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Thread: Pavel Sokov's Sketchbook

  1. #391
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    Ok so I decided to decrease the pupil size and see if that looks more like the real dog. And it did! I also lowered the forehead ala Velocity's OP and tinkered with the ears. I didn't want to follow velocity's body modifications because I felt the reduction in body mass made his dog look like a puppy. I also played around with the ears, and further darkened the hair around the snout.

    Finally, I received a terribly fuzzy photo of the dog's eye, and it appeared to have a light grey/bluish eyelid on the bottom of it so I made versions with the eyelid.

    New eyes with new eyelids



    New eyes without eyelids



    Old eyes with eyelids



    Old eyes without eyelids



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  2. #392
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    i like the new eyelid version best. call it done .

    newest sketchbook
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    "Have only 4 values, but all the edges you want." Glen Orbik
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  4. #393
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    Thank you sone one, I do like the eyelids as well. It is weird though, because the original ref photo didn't seem to have the eyelids, but the one my friend sent to me did. It seems to come off more realistic with them. I hope the client sees the benefit of the new eyes.

    Anyways, I was doing some quick experiments, painting a strange face, not caring much. I was using a normal wacom (my job got me one, thinking I will need it for my marketing job. I do use it a lot for graphic designing web elements). I made 18 versions but uploaded only my favorites and something very strange happened!

    For the first time ever, uploading to imageshack made my images really different. I also tried imgur. So on the left you see the normal looking file from my pc. The middle is imageshack (much more vibrant, don't like), and on the right is imgur's take on it. Obviously imgur's is shocking. I have never had any problems like this before. What is happening?



    I tried saving it as a jpeg, but using "save for web" and my problems went away. I advise everyone always do this, lest the uploads will mess up your file and you won't even notice. Thank god the differences here were HUGE.















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  5. #394
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    Hello,

    A lurker here. Something was nagging me to register just to comment on your thread. That's how agitated I've got

    Pavel, dude, if you're serious about painting - you need to change your game. On the other hand - if you just want to dabble for friends and relatives - then disregard this post. If you choose to read on, bear in mind that I'm not a professional painter. I may be just rambling.

    That said...

    In order to be a painter you need to perceive and "think" like a painter. You currently do not.
    What you do now, with most of the images posted here, is some sort of incidental photo manipulation.
    There's an obvious drive and a fair deal of innate affinity on your side, but your process is working against your ambition.

    Your existent approach

    Here's a breakdown of your methodology as I deduced it from this thread:

    1) Get a problematic reference photo
    You have a weird tendency to choose photos that are not effective as a reference. Either because they are weak images according to the rules of good visual design, or not informative enough on key aspects of your motif.
    Fully frontal lit photos taken with flash do not split the form nicely into areas of light and shadow.
    Diffusely lit photos taken on an overcast day tend to flatten the form. They leave you with a lot of super-subtle changes in values that are hard to interpret.

    2) Manipulate this photo to make it even weaker
    In case of last dog photo, you tried to invent directional studio lighting by blindly dodge-tooling existing specular reflections on a diffusely lit image. This is not how light works.

    3) Copy the flimsy reference by chancily painting it in photoshop. The result is a poorly designed picture.

    4) When something rings not right, identify the arbitrary problematic "detail" (it's always a detail, never the whole, eh?), then either trace or do a minute photomanips to band-aid it.

    5) Repeat from step 4 ad nauseam. At each futile iteration ask people on forums is it any better now.
    No, it isn't. It's just running in circles. The underlying pictorial logic is what's broken in most cases. Detail fiddling won't help. The only thing to do is to toss away the image and start over.

    What you have here is a process commonly known as "turd polishing".

    If you insist on this methodology, you're in a danger of never rising above ranks of the common turd polishers.


