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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.
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!
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.
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?
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)
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 )
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
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:
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.
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
11-14 is not a lot of layers.
and stop counting them.
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.
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.
Thank you for giving me food for thought.
Real nice work so far. Other than the color suggestions already made, I'd largely recommend keeping your pencil *really* sharp the entire time. It'll help to fill in all the white spots in the paper that a blunt pencil cant get in to, which is important, since the white spots make your dark areas look lighter than they should be.
umm... my screen is callibrated with the printer we use for work so it supoose to have "true" colours.. but anyway, every computer screen has different callibration and quality, so colours always differ from one screen to another. i usually take that under concideration.
anyway, as for the purples... u may have not used the purple pencils but this is what i see as a result here - remember that combination of colours in detail may result in a general differnt one. so that if u use blues and reds then the general may result in a puplish colour (here it seems to like grey lavender, i don't know what u see on your screen). grey is not a dominating colour on the cliffs as i see them on my screen.
anyway, try to avoid using greys, from the same reason u avoid using black. grey is something that is better to achieve using colours and not a ready pigment.stop using greys and try to understand how to give the illusion of grey using colours (hint - very much like the same way you will create black using colour)
using reference doesn't mean u should copy it, i agree with u. but if u find a picture that is sutible for the atmosphere and composition but not for details or colour, then get one or two more to help u with these subjects. again it dosn't you have to copy them. but ref pics helps us understand the material and scene we want to express.
Chagan's tip is really helpful. i personally like to sharpen my pencils with a knife so the tip have different "faces",
Last edited by Noa K; March 21st, 2008 at 11:01 AM. Reason: missed important words
Since I think the color issue has been beaten to death, is there any other useful criticism you might have?
you asked in your first post to critic your coloured pencils skills:
"Please critique my colored pencil skills"
so from start i adressed only matters within your coloured pencil technique. and for me the main problem IS the use of colour , which is like 80% of working with coloured pencils. but it seems u r not very open to recieve any constructive critique on the subject.
i don't know u, i don't know your past training, i have no idea from my side of the computer what u already know and why not. and so, i can only offer advice on what seems to be problamtic. if u theoratically know all the matters i've adressed then apply them - better. there is absolutely no reason for u to be offensive or rude since all i've done is trying to give a well-meant advice, and not discourage u at all.
right now there's seems to be a lack of realism in this art and the perspective with the creature is very 2d like apart from that i like the landscape but the whole thing doesn't scream out wow to me
my sketch book NuSex's- http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...28#post1723528
upcoming villain/hero wip
but what your high standard classes failed to introduce to is such things as "atmospheric perspective" wich migh acctually give any kind of depth to your colo
but after all we know that perspective is for losers!
friends Sketchbooks:Dile_, Stine
my flickr go there if you want to see my photography stuff
<mildly sarcastic remark that seems a little cutting at first read, but contains wisdom and is really rather funny>
Ilaekae: "I'm sick and tired of "purists" who dictate their own anal preoccupations to everybody else as the word of gods."
Based off the image and the above comments, I feel that your main issue is not choosing what colors to use, but to what extent you utilize those colors. The fact that you had to post zooms to make those hue shifts even visible is a definite warning sign. If a piece seems monochromatic, the viewer is not going to get really close to the piece to later discover that there are indeed shifts in color.
Hue shifts in an image should be easy to distinguish from a 'normal' viewing distance from the piece. Once those changes in color are only visible in a zoom, that tells me that you should be bolder with your color shifts.
You have done a very good job at rendering the trunk of the tree with a myriad of colors, but you weren't nearly as effective with the cliff-side (it appears to me as a mixture of rich purple, pale purple and white, and only upon tilting my monitor as far as it would go was I able to see the yellows to put into the whites). I am also discouraged by the fact that in this whole forest, only one tree trunk is visible.
My major critique with the piece, however, lies in the formalism, perspective, and mood. There's little to no sense of scale or form (which becomes very apparent in the attached grayscale of your image). The values on the figure are too uniform, and its nearly impossible to distinguish a light source.
