This is my first time posting here, so I hope I'm doing it right.
This is something that I've been working on for a little while. I've been trying to work with the values, and I've used reference photos, especially for the little boy. It's been pretty fun to work on, but I'm still finding I'm having a few problems with some things.
The things I've mainly been trying (and failing) to work on, and need critique/advice for are: The water coming out of the pump; the plants covering the robot (especially around the base); how to make the bucket look more like a part of the picture; and the fabric on the pants of the boy. It's meant to be thick wool. I would appreciate critique for anything in the picture, however.
Thanks in advance!!!
I think you are at a point where you need to just draw from life. You aren't informed enough about drawing and rendering to make it up out of your head. Get some heavy wool, take pictures of yourself in it and draw it. Then go outside and draw whatever you see. There are tons of tricks to help you fake textures and water effects, but at the end of the day you just need to learn anatomical and perspective drawing. I'd rather see your life drawings.
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Yeah, the thing is it's hard to give specific comments on this drawing because there are lots of issues. So advice would be something like: learn proportions, learn perspective, learn anatomy, learn light and texture, etc. Each of these are things you can pick up a book about, learn the basics and dramatically improve your drawings from.
Which one you pick up depends mostly on what seems interesting to you. They're all useful, though it also might be easier to learn some stuff (like proportions) before other stuff (like anatomy). Value is very important, so great for recognising that and working on it, but it's hard to know how to use value on a form you don't understand. The point of value is that it describes form and planes. If you don't know what shape something is (its form), you can't expect to know how to light it.
As for crits on this specific picture, the biggest thing for me is the perspective. I'm getting multiple optical illusions as it is: Is the boy about to swing into the bucket, or is he behind it? The tap looks as though it's further back than the boy, but that can't be because he's swinging on its handle. Is the water supposed to be going into (or anywhere near) the bucket? Is the boy being lifted by the robot, or is he just pulling back? Why is he curving his arms around like that (looks uncomfortable)?
Pick up a book on perspective (I recommend Perspective! For Comic Book Artists -- very fun intro), go through it to strengthen your understanding of how it works, and then learn about how to project light and shadows with perspective.
Basically you're at a point where picking up and going through a book on just about any element of drawing in a somewhat systematic way is gonna dramatically improve your work. So you have a lot of fun ahead.
For anatomy and proportions and body stuff in general, this forum typically recommends Loomis' Figure Drawing For All It's Worth. It's a bit on the dense side, but the information there is good.
So get cracking! Lurk in this forum (amazing how much you can learn from reading other people's threads), and post again when you get stuck with your studies. Oh and don't forget to start a sketchbook thread in the Sketchbook subforum.