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  1. #1
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    What went wrong with this render?

    Im new to art obviously. Anyways I tried to do my first life drawing and I did ok with the measurements but I failed miserably trying to render it. My drawing become very muddy in tone quickly even though I tried to keep lights light, and darks dark, and use gradients. On my last drawing I did which was a statue from a photo reference I did a much better job rendering it, using the same techniques.

    Another problem I was running into was simply running into very tight detailed areas such as the eyebrows. For this example, there were black lines for folds in the eyebrows, I was having trouble adding this even with a sharp pencil. In addition on the eyebrows there were areas of extremly thin white rim light. I tried to pull it out with kneaded eraser, but was having an incredibly difficult time. I was using 8.5x11 paper, with my drawing probably drawn about 4.5x6.



    On the statue it was much easier to keep the lights light and the darks dark. As the compartment shapes for light and dark on the statue are huge, with the lion they are much smaller. In addition, the statue was already in black and white, whereas the lion is gold.

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    Pick a simpler subject. Less small subforms, no metallic finish.


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    I'd say painting a metallic object was already harder to start with, due to the high reflectivness of the gold, its harder to separate the light from the shadow, because you get so much reflection everywhere that affect the values.. You could have taken a simpler subject for your first life drawing

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    Define where the light hits and which parts are in shadow. Simplify the shadows, stay away from smudging. Work along the shadowline/bedbugline/whatever you call it.

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    I think you blended your values together too much. Shiny objects have very sharp value changes rather than smooth gradation. It still looks good though. Keep at it, man.

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    all i see in the current pic is a drawing and the start of a lay-in.... the difference is in the left pic you stopped before you got to the stage the right pic is in.

    i think you got overwhelmed by the complex problems you had to face during drawing from life, that just didnt arise copying a photo. and you stopped beeing frustrated.

    thats ok, and now go back to it, correct what needs correction in you opinion and finish it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sone_one View Post
    all i see in the current pic is a drawing and the start of a lay-in.... the difference is in the left pic you stopped before you got to the stage the right pic is in.

    i think you got overwhelmed by the complex problems you had to face during drawing from life, that just didnt arise copying a photo. and you stopped beeing frustrated.

    thats ok, and now go back to it, correct what needs correction in you opinion and finish it.
    Thanks for your feedback. Yes I was getting frustrated, but thats not why I stopped. As I said in the original post I was having many difficulties pulling out whites with my kneaded eraser no matter how small I made it, similarly I found it hard to put in and render tiny details less such as the wrinkles in the eyebrows with a sharpened pencil.

    Additionally there were spots that I was unsure how to proceed with rendering. On the statue their are black metallic spots of paint, and many of these black areas are in direct light (see image below). I was having trouble processing it. On the greyscale value if 1 is black and 10 is white, the black paint color of the spots was definitely a 1-3, but at the same time some of them were affected directly by light.

    I wouldn't abandon this project if it I thought it was salvageable, but between my inexperience in art in general especially life drawing and the problems I described above I think it might be a bit much for my first life drawing object. Next time ill attempt something with easier forms hopefully such as an apple.



    I think in addition to my next life drawing I will do another white and black photograph with strong form lighting to try and work on the basics of art. Such as this.


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    the sketch is twisted. look at the head. its facing a direction matching your drawing perfectly. now look at the base it doesnt match the base of the original. the perspective is off. its twisted at a angle. you can see it better if you imagine the entire thing in a cube.

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    well light gets reflected from black-painted metal ... if you see a value 3... put it in. thats the reason youre doing these... getting an idea how form, light, color, ... work.

    if you cant go any lighter in a spot that needs to be the lightest and the relation to the darker parts is too close, you need to darken everything else.

    if there are lines you made you cant get rid of with your eraser, you need to go lighter next time. no big deal this time though as the solution above is quite valid.

    yet you learned 2 things, you probably didnt while doing the photocopy... appreciate it, its a good thing . we learn from our errors, success just strokes our egos and fuels our engines

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    One other thing that might help in projects like this - get some bigger paper. Trying to draw lots of tiny details in a small picture is just asking for more headaches, especially if there are small areas you want to make sharp and crisp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    One other thing that might help in projects like this - get some bigger paper. Trying to draw lots of tiny details in a small picture is just asking for more headaches, especially if there are small areas you want to make sharp and crisp.
    And draw the object larger, why dont I think of these things before starting lol! Thanks

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    You're off to a good start - but work from more still lifes - not photos, they will teach you very little at this stage. Go to the thrift store - buy a bunch of simple shaped crap, spray paint it matte white and voila - subject matter aplenty.

