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  1. #1
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    Trying to develop my art

    Hello everybody!
    My name's Chris and I'm a new artist that hopes for a break in the fantasy and gaming industry. I've been working as a freelance illustrator for many years with advertising agencies in my country, but I just wanted something more creative. Or should I say, something that I can use my imagination.
    Being self-taught, I have to admit that this whole new world is intimidating. There are so many talented people, each with a unique style. So, I thought I'd post here in order to develop my skills and improve my style. However, this can't be done without the constructive critique of you guys! Especially a pro's advice would be more than welcome!

    Up till now I was working completely empirical. It was more like naive sketching than real drawing I guess. I didn't care about ambient light, focus points, atmospheric perspective, golden rule, etc. I dig up all this knowledge when I started reading forums like this, and that is the last 15-20 days.
    Enough with my artistic quest. Cut to the chase. This is my second entry in this community's activity, IOW7 Alien invasion. Applying the golden mean I came up with this composition. I started with a rough drawing and tried to depict the general mood and lighting conditions. I thought I'd start with a grayscale image. Establish my values and then move to detail and finally color. Will it work? I don't know. It's my first time working this way. It's an experiment to me.

    So this is my first rough
    Trying to develop my art

    And this is an alternative
    Trying to develop my art

    I wanted to emphasize the perspective on this last one.
    It's strange but the first one looks better to me. I'd like to hear your opinion though. If there is any structural, perspective, or any other mistakes, please let me know.

    Cheers to you all!

    PS. Sorry for my rusty English.

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    Last edited by c-rallis; October 21st, 2011 at 03:17 PM.
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  3. #2
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    This looks really good so far. I'd use the cavemen from the first version and the aliens from the second (although I'd get rid of the root pointing directly at the alien's head).


    Tristan Elwell
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  5. #3
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    Trying to develop my art

    Thank you Tristan. I think that this is getting somewhere. I'm really concerned about the final outcome though. I always focus on the detail, forgetting the whole picture. This leads to a dull outcome with a bunch of details but not something really interesting. Sometimes I like the rough sketch more than the final drawing. Is there a way I could change that "habit"?

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  6. #4
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    Finished tones. Or am I missing something?

    Trying to develop my art

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  7. #5
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    Looks good, you can definitely move on to colouring. The position and angle of the spear in the lower right feels a little uncomfortable to me; it's almost touching the edge of the canvas. I would turn and move it a little..

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  9. #6
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    Thanks Benjamin. Moved the spear and added color. I think it's done. Is there anything that you guys think it could be improved?

    Trying to develop my art

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  10. #7
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    I might spread some of that purple around, maybe blend it with the orange too. Right now it looks a little out of place on that wall over there. Otherwise looks pretty good

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  12. #8
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    I see your point Jason. You mean something like this?

    Trying to develop my art

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  13. #9
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    This has a nice quality to it. Good difference in color between the outside and inside. The form is pretty solid.

    However, there is some kind of dreamlike quality that seems to be lacking here. Also, you should avoid blending/blurring using photoshop. Blurring tones is anti-aesthetic/bad as visual poetry. There is nothing that can be blurred that won't look 10x better if done with increments of color and value.

    For instance, I like the haziness behind the figures at the cave mouth... but you don't need blurriness to do that, you just need close values. Good art requires you to define stuff. When you blur you are cheating us of definition.

    Also, the otherworldly quality needs to be amped up... defining the spaceship a bit more, adding halation to the lights, adding a little bit of the kicked-up dust coming into the cave mouth explains how the cave at the front can have the atmospheric perspective you were doing.

    Also, the cave really needs to keep its local color. No matter what happens, generally, in firelight, a cave ain't gonna be purple or blue. (I just noticed that the dark area behind the figure at far right has a purplish hue to it, that was accidental due to a color translation problem, it should be warmer in my image)

    Also, round shapes are death. Deadly dull and boring and you should avoid them in favor of more interesting, evocative, dynamic shapes.

    Also, don't be afraid to let the figures sink into the darkness. If you attempt to define everything from all sides, you will end up with a static picture that lacks mystery. Lost and found edges give mystery to silhouettes and increase beauty.

    So I've done a quick paintover to show my points...

    good luck and nice job,
    kev

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    Last edited by kev ferrara; October 20th, 2011 at 12:58 PM.
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  15. #10
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    Looks very good, though maybe just a bit overboard with the alien blue light shining in? I would think the dudes would have noticed something was up and been at the defensive a lot sooner with all that weird light.

    I'm a relative compositional noob, so take this with a grain of salt, but I feel like most of the detail and visual interest is over to the right edge so maybe the canvas could be shifted over to the right a bit. The aliens/light is obviously a focal point, but the way you executed this, I feel like the interest of this piece is more in seeing the caveguys scramble and react.

    One last thing - you seem pretty damned competent in terms of anatomy so maybe I'm just misreading it, but for the guy in the lower corner, it looks like his bicep is turned up and we're seeing the pit of his elbow. If that's the case, it looks like his shoulder/deltoid muscle is on the wrong side.

    Last edited by wooblood; October 20th, 2011 at 01:05 PM.
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  17. #11
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    Thank you guys for the valuable advices!

    Wooblood, I'm not sure I'm following you with the biceps thing. Maybe it's the shadow that's confusing you. Please bare with me but I'm a visual guy. If you care to make a sketch and show me exactly what you mean, that would help me understand.

    Kev, I worked based on your directions and seems that it works. Just for the record, I didn't use blur anywhere. Perhaps the soft airbrush looked like blur effect. Anyway, here's an update with a detail.

    Trying to develop my art

    Trying to develop my art

    Last edited by c-rallis; October 20th, 2011 at 02:51 PM.
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  18. #12
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    Looking better, man.

    However, your figures are very blurred. It doesn't matter whether you use the blur tool or blend tool or not. The results are either smeared or they are distinct. The form is either strongly declared, or it is mumbled and fudged. The outlines of things have some crisp edges, sensitive with textural detail, to play off the softer edges, or else the whole outline looks mumbled and fudged.

    You must get true crisp lines, and details. Not all over the place, just in the spots that most explain the substance of what you are drawing.

    And this specificity also goes to distinct, telling bits of anatomy (your head is too big for the body, throwing the proportions off), accurate lighting against well understood form (which means knowing where the form turns exactly from light to shadow), and distinctions of the local colors of the skin. Skin should all look like the same color, but have subtle changes in color temperature.

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    At least Icarus tried!


    My Process: Dead Rider Graphic Novel (Dark Horse Comics) plus oil paintings, pencils and other goodies:
    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=101106

    My "Smilechild" Music. Plus a medley of Commercial Music Cues and a Folksy Jingle!:
    http://www.myspace.com/kevferrara
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  20. #13
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    The defined spaceship now really adds a lot to the story in the picture.

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