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  1. #1
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    Need help to change drawing style.

    Hi everyone,

    I'm currently working on a project that require me to finish in art style that not in what I usually do, please see below picture:

    Need help to change drawing style.

    As you can see, I currently not able to draw without visible line around objects. If I remove them, I lost my vision of the shape and shading! Of course I have some clients that have no problem with it, but I think if I want to work on projects that include other people (which mean we need to use same drawing style) or someone simply want an exact WOW art style, I need to able to do it.

    First, I tried to look at how other people do and imitate, and start with blur sketch, flat layers of solid color, etc... but it not working since i need shape before coloring (as how I usually do). Then I tried to masking an area that I want smooth gradient on it and start to finish it at smooth at possible, but masking area after area take too much time.

    I'm currently turn back to pastel drawing, try to draw without sketch lines, but it gonna take very long time to archive something from it.

    Idea about how to fix it - a work flow from sketch to smooth finish that I able to follow?

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  3. #2
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    What you need to do is smooth out the rough areas with a very soft low opacity brush. Then refine the edges with a fairly hard high opacity brush. Also, remember that edges in shadows are softer than those in light.

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    Practice with big opaque brushes. It'll force you to think in terms of shapes/planes instead of lines. It'll also reduce that muddy/blurry look.

    Pastel practice may not be that useful in breaking your habits. Despite some painterly qualities, pastels are still a medium that enforces line drawing. Oils or acrylics could be a better choice. Again, use brushes that feel "too big", so you are not tempted to draw lines with fine brushes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shorinji_Knight View Post
    What you need to do is smooth out the rough areas with a very soft low opacity brush. Then refine the edges with a fairly hard high opacity brush. Also, remember that edges in shadows are softer than those in light.
    Hey Shorinji_Knight, sorry for off topic queston but I had not heard that "edges in shadows are softer than those in light." Its a useful tip! just wondering if this was the case even in a really light environment or against a really light background?

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    Edges between different objects where similar values meet will be softer than where there is contrast between the objects. So you can certainly have paintings where there are soft or lost edges in the light.

    OP - because you have always relied on lines to define your edges, you have neglected to learn edge control, where one shape meets with another. If you study the real world, you will find that nothing in life has lines around the outside. There are merely transitions between colours. Some of these transitions are sharp and abrupt, some are softer, and some are not visible easily and it looks like objects merge together and are one thing (like black boots may be almost completely hidden against a black coat). Learning to depict and control these transitions is an extremely important part of becoming a competent painter (digital or traditional).

    Treat the painting as a whole. Masking can help when all the transitions are sharp, but there are places where objects need to blend smoothly into one another and if you treat each object as separate rather than approaching the painting as one whole image then you will have a hard time mastering soft and lost edges.

    Here's an article by dpaint about edge control, it doesn't really tell you how to do it but it explains the philosophy behind it. It applies to digital art just as much as traditional, so don't think that just because you use different tools that you can ignore the principles of painting:

    http://www.artandinfluence.com/2011/...-of-edges.html

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    Thanks everyone, especially LaCan's advice - very helpful.
    I will report often how far I able to go with each method, old habits die hard, I knew I should try breaking it much sooner.

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    Need help to change drawing style.

    This one I've just did only using big brushes with high opaque setting then some smudge at later stage, not what I had in mind when I begin, but definitely a step forward. The process as a whole feel weird to me.

    Take two hours for this simple drawing - with ref picture

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    Happy holidays, people.

    edges in shadows are softer than those in light.
    This assertion is not based on any principle that I know of. Do you recall your source for this idea?

    In my understanding there are many different kinds of lighting and atmospheric situations, and in some of them shadows are crisp, some are foggy, etc. It all depends on the effect you are going for. Don't get into formulas. Instead, always be an artist and cultivate your ability to imagine your pictures.

    Edges between different objects where similar values meet will be softer than where there is contrast between the objects.

    This assertion is not based on any principle that I know of. Do you recall your source for this idea?

    In my understanding, this is wholly a question of what effect one is going for in the treatment of the edges.


    You can certainly have paintings where there are soft or lost edges in the light.
    Notice the above sentence is offering possibilities, rather than narrowing them, dogmatically... Generally the hallmark of true knowledge.

    At least Icarus tried!


