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Old 06-29-2013, 10:06 PM   #1
BobShmob
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A Picnic of One - Critique please :)



It's just a screenshot, so its a little more desaturated and a lot more blurry than it looks in Photoshop.

I'm still working on the drawing, but I've reached a kind of block. The main issues I've been having are that:

  • I have no idea how to draw grass
  • I can't figure out how to draw her arm and hands (or even if they are proportionate)
  • The top of the picnic basket looks really unrealistic
  • I don't feel as though the separate objects blend together well (for example, the picnic basket looks as though it was taken from another picture and poorly photoshopped onto the blanket).
Any critique is very welcome, whether it be on the specific issues listed above or on anything. If you have comments on the overall composition of the drawing, I probably won't change them, but you should still post because I'll definitely keep them in mind for the future.

Thanks!
 
Old 07-02-2013, 08:42 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobShmob


It's just a screenshot, so its a little more desaturated and a lot more blurry than it looks in Photoshop.

I'm still working on the drawing, but I've reached a kind of block. The main issues I've been having are that:

  • I have no idea how to draw grass
  • I can't figure out how to draw her arm and hands (or even if they are proportionate)
  • The top of the picnic basket looks really unrealistic
  • I don't feel as though the separate objects blend together well (for example, the picnic basket looks as though it was taken from another picture and poorly photoshopped onto the blanket).
Any critique is very welcome, whether it be on the specific issues listed above or on anything. If you have comments on the overall composition of the drawing, I probably won't change them, but you should still post because I'll definitely keep them in mind for the future.

Thanks!


Hi Bob.

I think the problems you face are larger than the scope of this forum is intended for - you seem to be lacking some basic skills to finish this painting - not a bad thing, we all start somewhere - but your problems really are the fundamentals of art technique. I don't know what your background or experience is, so I'm making some educated guesses based on what I see:

Drawing grass is simply experience, and trial and error - most of art is. You try different things until you find what you like, or study other artists and see how they approached it. Art can be seen as a process of problem solving - how do I draw this? How do I handle this lighting? Etc... There is no "official", correct way to do it, you develop your style and technique over time.

On hint to grass - it's like hair, you can try and get every blade, or you can stylize it, and look at shapes and texture and indicate individual blades without rendering each one - and start at the back, and layer strokes on top of each other, working from dark to light. What you've done is very close to what I'm talking about, you just need to work with it more.

The figure, at that perspective, is going to be a challenge without any reference to work from. This pose, I would have someone sit for you, and get a digital photo of it to base the drawing and painting on. If you have reference, you need to study it more, and work from basic shapes into a more rendered image, all the while working out the lighting and colors - your skin tones are in some serious need of fixing.

As for the rest, it's just experience, looking at real work objects or reference photos, and figuring out how to draw or paint them. All beginning problems that you learn to solve by experimenting, study, and practice. Also, I would start over with a line drawing to work out the simpler issues with the drapery, basket, and figure, and then get into the lighting and textures once all of the foundational issues are solved. Your tones and values are very flat, and some adjustments could be done there - the greens are more saturated than the figure, which attracts the eye, when you want the eye drawn to the figure. The red of the blanket vibrates a bit with the pure green of the grass, so I'd add more browns and yellows and ochres to the grass to push it back in value, and add more reflected color in the reds (and white) of the blanket. For example, the shadows of the girl's dress would optically mix into a series of purples and violets, instead of the muddy reds you're using.

I don't have a big problem with the composition - I would have included the front edge of the blanket to avoid the eye being drawn down and off the canvas, but you've indicated you don't want to change it - but it doesn't feel overly "off" enough to change it at this stage.

It's not a bad start, but perhaps a bit advanced, and perhaps you should do some studies to work up to this piece - some figure study, some drapery study, some grass/nature studies, and some work on skin and skintones, along with some anatomy. The good part of hitting the wall with something is it shows you were you need to apply some more study and investigation, it never ends, I run into all the time, and I've been painting with real paint and digitally my entire life! (Painting 30+ years, digital 15)
 
Old 07-02-2013, 01:05 PM   #3
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You're beyond my abilities, and to be honest, I rather liked your grass, and thought it could be considered a style, with the sunlight and tree shade variances, but I'd like to point out that I don't think you can really sit as shown.

Sitting on your ankles means your shoulders are too high above the ground. The traditional "leaning on your arms" thing can only be accomplished by leaning back, or putting the legs into a different position, like ankles alongside, rather than underneath. It almost works in this image, because the height of her thighs from the ground doesn't appear to accommodate the thickness of her lower legs.

Making the basket sink into the scene might be accomplished by having some of those shadows falling onto the top, and the shadow of the handle(s) and adding some sort of detail to the lid itself, even a crack or a hint of woodgrain. Perhaps consider taking the straightness and uniformity out of the edges of it, and perhaps increasing the darkness of the shadow being cast on itself. Also reflect some ambient light onto it.

