View Poll Results: Which composition do you prefer?

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  • Comp1 - small moon

    0 0%
  • Comp2 - big E.T. moon

    2 100.00%
  • Comp3 - no moon

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Thread: My new, incredible, very good, maybe okay sketchbook!

  1. #1
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    My new, incredible, very good, maybe okay sketchbook!

    It's time for a new sketchbook, it really is. How do you know? When you look at the artwork at the outset and find it embarrassing, it's time for a reboot. Out with the old and in with the new, as they say.

    Now, I'd rather I could run and hide from my old stuff altogether, but for the super curious, you can find my old sketchbook here.

    And if we're really gonna dredge up old dirt, try this blast from the past on for size. *Shudders*

    Phew, glad that's done with. Quick and easy - like a band-aid. Now for the fun stuff.

    Here are my two most recent finished illustrations. I'm gonna show them first since I'm most happy with them.
    My new, incredible, very good, maybe okay sketchbook! My new, incredible, very good, maybe okay sketchbook!

    These aren't very recent, but I'm pretty happy with them as well.
    My new, incredible, very good, maybe okay sketchbook!My new, incredible, very good, maybe okay sketchbook!

    Here are a few portraits for good measure. They portray, in order, my wife, Neil Gaiman, Susanna Clarke, and David Wright. I later got both the Gaiman and Wright pictures autographed by their respective subjects, which was, in a word, neat.
    My new, incredible, very good, maybe okay sketchbook!My new, incredible, very good, maybe okay sketchbook!My new, incredible, very good, maybe okay sketchbook!

    For my next act, I shall post some sketches. Thanks guys!
    Last edited by JeffZNY; August 7th, 2009 at 06:58 PM.
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  3. #2
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    What's that? You want some sketches in this sketchbook? Alright, alright...

    How about this oldie for a warmup? This sketch is about 3-4 years old, but I only just rediscovered it. If I remember correctly, it was inspired by a magazine cover of Rachel Weisz, though damned if I can find it now. I remember, in the absence of any art supplies (I was staying with my mother at the time), it seemed a fine idea to raid the fridge and see what I could achieve with ketchup and mustard. I believe white-out was employed for the highlights and I upped the saturation in Photoshop afterwards. The whole thing made for a funky, if not perfectly symmetrical afternoon.
    My new, incredible, very good, maybe okay sketchbook!

    As you can see in the below sketch, I often like to draw my compositions, and sometimes even my characters, in bits and pieces which I later assemble in PS.
    My new, incredible, very good, maybe okay sketchbook!

    I frequently don't have the patience to correct my flawed sketches, though the task seems a bit less daunting since I re-purchased a light box (threw my old one out at some point for some no-doubt-asinine reason). I'm breaking the habit a bit, but veeeery slowly. But I hate erasers, I really do.

    Anyway, here's a good example of what I'll often do with a flawed sketch. Below, a sketch that shows some promise but ultimately looks very little like my wife:
    My new, incredible, very good, maybe okay sketchbook!

    A few tweaks in PS and voila, now it's a dead ringer.
    My new, incredible, very good, maybe okay sketchbook!

    Finally, there's this, which is a bit of a more refined sketch than the others I've posted here. You'll recognize this guy from one of the finished illustrations at the top of thread.
    My new, incredible, very good, maybe okay sketchbook!

    Thanks again guys! And until next time - Keep watching the skies!
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  4. #3
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    I love your style. These are all excellent, but I have a particular affinity toward the first one.
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  6. #4
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    Tracking a work-in-progress

    Congrats, HW! You're the first comment in the new book. Wish I had a gnarly prize to fork over, but you'll have to settle for more art from me, sorry. And thanks very much for the kind words:-)

    Now onto the business end of this thing. I did an interesting thing yesterday: I painted blind. You see, my eyes are frequently problematic pains in the arse. My contacts often leave my eyes dry and irritated but I hate the vision I get with glasses, so I'm often left straining to see, in terrible pain. Yesterday I decided to give my poor peepers a break, and instead of putting my glasses on, I spent about an hour trying to navigate life through the blurry eyes of a hopelessly near-sighted klutz. Then it occurred to me - A ha! This smells like a great experiment. I took out the ol' sketchbook and sketched some faces and gestures. I couldn't really see what the heck I was drawing, but that's okay - in a lot of instances I think I attained greater accuracy than I would have with the benefit of clear vision. The exercise allowed me to relax a bit and just draw without worrying about what I was doing and how it looked. It also forced me to pay less attention to line and detail and more attention to gesture and movement, since that's about all I could see when squinting at the paper. Anyway, I plan on repeating the process in the future, both to rest my eyes and give my artist's brain a fresh perspective.