    And just a note on terminology - "life drawing" specifically means drawing the figure from life. "Drawing from life" means drawing from anything in a direct manner - still lifes, buildings, fire hydrants, etc. Working from photos is simply using reference.

    Edit: Yes - work much larger - 18x24 or so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    You're off to a good start - but work from more still lifes - not photos, they will teach you very little at this stage. Go to the thrift store - buy a bunch of simple shaped crap, spray paint it matte white and voila - subject matter aplenty.

    And just a note on terminology - "life drawing" specifically means drawing the figure from life. "Drawing from life" means drawing from anything in a direct manner - still lifes, buildings, fire hydrants, etc. Working from photos is simply using reference.

    Edit: Yes - work much larger - 18x24 or so.
    Thanks for the suggestions. I actually have a white cube and cylinder I bought from an art store awhile back that I have never used, but thats as primitive as you can get the actual primitive shapes so I'm not sure how useful these would be. I like your thrift store suggestion though, excellent idea!

    Also why do you suggest working from mainly still lifes and not photos?

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    The cylinder and cube sound perfect! And actually the most basic form is the sphere - there is no perspective.
    Gosh - so many reasons to that question. Mainly the photo has already translated the subject into two dimmensions - that sounds minor but is huge. You can't move around the photo - checking other angles, slightly subtle composition shifts, etc. The photo has very limited value range and you will never see subtleties like reflected light or overlapping shadow...stuff like that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    The cylinder and cube sound perfect! And actually the most basic form is the sphere - there is no perspective.
    Gosh - so many reasons to that question. Mainly the photo has already translated the subject into two dimmensions - that sounds minor but is huge. You can't move around the photo - checking other angles, slightly subtle composition shifts, etc. The photo has very limited value range and you will never see subtleties like reflected light or overlapping shadow...stuff like that.
    Since my traditional art is so weak, I am really wanting to concentrate on the basics. How would you suggest I go about using these primitives? Should I just keep rendering the same cube/box over and over and over again until im blue in the face and showing some improvement and then move onto something else, such as white sprayed thrift objects?

    Also yes when working from a photo you lose true depth as you stated since you looking through the lens of a camera, instead of your own eyes. But yes drawing from life is more difficult, I figured for a beginner such as myself it would be better to do mainly photo references since they are easier allowing to ease my self into the art process by working from something with less information. But I suppose breaking your teeth on the grindstone by drawing from life when you are new is better?


    Thanks for your suggestions, I will begin doing more still life projects.

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    Hey BlueHabit - yeah, just set them up in a variety of interesting ways and do as accurate a rendering of them as possible...record the time and date on your sheet as well. Then switch it up and do it again...eventually you can add other elements - like a glass or whatever. Smallish cardboard boxes make great subjects as well. I also love using classic children's blocks - the basic block kind with no paint, numbers, etc. Try to set things up so there is only a single light source - artificial for starters so it doesn't move.

    Yeah, I know it seems counter-intuitive, photos should be easier, and in a way they are, but you just don't learn anything of real value so it wastes your time.

    Edit: Oh yeah, get a copy of Deborah Rockman's book "Drawing Essentials" - that lays it all out really well. Good luck!

    Last edited by JeffX99; March 31st, 2011 at 10:20 PM. Reason: Book recommendation
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    Hey BlueHabit -
    Awesome, thanks for all your suggestions, I will pick up that book as well. Also I noticed you have a variety of imaginative works since. Ultimately I would like to be able to concept my own vehicles and guns since I do 3D modeling. How do you go about working on drawing from imagination? How would you recommend someone new begins to incorporate imaginative works, would you wait until their at a certain level traditionally etc?

    Also I played a few of those games probably when I was 10 or 12, such as Army Men and Jungle strike, its really awesome to speak with the artist responsible for those!

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    Ha! Thanks! Glad you enjoyed them. I would actually encourage you do imaginitive work as well, but referenced and developed from the real world. Don't wait until you're "ready" or anything like that - but do make sure you are solvig teh same problems in your imaginitive work as you would from life. Another excellent book for this is Jim Gurney's "Imaginitive Realism" - those two are a great combination.

    For modeling vehicles and weapons, just make sure to study as much transportation or aircraft design and weapons design and physics. Make sure to do a set of traditional, accurate orthographic views to load as reference image/background image to model to.

    And make sure to post some work in the WIPS section or start a sketchbook.

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