    Here's my quick paintover (done with mouse):

    Name:  guinnessprogress6copy.jpg
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    Obviously, I'm sticking with the original reference (you'll see why later). Note how the paintover is concerned with altogether different set of problems than your painting is. Instead of worrying about "somberness" or "eyelids" or any such verbal concept, my focus is on getting the value plan and the proportions right. In order to do this successfully, I had to simplify how I see the subject. Excessive detail has been eliminated from consideration in order to get a clear view on "global" structure of the image. The key is to always look at the whole forest, not the trees. There is no eyelids, no pupils, no whiskers and no thousands of individual strands of hair there, it's sloppily painted, yet the image just "works". Why do you think that is?

    Let me address some of the problems that can be detected in most of your paintings.


    "Amplified" local changes

    By "local" I mean "small parts of the picture". This is a very common pitfall. It happens due to relativistic nature of human perception. We unconsciously tend to maximize any perceived variation inside our current narrow focus. This is observable in a couple of areas:

    Name:  exaggeration.jpg
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    You need to put conscious effort in to counter this tendency. Always look at your subject and your interpretation in a non-fragmented way. Beware of the fragmentation, seek unity. The more narrow-focused your seeing is - the weaker the painter you'll be.

    Building the value structure using only narrowed focus is a lot like separately applying photoshop auto-levels on small chunks of the image. Try it on some of your photo reference and compare it to your paintings. To see how prevalent this problem is just google "value drawing". Most of the images that come up will have this sort of problem.

    Name:  corot.jpg
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    Lack of conception of global value plan

    Always start with planning the simplified value structure of the whole image. I cannot emphasize this enough. It's the foundation which makes or breaks the image. This is what the block in phase is for. Again, beware of the said fragmented perception. Squint to simplify what you see. Reduce the amount of information you take in. The less information you have to chew on the more likely the painting will succeed.

    This is, of course, easier said than done. We can theoreticize all day long but it would do your painting no good. You need to internalize it. It needs to click, and it can click only if you practice a lot with the specific intent of seeing the big value picture.

    By throwing values all over the place, you can easily break the plausible notan of the image. Notan is a concept from traditional Japanese art. Maybe you heard of it. It's basically a word for good (or interesting) balance of blacks and whites. This again ties in with mentioned global value plan. Each image can be reduced to a 50-50 threshold black and white version, nicely exposing the basic value structure. Here I did so for your dog painting and your references:

    Name:  notan.jpg
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    Cumbersome detailing

    Painting is not accounting. No need to count hair strands, or measure pupil diameters. Get the values and proportion right. Do so in as detail-reduced version of the image as you can. The image then will be in the state of unity. The gestalt will take care for the details. Viewer's perception will fill in for most that is omitted. Even if you insist on super-detailing, proceed to do so only after your value plan has achieved a solid state of unity. However, you'll quickly learn that good value composition doesn't need the level of detail you're currently obsessed with. It is redundant. You now use detailing as a crutch. It won't help in improving the design flaws.


    Reacting to client's remarks

    Clients can feel when image is not working. However, they will not know how to articulate the problem lying in the fundamental imagecrafting area. They'll typically blurt out that the problem lies in semantically most important part. Because that's what they can easily put into words. For portrait that's probably "the eyes". You need to be less literal when interpreting the feedback. Eyes are the least of your concerns in your dog painting.


    Proposition

    Here's my proposition to you, if I may. It's twofold:

    1) Do value studies. For start, draw 20 studies, either from life or photo reference. Let them be simple compositions, preferably still lifes. Use traditional media. Take the bluntest possible drawing tool. I'd suggest wine charcoal sticks, plain printer paper, paper towel and kneaded eraser. Charcoal lets you manipulate large areas of value quickly - both ways - darkening and lightening. It won't, however, let you habitually fiddle on details, thus forcing you to concentrate on the big picture. If you feel you don't have enough control, don't worry. Just persist. It's a sensitive yet powerful medium that needs some delicacy in handling. You'll get a grip after couple of studies.
    Spend less than half an hour on each study. Possibly even less. After that time call it done, regardless of the results, and move on. See what happens after you do 20. You can post them here for revision.

    2) Know your art history. It's important to know what came before you. Get this book to sharpen your tastes. Study the reproductions and read some info on the historical context. If you have time, enroll in basic online course on western art history. It'll put some things into perspective.