Last edited by Deadguy71 : 07-02-2013 at 04:51 PM.
 
Old 07-02-2013, 03:16 PM   #4
BobShmob
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So, in view of the issues with shading/colors along with the anatomical issues in the girl, do you think I should just try to restart and do this painting all over again, or do you think I can still fix it up? Also, this may sound a bit naive, but I'm not really sure how I'm supposed to do a study of something. What exactly does that entail? I looked it up online but I'm still a bit confused as to how to do a study for a drawing.

Thanks
 
Old 07-02-2013, 05:14 PM   #5
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A study of a drawing would be a lesser detailed version of the same image, focusing on composition perhaps, or overall anatomical details. In this case maybe the basic outline of the girl's limbs without much of the dress, in various poses until you get one that feels right. A study is basically a trial run of what you hope to accomplish.. permitting you to get into it a little ways, and determine if it's going to work or not, rather than committing to a project and attempting to get everything right in one shot..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Study_%28art%29

If you mean more generalized "study" in terms of studying the art of drawing, it's basically research into the various elements you want to improve upon or utilize. Like if you want to draw people, you study anatomical proportions, poses, motion, etc. If you want to focus on how cloth drapes, you look at examples of it, especially in sculptures, perhaps, and using google or something, I'm sure you can find elaborate articles discussing "how much is too much," "how deep should a crease go," or "where do creases begin?" You could also research styles of art, to see what appeals to you.

It's also the study of drawing what is actually there, versus what you think is there. Like drawing a cat with 4 legs because a cat has four legs, instead of considering the perspective, poses, and view to determine that you don't ALWAYS see all four legs, all whiskers, pointy ears and tails.

As far as starting over goes.. if this is the image you want to further develop, stick with it. You're using photoshop, so make new layers and redraw parts of it, to see how adjustments might look, and for doing studies of the various parts. Then keep what you like, erase what you don't like.
 
Old 07-04-2013, 05:29 AM   #6
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If you want to continue with this image, it would help immensely if you shot your own photo references with exactly the setup you want. Have friends/family model for you, get a picnic blanket, basket, put a dress on your model, and then go out there and shoot references. Experiment with different compositions (camera angle, focal lengths, emphasis of foreground vs. background, positioning of the major elements in your scene, etc), and you'll find that you'll end up with much more creative compositions than the one you have here (which is a bit utilitarians and not very creative).

Make sure you set up your scene so you get the lighting you want too. Lighting a scene isn't something arbitrary--you can light the same scene in many different ways, even if you are just using available natural daylight. Where you scene faces in relation to the light source makes a huge difference, as form and cast shadows can enhance or mess up your composition, as well as flatter your subject or make them look creepy. There are entire books on how to light people and scenes for better aesthetics or achieving the mood you want.

And since these are only temporary fixes for just this image, you'll have to really strap in and focus on your artistic development if you want to become a better artist. I suggest you go to the Art Techniques & Theories forum (linked below in my signature) and read the sticky threads. They were created especially to help people like you--people who need to be pointed the right direction in how they learn/practice and how to create effective strategies in their artistic development.
 
Old 07-08-2013, 05:30 PM   #7
BobShmob
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Thank you everyone for all your advice. For now, I think I'm going to just try and finish this image off as best I can and use it as a learning experience. Unfortunately, I don't have any dresses or anything, but I did find some photo references online that are close to what I'm looking for. I also realized that my colors were kind of a mess, so for now I've put the image into black and white to try and sort some of the shading/anatomy issues out. I changed the way the woman was sitting so it is now anatomically correct, and I've tried to make the shading seem more balanced. I gave the shading the arm a try, but it still doesn't look right so I'm going to redo it sometime.

 
Old 07-11-2013, 10:19 PM   #8
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Sorry for the double post, but here's an update. I changed the shading of the dress and I feel as though I'm on the right track for that. I also modified the face a bit as it was bothering me, but it's going to need a lot more work for the smile to look natural. I found some photo refs for the face and hand, but I haven't started working on those yet. I think I'm starting to realize a lot of the things that I did wrong initially in this pic:
  1. I'm not super satisfied with the composition, so in the future I think I'll try and make several sketches starting out just to figure out what I want the picture to look like approximately.
  2. I also think I'll start out in black and white. Most of my drawing are just pencil sketches, so I definitely need to work on using colors before I can just start out a drawing in full color. I think in this pic, I was confused with the colors and everything so I didn't quite get the shading right, making everything look kind of flat.
  3. With the dress in particular, I think I was rushing far too much. Instead of drawing the basic shape that the legs would have made under the dress and then drawing the folds over that, I just started drawing folds of cloth willy nilly, again making everything look flat and confusing.
  4. Also, more generally, I think I need to keep the direction of the light more in mind when I draw. I think I was getting confused about that quite a lot.
A lot of these issues are too late to fix, and of the ones that I can fix, I still have a long way to go, but this is turning out to be a good learning experience.

 
Old 07-11-2013, 10:19 PM   #9
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