"No deadline" is the worste deadline. You can work for your entire life on it you know. I can advise you to decide on one deadline and keep it. If not, the client can ask you to work and work and work endlessly just because he will see you are not satisfied. Here is my advise to you.There is no deadline, so why not see how much further I can take it?
An another point, if you want to progress, do other dogs and fluffy animals, train yourself with quick and long sketch, quick and long painting... Then if you really want, go back on this dog. You can learn a lot on one piece, but you will be stuck because you will do minor changes. You need to experiment things from the beginnings and learn from the base. You do not need to push every of your attempt to the last step, just understand what you want to learn.
For exemple, that's you to decide what you want to learn :
- anatomical study to understand the head structure of a dog, how work muscles on the full body....
- quicks and long portraits to understand the principals characteristics (what is important to understand that is it a dog, what race, what expression...)
- quick sketch to understand the principals lines that make a dog silhouette and give a strong shape
- fur study on differents animals, learn how it reflect light, how you can simulate short, long, fluffy, strait fur...
- understand the expression and emphasis of animals, it's not easy to draw animals with "emotionnal" carriage...
With that you will learn a lot an not only about dogs... decide what lesson you want to learn and work for it I'm sure with this dog, you already know some of your weakness.
* My current blog
* Sketchbook page on CA.org coming soon...
Have a good and creative day !
Thank you so much Griffonage! This painting has pointed out my lack of knowledge of animals and their anatomy. A lot of the times I found myself not knowing what the hell I'm doing.
But alas, I pushed through nevertheless and towards the end took some bold liberties. The end result is more painterly and lively I hope. A lot of the face elements got moved around as well. I am happy I continued, LaCan's and everyone else's crits REALLY helped me get some life in this dog. Final time 21 hours, 15 minutes. A lot of time lost making mistakes.
Last edited by Pavel Sokov; February 16th, 2013 at 04:58 PM.
well to be honest, this is in no aspect better than anything you had previously. artsy background is all that struck me as new. and im not sure thats helping.
and while i see your point in "well if it doesnt drop below my minimum wage expectations. ill keep nudging it, trying to make it better" argument ... you want to sell an effort thats calculable. everything else is not professional imo. serious clients dont hire you for your willingness to do overtime and extending the deadline forever, just to come up with this ment to be perfect solution. everytime ive been in this situation it ended up to be anything else than perfect. he gets the feeling he could get more if he keeps on pushing, and you get the feeling youre beeing exploited more and more, which lowers the quality of your output considerably. can you afford to have this check coming in in 20 years when you feel ready to submit this dog? then youre not a professional imo, because its not your #1 income.
in fact to be percieved as a professional you need to act like one. and that involves having some hard terms, on when a certain amount of effort should be compensated by what amount.
well keep hacking away at that portrait, but dont tell your client "i dont know how yet, but ill make it better, just give me time."... thats ruinous and amateurish. do it in your sparetime... but anytime your client accepts what you did... call it done... take the money and keep growing, but do it on your own merit.
 because thats lacking in what i posted imo...
serious clients hire you to fulfill a certain goal. if you get the feeling a client needs you to sharpen that goal, stay away from it until you can potentially justify it financially. the clearer the recommendations are... the better and saver.
Last edited by sone_one; February 16th, 2013 at 05:55 PM.
Hey Pavel, damn dude I know you been grinding away at this piece for like ever, and maybe you want to spend another 15 minutes, whats 21 1/2 hours right? Anyways, to me I see this issue between the eyes. I attempted a Paintover, even though I know I should be worrying about my own damn skills. Maybe it helps somehow to see what I'm seeing. I hope at least. If it's invalid to you, no worries. I got my practice at a constructive crit.
This has turned away from a critique to a "Hey, check out what new sketches and stuff I have done... which is what we have the "Sketchbook" forums for. I have moved this thread from Crit to Skechbook and renamed it Pavel Sokov's Sketchbook. There will be a one month redirect from the Crit Section to Sketchbook, but I recommend putting a link to the sketchbook forum in your signature so when you post, people will be able to check it out from the bottom of your posts.
