Sketchbook: Halcyon Dreams
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Thread: Halcyon Dreams

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    Halcyon Dreams

    I have found that the single most important thing you can do to improve your artwork is to work on it every day.

    I have also found that the second most important thing you can do to improve is to get over that hesitancy felt about sharing unfinished or imperfect work. That's a big thing I'm trying to overcome. I've enjoyed seeing the artwork of other people on Conceptart.org, but I have never posted anything because I have been too overwhelmed by some of the awesome talent found here. But I know that even though I may feel like there are things wrong with my work, I am often not aware of the extents of the problems. Feedback from others can shave off weeks and months of time needed to improve to the next plateau.

    So I want to start this thread in the hopes of Self Improvement. I will try to do something every day, and I will try to post that work regularly. That said, I will acknowledge here and now that the work will not always meet my standards of acceptabillity. Some of it might and probably will be downright crap. But I'm braced for it, because my end goal is not to flaunt any self-perceived talent, but rather to learn what I need to progress as an artist. And progression is all about learning what you need to give up in order to accept more than you had.

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    Last edited by Wilstrong; July 22nd, 2009 at 10:39 AM.
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    Character/Creature Design

    I wanted to design a troll type creature, so I did several sketches. below are a few:



    I took those and several others, and I tried to capture the beast in a pose that communicated what I wanted in the character, to convey strength and power with an incredible belly and a sense of appreciating beauty. I just sketched with graphite on paper:



    After that, I scanned the drawing in and started to try and experiment with Photoshop. I had never tried digitally painting a sketch before, so as you can see, there is a lot of blundering around:



    Eventually I realized that I had a sense of which direction I wanted the light to be coming, so I searched for some references that would help me to interpolate the right observations to be able to portray the beast in a more realistic manner:



    As I worked, I began to want to introduce some color, but I'm not comfortable yet interpolating so much temperature information from references and incorporating them, so I chose to use a sepia toned palette:



    There are still many things I would like to work on, but I would like to post it to see if I can get any helpful criticism. I know that I probably jumped the gun on the texture without having the structure and form clearly laid out. What else?

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    Last edited by Wilstrong; July 22nd, 2009 at 01:30 AM.
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    Sketches

    Here are a few sketches. Mostly scribble drawings. It's a way to help me find inspiration when I don't know what I should draw: I make a bunch of scribbles and try to draw what those scribbles look like to me, or what I would like those scribbles to look like. It's kind of like an ultimate Rorschach test, in a way. If that's the case, what does that say about me ?

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    Awsome start for your sketchbook.
    looking forward to seeing more.

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    Hello,

    Nice start ... i like your character concepts and those weapons ^^... keep on drawing

    learning
    LOOKING FOR MENTOR
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    Sketches with some digital work

    I acknowledge the importance of working from life, and try to do it every chance I get--I know that you can only draw from your imagination as well as you can draw from life, and that the lessons you learn from reality are vital for making a believable image. In a later post, I will get into some of the from life studies I have been working on.

    That said, here are a few scribble sketches I've done that I've taken into Photoshop for some *very* preliminary digital work, mainly basic value suggestion.

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    More scribble drawings and Digital Ammends

    Here are a few more scribble drawings that I took into Photoshop for only the very most basic value and color palette explorations.

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    I really like the ogre guy. The lighting and rendering is wonderful. Can't wait to see more.

    Ye Old Sketchbook

    NEW SKETCHBOOK

    "My mind is my palette.
    The world my canvas.
    Imagination my medium.
    "

    "It is ten percent how you draw, and ninety percent what you draw." - Andrew Loomis
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    great rendering and light capture. It would be good to see more movement in your pictures.
    keep up the good work

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    5 minute figure sketches

    Ricardo Robles:
    Thanks for the suggestion. That is something I should definitely work on. I tend to fall into the rut of "life drawing mode" where the model poses for a predetermined amount of time, and the tendency is to draw them in a static way, so that's some good advice that I'll try to keep in mind.

