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Thread: Crystal Ash - Sketchbook

  1. #1
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    Crystal Ash - Sketchbook

    Hi! I've lurked for a long time. Thought it was time to start asking for advice so I can work through some roadblocks I've been finding myself stuck at.


    I'm primarily interested in illustration & comics, but do a lot of realism based study (drawing, painting, etc).

    Any comments/suggestions/advice would be well appreciated.

    Thanks!

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  4. #2
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    A few more

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    These look really good. Would love to see more.

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    Mm, really nice. The only thing I might suggest is being more aware of your mark directions so that the shading is working around the form, and not turning a leg or ribcage into a flat plane.

    Visit my Sketchbook? How about my webcomic?

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    Process

    So I've just bought a copy of Painter 11. I've done traditional painting, but I'm basically a beginner when it comes to digital paint. Here's step 1 & 2 of a project I'm working on.

    Step 1 - Rough pencil sketch. Done without reference, hence the more cartoony appearance. That's something I want to work on - making more realistic or at least more dynamic figures from my imagination.

    Step 2 - Painter 11. ACK. I spent 3 hours messing with this thing just to block in basics color shapes. The forums here were helpful when my brush selector disappeared on me.

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    Painter 11.
    Oh dear. So I added a second figure and started detailing the first figure.
    Now the background is done using the artist oils. Is there a way to "dry" the oils and paint over it, or am I stuck with forever mixing?

    The block color of the figures is done using liquid ink. The line art done with pencil. And so far, I'm becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the ... uh, inorganic way all the layers are meshing. It looks like I've put cell animation over a badly painted background. I don't like that.

    Add to the fact that painter 11 crashed on me about 5 times tonight (too many layers I'm guessing), and I'm ready to call it a night.

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  11. #7
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    What programs do you have open with painter? my photoshop always crashes if I turn flash on, maybe it's something like that. I don't really use painter, so i guess I'm not too much help.Anyway, your figure drawings look great! Your illustration looks nice, but I'm not really sure what the focus is. That falling ship is taking the focus from the girls. Maybe if you made it apparent that they brought the ship down or something it would be better. I'm not a color expert, but your color scheme seems all over the place. There are colors everywhere that show up in only one place, it's not really unified. Good luck, keep it up!

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  13. #8
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    Thanks Vertical! I agree completely about the color thing. I guess that's what I mean by inorganic. If I were using tangible medium, I'd just dash a bit of color around the canvas till it looked balanced. The layers and the smudgey-ness are - challenging.

    Thanks for your second point. I didn't realize the composition was confusing. I'll try to fix the narrative elements.

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    Okay. I keep telling myself that I can't be afraid to start over. It's still hard, when hours have already been invested. Not that it matters too much, since the image was just crashing and burning. This just reminds me how important it is to think out what I'm going to do at the onset.

    That rambling mess is to say - Starting over. With thumbnails. Trying to figure out what story/action/idea I'm trying to convey - even if it's a simple, it has to be clear. Sorry - I lecture myself often.

    So here are a couple of the thumbnails to reconceptualize the image of the two girls.

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    Starting over. Take 2 - all in painter 11. 3 layers, all using the artist oils brush. Trying to be more cognizant of the color harmony. Trying to make a more narrative image. Thank you Vertical! I think this is a little better starting attempt.

    Still in the learning curve with painter 11, but it's becoming easier to handle as time goes on.


    Advice is sought, welcome, and appreciated as always.

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    Still going. Painter has really been a struggle. I think I need to look around for tutorials to watch/download/buy. Obviosly still a work in process. It's weird not using "real" medium like pencils & paint.

    I like that I can undo things. I like that I can save my progress through a piece and monitor myself as I work through the image. I like that I can do things I'd never be able to do in real life, like use charcoal over top of oil paint.

    I don't like that I seem to get eye strain staring at the computer so long. I have a wacom bamboo, so coordination was frustrating at first, but I think I'm getting the hang of it. I wish I could draw directly on the screen. They have one like that I think, but it's expensive.

