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  1. #1
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    Swigganicks' Sketchbook!

    I'm a 19 year old artist that loves digital painting purely as a hobby. The only thing I've drawn before 2013 was little shapes and spirals on the corner of my notes, but inspiration hits me daily and art seemed like the perfect outlet for these images that are stuck in my head.

    I never had any art instruction so I've dedicated myself to becoming a competent, self-taught artist. This is turning out to be much harder than I thought, but I enjoy the struggle which, for me, is what really counts.

    My main focus is on environments because I love creating worlds and scenes and imagining myself in them!

    Here's my initial dump of some stuff I recently finished:
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    Last edited by swigganicks; May 2nd, 2013 at 11:41 PM.


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  3. #2
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    Good work! I feel like I recognize that pear from a tutorial somewhere. Keep it up!

    I'm new here and could always use some advice / criticism. Feel free to take a peak at my sketchbook if you have the time.


  4. #3
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    It's not from a tutorial, it's from a reference image. Thanks for looking at my stuff!

  5. #4
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    These are the first landscapes thumbnails I did before even learning anything about drawing/painting. I did them to serve as a baseline that I can improve from and look back on later to see my overall progress. I realized after doing these a month ago that color is not the best way to start learning digital painting

    I'm going to try to stick to black and white to focus more on value and getting composition down.
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  6. #5
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    Here's a vase I did for a Ctrl-Paint tutorial. I really enjoyed rendering it!
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  7. #6
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    Loving the thumbnails!
    Watch out with the glow/soft brush on top of the vase.

    keep them coming!
    See my latest Sketchbook work!
    Feel Free to comment!

  8. #7
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    great start i hope you can keep it up, and you really are right about not starting in color, i remember it confused the hell out of me. i also love drawing landscapes but for some reason i just cant seem to paint realistically enough, whenever i look at rocks they seem so complex in value that anything i draw never quite matches.

  9. #8
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    @Bazooka thanks! Teaching yourself is tough, huh? Oh well, I know I'm saving tons of money by teaching myself. I'm not planning on doing art for a living so there's really no need for me to have a teacher. The internet is my teacher!

    @Deceptive: Thanks! I thought that the glow on the top looked kinda weird. I did that at the very end and was in a hurry to finish it. Guess I should've spent a little more time on those final details.

    @Gul: Color is hard, but I dont' think avoiding it and painting in grayscale entirely will make you a better painter. I'm painting in greyscale right now because I don't have the principles of composition, value, and lighting down. Color really doesn't have too much to do with it other than it's complicating a process which I haven't got a good grip on yet. As for rocks, I know exactly what you mean, it baffles me how people make such intricate rock faces. Maybe just painting from more reference is the way too go?

    Here's a quick sketch I did as part of my process of understanding composition, lighting, and value. I decided to keep my subject matter relatively simple while I focus on these other concepts. My main objective was to have the lighting register and the composition to be sound. Obviously I have a lot to work on, so any tips/advice would be appreciated!
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  10. #9
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    Great start, good to see you jumping into color right from the start.
    Be sure to get a tons of photo studies done and look at other artist's work and analyze their environment through the big shapes the use

  11. #10
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    Thanks! I stopped using color for a bit just to work on lighting and composition – color is something I don't want to think about while I'm working on those concepts, but I plan on getting back into color very soon!

  12. #11
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    I wish I could paint rocks. I want to paint so many environments with intimidating cliff faces, rocky mountains, imposing desert arches, etc. From what I gathered on the internet, the best way to get better at drawing/painting something is too just draw/paint that thing over and over while looking at references and thoroughly thinking about the nuances of what you're trying to paint. So I'm going to be doing studies of many different types of rock formations until I get somewhat good at them. Then I'll start incorporating them into my environments!


    Any advice or tips would be helpful
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  13. #12
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    Another rock formation study. These are really hard for me to do, but they're also fun!
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  14. #13
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    hi swing, as i said before i struggle with rocks too, first i tried to using real images of rocks as reference, but i could never get it to look exactly like the image which got disheartening, then i decided to copy paintings from thomas moran, but his attention to detail and technical ability was almost as good as a photograph. i recently rewatched a FZDschool vid about landscapes, and it took feng a few hours to draw those landscapes. what i am thinking is if it took feng hours to draw those landscapes then maybe it might take me weeks to do the same with the same level of detail. Then that is when i realised, it is almost impossible to paint realitic looking landscapes in a study.

    So what i am doing now is just keeping it very loose and using texture brushes a lot, to give it the necessary detail. What you have done so far looks very good, all it needs is some texture.

  15. #14
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    Hey man, nice baseline sketches you got there. We're basically in the same boat in terms of teaching ourselves. I don't see art as a career (already got one ) but would love to improve.

    I've heard about ctrl+paint, and their tutorials seem cool. Do you think they're helpful?

