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  1. #1
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    Chachava's (very underused) 'Sketchbook'

    Ok, I have a feeling I'm going to regret posting these. I struggle a lot with asking for help (never really figured out why, think it's just because I'm a very nervous person by nature), so posting this and asking people to crit/rip my work to shreds is quite a big step for me. But if i'm ever going to really improve as an artist, this is one thing which is going to help me a HUGE amount. So feel free to rip away (but please be nice about it, lol).

    I haven't really kept a sketchbook till now, at least not one I have used regularly. This is mainly down to laziness on my part, but that ends now. If I really start to slack off with this, feel free to give me a forum based kick up the backside. And also, if anyone has ANY suggestions for me (how I can improve my work, what else I need to work on, threads/books/blogs etc. that I should be reading, anything like that), that knowledge would be hugely appreciated.

    I'll try to get round to checking out as many of the other SB's as I can. I'm currently out of work so I should have plenty of time when I'm not studying.

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  3. #2
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    This is going to be fairly slow to get going I think. I'll post the only two things from that last week or so that I have to hand, will try to post the rest either later on or tomorrow.

    I have real issues with hands (among many other things), so recently I've been trying to do a few quick studies from reference images. This was the only digital one to date, the others have been pencil sketches, which I'll upload as soon as I can.

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    And secondly, this was completed about 30 minutes ago. Another thing I have huge problems with is colour picking. I'm fine with the nicely bright/saturated colours, but when it comes to the less saturated colours everything goes a bit haywire in my head, so this is something I really want to work on. So I've downloaded a ton of movie stills which I feel have interesting lighting, or a nice composition, or generally just stand out to me. The plan is to try and recreate these stills and try to match the colours as accurately as possible, without using the colour picker. I really struggled with this, but it didn't turn out quite as badly as I thought it would. As a secondary aim with this I was trying to keep things as loose as possible and trying to keep myself from zooming in too far and concentrating too much on details (Yet another problem I have)

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    Please feel free to rip these to shreds (preferably in as polite a way as possible, lol)

    I'll try and dig out some of my old sketches etc which could be classed as SB pieces if I had been deliberately creating one at the time.

    Thanks to any body who takes the time to check this out, I really appreciate it.

    Also, if i'm doing anything wrong in regards to image posting/sizes etc. please let me know.

  4. #3
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    WELCOME TO THE MAGICAL WORLD OF SKETCHBOOKS. Hello. =D

    Serenity's a great movie for colour studies, good choice. If you're trying to get a better handle on colour, though, there're probably better ways to go about your study. For one, it might help to work smaller, so you can get a broader sense rather than getting caught up in the smaller details. Second, use a more solid brush! That scratchy brush isn't doing you any favors; even if you've got the right colour, it might not go down so solidly. On this particular cap, it looks like you've skewed a little lighter and yellower than the source.

    Good luck with the studies!

  5. #4
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    Thanks for the feedback, I'm not sure why I decided to go with the bristle brush this time around. I'd normally use one of the chalk brushes or just the simple hard round brush. I guess I wanted to try something a little different this time around.

    I've recently read through James Gurney's Color & Light book. It's got some great information in there and I want to go back through it and put the theory behind it all into practice in some of my own work. What other methods would you suggest for improving use of colour?

  6. #5
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    Thanks for the feedback. I'm not really sure why I used the bristle brush this time around, I'd normally stick with a simple chalk brush. Just something different I guess.

    This is actually a very un-detailed and loose painting for me, I tend to concentrate way too much on the little things. I'll have to try a little harder next time though. I've recently read through James Gurney's 'Color & light' book which has some fantastic information about...well, color & light. I'm intending to go back through the book in the next week or two and try to put all the concepts in there into practice in my own studies. Are there any other study methods you would recommend for improving use of colour?

    btw, had a quick look through the last few pages of your SB, your use of colour in there is fantastic, and the 15 minute colour studies are astounding. Loving the gesture drawings as well, that's something I need to do a lot more of. Will definitely be looking through the rest of the SB too.

  7. #6
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    Hey, thanks! If you haven't been there already, Ctrlpaint has some great tips on learning colour, and doing different types of studies.

  8. #7
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    Thanks again Rev, I've had a quick look at ctrlpaint in the past but will definitely give it a more thorough looking over. I also found the Peer Project thread in the tutorials tips & tricks forum, so I'm going to work my way through the exercises in there. I'm not sure if that thread is still all that active though, so I may post my results in both there and in my sketchbook.

