Sketchbook: My Quest for Improvement

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  1. #1
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    My Quest for Improvement

    Hi, My name is Christoffer, but you may call me Dhex and Iím from Sweden. Iíve been aspiring to become a professional artist for quite a while now, but it is not until very recently that I realized my childishness and laziness in approaching art and drawing as a whole. For all these years I didnít do any anatomy studies, no muscle or bone studies, no figure drawings or real life study session of any kind. Why? Iím not sure, maybe a part of my thought that I could just do art naturally and I would improve as a cause of it. Of course, I did improve, but progress was slow.

    But I did learn from this, and I have been in the act of reinventing myself for this past half year, doing nothing but drawing 6-12 hours every day when I am free from work, and every free hour I can find after or before work, doing all those anatomy and figure studies I never did. Take it from me, practice and study properly, do those figure drawings, focus on getting the general forms and shapes right, learn how to construct stuff properly before going in and rendering all those leafs. This is fundamental, and foregoing it in favor of the fluffy stuff will only hurt you.

    Iím aware that a lot of my stuff is anime-mangaish, itís something that Iím not satisfied with and working on processing out. My aim is some type of stylized semi-realism. Iíll be doing a lot of figure, anatomy and portrait/face studies so you probably wonít see a lot of ďfinishedĒ work from me, but there will be some.

    I tend to use a mix of photo, art (of other artists and art books), model figures and 3d when studying, and when using those references I consciously try not to copy them completely, rather I focus on absorbing the forms depicted or the emotions they evoke in me while also making my own interpretation of those forms and shapes. I believe that It's the job of the fine artist to recreate what he sees, while the job of the concept artist is to understand what he sees, in order to find a use for it in something else.

    Iíll start off with some work and sketches from 2008, then work towards my newer stuff. Any and all critiques & feedback is appreciated more so than anything, donít be afraid of hurting my feelings, because you canít.

    My Quest for ImprovementMy Quest for ImprovementMy Quest for ImprovementMy Quest for ImprovementMy Quest for ImprovementMy Quest for Improvement

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    My Quest for ImprovementMy Quest for ImprovementMy Quest for Improvement
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    My Quest for ImprovementMy Quest for ImprovementMy Quest for ImprovementMy Quest for ImprovementMy Quest for ImprovementMy Quest for ImprovementMy Quest for Improvement

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    Last edited by Dhex; September 3rd, 2009 at 06:14 AM. Reason: Changing the thumbnail, trimming text
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  3. #2
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    Wow, welcome to the forums.
    Incredible first post. Really like your style, lines are very crisp and clean. Ton of details in some of those monster sketches. Keep at it, btw that Undead in your first picture. You didnt by any chance create the cartoon he's in did you? I remember seeing him before but cant seem to find it.
    Also I know you mentioned you disliked the manga style in your work, it's extremely evident and could use a little work. Nonetheless, good work.

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    Extremely clean lines! Your studies look good. Some of the poses seem a little stiff, but overall it looks pretty promising.

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  5. #4
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    jNeumann,
    Thanks. =) And no, sadly I'm not that great of a storyteller. The author is someone else, and the comic can be found here http://www.lfgcomic.com/ one of the better webcomics out there IMO.

    Semi,
    Yeah, they probably are. I'm still struggling with proportions though, so getting the flow rigth will take some time. =/

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  6. #5
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    And here's some 90-second figure studies to start off the day. I got vacation right now, so I can draw AAALL day. =)

    It was a while ago I did timed figures, so I was pretty frustrated in the beginning, since it made me look like I suck more than I already do =P I got used to the pace after a while though, but it makes my arm hurt.

    I'm very conflicted when doing these, not quite sure how to construct them. Here and there I tried using as little lines as possible, with some I tried constructing the bigger shapes, others trying to capture the silhouette. I myself prefer to identify the skeleton of the pose, then flesh it out from that. but that kinda doesn't work when you only have 90 seconds. I don't like drawing loose, makes it hard for my brain to sense the volume. But that's just me.

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  7. #6
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    Back with some more stuff done the past few days. Two Days to go, then vacation will be over =(

    Got a bit bored with all the sketching and anatomy studies, so I did a few color works. I'm aware that my values, and especially color, needs work. I haven't officially studied values or color theory, I just understand the gist of it after observing what others have done and by trial & error.

    The robot-thingy is based on a shape made using Andrew Jones Zbrush method. It's a very interesting way to work, and it does produce shapes you would otherwise probably wouldn't think up on your own. And it was very educating as well, working with established value and improving it made me think a lot about soft and hard edges, even learned a trick and two doing it. Probably will revisit this every now and then.

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  8. #7
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    Wow man! Your lines are incredible, have an amazing grasp on anatomy too...

