Concept Art (Tutorials?)
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    Concept Art (Tutorials?)

    In my mind asking how people come up with concept art and if there are any tutorials on how people come up with and create their own concept art sounds crazy, as I think it's largely a matter of imagination, and what one can see in their minds eye. Still I find myself asking the question.

    I feel like I have a pretty sturdy concept of drawing, I am pretty confident in my ability to draw---"What I see", but it's what I don't see that I struggle the most with. I want to create characters for a story, so I spend sometimes hours looking through pictures after pictures of body shapes and faces I think might match the character, but at the end of the day, I still can't really see the face and the proportions of this character at least not clearly enough to bring it to the table.

    So I ask:

    1.) How do people visualize and imagine character's in their head. The facial features and body, how do they see it? Conjure it into being? Do they spend their days looking for photo references of someone who resembles what they want?

    2.) Are there any tutorials on visualization and concept art techniques, on character creation for drawing?

    3.) Any tips anyone here would recommend for manifesting a character's visual existence onto the page?

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    Arshes Nei is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    Thanks that was very helpful. It was great, it talked a lot about how to improve skills and how to get started in art. I am thinking more about the "concept" part, how people "see" what their character will look like if their character is not real. There were a LOT of gems in that post, gems that will be very helpful for me overall. Right now I am mostly focused on the visualization aspect, how do you for instant visualize an entire scene of various moment, how do you see a face, with facial features and eye shapes that fit the look and feel of the character you had in mind, specific techniques related to character creation/design.

    Not so much how to visualize the pose they're in as I often see that quite clearly, but the face and whether they are big or small. Or do people don't know what they see in their head and they just scribble until they find out something that matches their idea somewhat? Or do they just find a bunch of stock photos where they find the face that matches "that face" they want for their character.

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    Thanks that was very helpful. It was great, it talked a lot about how to improve skills and how to get started in art. I am thinking more about the "concept" part, how people "see" what their character will look like if their character is not real. There were a LOT of gems in that post, gems that will be very helpful for me overall. Right now I am mostly focused on the visualization aspect, how do you for instant visualize an entire scene of various moment, how do you see a face, with facial features and eye shapes that fit the look and feel of the character you had in mind, specific techniques related to character creation/design.

    Not so much how to visualize the pose they're in as I often see that quite clearly, but the face and whether they are big or small. Or do people don't know what they see in their head and they just scribble until they find out something that matches their idea somewhat? Or do they just find a bunch of stock photos where they find the face that matches "that face" they want for their character.

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    Thanks Arshes Nei, I read that the first time you sent it in your original post . Again that post seems more related to learning how to draw well. My trouble isn't that I don't do this already, my trouble is that I don't know how people "see" what isn't "there", how people create concept art from their head that doesn't exist in reality. It says 'work from the imagination' which is where my question begins, how do people bring out from their imagination when they can't "see" the details of it in their head?


    P.S. Sry for the double post, not sure if the forum went out or what, but the page went white.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ishkigal View Post
    My trouble isn't that I don't do this already, my trouble is that I don't know how people "see" what isn't "there", how people create concept art from their head that doesn't exist in reality.
    Are you asking about how to be creative? Creativity comes from stuffing your head full of information, putting it together in unusual ways and then putting that down on paper.

    So you might not have the right sort of knowledge to design the sorts of things you want to design. It's not enough to just be around something, you have to be observant, notice details and remember them. Even if you search for it online, you have to have some idea of what you're looking for or else it really is hours of staring at random stuff unable to make a decision.

    Or you might have plenty of useful stuff in your head but not be at all practiced in putting it together. It takes some practice to be able to make a chain of seemingly-unrelated ideas and distill them into something. You have to know what kind of thing you want but you have to challenge your preconceptions about it all the time, otherwise you end up with the same old cliches. If you want a new wizard design you're better off thinking "jellyfish" than "Gandalf".

    Or you might have trouble putting ideas together in your head in a way that makes for a good visual design. In this case, practice lots. If you think "jellyfish wizard" and all you end up with is Gandalf with a jellyfish on his head, well, it's a start. Put it down on paper and keep digging. Ask "what if" questions.

    Remember that it doesn't need to be perfect, it just needs to get done. You don't need to spend hours flipping through a face database. You aren't trying to pick out the guy that mugged you. If you're designing an old wizard all sorts of designs will do the basic job. Heck, go and design a few dozen of them, making them all look different from one another. Play with shapes and silhouettes and the size of facial features and so on. See what comes out of it.

    Sometimes I can see the guy I want in my head but sometimes I'm just staring at a piece of paper and I literally do not know what's going to come out. I start thinking things like "round", "villain" and "angry"; I adjust the design to reflect those attributes and at the end I have a fat bad guy (or four) throwing a tantrum.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ishkigal View Post
    I am thinking more about the "concept" part, how people "see" what their character will look like if their character is not real.
    How well does your imagination work when you read/write?

    I use my imagination a lot when I only write/read. A book gives a character description in words, so maybe you can try and draw what you imagine that character to be/look like from description?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ishkigal View Post
    Or do people don't know what they see in their head and they just scribble until they find out something that matches their idea somewhat?
    Sometimes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ishkigal View Post
    Or do they just find a bunch of stock photos where they find the face that matches "that face" they want for their character.
    Sometimes.