    Everything's a learning process though.

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    Looking good so far, I'm excited to see the final product. keep up the good work.

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    Thanks for the encouragement Taco!

    I've started detailing. I think I'm in the home stretch at this point - just a matter of refining the foreground images and making sure the whole has some semblance of harmony. I'm off to watch my painter tutorials. With the lovely $9.99 sale I bought two Jason Chan demos & one Andrew Jones. Hopefully I'll absorb something.

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    Okay, so final two phases. There are some things that still bother me about this image that I can't put my finger on. However, at some point you just have to stop and say you're done.

    So to recap on this image: done in painter 11 from imagination w/out reference.

    Skills I'm trying to improve through this image: overall conceptual art, creating art without reference, and digitial painting.


    Time to start a new image and bash my head against a different wall.

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    That last image is pretty nice. I like the composition, but there are some things that can be improved. I did a quick paintover to illustrate them. First the skin of the characters is looking dead. You should add redish colors to areas where blood is visible trough the skin like the cheeks, ears, nose and knuckles. Just study some reference or yourself. Second, the background was detracting a lot of attention from the foreground mainly because of the light value of the clouds so I used a light blue color with a brush set on low opacity to create more atmosphere and eliminate the problem. Third, the saturated orange on the plane was detracting attention from the characters. Assuming that there is a blue sky above the scene I lightly glazed some blue into the midtones of the characters and the plane. I also added some darker shadows to the girl with yellow hair to make her more of a focal point. If you want to make the explosion in the background the selling point of the picture you may want to reconsider the composition and the lighting. Looking for some reference will greatly help. I hope you can get something out of this. Keep up the great work!

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    Wow, thanks Fantasy! That's the kind of direct and useful feedback I always hoped I'd get in art class, but never would. Much appreciated.
    I'm going to give a print for a friend, so I'll definately incorporate your atmospheric perspective and warming of the flesh tones before I send it the printer. Thank you!

    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    Starting a new project in painter XI. Starting w/out reference, to make sure I like the composition. I don't know if I'll try using reference for this one or not. That sort of brings up a philosophical issue I'm having with art. I keep hearing from local artists that I shouldn't just be a camera, rendering still lives or models for maximum realism. I have mixed feelings about this since most of the artists that tell me this are abstract expressionist sorts. However, I want to be able to become more confident illustrating from my imagination. The problem is, I don't feel that what I render from my imagination is as strong as what I render from life studies.

    Okay, so maybe that's just something I need to practice. Or maybe I should use reference. But I don't want to become dependent on reference. A little bit of reference? How do I maximize image quality in my exercises, while pushing my skills at composing straight from my mind. I want the flexibility, but I don't want to lose quality. Does that makes sense? Anyone else struggling with it, or has struggled with it and can suggest how I should proceed? Any dvd's, lectures, online distance classes, short-term workshops you could recommend?
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    Alright, with my babbling out of the way - Here's step 1 of the next painter image I'm working on. Getting the initial image blocked in went a lot faster this time.

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    I understand the frustration. Without reference I feel like a handicap without a wheelchair sometimes. Don't Fret. That merely means you haven't studied enough. New skills will begin to sink in though the means of repetition. So keep studying. Soon your brain will begin to recognize patterns though repetition and new knowledge will be more conscious for you. There are many paths you can take in art. Set aside what others think you should do and take art were you want to go.

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    Taco - Thanks! It helps to know I'm not crazy to feel frustrated over this. I guess it is just a matter of battering myself against those barriers until I get through them (like everything else in art). I'll do more life studies on those things I have trouble with.

    Today's posting took me 12 hours in 1 sitting, so there's no progressive steps to show. I was - uh, upset about personal stuff in life. When that happens I get especially OC. Hence, this image.
    Done start to finish in Painter XI. No reference - obviously I don't think there's a meaning. Regardless, I feel all therapified now. I'll resume progress on the musician image in the next posting.