    Keep posting, you have me at the picture of richard!

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    nice clean lines.

    post more studies than personal work, the first year it's better to do it that way.

    post 6: the first monster, THIS rocks. good design, rendering ...

    keep it

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    neat stuff your linework is really clean.
    I must say I like your more realistic style better than the anime stuff. keep it up ^^

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  11. #10
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    Great work so far, I'm loving the character designs, human figure looks great.

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  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by zou View Post
    nice clean lines.

    post more studies than personal work, the first year it's better to do it that way.

    post 6: the first monster, THIS rocks. good design, rendering ...

    keep it

    What do you mean by "first year"?

    And thank you, although I wish I could have rendered his build a bit better, he feels kinda cartoony.

    Quote Originally Posted by merlemage View Post
    I must say I like your more realistic style better than the anime stuff.
    Me too, but old habits die hard.

    Icedearth15876 ,
    Thanks

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    the first year of your art training. I was told to do so by a mentor. 'don't draw from mind for the first year' do studies from books, photos , life etc
    the second year, do from mind and from life

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  14. #13
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    nice work man, keep up the updates

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    nice crisp line you have there. Looks like this sketchbook is going to be one to watch.

    Zou, although its his first year of posting, I'd be very surprised if its his first of art training

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    Zou,
    I suppose that is somewhat sound from a technical standpoint, but I believe one should mix in some imaginative and creative work inbetween all the studying. For one, it'll help with not getting too bored (sure, drawing is fun, but doing anatomy figures weeks on end without much creative outbursts makes Bill a dull boy), and two, it'll allow you to put to practice whatever knowledge you've gained. And if there is noticeable progress, I think that helps to boost motivation as well.

    Deestar is indeed right, I've been arting for quite a few years. Problem is that I didn't go about it the right way, focusing way too much on the creative aspect of drawing. In some ways I suppose that's fine, great ideas doesn't come cheap, but lacking the technical skill to really present those ideas is what brought me to this point; slaving in order to be the best I can and making sure that aspiration never ends.

    But I do believe in limiting your spectrum of subject matter when learning however, leaving values and color for way later. But dabbling in it now and then isn't that bad of a thing, doing different things helps with inspiration, as long as one keep on working towards mastering the basics.

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    wow, your studies are unreal, it's all unreal! awesome sb

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    hi Dhex

    i think you've got what i meant. And sure if the instructor tells you to do so he knows you won't abandon drawing from mind: me too when i was told that , i was drawing little things in the margin.

    of course it's not your first year doing art, be sure to accumulate equivalent of a year of boring studies (even after 10 years drawing)

    anyway keep posting stuffs

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    Really awsome start for your sketchbook
    I really like your style looking forward to seeing more.
    till next time -Omerta

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  20. #19
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    Something familiar about you.

    I like your sharp style is and there are some jealousy inducing fantastically cool characters in there.

    It would be helpful to see the art before you started studying seriously, from when you were lazy and expected learning to just continue to happen naturally. Also what resources you used to study? Self-taught, did you go to some schools?

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    Really neat studies, I like the way you did your self portrait painting, and some others studies with that tone.. really cool.. hope to see more around here. see you !

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  22. #21
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    Omerta,
    Thanks.

    Leonor,
    Sure, THIS account on deviantart holds a decent amount of the kinda stuff I was doing before. Before even this one though I was a run-of-the-mill manga artist. Couple years ago I was starting to get frustrated however, since drawing the simplified human shape in such a manner every day was getting to me. I finally gave up, and allowed my art to go wherever the hell it wanted.

    At this point I'm completely self-taught, initially by drawing whatever I remembered as interesting, and now on to using stock photos, the artwork of others and as well as books by Burne Hogarth (love his stuff), Andrew Loomis and as asortment of other authors/artists. I don't draw from life currently, somewhat because the local community is rather small, but probably mostly because I'm lazy (don't point fingers, you know everyone is too ) But I make sure I make an extra effort to understand the form and construction when drawing from references. I do plan to remedy it though, I've bought some sketchbooks and some pencils, so that I can draw wherever I am.

    I'll learn in about 10 days time if I'll attend college. It's more or less free here in Sweden, save for living expenses and school material I suppose (one can choose to take a loan) otherwise I probably wouldn't bother. It's mostly so that I may be able to devote time to actual practise, having to do normal work kills my energy, and as an effect my creativity.

    Ledd,
    Thanks, and laters? =P

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  23. #22
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    I'm aware I haven't updated for a while now, but I'd just like to announce that I've learned I'll be going to college in the fall, and it's making my blood pump with excitement. I'll make sure these years will grant me a lot of experience and knowledge, things I'll need a lot of in the time ahead. I'm also really excited about having my own place. I've been living at home for a bit longer than a year now, and although I repay the kindness and understanding of my mother in many ways, I'd rather have a space to really call my own, so that'll be nice.

