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Thread: Kobryn's Portfolio Review
April 13th, 2011 #1
Kobryn's Portfolio Review
This is a resurrection of the review process detailed in this thread: http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=59247 and this thread: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=58831
My goal is entirely undefined. At this current point in my life I'm not even certain that I want visual art to be the main work of my life, however, I am currently in art school and I'm young enough to "just float with it" for a while.
For visual arts, specifically, I'd like to create several pieces of artwork that I find truly powerful and transporting. I don't necessarily want to be a concept designer because I don't enjoy video games and my interest in "design-based" (action) films is fleeting, however it is something that I enjoy. I guess, that said, I really want to be a "fine artist" (despite my major in illustration) but I would like to make money off of my art which seems difficult as a fine artist. I'd also love to create artwork to accompany music, and to fit into the archetype that Rodger Dean and HR Giger have laid out in the past. To my dismay, this also seems to be a less than secure source of income given the current digital themes of the music industry, and seeing as album artwork is becoming less and less significant. I'd also love to be in a book like Spectrum and I'd love to some day have my own gallery show.
[edit: in retrospect this is not the sort of thing I would write to a school or company, but perhaps it is honest than what I would say in such a paragraph?]
None of this artwork is particularly recent, as most of my artwork has been for school (which would not be worth posting) or graphic designs for clients. There is more on my blog.
From OLD to NEW:
(brush and ink)
(Pen/Brush and ink)
(pen/ink, and then photoshop)
And then these three are all pen/ink then photoshop:
Last edited by OldJake666; April 13th, 2011 at 01:51 AM.
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April 13th, 2011 #2
Alright Mr. Kobrin. Braver by the years. Well done. That is one old thread you managed to encourage to live...so here you go.
If you were in TAD I would tell you every day that you need to draw and paint from life more and begin to work on your figure, composition, light and form, design, and more complex idea development. With that said, you have some good things happening with mood, and with your flat shape design. The woodcut looking piece also shows promise.
The first image is confusing to me in some ways. It has some interesting shapes happening but I cannot tell if the yellow on his hands, that has its inner edges running tangent to the sides of the face are supposed to be lights or not. If they are, how would those lights affect the color and forms that are there on his face?
Also, if you could pull the black out of the background (about 6 percent of it), you could save your dark darks for areas of interest, so they eye can rest, and take in the whole image. Contrast of edge, shape, value, idea, and color, creates visual weight. Let the eye rest and then use secondary and tertiary focus' to pull the eye around and into the picture.
The second image starts to show promise in texture and surface undulation but your lights are not consistent. Some spots you have grey light, and then its pink and so on and so forth. Keep your light consistent. You show light from the top on small surface undulation but not on the whole form. Where would shadows be casting on his teeth based on where your light is coming from?
The third image is quite nice. It could use some light light shapes to give the eye a place to rest...and strengthen the forms on the head.
The fourth image could also use a few light light strokes to focus part of the composition so the eye could rest. Saving your black blacks and white whites for such areas will help. However, this one is probably my fave of the bunch and I think it almost works as is. A little more contrast behind the letters..or simpler shapes..would make them stand out and be able to be read. It kind of blurs in as is.
The nun image is well done. That was a big step for you. Watch that lower hand. Kinda mittish right now...but almost there. Again, a couple dark darks and light lights in the areas of interest would make it pop. Focal hierarchy. Good stuff.
The design next has nice texture and some cool shapes but once again does not hold my eye. Is this on purpose that you spread your focus around the entire image? Nice shapes...but as a composition it feels placed and doesn't have balance that will let the eye settle. The surface feel on the texture is nice.
The Muse image has a lot of great stuff happening too. The horizontal and vertical seams...but mostly the vertical seams in the shapes are distracting. Is that the folds? Not sure here...just feels like it needs to be designed more in those areas, so the shapes can flow back and forth across it and the vertical becomes more implied than actual....IMHO. The face is nice...not quite sure of what emotion he is feeling. Seems like he is pursing his lips as he was going from one emotion to another...kind of like a snapshot that just missed it's moment...ya know? What emotion are you trying to express? Are you sure that is the one? If so then you are on target.
Excellent texture work on the black and white shape/surface study. Doesn't look like a finished composition quite yet...but is getting there. Great surfaces.
The woodcut piece is almost there. The distortion on the figure....you should make a choice on whether you want to really distort (his hips vs the turn of his chest for example)...or if you want to be accurate. That is kind of between the two on this one...however i do hope you do more of these. You will get that down and should.
The last piece...one more value to use in the areas of interest would make the piece look more finished. Again it is a shape on a dark background...where do you want the eye to rest?
Finally I am going to encourage you to push outside of your metal moods and explore something in areas of mood you also feel. You should be able to communicate a range of moods, depending on what you need to make or want to make. Darkness is not easy for everyone, and you have that in spades. Don't let it be a crutch.
You have done a nice job pushing as far as you have. You have earned a lot of respect around here as I have no doubt that no one sees you as jake "the kid who chats in the lounge" anymore. I am very happy to see your efforts and look forward to where you go from here.
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April 13th, 2011 #3
1st image: Hard to critique this one since it's a bit abstract. I can make out a face and what are possibly fingers, but aside from that, who knows. Some practice with form would really do this one some favors, adding clarity to the image, and adding intrigue generated not by confusion but by actual interest in the subject matter. I'm not sure that the colors are working that well either, as they're immediately drawing my eye to the parts of the image that are hard to identify, which just emphasizes the fact that this a bit of a mumbled image. The colors are bold, but you seem to be hiding behind them, making whatever it's suppose to communicate unclear.