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    I think he mean edge in highlight should be painted harder because it more likely define the shape of the object in viewer's vision. It's not perfect inline with how it work in real life, but it work in artist favor.

    Unless the light sources came from behind the object, I usually do the same thing, tried my best to keep things in highlight as sharp as possible.



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    You need to stop coloring and start painting.

    This means that you have to get past the lines and think with areas of color and light. The line is incidental in painting, it is just a border between two differently colored/lit areas. And the areas themselves are formed by the variously lit planes that compose the surface of the objects in the scene.

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    Shortly after open this thread, I realize that the problem is deeper than just technique. There's no way to fix it in short amount of practice, I need to give up this project that he want something similar to Blizzard concept art.

    I spend all my young days with pencil (from 3rd country, oil and acrylic cost a lot for poor kid) to the point all my skill revolve around sketches. Now I can earn money with my sketch and coloring them (I'm quite speedy with sketch so the earning not too bad for B&W pieces), so up until now, there's not much urge for me to re-learn how to paint properly.

    From now on, when ever there's no deadline pushing I will have three more things to do:
    1. Simplify the sketch before feed it into scanner.
    2. Paint over it, not under or on multiply layer.
    3. Attention to sharp edge and smoother shading.

    With my own personal stuffs, there gonna be no sketch before hand.

    Thanks everyone for the help. Any more idea? I'm eager to listen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    This assertion is not based on any principle that I know of. Do you recall your source for this idea?
    Sorry, no, I read it on the net and it made sense to me in the context of what I have observed. Looking around me I see the sharpest edges where there is light against dark and dark against light. Is it that the converse doesn't follow or are there counterexamples that I would see under different circumstances? I'm not particularly married to this idea if there are good counterexamples against it.

    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    In my understanding, this is wholly a question of what effect one is going for in the treatment of the edges.
    Okay, I'll buy that you can do anything in a painting. But that is not terribly helpful when one is learning to paint, because there are more ways to make a bad painting than a good one. Are there underlying principles to edge control, or does one just experiment until one accidentally does something that doesn't suck?

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    I believe I got that from Elwell a long time ago, and I've always found it helpful. Now maybe it's not a catch all principle good for every circumstance, yet it seems to work in a number of applications. Until I find a better way of looking at it, it'll have to do.

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    Soft edges rarely exist at the "boundaries" of objects in real life. You get soft transitions e.g. with soft shadows and with rounded geometry, but there always within the form. Actual edges of forms (what one might call the contours) only get really soft if there's a lot of atmospheric effects going on (fog, mist etc.). What you do get are completely lost edges e.g. two dark objects against each other melt into one. But no soft or "fuzzy" edges.
    Since soft edges at the boundaries of objects cannot usually be observed in real life, they have to be designed by the artist for optimal effect, creating a play between soft and firm/hard edges in order to create visual appeal. The forumlas cited are rules of thumb that can help to produce such an effect, but they are by no means a description of visual reality.

    Here's an excellent series of blog posts by Stapleton Kearns on the subject: http://stapletonkearns.blogspot.de/2...n-sargent.html

    Last edited by Benedikt; November 29th, 2013 at 12:36 PM.
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    Until I find a better way of looking at it, it'll have to do.
    Life painting, twice weekly. For the rest of your life. Try it. It works. Right now it looks like you've never painted from life in your life. There is no substitute.

    Are there underlying principles to edge control, or does one just experiment until one accidentally does something that doesn't suck?
    Search out and read online about the Frank Riley method of thinking about edges (hard, firm, soft, lost). Get into a life painting atelier, twice weekly, where you are only paying for modelling fees. Copy bridgman's anatomy books into your notebooks a page or two a day for a few months as you go. Study hard the works of the masters of edge control; Sargent, Sorolla, Repin, Fechin, Serov, Carl Von Marr, Ivan Kramskoy, Waterhouse, etc. You will notice that tighter painters have a very narrow range of edge qualities, while the more expressive artists have a much wider range of effect, often utilizing thicker paint to create a painterly blur.

    After two years of keen observing as you paint from the model, with all you are learning from study, you will become increasingly adept at edge control. Ten thousand hours of doing that will really do you, and everybody else on this thread, well.

    creating a play between soft and firm/hard edges in order to create visual appeal. The formulas cited are rules of thumb that can help to produce such an effect,
    What is this effect of "visual appeal"? Where did you read about it?

