oblivion.

The dark and light shapes, going from broad shapes into details can be seen in an old portrait I did. Very beginner work (not too much better result, especially around the eyes I was also missing definition with shading), but it should get the point of starting in gray and shading towards black and white as you define the shapes better.

Another approach is to go from white to black, like in these wip steps by my favorite artist when it comes to photorealistic digital portraits. I guess this is more like traditional drawing with pencils where you gradually move from hard to soft pencils in order to block in shadows and expand the range of your values.

Back to my own example above, notice how between the 1st and 2nd and especially between 2nd and 3rd I adjust the position of features to better match my reference. When working in digital this is the biggest advantage you have over traditional (where you have to erase and redraw everything in new position) so you should always use it to your advantage. Never be afraid to cut the piece and try to improve the likeness. Now that you showed the reference this is actually your most apparent flaw. What you drew just isn't like the reference. This means proportions of size (relative size of features one to another) and spacing (distance between features). For the portrait above (it was my only my second one) I wasn't afraid to go in and overlay the reference photo over my painting after I was done after each WIP step above. This helped me analyze my mistakes and give me hints to how correct the proportions. I find this one of the hardest thing in doing portraits. To help me out with it I started doing a series of pencil portraits (see here from bottom to top) and I spent the first ten trying out different methods for getting proportions right. I tried doing a 1 to 1 transfer from the reference in a few, measuring lengths between key points in the face to make sure I got it right. Then I slowly started just seeing the shapes (and negative space) and could get it (a bit more) right with just looking at the reference. Still, this involves a lot of erasing when I notice something isn't right. In traditional it's even harder to 'get married' to what you drew and you don't want to erase something you've already detailed, but in digital you should always resort to it, since it's so cheap to just repaint over the places you did the cut.

To recap:
- Learn to get volumes right by doing just grayscale for a while. Desaturate the reference photo and don't be afraid to search for a better photo of whomever you want to draw.
- Be very critical in getting the proportions right and always go back and correct it (don't be lazy ).

Disclaimer: I don't see my portraits as good, but these are some things I feel helped me to at least get better over time. When I do make great portraits, I will be able to give this advice without a disclaimer.

One more thing that I really didn't expect: drawing portraits is a lot less about drawing and much more about seeing, observing. It's not so important what technique you use, what's really hard is see in the reference (or live model) what you're supposed to draw in the first place and then seeing what is wrong in your image compared to the reference.

And just one last tip: don't do teeth with black lines in between them. Makes people look really scary (and it's not like that in the reference to begin with). Rather think of them as two big curving cylinders and shade them accordingly adding tiny hints of creases only at the end.
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  12 December 2012
Thanks for your great advices Retronator,I really appreciate your comments!
Next time I'll follow them.
  12 December 2012
For total beginners, I think it's okay if a grid system is used initially in the first few times they try to replicate a reference accurately (think of it as using helper wheels on a children's bicycle). Simply divide both the image and your copy into quadrants, then divide them again, so you end up with 4 rows and 4 columns (16 total). Make sure your copy is the exact same aspect ratio as the reference photo. Then simply use the grid lines as reference points to compare.

After you've gotten better as observing and analyzing, as well as having attained better eye-to-hand coordination, you can stop using the grid system, and use more sophisticated ways to compare by using the different landmarks in the image itself.

You must also study anatomy/figure, or else simply trying to copy stuff means you're just copying the surface instead of understanding the underlying structure of what you're trying to depict. Without understanding structure, you'll always be limited to just copying.
  12 December 2012
I agree with you Lunatique.I'm watching some videos on youtube about the anatomy/figure and I'm finding them really interesting! I'll made also a scketchbook how you said time ago.
However thank you for your advices and thank you for your patience.
(Sorry for the bad english)
  12 December 2012
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