2nd: If you look up textures that get applied to character models, they look something like this. There is very little form. This would have benefited from being drawn in black and white first. Obviuosly being able to create form confidently takes a lot of work, but that's what this needs. As for the color, the green is making the teeth the primary focus of the composition, which I do not think is to its strength. I would use color to draw attention to the eyes, since those are most well drawn part of the image, and kind of make sense for people to look at anyways.
3rd: This one is pretty nice, but again using some form to draw the face out of the texture a little bit would give it a lot more oomph. Also be very careful about how you use textures, as I think anyone with much experience in Photoshop is just going to look at this and see a quick self portrait with a texture overlay layer thrown on top.
4th: I like the drawing a lot, but the texture is just getting in the way and honestly almost ruins it. There is no real value variation to enforce a sense of composition, and the texture doesn't look like it was drawn at the same time as the rest of the drawing. Again, be very careful that your textures don't just look like you threw them on at the end. If done right they can look really nice but the ones you have going are approaching just looking tacky. I would say this about a lot of your images so I won't repeat myself for the others, but I would just really keep that in mind. Also the outlined font looks pretty cheap, and doesn't integrate into the image that well. I would have hand drawn each letter for a more consistent look.
5th: Good step for you I would say. Obviously you can improve your anatomy, and I would study some reference for the folds of the cloth around her neck. Her lower hand doesn't look like it's holding the knife in a natural way. It would be nice if you possibly had some some light running down her clothes here and there; nothing to attention grabbing, but just enough to keep it from looking like there's one big blob of light in the middle and nowhere else. Oh and you kept the texture under control here which is good.
6th: I understand that the actual letters are supposed to be difficult to read so I won't criticize that part of it (even though I don't get the point of it... just sayin' ), but the actual shapes of the strokes do not have good flow. The design looks very fractured and unfocused. Again, I know this is kind of the style this type is going for, but I think a stronger sense of flow and continuity between some of the shapes would enhance this from being something that looks cool but doesn't hold your attention, to something that really is more iconic and easy to spend time in the life of the lines.
7th: The composition works on a basic level, but I feel like the shapes aren't quite there. The color supports the focus of the composition, so good job there, but the shapes could do a lot more to support the focus. You have a few big shapes around the focus area, but for the most part everything looks too samey. I would just play around with it some more. Try letting some yellow light refract a little bit through the composition, play around with giving some forms to shapes, and so on. The upper lettering isn't working. It's hard to read, which may not be a problem in some contexts, but this isn't one of them. Also it seems kid of strange that the text is floating up at the top all alone.
8th: This works pretty well. The shapes could be more confident, and the overall shape could be tighter, but I don't have much else to say about it.
9th: This image looks very messy; the light source doesn't read at all, many parts of the drawing are obscured not intentionally but because you haven't mastered the medium yet, there are anatomical issues, etc. I like the idea of this image, I think the fact that you're new to the medium has just made it impossible for you to fully realize the image at this point. Like Jason said I can really see you getting into wood cuts and putting out some great stuff. I would keep practicing with these.
10th: The type does not work at all. It looks very tacky. I would get rid of it and completely rethink that part of the image. The bird's heads look great, but I am not a fan of the stroke around everything. Again, looks tacky. Also, the flowery lines are way overdone in this picture and are too much of a mass. They lack any sort of elegance. Pull them back and be more intentional with each and every stroke.
Lastly, as Jason said I would really like to see you explore some areas beyond metal. I know music is a huge inspiration for you and that you listen to a wide variety of music, so let's see you push yourself in new directions (not that you should abandon where you're coming from of course).
Cool stuff man! I pretty much pointed out all the negatives I could think of, but I know that you have a great vision for what you want to create, and you definitely have the skills to start realizing that vision. Just keep exercising your ability and you'll put out some great, recognizable stuff.
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April 13th, 2011 #4
Thank you guys so much! That was the most valuable thing I have ever read in the lounge! Haha
Especially useful was the thought of a "value hierarchy." I've never quite thought of it that way before and I will certainly use that idea in the future!
It's odd because all of this work was created before I began school and now ive been drawing from life every single day, etc but I havent quite had the time or energy to create my own artwork. I can see a lot of flaws that were not even pointed out. That shows improvement in it's own way, I think, I cant wait to apply what I've been learning to "real" artwork!
April 13th, 2011 #5
And I thought I'd post this design because it's the most recent piece of "real" artwork that I have (even though it was for a client,) stretching back just a couple of weeks. It's the same deal as the others that look similar, pen/brush and ink and then photoshop.
I hope no one guesses the band...
April 13th, 2011 #6
April 13th, 2011 #7
April 14th, 2011 #8
I'll add my full critique later, but I have to say I am confused by the first piece. I recall a different version that was warmer colors, un-mirrored and un-"black-lighted" and I loved the color tones!
Why did you post-process it so much and turn a good piece into this version?
Not trying to start a discussion in your portfolio thread, obviously, but I think photoshop allows for too much meddling sometimes. You need to commit to a color scheme and not mess with hue/saturation/levels/curves/color balance as much as just stick with CHOSEN colors. It always looks better, imo.
I think as my first critique of your first piece, the colors are eye-bleedingly gaudy. The original was softer, more painterly, and seemed to have more of an artist's touch as opposed to a "Spencer's Gift Store" touch.
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April 14th, 2011 #9
Yeah, that first piece came from this:
And for the record I DO want to be a realistic artist, whether that makes me an illustrator, fine artist, or whatever. I've always been totally infatuated with realist painting, especially fantastic realism. Some of my favorite artists are Beksinski, Mucha, Andrew Jones, Gustav Dore, John Dyer Baizley, and Vania Zouravilov, all of which have a HYPERrealistic style.
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April 14th, 2011 #10