In the future, please refrain from multiple piece threads in the crit section unless the pieces are part of a collection. Asking someone to crit your work, then making them sort through 15 pages to find the piece, read if others have covered the problem, and THEN comment is a little unreasonable.
Thanks for the time,
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Hmmm.. I'm surprised there is no appreciable difference. Maybe I still have my crazy eyes on that I get after finishing a piece. I will check it out tomorrow morning and maybe I will see it your way.
Here is a side by side of the older version and the new. On the left is where the client would of accepted the painting and given me the rest of my money, and the right is the new one. I feel like the lighter background make it easier to read, as well as the simplified edges that LaCan showed me. I also perceive much more volume, and a less "fragmented" painting. Like I said, it may just be crazy eyes.
EDIT: Forgot to address the professionalism issue. I know you are right, and in many ways my youth makes me jump from one extreme to another, one idea to the next with no clarity. It is amateurish in all respects but the reality is that I am an amateur, so my process reflects that. I can't call myself a professional for a second because my butt sits in the marketing office day by day, and I am not even making a decent attempt at breaking out of here.
The idea behind my floppy deadlines and the consulting with the client,etc, is that I honestly want to do the best I can. I recognize that is not a time sensitive video game concept art, but rather a "the friendly next-door artist" type of commission that lacks serious shopping around on my client's side. I still consider it kinda funny when I get commissioned. I almost feel like the only reason they are with me is because I shoved my art in their face, and they don't know that all you guys exist.
So I am not with this client for money. I am with him to get done a portrait of his dog that he will like and bring value to his life in some small way. I think people's focus should be bringing value in their chosen field to the best of their ability, and sometimes that creates some sort of "blinders" to the money issues around you. But from my research, it is such people that become successful almost unbeknownst to themselves. I am getting paid OK at 400$, and the $/hr have in fact dipped below my marketing salary by now. But I can't find it in my heart to care. Its just money, and I have enough of it. I would rather maximize the value I bring to this person. If they are happy, then I am flattered beyond belief.
However, how I do want to become a professional, and as such I must act like one to one day become one. True enough.
Stray, I really appreciate the paint over, but I don't really seem to favor the changes. The dog looks a bit more brutal and the eyes seem far apart. I will check it tomorrow morning and see if that changes. Thank you so much though!
Hey no problem, that's a great idea!
Last edited by Pavel Sokov; February 16th, 2013 at 07:09 PM.
so the client wasn't into the new background. Nobody really is, which tells me I will understand in a couple of weeks as it usually happens.
I removed the stains on the background and played around with the values on the dog, attempting to make the muzzle look like its coming forward, but not be so light that he looks like he has grey hair. It is tricky because from what I understand, in portraits artists often lighten the values on the subject's nose even if in real life they are equal with some other on the head, to bring the nose forward. I think I heard that from El coro's alla prima dvd download I bought. So I sought to lighten the muzzle the same way, but a black dog's lighter value is grey. Grey also represents aged hair. So that's where the trouble is. I must adjust the relationships on the head so that the muzzle is one of the lightest parts, but still dark enough that it does not read as grey.
"So I sought to lighten the muzzle the same way, but a black dog's lighter value is grey." I'd disagree strongly. A black dog's lighter value will depend on the light around it and the colour of its surroundings. You've already seen how LaCan's paintover of this had reds and even blues in it. Lighter value isn't always just making the same tone lighter. On the contrary, mixing in multiple different colours into a lighter tone makes it feel more believable and the overall effect will be of a lighter 'black'. Look at these three random google pics of black dogs:
If you take all those images into photoshop and up the saturation on them, you won't get grey, you'll get blues, greens and yellows, and maybe even some reds. Note how even the second one - which is in a snowy background - is picking up the blue from the ambient sky colour, and even some of the reds from the fence around it. If you want to push this dog further in making it feel more alive and less like a greyscale image with colour eyes, you need to start bringing in some subtley-hued cool and warm greys into your highlights in a way that would make sense with the surroundings. Go back and look at LaCan's amazing mouse painting.
