Dpaint, jeffx99, elwell, blackspot, briggsy
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    Dpaint, jeffx99, elwell, blackspot, briggsy

    The people in the title are the ones who I am mainly after, but I welcome all other replies.

    sorry to call you guys out like this, I hope it doesn't become a trend where it may become bothersome.
    I wanted to gather your opinions on drawing and/or painting landscapes, cityscapes. My thoughts aren't organised, there will be typos.

    I've recently dived into painting with W&N Griffin Alkyd oils which gives me the nice midway of a paint that doesn't dry while I'm using it on the palette and Canvas, but also doesn't take 'forever' to dry. Happy as can be.
    Anyway, right now I am having the issue of tackling Scenes via painting. I once heard "any issue in painting is usual a issue in drawing". When I think about it, makes sense. I have only focused my extreme efforts on people, ranging from quick sketches, to line studies, to value renderings. rarely tackling landscapes, despite the fact I love nature, lol perhaps it intimidates me.
    given the fact my studies mostly consist of people, when it comes to painting them, they come out far better than my landscapes. Here are two examples both done in a single sitting (alla prima?)


    noticeably the portrait looks far better than the study of my living room. there are even worse studies that I try to do that I end up quitting on and try to palm them off as colour studies.


    I sometimes ponder on the difference, why do they vary between one another despite that as a whole I rarely practice landscapes in drawing let alone painting.
    a while ago I suprised myself with this one which made me recall that I spend quite a while (more than a single page, don't let the single post fool you) on doing really small value renders with pencil on similar scenes.


    and also on a side note, I rarely draw animals either but have a desire to begin studies into them soon enough. but yet, I was able to produce this from a photo.

    which brings me back to the quote "issue with painting=issue with drawing" and leads me to what I probably should have just asked right out from the start instead of spamming these images. In your opinion, should I tackle the problem of bad landscape paintings as a whole, basically shutting up, and deal with the problems of value, colour, drawing, and painting process simultaneously in doing these studies. Or should I eliminate the problems/ isolate them, focusing on just big scale (a4) value renderings with pencil/charcoal (and also sketches)? once I get confident in those like doing people then I can jump back into painting them.

    I've checked out Dpaints alla prima demo repeatedly ages ago (Thank you for the post ) for those who haven't seen it http://conceptart.org/forums/showthr...scene-10-01-12

    and as for books, I've just finished "The New Munsell Student Color Set 3rd Edition 3rd Edition" which is a mindfuck of information, I need to re read it again eventually as the information is just too much to completely absorb. as opposed to James gurneys "colour and light" which is a good read and nice introduction, and without it I probably would be lost in that Munsell book. probably similar in mindfuck to when I looked at Briggsy's site when I first challenged a serious study into colour theory. (I will go back there eventually and challenge the information again Briggsy xD)

    Now about to dive into Jack Hamm's "Drawing scenery". I've also studied up on perspective drawing from David chelsea's "Perspective! For comic book artists" so I wont be running into drawing blind when doing studies. I will have things to pay attention to like vanishing points. will need a re read though.

    I also wish to go through at some point "alla prima: everything I know" by Richard Schmid. see if there is anything I can gain, lightyears before I would reach that information in studies. if anyone has read it, how is it?

    again sorry for calling you guys out like that and the ensuing bombardment of text and images. In the end though, I will do what I feel I will benefit most from, but your Opinions matter, hence I wouldn't ask. Thank you for your time reading and hopeful reply!

    If I happen to comment on your sketchbook, please don't feel obliged to comment on mine. use that time instead to get back to work.

    CA sketchbook: http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=245741

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    The room scenes and landscapes look like you just aren't trying very hard. You aren't paying attention to edges or values or shapes. You're just slapping paint down. You're painting in foreground elements in big strokes, which is fine, but then you don't go back and refine them, and you seem to be trying to paint in background elements around the foreground elements. Try painting back to front- finish the building before you start the tree in front of it.

    Even in your lynx painting, you haven't bothered to look at how the branches are actually shaped, how they connect to one another- you're just painting a symbol of a branch.

    I think if you just slow down and treat the elements of the landscape with the same care you would apply to a figure, your scenery will improve mightily.

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    Slightly honoured as I'm not a pro. Is the face from a photo? Now how many still lives have you done? Unless you have practice drawing forms from real life, you're going to have problems.