    Here are some 5 minute sketches I did for an assignment in an illustration class, from photo references I found in various places across the internet (figure studies as an educational opportunity constitute copyright fair use, right?)

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    Animal Studies

    Here are some sketches and an oil paint study I did of some animals from Hogle Zoo. Though I did try to sketch from direct life observation, I did take reference photos for these studies.

    The Charcoal sketches were 5-10 minute gesture sketches. I have the tendency to rely too much on contour lines when I draw most of the time. That can be a good thing if that's what you're going for, but if you're using it like a crutch (like I do), it can be annoying to overcome.

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    Last edited by Wilstrong; July 23rd, 2009 at 02:14 PM.
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    Figure Drawing

    Below are some figure drawings I did from life.
    The first was a 20 minute pose, I believe. (The foot is weird, I know)
    The second was one or 2 20 minute poses, I can't remember. I need to go back and look at the original, to see if it has such high contrast. If so, I really need to lighten up. I tend to press down too hard on the charcoal. I need to treat it lightly, more like a feather.
    The last was 40 minutes all together (2 20 minute poses). It was graphite, so it was easier to build it up slowly.

    I know these are far from perfect, but any observations you guys have, feel free to let me know. As I stated in my first post, my primary objective for having this sketchbook is to throw my work out there in all its imperfection and get some helpful criticism in return. That's the only way any of us is going to improve.

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    Digital 3D Mudbox Experiment

    So I was able to experiment with Autodesk Mudbox for the first time a little while ago. It's a pretty neat program. I need to learn 3D programs better (Zbrush, Mudbox, Maya, etc.), so it was a fun exercise to see what I could come up with in a short experimentation session

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    Digital Portrait Study

    We did a portrait study for one of my classes in oil paint. My Oil painting didn't turn out, but I had a low res image from the camera on my phone, so I wanted to give it another go, as a study.

    My wife told me it looks strange with his eyes closed . . . I hadn't even realized that until I had asked her what she thought--I was looking at it as shapes and color temperatures. Just one more reason it's good to get feedback

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    There's always a bigger fish

    So I've been doing a lot of thinking about ideas and beliefs and logic and reason, and I just doodled something quickly.

    Feel free to interpret what you want about this. Hopefully the least it does is make you think.

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    Fundamentals: Cow Studies

    I've been trying to find ways I can improve and get my skills up to the level they need to be in order to be a concept artist (hopefully sometime soon).

    I recently found a collection of posts by a user named "Seedling", in which there are some ideas to help one sharpen their concept art skills (Link here). I'm going to be trying it out. I'll post some of my progress.

    Below are a few cow studies (approx. 10 min. each)

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    Last edited by Wilstrong; September 20th, 2009 at 10:52 PM.
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    Fundamentals: Cow Studies and Imagination

    So after all of the cow research I did, my next step was to try and draw the cow from a different perspective not found in my references.

    I really didn't know what the top view or the back views would look like, so I attempted those. I tried to glean what information I could from the references I had, but as you can see, I was flying blindly. It was a good exercise, and I need to do more of it.

    I found the exact views I needed in Eliot Goldfinger's book, "Animal anatomy for Artists" after I completed the ones from my imagination, so I did a couple of studies to try and help me imprint them in my brain.

    I got some of the general shapes right, though the proportions are off. And the back view was way off. I'll try this one again, with different animals.

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    Fundamentals: Art Direction

    The purpose of this practice was to draw something from the imagination--anything that came to mind. Then I needed to make changes to the original idea in various ways. The attempt was to simulate the type of harsh changes an Art Director might conceivably request.

    I started with a super fast (3-5 min.) sketch from a scribble, and came up with the first loose sketch.

    In Seedling's post, there was a collection of numbers (1-20), and I had my wife choose a random one from her head. 17. That corresponded to the change of "Making it High Tech". So I started thinking about how I could make it high tech, but I wanted to also try and render it from different perspectives to get more practice at the last exercise, so first I did a few sketches to try and help me study it from different angles.

    By this time, I was starting to think about a possible composition (see thumbnail in the sketch).
    So I refined that a little.