    Hope I wasn't too blunt. It was meant as a well intentioned kick in the butt.

    Cheers!

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  7. #395
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    That's one amazingly helpful comment right there! Thank you LaCan.

    I just took a break to post this.
    But sometimes I also draw stuff
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    Now THATS a crit.

    sb most art copied to page 1
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  9. #397
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    fantastic man. now that youve overcome that hurdle of registering, i hope to see more posts by you.

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    "Have only 4 values, but all the edges you want." Glen Orbik
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  11. #398
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    Wow LaCan.

    You really took the art of the crit to new heights, and that is your first post at that.

    I am honestly honored that you signed up just to help me out. I promise you that your time will be worth it.

    I think many people have been trying to get me to think in form, and you managed to explain it in such an effective way that it got even through my thick skull. Your take on Guinness has so much form, you can almost reach your hands through the screen and touch the dog. Not only that but you identified clearly the reasons why my paintings don't end up like that.

    A lot of my problems with amplified local contrast come from me zooming into my picture heavily and kinda bringing things of that sub section from darkest to lightest. Equally as bad, I noticed that I sometimes take specific objects (for example a piece of jewelry on a character or a bag) and take them from darkest to almost white highlights too. Like I am treating separate elements and treating them as an entire picture.

    In the end if I want to get out of the office and start painting as a real painter would, I have adopt the process of a real painter. Detailing things to death without minding the underlying structure can only get me to a certain point which is below where I want to be.

    I can do better.

    Thank you so much! I really hope to surprise you all and myself by actually trying next time.

    EDIT:

    Throwing some of that volume on.



    Last edited by Pavel Sokov; February 9th, 2013 at 05:48 PM.
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    LaCan: i've never taken a serious art class, but i learnt more about art in the 5 minutes of reading your post than i did in four years throughout high school. mostly because i suffer from that exact same problem and only realized it was a problem right now. thank you!

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  13. #400
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    5 minute sketch of Bill Gates. Probably shouldn't show anything this silly.



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  14. #401
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    I think a 14 page rolling thread in Crits is excessive. Other people need help too. This stuff is for your sketchbook. If you have a specific image you need help with start a new thread.

    sb most art copied to page 1
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  16. #402
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    Hmm. I'm not sure if I agree with that. It seems to me that one thread is better then me creating a multitude of threads, which would be pushing multiple other people's threads from page 1. As for example in the FF section it is proper to make a portfolio thread instead a thread for every piece.

    I would start a sketchbook, but I'm not too sure if people crit there as much and these crits are all the art school I have haha.

    What I should probably do though is not post sketches like the one above and only post works I intend to take to completion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pavel Sokov View Post
    one thread is better then me creating a multitude of threads
    But it was also pointed out to you numerous times before that the multitude of feedback requests is not always helpful.

    ->
    Quote Originally Posted by LaCan View Post
    5) Repeat from step 4 ad nauseam. At each futile iteration ask people on forums is it any better now.


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  19. #404
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    Its been really helpful to me, and I don't really grasp the idea of not continuing this thread (it has been vital for me and I am very happy with it) but ok, I will see what I can do.

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  20. #405
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    My point is youre sort of pushing the front of the line over and over and over again for 15 pages and 400 posts. im NOT saying create a multitude of threads that would be worse. Give someone else a chance. or better yet use what youve learned to help other people. do a paint over... Using this as a free art school without giving back anything is what we brits call taking the piss. plus if you cant self-teach youll always be reliant on other people.

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  22. #406
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velocity Kendall View Post
    or better yet use what youve learned to help other people. do a paint over... Using this as a free art school without giving back anything is what we brits call taking the piss. plus if you cant self-teach youll always be reliant on other people.
    Perhaps more importantly, teaching other people can be one of the best ways to learn! If you can explain something to others, that indicates you really have understood it. Answering other people's questions helps you answer them to yourself, clarify them, internalise the solutions.

    As philosopher William Godwin put it: "When a man writes a book of methodical investigation, he does not write because he understands the subject, but he understands the subject because he has written."