    Been a few years now since I last studied, and it'll probably be a bit stressful in the beginning. But here's hoping that overall, it'll be an experience I'll treasury forever, and if not, hell, I've gotten to this point on my own anyways.

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    Well, time for an update methinks. Don't get me wrong, I have been hard at work, it's just that I just HAD to make one more, then one more and so forth before I could make an update. Well, got kind of tired at all the files piling up in my folder, so decided it was due time.

    I also decided to throw in some old-ish stuff that has just been laying around, it's almost definite that I will not finish them, so what the hell. There's also some WIPs in there, so for those I'd gladly have some feedback.

    Now, for the first greyscale painting, the weird dragon head. I just want to let you know it's not my own work, but rather a study of a weird monster made for Warhammer Online. The original concept can be found Here (you'll agree that the coloring on this sucker is just outstanding)

    I have decided to begin working on my values, while my understanding of anatomy as well as faces/portraits is still in need of work, I can't spend forever on it until I am satisfied, because I probably never will be =P I have also experimented with trying to mesh together my lineart techniques with basic values, mostly to speed up the process, as well as achieving that conceptart-look.

    The monster/girl symbios concept wasn't made for anything in particular, just for fun. I am aware that the girl's waist is a bit too slender, it was before my vigorous anatomy studying.

    The image at the far bottom is just some doodles I made without references a while back, putting what I have learned to the test.

    As always, I'll take any and all feedback and critique!

    PS. One month until college, woop!

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    Decided to post some wips, as I previously said I've begun working on my values, I haven't previously done any studies, just learning through trial and error (which was pretty stupid on my part). At this point I feel that I can somewhat render a decent atmosphere in a drawing, as well as getting the shadows on objects darker as they get further away from light, and knowing when edges should be crisp, and when they should be blurry. My brush techniques is pretty solid as well, and often I have a decent idea of how and when each brush should be used. I am however not experienced enough to utilize texture brushes to their full extent. Problem right now I think that I still get somewhat scared when I lose my lineart, and that insecurity tends to mess things up. I have yet to learn to view things in terms of values, I still mentally measure things with lineart shapes and forms.

    In the middle of the study I got kind of bored, can't say the subject matter interests me. I begun working on the dark armorer girl-thingy, using another process I have experimented with before. Rather than what I usually do, working with really soft brushes in order to construct my concept, I used a brush with no pressure sensitivity, laying out the flat values without any shading initially. After than I used a Overlay and Multiply layer to get the values to fit in with the rest of the drawing.

    I'd be very happy for some feedback thus far.

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  26. #25
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    Great new stuff you got here, They're all really good. Keep up the good work.

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    And here's a last-minute-update-before-sleep, mostly because I want to push for page 2, the length of this first page is getting annoying. =P

    I'm actually pretty damn happy how this one is turning out. I myself am mostly familiar with a build-up type of painting technique, not the "block in and refine" method most artists seem to be using. But since this type of process is pretty limiting, especially when it comes to concept art, since it requires one to change things on the fly. For this reason I'm trying really hard to use the hard brushes too, and allowing myself to change things, even though there is no lineart to support it.

    I know that the nose is kinda weird, although luckily the face is so small you probably don't notice it. =P I'm gonna look up a good reference.

    C&C Highly welcome.

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    Hey y'all, been a while.

    I started college this week, and I was taken aback a bit just how much alike it is the college life that is depicted in all those silly movies, it's almost like it's own little culture. There are some pretty damn talented (and cool) people around, and I'm sure I'll be learning a lot here.

    So anyways, here's some work and studies I've been doing recently, with some wips (I know, I know, I work on too many things at once, but I get bored, and forget about 'em =P)

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    It is a very slow pace. :o I've never studied anatomy. Just drew.

    You come up with some rad designs. I enjoyed looking through it all. ;]

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    Mazz,
    Slow pace? What do you mean?

    And well, I was like that before, just drawing naturally. I suppose it works in some ways, but progress is very slow. And I think that there is no reason why you shouldn't study anatomy if you're aspiring to become a professional artist. Excellent anatomy is a baseline requirement in my book, having creative designs and ideas is what will set you apart from the rest.

    And thank you.

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    You and me are in the exact same boat, I wish I had been serious about my art long ago instead of just recently. Stuff looks great in here, already tons of progress since the first post. Love your ideas, creatures and monster ideas, awesome studies too!

    No real crits yet, you're on the right path.

    I cant wait to see where your style goes from here. Keep up the hard work, you already know it's paying off.

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