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  1. #1
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    Concept Art is Challenging!

    Hi all.
    I've been a CA lurker for a while but I'd really like to start getting more involved. I'm an American but living in Lisbon, Portugal currently.
    Here are some images showing my current level of ability with drawing, figures, photoshop, etc.
    I love seeing all the work here, especially the not-so-great stuff! Somehow it helps me to to see my own weaknesses more easily. Seeing the impossibly great stuff, which abounds, is wonderful but feels so far off.
    I'd be particularly interested in whatever resources and dialogue here at CA can help me get more "pieces" done. I find myself doodling without ever taking stuff to a more refined level. Is it just me? Anyways, thanks for stopping by my Sketchbook.

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  3. #2
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    Nice work...post more!!!

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  4. #3
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    Nice, the first one I like the most.
    But ehh.. what material should the robot(?) be, because his face seems made out of wood.
    Oh and is it just me or are the most of your figures too stiff (because this is also something I see in my 'work' that my imaginary figures are way too stiff, somethings not all too natural about them)

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  5. #4
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    You're completely right Verze.
    My figures are very stiff. I think that comes mostly from them being like "studies" where I'm really afraid the anatomy and proportions will fall apart if I try to be too bold.
    I need to work on that for sure.
    And textures for the robot thing? Yeah, what the heck are those??! Wooden face? Makes no sense. At least it looks...kinda...cool. That's something for now. Thanks for commenting.

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  6. #5
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    I, too, am a developing concept artist, and from what I've learned so far, everything is all about the silhouette. it's really hard to make a picture done in all neutral tones look very good, so you have to add a lot of contrast. And in doing so, you should always try to keep the darker and lighter figures immediately distinguishable by maker their silhouettes strong. What I've found works for me is to start with a nice midtone--sort of a grey, or mid-brown--and keep it fairly unsaturated. Then I go over the midtone with brights and darks making really blobby shapes so that my mind is still free to wander, but so that the composition still has some direction. From there, it's all jsut detailing and color mixing and texturing. I hope that helps, some. (I'm no expert or anything, but I love to help, when I can. )

    As for critique: I think you have a pretty good basic understanding of human form and anatomy. The only problem I can really see is that your characters don't seem "relaxed." They're all super tense, in a manner of speaking. Try curving their backs at somewhere more than just at the neck, and try and make it look like gravity has some effect on their body (i.e. sloping shoulders, bent knees, hair falling down or blowing in the wind). Also, don't focus so much on the muscles. Muscle are great if you're into superheroes comics or he-man style fantasy, but it's possible to make somebody look strong without an abundance of muscles.

    If you REALLY want to learn to do this stuff fast, check out http://www.posemaniacs.com/pose/thirtysecond.html . It's probably the single best artistic resource I have ever had the joy of using. An as for painting technique, just keep working on it. Try doing 30 minute speedpaintings--if you can, try to do 2-3 per day. It's the fastest way to learn, I've found.

    Oh and lastly, try joining a sketchbook support group. They do wonders.

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  7. #6
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    radioblur, thanks so much for your thoughts!
    I agree with everything you have to say.
    And I'll add, your comment about making sure your mind is "free to wander" as you build your drawing is a crucial one for me. The progression of a drawing through to lighting and rendering seems fraught with peril. Doing all the detail work on a weak foundation is my dread fear, I think. Wasting time "polishing a turd" is how someone in a recent ImagineFX article described it (makes me laugh). I really want to develop the ability to KNOW that I have a solid enough foundation to proceed. Though being a relative novice at this craft seems to entail plenty of not knowing exactly that crucial fact.
    I've included a sketch I did a couple years ago when I was doing life drawing at least once a week. This view from behind was without a model but felt pretty natural and believable to me. Also doesn't seem as "tense" as my other figures are.
    And thanks for that posemaniacs link! Very cool. I'm going to plan on making that a daily routine.
    Sketchbook support group. Not sure what that is but I can guess. Is that part of CA.org or are you speaking more generally?
    Thanks again!

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  8. #7
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    The support groups are a part of CA.org. couldn't find the link to give it to you though, sorry.

    Also, that sketch you posted looks great, and even though the proportions/anatomy may not be 100% realistic they look superb as a stylized interpretation. I would absolutely love to see more work liek this out of you, since this is the foundation of strong art

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  9. #8
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    Thanks. If the support groups are part of CA.org I'll find them.
    And thanks also regarding my 'back sketch". I've found the 'looser' I can get with the pencil the better (at least at first). Sure helps with the rhythm of the lines. It's a general approach I'm trying to integrate into my workflow that seems to help for the initial take on drawings.

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  10. #9
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    Since this is my sketchbook and I can, presumably, do anything here I want, I'm going to start compiling notes gathered from my life and elsewhere that I've found very useful in my JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY (bah bum!). That is, figuring out how to get done what I'm trying to get done. As I discover some or all of these need to be updated I'll do so. Thank you to CA.org since many more notes are flooding my brain recently.

    - Photoshop Workflow Tip #1: Set Wacom pen buttons to size up and size down x 3.
    Using the Wacom configuration tool set the buttons on the pen to be "]]]" and
    [[[". These are the Photoshop hotkeys for brush size up and down three times. Oh my god this is useful! Came from another user on CA (I'll post the thread link in a bit).

