Art: Recent work, oh boy!
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  1. #1
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    Recent work, oh boy!

    For one reason or another, it's taken me awhile to get enough work together for a proper post. If only the projects that I've been working on would get released. The wait is over, though, so here goes!

    Old stuff, back when I was trying to prove to companies that I could do item illustrations:






    This was (or will be) an album cover for a christian power metal band called "Jacobs Dream." They're a bunch of friendly guys along the lines of Therion and Sonata Arctica, and it was a blast getting to draw dark stuff for them. It's even on Wikipedia. Now I really am a star! Anyway, their new album will be called "Dominion of Darkness," and until their main website launches you can find them here:



    This is a silly self-portrait I did one day. I wanted a new portrait image to decorate my website with, something that would fit more with the work I've been doing. It's still silly, but oh well:



    I really want to paint book covers, and I thought that showing brighter colors and multiple people in a focused kind of composition would help make that happen one of these days. I kept making time to work on this in between projects, and I think I learned a lot as a result.



    I am a huge fan of artists like Armand Serrano and how they can make show-stopping nature scenes. I tried to make a jungle with as much of that lushness as I could, and while I'm at it show a guy who's not my typical frail wuss dude.



    This last one isn't really finished, but I don't think I'm going to do more with it. I think I'd have to go back and basically redo it to get what I was going for, and in that case I should just take my lessons from it and do something new. I still like parts of it, though:



    The rest of my work is all NDA'd, so I guess that's all ya get. Sorry As always please PLEASE don't hesitate to point out my shortcomings in my art, cause I like improving In other news, I'll be at the San Diego Comic Con this year, hunting for Art Directors and people with money:



    See you there?

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    Last edited by theincredibleandy; July 12th, 2007 at 03:12 AM.
    Andrew Murray
    Concept Artist, Tencent Boston
    www.theincredibleandy.com
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  2. #2
    Ellingsworth Guest
    Incredible work man, only thing I can see that bothers me is the shadow under the girls chin, I don't know why but it just looks out of place, but I'm a novice so take my opinion with a grain of salt. Love the self portrait, texture of the skin is awesome and all the colors in your paintings are really rich.

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  3. #3
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    I'll NDA you! Not to downplay the others, but I actually like the book and the candlestick the best. The Jungle guy piece turned out wicked too.

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    !! Read in Fast Old Timey 1930's Voice !!

    Hey Kid! Art’s about dames! And lots of em! And cigars! Your work needs to look like you’re smokin more CIGAHS! Don’t forget brush strokes. A few hundred rake strokes can go a long way! And whatareyoudoing? You trying to bore your audience? You need more post apocalyptic hooker dames! You know what I’m sayin kid? More expressiveness! If you ain’t expressive, you ain’t trendy, if you ain’t trendy you're boring me! Now get outta here kid you're botherin me!


    ...

    Har har.. For those uptight knuckle heads.. I know Andy(unfortunately ^ ^).

    Seriously. Wish I was progressing like this. O O

    -JtJ

    Last edited by JoshuaTheJames; July 10th, 2007 at 09:25 PM.
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    Hey Andy,
    This is a good group of paintings, man. I'm really, really proud of you. You've accomplished so much in the last year and improved yourself immensely. You've come leaps and bounds since we graduated school and this post is here to prove that shit. Rock on, brother!

    I would like to say that I think the warrior woman piece is definitely the weakest of the bunch. I think it's the colors, and maybe the sega blue sky. If it was overcast and raining it might be more interesting.
    Also, your left eye looks kind of flat in your self-portrait, you might want to add some more light hitting the bottom of the iris and maybe a subtle reflection of the skin tone on the edge of the eyeball nearest the nose.

    Good work again,
    -Jon

    Last edited by Kirtz; July 10th, 2007 at 07:37 PM.
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    I like your style, clean and solid! The jungle piece it's really good, love the shadows and the lights.

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    Hey man, Great stuff!!!

    Keep Doing!!!

    Take Care,

    Rod.

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    nice stuff,
    i really like the self portrait and the still life's

    some of the other pictures have in common that the characters seem to be "out of place". they seem to be pasted in rather than being a part of the environment.
    especially in the shaman picture.

    dont know if this is useful for you.. and on second thought.. i´am maybe overseeing things
    have fun at comic con =)

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    Definately NOT boring.

