First Attempted Still Life

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  1. #1
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    First Attempted Still Life

    I made this still life when I was 15 (it probably looks it). Now, not too long later, I see several mistakes and areas I rushed, such as the log on the right and the left side of the rope. Other areas look pretty flat, and I'm aware of that now, but I feel that if I were to do this again, I wouldn't know how to do certain areas better. I've never received critiques before, only positive feedback (which I'm getting pretty tired of) so I desperately need some. Really, don't be afraid to tear this apart with your cruel words. I will love you for it.

    Also keep in mind this was my first still life ever, as well as my first ever attempt with charcoal. I really need some advice on how to do this stuff.

    Also also keep in mind I'll be applying to art schools pretty soon, so whatever advice you have that will potentially improve my portfolio is much appreciated!

    Thank you!

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    Last edited by Splendoodle; September 4th, 2011 at 11:20 PM.
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  3. #2
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    How old are you now? 17, 18? I think this is terrific for your age.

    I would like to see some more of your work. Does the school you want to attend require portfolio review? What will you be showing them?

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  4. #3
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    I'd say I'm around that age group. Thank you!

    I actually have an album on animated buzz of some of my art (It's only some of it though). Ignore the gesture drawings; they're pretty terrible.

    http://www.animatedbuzz.com/albums/view/927

    I actually want to attend a school for animation and possibly graphic design or illustration as a minor. I'm not too sure yet what the schools I want to apply to require, but sometime soon I'll probably know. I do know that I won't be attending any schools that don't require portfolios or that are open enrollment.

    Any critiques? Advice?

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  5. #4
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    Your picture has values spread all over the fine detail, and so it doesn't read well. You also picked a still life composed mostly of crooked and folded and detailed things, and so it looks noisy because of that, too.

    When picking a composition, you need to contrast things more. Not everything must be intricate; contrast the detail against plain things - a wad of crumpled paper set on a crumpled cloth background would look noisy, but a simple cube on the same crumpled cloth background would work fine. Don't use all textures, have some plain surfaces. Don't use all curves, have some straight lines.

    When working with values, pick the brightest and the darkest spot in the *whole* composition first. That will be your range in the picture, from white to black. You've got cloth, wood and rope done with essentially the same tones, so they blend together; you should compare things to each other to read their relative value, and work from that.

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  7. #5
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    No I don't have any crits for you--I think your charcoal drawings are excellent. Your gestures are in the right direction.

    My advice would just be to learn what the schools will want to see. Ask around here maybe in the discussion forum and I think there might even be a forum about schools?

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  8. #6
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    Along the lines of what arenhaus said, I think the piece you've posted lacks a focal point- I don't know where to look or why to look at it.

    Most of the movement in the composition is horizontal and all the elements are roughly the same size (rope, fold in cloth, piece of wood?).

    I think your rendering is great, though the other pieces you've got in the link are better examples than the one here. Again, I agree with arenhaus, everything is essentially the same tone except the top left cloth. Even though the set up may have been similar in tone it would be good to vary the tone of the different elements to separate them.

    Sydney artist Luke Marcatili

    "Fear is the mindkiller..."
    - The Litany Against Fear
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