    I hunted through a few of my old photoshop folders on this computer and came across a few of my older sketches. I warn you now, they are pretty awful. I'll try to upload them in chronological order (oldest to newest)

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    (15/11/2011)The above was one of my first ever attempts at painting a head from imagination....didn't turn out as well as I thought at the time, lol. I'll try and get another one painted tonight to see how much I have (hopefully) improved.

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    (16/11/2011) About the only pencil sketch I could find on my computer. These were just a few simple eye studies. Ignore the fact that it says 'right eye' at the top, as they are blatantly the left eye, lol

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    (13/03/2012) Just a quick sketch of a couple of birds on a branch. I'm sure there was a reason for doing this at the time, but i can't for the life of me remember what it was now

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    (14/03/2012) Just a couple of anatomy sketches from Burne Hogarth's 'Drawing Dynamic Anatomy' book

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    (18/03/2012) A render of a bust from this, the first of a 3 part video series on Analysis of Form on Daarkens site.

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    (04/10/2012) Some quick head sketches, I think I used the basic model in Daz 3d for these and just rotated the camera around.

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    (18/04/2012) I'm pretty sure these were just out of boredom one evening.


    I'll try and upload some new bits and pieces either later tonight or at the very latest tomorrow. I do want to try and do some perspective studies, or more accurately studies of none square forms in perspective. I'll also watch a few more of the videos on ctrlpaint and try out a few exercises from them.

  9. #8
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    I had a couple of quick attempts at the first project from the 'Peer project' thread, didn't work out too well, I went way too dark with the colour version. The second attempt was a little better, but still pretty far off. I'm gonna try a few more tomorrow and see how I get on.

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    I also did a quick painting (an hour or so) of a head without reference to see how much I've improved (or haven't) since the first image that I posted in the previous post. I think there's a definite improvement, but I still have a LONG way to go. If anybody wants to point out all the obvious errors for me, feel free.

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    I haven't had a chance to watch any of the ctrlpaint videos yet today, but I will do so shortly. I did have a quick play around with none square shapes in 2PP though. Sadly photoshop crashed and I lost the whole thing . If anyone knows if it's possible to recover work when photoshop crashes it would be much appreciated (I'm using CS5).

    Last but not least, I REALLY want to start doing some gesture drawings, but I seem to keep endlessly putting them off. I think it's mainly down to the fact that I suck at them at the minute, but really that should be a reason to do them rather than to avoid them. When you guys do gesture drawings do you have a particular method? do you use refs? how long would you normally take for each gesture? Thanks to anyone who can help out.

  10. #9
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    Gesture drawings are actually super easy once you do a handful of them! And yeah, pretty sure they're meant to be taken from a reference, at least at first.
    I try to use as few lines as possible while still retaining some mass (so, no stick figures, and no sketchy marks if possible). It helps for me personally to draw in a line or two that convey the whole pose, and then place the head and ribcage before laying down the rest, but everyone does them a little differently. Don't shoot for perfect accuracy, especially when you're only doing 30-60 second gestures. The point is to show the flow of the pose.

    I usually use pixelovely's gesture drawing tool: http://artists.pixelovely.com/practi...igure-drawing/
    Posemaniacs also has one, which can be helpful if you want to try different poses and angles: http://www.posemaniacs.com/thirtysecond
    I like pixelovely's better because the models still have skin...plus they have "lessons" that warm you up with shorter poses and work you into longer and longer studies. Really helpful!

    As for your head painting...maybe watching some of these videos will help you? http://www.proko.com/videos/
    I'd start from the last one and work your way backwards. That seems to be the order in which the videos were made. I've watched them two or three times now; the first time to get the general idea, and the next couple times to really let it sink in and work on some practice while watching.

    Anyways, I like your studies, especially the painting referenced from the movie! You seem to have really good observational skills, so I'm sure you'll pick up on this stuff pretty quickly.

  11. #10
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    Hi Raining, thanks for the advice, will definitely check out those videos on proko.com, they look really useful. I've tried using both pixelovely and pose maniacs before, but only very briefly. Like you I definitely preferred pixelovely.

    Also, thanks for checking out the (currently rather sparse sketchbook.

  12. #11
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    I knew there was a reason I avoided gesture drawings, i suck at them, lol.

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    I have noticed a few things about my gesture drawings. I think I try a little too hard to get things as accurate as possible and don't concentrate on the actual gesture. You can't really tell that from the image which will get posted, but to me it seems that's the case. I used pixelovely for these drawings, I did set the timer to two minutes though as I'm really not that confident with these yet. But that's why I'm doing them, to improve. I'm gonna try and get at least some done every day from now.

    Feel free to point out any mistakes or things I should be concentrating on, I need all the help I can get with these.

    Btw, does anyone have any experience with the CGMA 2d Academy? I was looking at their foundation/design program as something I may consider in the future.

  13. #12
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    Another quick little update from today, I was playing around with perspective and shadows. I need to get a lot more work done than I am at the moment though. I really feel like I'm slacking off at the minute.

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    I'm going to continue with the gesture drawings tomorrow, and I think I'll try and get some pencil ones done as well. I brought a table top easel the other day which I've not had a chance to try out, so that will give me a good reason to get it out. I also want to try doing a few more small quick colour studies, similar to the 15 minute ones Revidescent posts in her Sketchbook(I'm not sure how to link to a specific post within a thread yet, so sorry for the non specific link). I'm going to force myself to get those done tomorrow.

    Is anybody else having real troubles uploading images at the minute?

  14. #13
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    I couldn't seem to motivate myself to do the pencil gesture drawings (I know, I suck). But I did manage to get a few more done in photoshop and I also managed to do a couple of quick(ish) colour studies.

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    I'm actually starting to feel more confident about the gesture drawings already, there may not be much improvement in them, but now that I'm feeling more confident hopefully that will change.

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    15 Min colour study, not great but better than I was expecting.

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    This one actually took me 45 Minutes, I just couldn't seem to get the colours right.

    Both the colour studies were painted on a small canvas (300x300) trying to keep things looser and not concentrate so much on the details (Thanks Revidescent for that tip)

  15. #14
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    Got a few more gesture drawings done today, using my sketchpad this time rather than photoshop. I'm actually a little surprised at how badly they went today. I always thought I was more comfortable using a regular pencil and paper than I was using photoshop and a tablet. With the gesture drawings though that really wasn't the case. I really don't want to post these ones up because I'm actually quite ashamed how bad they are, but that would completely defy the point of having this sketchbook. I tend to work a little too lightly when I work in pencil so I had to darken things up a little in photoshop so you could actually see them, I was in a bit of a rush so I didn't do a great job of that either.

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    Some of the gestures are upside down as it was just easier to do them that way.

    I also spent a bit of time playing with perspective and just generally messing around with basic shapes, ended up creating this little pyramid structure. It's still not finished, and not 100% sure what I'm going to do with it yet. I do know that I need to work out exactly how those steps are going to connect to the rest of the structure cause at the minute they just kind of hang there.

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    I did also scan the hand sketches I did a few weeks back this evening, but I need to resize the images before I upload them.

  16. #15
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    It's been over a year since I'be updated this sketchbook, and that's way too long. I've had a lot of problems and I've let myself get over run with them and basically spent the last year feeling sorry for myself. I've finally started making some moves to sort myself out. One such 'move' is to start painting every day, and to make sure I have some purpose to what I'm painting rather than just blindly copying some form of photo reference and telling myself that I'm doing it to learn something, when really all I'm doing is sitting squarely in my comfort zone and giving the finger to anything else.

    Anyway, what I intend to do is to upload everything I do to my sketchbook on a daily basis, regardless of whether or not I like it or think it's any good. Hopefully you guys will be able to give me some feedback and advice, and good kick when I'm slacking off.

    For this post I'll upload what I've been working on this week, starting with what is hopefully the tail end of my 'comfort zone' painting.

    This is an almost finished portrait of Katerina Graham (Bonnie from Vampire Diaries). Portraits are pretty much my comfort zone, the only part of this that was kind of out of my comfort zone was avoiding colour picking from the reference photo.

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    I very very rarely paint or draw anything from imagination these days (another result of my comfort zone), and I've always tried to stay away from landscapes and environments, I suck at painting them.....so as my first real step out of my comfort zone.....
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    This was kind of an attempt at trying a different, less photo realistic painting style. I'm quite happy with the results, although as always there's a whole lot of room for improvement.

    And the 2 bits I worked on today, the first was back in my comfort zone again, but I was really just using it as an hour long warm up sketch.
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    And, back out of my comfort zone, I realised that I had never painted any kind of building before in my life (Or at least not that I can recall). So I had a quick look through deviant art and found a nice building of a church in the snow (another thing I have very little experience painting). And tried to paint it. I managed to get the basic block in and colours working ok. But as I got into more detail I struggled. I didn't want to paint in as much detail as I usually would, I wanted to try a more kind of 'hinted at details' approach (I don't think that actually makes any sense, but I'm struggling to find the right words for what I mean). I really struggled though. I kept zooming right in and trying to paint all the details.....anyway, this is what I eventually ended up with. Definitely a lot more practice needed

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    That was a much longer post than I had intended to write, hopefully they'll be a little shorter in the future. If anybody can give me any crits or advice, especially regarding the stuff out of my comfort zone, It would be very much appreciated.

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