    Shortcomings? Um yeah, more pieces please.

    Peace, Love and Harmony... I could never get them all into bed at the same time!
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  10. #10
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    Most of these look good, especially the items.
    The book cover sample is really weak, though, especially as a book cover sample. Your protagonist just isn't appealing, and it isn't a dramatic moment. The composition is cramped, and there's no thought given to type placement. Costuming and characters look like a calvacade of stereotypes. We both know you've got better than this in you. Show us.


    Tristan Elwell
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    Goodness, look at all the activity!

    Ellingsworth-I think I see what you're saying. The hard shadow under her chin kind of makes it feel disjointed in a way. That's the least of my problems, if Elwell's even half right

    SubPablo-I'll Sub YOUR Pablo! Thanks, buddy!

    Josh-u mudda u! Don't talk to me about progressing. I'm still a peon compared to your stuff.

    Kirtz-I like the Sega sky, but maybe I didn't balance that out properly. I wanted a primary-color-based scheme, since I usually try to outsmart myself with muted tertiary junk. With the portrait I was mainly thinking about how it'd look at about 2 inches tall (for my website), so maybe I forgot to add some of that juicy highlighting fun. I should go back and do that.

    ICH, Rod28Pereira-thanks!

    _andreas_-I think I know what you mean. Lately i've been artificially punching some of my characters out with value contrast, and maybe I'm getting lazy with some of the backgrounds. I should watch out for that.

    L Scott Knight- haha, guess I'll have to show more at some point.

    Mr. Elwell-Thank you for a very useful and pointed critique on that piece. You bring up some especially helpful points in regards to book cover art. I guess it ended up this way because it started as a portrait and kept growing and changing into something else, and the overall feel of the final result reminded me more of a book cover than anything else. I don't think that some of the designs are quite as visually stereotypical as you suggest (I like that guy on the ground, darn it!), but most are, and you're right in saying that I desperately need to make these people more like actual interesting people if I want someone to care about them. The other points you mention are spot on as well, I'd say. In short, I shouldn't call it a book cover sample and I ought not make the avalanche of mistakes that I did. I wish more people would critique as agressively as you do, since being nice doesn't make anyone a better artist. I really appreciate it.

    Thanks, everyone! Keep it comin'!

    Andrew Murray
    Concept Artist, Tencent Boston
    www.theincredibleandy.com
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  12. #12
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    Andy, I say what I do because there's no reason for you not to get cover work, if you can put together the right samples. I'm thinking of more things of the same quality as the leaping wood elf piece, just tailored a little more to cover conventions.
    Remember: CONCEPT! COMPOSITION! NARRATIVE! STORYTELLING! CHARACTER! A cover has to SELL A BOOK, and you have literally just a few seconds to do that. I think you would do best to illustrate an actual book; not necessarily a famous one or one you like. Why not go to the F/SF section of your local B&N, pick out the book with the worst cover you can find (it might even be one of mine), and illustrate that.


    Tristan Elwell
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    I could gaze at your illustrations forever man. I seriously love the detail and story you put into your work. There isn't much that can compete with quality and passion I see in them. More please!

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    Damn I would buy all of your books if you illustrated the covers. haha

    Very nice stuff, Would you happen to have any process shots? The only thing I don't like is that they placed the name of the band in a bad spot over your awesome artwork.

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    Awesome! Process shots would be great, thanks!

    "I'm a fuel injected suicide machine. I am the rocker, I am the roller, I am the out-of-controller!"
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    awsome stuff you´ve going on here.
    I like your apparent will to improve and learn from each single piece.
    something that I don´t do consciously enough, thanks for the reminder

    keep going

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    great stuff man...love those colors....my fav is tht tribal dude with a bowl torch looking thingy in his hands....nice renderings!!

    Change is here to stay....i guess!!

    check my work at http://www.pixelputra.com
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    this stuff is great man, definitely not boring.
    i love the detail/color on the candle stick in the second one. but i have to say my favorite is the dude in the woods (2nd last). loving that pose! great work all around Andy =D

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    Elwell-Again, very helpful advice. You are a benefit to all of us art peons on the internet. The "redo a crappy cover so that it looks cool" approach is a smart and reliable one, and it's probably time that I buckled down and did that. Above that, there's no excuse for me getting lazy when it comes to storytelling and intriguing personalities in my work, as those qualities are the universal ones that people identify with and buy books for. That's what I get for pulling myself in too many directions at the same time, indecision and absent-mindedness.

    Kek-thanks. I think that I actually need to simplify my details a bit, or at least get a more obvious hierarchy of detail to my work. I look at people like DS Illustration, and often he gets convincing realism without noodling everything into oblivion. There's something to learn from that.

    Skeiff, Borilius-hmm, process shots...I don't think I'm a good enough artist to show everyone a special technique of putting illustrations together, plus with these specific pieces I don't think that my progress shots are that interesting. Sometimes it can be, though. I'll keep that in mind and try to have something ready next time.

    Darkside-I try to learn with every piece, but sometimes I'm not sure if it shows. For me it's like juggling, and when I keep adding new balls to juggle, sometimes I drop them all and it's a disaster. I try to minimize that

    Chaotica-thanks man, I had a lot of fun and frustration with that Shaman one, and it's good to know that it wasn't wasted.

    dkounios-yeah I know, it's not all boring per se. I'm relieved to see that people aren't accusing me of chumping out on that shaman's anatomy by shadowing up the guy's body.

    Good feedback, everyone. I appreciate it.

    Andrew Murray
    Concept Artist, Tencent Boston
    www.theincredibleandy.com
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    Really amazing stuff here; I'm especially impressed with the lightning effects, and the way you use color in your images. It has a very Rennaisance vibe which I dig. Keep up the good work.

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    Beautiful beautiful beautiful...for the self-portrait, though, why maroon background? There's a bit too much red in the piece...I'd break it up with some more cool colors

    I love the non-frail-wuss in the jungle!

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    Awesome! is that a fellowship or just some guys in battle.

    Cheers Grizz


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    Good images... I like that theme Fantasy!
    Congratulations!

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  24. #24
    Coinpurse is offline fishing for boots... Level 12 Gladiator: Laqueatores
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    yowzas, lookin' good. I have to say im really digging spell book and candle, keep at it man, you'll find something eventually.

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    Andy, you improved tons since last year! And it's very impressive to see what this year has in store for you man. Look forward to seeing more later down the road and wish I could be there with you and Josh this year at SDCC. Great work Andy!! Have fun in San Diego.

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  26. #26
    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    Andy, since you gave me a very helpful crit, I thought I'd return the favor. As with all crits, this is my personal opinion only, and it may hurt. If you request it, because you are using this thread to woo editors, I will immediately remove this post.

    I will save the essay on the relative value of praise versus criticism for another day.

    Continuing...

    First the good: You're clearly talented and driven to succeed. That's good. You also seem to be coming along on your understanding of anatomy and gesture and lighting and color. My favorite thing of what you've posted is the purple clad floating girl with the purple glow about her. I like the effort you put into your work.

    On the other hand, there is something about your work that makes it look like you spend a lot of time agonizing over it. I'm not talking about the product shots of the book and the candle here. I mean the figural illustrations.

    Again, just my opinion, but I think the reason your stuff looks agonized over is that you aren't solid on what it means to make a dramatic illustration believably dramatic.

    Drama is manifested through tension. The tensions that tell the story are where you need to focus your attention. But first you must be clear about what your storytelling tension is for each illustrated moment. I mean that one storytelling tension -- That core thought of each piece, compositionally crystallized into graphic and physical tensions. That's what you have to put your mind towards understanding.

    Tension arises from threat and, by its presence, illustrates it. There are many different kinds of tensions, just as there are many different kinds of threats.

    Tensions related to the unknown only work as illustrations when sufficient information is given to indicate to the viewer the possible nature of the heretofore unknown threat. Not just semiotically either. Mood is one thing, sets the stage. Incidentals are just props and doodads. I'm talking evident clues that are a major part of the graphic design and compositional heirarchy in your pieces.

    I will go through your pix one by onE and give crits related to the above thoughts...

    1st: The CD cover: Light shines through two holes in something on top of an altar down on a blond knight who has gotten his blade stuck in his tunic. It takes me a while to realize he's wiping blood from his blade. Another while to see that the circular thing on the altar, which has symmetrical holes in it that makes it look like a modern sculpture, is some kind of monster. What is the form of the monster's head? What is its bone structure? Is that a scary head or just a gumball? Is that blood dripping down the altar? Or is it lava? I don't see a wound on the monster anywhere. Must be lava. But why is lava dripping from an altar. I'm confused. There's lava and blood and they're both red and run in rivulets and because I can't figure out the story, I don't know which is which.

    Is a circle a scary silhouette for a monster? Or is it the opposite of scary? (If you want to get serious about expressionistic semiotics, a circle is the most stable of shapes, and stability does not exactly breed fear in terms of a silhouette. The shape of a bat is a scary shape. The shape of large tipping wall is an intimidating shape.)

    Wait a minute, I just saw the monster on the ground near the knight's feet! Am I slow, or is the dead monster not readable? I think its not readable.

    Graphic design is the issue here. The drama (i.e. the tensions that illustrate the threat) must be evident graphically from forty paces. Otherwise its Jackson Pollock at the fantasy costume shop! Meaningless chaos with swords and helmets. Hey, I could be crazy, but I've heard it said a thousand time that if your illustrations don't read at thumbnail size, they haven't been properly composed. But if they do work at thumbnail size, you can bet they'll also work at forty paces when they're full sized.

    So is this illustration about a knight facing the Head Monster after killing his way past all its minions? If so, then why doesn't the knight seem exhausted? Where's all the cuts and nicks and blood? His hair looks salon ready. His tunic's immaculate. The dead monster on the floor looks pretty lame even though apparently it was pretty big at one time. Hard to tell.

    You want to make a dramatic illustration out of this idea, make the knight exhausted yet determined, sword at his side dripping with blood, hair mottled, drenched with sweat, leaning toward his next adversary. (Why would he care to wipe his blade just now? Is it somehow going to improve his chances? If not, in this particular situation would you waste even an ounce of energy housekeeping? Have you ever been in a fight? Its crazed chaos! After its over all you want to do is get air in your lungs!) Make his recent kills stacked up around him, like a junkyard of monstrosities, jaws gaping open, broken and torn. Have them act as a frame for the knight's forward leaning stance, as he pushes determinedly toward his prey. Make his last adversary, the king monster, rear up for the battle into some fearsome and intimidating position, as all animals in nature do when cornered and preparing for battle. Make some show of the King Monster's wealth, power and stature. Is there no culture to this monster's existence? No banners? No carvings? Just a single chair? (Why the chair if the monster can't fit in it? Why the human sized staircase? Was this a human's cave/throne room at some point? Would you want to reside on that throne? I wouldn't. Looks cold, pointy and uncomfortable.)

    I don't believe you lived in this situation or else you couldn't have painted the picture the way you have. This is the basic Pyle/Dunn/Wyeth philosophy I'm talking. They were stanislavsky before stanislavsky. Smell the smells, taste the tastes, breath the air, live in your picture until it is your own blood boiling at the thought of your own death. That knight looks like he's preparing for dinner, not a battle. How have you illustrated the tensions that tell the drama?

    By the way, beams of light streaming through particles will all have a single perspective point (the original light source). The beams on the left seem to have a different perspective than the others on the right. Also, what substance are the beams hitting against? Dust? I don't see any evidence that the particulates in question are anywhere but in front of the beams as you require. Maybe have some smoke rising from the cracks in the earth where the red glow (presumably from lava) is emanating. That'll give you the dust you require to make the light beams sensical.

    2nd: The portrait. I understand the Ichabod Crane thing although I'd be afraid of depressing editors with such a grim visage. Unless you were going for the brooding Byronic figure thing, which might work good with dumb college girls, but maybe not so well with grown professionals with tight deadlines to fill. I could be wrong about that though.

    The red inner corner of the eye looks huge. The eyeball reads as flat -- possibly because the shadow you have cast from the eyelid runs straight across the eyeball, but also because the value remains consistent across the white of the eye and there's no highlight. Also, the skin tones are all one color, red orange. Where's the yellows, the greys, the purples, the greens, the pinks, etc. There's a world of color in skin tones just waiting out there for you to discover. When you dare to find them you will have much more fun painting faces!

