Need all the advice I can get, honest advice

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  09 September 2012
Need all the advice I can get, honest advice

Hello everyone,
I am a university student that has been working hard on improving his digital painting skills over the last vacations, prior to this I had only a lot of experience in hand drawings with a mechanical pencil.
What I learned from my "mechanical pencil" time was basically anatomy notions and shading, but I wont lie : my drawings always felt monotonous, even after a good amount of hours of work they just don't stand out.

I need your help fixing this if possible, going through the site's submissions I was amazed and depressed at the same time, the talent around here is immense.

To start, here's a progress of my transition from paper drawings to digital

This is a throwaway account that I made just to show my training work, but that is not the work I want critiqued right now, that's just a reference for my evolution on the last months.

In order to call myself a professional artist I want to get to a professional level, and for that I want you to point out all the mistakes you can find on THIS picture:

Thanks in advance, everything you write here will be noted and worked on.

Last edited by Manuelfigueiredo : 09 September 2012 at 08:25 PM. Reason: Changing a link with a picture for easier reading.
  09 September 2012
The main thing I noticed is that your image lacks foreshortening.
  09 September 2012
Now that I look at it, it kind of does, I mean it doesn't look disproportional to me but it looks rather soul-less for a drawing
  09 September 2012
I am going to tell you stuff you already know but it sounds like you are open to pretty much all comments.

A figure or a body is a collection of parts that go together to make a whole. Those parts interlace with each other to create a visual symphony. The most difficult part of character concept creation is to place a communicative form in space that occupies that space convincingly and then communicates the message you intend.

The figure you have there is more a bunch of pieces that don't relate to each other well and don't occupy the space properly. The figure is out of perspective and has no weight. What you have there is a bunch of potatoes.

That does not always have something to do with getting a job or selling the ideas. I have seen the most horrible concept illustrations from artists who worked on notable titles and perhaps their ideas were more important that than the execution. Nevertheless making strong and expressive figures is what you want I think.

Figure drawing (live if possible) Drawing practice with the aid of instruction dvds (such as those from David Finch). Look at the work of Min Yum or Bumskee. Search the last one here on cgt to see what standard it is possible to reach. still appears to be off line for many of us even after the announcement that the site would be up and running after this past weekend. Look at the work there and get involved in their mentor programs. They have loads of tutorials.

Fixing' things' on the drawing is not going to help you, you must go to the core and work on the fundamentals if you want to achieve a good level of quality.
The terminal velocity of individual particles is directly related to pink rabbits on a bank holiday.
Characters, Games, Toys

Last edited by Kanga : 10 October 2012 at 04:01 PM.
  09 September 2012
Thank you for the honest reply, it all makes sense and I will work on those aspects of my drawing.

And yes that was exactly what I was looking for in this forum, sometimes we get a bit too attached to our works and we're blind to our mistakes. Well, it happens with me at least.
It's all clearer now! Thank you again
  09 September 2012
I'm no artist but the thing that stood out to me was that the right foot looked rather strange because it was pointing in a very different angle to the knee.
  10 October 2012
The first thing I thought when I saw your image was there is no shadow under feet. Maybe it's not the most important thing... but with the light shadow your character would fit in the image and stay on the ground. I'm waitind for next works
  10 October 2012
My primary suggestion for you would be to desaturate the color from the image and focus on the value alone. Building a painting can be like building a house--you start with a basic foundation, and then build on that foundation to form a frame, and then you add walls and floors and ceilings, and only after everything has been built do we add things like stucco, paint, wallpaper, carpet, light fixtures, etc.

As it applies to painting (and especially where figures are involved):
1) First, one of the most important things to get right is the gesture of the figure. This gesture includes a sense of balance, a sense of where the weight is oriented and how that figure is carrying that weight.

2) The very second thing is proportion/Construction. If a head is too small, or if a hand is too large or small, then it won't matter how well you render the lighting--the image will look off. Also, if the construction is off (the perspective, the anatomy, etc.), no amount of color will make it look any better.

3) The next thing to worry about is line quality. Often times an inexperienced artist will use little insecure lines that many professionals refer to as "chicken scratch". This is almost directly opposite of such masters as John Singer Sargent and his bravura approach.

4) Once you've got those first three down pat, you can open up the pandora's box that is light and shadow. And believe me, it is a pandora's box! The way light reveals form through shadows (both form and cast shadows) can be insanely complex. One of my art instructors was quite fond of saying that one of the main differences between an amateur and a professional is how much time they spend on their reference (either images or maquettes). Sometimes on the internet, people think that it's a point to boast about when they complete a painting entirely from their imagination--but more often than not, it's actually a thing to be ashamed of. Reference can show you that complex play between light and shadow and can help you to communicate a convincing illusion of reality.

5) Only after you're skilled in rendering light and form should you begin to enter the realm of color. Believe me, drawing & painting is hard enough even before introducing color. At least while you're trying to learn, it would be a good thing to try.

Other thoughts specific to your painting:
Anatomy & proportion are your biggest things to deal with right now, in my opinion. His left hand is tiny, while his right hand is enormous. His pose is awkward to me. The feet are spread at an angle that feels uncomfortable. His head is small, and I'm having a hard time feeling any real sense of weight.

After working on all of that, you can start working on your line quality. It seems like you're trying to be loose with the right hand and the energy that he's holding . . . but that looseness is an uncontrolled looseness as opposed to a controlled looseness. Going back to the example of John Singer Sargent: He would often paint a brush stroke, then step back to make sure it worked. If not, he would wipe that brush stroke and try it again. It wasn't uncommon for him to attempt the same stroke multiple times before it was just right. His paintings weren't doing exceptionally fast, even though his strokes make it look like they were. For each seemingly hasty stroke, many minutes of planning and reworking went into making that.

Anyway, those are just a few of my thoughts. The biggest thing is to not let yourself get discouraged! Although it can seem daunting, don't let all of this information bury you with a sense of impotence--but rather, let this information foment within you a desire to improve, and let that desire to improve kindle into a raging fire that consumes imperfections as it grows
  10 October 2012
I'll always be motivated, that's not an issue because even though I know I have a long way to go, I have trained hard to get to this point so there's no reason to even feel like I can't make it to a new level.

I wanna thank you sincerely for this reply, since you took a good part of your time to help me out. Sometimes we have the mentality to change but we don't know what to change, and your, and the other's, replies have helped me to achieve that.

I've been sketching everyday, at the bus, in my university classes and at home. Trying to figure out intriguing poses, trying to give a natural flow to a pose and generally trying to learn how to portrait facial expressions.

So far it has been going OK, I didn't knew that my lines where amateurish though, I've always been really proud of my linework and it has been my most complimented feature in art classes throughout the years, but I will check on that too.

I believe that your comment on the reference images was what got me the most, I rarely ever used them, and I've always felt like it could be a problem but I never thought it was such a big one. I will start to see some pictures to get a better sense of light and shadowing and see how that helps.

Again, thank you for your good critique!!
  10 October 2012
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