Fundamental Problems! Please Help!

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  1. #1
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    Fundamental Problems! Please Help!

    I hope I'm posting this in the right place!
    Okay so I've sort of become stuck in a rut. My problem is that I'm currently studying 'Design for Film and Television' at university and I have to regularly produce finished 'visuals', but I feel as though I rushed straight into painting finished pieces and so I didn't have time to get the hang of composition and value and form first. It's like in trying to capture the detail, I loose the atmosphere and that I'll spend hours getting the details painted in and forget to first get down the fundamentals. Anyway I'll post some of my visuals from the last year. Could I possibly ask for some advice on how to work through the pieces and what aspects of them should be done differently to produce a more professional level of finish? I massively appreciate any help I can get on improving the way I work, and the work I produce, thank you (:

    In order from old to new:

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  3. #2
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    Did they ask you to do finished pieces without giving you a year or two of foundation courses? Or have you just not had enough time to absorb them? Is the ultimate end of the course to give information to set designers who will build the sets, or is the ultimate end really good concept art pieces? Just curious.

    You'll generally get more useful feedback posting one image at a time. More than one, and people will natter on in generalities. Which is what I'm about to do.

    I don't know the time frame represented here, but this looks to me like someone who is showing progress but isn't quite "there" yet. What you're doing here -- unusual environments with figures in them -- is devilishly hard illustration work. There is a LOT to absorb before you get good at it. You have correctly identified the problem -- you've gone right to big, complicated pieces faster than you were ready. But if it's a requirement of your course...

    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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  5. #3
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    I went straight onto the course from school, and yes they did ask us to present finished pieces straight away, some people on my course did a year on foundation, however I find that a lot of foundations are more interested in experimental concepts and processes rather than learning how to draw. My course covers everything to do with designing for film and tv, and communicating to an art department, so we do physical scale model making, 3d digital models, prop making, technical drawings (like engineering drawings) and concept illustration. Depending on your interests you can go in to the concept art from the perspective of illustrating what you want it to look like, or as a really good piece to sell the concept, and as a finished piece of art. Ideally I'd like to be able to do both by the time I graduate, and that is what is encouraged by my tutors.

    Thanks for the tip, I haven't posted in the crits section before so I'll bear that in mind!

    In terms of the time period, it's almost exactly a year between the first and last piece. It is a requirement, however I have holidays coming up, including 4 months over the summer, im not saying I can perfect concept art in four months of course, but I wanted to use that break from the requirement of making finished complex pieces to strip back to the basics, do you have any tips on where would be a good place to start in gaining the skills I need to improve? Perhaps landscape studies? Or film stills? There just seems so much I need to improve on I don't know where to start!

    Thank you so much for taking the time to answer anyway

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  6. #4
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    Start with still lifes. Also allocate some time to learn basics of linear perspective.

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  8. #5
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    Oh okay thanks a lot!

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  9. #6
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    One of the fastest ways to learn is to copy the masters (which includes copying any artist you admire. In your case, maybe a really good modern digital environments guy. Somebody who is doing the kind of work you want to do). I always found master copies a drag, because after all the work you end up with something you can't claim as your own, but it is an accelerated learning tool.

    You can easily spend a lifetime learning to paint people, so I wouldn't go too far down that path in the time you have, except to do reasonably okay silhouette-people-as-set-dressing. LaCan is right that perspective and still life would be two profitable directions for you to go. Oh, and do post individual pieces in the Crit section. You'll get useful feedback.

    If it's any consolation, I do think you're being asked to move unreasonably fast.

    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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  11. #7
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    That sounds great Thanks so much! I agree I probably should focus on landscapes and objects more than people, and master studies sound like a good plan, you can learn a lot from them as long as you're not simply emulating someone else's style.
    I do agree that in terms of skill we're being pushed very fast, it's just because we have so much to learn about the actual skills of designing that the way in which we communicate the designs is something we have to try and find time for ourselves! The problem is I'm spending about 60 hours a week on the required output for university and by the time i sit down to try and self improve it's a real struggle to motivate myself to carry on being creative!

    It's frustrating as when drawing from life with traditional media, as I've shown in the examples below, i'm not too bad, yet I can't seem to apply the same fundamentals to my work from imagination!

    Name:  tradmedia copy.jpg
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    So should I do the still life studies and perspective studies digitally or traditionally? Thanks again for all your help

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    If you haven't already, do get James Gurney's book "Imaginative Realism."

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  14. #9
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    That book looks fantastic, I definitely will, thanks so much!

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  15. #10
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    I should say, your stuff isn't terrible. It's just you're being asked to produce work you aren't quite prepared for. So don't get down about it.

    You're right; much better with reference. Which proves you need reference (I need reference; most everyone needs reference). With the really imaginative stuff, you obviously aren't going to find close reference. But it's worth finding pictures that illustrate some aspect of what you're trying to do. I find just having reference pictures open -- even if they aren't that close to what I'm illustrating -- kind of reminds my eyeballs what "real" looks like.

    Google Images search has gotten so good now, you can have a weird conversation with it. You can ask it things like "down a hole" or "crepuscular" and call up a wall of pictures, one or two of which will be helpful and worth snagging. I spend time at the outset of an illustration searching for pictures and staring at pictures and grabbing a few that seem most helpful. Including getting ideas from looking at a bunch of unrelated stuff.

    Usually people are advised to go with the traditional media, but yours is such a specific dilemma, where you're trying to do a lot in a short period of time. I think I might stay digital, if your finished pieces are going to be digital.

    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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  16. #11
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    Thank you for the support Stoat, it is encouraging! I get frustrated as the work I produce doesn't have the composition and tonal richness that I see in my head, but I guess i just need practice and determination!
    You make a good point with the referencing, I always try to run with what's in my head, but when I try and solidfy it on the page, it's difficult to define without an eye on reality as you say!
    I will go ahead with digital working then (:

    In answer to your earlier suggestion of master studies, I've chosen a couple of pieces of film concept work which really inspire me: one of which is a traditional piece (which I will do digitally) from 'Blade Runner' which is one of my all time favourite films, and the other is one of Ryan Church's fantastic pieces for Avatar. They are pretty contrasting in style, and content, so I think I could learn a lot from them! I feel as though I was already learning just looking through the body of work of these inspiration concept artists, so hopefully I can learn a lot from replicating them. You've been such a help, thank you

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