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Thread: portrait of my sleeping boyfriend (edit: now working on self portrait)

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    portrait of my sleeping boyfriend (edit: now working on self portrait)

    Here is a drawing I did today of my sleeping boyfriend in PS CS5 with an Intuos 3 Wacom tablet. Took me all day.

    I'm hardly getting any comments in my sketchbook thread, so thought I'd post this here for critique on what I may be doing wrong. How could I make this better? Does the color look off? Does it take away from it that I color picked from the photo, should I come up with the colors myself?

    Thanks for looking. I would really appreciate any critique.

    Attachment 1321041

    possible other color scheme:
    Attachment 1321056


    here is the reference:

    Attachment 1321042
    Last edited by magicnmyth; September 13th, 2011 at 06:43 PM.
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    This is one of the reasons why an artist shouldn't just copy photos.

    Photos lie about many things, color among them. The easiest way to spot a copied photo is by looking at the color. If it looks like something a camera would produce, instead of something an artist designed, it's 99% probability to be copied off a photo.

    In this case you've got a rather low-quality photo, too.

    Do yourself a favor and work from life. It's not really possible to get good results working from photos, if you don't have a lot of experience in working from life. Reading a photo is a skill too; you can't just copy, you have to be informed about a ton of things - from how light behaves to the differences between color registration by a human eye and a camera.
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    This is one of the reasons why an artist shouldn't just copy photos.

    Photos lie about many things, color among them. The easiest way to spot a copied photo is by looking at the color. If it looks like something a camera would produce, instead of something an artist designed, it's 99% probability to be copied off a photo.

    In this case you've got a rather low-quality photo, too.

    Do yourself a favor and work from life. It's not really possible to get good results working from photos, if you don't have a lot of experience in working from life. Reading a photo is a skill too; you can't just copy, you have to be informed about a ton of things - from how light behaves to the differences between color registration by a human eye and a camera.
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    Thanks so much for your advice. I really appreciate it and would like to apply it to my artwork once I can figure out how to.

    Sadly, these are things I should know on my own; all of my art professors at RISD told me not to copy from photos. I didn't listen, even though I should have.

    Like you, they all said to work from life. However, it's hard to get someone to pose for me for the length of time it would take me to complete an artwork; say, 15-20 hours. I had problems finishing with 6 hour in class poses because it would take me forever to work from life. It still takes me forever to work from photos, too, but they sit still for as long as I need them to.

    Do you (or anyone) have any solutions to this? I'd really love to take your advice and work from life, but I just don't know how to get over the problem I mentioned above. Do you just lay down the basis for it and do it over multiple sessions? Do you lay down the basis for it and then do the rest from memory? Or something else?

    Is this drawing salvageable if I mess around with the colors more? This one meant a lot to me, as it's my boyfriend. Unless, maybe I could do it over and ask him to pose for me?

    edit: Played around with the color based on what I've learned about light sources. Is it any better? I think it probably still looks too much like photo colors
    Attachment 1321263
    Last edited by magicnmyth; September 13th, 2011 at 06:03 AM.
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    If speed is your downfall, you should try practicing gesture drawing. I remember seeing a site that set up lessons for you, but I can't remember what it's called...

    Found it, http://www.pixelovely.com/gesture/figuredrawing.php This really helped me focus on the movement and language behing the pose rather than getting stuck with te detail. Even though my art is more cartoony, I think it shows when you learn the fundamentals first.
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    The problem with colorpicking is that you turn off your brain and trust the machine to do the work for you. And manipulating what you have with adjustments and/or filters is doing the same thing. Look at your subject and try to figure out what's going on and why. Working from life trains you to be able to do this, so that you can work from photos mindfully and efficiently.
    Remember, color is the result of the interaction between the light and the surface. So, every time there's a color change, either the light is changing (ex; cast shadows), the surface is changing (ex: patterns), or the relationship between light and surface is changing (ex: plane changes). You have two light sources in your picture, a cool, diffused skylight from the left, and a few patches of warm, dappled sunlight from the right. Because this isn't clear in your mind, you get situations like the odd warm splotch on his upper arm that doesn't really relate to anything. It's only there because you sampled from that area on your photo, but you didn't paint it with any indication of why there's such a color shift there. When you just colorpick from a photo and put down brushstrokes without regard to describing the form, all you're doing is the same thing a digital filter would do, but more slowly, less efficiently, and less accurately. Engage your brain, don't turn it off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by magicnmyth View Post
    However, it's hard to get someone to pose for me for the length of time it would take me to complete an artwork; say, 15-20 hours.
    Use a mirror and model for yourself.
    My Sketchbook

    And then God said, "Let us make man in our likeness and our image. Let us make him ridiculously hard to draw so that poor artists everywhere will have to spend 10,000+ hours failing repeatedly before they can begin to capture the form and likeness onto a two-dimensional surface." And there was man. And it was good. And artists everywhere lost their minds.
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    I agree with Elwell. All in all though, it's a well painted picture. Looks good from a distance.
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    Just checked out your sketchbook and DA. Stop with the colorpicked photo studies. Seriously. You think they look good, but next to everything you've done that's either traditional or not so photo bound, they're booooooooooring. There's no you in them. Considering that this one is no better than ones you did years ago, they're not teaching you anything, either.
    Last edited by Elwell; September 13th, 2011 at 10:55 AM.

    Tristan Elwell
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    You may draw objects too. They stands still and even the simplest/boring ones can be interesting if you try to understand where come those colors you see from. A portrait is very complicated, it's easier if you chose an easier subject and focus on colors and lighting. Take your time, observe and think, it's no problem if your end result won't be epic to anyone but you learned from it.
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  19. #11
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    MuffinSeeker: That website looks amazingly helpful. Thank you. Gesture drawing is definitely a weakness for me, so I better get practicing!

    Elwell: Some tough comments from you that were hard for me to take, but I definitely needed to hear that. You are totally right about everything you said. Thank you for taking a look at my work and taking the time to comment. You gave me lots of helpful advice and lots to think about. I'll keep what you said in mind, and work from life more and learn about color and light before returning to working from photos. Thanks so much.

    manlybrian: Noted, I'm doing that right now actually. Thank you.

    Luskan: Thank you.

    shiNIN: I definitely will start doing more still lifes, as boring as they seem to be; you're right, you can learn a lot from them. Thanks a lot.
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    So, I'm working on a new self portrait of myself completely from observation, and I'm having a difficult time. I guess I've used photos as a crutch for too long . Can someone give their opinion of how it's coming out and how I can fix it?

    Attachment 1321650
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    I'm a noob with color myself and I probably shouldn't say anything, since I can't really give you advice on how to make this better, but I guess one thing to watch out for is to try and avoid muddying up the colors. You're using dark greyish browns for the shadows and it doesn't look too good. And I don't understand, why the dark splotch on her right lower cheek area? Any way, there are far more competent people than me to give you advice on this.
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