Critique & Advice | Painting Heads

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  06 June 2013
Critique & Advice | Painting Heads

Progress Shot on CGHUB

Im trying to improve my drawings/paintings of heads.
Im quite happy with the result as it is a big improvement over my previous drawings.
You can see one of my previous drawings HERE

But there are a few things Id like to improve for my next attempt, although Im still not quite sure how.

First, right now I feel the face looks kind of flat. It could be due to the lighting from my reference photo but I still think I could have done something to make it look more 3D. Something more like THIS :
(sorry, I couldn't find my reference photo)

Also, Im not quite sure how I could make the skin look more like skin. I think right now it looks like shes made out of plastic. I would still like to keep some of the brush strokes visible and continue working in B&W.

I would appreciate any feedback and advice on how to improve my paintings of heads.
  07 July 2013
In order to increase the dimensionality of your subject, you have to make the various planes of the forms more distinct (that's what the example you posted does). Look at how the value shifts between the changing planes on the forms are very obvious, and the value range is also greater, with a wider dynamic range from lighter to darker values.

Skin has specularity, and that's also what is shown in the example you posted. But not all lighting situations or skin types would reveal a high level of specularity, since sometimes the lighting is meant to be flat/diffused, and the model has makeup that prevents oily skin from showing. So it could be that you need to choose photo references that are lit more dramatically, showing stronger contrast, as well as more specularity in the skin.

A tip on brushwork: Use the largest sized brush that matches the height/width of the value shape you are trying to paint, instead of using lots of thin strokes to fill in a large patch of value shape. This will give better clarity to the planes in your forms, as well as make your brushwork look more considered, while still expressive.
  07 July 2013
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