Ballpoint Art - I need your advice :)

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  1. #1
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    Ballpoint Art - I need your advice :)

    Hi guys, I've been trying to do some drawings with ballpoints. I need whatever advice you can give though because I really don't know what I'm doing

    This is one I've finished so far, it was done on a3 paper but I'm thinking in future I will use a4 because a3 takes too long to fill! Comments and advice are always appreciated! Thanks so much!

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  3. #2
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    dont know what advice to give you, but that pretty damn good for a ballpoint renering!

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  5. #3
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    Meticulous.

    It would work as an illustrative style, but I can't help thinking you could do it with a faster medium than ballpoint, much to the same result.

    Try planning the composition a bit more. It would work better and be more readable, if you broke it down into big blocks of lighter and darker things. It would help to separate background and foreground, actors from supporters, etc. With a technique like this you could aid these things with varying thickness of line and contour, but even with that to help it would benefit from a better separation/cohesion of values.

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  7. #4
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    I'd carry on with A3 but find ways to work faster. I really like the style and use of colour. It looks like your experimenting with the weight of your lines to bring things into the foreground i'd suggest you develop this further to make the image read better. It looks quite busy but by controlling the line weight you will help direct the viewers eye. This way you can retain the level of detail. Also as arenhaus suggests you could also do this with tones and you could also do this with hues. You have separated the background with reds and yellows. If you could push some elements into the mid-ground this would help.

    The DC comic guide to inking really helps explain how to get the most out of your line work. A good and quick way to practice your line weight without having to start a new piece is to photocopy your image and draw over it with markers or felts. You can then apply what works to your new work.

    Last edited by Jacobiahs; June 30th, 2012 at 05:14 PM.
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  9. #5
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    Wow! That's a ton of work there. I agree that the composition is lacking, but a bit of cropping on the sides (leaving most of the city in the background) would help tons. Try it on the computer first before doing anything drastic.

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  11. #6
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    Your colors and composition remind me of Jim Fitzgerald. Looking at him might help with your "readability" issues.

    http://www.jimfitzpatrick.ie/intro.html

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  13. #7
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    Thank you guys so much for your helpful suggestions
    Jacobiahs and arenhaus - what medium would you suggest I work with in, or what other advice can you give me in order to accomplish this faster? I agree that ballpoints are very slow but I find they are the most comfortable to work with and give quite a nice effect, and I do wish I could work a lot faster with them.
    Thanks again

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  14. #8
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    How are you working at the moment. Did you work from start to finish on the one sheet of paper? Did you plan out before with thumbnails and small concepts? If you could give a bit of info about how you worked on this it would help finding out how you can work faster.

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  15. #9
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    Ok, well I didn't do any thumbnails or any planning really, that always kind of confuses me too much. I plan the image out in my head I guess, but it's not really planning - it kind of forms itself. Then I started sketching the picture in pencil, at first just rough shapes and sizes before adding in more detail.

    When the sketch was detailed enough I went over it and outlined it with ballpoints, black and red. Then I outlined the main figures with a sharpie to help them stand out. Then I made the city outline a bit thicker and so on.

    Once the outlining was done, I lightly shaded it with ballpoints by crosshatching and scribbling haha and then built it up layer by layer until the color was a bit 'thicker'. Then I also added in more little details that I had missed.

    I guess using thumbnails would probably help me since it would give me an idea of exactly what I'm doing. Most of the time I spend on drawing is just looking at it at being clueless as to where to go next :p

    Well that's my process. Thanks for your suggestions in advance

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  16. #10
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    I wouldn't give up on the ballpoint pens. They're a bit tedious, but nothing else works quite the same way. But if you haven't already, try out any other media you can get your hands on. There's no reason why you can't mix media too. I often supplement ballpoint pen drawings with graphite or india ink for larger areas of value.

    I did a little experiment just for fun. A sort of redesign of your piece. It's quick and sloppy, and on A4, but it only took about two hours, which isn't much as far as I'm concerned. So I wouldn't say they take much longer than any other medium, considering how easy it is to put in a lot of detail. There's nothing wrong with spending 15 hours on a full-color piece. Or even 40 or 50. And you can get some beautiful smooth tones if you go slow.
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    Do thumbnails. They are worth it. You will be amazed at how much faster things go if you spend a little time planning before you begin. And I guarantee you will come up with better images.

    Mucha is a good artist to look at also. He does decorative pieces, but his values are perfect. This one for example:
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...-_Salammbô.jpg

    Up close it's all about the linework, there's no naturalistic lighting at all, but if you look at it as a tiny thumbnail:

    everything still reads, because the values are organized properly.

    Here are a couple more:
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Enq0FfqXkO...600/mucha6.jpg
    http://www.codex99.com/design/images/mucha/stars_lg.jpg

    P.S. Oh, and check out Andrew Ken's ink drawings, they may inspire you. http://conceptart.org/forums/showthr...=192230&page=6

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  18. #11
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    I would definitely use thumbnails you can generate ideas very quickly and resolve composition before you get to to A3. You end up with a wide range of ideas and can pick and choose the best of each. Once you have generated ideas you are happy with you could then work them into another prep sketch at A4 which will give you space to work more of your ideas in.


    Also collecting reference before hand is very useful. This way you have road map and can focus on the detail when your working on A3.

    I don't know if you've ever worked with a light box but once you have generated thumbnails you can scale them up with a photocopier to A3 and work over them.

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  20. #12
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    Mr Corlan... I am beyond impressed! In 2 hours you achieved more than I did in the original! Any help you can give me with lighting and layout would be really appreciated as you seem to have a firm grasp of that, while they seem to be things I struggle with.

    And I will try and start working with thumbnails from now on

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  21. #13
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    OK. Well, the first thing I would work on is perspective. Those curly lines you have on the ground do nothing for the depth. If you extend the horizon line and put in some vanishing points, you will find that things get very squished very quickly as they approach the horizon. And if that city is close and tall enough, you should be able to discern the effects of perspective on it. Check out some of these references:
    http://www.kuederle.com/SouthAfrica/...uegerRiver.jpg
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_ozwUnFsBLB...ty+Mermaid.jpg
    http://www.planetware.com/i/photo/singapore-sin314.jpg

    Also, avoid crosshatching at 90 degrees, it will always look flat.

    As far as lighting goes, well, do studies. Set up some simple still lives and render them. Really pay attention to the patterns of how light behaves. If you can render a sphere something like this, you're well on your way.

    Once you're comfortable rendering single-color spheres, cubes, cylinders, toruses, etc, you can move on to objects with multiple colors, see how color bounces around and reacts to the temperature of the light source, and then start rendering objects with different textures, etc. After all that, it's a matter of doing life or photo studies of different times of day and interior lighting scenarios. Once you've established the color, direction, and intensity of the light source(s) in a scene you should be able to add whatever objects you want to a scene and light them appropriately.

    Hmmm. It sounds like I've outlined a course of study for myself. Haha.

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