    I didn't think it was possible to be called an artist when you have nothing to say. It's like being a writer who publishes individual words as books and expects to be praised for it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Notophthalmus View Post
    The room scenes and landscapes look like you just aren't trying very hard.
    That's exactly what I thought when I saw them. Perhaps you care a lot more, or are more interested by, animals and people? Or you think landscapes are just backgrounds and are therefore secondary items that don't require as much thought or care. Why not draw a tree with as much care as a snow leopard? Trees have gesture and mood and personality of their own if you only look for it. My last thought is that you are new at painting and are experiencing the first of many struggles.

    It took me like three hours to finish the shading on your upper lip. It's probably the best drawing I've ever done.



    My sketchbook (it'll get good near the end)
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    Your paintings are only going to be as good as your drawings. Painting is drawing, with the added complications of color, and the workings of the medium itself.

    First thing I'd work in, drawing wise, is to get rid of the fuzzy quality and improve accuracy and specificity. When those qualities has become a habit, work them into your painting. When I was in school, my paintings were fuzzy as shit, just like my drawings. The guy next to me drew and painted everything in carefully wrought out shapes and pockets of values that were rendered with an intense attention to value relationships, contantly squinting. He did this in drawing, and carried it over to his painting habits. I thought it was so hard to do that, I stuck to drawing sloppily, hating my work, until I grew a pair and started doing it the hard way. That was after graduating.

    Point is: do it the in the truest and most directly educating way first, and get good at it that way, because that kind of mileage is what separates the good from the great and the bad.

    Work hard and smart. Don't ever rush. Put thought and intention into every mark. Effeiciency is gained in the deliberate time spent in between every mark. Get to know your pigments. In my personal opinion, stick to earth tones when you want to paint earth tones and use more saturated pigments when you need them. Learn the limits of the "weaker" earth pigments in order to understand when and how to use stronger pigments. This will help you in gaining a stronger sense of unity in your color schemes. There are many schools in color theory. You need to find the school that suits your tastes or intentions the best. It might take some years.

    In case of tl;dr
    Work on proportions, gesture, specificity, value, edges and color. A fuzzy line is a sign of uncertanity. Good drawing doesn't have uncertainty. (how do i write uncertinytee?)

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    I get the impression that in your less successful paintings you let finding the right "colour" distract you from getting the right value. For example the orange in the picture in your living room looks as if it's luminous: did you let getting the right hue of orange distract you from getting its value right? This problem may show up less in tightly cropped portraits because they have fewer independent components to relate to each other tonally.

    Regarding basic exercises, you should probably do some more value studies in paint, if you have only started doing these recently (as I gather from your sketchbook). I strongly recommend doing these using an absolute value scale.

    http://conceptart.org/forums/showthr...14#post3512114

    Then strive to pay as much attention to value in your coloured paintings as if you were still working in black and white.

    And of course, keep practising drawing as well.

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    Will piggyback on black spot--looks like it might be about working from photos and working from life. I see problems translating from 3D to 2D, and problems dealing with the wide range of values in life. I'd second Black Spot's recommendation of still lives along with Briggsy's recommendation of value studies with an absolute value scale. But as you clearly expected--drawing from life as much as possible. It also looks like you may not be so comfortable with a brush--do some of that life drawing with a brush along with pencil.

    You are reading some good books. They might not all make sense to you right now, but parts will, and other parts will lurk around in your brain as you work and start to connect. It's worth re-reading the good books occasionally to see what new things will reconcile with your increased experience.

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    Your brushes are way too dry, as if you are miserly with paint and resort to scumbling everything.

    Book recommendation: "Brushwork Essentials" by Weber. Also, do some studies in black and white only, it helps in learning to see the values and lighting.

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    wow I'm absolutely stunned by the wisdom in these responses! I was eager to check quickly before I go out and see if I got any replies,
    please bare with me and check back later on in the day for a in depth reply to your replies as I'm running late right now. I figure it be best to respond now to let everyone know Im not ignoring. this will give me a lot to think about in the meantime.
    back soon and thanks!

    If I happen to comment on your sketchbook, please don't feel obliged to comment on mine. use that time instead to get back to work.

    CA sketchbook: http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=245741

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    No time for response. Glad to see others have already covered everything, esp. the photos/life issue.