  16. #15
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    @Gul I looked at Thomas Moran's stuff and thought the exact same thing! I love FZDSCHOOL! I think I saw the one you're talking about (the title was something about Fantasy Landscapes?) and you're right about how the details took him hours, but the thing I like about Feng is that his mountains registered as mountains with enough detail within literally 20 minutes of painting. Details are something that can be worked out later, but choosing values, colors, and considering lighting are all key to quickly establishing mountains and other large objects. You're right about the texture, I wasn't really focusing on texture (I think that's relatively easy to do with some texture brushes) and was instead trying to get form and general values down. Also, if you're still wanting to learn about drawing rock formations, the tutorial series I'm following is called "Drawing Rock Formations in Photoshop" by Digital Tutors. It isn't the greatest (the instructor's rocks lack texture and look kinda flat) but it definitely a good starting point in my opinion.

    @mustawd: Yeah, I'm currently doing software development but art is something I really want to improve in! As far tutorials go, Ctrl-paint was the first set of tutorials I went through. Matt Kohr (the guy that does the videos) makes everything really approachable, especially for someone with no experience in photoshop. If you're already at an intermediate level, then some of his stuff might seem a little boring, but I think it's great to go through them anyways. He has some premium series that are extremely helpful and relatively cheap (only about $10). I would suggest just browsing his video library and seeing if any of the videos seem interesting and then try them out. I've learned so much from Ctrl+paint and I think it's an invaluable resource for the self-taught artist.

  17. #16
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    Another rock study! I had to get a few friends to help me rearrange some rocks and boulders in my back yard. I took a picture for some inspiration and tweaked it a little to make this study. My progress in learning to paint rocks is slow, but I know I'm definitely improving.

    Swigganicks' Sketchbook!

  18. #17
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    The first picture is not really a study but more of me just playing around with some custom brushes that I created. I was trying to get a gritty rock texture that I could possibly use in future paintings. They need some more modifications though...

    The second picture is of some boulders I saw while hiking today. They looked kinda interesting so I quickly scribbled a sketch down on a subway napkin I had with me and then tried to paint it later. It didn't turn out so well but whatever.

    I'm getting real sick of rocks...maybe I'll try some still life studies or sky studies in order to take a break from freaking rocks.

    Swigganicks' Sketchbook!

    Swigganicks' Sketchbook!

  19. #18
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    love that Vase...keep up the good work!!

  20. #19
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    @Xcarbon, thanks, the vase is a favorite of mine too! It's probably the only piece I've spent any significant amount of time on.

  21. #20
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    Cool custom brush at #18. Good luck with the rocks man. Textures seem tough.

  22. #21
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    Nice work! Your brush strokes seem very smooth, something I still haven't quite got down but I think that just had to do with time spent to lose my hesitancy.

  23. #22
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    @mustawd, thanks! I probably won't be using them like I did in that picture though, I'll stick with the hard round brush to paint the rock form and then go in with that texture brush afterwards. In that picture, I did the whole thing with that brush and it gives off a really "flat" feel to it.

    @ChaosForm, thanks! Smoother brush strokes are most easily achieved by using a bigger brush size with less strokes. Save the small size/short strokes for details!

  24. #23
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    You are my master of texture! When I finally get to painting on tablet I will definitely need your advice

  25. #24
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    @Jules, I can't wait for when you do start painting on the tablet because I want to see you render your portraits and figures!

    So I went back to thumbnails after having not touched them in about 2 months now. I think my thumbnails are definitely coming along from where they were 2 months ago and I haven't even been practicing that much. I did these <15 minutes each. I never really used the chalk brush before so I did the top right and bottom ones using the chalk brush mostly, while the top left one is just flat brushes pretty much.

    Any advice would be appreciated!

    Swigganicks' Sketchbook!

  26. #25
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    Another set of thumbnails. I know it may not seem like much compared to a lot of people that post on this forum, but for me this is really cool because I can see how much better my stuff is getting compared to where I was a month ago. I still have a lot of issues to deal with, but in time, I hope that these thumbnails will be something I look back and think to myself "I was that bad?!"

    Also, if you couldn't tell already, I'm a huge fan of directional lighting.

    Edit: I know the bottom right one is similar to one in my previous set of thumbnails, but there's something bugging me about that image and I keep wanting to get it right, but it's not working...oh well.



    Swigganicks' Sketchbook!
    Last edited by swigganicks; May 20th, 2013 at 03:06 PM.

  27. #26
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    I've been having an issue lately with my artwork. The problem is that I don't try to take on different types of subject matter (architecture, people, water, cliffs, etc.) because I'm afraid of it looking shitty. I know that if I try to paint them, they'll be horrible, so I don't paint them, but then I never get better at painting them, and it ends up in this vicious cycle of stagnation in my progress. I hate producing something that I know will look bad, but how am I supposed to get better if I don't? For example, with those thumbnails I did, I had to trash about 60-70% of my very cool ideas just because they included some element that I'm not good at painting. It's so frustrating that I'm holding myself back from painting the things I want too...

  28. #27
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    I was bored on my flight today so I decided to draw a portrait. This was from reference. I don't really like drawing portraits, it just feels so meticulous and mistakes are more easily apparent. Whatever...

    Oh and this was done on my iPad using Sketchbook Pro. Took about 1.5 hours.

    Swigganicks' Sketchbook!

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