Not sure how to progress -Self Portrait
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  1. #1
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    Not sure how to progress -Self Portrait

    Hi there, it was suggested I should really take advantage of the critique center and I agree. I've been working on improving the quality of my digital painting, and my art in general but I feel like i'm missing something, or rather something unknown to me isn't clicking. Either way I would appreciate it if anyone could rip into this self portrait and i'll work on taking what you say into fixing/ redoing it.

    Don't hold back!

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    Looking through your sketchbook I'd strongly suggest sticking mainly with pencil and paper until you properly understand structure, form, proportion, and all that stuff. But keep doing simple studies if you want to practice your painting. For your portrait, the values and saturation is all over the place, especially with those blues and hot pinks randomly thrown in. Was it done from photo reference or a mirror?

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    I had heard from someone else earlier today that I ought to stick to physical mediums or traditional art as it's a better fit. I think it's probably sound advice. Yes the colors are a bit of a mess I agree, I wanted to experiment with colours but it flopped. I did this portrait from a mirror. I'll work on another just using my pencils or maybe pens and post it here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Turpentine View Post
    I had heard from someone else earlier today that I ought to stick to physical mediums or traditional art as it's a better fit. I think it's probably sound advice... I'll work on another just using my pencils or maybe pens and post it here.
    The relevant issue here is one of "drawing" vs. "painting." It's a LOT easier to get down the edges and contours of a form correctly if you're using a pencil than it is if you're using a paintbrush. Don't feel like you have to "stick to" either physical or digital media--but if you want to get more accurate, you do need to put in some mileage drawing from observation--which in my opinion is best done with a pencil.

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    Working from a mirror is a splendid idea, and you're in the company of...pretty much every artist, ever.

    A couple of changes will make your subject more interesting and (bonus!) easier and more fun to draw. Try positioning your mirror off to the side, so you have a three quarter view of your face (full frontal symmetrical is *hard* and often boring). And give yourself a good, strong, directional light source. Like, your desk lamp. Think Rembrandt.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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    Hi Stoat! Thank you for your advice, I did my best to employ the changes you brought up, as well as got away from painting. I thought about it for a while and decided this is a "run before you walk" kind of deal, and I need to avoid trying to get ahead of myself.

    I looked around in the rules and at other people's threads and didnt see anything directly about follow-ups so please forgive me if this is improper.

    Here are two portraits I tried to do this morning, I kind of feel like the actual drawings are better than what I photographed but excuses excuses when I do more or think ive made a significant improvement i'll post again.

    EDIT: Also I look like a girl...I do not look like a girl. Likeness fail.

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    Last edited by Turpentine; January 31st, 2013 at 02:30 PM.
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    Those look much better than the painting.
    Good too see you're not afraid to go dark and heavy with the lines!
    But don't be too hasty, take time to look where you draw things in relation to each other and how big things are compared to eachother. Sketch the general shapes loosely first until you think it looks correct, then start the real drawing. It is very hard to get things right if you first draw one eye, then another, then a mouth... and ooops, the nose didn't fit inbetween!
    A good example is your second drawing, where the lenses of your glasses are clearly a different size and form. I suspect you drew them last and not until then noticed you had drawn the closest side of the face smaller than the other when we should actually see more of it.
    Overall I think your drawings look promising though, so if you keep up I think you're going to see improvement relatively fast. Good luck!

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    Thank you, yes I think slowing down and looking at the actual structure is a good idea, im working on another that already I think looks much more like me.

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    Much better! Try squinting a little and seeing if you can't see and draw the shadow as one big shape (or the light as one big shape, which is the other way of looking at it). The way a shadow falls across something, the shape it makes, tells you all kinds of things about the shape of the thing casting the shadow (and, also, how light works).

    You don't have to do this every time you draw, of course, it's just one way of representing a form...one of the more exciting ways, IMO.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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    I think this one looks a lot more like me, but the facial proportions still feel really off and i'm like 90% sure I messed up the lips. I think I probably shouldn't be bumping this up for every piddling drawing so maybe I will reserve from posting anything else for a few days.

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    Last edited by Turpentine; January 31st, 2013 at 08:08 PM.
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    Get "Drawing Head and Hands" by Loomis. Alternately, you can get all other textbooks by Loomis if you aren't going to focus mainly on portraits.

    Your weakest point is structure. You don't use any; you try to work by eye, and fail. You need to figure out the proportions, measurements and anchors to get the 3D form in space right; you should use construction lines to aid you in that. Just trying to copy what you see is not going to work.

    Also, you ought to read this: http://chiseledrocks.com/main/musing...old_the_pencil

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    I agree with arenhaus about learning about structure, and the Loomis recommendation - he gives a really clear explanation of it. (A quick intro to the Loomis method was recorded by Proko over here, just start at the bottom of the page for the first videos.)

    When you work by eye, you may find it helpful to consider how everything lines up as you draw by using vertical, horizontal, diagonal, etc. lines - either imaginary or very lightly sketched in so they don't show later. Ideally you can combine this with knowledge of proportion and form. Your latest portrait shows improvement over the previous ones though; I'm sure learning more about facial proportions/forms will help.

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