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    Just to add to the photos-vs-life points... It looks to me as though you do okay at seeing the actual shapes of things when you're working from photos, but when you're faced with real life, you're reverting to symbolic shortcuts. You're not looking very carefully at the shape of the tree in front of you, you're just scribbling an approximate shortcut for "tree" - brown lines for trunks and branches, green cloud for leaves.

    THIS IS NORMAL. It's a lot easier to learn to "see" a flat image like a photo, it's always harder working from life because there's so much more information. So you get overwhelmed and grab random pieces of information and miss a lot of important things. My best advice would be SLOW DOWN, take time to look carefully at actual shapes, forms, and colors/values. And try starting with simple subjects (like a still life of simple shapes) and work on depicting the forms as accurately as you can.

    Since this is partly a drawing problem, maybe in addition to the painting and value exercises you should do some basic line drawings from life where you focus primarily on accuracy in shapes, proportion, angles, and perspective. Don't try to make them pretty, just try to make them as accurate as possible. This may help you with the overall observation and accuracy issues.

    Also, when working from life, look for the overall big color and value shapes first. It's easy to get derailed by details. Start with big areas, break it down from there.

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    alright back, let's do this
    notophthalmus and j@n!t I wouldn't say that I'm not trying very hard, I can easily see how it looks that way. I sit to tackle these scenes exactly how I go to tackle a figure, thing is i have more practice in figures than landscapes. I do admit I need to probably stop doing things only in one sitting and work at something over a seriously extended period of time like a Barque. when my drawings don't flow I am forced to stop and think, that perhaps I am missing a process of working. thank you for the tips in painting order. another thing is Janit is correct I am new to oils, as you say i am encountering the first of many, in turn making me think of approaches. Perhaps I am running before crawling and need to work on drawing landscapes first and when they flow like my figure work then I should jump back into oils? hmm I will also need to be doing some studies of trees in isolation. as I do symbolise them. I don't understand the nature of how the branches divert off each other, tried studying them once upon a time but I think the tool didn't help. Im currently thinking of using a brush pen.
    thank you both

    blackspot That painting was from a stockphoto on deviantart. I've drawn from life a lot and plan to work on my cityscape drawing from life, but rarely do i do still lifes if you mean setup some fruit or object at home to render. also as well, the majority of my work is from photos as I can't always have the opportunity to work from life in the things I wish to study. I'm careful to make sure the photos are high resolution and no colour editing. I agree with the standard saying from life is better than photos but I have to admit, despite how I moan that I still suck, I've improved a ton, BECAUSE of the opportunity to draw from photos.

    AndreasM Boom Boom Boom! thank you for that response! when I was modelling at an atelier here in London the students drew me in a single pose over the span of 4 weeks!
    they started first with a few studies to break themselves in to capturing me and then really went at the long drawing. I saw eventually what I would call a finish drawing in the third week but the guy kept going filling in the small pockets of empty paper that you get when you shade. he did that all throughout, can't believe the difference it made. I will link it http://drawpaintsculpt.com/wp-conten...Luther-Tom.jpg
    for me right now though one of the most truest ways for me learning is to gain a confidence in the new subject matter without racking myself! when I see a model I think nothing negative of the challenge before me and will draw feeling confident I can capture it. when I look at a scene like a cityscape i am instantly thrown off with the amount of detail involved, give me a month and yeah i think I can capture it to a satisfactory standard but im interested in looking at something and knowing, how to tackle it instantly/learn the process if that makes sense. once I am broken into the subject matter the longer studies is what I want to move on to. i hope im not sounding lazy and I hope you get what I mean. thank you again

    briggsythank you for the reply! I'm amazed you gathered that just from a few studies, your impression is correct. In the munsell book that I have, it comes with matte colour charts and a value scale. I took it upon myself at one point to lay out the value swatches and practice picking out at random and assembling them in their order in hopes to memorize them so whenever I look at a gray I know instantly where it lays on the value scale. I also attempted to familiarise myself with the hues started of with red and ended there as I got engrossed in anatomy studies again. but i Believe it worked! when I look at a red I can Gauge where it lays in terms of value. need more practice to really stand by that method of memorising and say it works. Thanks for the tip on painting in grayscale, you probably noticed I was painting in grayscale on my digital studies a while back to recognise the value in colour. have no clue why I didn't think about doing that traditionally with oils! I've checked your link (thank you~) and will go about mixing the pools of gray ...I love your brain! thank you for the response! that will help a ton, i can get rid of the problem of colour and focus on recognising value in colour whilst also painting to get use to the medium

