Just myself (WIP)


First , hello all :smiley:

I’ve read the forums here at cgtalk since 3 or 4 months, and after posting some (2 :wink: ) sketches , I thought about painting myself with using a photo reference just as an exercise and to improve my skills. Here is my progress so far:

The next thing will be the hair… difficult :shrug: the whole thing is/was made in painter, only with the “Soft Blender Brush”. It’s my first digitally painting (actually my first painting ever °_o) and i’m only 15, so dont be so rude with me :grin: I’d like to hear some c&c :slight_smile:

P.S.: Sorry for my bad english :[
P.P.S: I hope i didnt do anything wrong scared


It’s hard to believe that this is your first painting, or at least that you didn’t find out skills from other experiments or works or painted OVER an image of yourself.

As far as crits… just that the painting is a little rough with the brush strokes, but i’m sure youll blend it all together and fix it up all nice before its done.


Yeah, i mean this is the first painting on which I’m painting more than 2 hours :smiley: And all my other human face “studies” were made with pencil and paper… Ive been painting (more exactly : scribbling) for about 2 years, but i really got into digital things since i signed up here :slight_smile:


can we see a reference?


Of course you can…

i wanted my painting to come as close to the original as possible… I think i have to read some hair painting tutorials :smiley:


Okay, I’ll be completely honest, I compared both side by side, then threw one as an overlay of the other…they are completely identical. Now, either this is a paintover, or you are the human version of a xerox machine.

I don’t mean to be harsh, but don’t do paintovers, they aren’t a good tool for learning, its basically tracing in a program. Now you say you’ve been doing this what, this is your first real attempt at digital painting - imo, you need to learn the basics, and then build upon the foundation.

You’re trying to design the car from the outside, without prior understanding of the inner workings - what good is that going to do for you when you dont have a reference to trace over?

Far too many people see digital art work and think “wow, that looks cool!” and then they go out with misconception that this is easy, they don’t learn the groundskills, dont learn color theory, dont learn lineweight, dont learn about value and hue and saturation and chroma, dont learn about blocking complex forms with simple forms, dont learn about vanishing points, dont learn about perspective and then a few years down the track, their work is still no where near as good as it should be because they’ve basically skipped the foundation and gone straight to building the house on dirt.

Learn the foundation, then learn rendering, thats the advice I give you.


magic man i did the exact same thing and came to the same conclusion…


I just got the forms from by a paintover… basically i chose the colours by myself… :shrug: I think I’ll just do something else 8]

€: Now, the main problem is, that i dont know what to draw 8[

€2 : I just have to say that painting is really more fun when you know what to draw and see results… Right now, i’m just sittin here staring out of the window and looking for a good idea :sad:


Smiagol, in response to your PM.

Smiagol, its great to see you take this criticism well - many people would get pissed off and just carry on with what they are doing.

Believe me, learning from the foundation is extremely fun man, there is so much to learn and its not all about drawing basical boring crap - as much as art teachers like to tell you, you can draw/paint cool shit, and still have perfect technical prowess.

In my opinion, painting is an advanced skill set that needs to come later, put aside thoughts of instant gratification and learn the skill of patience - first and foremost, artist are observers - especially if you are doing representational art, which is art that mimics reality.

If you really want to get serious about artwork, become obsessed with looking at the world around you, the world around you is an amazingly complex visual vista that takes a long time to understand, from light, shadow, form, how they all affect each other in order to show what you see every time you open your eyes.

Buy yourself a little sketchbook and start drawing the things that you see, eventually you’ll come to understand proportion - the length/height/size of something in relation to something else, as well as positioning - if you mape people’s faces with guidelines, you will see that almost all of them match a uniform set of guides that is simply stretched and skewed. Learn to understand these basic ideas and you’ll be at least on your way.

I don’t really have the time to sit down here and give an explanation from beginning to where you want to be, because there are entire college degrees dedicated to this, so my best strategy advice is:

  1. observation
  2. sketching with an eye to proportion, perspective, and underlying blocking structure - making sure you understand how to define with value
  3. Idea generation techniques
  4. color theory
  5. learn the tools at your disposal, in painter or photoshop or whatever, learn the program inside out
  6. painting techniques - go get yourself any one of numerous digital painting books out there
  7. start painting

The thing with this is that at every stage, you will feel like a newbie and thats the hardest part, feeling like you’re having to learn over and over again, at LEAST 5 times over - not to mention the sub categories like how to render different subject matter, such as organic and mechanic, and the sub categories again, animals, insects, plants, naturally occuring substances, then the sub categories again, bi peds, quadropeds…etc etc.

This is the reason why most new artists bomb out and do the “contemporary” path, of throwing down abstract shapes and colors with no rhyme or reason and trying to construct some meaning after they have thrown down something on canvas. I have nothing against that sort of art, but I really think that the technical skills or rules of classical painting should always be learned - after they are learned, then break them if you feel like it - your abstract images will still be 10x better because of this understanding.

It sounds daunting, but like anything, nothing good comes cheap, instead of looking at it like a lot of work, look at it as a journey, a journey to finding inner intrinsic satisfaction, and a journey in finding your innerself.

Good luck.



Any suggestions on digital painting books? Any books you would avoid?



The only one I have is Don Seegmiller’s two books on Character Design and Digital Painting, he has a version for both CS and Painter 7, I have both, although I havent used painter at all yet.


Thanks, man :slight_smile: I’ll buy me some artbooks and a sketchbook as soon as i can. You’re great :smiley: worship

I think i’ll just post my progress here :slight_smile:


Do it mate, there are a lot of experienced heads here, they will guide you to be a digital jedi…or something.


Your colors are amazing, very realistic and skin-like. :thumbsup:


Thanks :blush:

Here is just a sketch with a bit of coloring i did in about 30-40 mins:

I’m not happy with the mouth and the neck (did both in 3 secs :D) but with anything else im quite happy, cause its the first time i draw an head in this pose. Got me some inspiration from Andrew Loomis’ books :slight_smile:


I don’t want to be rude or anything, but maybe you should work on your proportions a bit more, it doesn’t look natural at all like this. You seem to be good with colours though, maybe the outlines just get in your way, just a thought. :wink:


If you could say, what’s wrong with the proportions, it would be great :slight_smile: It looks a bit scary, but i cant find what exactly is wrong:sad:


The proportion is off because the placement of the facial features are very incorrect, and even the shape of the head is off.

This is a great place to start with drawing heads and getting perspective.


Good luck and happy trails.


it’s great to see someone take criticism well!! major props to you for that, especially at your age - ppl like that usually start flaming and ruin their reputation. i can see that you are good at choosing skin tones like jmb said. for heads, at least remember that the features tend to start around the middle of the face, and that lips don’t come to points at the sides

what you started to do is a good exercise, do self portraits of yourself everyday with a mirror, not a photo reference, and you’ll get hugely better.


I find it’s the little things about human faces make them more realistic or attractive, the weight on eyelids and cheeks and lips. Here for instance the eyes are on a straight line and so is the mouth, it makes it all very incoherent and indeed the placement is wrong.

Some very good advice allready, and indeed good job taking critique like this :).

I think that when you carefully observe a lot of faces and your own very well, you’ll start picking up the intricacies pretty quickly. :slight_smile: