I'm looking for ways to practice and learn better control. I feel when I'm drawing even when I'm trying for something closer to 'observation real' it still comes across weak or lacking in detail or refining.
The hand is the example of what I'm thinking. http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=105291
The lighting is alright, I know I need more blending practice (any ideas real fast?) but most of my concern is coming up with a creating clean shapes and crisp edges. Even with my hand I have a hard time doing that. Are there any drills that help with that? I know practice helps, but I've had control issues since my first class and has always been a critique I've received on countless occassions.
The more confident you become with drawing/painting, this should improve. By the looks of that drawing you didn't block the colours in and instead went over and over certain areas. I used to do this a lot but since I've started drawing more regularly and getting out of my comfort zone I've got better at doing clearer drawings. There are probably some exercises to help you with this, but I can't remember any right now
its not helpless at all. Helpless would be if you would not see your own mistakes.
As long as you can see that you did something wrong there is always room for improvement. Time could be one answer, maybe you simply need to invest more time to get the things right as quality often is a matter of time and effort.
If you paint from a reference, break down what you paint i simple forms. you can break down every object to simple shapes. In the next step you build the correct shapes and proportions using this shapes and then refine them.
Looking at the fingers of your hand i would say they look kinda wobbly, look at the nails, i bet you can see without me underlining it that the forms are not correct. If you can see it, you can fix it.
Try to understand the geometry of the objects you paint, this will help you to get the shadows right. I assume you are able to shade a ball and a cube correctly? Well break down the hand into more simple shapes. Starting with the fingers you can imagine deformed cylindric shapes, knowing that you can maybe see what is wrong with the shadows.
Also note that painting by reference, especially from life requires some setup too. If you start painting your hand sitting in front of your screen then you might notice that your hand is illuminated by various light sources from different direction and in the worst case would look bad even if painted correctly.
Looking at your hand i noticed that you might have used the smudge tool on the fingers? The smudge tool is not meant to be used this way, best is if you just never use it again, its just smearing around and will not help at all.
(this tool can be used to make some very nice effects or for small corrections but that you will discover much later for yourself)
When i start painting something i do:
I observe the object and see what color would cover the biggest part of the object, if it is a very bright object i will apply the bright color first and then work out the shadows, if it is rather dark i start with the darker values.