    - Perspective Tip #1: The only perspective rules you need to remember to draw anything in 3D:
    All parallel lines will recede to the same point. (this is the one everyone knows)
    ALL lines existing on parallel PLANES will vanish to the same vanishing LINE.
    Circles in perspective are (best approximated as) ellipses with minor axis aligned along the vanishing line to the center of the ellipse.

    Got a two point perspective (like a cityscape) but have some edges that aren't aligned with those two grid lines? Just make sure they vanish to the same line! Same for every floor of the building since all lines in parallel PLANES also vanish to the same horizon line. Like the clouds too.

    - Perspective Composition tip #1: Two or three point perspective isn't mysterious. It's just telling you how to draw one particular right-angled CORNER (anywhere in your scene). How do you decide the best positions of your vanishing points? Just ask: what am I trying to draw? What's most important to show off? And what corner is associated with that area? Building a vehicle to show off? Is the side coolest (most likely) or the front? If the side, orient the "corner" so that you see a bit of the front and more of the side. That would force one vanishing point farther to one side of your page and the other closer. Both front and side are equally cool? Use pure 3/4 perspective and place both vanishing points equally off to the side. How far? That depends on your "camera's" angle of view. One rule that seems to work is twice the width of your main object to each side to avoid too much unnatural looking distortion. The closer the vanishing points are together the more "wide angle" distortion you'll perceive in the final image.

    - Perspective Composition Tip #2: Choosing camera position
    When in doubt about where to put the camera for a given composition, choose a position where a person could actually be standing (or sitting, squatting, etc). We're used to looking through our own eyes or at photographs. Both (usually) require a person to be on the other side of the lens. If you really need the camera to be high up looking down, see if you can suggest a mountain side, skyscraper vantage point, or the like. It can add believability and, most importantly, super coolness.

    - Painting Tip #1: Pen pressure doesn't change brush size
    This has been very useful for me now that I'm starting to try and paint (in a painterly way) with Photoshop: Turn off Pen Pressure control of brush size. Basically my pen pressure modulates opacity and flow but not brush size. I use Photoshop Workflow Tip # 1 for that. I use a large brush to try and get a quick value sketch done without fretting over small details. As I proceed, the brush starts getting smaller and I start zooming in. Before I let the Wacom modulate both size and opacity since I figured that was more "natural". Maybe as I get better it will start to click but for now I'm sticking with Opacity/Flow as the way to go!

    Last edited by vorp; February 20th, 2008 at 06:49 AM.
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  11. #10
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    Hey vorp, it was great meeting you tonight! I see you haven't posted in your SB in a few months, I hope you'll start it up again That last figure drawing is fantastic! I can't believe you were insisting you didn't know the structure of the arms. The ones you did were amazing and hit all the anatomic points! The only small crit is that the waist below the lats seem to be getting a bit narrow. I can't wait to see those environments that you're working on

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  12. #11
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    Boston Area Splinter Cell 36: Jushra | Vorp | Purb36 | PartialArtist
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  13. #12
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  14. #13
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    Sup Len! Good to see your sketchbook finally. I've noticed in your figures that the limbs tend to be a bit disjointed. Work on your insertion points for muscles (I'm currently doing the same, just one body part at the time), and watch your proportions. The figure in the newest image you posted has a really long forearm and his neck feels absent; there should be some musculature heading from his skull to the collarbone. I'll try to show you what I'm talking about tomorrow.

    Cheers

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  15. #14
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  16. #15
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    Playing with lizard, salamander-type creature design.



    Last edited by vorp; July 2nd, 2009 at 10:18 PM.
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  17. #16
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  18. #17
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    Playing with colors and composition here. Quick paint kind of concept.


    Last edited by vorp; July 2nd, 2009 at 10:17 PM.
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  19. #18
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    Another study of a controlled color palette with analogous color.


    Last edited by vorp; July 2nd, 2009 at 10:17 PM.
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  20. #19
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    Okay...that's officially insane, Jusra, that you comment on my images WHILE I'm uploading them. Insane, and cool. I guess we just synchronized our timing.
    Thanks for the suggestions. That "Celtic Squatter" one is definitely in need of love. Can't I just cover all the tough muscular bits in some kind of easy-render(TM) armor?
    I guess not. Haven't touched that one in a while but I'd love to make it final.

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  21. #20
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    I purchased a "Pencilling" "correspondence course" through Kubert's School of Cartooning like 3 years ago. I kind of abandoned it only a few months after starting it.
    Now I'm trying to continue it and hope they don't notice the, er, 2 year interruption of my output (maybe they don't even care!).

    The latest assignment is to draw a superhero character climbing up a building with perspective and all that. The perspective I'm pretty confident about. The figure...well..that's another story. Here are some sketches exploring a climbing figure done at our most recent Boston Sketch group gathering. Nothing feels right...yet.
    (And by 'doesn't feel right' I mean 'doesn't look like ass')

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  22. #21
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    Some sketches done during the first "Fun Draw Party 97" public access drawing show and then "speed" painted in photoshop to try to get something resembling realistic lighting.

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