I actually agree with you, but whenever I tried any brown hues or any colors in the background the client repeated "I want this to be a study of black and white". I'm not sure why he is so opposed to hues, it can only serve to liven up the image. That is what I was trying to do with my rusty paint background.
However I think for the final version I will try and sneak some blues and browns in there by using a Hue layer on a low opacity, to the point that the client doesn't notice it. I sort of believe he doesn't know the benefit of a variety of hues and would not actually dislike them, should I add them.
Here is a metal logo I designed for a friend's new restaurant called Mir. It is molecular cuisine, where they pair gastronomical cocktails with small bites of molecular foods. My friend is the same age as me (22) but he has dedicated himself to his art fully, all in.
Last edited by Pavel Sokov; February 19th, 2013 at 10:00 PM.
Well, I see that you do have the skills, but suffer from a lack of proper direction most of the time.
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If the client said he didn't like the new background, why are you still persisting with it? Unless he specifically said "I don't like the splatters, take them out but keep the rest", I'd revert back to the old one. I think this is sort of what sone_one was getting at. You keep tweaking with things you don't have to and you're dragging the portrait out because of it. Maybe your client doesn't care that much, but even someone with no deadline is going to get annoyed when you keep going "wait, no, let me just fix this one little thing" for over a month. The truth is that most of the changes you've been making are so minute that anyone who doesn't have a trained eye probably won't see them. If he likes it, just give it to him and move on to a different project.
Last edited by keeptime; February 19th, 2013 at 06:27 PM.
Check out my sketchbook! Socially acceptable opportunity to yell at a teenage girl!
This is true, my lack of academic study is causing a lack of methodical process. I'm all over the place.
I am not persisting in it, you surely must have noticed a change of background from the paint dripping one I posted earlier. He didn't like the splatter but he also no longer liked the old grey background, after seeing a lighter version.
So he explicitly prefers the current background. He has also mentioned that he enjoys the improvements I was able to put (thanks to LaCan) and much prefers them to the version from a while ago that he accepted at the time.
But that is details, and regardless you are right and I understand what you are saying. It just happens that in this particular case, what I have done worked out for the better (the client likes it). Does that mean I went about it the right way and you are wrong? No. It just means I fucked the dog up like a bad artist, the client had low standards and accepted anyway, LaCan showed me hows its done, and I fixed it to the client's liking.
So the mistake was not in continuing past the point of acceptance, but in fucking up the painting in the first place.
To avoid this unprofessional-ism in my next commission, I must seek to start the painting off the right way by making sure I have a proper base to build on. Once I start that, there should not be any revisions because no mistakes may be made on top of a perfect structure. So that is where my priorities should lie in my next piece I think.
Sorry, I misunderstood you when you said the client didn't like the new background and stepped out of line a little bit. Don't beat yourself up so much for screwing up the painting the first time around! You learned your lesson and that's what's most important. Well, that and your client liking the painting
Check out my sketchbook! Socially acceptable opportunity to yell at a teenage girl!
I think he does! So after everything, here is the final version I propose. I played around with the lighting a bit, added very slight hues all over the background and even less on the face, and toned down the eye reflections. I think I am done!
EDIT: I confirmed that this is the final version!
Last edited by Pavel Sokov; February 21st, 2013 at 09:23 AM.
So I finished all my assignments at work, and nobody has been sending me feedback to move them forward so I decided to make a sketch! (they bought me a wacom tablet here, thinking that I will need it for the graphic design aspects of my marketing)
This is unusual because I never really sketch. I always paint with an agenda to finish a piece, often for specific reasons (competitions, commissions,etc). It was really fun! The picture changed directions dramatically throughout the process. I was trying to focus on composition, colors, and making sure I have a dynamic piece this time. Maybe it would be worthwhile to take this piece to completion.
Wow! That's awesome, Pavel. So different from the rest of the thread! I love the creativity and exploration you put into this. It looks fun.