Regarding mood, this piece does not speak to me on any fundamental level. I feel no connection with the figure and cannot tell what feelings are trying to be evoked. The creature is very distant and static (the fact that both its left legs lie in a plane perpendicular to the viewer doesn't help). The anatomy (especially the face) feels lackluster and wanting. Problems with perspective have been outlined previously, so I shall not go through them.
Compositionally, the piece is just there. The eyes of the viewer are not lead through anything at all (or at least as best as I can discern). None of the rules of placement of focuses are apparent. Nail the composition down in a thumbnail before you embark on a piece. A little pre-planning goes a long way.
I hope my critique will be somewhat helpful, and best of luck on your future endeavors .
I second Havoc. The rendering is very good. So far as realism, the trees should be darker, and need more reds. The beastie seems like it should be back lit, considering the forest lighting. When I think of a really realistic image, I think of amatuer snapshots where there's no thought of composition, scale, etc. In this respect, I think it almost works - just a bit more perspective emphasis on the animal, and make it's pose a bit more natural and you're there (upsetting considering it's already rendered now).
but for a composition that really blows people away, like a slap in the face goodness, yeah, Havoc's got some good pointers. Really, a piece like this is all about lighting, which is why I'm not sure you even need to go straight for realism. A great artist to look up is nebezial. He posts here, and you can see all his works at http://nebezial.deviantart.com
He's a master of beastial anatomy, but more importantly of light - he can make a regular, sunny day into bright damn golden magic. He's definatly worth studying - in great detail.
There are many things that I could say, but I'm not sure how to say them. I'm very sorry if I have over-reacted to anything said here - I am aware that all criticism has been well-intentioned.
I know that I'm not a very good artist, which is why I hesitated for so long before bothering to show any examples of what I've done. I fully expected to have my shortcomings pointed out to me, and I could have submitted a laundry list of things that I suck at. Some of what has been said here has been really helpful; the last two critiques by Havok-DM and TASmith were very good, as were those by Jason Rainville, Lord Voldy, Leysan and Chagan. (I hope I didn't accidentally miss one of the helpful people.) Defining a light source is one of my great weaknesses, and I expected to be called out on it. I also expected to have people criticize my anatomy (2D figure duly noted), the static and uninteresting pose, the sole tree truck (originally I had wanted it to be less evident, but it somehow didn't turn out that way), and yes, maybe some of the color choices. I did not expect to be treated to lessons on basic color theory and told to layer colors when those are things I know and things that I do. To hear that apparently such skills are not really evident in my work is really hurtful, as I thought that there were far worse flaws in this, and it was strange that you all overlooked them until the last couple of postings.
To clear up a misunderstanding - I do not have a degree in visual art. I do have a BFA, but it is in drama. (Stage management and directing to be specific, with a little bit of costume and set design thrown in for good measure - I took the visual art classes to supplement the theatrical design classes.) I pointed out that I have some education so that you might understand why I didn't necessarily need lessons in how to mix blue and red to get purple. Education is not necessary to be an artist, though it obviously helps. If I'd managed to get a degree in visual art with only this level of ability to show for it, that would be pretty sad indeed.
Anyway, perhaps I will just go back to charcoal and pencil (the uncolored kind) for a while. If nothing else, that should help me to focus on lighting and basic anatomy, right?
Again, I'm very sorry.
"I know that I'm not a very good artist"
Bullshit, you're just trying to do something that's very, very hard. It's one thing to study nature, and another to recreate it. If you reall want to get good at this, the only answer is practice, practice, practice.
And, if you're color theory ed was anything like mine in college, you could still benefit greatly from learning more. In the fine art thread there's a great post on limited colro palettes - ultramarine, burnt umbar, and white make some really great paintings. You should study them.
Very good job, but I have a few things that bug me.
First off, i think that you could make it more detailed in some areas, and less hard lines, some of the trees look like pillows or pin cushions instead of actual trees.
Secondly, Add more contrast according to one specific light source, the piece lacks contrast and is mostly bright-mid tone in values.
Last, don't try to go away from blacks, you can still use them. In fact you should use them, this piece is very saturated in my opinion and could use some touching up.