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Thread: My Freelance Portfolio
March 27th, 2012 #1
My Freelance Portfolio
Hello my name is Keith Decesare.
I am a freelance illustrator with a need for real critiques. Please let me know what I need to work on, what's actually working FOR me and where I should go from here.
P.S. If anybody wants to crit my website please do. It seriously needs a fresh start.
Hide this ad by registering as a memberMarch 28th, 2012 #2
I prefer a lot your sketches than your illustration. This is cause you know much more the tool. Actually i think you're spending too much time illustrating than learning how to do it properly for your needs and your drawings tend to change because of that lack of knowledge.
Your goal is to learn how to render your drawing, spend more time on photoshop or whatever you use and learn a more fast technique for starting. When you know that you can spend all the time you want to make your paintings looks the way you want.
I have to say that you need a lot of material knowledge too, it's like you have spent a lot of time on line drawing and passed on color and painting recently (it's something i did too) and cause of that you only know how to render materials simplified as gradients of gray. Doesn't matter, it's a common thing, just study how light works on materials and you'll figure it out with time, it's not so complicated for someone that have a look for steampunk details
March 29th, 2012 #3
I enjoyed looking through your site. I will try to give you my opinion on some things. The front page could be slicker. The letterhead you have on the home page is really good and modern looking. The font chosen for the rest looks antiquated, and I dont like the drop shadow. Try to make the whole thing look more modern and sleek.
I like that you have that news thing with your most recent image(im guessing?). But you better keep it updated!
Now onto the artwork; most of your work suffers from confusing shapes and hard-to-read shapes. You put things of similar color/value behind things and its hard to see things. It also offers no punch. A thorn by any other name is my fav image and I'm sure its because it has punch. The light skin pops out. Puss n boots is also really good. He is against the negative spaces and it pops.
Robots vs zombies is an example of poor 'pop'. The zombies are all brown, and so is the background. There is no direct light on anything so it all just looks blah. You also dont have any dark darks. Why not make the zombies in the super foreground very dark? The two steampunk portraits also have no light source and no darks. It looks boring and it just looks off. Add more darks in front, and more atmospheric perspective.
You should probly also choose a style that you would say represents you. Does it have lines or not? Is it graphic or not? Start making your portfolio represent you, and start replacing your bad images with better ones. Never include a bad one just to have more images.
Your costumes are very good, and your painting technique is coming along. Try to stay away from shape brushes for leaves and grass. Use them as a starting point, but then you gotta paint over them and make the leaves different, the grass different, etc, so it doesnt look like a brush.
Ok good luck!
p.s. those items you have for sale are cool! The zombie valentine cards are clever lol.
March 30th, 2012 #4
Thank you very much for your crits!
Hitsu//San: I agree. Starting a painting is tough for me. I put down the base colors and "try" to do a value study before going into the details. I guess the best word to describe it would be confusing. Should I just do the rendering all in black and white and then go in with color?
Artfix: Pop is the problem! No matter how many pictures I put in front of Puss n' Boots, everyone loves that picture the best! I need to work on contrasting elements but I get myself trapped into using the whole canvas so-to-speak and everything ends up over rendered I guess. I absolutely agree on RvZ. I was experimenting with Gamut painting. That's why everything is the same color .
Which brings me to a question for both of you. I am confused about using dark darks and conversly light lights. Many artists say never use black for darks and never use white for lights. I follow that instruction but whenever I add a color to my shadows it becomes muted. Hence why everything of mine looks (and is) grey. I really need help on this.
March 30th, 2012 #5
You will have to find what works best for you. People work differently. You can look at my blog to see how I work. I do a greyscale rough and answer all questions about value pattern, contrast, and composition. Then I figure out colors as I'm going. Maybe you would prefer to figure out colors in a rough first--thats fine.
I did a couple paintovers. Actually, for the steampunk girl I just did a contrast adjust of about +8 and brightness -8. I wonder if your monitor is too dark, so things are looking dark enough for you. If your original steampunk girl doesn't look like there is a white haze in front of her compared to mine, then you might adjust your monitor.
And then I added some light source in the zombie pic. I made the foreground guys darker and the further stuff lighter. And that's all I meant for darker darks. You don't need black. You just need a pleasing and clear value pattern. The values need to make things read clearly, and direct people to what you want them to look at.
Hope that helps.
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April 4th, 2012 #6
Artfix, What a difference an adjustment makes! Thank you very much for that!
I forgot to thank you for the website crits earlier. Thanks! I'll change a few things after I get a few projects done.
