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Thread: Darrel Tank's method

  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Darrel Tank's method

    Not sure if anyone has heard of him, but visit his portraits here: http://www.fivepencilmethod.com/port...-portrait.html

    And his students' portraits here:
    http://www.fivepencilmethod.com/student-work

    Look at how realistic his shading / rendering is.
    You would have thought he uses blending with his fingers or some tortillon but he didn't (according to his vids).

    Is this some sort of normal blending, only that it's done skillfully?

    You would think it's digital art if nobody tells you it's done by pencil alone. I know Rembrandt would be shocked if he sees this.
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    I don't see any personality in there. There are works of seven students but all look the same. You could run a photoshop filter on some bad black&white portrait photo, put in that gallery and nobody would notice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farvus View Post
    I don't see any personality in there. There are works of seven students but all look the same. You could run a photoshop filter on some bad black&white portrait photo, put in that gallery and nobody would notice.
    Wet blanket, sir?

    Aaaaanyway, back on topic, my guess would be a base tone rubbed in with a towl or brush, and then worked upon with different pencils and different erasers to get the exact tones.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farvus View Post
    I don't see any personality in there. There are works of seven students but all look the same. You could run a photoshop filter on some bad black&white portrait photo, put in that gallery and nobody would notice.
    LOL, yeah, but the thing here is the wonder of this shading that makes the drawing so realistic (without using, er-hem, Photoshop).
    Imagine what someone who can already draw well (like most members here) can do is they know how to incorporate this shading technique into their arsenal.
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    It's photorealistic yes.. but totally not interesting or appealing.
    Check out some Norman Rockwell drawings or paintings and see the difference...

    I'm not disrespecting the artist here but there is far better stuff out there to learn from.
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    xeon - You might want to check out http://www.jdhillberry.com/ if you're interested in the technicalities of this. He has a book out that should serve as a nice introduction:

    http://www.amazon.ca/Drawing-Realist.../dp/0891348689
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xeon_OND
    Look at how realistic his shading / rendering is.
    "Realistic" is a relative term, not an absolute one.
    Quote Originally Posted by Xeon_OND
    You would have thought he uses blending with his fingers or some tortillon but he didn't (according to his vids).

    Is this some sort of normal blending, only that it's done skillfully?
    Yes, just plain old pencil rendering. No secret besides practice, patience, and time.
    Quote Originally Posted by Xeon_OND
    You would think it's digital art if nobody tells you it's done by pencil alone.
    No, I wouldn't. It looks like exactly what it is.
    Quote Originally Posted by Xeon_OND
    I know Rembrandt would be shocked if he sees this.
    How do you know that, exactly?
    Quote Originally Posted by Xeon_OND
    Imagine what someone who can already draw well (like most members here) can do is they know how to incorporate this shading technique into their arsenal.
    You presuppose that most would if they could. But many can and choose not to.

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    I would say more so than his "blending technique" the thing that makes his pencil renderings stand out as impressively realistic is his articulation of textures. If you focus to much on blending, and ESPECIALLY if you use a stump or a cloth to smooth blends you'll destroy any indication of surface texture, and everything except smooth plastic needs some kind of indication of surface texture to be read correctly. In fact 90% of the time I think people over use stumps and chamois, it's just a matter of taste I guess but one of the big beginner pitfalls is to assume that every blend needs to be a flawlessly smooth gradient. Practice drawing gradients just using the varied pressure of your hand holding the pencil. It's harder, but that skill will take you farther than using stumps or blenders ever will. On top of that it helps train a sensitivity in the holding and wielding of the pencil.
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    The graphite portrait of children has a good range of proper values, which to me is a stronger indication of skill than the meticulous rendering. The student work, is far weaker in that regard.

    The problem is the rendering is all that props up the drawings. Strong rendering is great, but a tedious to produce gimmick is still a gimmick. Most artists put detail in the areas that are meant to draw the most focus. It helps to lead the eye, and give the viewer a bit of a visual rest so they don't get overwhelmed with too much visual clutter (in this case not a problem as they are fairly simple with no backgrounds). In the case of the example given, the viewer is left wondering "why is so much attention being given to the sweaters?" and the answer is nothing more than the artist saying "look what I can do!" I find the result is I'm looking at the sweaters as much as the faces. Not in a secondary, "oh, I just noticed this little extra detail" kind of way, but in a more obtrusive distracting way.

    Does this mean I'm tearing down the artist in question? Not really. There's obviously a lot of skill and craftsmanship there, and it's enjoyable enough. It's just shallow. Surface glitter that you enjoy for a moment, then move along. I think it would hold my attention longer if used more sparingly.
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    I think this guy tears himself down in his first video by explaining that his photo replica drawing is more engaging than a sculpture, simply because the children are staring directly at the viewer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xeon_OND View Post
    You would have thought he uses blending with his fingers or some tortillon but he didn't (according to his vids).
    I wouldn't think this. It's just a matter of carefully building up layers of graphite until you get the effect you want. If you have a very light hand and a TON of patience you can get very smooth shading without any blending at all.

    Most people don't bother with it because it's tedious as all hell. I have a magazine with a feature on pencil-crayon artists and one guy's artwork took something six months of steady work to do. You can get something looking awfully good if you're careful and have six months to spend on it!
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  22. #12
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    First of all, thanks to everyone who reply to this thread, for the insight and points of views which I would otherwise have not even thought of.

    Pardon my late reply as I was kinda busy drawing recently.

    Also, thanks to SquidMonk for the JD Hillberry link! Now, that's the kinda shit I hope to learn one day! Maybe such realistic rendering isn't impressive to fellow artists, but if you're, say, drawing a portrait of some friend or some chick, you can surely impress the skirt / pants / fuck out of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    How do you know that, exactly?
    Because I had a dream some weeks ago about Rembrandt saying to me how ultra-realistic such shading is. He says his works pale in comparison to folks like Darrel and that he would teach me his lighting techniques if I could give him Darrel Tank's URL and e-mail.
    I did, and now I know how to shade and render like Rembrandt.


    Just kidding.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xeon_OND View Post
    Maybe such realistic rendering isn't impressive to fellow artists, but if you're, say, drawing a portrait of some friend or some chick, you can surely impress the skirt / pants / fuck out of them.
    I think you should strive to make the best work you can, not just make work that's good enough to impress other people but doesn't hold up when put under further scrutiny. That's just my opinion though.

    Darrel Tank doesn't really impress me that much. He does have great rendering skills, but the portraits don't hold my interest at all. Rather than capturing their emotion or the person, like all the great portrait painters, he just draws what's on the surface without much feeling. It comes off looking bland. I don't mean to put him down though, he is skillful.
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