    (I post a lot of crit and don't ask for it much, because lurking in the forum and getting involved in threads gives me knowledge that pretty directly applies to my own stuff. From doing this, I already know what I should be working on and what will help progress my art, and I only ask for crit if I get stuck after trying to implement those things.)

    Sketchbook | Composition tutorial
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  24. #407
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    That makes sense, but lets get real: Who here wants a Pavel Sokov overpaint or crit?

    Should I really be telling people what to do when I don't have a clue myself?

    I'll go and try, but my credibility is fairly questionable, no?

    As for shutting this thread down and trying to paint alone.. I don't know. I mean it has helped me tremendously so far, and god knows how much worse some of my paintings would of turned out without your help. For example this dog commission, it is scary to think what it would look like and the crits I would be missing out on. Plus I am learning. As velocity said, this is my one and only art school and I am actually learning.

    I don't have the courage to paint without asking for feedback as of yet. I think I will continue this thread, but only with the paintings with which I am struggling or are very important (for example paid commissions). I will avoid posting work in progresses of things that don't matter much, or things I am not struggling in (pieces you would usually see in someone's sketchbook thread). That should drastically lower the content I am putting up here. Additionally I will start giving my crits whenever I can, as much as I think I should keep my mouth shut.

    You know, just a couple of years ago I was critiquing everyone left and right haha. But as I get older, and with your help realize just how much I have to learn, the idea of giving out advice is becoming almost comical. But who knows, if I keep it simple I may not lead anyone astray.

    EDIT: Or, I can delete/stop posting in this thread and make a new accumulative thread, which will be neater and contain only the important pieces as mentioned above? Would you guys prefer that?

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  25. #408
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pavel Sokov View Post
    I don't have the courage to paint without asking for feedback as of yet
    Shoot me if I am wrong, but it is my impression that LaCan, among others, said that this is exactly part of the problem which you have to work on in order to proceed. The idea that feedback can fix any wrong steps might lead you to start off sloppily in the first place. I am a bad amateur, but I don't have to be a professional to be able to see how badly you seek recognition and justification for your art. Just look at your posts- now you need the approval of others what you are going to do with the thread? We all do that to certain extents, but the point is that people tell you that you are good enough to tackle it from there. Re-read the 14 pages and see how much encouragement you have received from professionals.

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    I don't understand something... You seem to be afraid of failure. But that's what make you better.

    Why always ask about people opinion before even being unsure of something ? You need to sharp your eyes and mind.
    A weak spirit results with weak drawing, as do commercial movie/picture/art in general, because they do not have a piece of personality. I prefer a bad drawing where I can feel "something" because the artist put all his mind, effort and plus in it than a commercial one with flat shiny colors and sparkles that will please my eyes for 5 sec and annoy my mind in 1 sec.

    Not all crits are helpfull, not all crits are "the good path" simply because you have your way, people have another, no one can replace you at your own place.
    Every people have it own understanding and paint over are just one of these understanding another person have... If you always rely on them, you are not going to develop your "mind". They can show you technique, they will never show you "your way", because decisions, understanding and so are what make artists.

    I hope I'm not harsh, I just want to explain you that you will grow faster and stronger if you try to rely on yourself first. Lean how to forgive your mistake, learn kindness to yourself, you are learning AND growing, things are gonna be okay no-one ask you to do the Joconde for next week.

    * My current blog
    * Sketchbook page on CA.org coming soon...

    Have a good and creative day !
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  28. #410
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    LordLouis

    I don't want to shoot you at all, but I don't think LaCan was trying to say that I should just fly off on my own. I think he wanted me to listen to the crits more and demonstrate that I implement them.

    My goal is to get better, and if I look like an anxious little girl then that is OK.

    I don't want to be a beautiful proud snowflake who doesn't need to hear any critique because I just know how beautiful I am, that is what DeviantArt is for.

