Personal self-portrait of sorts - crit needed to push it forward!
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Thread: Personal self-portrait of sorts - crit needed to push it forward!

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    Personal self-portrait of sorts - crit needed to push it forward!

    Hey guys, I'm working on this sort of illustration-self portrait. I spent the afternoon doing thumbnails and after a while, this seemed the best comp, but after this quick value study I'm not as sure and would like some crits, to see if something's off and I'm not seeing it, or if you have any advice to improve this at all.
    From what I want to do with colour, I'll decide if I'm sticking to digital or working in watercolor, it's why I didn't get too fussy with the details. Hit me up!

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    Cute concept. It looks more or less OK. The one thing that leaps out at me is the complete lack of contrapposto--the pose feels awkwardly static. If it were me, I'd definitely find some photo reference for the pose (which will also help with refining the basic anatomy.)

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    Thanks Giacomo!
    It's actually kind of deliberate, as it is from a photo reference (for proportions and stuff, it can be seen from the legs that I still have to fix some issues if I want to go realistic), I wanted it to be more symmetrical, to make it a bit 'solemn' if that makes sense? But I should try something else maybe to get rid of the static feeling, I tried to make the background flow more to fix that but if you don't think it's fixed, clearly more should be done!

    So, should I go forward with something like this? (Quick fix without reference for now)Name:  WIP4.jpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ariel9 View Post
    It's actually kind of deliberate, as it is from a photo reference (for proportions and stuff, it can be seen from the legs that I still have to fix some issues if I want to go realistic), I wanted it to be more symmetrical, to make it a bit 'solemn' if that makes sense? But I should try something else maybe to get rid of the static feeling, I tried to make the background flow more to fix that but if you don't think it's fixed, clearly more should be done!
    If you DO have a reference photo, you need to be looking at it a lot more carefully....in both the images you posted, her proportions are just off by ~10% everywhere and the figure feels a bit clunky as a result. As far as using a rigid, symmetrical pose to make the figure seem "solemn"...that's up to you. Personally, I think the use of ultra-stiff poses in fantasy art is a cliché that's almost as annoying as "transparent anime bangs." (JPG below.)

    So, should I go forward with something like this?
    To reiterate what I said above: I like the basic concept and the basic composition. If I were actually art-directing this I'd want to see a tight line drawing to make sure everything was working well.

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    It's interesting that Giacomo posted a Klimt as his "yes" example, because the first thing I thought of when I saw the pose was Nuda Veritas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    It's interesting that Giacomo posted a Klimt as his "yes" example, because the first thing I thought of when I saw the pose was Nuda Veritas.
    Yes. In fact, "Nuda Veritas" was the painting I wanted to use, but I forgot the title and for some reason it didn't come up in the first several pages of Googling "Klimt."

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    That's interesting as it's probably an subconscious influence - Klimt is one of the masters I look up to the most, and the fact that after an afternoon of poses and thumbnails I turn out with something he's basically already done says a lot.
    It is pretty much the kind of 'solemn' feeling I'd like to give with this piece, especially considering it's not meant to be fantasy so yes, I'd like to steer pretty clear from the fantasy cliché.

    I went a little bit tighter with the line-art, re-shot some reference picture and went about studying them more closely. The previous concept is based off photo reference but I tried - probably in the wrong way - to make up for the perspective which in the reference wasn't quite what I wanted.
    If the proportions are off as of now, it's my actual body proportions being off, I guess, ehe (as I mentioned, it's a self-portrait, I'm afraid I'm no ideal woman figure).

    It's probably not as tight as you'd like it, but I plan almost definitely to use watercolors for this so the final lineart will be in pencil and I don't want it to feel too stiff if I'm too precise already, but it's fair to check if it works. Here goes.
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    I'm also open to suggestions for the background, should I work more the swirly pattern or is it actually more powerful if I leave it this empty? (Though that's easy to go back to if I change my mind)

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    That's a lot better. Although:

    1. You might want to spend some time and redo her hands and feet-right now they're looking pretty amateurish. If it were me, I'd do separate drawings of each hand and foot, based on the reference photo(s), and cut-and-paste them into place.

    2. Unless her right leg happens to be a lot longer than her left, the left hip (and knee) needs to be elevated to compensate. Again, the contrapposto is probably correct on your reference photo--you should go back and look at it more closely.

    3. Whatever you decide to do for the background, I think it needs to relate to the figure graphically...if you use abstract swirly shapes, their contours should "rhyme" with the shapes of her body. If you decide to leave the background blank, you might want to crop tight(er) to the figure so the negative space around the figure doesn't overwhelm it (i.e., like in "Nuda Veritas" above.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Giacomo View Post
    2. Unless her right leg happens to be a lot longer than her left, the left hip (and knee) needs to be elevated to compensate. Again, the contrapposto is probably correct on your reference photo--you should go back and look at it more closely.
    Not if that knee is bent and the foot not flat on the ground.

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    I think I'll cut it a little bit closer and keep the bg relatively simple, I think.
    I'll do as you suggested for the hands and feet, thanks! I'll shoot closer reference photos, in the full-body shot the resolution's really not good enough to do it much more detailed.

    It's as vineris said, but if it's confusing, maybe I should pose a different way? I would actually share the ref pic to show the line-art is really accurate (more so than usual, I tend not to be too realistic) if it wasn't me naked, eh.

