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Thread: Sketchbook Adventures

  1. #1
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    Sketchbook Adventures

    Introductions! My name is Micah Epstein. I'm an art student and intent on pursuing a career as an illustrator/concept artist.

    There's not too much to say here, really. I've been lurking about CA.org for a while now, but until now I haven't worked up the courage to start posting my work.

    But! I'm committed to improving, and there's a lot I can learn from all the amazing artists on this site. So it's time to get over my trepidation and start posting. Call it a New Year's resolution.

    Marked NSFW for probable nudity later on.

    Without further ado, here's some art.

    Sketchbook thumbnail:
    Last edited by Meps; April 7th, 2012 at 05:20 PM.
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  3. #2
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    The first one is a WIP of some face drafts for a friend's Pathfinder character. He wanted them to have the general look of the standard Pathfinder goblin, so I'm trying out different faces, colors, and accessories within that framework.

    The second one is a 1-hour warm-up sketch of Minas Tirith. Done from a screenshot.

    Third is a quick creature design I did when I should have been studying for a lit class.

    (Incidentally, does anyone know how I can position text above each image without creating a separate post for each? Thanks!)
    Last edited by Meps; January 12th, 2012 at 10:28 PM.
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    Second update! Let's hear it for semi-regularity.

    First, the finished (for now) version of the goblin WIPs from the last post--I'm fairly happy with them on the whole, particularly the yellow and red ones. The teal guy gave me problems, though. Particularly his eye, as well as the rim light--neither of them look quite right. Does anyone have any pointers for fixing those?

    Next one started out as a 1-hour practice sketch based on a photo from portrait-photos.com. It ended up running a little beyond that (probably closer to an hour and 45 minutes or so. And I -hate- it. I don't know why, but it looks stiff and the eyes seem all wrong. But I figured I'd post it anyway to see if anyone can help me figure out what went wrong. (I'm posting the original source photo below it for reference.)

    Next is a 1.5-hour portrait sketch that I'm actually quite proud of--done from a photo of Olivia Wilde.

    Number four is a 1-hour warm up, also done from a photo.

    Finally, was a quick gesture sketch done from life

    Also, once again, does anyone know how to intersperse photos with text while still using the attachment manager? Thanks.
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    Hi Meps - I don't know about the attachment manager question - but it's easy to store your images on a site like photobucket.com and use the [img] code to post your pics. You can put text in there easily then.

    Thanks for checkin out my sketchbook. Your goblin sketches look nice, and you did them fast too! I think that the b/w photo study is nice too. It's a little off with the values (and some anatomy - back of neck, foreshortened arm, head tilt) but rendered well. You do a nice job with painting on the images that you go further with.
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    Wholewheat keyboard - Thanks for the crit! I'm definitely seeing the lighting and anatomy mistakes. I'll try to do a few more of these and pay closer attention.

    Wow, it's been way too long since the last update. This time is a bunch of pencil stuff and a couple other sketches/finished bits I have lying around. I just started a new piece, so I'll have wips for that up soon. This is gonna be a lengthy post, but since I still don't know how to put words between the images, I'll just describe the images here.

    The first three are random sketchbook pages. Yes, that's the Monkey King. Oddly enough, I hated him as a character in Journey to the West, yet find myself oddly fascinated by him on an artistic level--maybe it's this same fascination that makes him such a popular character in all of the story's various remakes and retellings.

    The next three are studies I did of scarabs for Creature of the Week 243--I first read the prompt over halfway into the week and I didn't finish it on time, but the challenge was still fun and I'd like to go back and finish what I started when I get the chance.

    The next three are actual sketches of my creature. The theme of the week was "ecological staple"--something defenseless that supports an ecosystem through its death. My idea (influenced by scarab beetles in terms of looks, and various snails and slugs otherwise) was of a large, slug-like creature that lives in a wasteland, subsisting on carrion and dead plant matter, the only abundant food sources in its habitat. It builds up stores of these foods in the lobes and swellings on its back. The slugs have a short lifespan--only 1-3 years, and when they die, the leftover food matter in their bodies becomes a rare and important source of fertilizer for their ecosystem--they basically become living compost piles which "activate" upon death, with plants springing up from their dead bodies.

    I was decently happy with the design--the final one has yet to be drawn up, but will essentially feature the creature depicted in the first sketch, but with the "feelers" from he second sketch instead of eyestalks (the idea being that these would pick up on chemical cues and lead the slug to decaying animals and plants). I was concerned that--while reference to nature is the cornerstone of solid creature design--I went a little too far in that direction. Does it look too mundane? Any ideas on how I could spruce it up without making it overly flashy?

    Finally, I'm posting the original image that became the current sketchbook thumbnail, just to have it in a permanent place in the thread. I painted it as a profile picture for Tumblr. Next is a quick, 1-hour self portrait with my smarmiest face on, and finally, a face draft for a friend's goblin Pathfinder character (formerly the sketchbook thumbnail), not to be confused with my self-portrait.

    Whew! That was probably unnecessarily wordy. Anyway, bring on the critiques! Please let me know anything I'm doing wrong and could be doing better. Until next time!
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    Time for a WIP!

    I'll probably take this over to the critique center as well, because I'm not at all happy with how it's going.

    The basic idea is to have the library shelves in the foreground slowly transition into giant, skyscraper-like structures in the background (although still have them full of books). I'm still in the early stages of the piece and it's when I came to laying down the basic colors (no rendering/detail yet) that I'm hitting a wall. I'm going for a bright and vibrant color scheme, particularly one where the warmer yellows of the background transition into the cooler blues in the foreground, but something just seems off about it.

    Any ideas/criticism/help? I'm going to keep working at it, but I'd love to get some feedback from everyone here. (Also, I know it's kinda rough at this point, but if you spot any perspective errors, please let me know--I might have gotten a little overzealous with the 3-point perspective and screwed some things up)

    Also, I have a bunch of anatomy sketches to scan/photograph--I'll try to upload those tomorrow.
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    To get that towering feel you might have to push the angle of the 3 point to a more dramatic angle, The way to get something to have that towering feel would be to place the angle lower looking up. Then have the structures start to shrink into the distance giving that sense of size. As it is now I don't think it's even 3 point so there won't be any feel of that. It'll just keep going up with no change in size without making it look awkward.

    I like the feel of it though the cool going to warm as you rise higher.
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    +Subscribed Awesome work! Can't wait to see more from you!
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    hey man, solid start here. Realy like the pathfinder creatures you did for your friend. Keep it up!
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    Hi dude , really like that WIP of yours , maybe put some more stuff in to develop the story? Wanna see how it turns out
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    Hey Micah, it's Alex. +subscribed. Totally jealous of your work. As it always has it inspires me to get off my lazy butt and draw. I actually brought my art stuff to work tonight to do just that. Once I find a way to upload my art I shall. Keep it up Micah!
    Last edited by PenguinInk; January 26th, 2012 at 06:56 PM.
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    Wow, you have a really good eye for color.
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    On your most recent image - I agree with Jfierce about the more dramatic perspective would make it better, I think it's a neat idea though. Doing a nice job with the lighting will really sell it too, with a single light source it should be pretty straightforward although many things will be in shadow an all that.

    I like the monkey sketch, and how you used the hatched lines to shade it

    I think overall you should try to pay more attention to your edges when painting. Instead of having some very hard, some very soft edges etc, you have mostly smudgy edges in a lot of your work and putting a little more love there would go a long way. Thanks for giving me more feedback on my sb! (I have the same problem with edges too..)
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