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Thread: Please critique my colored pencil skills

  1. #1
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    Please critique my colored pencil skills

    Please critique my colored pencil skills

    I'm very new to this site, and have been intimidated about posting here. I'm an amateur artist and the artwork on this site is definitely a big step up from what I am capable of. I wanted to have something I was really proud of and had worked hard on to post here. I still don't think this is really high enough quality, but maybe some critique would help me improve. I don't think I'll be working on this piece itself any further, (I need a break from it), but I hope to incorporate any suggestions I get into my future work.

    This is part of what I've said about it elsewhere:

    "I have worked on this piece for approximately 24 hours total, over six weekends. I needed natural light to work on it, because otherwise it was hard to see how the colors were working, which meant that by the time I got home from work on weekdays I didn't have any light to work by.

    "This is done entirely in pencil crayon. I did not use any black in the shading, and used only a touch of black in the pupil of the eye. (Most of the pupil is actually really dark brown.) All the rest of the dark shading was created by mixing complimentary colors.

    "I am both extremely proud of this piece and very disappointed with it. I think it's probably the best thing I have ever done, and yet some aspects of it are deeply flawed, which causes me no end of grief. However, I'm not going to point out what's wrong with it. That's up to you to tell me if you notice anything.

    "The background for this piece was based (sometimes very loosely) on this piece of stock art by iconA1ms-Stock at deviantArt: http://a1ms-stock.deviantart.com/art...Stock-76167059 "

    I hope there is some merit to my work. Thank you in advance for taking the time to comment.
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  3. #2
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    Looks pretty cool.

    Everything is really bright though and it's hard to see where the lightsource is. I think some darker areas in the trees would help with both problems.
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    hi there!

    it's a pretty good work u got there!

    not using black for shade in my opinion is the best method to work, so u already got a good understanding of "do' and don'ts" as they say...

    it seems to me u got to try and move one from working on chromatic scales :
    the bush hues are varid in green, the creature colours are yellow-reds, you get my point. try to incorporate completing-colours as you work and allways work in layers of colouring. it's tedious work but very rewarding at the end result.

    also i thing u should work on the colour perspective - for example, the enviornment colours don't change from the forground to background. i see you got a start of it at the left area, so don't be afaraid and go with it. same goes for contrasts of shadings...

    i hope this helps, it looks good so don't leave it! keep on working, and good luck!
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    Thank you.

    I agree about the light source. I know you can't tell, but I did think constantly about lighting in this scene. I just... didn't know what the heck to do with it. I kept asking myself where the light source was, and I don't think I ever really figured it out. That's one of the things I hate about this piece. Lighting is my nemesis, unless I have a good reference to work from.

    I'm thinking about how to darken the trees up to maybe fix the problem... But the thought of working on them any more is rather disheartening, and I'm not sure how I'd do it. I'll mull it over for a bit, I guess.

    Thanks again.
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    Thank you! I'm not sure what you mean about completing colors... There are already multiple layers upon layers of color in this. That tree trunk alone has 11 different layers, with browns, greens, grays, yellows and reds in there. (And yes... it is very tedious.)

    I'm not sure what you mean about color perspective either. Unless you mean that things usually get lighter as they get further away... The photo I was referencing for the background had really dark trees near the back though.

    Can you elaborate on those things a little?
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  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azulene View Post
    Thank you! I'm not sure what you mean about completing colors... There are already multiple layers upon layers of color in this. That tree trunk alone has 11 different layers, with browns, greens, grays, yellows and reds in there. (And yes... it is very tedious.)

    I'm not sure what you mean about color perspective either. Unless you mean that things usually get lighter as they get further away... The photo I was referencing for the background had really dark trees near the back though.

    Can you elaborate on those things a little?