    Again, thanks everyone! Tomorrow I'll show the results of re-working hand and feet and I'll try to see if it's better to do something different about that leg.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vineris View Post
    Not if that knee is bent and the foot not flat on the ground.
    The only time I can think of when hips and knees are perfectly level is if someone is standing flat-footed in "mountain pose" (tadasana)--and in real life, yoga class is the only place where people do that. For any human standing naturally, the shoulders, hips and knees are going to be tilted, however slightly. Really.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ariel9 View Post
    It's as vineris said, but if it's confusing, maybe I should pose a different way? I would actually share the ref pic to show the line-art is really accurate (more so than usual, I tend not to be too realistic) if it wasn't me naked, eh.
    It's not about "accurate" so much as it is about communicating the "feel" of the pose--which can be tricky if the pose is not something gesturally dramatic. As I said above: the shoulders, hips and knees are all going to be slightly tilted. If it's not obvious in the photo, you might have to emphasize or exaggerate it a bit in the drawing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Giacomo View Post
    The only time I can think of when hips and knees are perfectly level is if someone is standing flat-footed in "mountain pose" (tadasana)--and in real life, yoga class is the only place where people do that. For any human standing naturally, the shoulders, hips and knees are going to be tilted, however slightly. Really.
    The difference is going to be so slight that any irregularities in the drawing will pretty much account for it.

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    I'm still struggling with this, in between paying gigs, so here I go again.
    I cut it closer, I'm letting go of the hands and feet for now as I want to focus on the figure before losing myself in the details, which will get taken care of when it's brought to final.
    I got a few more crits so I tried to shoot other references and ended up with yet another WIP - what do you guys think?

    This isn't a pin-up, so it doesn't need to be sexy, but at the same time I don't really want this to be static and I'm hoping this more dynamic pose fixes that. At the same time I'm worried it looks a bit clunky. I'd rather draw this a hundred times than settle for something that looks boring, so give it your all, but please try to remember the scope of the picture (solemn, statue-like metaphorical representation of the artist's eye and its being an extension of the artist)Name:  ennesimaWIP.jpg
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    You improved this a lot, but the arm holding the book is sticking out too much now which makes her look uncomfortable.

    (And what's "yes" about any of the Klimt pictures? I don't get it.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ariel9 View Post
    I got a few more crits so I tried to shoot other references and ended up with yet another WIP - what do you guys think?
    That's looking a bit better, but to my eye the basic gesture is still not working. The key thing to keep in mind here is that unless a figure is standing evenly on both feet (which, as I said above, no one ever does outside of yoga) the pelvis and ribcage are going to shift in opposite directions to accommodate the foot that weight is placed on. It tried to approximate your pose with a maquette (JPEG below.)

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    That looks somewhat stiff and awkward, but you can see the pelvis and ribcage as clearly defined masses. Hopefully you can see in the (very rough) paintover below how far off your drawing is in the waist and pelvis:

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    The other thing that strikes me is that the bones of human limbs (and therefore the limbs themselves) are curved. You're sort of getting it in some places but completely missing it in others. (The paintover below is a massive simplification: obviously there's going to be some variation to allow for muscles and tendons, most obviously on the calves of the legs.)

    Name:  Maq_limbs.jpg
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    Hope that is of some use.

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    Name:  ennesimaWIPcorretta.jpg
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    The second rough paintover was VERY helpful, I went through the reference again, traced the centerline there and used it to better understand how to work out the pose in the drawing.
    I had to change up some things slightly to allow for the effect of the corset, but I think it does look much more natural now.
    I'll re-pose for the arm but there is a tentative sketch of how it's gonna be.
    You're going to have to excuse me for not counting on the last mannequin paintover much, as it's both a bit differently proportioned than I am and also posed differently enough that even though I'll be mindful of what you said, I find it more useful this time to stick to reality and references.
    I'm sorry I can't share them, really, I'd just like to preserve my modesty, ehe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ariel9 View Post
    I had to change up some things slightly to allow for the effect of the corset, but I think it does look much more natural now. I'll re-pose for the arm but there is a tentative sketch of how it's gonna be....I find it more useful this time to stick to reality and references.
    Not to be a jerk...but the new version is just barely different from the old one (JPEG of the two versions, overlaid, is attached below.)

    The issue here is that the drawing is still a serviceable-but-not-really-very-exciting (I believe the technical term is "meh") copy of the reference photo. In the future, you might want to get in the habit of either 1) stylizing, classicizing and/or otherwise exaggerating the figure somehow to introduce some drama or 2) getting obsessive about copying your photo-reference (by projecting or tracing it, or some other way that allows you to really dig into the realism of the form. Obviously if you go route #2 you will have to pick subject matter that you are comfortable with putting on the Internet.

    As always, just my two cents.

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    Not at all, from your crit I gathered the most problematic areas where the ones you painted over in your second paintover especially, which as you can see are the ones I did change.

    I want this to be neither iperralistic neither cartoony. I understand there needs to be drama in the figure without value and color (though those will obviously help), but would you suggest a dramatic difference in the pose then?
    I did change it from my original static one a lot, but if it's still not enough, I am still open to suggestions. The reason it didn't change much after your last crit is because there simply wasn't much difference between the pose in your mannequin and the one I was proposing, if anything, there was a bit less overlapping that did make the pose maybe more interesting as far as the silhouette goes, but it brings it back into the full frontal pose that people found kind of boring and the overlapping of limbs to add drama was suggested to me by an external crit.

    Again, I accept all that you said and I thank you very much for it, but I'd like a way to improve this while keeping the core concept intact. Does anybody else have anything to say?

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