My name is Michael Vladimir Nicolayeff. I've been working in the creative industry since 2006, mainly making 3d graphics for VR. I don't put much of that into this thread, however: I use this sketchbook mainly for studies, sketches, and general life drawing.
When I started this sketchbook at the end of 2011, I felt I'd been stranded on a plateau. Since then I've redoubled my efforts and have seen some major improvements in my color use and ability to depict volume. I still have a lot to learn.
Now my main goals here are to get better at environments, landscapes, industrial design, perspective, anatomy, and especially storytelling.
I'd like to be able to communicate something further about the subject than merely what it looks like. If I create a robot, it should be clear what it's made of and what it could be used for. If I create a person, they should broadcast their personality through their clothing, face, and body language, and appear to be a unique individual. And with an environment, I should be able to indicate something about the people that work or live there. I want to create fantastical things that could exist within the rules of their own universe.
If you'd like, leave some feedback. I'm also open to trading critiques.
I also run a small drawing group in Santa Barbara, CA[/B][/center]
Last edited by SmallPoly; February 14th, 2014 at 09:51 PM. Reason: Modifying thread thumbnail
Here are some larger versions:
Hey yoh This is a nice sketchbook you got going. The value studies of color and light are unique. The sketch book panoramics are awesome. The overall layout of everything is very clean. I like that you credit the photographer below the thumbs.
Amazing work! Those step by step shots were really helpful btw, thanks
I've been messing around a bit with doing studies from movies. I don't recommend doing that with anything you haven't already watched since if you're interested in a story you don't want it stopping every 5 minutes for 10 minutes of unrelated stuff.
In this case I did some rough stills from "The Mechanist". It has a lot of mistakes so it seems like I should spend more time on the next one. I might do something similar with the game "Limbo" later.
I've also been watching some video tutorials by concept artsists Feng Zhu and Xia Taptara (IDrawGirls). It makes me think I should do some studies of John Singer Sargent's work.
I've also been doing a few more observational landscapes in my sketchbook. I'll upload them when I get a chance.
Movie frame studies, at apx. every 10 minutes:
Based on some things I was seeing in Xia Taptara's videos, I did some sketching with a very flattened soft brush.
Also, here's a random thing from August, since I felt it had purdy colors.
Thank you for your advice. I will be doing more value studies.
I'll also be happy if you have time to give me more advice
How comes that in your movie studies all but the last one seems to be cut in half by the composition. I suppose this was done to achieve some effect, or am I just imagining things? (I haven't seen the movie)
These little color sketches are cute, especially the one with the red critter.
Hi Leysan, the scenes from The Mechanist are fairly accurate to how it looked in the movie, other than color & value issues.
Lately I've been working on doing frame by frame animation, though currently nothing worth showing. I'm considering participating 11 Second Club competition. Previously I've done some basic character animation for work in 3ds Max, but haven't done much hand-drawn work. We'll see how things go.
Today I did another still life of some apples. I got a few odd comments from coworkers seeing my still life setup during lunchtime, but I guess that's to be expected. This time I started out in color, trying to keep things fairly saturated. I was attempting to do local color first, then control the value. After a little while I found I was struggling with too many elements at once, so I used a luminosity layer to adjust the value with another layer up top to desaturate everything. That way I could focus on fixing the values without being distracted by color inaccuracies. I think I'd like to try using an underpainting method next time.
My girlfriend arrived two hours earlier than expected, so the bottom one is somewhat rushed.
Here's the painting:
Also, here's how I'm setting up my still lifes at the moment:
Last edited by SmallPoly; November 18th, 2011 at 03:07 AM.
love your style. Feng Zhu does rock, I love his videos, I want to go to his design school.
Loving those panoramic landscapes one the first page!
Seek your own acceptance.
Warmup from this morning. I tend to get lost and change details when I paint over linework. It seems like it's working better to use the lines as a reference instead and paint things from scratch. Even this could use some more work to get it closer to my sketch.