    Completing Colours:
    well, maybe i misstranslated the term but i'll try to explain (in english is a bit harder for me to express myself so please forgive me for the clumsiness)
    there are three basic colours - red, yellow and blue. all the other colours are drived out of them -
    green - yellow & blue,
    orange - yellow & red,
    purple - red & blue
    that makes the basic colour wheel.
    completing colours is about the "couples" made from the basic colours counter to the seconderies (above) that don't enclude them:

    Red - Green (yellow&blue)
    Yellow - Purple (Red&blue)
    Blue - Orange (Yellow&Red)

    if you'll mix the completing colours (any pair of them) in wet medium such as acrilic or oil you'll get a result of brown/grey (depends on the colour families, umm, "hot vs. cold" colours)

    Now,
    if you work correctly with crayon pencils with completing colours you'll get more accurate yet vibrant "darkness"
    (i take in concideration the scannig lightened your work a bit)
    try an excersize and work on a different papers just squers or balls made of tthis way of colouring, just to see how that works for you (for ex. try to lay red, green, blue, yellow, red). check how to make a "colour black" without pressuring the tips.
    oh and yes, the order of the layering matters, so if you choose to work from lighter shades to darker ones, always use the lighter ones first (but u probably know that )



    Colour perspective
    the main principle is that the farthest (is that a word?) layer of the piece will "fade" into the background. so that as u go down the layers their Hue should be more and more similiar to the backgrounds.
    in your case' i'm not sure how it should exactly be. at first i thought that trees where the birs are are reallyfar off and should be lighter and more bluish.but now as i look at it i realize they are relativly close and there's a deepning of the forest, so maybe just darkening them would do the job.
    if would like to put on the refernce i would try to be more accurate

    hope i didn't make a complete mass and explained myself a little better then i think
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  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noa K View Post
    Completing Colours:
    well, maybe i misstranslated the term but i'll try to explain (in english is a bit harder for me to express myself so please forgive me for the clumsiness)
    there are three basic colours - red, yellow and blue. all the other colours are drived out of them -
    green - yellow & blue,
    orange - yellow & red,
    purple - red & blue
    that makes the basic colour wheel.
    completing colours is about the "couples" made from the basic colours counter to the seconderies (above) that don't enclude them:

    Red - Green (yellow&blue)
    Yellow - Purple (Red&blue)
    Blue - Orange (Yellow&Red)

    if you'll mix the completing colours (any pair of them) in wet medium such as acrilic or oil you'll get a result of brown/grey (depends on the colour families, umm, "hot vs. cold" colours)

    Now,
    if you work correctly with crayon pencils with completing colours you'll get more accurate yet vibrant "darkness"
    (i take in concideration the scannig lightened your work a bit)
    try an excersize and work on a different papers just squers or balls made of tthis way of colouring, just to see how that works for you (for ex. try to lay red, green, blue, yellow, red). check how to make a "colour black" without pressuring the tips.
    oh and yes, the order of the layering matters, so if you choose to work from lighter shades to darker ones, always use the lighter ones first (but u probably know that )



    Colour perspective
    the main principle is that the farthest (is that a word?) layer of the piece will "fade" into the background. so that as u go down the layers their Hue should be more and more similiar to the backgrounds.
    in your case' i'm not sure how it should exactly be. at first i thought that trees where the birs are are reallyfar off and should be lighter and more bluish.but now as i look at it i realize they are relativly close and there's a deepning of the forest, so maybe just darkening them would do the job.
    if would like to put on the refernce i would try to be more accurate

    hope i didn't make a complete mass and explained myself a little better then i think
    Ok, thanks, I now understand what you meant. I think the term you are looking for is "complimentary" colors - colors on opposite sides of the color wheel. Which makes me wonder if you even read my description, because in it I clearly point out that all the dark areas in this piece, including the ones that appear black, were created through the use of complimentary colors. ("This is done entirely in pencil crayon. I did not use any black in the shading, and used only a touch of black in the pupil of the eye. (Most of the pupil is actually really dark brown.) All the rest of the dark shading was created by mixing complimentary colors.") So, I already know how to do that. Perhaps it doesn't come out in the scan as well as in real life. Or perhaps I can push further with it... though I don't see how.

    As far as layering colors, I already apply layer upon layer of color. Every inch of this has at least four colors layered on top of each other, in some areas there might be as many as 11-14 color layers. It takes me hours to color an area a few inches square. It's really difficult for me not to feel offended about being told to do the things I'm already good at, when to my eyes there are many other glaring flaws in my work.

    I suppose I could spend more time darkening the trees, and could possibly punch up the differences between the light and dark bits. The stock I referenced for the background, (linked to in my original post), was pretty uniform in terms of color tone, but that doesn't mean I have to be.

