Strengths and Weaknesses?
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    Strengths and Weaknesses?

    Much as it absolutely terrifies me to do so, I figured getting some honest critique from pros is probably one of the best things I can do for myself. Last time I participated in an online critique place, I was always reemed and told things like I should chop my hands off. But this place seems much more friendly than that.

    I suppose I'd like to know my weaknesses, or what I should really be working on improving. I'm quite aware there's probably plenty for me to work on, but it's hard to pinpoint our own weaknesses sometimes, or concentrate on the biggies.

    So I'm attaching a few of my works. Rather than spam with too many pieces though, I'll just link to my DA gallery, which has a bit of work there: http://thecatlady.deviantart.com/gallery/

    Thank you for your time in advance.

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    There's a lot of bad anime-style art out there because folks don't bother to study realistic anatomy.

    Your art does not fall in that category. I am by no means a professional yet, but I can certainly tell you know your anatomy fairly well.

    You have a very good control of you linework, and you're good at simplifying form. Based on what I saw looking at your DA gallery, your weakness shows in the realistic portraits you did, simply because they weren't pushed far enough towards realism. Some of your anime influence is still showing in them, and they should really be pushed further in either direction instead of sitting somewhere in between.

    Anyhow, anybody who told you to chop off your hands really has no business critiquing you. I saw some Sword of Truth stuff in your gallery! Wahoo! (Sorry, big nerd about that series).

    The Fenriswolf.
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    Overall, I think your drawings are lovely. What I notice most is your attention to details, like folds in clothing and small reflections. Your characters look nicely polished.

    From your examples, I'd venture in guessing that backgrounds might not be your forte since they don't have the amount of detail you put into the characters. So you might want to practice on that.

    But since you obviously have a good sense of design, I'm sure you'll see some great results from real-life studying and sketching.

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    @FenrisWolf: Thanks for commenting! When you say, "Some of your anime influence is still showing in them, and they should really be pushed further in either direction instead of sitting somewhere in between." do you mean that for the majority of my works (Since the style I use most of the time is kinda in the middle) or the works where I'm actively striving for realism?

    And yeah, I like the first couple books in the Sword of Truth series. Especially the first. ^_^

    @Sekino: Thank you very muchly. You'd be spot on about the background thing. It's only recently that I've tried to even attempt the vague stuff. Shame on me... I had an idea for a picture I might try soon, that actually focuses more on background than characters. It'll be tough, but it'll probably be good for me.

    I'll dive more into real life studying and sketching, as you said. When I knock a couple projects out of the way, I'll likely open up a sketchbook on this site. I'm coming from DeviantArt, but I feel this place will be much more helpful to me. I need critiques and help. Not ego stroking.

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    I don't even wanna know where did they tell ya to chop your hands off
    lol

    Nice pieces, I like 'em!

    Looking for a job!
    Contact: oplanicp89@net.hr


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    Almost all of your faces looks exactly the same. You should get more variation!

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    Strengths:
    - solid linework
    - good anatomy (but you still have things to learn )

    Weaknesses:
    - Color usage, color variation: You use only white for definition of lit areas. Fortunately you don't use black to define shadows. Almost all your work could use more color definition and additional colors. Try to lay down the basic flat color for an area and use light blue to define shadows and something other than white for highlights (yellow can be an obvious choice, but you can try any other colors)
    - blurryness: Your style is cartoony but you tend to use smooth gradients. Cell shading may work better for this style.
    - lack of textures: even a simple overlaid texture can bring life to a boring surface. Also you can try to use textured brushes or Painter for blendin colors. Anyway - try to leave that good old smudge tool and also that very soft brush alone, and try something new
    - stiff poses: your poses are sometimes stiff. Do studies to discover more dynamic and believable ones
    - Lack of detail: An anime styled drawing shouldn't be an orgy of details but some more detail would be nice and would make your pieces more interesting check these (extensively detailed b&w manga girls and these for how to achieve a schematic but detailed look with textures, color variation and more detailed linework) for reference
    - backgrounds: You don't really like to draw them, do you. Well - me neither...

    Anyway keep on sketching, you have potential!


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    Razorleaf is offline "Moving Forward" each and every day :) Level 8 Gladiator: Thracian
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    What idiot told you that you don't have talent? Your pieces are alive and fresh with a touch of whimsical magik woven through them. We all have room for improvement MissCatLady- that's the "artist way" hahaha. I like your work so my advice is to continue to develop your style.... and have a blast do it hahaha

    "Creativity emerges only when the imagination is given the freedom it deserves."
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    Strengths:

    Good posing
    Clean Style
    Woman's Sensibility (you know whats beautiful, us men only care about sexy!)
    Talent for days

    Weaknesses:

    Backgrounds are rushed
    Composition could be more interesting
    Only one figure per piece

    That's all I got, I enjoyed your work!

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    @OplanicP: I'm glad you like.

    @NoodleDoodle: I'll definitely keep that in mind.

    @Novbert: Black for shadows is bad! I do use colors like blues and purples for shadows a lot of the time, but I guess I use it far too subtly and need to step up the variation a bit.