    Dosethank you for confirming my thoughts on a process of tackling! I agree about my comfortability with the brush. when you say do some of that life drawing with the brush, do you mean to not necessarily worry about a render but work on doing the line work with a brush and spam those to get use to moving with it? definitely agree about re reading books as well. good books are life books that you will always revisit. i think it helps reading a book on the same topic by someone else as well. hearing/reading it said again in another persons explanation sometimes makes a difficult concept to grasp suddenly click! thank you for the response.

    arenhaustotally read me like a book! my mixtures can be a bit skimpy as I try to save on paint and end up running out at times. I also have a tendency to scrumble the paint around with my brush really stretching it out making it thin on the canvas. Thank you for recommending that book! I will put it on my wish list and when i get some money together and finish these existing ones, will update my collection. I'm wondering if in the "alla prima: everything i know" book if perhaps brush work is covered in there..it should be. Thank you for the response.

    thank you everyone for the responses so far, I welcome more! definitely have a super long way to go but the information presented here is a fantastic! definitely bookmarked. as Im sure I willneed to revisit this text!

    If I happen to comment on your sketchbook, please don't feel obliged to comment on mine. use that time instead to get back to work.

    CA sketchbook: http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=245741

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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    Since this is partly a drawing problem, maybe in addition to the painting and value exercises you should do some basic line drawings from life where you focus primarily on accuracy in shapes, proportion, angles, and perspective. Don't try to make them pretty, just try to make them as accurate as possible. This may help you with the overall observation and accuracy issues.

    Also, when working from life, look for the overall big color and value shapes first. It's easy to get derailed by details. Start with big areas, break it down from there.
    Booom!! Thank you Queen! that is exactly what I meant in my response to AdreasM. "...interested in looking at something and knowing, how to tackle it instantly/learn the process if that makes sense..." Just couldn't describe it like the way you have. I want to do the pretty renderings later, right now I want to understand and....generalise??? not generalise but have that same confidence I have in my approach to figures. so I don't usually spend that long on studies, only a day.

    also when working digitally, I use to practice working like that for a while, I was hoping to do it with oil but because of the wetness the colours don't lay over each other. Im thinking to let them dry and continue my studies the next day but for alla prima, thats not a option, or perhaps switch to acrylics with a stay wet palette....nahhhh lol. so still trying to find a process where i can block in but then refine. i really think working in grayscale for a while with paint will definitely help.
    thank you for the response

    If I happen to comment on your sketchbook, please don't feel obliged to comment on mine. use that time instead to get back to work.

    CA sketchbook: http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=245741

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    Quote Originally Posted by luthertaylor View Post
    Dosethank you for confirming my thoughts on a process of tackling! I agree about my comfortability with the brush. when you say do some of that life drawing with the brush, do you mean to not necessarily worry about a render but work on doing the line work with a brush and spam those to get use to moving with it?
    Yes, it's really just about using it as much as possible to gain comfort with it and understand what marks it can make and what marks it can't.

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    Hey Luther...lots of good advice so far, I'll see what I can add. You seem mainly concerned about understanding and developing skills with landscape in this post, so first I think it is important to consider what you want to get out of it? Questions to ask...Why do I want to develop my ability with landscape (goals)? How dedicated do I want to be to this direction (investment/equipment)? What artists do I admire that are primarily landscape painters (inspiration and examples to follow)? Do I want to approach the subject naturally or with a high degree of expression? Questions like that. My advice would be to do some research into workshops or classes offered by the best UK landscape people you can find - the ones whose work gets you excited. Workshops and classes give you a great starting point and can really get you going in the right direction early.

    Landscape is a bit of a different animal from figure and still life and requires a different approach. The two most obvious differences are scale and the qualities of natural light. Landscape paintings are also generally about two things - the light and a sense of place. One great advantage of studying the landscape is it's right outside your door. No setup...no model...it's right there. You need some specialized gear to work effectively outdoors but that same gear works great in studio as well. I recommend a half-french easel (Julian brand) as a great portable easel. Get a "French companion" to go along with it for your palette. A Holbein brand turp container and paper towels. I highly recommend keeping your palette limited to only a few primary colors plus a white. I like a warm set of primaries and a cool set, plus white. The brushes I prefer are Robert Simmons "Signet" line in even sized flats. And a small traingular palette knife and a bit longer bladed knife for mixing and cleaning my palette.