    Nothing screams "High tech" like laser guns and a jet pack. I know, I know. A little cliche, perhaps. But This was just the brainstorming session.

    I then tried to make several other changes: What would it look like if it were thinner (maybe some future iteration where the species doesn't place as much emphasis on exercise and physical prowess)? What would the creature look like in a space suit? What type of creature could it have evolved from? I also experimented with the head alone, seeing what it might look like if it were a little more "sinister". And last, I experimented (briefly) with what it might look like in the flash of a nuclear apocalypse just seconds before complete annihilation.

    This was a neat experiment, and I feel like I got some good practice out of it. The things I need to work on the most:
    -I need to draw a "perspective grid" for all of my characters from here on out. It really helps if I'm thinking about them in 3-dimensions while I'm drawing them, rather than flat 2D shapes.

    Next up: perspective school.

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    Back in the saddle

    It's been a while since I last posted, so I wanted to post some of the things I've been working on!

    Below is a Digital Portrait study I did for practice while my brother worked on it for his Academy of Art University class assignment.

    Looking back on it now, if I could revisit it, I would fix some of the anatomical issues I can see. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20, as they say!

    The curse/blessing of being an artist is that if you are improving with each painting, then you will never be satisfied with your work, because as you finish each piece, you will see things that you learned in the process of completing that work--things which you would do differently if you had the chance to do it over again. But that's a good thing, because if you were constantly in love with each piece, then that would mean that you never learned anything in the process of its creation!

    Just some thoughts I have each time I finish a study/project.



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    Another study I did for practice while my brother was doing his Academy of Art University class assignments.

    We had this image posted on a screen on the other end of the room, while each of us painted (he did a pastel study while I was working digitally). It can be a real challenge to get the colors right when dealing with differences in lighting, etc. But it's a fun exercise!



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    Did this towards the beginning of August. I like to warm up for the day by doing some loose figure sketches before I get cracking on my projects. Although this was a very quick study, I thought it had some really neat things going on in it. The looseness is something I'm trying to let myself hold onto, instead of letting myself overwork everything.

    For what it's worth, it's still just a study, but that's the point of studies, right?

    For these studies, I just have a folder that I grab from really quickly, so unfortunately I don't have the attributions that I would like to have--if you know who the original artist was, let me know in and I'll edit to reflect it!



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    I like to do do screenshot studies to explore new color schemes, painting techniques, etc. I've learned that it's a pretty neat way to relax and let myself experiment in ways that I'm typically too careful when I'm working on an "official illustration" for a client.



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    I like to do do screenshot studies to explore new color schemes, painting techniques, etc. I've learned that it's a pretty neat way to relax and let myself experiment in ways that I'm typically too careful when I'm working on an "official illustration" for a client.



    Concept Art Sketchbook

    Jerwilson.com

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    I wanted to try loosening up on this one more than usual. I still need to loosen up, I think!
    Straight up digital painting this time.



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    Where the Wild Things Are
    Screenshot Study 02



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    Where the wild things are
    Screenshot Study 03


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    Independence Day
    Screenshot Study 01


    Independence Day
    Screenshot Study 02


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    Game of Thrones Screenshot Study:


    Pirates of the Caribean:


    The Last Samurai:


    10,000 BC:


    District 9:


    Study:


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    Another digital figure study to warm up for the day. From the ingenious MJ Ranum:

    http://mjranum-stock.deviantart.com/

    I just looked through his stock gallery and couldn't find this particular one, but let me know exactly where and I'll edit to reflect that!

    I feel like I was able to loosen up quite a bit while still conveying a fairly good idea of the pose, costume, and model.




    I had so much fun with the previous day's warm up that I decided to do another pose from the same photoshoot.

    Unfortunately, I got a little too carried away and lost that loose feeling that the previous one conveyed. Damn, I'm always struggling to keep from over-rendering things!



    Concept Art Sketchbook

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    I did some sketches some time ago, and revisited those sketches in sculptris and Zbrush a few months ago. I decided to create an illustration from this little guy.



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    "When men cease to believe in absurdities, they will no longer commit atrocities."
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