    I also prefer gradient shading (though I probably abuse the gradient tool itself far too much) over cel shading. Because I'm really quite terrible at cel shading, and cel shading takes me longer to do than gradient. I could give it a shot I guess? I used to use cel shading, but I really do prefer gradients. (With tweaking I think it could work too. Either with a little more realism or... something. I like how Reiq draws there. I'm familiar with his stuff)

    I'll keep texturizing more in mind. I do a little sometimes, but you're right in that I could do it more.

    I plan to work on backgrounds soon! My next idea for a picture when I get around to it will concentrate on background rather than people, actually. XD

    Re: Anatomy, I agree wholeheartedly about the stiff thing. No real dynamics... I mostly always draw from my head and never use references. I'm starting to think I should. Especially since seeing "USE REFERENCES" all over this site. I guess I just gotta get over that hump in my mind that it's somehow cheating?

    Thanks much for the critiques!

    @Razorleaf: The nature of the internet (for some) is to be mean and idiotic. Thanks for the comments.

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    Ee, commented when I was working on my responses thar. ^_^

    @aguilas990: Thanks for the compliments. ^_^ And the critiques! I've wanted to try to work on multiple figures in pieces for a while now, actually. Especially couple-y pictures, because I loves me a good, tasteful couple picture. When I get some other things more solidified, I'll probably start working on that. Couples. Multiple people. Heck, maybe even fight scenes someday...

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    First off, I like this stuff. ^^ Especially the first picture -- really nice colours.

    As for which direction to go, people have already kinda said this but your shadows could be darker. Right now, everything seems to have the lighting of 'cloudy day'. (The second picture clearly isn't a really cloudy day, so I would expect stronger shadows.) The first picture looks as though it has a soft studio light as the second light source, which kinda makes it look posed and doesn't fit in with the outdoors theme thing.

    And yeah, I agree with the 'try making the shading less soft'. Considering you use black/dark outlines, a harder shading would fit better, I think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MissCatlady View Post
    @FenrisWolf: Thanks for commenting! When you say, "Some of your anime influence is still showing in them, and they should really be pushed further in either direction instead of sitting somewhere in between." do you mean that for the majority of my works (Since the style I use most of the time is kinda in the middle) or the works where I'm actively striving for realism?

    Whoopsie. Should have clarified. I was referring only to the pieces in which you were striving towards realism. The others are great.

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    Like most others who posted I like a lot of things about your work, but here's a few suggestions to help you level up:

    1) Study normal human proportions carefully and practice drawing normal humans, from life whenever possible. Some of your figures show disproportionate shape and form that isn't badly off, but enough so that improving it will improve your work overall. Also, when you have a better grasp of the "norm," you can better decide to push it for effect, such as in the eyes (many of yours are highly exaggerated). Learn to get the proportions (even if exaggerated) more consistent within the same figure -- example: in the first figure posted the off-side eye looks well-proportioned and positioned but the near eye looks overly large (width especially) and a little out of place. These are small issues, but improving them will be very noticeable in your work.

    2) Learn to work with specific light sources in order to improve your rendering of form. Much of your work shows the same formula: edge shadowing with basically centralized midtones and highlights. This gives a very generic feel to everything that isn't a plus. Try some chiaroscuro (look it up if you don't have it in your vocab yet), some high-key backlighting, sunlit days and moonlit nights, paint the gamut! Your work will become more interesting as you learn to use lighting to help tell the story.

    3) When using solid strokes to define your shapes ("outlines"), try for a more calligraphic feel, varying the width of the strokes to create more variation in your edges. It's quite a challenge learning how to use a variable-weight stroke, but it can make your art much more appealing to do so. All the same weight is pretty hum-drum.

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    @Lulie and Masque: Thanks for your critiques!

    I've worked up a quickie where I actually try to take some suggestions to heart - namely in the realm of color and shade. I do darker shadows, with actual colors (blue and purple!) and I tried the harder shading too. I think...?

    It's not done or anything, but I did skin. I'm not so sure I did it right? Honestly just throwing down dark colors like that is something I'm not used to doing. I think it lacks 'warmth' to the color.

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    the shading in this last one is a ton better, my suggestion would be to add a little more orange/pink/gold to his skin to liven it up. Also you have a lot of talent so please keep posting.

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    Yeah, that last one shows some new thought about lighting. Here's a suggestion for some exercises that might help you expand your grasp of using light to model your forms:

    Take that same drawing, then "place" light sources at three different positions relative to the head, then shade each of the three variations in only black and white, no shading, not even hatching. You'll have to judge where the light "turns" around the form, which will help you think more closely about the form being rendered.

    Next add in a 40% grey midtone, but try not to do too much blending, again the focus is on modeling the form with light. Then keep expanding the tonal range.

    Work in greyscale so choices of hue won't be a distraction.

    For a real challenge, try the same exercise using two light sources.

    EDIT: BTW, you can keep your deep shadows from looking flat and dead by playing with the saturation of the hues you use -- dark but intense hues can make shadows warm or cool as you need. Also study on how to use complementary hues in shadows to liven them up.

    Last edited by masque; February 4th, 2009 at 11:14 PM.
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    Hi~ I really appreciate the advice and comments. ^^ I haven't been trying to ignore them, I've just been busy, and busier still with an upcoming move.

    When all is said and done and I'm settled, I'll open up a sketchbook on this site and work from there.

    Thanks again, everyone!

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