    At least Icarus tried!


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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    Search out and read online about the Frank Riley method of thinking about edges (hard, firm, soft, lost). Get into a life painting atelier, twice weekly, where you are only paying for modelling fees. Copy bridgman's anatomy books into your notebooks a page or two a day for a few months as you go. Study hard the works of the masters of edge control; Sargent, Sorolla, Repin, Fechin, Serov, Carl Von Marr, Ivan Kramskoy, Waterhouse, etc. You will notice that tighter painters have a very narrow range of edge qualities, while the more expressive artists have a much wider range of effect, often utilizing thicker paint to create a painterly blur.

    After two years of keen observing as you paint from the model, with all you are learning from study, you will become increasingly adept at edge control. Ten thousand hours of doing that will really do you, and everybody else on this thread, well.
    Interesting. Any advice for the landscape painter? I'm not sure it makes any sense to spend 10,000 hours on anatomy studies when most of what I paint is trees and hills (primarily from life). Also there is no reputable atelier within 1000 km of me, which makes it rather difficult to study at one.

    Not that I have anything against figure drawing, I go to a local workshop twice a month when the weather is crap, I just don't have that much interest in making paintings of people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post


    What is this effect of "visual appeal"? Where did you read about it?
    Nothing specific Kev, just to create an image that is pleasing to the eye. Didn't mean to imply that the only way to do that is by playing with soft/hard edges, but I do think it is one way to achieve it.

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    Hi Benedikt,
    Your sketch book thread look great, how long it take you to move from step five to six in this post: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...35#post3584235

    I usually rest somewhere between those two and call it finished

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    It looks like nobody has posted this thread about edges here, maybe it will be useful for someone. There is certainly a laundry list of guidelines about edges, but it does seem that it is up to the artist to bend the rules to suit a particular image.

    Foggyflute, as far as your drawing style I don't think the result when you remove the lines is that bad honestly. It seems like your frustration comes from the fact that you are still trying to use line...even when you're not using line. If you try to draw while you're painting, you will not end up with a painting. People here have said that using big brushes, oils and acrylics, and seeing the big picture will help and I 100% agree with them. Study shapes rather than lines. Break up the subject (from life) into shapes by value and block in the values rather than drawing the contours of the shapes. Painting is a completely different process from line drawing, and it must be treated as such or else you will end up with a drawing done in acrylic paint Keep at it, good luck!

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    Interesting. Any advice for the landscape painter? I'm not sure it makes any sense to spend 10,000 hours on anatomy studies when most of what I paint is trees and hills (primarily from life). Also there is no reputable atelier within 1000 km of me, which makes it rather difficult to study at one.
    I am no expert on landscape painting, but I would suggest John F. Carlson's guide to landscape painting, Cole's "The artistic anatomy of trees" and most any other book on landscape painting that came out prior to 1940.

    I would also, if I were you, look really hard and long at what the great landscape painters are doing. There are great guys now, like Clyde Apevig, Len Chmiel, Scott Christensen, T. Allen Lawson, and "classic" landscape painters who you can find by looking through Armand Cabrera's "Art and Influence" blog, such as Payne, Wendt, and others.

    In terms of what I see with my own eyes when looking at your work, is that you are too sloppy in your drawing, often using big round brushes to draw little details, and blocking in said details in an over general way, and then not refining these points of detail. Also, your colors are too saturated. If I were you I'd spend a good lot of time getting influenced by Andrew Wyeth, because he had all the specificity in the world, all drawn by brush, and almost no saturation of color. Maybe do some really crisp pencil drawings of trees and flowers, and leave aside the paints for a while until you really start getting some crispness and accuracy in your drawings.

    Best wishes,
    kev f

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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    I am no expert on landscape painting, but I would suggest John F. Carlson's guide to landscape painting, Cole's "The artistic anatomy of trees" and most any other book on landscape painting that came out prior to 1940.