    "Alla Prima" is a great book, though a bit better once you have some mileage under your belt. Hamm's "Drawing Scenery" is great for composition but that's about it. One of the best books for landscape is "Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting" by John Carlson - considered a "must read". When I was starting out I also got a lot out of Kevin Macpherson's book "Fill Your Paintings with Color and Light", also Steve Allrich's "Oil Painting for the Serious Beginner".

    Some of my favorite painters (who you might want to check out) are Clyde Aspevig, Matt Smith, Carl Rungius (great plein-air painter and considered the grandfather of North American game painting), Isaac Levitaan, Michael Lynch (taught Matt Smith), Edgar Payne...there's a lot more of course. I'm primarily inspired by the "California Impressionist" school as opposed to French Impressionism.

    As far as practical advice and critique, I think you're doing fine, just keep at it. It takes maybe 200 paintings or so to start to feel like you don't suck all the time. The more you do, the better. Don't be-labor/overwork them either...when painting outdoors that light is going to move - a lot. Learn to establish your block-in (completely covered canvas) within 20 minutes. Your first mark should be your horizon line. Squint a great deal and determine the darkest dark notes you see in front of you and lay those in. Next establish your shadow patterns. Block in the large shapes as close as you can in color and value. Once the block-in is established take a few minutes to observe and consider...step back frequently from your work as well...impressionist paintings are meant to be seen from a "viewing distance" appropriate to their size and level of detail...rarely from 12 inches. The block-in should already have established a sense of light...if it doesn't feel right then wipe it off and go for it again - it can't be saved at that point anyway. If the block-in does feel solid then you have a fairly easy task before you...simply refining, adjusting and adding however much detail you wish to the block-in...without destroying it (and you will definitely lose some!).
    I wouldn't really bother with painting in grayscale myself. Might be an ok excercise a time or two but I've never done it and never seen anyone recommend it. And definitely use more paint...don't worry, that's just a beginner's battle you have to learn to overcome.

    Hope some of that is useful! Good luck!

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    Damn that is a superrrr tasty response jeffx99 thank you for the reply.
    I wish to develop to some extent an ability to compose a scene from imagination, just like i am able to do with my figures, and push those both along to a professional standard, so I'm in this for the long haul. it's a case I would actually prefer my figures to be secondary to my landscapes, not the other way round. It depends on the situation in my head that i wish to convey I suppose.

    I agree that landscapes is certainly a different kind of beast, so thank you for the info on those books and the reference to artists you like, will certainly mark them down! it was also recommended that i check out some videos of Bob Ross.

    thank you for describing a process I should aspire to obtain! 20 minutes sounds crazy lol but I accept that challenge, it will come with time. It was the blocking in phase that i struggle with, something just doesn't feel right like when i sit to do a figure and it immediately makes me want to throw in the towel. That's why I was thinking perhaps I need more drawing practice first. gain the confidence that way and then work in with paint. I think the grayscale method of painting is good for beginners as I am. It allows to remove the issue with obtaining colour while getting use to the medium. I just think maybe you are already too much of a beast to find it useful xD heheh. As I'm not taught by anyone, I'm always trying to dissect issues myself and think of a method of approach before I ask anyone, when i was working digitally that was when I came up with the idea for it. to helpwith recognising value in colour, im just still surprised it didn't occur to do it traditionally.

    Thank you for taking the time to respond, it was VERY helpful

    I think I'm ready. for everyone else; how did you find working with landscapes/cityscapes? either drawing/painting. what was your experience like trying to get better at them? issues that came up? do you feel more confident in being able to sketch a scene from imagination, perhaps even going to the phase of painting trad/digi before having to rely on reference to flesh things out better? let me hear your stories if you care to share

    thanks again everyone!

    If I happen to comment on your sketchbook, please don't feel obliged to comment on mine. use that time instead to get back to work.

    CA sketchbook: http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=245741

    Deviantart: http://luthertaylor.deviantart.com/
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