My only crit is that, while I'm not partial to Dutch tilts in general, if you're going to tilt it then make it a bit more obvious (took me a couple seconds to work out that the canvas was tilted). But really, if I were you I wouldn't even bother with listening to crit on this kind of thing at the moment, and instead just do more and explore what you like.
Thank you so much for liking it, I am really glad you did. Painting this felt different since I was focusing on the little things I know about color and composition, and never about rendering. Kinda fun and I am definitely seeing how doing 4-5 of these (it still took me about 3 hours because I kept on changing the content) would lead to a better picture in the end, since I will be able to choose aspects from 4-5 different thumbs to assemble a superior composition.
Hopefully next time I sketch something will come of it. I have to admit for a large time in the beginning of this sketch it was not looking like it was going to work out at all.
So I saw the following image and stole it to study a bit. I'm really forgetting who I stole it from. Maybe the user Revidescent?
I really liked the volume of his character, and wanted to see what it would be like to build form on top of the blueprint left by the general planes. It was fun and made volume a lot easier. This tells me that if I expend the considerable effort to paint objects and characters in planes first, the rest of the painting process will be easy sailing. However, god only knows how much deliberate effort was put into creating the original image.
First, his image:
My overpaint. I didn't like how far the back of the head extended, so I didn't follow the blueprint there.
Ok so I was looking at the UFO thumbnail and showed it to an artist friend (he used to post here a lot). He said to try and move my characters to the right of the image so that their "flow" was not parallel against the Ufo's flow but against it. I tried it out.
I like it and kinda understand the principle of making an "X" flow instead of a non-confrontational parallel flow... but I kinda miss the jagged river that was moving diagonally down the page. I thought it gave perspective to the land and I liked it.
I was then asked to move the UFO up, which I have to say, was an incredible idea and works very well.
I also have been working on the Troll. I find him tedious now for some reason, but am trying to chip away. I have sunk probably 25-30 hours into him so far, and not finishing it would mean the burial of countless hours. Besides it might turn out ok!
So I saw there is a contest on deviant art based on Tomb Raider. I'm not particularly interested but I thought it would be good practice.
I tried to sketch the picture. Not sure what I'm doing.
Last edited by Pavel Sokov; March 2nd, 2013 at 07:45 PM.
So I have been trying to get out of my comfort zone and learn. Use reference properly, think about composition,etc.
Yesterday I tried to make a post apocalyptic world concept for a competition somewhere, but it was a massive depressing failure. Too embarrassing to post. I don't know what has happened to me. Before I started using reference I could bang out some concepts easily. Sure it would have perspective problems and would be bad in many ways, but at least it was INTERESTING. Then I started using reference and got into a lot of portrait drawing. Now painting things that I used to sketch easily as a kid/teenager is like pulling teeth.
Getting scared a bit. I feel like I can't even get this Tomb Raider painting to work, just because it is SLIGHTLY out of my comfort zone. The back is confusing as hell, and I can't figure out where the neck is supposed to go and where the back arm starts. All this because in the ref those areas are covered by hair. I feel like a useless child when faced with this problem. Maybe I am not cut out for becoming a concept artist.
Anyways here is my feeble, teeth pulling update.
Last edited by Pavel Sokov; March 6th, 2013 at 12:35 PM.
So I had another go at the apocalyptic contest. I don't plan to make it in time, I'm just trying to learn. This one looks a lot better then my first attempt, which I'm too embarrassed to show you.
I might be done the Troll. Thinking of some ways to improve him now. The first is the complete painting, followed by two potential crops.
Working on the Sci-fi City as well:
Great to see you updating your sketchbook as well.
I like the warhammer 40k sketch, I like the armor design, even though I don't even know w40k, haha.
Work on your fundamentals again. Especially take care about color, values and edges. Masterstudies should help a lot I guess.
A while ago you did that head study with the planes. That's the way that'll push you forward.
Mix such stuff with your personal stuff and you'll grow way faster again.
Keep it up!