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    That last image has a lot of potential. I assume it's an underwater scene but the feeling doesn't come across. So the first thing I did was slap a saturated blue on a color layer on top of the image and reduce the opacity so that it mixed with all the colors in the image. Assuming that there's a greenish light coming from the side I lightly glazed some green in the areas where the light hits the forms using a low opacity for my brush. I also changed her tail and right hand as they didn't seem to make sense with the direction she was going. Then I added some darker values around her head to make it more of a focal point.
    Two important things to remember:
    - Relate everything you draw/paint to simple geometric forms, especially when blocking in your values. This will make it quite easy to render the forms.
    - Let your colors mix and influence each other. This will unify your painting creating the feeling that all objects belong to the same scene.

    Hope this helps. I hope to see more work soon .

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    Thanks again Fantasy! I can't tell you how suprised and grateful I am that you've taken the time to show me the things I'm not seeing.

    Try try again. This time I gave myself an enforced time limit of 3 hours. Maybe time constraints will force me to make more thoughtful choices. Tried to maintain awareness of color harmony, atmosphere, and shadow. I'll keep at this until I get it right.

    Once again in Painter 11, start to finish.

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    The last one is looking good colorwise, but the story is unclear to me. If the character is walking to the right you might want to expand the canvas in that direction to give him more room. Also show his entire body. Cutting of his legs like that detracts alot from the image.

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    Fantasy - thanks! There's always a lot of elements to consider when creating images isn't there?

    --------------------------------------------

    Here's the first three hours of the next image.

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    And finished up with a subtle color overlay to try to tie it together & make it look like the people are part of the environment. Looking at it I think I may have been too timid with the overlay.

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    Short on time tonight. Simple figure study, looking at reference. Painter IX. about an hour.

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    So I've started an exercise of trying to do a speed paint a day. There are a couple reasons. 1) school's back in session, so between class and work, it's easy to get lazy about being consistent about my practice. 2) I want to learn to make composition/techinical decisions more quickly. 3) I just need to make sure I do more. I just need to keep doing - even it the end result is crappy 9 times out of 10.

    So here's the speed sketches for the past week. Each done between 1 and 3 hours, in Painter 11.

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    sketchbook update - mid-Jan to mid-Feb 2011

    Sketches from observation - live figure models
    Nude models drawn at local college
    Costumed models from Dr. Sketchy Cleveland Jan 2011 & Dr. Sketchy Cincinnati Feb 2011

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    nice work on those pencil figures! they're your strongest area for sure

    not so sure why you keep drawing from imagination without reference - even professional artists will usually have some related images/poses to work from. the thing with drawing from imagination without reference is: you're not learning anything. ok, you're learning how to use painter, but your drawing skills are going backwards as you're falling back into old habits.

    definitely do some more studies in painter, if you wanna get good at digital painting that's the way to go

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    Art, references, and copyright.

    I thought generating images solely from imagination was what everyone aims for. Does everyone use reference? How do you use reference without making everything look just like someone else's picture? Or what if you can't find or create a picture quite like what you're imagining? I'm not trying to argue, because I would really like to use reference - God knows that would help those digital painting sketches I've been bashing myself against. I just hear so much controversy about "swiping" and comic book plagarism, that I'm very gun-shy. Drawing from life models, I feel safe because - well it's from life. But I can't afford models of my own, so that would leave photos on the web or magazines. How do I use those without infringing on copyright? Or are there other resources I'm missing?
    Any articles, or artist blogs, or tutorials, or books that anyone could point me to would be appreciated! I would really like to understand this better.

    Thanks!

    Crystal

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    latest batch of sketches from my sketchbook.

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    One of these from imagination without reference pics. I know people say I shouldn't do it that way. I just want to get to the state where I can draw anything from my head. Any suggestions on how to get to that state better are welcome.

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