Need critique on observational drawing

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  12 December 2012
Need critique on observational drawing

Hi guys! I'm applying for ringling next semester. I was told I need to do observational work, and this is one of my pieces. I'm having a bit of trouble drawing grass, I don't like how it's turning out. Besides that, if you could point out any flaws(I know there's probably a ton) I'd really appreciate that! Thanks!

 
  12 December 2012
Small update:


Fixed some angles and shadows etc. I'd appreciate some constructive criticism, thanks!
 
  01 January 2013
It's looking pretty neat, but the foreground grass looks almost like fur, maybe because it looks overly detailed with small and somewhat blurry strokes. Actually I would draw it with fewer and sharper/bolder strokes.
But in general, it looks good
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  01 January 2013
Originally Posted by lbelerique: It's looking pretty neat, but the foreground grass looks almost like fur, maybe because it looks overly detailed with small and somewhat blurry strokes. Actually I would draw it with fewer and sharper/bolder strokes.
But in general, it looks good

Wow thank you! I thought I'd be slammed with things that were wrong but this is refreshing! I know what you mean about the foreground grass, I will work on that. I don't like how it looks now. In the meanwhile, here's another observational work I've been doing. Could I get some critique on this?
 
  01 January 2013
Try block in the shadow areas. It might be simpler to see those areas if you squint your eyes.


You should also be more precise with the perspective.
 
  01 January 2013
Originally Posted by skull5005: Wow thank you! I thought I'd be slammed with things that were wrong but this is refreshing! I know what you mean about the foreground grass, I will work on that. I don't like how it looks now. In the meanwhile, here's another observational work I've been doing. Could I get some critique on this?


I'm not a huge fan of the "smudge" style of shading, unless it's done correctly, and on good paper - the student grade paper you're using has a pattern that's not very pleasing to the eye. More importantly, I think it's more important to learn to control your pencil strokes and shade with pure lines, either through crosshatching or just creating solid colors. Smudge sticks are more effective when used sparingly or is used for everything in the drawing.

Your tones are also all over the place, you have vey dark tones in some areas, but lighter tones where they should be dark, but because you smudged them, it's lighter. Also, on the house drawing, it's a bad idea to draw the house with crisp, solid lines, and then smudge the reflection in the water - reflections in water are generally in focus and sharp, unless the water is broken up with waves or movement. You can draw it with a lighter tone, to create the illusion of reflection, but the smudges don't really work.

Grass is a challenge, your best bet is to look for shapes in the grass, and draw them with crosshatching and lines, using the differences in line and technique to build volume and texture - and you also won't have to draw every blade.

On the second piece, besides the smudged lines creating an optical vibration between the lines and the smudges, you need to render the cloth more accurately, and don't use smudges, again. Use strokes with varying tones to create the values of the folds. Cloth *can* be soft like that, but you'll learn more to render it like cotton, or silk, and learn to handle the shapes, volumes, shadows, and highlights. You also have selective areas of sharp detail, surrounded by smudged lead, and that looks "wrong" to the eye - you need to be consistent throughout the piece with your level of detail and technique - eitehr smudge the whole thing, or draw the whole thing with solid lines and tones.

A good way to practice solid tones is to draw ten squares, maybe an inch wide/tall, and go from 0 (white) to 100% (solid), creating the values of grey inbetween by either crosshatching, or the amount of lead you lay down, with no smudging, and not have any strokes showing. It's difficult at first, but it teaches you to control your pencil, and your tones. Way back in the day when i was in school, that was one of the beginning assignments we got, and we had to do it for all the techniques - 10 squares for cross hatching, 10 squares for parallel lines, 10 squares for solid tone with no strokes showing (hardest one), and 10 with by smudging, and again, no lines showing, which is difficult, because of teh amount of control you have to have over how much lead you're putting down and then smudging, or you could get a piece of sandpaper, and sand a bunch of lead into a pile, and dip our smudgesticks into it, and "paint" with the lead. This what i usually do when i use smudging, and I try to make it a solid, consistent tone, and use a kneaded eraser to pick out details and highlights.

Tip: if the paper is shiny from lead, you're pressing too hard - that's the reason you use different weights of lead, using the B's for the darker tones, and using HBs for the midtones, and the Hs for the lighter tones. That's the other thing that could improve your work, is to use a couple weights of pencil, otherwise it all has the same tone and it flattens the image. Proper technique is not use enough pressure to dent the surface of the paper, or put down too much lead and it gets shiny - if you find yourself doing either, it's time to drop to a softer lead.

Also, invest in a couple grades better paper, the student stuff has that pattern to it (it's how the paper is made), and that can fight you when trying to control the pencil. That's why I try to get people to not buy student grade materials, because you have to fight them too much. You don't have to gi buy Arches archival paper, but get something that has a smoother surface and holds the lead better. I have the feeling the paper you're using is too soft for this kind of work. Invest in some decent pencils, too.

One last thing - in the second piece, move the candle, having the top of the candle stop at the line of the wall in back doesn't work, it's awkward.

Hope this helps! I'm not trying to be harsh on you, but this is important stuff for beginners!
 
  01 January 2013
Wow thank you guys for your amazing critique and tips! I will definitely do the 10 squares practice and keep in mind everything you mentioned.

In the meantime, could I get some critique on this anatomy study I did? (I will definitely work on getting better paper)
 
  01 January 2013
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