Another version from later in the day:
And some practice combining unrelated reference photos:
Last edited by SmallPoly; February 28th, 2012 at 01:51 AM. Reason: updated sketch
I did some face studies tonight based on frames of a documentary about the puppeteers of sesame street, as per the current spartan challenge. Things started off pretty rough but on the later ones it felt like I had a lot more control.
I also did a crumpled paper study to work on planar surfaces a bit more. I ought to do some more fruit studies sometime soon.
Though it isn't exactly painting or concept art, I put together an illustration for the company I work for last night involving some composting of 3d imagery with a photo of my photogenic coworker, Brian. The prompt called for a Tron-like "derez" effect. The product here (shameless plug) is an entry level virtual reality package combining motion tracking via Microsoft's Kinect, Sony's new entry-level HMD and our company's authoring tools (with code examples freely available). The illustration isn't perfect, but it does seem like I'm finally starting to produce graphics that don't look like total shit.
Love those portraits
@Obacmar: Thanks! I really need to get back into doing the Spartan camp thing every week. Not sure what I'd do for the 2-week one that just went up - maybe one of the Greek sculptures where multiple characters are interacting?
Did some quick studies this morning from Samurai Shamploo. Fucking amazing fight choreography in that anime series. If they every do a Highlander reboot, they really should take some notes from it.
Very nice stuff man, i love your sense of form, really nice paintings, lot of good studies.. do you use Ps or painter? i notice some painterly textures in your strokes..
You have a nice sketchbook here. Its wierd how some sketchbooks are loaded with replies and others get so few.
I enjoyed looking at your studies. My favorites are the inked ones. That glass cup was pretty nice too. Keep it up. I'd like to see you try painting something epic, then you'd get more responses.
Thanks. I've tried out painter a few times, but for almost everything I use photoshop. The brushy stuff is mostly being done with the "texture" setting in brush properties + a squished round brush.
I think you may be right about the lack of epic stuff. I do a lot of drills and practice, but not as many things that feel challenging. I've been thinking lately that one reason I'm struggling with environments is that I never try to draw the kind of environments that I find fascinating. I do also need to do more perspective drills.
Messing around a bit with ink washes today. I'm down visiting my family in San Diego for Easter, but stepped out for a little while for some coffee and art supplies. I don't get outside to draw as much as I should - doing still lifes seems to have helped my rendering skill, but I'm going to have a hard time improving on environments if I don't get outside and start drawing them again.
Last edited by SmallPoly; April 8th, 2012 at 03:13 PM.
Live gesture drawing is a very good idea, indeed. Really lets you understand the human figure as a working mass. I've found that railway/subway stations are usually brilliant for these kinds of works.
As for your art, I think your line work is great. Your colours are quickly catching up as well, loving the onion still-life. Make sure you capture the crevice shadow, and the core shadow, though. Right now it might look like it's floating. But the application of colours is simply fantastic.
Also, if you can, show us some of your graphic work. The last one looks great. Anyway, it was a pleasure dropping by your sketchbook. Keep the works coming.
Both of you, thanks for visting. :-) I'm quickly realizing just how much variety in attire exists in this town. It's probably a combination of the different income levels and tourism.
Previously most of my gesture drawing was trying to focus on getting accurate proportions. Now I'm trying to do more exaggeration - finding the most prominant part of a person's outfit and emphasizing that. Eg. this guy is all about the thick stripes on his shirt, that guy is all about his giant bag, that girl has massive hair. Really trying to focus more on silhouette.
I wish there was a subway here; It seems Southern California hates the idea of public transportation. I was amazed at how well it works in places like new york - even if you miss your train there's another one coming along in 2 minutes. I did get stuck overnight in Penn Station once - apparently they don't extend the train schedules for New Years. Maybe they ought to take some notes from Japan and install some capsule hotels.
I feel like I've been getting a lot of improvement in the work i do from imagination due to the still life paintings. It's nice going in with some control. I see your point on the recent onion painting - that one was too rushed.
I don't do that kind of work very often, but if I do some more I'll post it here. :-)Also, if you can, show us some of your graphic work. The last one looks great.