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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Devon, UK
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Illustrator looking to take work to next level

    Hi guys,

    Skip ahead to take a look at the project I'm working on, or read on for a bit of context...


    My name is Harry - I'm 26, and working as a freelance illustrator.

    I used to spend a lot of time on these forums before art school and always aspired towards the advanced level of technical understanding that's championed here so highly.

    Unfortunately, my time at university took me on a different path - I found myself in an environment that placed more importance on style over substance and taking shortcuts when ever possible. Despite being an illustration course, there was very little emphasis on developing fundamental skills such as form, anatomy, composition, light or colour.

    For a long time I stopped thinking these things were important, or at least that I'd learned enough.

    But now, I'm beginning to feel limited - like my work isn't nearly as strong or as versatile as it could be. Returning to these forums has helped me realise just how much I still have to learn.

    With that in mind, I've set myself a goal - to produce some new personal work, with the intention of focusing and refining every aspect of my process. Hopefully I can take the next step towards becoming the artist I always wanted to be.


    Below are my references, sketches and thumbnails for an idea I'm working on. I'm aiming to pay tribute to Dartmoor (a beautiful national park in south west England) by depicting a large benevolent creature that personifies the wild, ancient and powerful landscape around it.

    At this stage, I'm determined to find the absolute best composition I can - I've been reading up on composition theory, such as Andrew Loomis' Creative Illustration and these great tutorials:

    If anyone has any comments, critiques, suggested reading or other exercises that they think might help on my way, I'd love to hear from you!

    Name:  moors_ref.jpg
Views: 368
Size:  271.0 KBName:  moors_wip.jpg
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    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by manmadehorizon; March 10th, 2013 at 01:28 PM.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Thanked 2,586 Times in 1,615 Posts
    Try to up the contrast in your thumbnails. You are working in very limited grayscale; try to make the composition work in five discrete shades of gray - black, white, midtone, and the two in between. That would force you to think about composition and lighting first of all.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Thanked 84 Times in 52 Posts
    Hey man, a couple things. When I work, I have a script where on a button press, i can raise or lower my tones by 10 points so I can work with a full range of tones. This will help you by limiting your tones to 10. This is all you should need. Just try and use them all. Next, when designing composition, ask yourself what your selling point it? Do you want to sell the moose or the geography? Use tone and composition to showcase that. For now try and keep your selling point in the mid ground and have a strong foreground and background plane.
    -start a revolution.

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