    You seem to have the idea that artists completely visualizes every detail of a picture first, and then transcribes it as if they were drawing from life. While this isn't impossible, it's extremely uncommon. What's far more common is that artists have a dialog with their pictures, reacting to and modifying the marks they put down, using both their imaginations and external sources.

    Also, both using your imagination and working from reference are skills that can be learned, practiced, and improved.


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    Quote Originally Posted by vineris View Post
    Are you asking about how to be creative? Creativity comes from stuffing your head full of information, putting it together in unusual ways and then putting that down on paper.
    yadayadayyada
    I just wanted to add to this wonderful post (thank you!) that this process is absolutely not restricted to "creative work" at all. I can relate completely to what vineris said, even though I actually can't do any of this in art. Take for example academic writing, a field I am more comfortable with. What distinguishes a good paper from a bad paper? Why do some people come up with ideas that others don't?

    The first step is, know everything about the subject you're delving into- if you don't know the entire relevant literature, chances are you miss on crucial evidence and all you write is rendered irrelevant. And after accumulating all this knowledge, many people fail at this stage, you have to arrange it- this really tests your understanding of the matter- according to your hypothesis. I often find after reading the literature, loads of things my hypothesis asked for are already answered, and this allows me to go further and ask more specific questions. I think this stage is quite comparable to doing thumbnails in art- you have an idea, and after putting down the one variation you thought of, you discover more possibilities- which allows you to be more specific.

    Etc. Etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LordLouis View Post
    I just wanted to add to this wonderful post (thank you!) that this process is absolutely not restricted to "creative work" at all. I can relate completely to what vineris said, even though I actually can't do any of this in art. Take for example academic writing, a field I am more comfortable with. What distinguishes a good paper from a bad paper? Why do some people come up with ideas that others don't?
    Yes, absolutely! I live with a research scientist so I get to see it from the scientific side too. Creativity is very similar whatever subject you are applying it to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vineris View Post
    Are you asking about how to be creative?
    Yes! I wish I had been able to ask it correctly the first time, but I think you put into words exactly what my question was: How to be creative. You and others here have also helped me to understand better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Sometimes.
    You seem to have the idea that artists completely visualizes every detail of a picture first, and then transcribes it as if they were drawing from life. While this isn't impossible, it's extremely uncommon. What's far more common is that artists have a dialog with their pictures, reacting to and modifying the marks they put down, using both their imaginations and external sources.
    Yes, I had the idea that if I were a real artist I'd be able to a.) draw from memory and b.) do exactly what you described: "Completely visualize every detail and then transcribe it as if from life". I felt like, even though I know I can draw and make pictures look like what I am referencing that because I needed to reference at all I did not count as a true artist. So I read here or maybe somewhere else when I was lurking about about a book called: Drawing on the Right side of the brain, and I realized that most people don't draw from memory like I thought...but what I didn't realize as the book didn't talk about how to "be creative and visualize every detail", that artists didn't do that either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trixtar View Post
    How well does your imagination work when you read/write?

    I use my imagination a lot when I only write/read. A book gives a character description in words, so maybe you can try and draw what you imagine that character to be/look like from description?
    Thank you Trixtar. When I read and visualize I often see ideas and shadows of what the words say when it comes to people. These ideas and shadows can feel real like in a dream, but wake me up from it, and for the life of me I couldn't draw it, as the images fade away. Fortunately the book would have whole descriptions which might make it easier to see the character as a whole rather as their parts: purple eyes, ribbons, nose, scattered about my head.

    As it was mentioned here, I look at them as individual units rather than see them as the whole when I visualize. I think that's the next level I'd like to reach.

    Quote Originally Posted by LordLouis View Post
    The first step is, know everything about the subject you're delving into- if you don't know the entire relevant literature, chances are you miss on crucial evidence and all you write is rendered irrelevant. And after accumulating all this knowledge, many people fail at this stage, you have to arrange it- this really tests your understanding of the matter- according to your hypothesis. I often find after reading the literature, loads of things my hypothesis asked for are already answered, and this allows me to go further and ask more specific questions. I think this stage is quite comparable to doing thumbnails in art- you have an idea, and after putting down the one variation you thought of, you discover more possibilities- which allows you to be more specific.
    All of this here has shed so much light on this topic from me. Vineris your post was awesome, and others too. There were so many misconceptions in my head about how an artist comes up with creativity, I thought it was something like magic, something that I would never be able to do. It is strange but before I came back to the forums, I had been trying to morph some ideas into my head of what my character might look like, and gradually as I put those ideas together instead of looking at them separately I was able to see somewhat of a whole, but hadn't the skill those separate skills I had learned to an integrated whole on paper, but I had made a start. And I thought maybe I can do this. I came back here and saw these detailed replies, and just so much light has been shed on this topic I don't have any words to say except Thank you.

    Especially thank you because for so long I felt like if I couldn't make it appear as a whole in my head if all I had was height, and personality that it wasn't enough at all and that I should just put the pen and paper down and leave the drawing to others. Now I know that those things are a start, and can take what I have learned and try and see if I can put them together as a whole. If I can't do that, then I've narrowed down where I need to be focusing my practicing on. Very, very helpful, thanks !

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