    In the meanwhile, my blind session yielded at least one fruitful sketch. This below gesture of a figure seemingly caught between leaping and flying.
    Attachment 745987
    It was enough to get the gears turning...
    I'll be back with more later tonight.
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  7. #5
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    WIP continued

    And I'm back. No different than I was an hour ago but perhaps better fed.

    Continuing where I left off... The above gesture drawing intrigued me. Better still, it gave me an idea. I'm working on a story involving a white-haired girl named Quinn with a certain talent for transformation (she's in a couple of the finished pieces at the top). Instantly I was reminded of a particular scene from my story and I got to work.

    From the initial gesture, I developed this thumbnail sketch (though at this point I've put my contact lenses back in). If possible it's even more a jumble than the sketch I'd done half-blind. Ignore the odd-looking hand in the lower left corner. Ignore the black orb above her head, too - I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do with the moon.
    Attachment 746071

    Next I start sketching the actors. The raven is easiest. I take a couple cracks at it and I'm fairly happy that I'm on the right track.
    Attachment 746072

    Quinn proves more difficult, of course. I get the limbs down okay, then I get a bit carried away with the hair...
    Attachment 746081
    I think I've still got this one on the brain. Nude girl covered by long rapunzel-locks does not work as well in this instance. Not to mention it's probably beyond my skill level to execute it deftly enough with an adolescent character.

    I decided I needed to think about Quinn's pose some more so I turned to some reference. Photos of hurdlers and such. I was reminded of a painting by Jon Foster so I got out my copy of "r/evolution." The one I was thinking about was this cover for Magehound, but needless to say I lost myself paging through the book for about an hour. At the end of the hour, I decided to do a couple of studies from Jon's cover for Orvis.
    Attachment 746082

    That's all for now. I haven't taken a piece step-by-step through CA in a looong while, so this should be fun. I'm hoping it's beneficial to someone, but just as importantly I'm hoping it will encourage me to crank this one through to final in short order.
    Last edited by JeffZNY; August 8th, 2009 at 10:54 AM.
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  8. #6
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    u have a very loose flowing line jeff, especially in the hair. dont ever stop drawing... ur wife lol seriously great 1st pg dude
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  10. #7
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    WIP continued

    Thanks JF!

    I'm still sketching for the above WIP. This one's closer to what I believe I'll eventually take to final. Next up I'll probably shoot some reference for the fabric.
    Attachment 746348
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  11. #8
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    I lied - no reference shots yet. For now, I'll be running with the sketch below. It's my favorite thus far. As much as I try to remind myself not to get too big too quickly, I find that large sheets of paper yield large yucky sketches. At least, that's how it works for me. Even though it seems counter-intuitive, I really need to make a habit of putting aside my large top-quality sketchbook and using my 50 cent garage sale 4"x6" book instead. Four-by-six is plenty big for any sort of pencil sketch.
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  12. #9
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    WIP continued - HELP!

    Alright, guys, I think I need some help for this stage. I'm still undecided on what I want to do with the moon in this one. Don't want it to be too cliche and E.T.-like, but then again, E.T. is such a good movie... So I've got two compositions I'm deciding between and I'd very much appreciate your input.

    Comp1
    Attachment 748130

    Comp2
    Attachment 748131
    Last edited by JeffZNY; August 10th, 2009 at 05:21 PM.
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  13. #10
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    Or...

    Maybe no moon at all?
    Comp3
    Attachment 748284

    Or...
    Comp4
    Attachment 748719
    Last edited by JeffZNY; August 10th, 2009 at 10:48 PM.
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  14. #11
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    I've gotten some great tips in the Critique Center. This is coming along nicely. I've pretty much settled on a composition and I'm laying in some rudimentary color and value now.
    My new, incredible, very good, maybe okay sketchbook!
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  15. #12
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    It's interesting seeing your creation process for your illustrations. You're pushing your style to evolve into something very personal. This trees in this one have a copy/pasted feel to them next to the solid shapes behind and it create a great sense of "flat depth" if that makes sense. Really digging it. However I don't think the same technique works all that well in the painterly elephant piece where the elements all pop out to the viewer as being separate and the piece doesn't feel like a unified work whereas the other illustrations do. Anyway, keep up the great work!
    "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

    SSG 69 ARTGASMIC FORCE
    Mission: To push our skills to evolve to the point of giving you visual orgasm.

    Eon l grenappels l snootchy l Peetaer l bleupencil l
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  16. #13
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    Eon - thanks a lot, I appreciate it. That "flat depth" you're talking about is exactly what I was shooting for. I'm a huge Arthur Rackham fan (who isn't?) and for that particular piece, I was aiming for a Rackham fairytale-type feel. If you check back in here, could you elaborate a bit on your comments concerning the elephant piece? Which elements do you feel don't work? I polished that one up from an oooooold concept and I'm hoping to make it a portfolio piece, so I appreciate any advice on how it could be improved. Thanks!!
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