    I would also, if I were you, look really hard and long at what the great landscape painters are doing. There are great guys now, like Clyde Apevig, Len Chmiel, Scott Christensen, T. Allen Lawson, and "classic" landscape painters who you can find by looking through Armand Cabrera's "Art and Influence" blog, such as Payne, Wendt, and others.
    Thank you kindly for the book suggestions. I've picked up Alla Prima recently and I'm going through that. Cole's book looks quite interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    In terms of what I see with my own eyes when looking at your work, is that you are too sloppy in your drawing, often using big round brushes to draw little details, and blocking in said details in an over general way, and then not refining these points of detail. Also, your colors are too saturated. If I were you I'd spend a good lot of time getting influenced by Andrew Wyeth, because he had all the specificity in the world, all drawn by brush, and almost no saturation of color. Maybe do some really crisp pencil drawings of trees and flowers, and leave aside the paints for a while until you really start getting some crispness and accuracy in your drawings.
    Is that in the context of digital paintings or traditional? There seems to be something about digital work that I just can't wrap my mind around. Traditionally I paint quite small and I only use flats and brights. I'm really trying to work the oversaturation out of my system. I'm working on an earthtone-only painting at the moment to try and address that.

    As for crisp drawing... here's what I do in ink:
    Need help to change drawing style. Need help to change drawing style.

    I can do crisp, and sometimes even accurate work in drawing mediums, although my initial sketches have become really sloppy. Maybe I've gotten too used to going over everything twice. But it's the leap into painting that's really booting me in the rear.

    In any case, thank you for the advice.

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    Hi vineris,

    The overall shapes of these are very well designed. But I still would wish that you were way more sensitive in your drawing. And I think part of this sensitivity, a major part, belongs in the way you are outlining the flowers. Notice that the line weights and line qualities are all mostly similar all the way around the edges.

    Instead there should be tremendous variety of information in the outline, thicker lines, thinner lines, lost lines. Scratchy lines versus smooth lines. Fluid and curvy, versus angular. Gentle and delicate versus bold and sloppy. etc. And all this variation should be for the purpose of really describing the qualities you are feeling in the edges of the flower. All your current outlines are doing is saying "this is where the petals end." They don't say anything about the delicate material the petals are made of, how they fold, how soft they are, etc. The amount of information you can encode into just the outlines of things is incredible and you are nowhere near reaching your potential for getting that kind of information into the drawing.

    Once you start to get more sensitivity and variety in the edges, you will then also realize that the line work you are putting inside the flowers looks too much like pen lines and not enough like qualities of the flower, its folds, and textures. There must be a delicate balance in drawing between looking at the picture and saying "ah that really looks like a flower" and saying "ahhh, that's some nice pen and ink." Right now there are just way too many lines that look like a bunch of ink lines. Let the lines sink into the reality of the drawing, make the lines convince you that they are a flower. And that will make the lines disappear as merely lines. And turn them into art. (The word "Art" probably means suggestive. If a line isn't sufficiently suggestive (artful), it becomes merely a line.)

    So, if you'd care for another recommendation, it is to redraw the above two flowers, and go much, much slowwwwwwwwer. Once you get to the stage you have it at now in pencil, then that's when you should begin to really draw, to really be sensitive, so you capture more than just the design, but the actual textural reality of the flower, its folds, its delicacy, its softness. You should be able to do all this with only lines of various qualities, without resorting to stippling or shading or tonal values or any other kind of drawing technique besides line. (Don't crosshatch either, just make the lines thicker and closer together if you want a darker area.)

    best,
    kev

    At least Icarus tried!


    My Process: Dead Rider Graphic Novel (Dark Horse Comics) plus oil paintings, pencils and other goodies:
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev ferrara View Post
    So, if you'd care for another recommendation, it is to redraw the above two flowers, and go much, much slowwwwwwwwer. Once you get to the stage you have it at now in pencil, then that's when you should begin to really draw, to really be sensitive, so you capture more than just the design, but the actual textural reality of the flower, its folds, its delicacy, its softness. You should be able to do all this with only lines of various qualities, without resorting to stippling or shading or tonal values or any other kind of drawing technique besides line. (Don't crosshatch either, just make the lines thicker and closer together if you want a darker area.)

    best,
    kev
    Thanks, kev. I think you're right, speed is the issue. Even these guys were banged out mostly on location with a couple technical pens. I've really been neglecting the slower studies. After my deadline is up I'll take your advice and have some nice long drawing sessions with my house plants.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vineris View Post
    Thanks, kev. I think you're right, speed is the issue. Even these guys were banged out mostly on location with a couple technical pens. I've really been neglecting the slower studies. After my deadline is up I'll take your advice and have some nice long drawing sessions with my house plants.
    You may want to try Nicolaides' blind contours exercise...

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