    I don't know if it'll help, but here are some details from the piece:

    Please critique my colored pencil skills
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  9. #8
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    Don't be afraid to put in some colours that aren't supposed to be there. Its scary i know, but sometimes its good to have contrasting colours for the lights and shadows.
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  10. #9
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    maybe the scan doesn't do justice but still, you are sticking to the monocromatic tones of shadings... that makes it look flat...
    try to work with complimentary colours (thanx for the translation ) on large areas and not only in the little details. ican see u used reds to create a little bit of shading between the leaves and ect, but i think that applying colour to large areas will do good for this workand for your technique as a whole
    . it is really noticable in the details. for ex: take the detail of the cliff u posted. it seems only white and purple, and that looks a bit schematic. first u must understand your light source, where is it coming from, what time of day it is, and so on. then try to figure out what kind of a cliff it is, what kind of rocks, are they edgy, bulgy, crumbly and so on. u said u have a reference picture - so use it.
    as i said befor, if you'd like to put on your refernce pic i will be able to make myself clearer
    gl
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  11. #10
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    p.s
    11-14 is not a lot of layers.
    and stop counting them.
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  12. #11
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    p.p.s

    i appologize:
    first of all, i never meant to offend you by any way. i only try to help on what i feel needs more work to be done..
    second, somehow i missed the link to the ref. pic.
    but now that i've found it i have something to say:

    true it's not the greatest reference in the world (so y oh y did take that one? nevermind.) but saying it is "uniform in colour tone" is just not paying attentions. sorry, but that's the way i see it. it is very dark, that is true though. u should pay more attention to the details of the ref pics. that's y we all use them.
    ok, look at the cliffs. in overall the do look purplish but when u check it closely the have so many colours in them: blue and yellow and reds and purple just in natural colour. in painting them u can even exagerate that.
    also pay attention to the rock details.
    these are the stuff that will make your from "pretty good" to "Nifty! Yay!"


    so what am i trying to say really? your work is good but you can make it a whole lot better.
    pay attention to details and don't be afraid to use "too" many colours.

    good luck!
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  13. #12
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    What Noa K said

    I'm not an expert at color theory or anything, but here are my thoughts on that.
    Attachment 328967
    My Stuff: DeviantArt, Sketchbook
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noa K View Post
    maybe the scan doesn't do justice but still, you are sticking to the monocromatic tones of shadings... that makes it look flat...
    try to work with complimentary colours (thanx for the translation ) on large areas and not only in the little details. ican see u used reds to create a little bit of shading between the leaves and ect, but i think that applying colour to large areas will do good for this workand for your technique as a whole
    . it is really noticable in the details. for ex: take the detail of the cliff u posted. it seems only white and purple, and that looks a bit schematic. first u must understand your light source, where is it coming from, what time of day it is, and so on. then try to figure out what kind of a cliff it is, what kind of rocks, are they edgy, bulgy, crumbly and so on. u said u have a reference picture - so use it.
    as i said befor, if you'd like to put on your refernce pic i will be able to make myself clearer
    gl
    Thank you for your suggestions. I probably should experiment more with larger blocks of complimentary color. I was probably a bit conservative with this piece, since it is my first full attempt at using colored pencil in several years. Because most of my traditional work has been done in monochromatic medium I probably feel more comfortable with a restrained palette.

    I'm starting to wonder if your monitor shows color differently from mine, because calling my cliffs white and purple is a huge surprise. I used a warm gray, a cool gray, a few browns, a touch of red, blue from the sky and highlights of yellow to color those cliffs (if I remember correctly - I might have forgotten something, as it's been a while now). I didn't use any purple, and there is not enough red in that to have made it look purple. *squints at the original trying to see purple, but doesn't...*

    As far as counting the layers, I am giving you estimations. I don't sit there obsessively counting how many layers I put in something - that would be dumb. The only thing I actually counted was how many different pencils I used in getting the tree trunk the way I wanted it, and that was 11 pencils. But since I might use each pencil more than once it's probably more layers. The only reason I counted the layers is because it amused me that I used more colors in that one small area than I did anywhere else.

    Why did I use the reference I did? Because I liked the landscape. I wasn't really using it as a color reference, nor did I intend to copy it exactly. Use of a reference doesn't mean I have to slavishly copy it.

    I will keep your thoughts in mind for the future.
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