    I'm just not into that, everything I read about success (businessmen such as Ray Dalio, Brian Tracey,etc) has stated that receiving feedback from opinion leaders is vital to measuring the worth of your own ideas and correcting them. I want to stay a student, for as long as possible. I think there is a sort of vanity and arrogance to going off and declaring that I don't need anybody's help, and that is the exact attitude I used to have when I first started posting here. However, when I started seeking out help, that is when I really got thinking about improvement. Doesn't that make sense?

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    No one is saying that you should completely give up on getting critiques, and if they do then they are wrong. But since I've watched this thread from the start, it's apparent that you are asking for help on almost every single piece you do and not letting yourself develop naturally. In fact I believe your way of learning is actually slowing you down and resulting in paintings that lack any sense of personality. You are too scared to trust yourself and to fail, but that's where you learn the most! Just let loose and paint something you are inspired by, put a piece of yourself into it rather than all these boring copies of photos. Paint until you can't take it any further and then paint some more...then you can ask for critiques. Juts no more of this "I made a new paint stroke what do you guys think of the change?" You need to develop that inner artistic eye and that requires trusting your own judgement, you can't do that when you rely so heavily on the opinions of others. So suck it up and paint!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Avvatar View Post
    ] "I made a new paint stroke what do you guys think of the change?"
    Lol....sorry, I found that funny.

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    Avvatar

    Thanks Avvatar! I think what you are saying make sense, it is true that every time I so much as fart near my Wacom, I update this thread with it. It does make sense to slow down with that, and see if I actually have any personality of my own, but if I am really stuck or something is deathly important, to post it here (or a new, clean thread).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pavel Sokov View Post
    That makes sense, but lets get real: Who here wants a Pavel Sokov overpaint or crit?
    OMG I DO.

    Seriously; I am certain all these people would love your input. And these are just currently active threads on the first page that have subjects I know you know about.

    You can help out all the Pavel Sokovs from 5-10 years ago. They're here posting in the forum.

    Should I really be telling people what to do when I don't have a clue myself?
    Yes. That's the point. By trying to answer questions you're not sure about, you strengthen your understanding and find the gaps in your knowledge.

    Anyway, it's not that you have no clue. Just look at your stuff. Then look at the stuff of beginners on this forum asking for help. At very least, you can give advice about how to be accurate with refs, and how to render things. But actually you know way more than that. It also gives you an opportunity to pass on the knowledge you've gleamed from this critique thread.

    I'll go and try, but my credibility is fairly questionable, no?
    No: Even beginners can give useful critiques. It's always up to the artist to work out whether a critique is correct or not. There are much, much more amateur people on this forum who give useful advice -- it may not be sophisticated, but a new set of eyes can be helpful.

    You're still learning, but so is every other professional. And people's knowledge sets don't entirely overlap. All you need to do is find someone who has a gap which you happened to know an answer to. (It's easier with people at an earlier stage, but this can happen even with people more experienced than you.)

    You know, just a couple of years ago I was critiquing everyone left and right haha. But as I get older, and with your help realize just how much I have to learn, the idea of giving out advice is becoming almost comical. But who knows, if I keep it simple I may not lead anyone astray.
    People will get lead astray anyway: they'll misunderstand, or follow the advice of their family who don't understand the industry, or decide to go with their gut instead of listening, or whatever. Mistakes happen -- it's not a big deal, because people can improve and drop the things that don't work for them. So even if you pointed someone in the wrong direction, that's not a disaster. But honestly it's unlikely to even get near that point, because you do know stuff.

    Also, you can't go wrong with paintovers. It's pretty immediate and obvious whether an idea works or not then.

    EDIT: Or, I can delete/stop posting in this thread and make a new accumulative thread, which will be neater and contain only the important pieces as mentioned above? Would you guys prefer that?
    Don't delete! Posterity. It's a pretty epic thread. Just call it done, go do some stuff like thumbnails and value studies (on your own unless you get stuck!), then make a new thread when you've got the important/stuck pieces.

