one of my biggest and most frustrating problems is that i cant "see forms" when im just painting with light and shadow.
i stepped away from digital for a while and ive been really studying from burne hogarth and i finally get that hes not trying to teach you to draw like him, hes trying to teach you that everything is form. thinking like this really helped me understand the "depth" of things and why people say to draw more from life.
so after the hogarth practicing ive been able to translate alot of my anatomy and drawing knowledge in general up a level by just realizing everything is a form with depth.
i come back to photoshop and im surprised how foreign it still is. no matter how well out i draw a picture once the lines are gone i cannot see the forms correctly. i know my digital technique isnt on par with what i want or my strongest point.. why am i not getting this?
even if i use photoshop and just do it in black and build up shadows like with a pencil i can do it more naturally. with a pencil i can render something almost effortlessly, but not with painting.
i know you guys always say show a picture, so heres a study im about to do.
i even drew out extra lines just to help me a little before i paint over them.
i should also mention ive been trying to get good at digital painting for about 10 years... about about 5 taking it seriously as a career path.
Also please show your traditional studies and not just the digital one you're having an issue with.even if i use photoshop and just do it in black and build up shadows like with a pencil i can do it more naturally. with a pencil i can render something almost effortlessly, but not with painting.
I looked through some of your other art, and I think you should avoid colour for now. Stick to greyscale and when you can show forms without colour you can begin to add colour.
Now I think another problem is you are using shape too much. This is an easy pitfall to get into when using photos as reference because they are all 2d shapes and you do not see it the same way you see things from life. Try to think using more perspective, and break things into basic forms (cylinder, cube, sphere). A lot of your faces even seem a bit wonky because they aren't in perspective--you are just copying the shapes.
I've done a little paintover example here. First I show some cross contour lines which are helpful in seeing forms when dealing with just line. It also helps set the stage as a map of sorts when rendering later on because it tells you the angle of each plane (and then you will know how light or dark it is). Next I simplified the figure into a few very basic forms. This may seem too "basic" but in reality is very important. You don't need to draw it out like this every time, but it is a good idea to think like that at all times.
You can see that the basic forms are very easy to light, all you do is separate lights and shadows and add in a core shadow. I picked a simple top down lighting situation, and lit it from my head. Using that as a guide it is simple to block in the actual painting with the appropriate values. Even though I didn't use any reference I was able to light this line drawing simply by thinking in three dimensions and simplifying forms.
It should be even easier for you to paint since you have the reference in front of you. Analyze where the light is coming from. Then look at any form on the figure and identify what angle that plane is to the light source. If it is close to 90 degrees it will be very light. And it will probably be darkest when it is parallel to the light rays (core shadow) then get slightly lighter as it turns away from the light source completely (bounce light fills it in a bit).
Another tip when painting a line drawing is to keep the lines on top of the painting for a while. Once you get to a stage where everything is blocked in fairly clearly, don't just delete the lines. Instead create a new layer above the lines and continue painting. As you do you will gradually paint over the liens until they are not visible all the while maintaining the structure of your drawing.
And for those interested in paintover type things, I started a thread over in the critique section where you can post paintings and I'll do paintovers for you:
Last edited by Andrew Sonea; August 8th, 2012 at 10:42 PM.
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That^ Right there, is pure win..
"The whole point of practice is to do it until you can do it right." - dpaint
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-arshes i do most of my life drawing with a pencil, well recently at least.
-also thanks andrew, i wish i had uploaded some of my newer stuff here because that was some seriously excellent advise =/. thats actually what i was talking about that my studies with hogarth DID teach me that everything is a form with depth.
that.. when you see the "triangle" shape of the face its not because the face is the shape of a triangle, but its because the sides recede back into space.
ive been using contour lines alot in my recent sketches or even just breaking down parts of my study into stacking overlaying basic shapes to really understand forms. mixing this with all the somewhat incorrect anatomy study ive been doing i am not able to fit my anatomy into a 3d space more realistically.
i really wish i had newer stuff in my sb because your advise is excellent.
you mentioned briefly another issue i have which is knowing how dark or light to make my highlights and shadows in a given lighting situation.
blah. im just going to do alot of really simple studies.
here is the image btw
i got an egg, a orange, a cylinder candle, a tissue box, and a white table cloth and im going do some more simple studies.