    3rd: Amazon chick stands over fallen knight. Okay, no blood on the sword. Did the purple knight trip? And what kind of outfit is that Purple Knight wearing?! Ornate pink buckles? What is the amazon doing? Waiting for him to get up? Is that a good tactic? If he's still stirring she should have her sword in his throat. If he's dead, she should be leaving. But she's totally calm and not moving. She doesn't even look tired. This is not dramatic. Where is the tension? Again, how come she looks like she just got out of the salon? Why is she pursing her lips like that? This looks like a "constructed" moment. There is no core dramatic tension at the heart of this picture. It reminds me of the placing of figures in a diarama. Dolls in a dull play.

    Dramatic illustrations cannot be constructed. They must be lived in your mind until your heart races with the reality of the threat you are experiencing. You need to think more like an actor and playwright and less like a technician. You must live in your illustrations or they will come out dead and full of obvious mistakes. Have you read Pyle and Dunn?

    4th: Like the wicker. It contrasts nicely with the skin. I like the moody lighting and the way the figure's body falls into shadow.

    Problems... There is no hint of what he's looking for that I can see. Without a clue, the audience may think he could be looking for bait, or he may have dropped his watch, or maybe even that there could be something lurking down below that is dangerous.

    What is down below? Looks like raked asphalt. If its swamp water, why is it rushing? Swamp water tends to be stagnant and greenish. Maybe some lily pads and goopy green flotsam and weed might liven that grey liquid up and give you some opportunity to map its perspective.

    And what's with that six foot long stick with the craggy end? There's vines hanging all over the place. That thing'll get tangled in a second. What he really needs is a machete to hack through all that crap. Have you ever walked across a stream on wet mossy log? Its tough and scary and you don't want some big awkward stick in your way unless you can stick it in the shallow water and help hold yourself up with it.

    And why's he squatting if he's looking up at us? And why's he squatting in that weird bodybuilder pose? He's off balance and should be falling backward into the water right now. His anatomy is really weird and awkward and the tatoos and wicker stuff in there just make it more awkward and weird. And how does having string swinging in front of his eyes help him in his life? Is that mask made of paper? Is it a tribal mask? Is it protection?

    I hope you see what I'm getting at. I'm tired of writing. You should download the pdf of Harvey Dunn's lecture notes and start reading them. They should be available online. I know George Pratt used to have them downloadable from some page he had that was associated with a school he was teaching at.

    Anyhow, sorry for the super tough crit. I will delete this post if you want. Just ask.

    kev

    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=101106

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  27. #27
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    The Dunn notes can be found here.


    Tristan Elwell
    **Finished Work Thread **Process Thread **Edges Tutorial

    Crash Course for Artists, Illustrators, and Cartoonists, NYC, the 2013 Edition!

    "Work is more fun than fun."
    -John Cale

    "Art is supposed to punch you in the brain, and it's supposed to stay punched."
    -Marc Maron
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  28. #28
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    Thanks Elwell that was a delightful read.

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    kev-Eliminate the post? Are you kidding? Rather than eliminate your post, I would prefer that it be printed, laminated, and put up all over the place. It's a very respectful, thorough, and generous crit, and there's info in here that the entire community can learn from. I would say that every good piece has a powerful sense of personality/life before saying that they they're about heightened drama, but it would be a minor distinction, and my "posed diarama" paintings need more of both. I don't think that every piece needs the same brand of expressiveness and drama, but then again I want all of my work to be of the "good art" brand.

    Also, if I wanted you to remove your post in order to impress an art director, then I wouldn't deserve that person's respect. Censoring critics won't make artists like my work more.

    Thank you for the notes, Elwell. I was about to look those up, though I just mentioned Harvey Dunn in a thread yesterday. Oh, sweet irony!

    everyone else-I'll fit you in soon enough. Kev demanded my attention with this one

    Andrew Murray
    Concept Artist, Tencent Boston
    www.theincredibleandy.com
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  30. #30
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    Some cool stuff! My favorite is the third one with the knight, and the one with the jungle guy. I like the lightning in it

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