April 4th, 2012 #7
Most artists say to not use pure black or pure white cause in nature is really hard to find that situation. You can find pure black in caves and pure white in sun or some kind of fire reaction. With technology is different, you can find pure white in artificial lights as well. The problem is that you need to know where and why you can use this high range of colors. I've been talking so much about value separation in here, seems that most people don't know the theory behind it. Essentially when you're applying colors you need to keep always in mind value separation (which is the range between the most White color in your image and the most Black, from 1 to 100 in photoshop), generally a good rule to follow is to put lighter objects far and darker objects near the camera. This will create a good sense of depht, the second rule is to have a huge scale of values in your paintings (if you use a scale like from 30bw to 40bw your image will be super lighted, if you use a scale of 10bw to 80bw it will be realistic).
Now thing will get ugly when applying colors... but i don't have the time to explain that right now, it's freaking long and i have business to do so maybe we will save it for another time let me know if the value separation is clear, i really need to make a post with the explanation of it. You can surely find me talking about that in at least 2 topics. Search it, if you can't find it i'll do it for you later, sorry about the hurry man.
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April 5th, 2012 #8
I really love your last one, so much action and so dynamic!
It looks like you use a lot of grey and same toned color for shading. (By same tone, I mean using darker red for the shadow on a red dress). While it's a valid method for coloring and can even turn out to great result sometime, I suggest avoid using grey/black at all for shading, and if you can, also avoid same tone shading.
Grey/black shading tend to muddy up the color, and same toned shading tend to make the color look flat and boring.
Do you start off on a toned background? If not, give it a try. Starting on a white background tend to offset the contrast a lot, which result in a more washed out look.
And lastly, dont use too much white and black. You are doing good with your black usage, but you apply a lot of white highlights, try only apply the white to a couple of spots instead.
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April 5th, 2012 #9
Hitsu//San and Look, thank you so much for helping me with this!
Hitsu//San, There was an article in Imagine FX no. 80, Making Great Compositions with Dan Dos Santos. In one part he was talking about using three degrees of value as a compositional tool. Is that close to the same principle?
Look, Thanks for the crits! Yes, I do use a toned background most of the time. I will try to back off on the highlights. I think though that my monitor problem is getting the best of me again because I don't use white in my highlights. I mostly use a yellow or whatever color the light is supposed to be. The monitor fix should help with that.
I started to use the color of light to shade my subjects. Like this:
Note: this wip was done before the monitor fix.
I used the direct light (yellow sunlight) and the reflected light for the underside. Is this right or am I still barking up the wrong dragon?
Artfix, Don't look at the leaves. I'm not done with them yet.
April 5th, 2012 #10
Yeah i'm sure that Dos Santos was talking about Background Middleground and Foreground. The background have to be an indication and it have the lighter color, the middleground is your subject and it's the best refined part of your drawing and the foreground is the darker part of your drawing and is the closest to the camera (or the viewer of your image) and must be an indication too (sometimes more loose than the background, sometimes a little bit defined). This is a general rule, obviously you could break it if you know perfectly what you're doing but following this steps you'll end up doing a good work.
Let's make an example, i hope you don't mind (i changed the colors a little bit to enhance readability) in this case the dragon is so close to the camera to become a mix of middleground and foreground (we have already broken the rule as you see) but value speaking is correct, background is lighter, middleground is darker and it reads well. In your original value setting midground an background have almost the same values:
April 5th, 2012 #11
Hitsu//San is right it looks much better with his adjustments. In photoshop you can use a "selective colors" adjustment layer to tweek the colors of your shadows and highlights. I personally think its one of the best photoshop features because it can do all of the color and tone adjustments in one shot and if your make it a layer it can incorperate other layer affects for further control.
I have to say this dragon is huge improvement over your other work posted in here. You're starting to apply the advice that they have given you and its paying off. Looks like its gonna be awesome!
April 6th, 2012 #12
The dragon does look terrific. That's the realistic rendering that people are drawn to. Time consuming eh?
I noticed you said that you deliberately used the same color for the direct light and reflected light. Those two sources are just as likely to be different as they are to be the same. If someone is wearing a red shirt and the sun is shining on them. That red shirt will bounce red light up onto nearby surfaces. It will make a much more interesting image if your light sources ARE different. Usually warm and cool looks the best.
I remember something from school that stuck with me. I THINK it was Gil Elvgren we were talking about--the instructor pointed out that Gil would often paint the scene with very even and ambient light, with no direct light source. Then he would add a very very bright light or rim light at the end. Suddenly, the entire painting which was not lit by this very bright light, is now in shadow. Except this shadow is extremely light! That's an easy way to think about how to add informative shadows.
Last edited by Artfix; April 6th, 2012 at 02:30 AM.
April 6th, 2012 #13
Yeah, that's the power of value composition and pure white. If you do an entire illustration with a value range of 40-60 bw which is pretty average color tone then add a 100bw rim light the entire illustration will be in shadow tones cause the difference from a single color to light is more large than the value range.