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  35. #415
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    I just wanted to add that I'm a pretty big beginner and I try helping out when I can. Just know what you're capable of. Like Lulie said, a new set of eyes are helpful even if they're from a beginner. I'm not going to critique people on their anatomy or composition, but at the very least I can spot if something's really not working and give more of a regular joe's point of view (like not even being able to tell what the story is, or what someone's facial expression is supposed to say).

    I think it'd be a good idea for you to start a sketchbook too. You won't get critique every day or very specific critique, but sometimes that's for the better. I usually only get a comment once every two weeks, but I find they give me far more direction than "the eyes on this drawing are off" because people have had time to look at several pieces and see what consistent problems are. Also, sometimes it's nice just to go off on your own for a while and see what works and what doesn't without constantly asking people their opinion. I always feel less pressure updating a sketchbook than updating a critique thread because I don't feel like people are watching me, expecting me to immediately take their advice and whip out an awesome piece. Maybe playing around with a sketchbook thread, posting bad studies and doodles will help you get over your fear of making mistakes.

    Check out my sketchbook! Socially acceptable opportunity to yell at a teenage girl!
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  37. #416
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    "As velocity said, this is my one and only art school"
    mm, thats not really what i said is it? i said using this as a free art school while not helping anyone else was taking the piss.
    and youre not exactly some broke kid living in the middle of nowhere, you work in a marketing office FFS. you could pay for lessons.

    "I'm just not into that, everything I read about success (businessmen such as Ray Dalio, Brian Tracey,etc) has stated that receiving feedback from opinion leaders is vital to measuring the worth of your own ideas and correcting them. I want to stay a student, for as long as possible. I think there is a sort of vanity and arrogance to going off and declaring that I don't need anybody's help, and that is the exact attitude I used to have when I first started posting here. However, when I started seeking out help, that is when I really got thinking about improvement. Doesn't that make sense?"
    You want some feedback? Grow a pair, stop hogging the top of the board, start contributing, start a sketchbook.



    its not called Take All The Pennies Forever and Leave Nothing, is it?

    Last edited by Velocity Kendall; February 13th, 2013 at 01:01 AM.
    sb most art copied to page 1
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  39. #417
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    Seriously man, you have 14 pages of helpful critique here and you're not willing to give any back? Why not?

    If people are willing to commission you for paintings then you probably have some knowledge that could help someone.

    Last edited by cfhd; February 13th, 2013 at 12:22 AM.
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  40. #418
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    Thank you guys for the encouragement!

    May I just keep you for the dog commission and then I'll try and go off on my own? I'm getting paid fairly well so I can't take it lightly. I am currently working on bringing some of the volume LanCan had in his OP.

    So I started commenting and even did an OP so far. Trying to stay safe and only open my mouth when I feel qualified enough.

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    forget about that dog now. you said the client is satisfied? fine, submit it and be done with it.

    use what lancan said, on your pieces from now on and let that dead dog rest. why would you go back potentially messing with what your client likes? thats not professional. call it done and move on.

    as for this thread... i dont have any problem with you continuing it. but ive been telling you like some pages ago already that you need to man up and figure what you want to say, what you stand for etc with your art. as others already said... stop asking for permission and input for everything you do. do it and then see how its percieved. dont act like a photoshop plugin, just processing others input.

    forget that technical side for now and start doing things that matter to you... then youve got a reason you can exploit.

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  43. #420
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    Yea you are right, I should turn on my imagination for once. I used to as a teenager. I'm sure there is still something there.

    As for the dog, no I do not agree. He is interested in the direction of trying to add volume and trying out the light background (He saw the update from earlier this page and was happy to let me continue). Besides the price point has already been maxed out so me working more or less on it will not affect his finances, it only lowers my $ per hour. I don't care about that as long as doesn't go under my marketing salary, for which I still have about 2 hours to match. Knowing that, the only thing that makes sense is to try and do everything I can to arrive at a better final image. If there is an aspect that he doesn't like, the beauty of digital art allows us to easily return to the previous versions, even combining certain things.

    I have not done everything I deem possible, so I can not stop yet. There is no deadline, so why not see how much further I can take it?

    Isn't this looking better already? The nose especially was a big mess.



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