I'm giving a try at this assignment since I desperately need some practice and good advice to improve my skills.
1- "THE PEARL" - Bouguereau
I choose this piece because I loved the dynamic silhouette of the girl eventhough she's just kneeling. I also love the opposition between the smoothness of her skin and her defined edges and the wilderness of the water and background.
Some observations I've made:
- This pic didn't seem so hard at first view but I struggled a lot with it. Maybe wasn't a wise choice for a first exercise :/ I'm still unhappy with her face and proportions.
- I clearly exceeded the time limit (took me approximately 5h to complete...)
- I always end up getting lost in details, even when not zooming in :/
- Still not entirely at ease with brushes
I'm a bit confused now... When I see so many talented people here, I wonder if I can improve in any way.
It seems impossible to me to do such incredible pictures in 1h or so...
(French speaker here, sorry for any grammar/syntax mistakes)
Hey ! The study is incredible - at first glance looks almost the same as original piece. But I wonder if spending 5h on one piece is really that needed - I think exercise is about catching shapes and values, details are not that important here Maybe in next one just save your work after one hour and post it here, and then if you want, paint it further - maybe it will occur that's really not necessery and better paint 3-4 next pieces.
I've got the same feeling about seeing others works and wondering if I can improve. But answer is obvious - of course you can improve ! Just paint paint paint instead of think if you can do it or not
"If you can dream it, you can do it" - Walt Disney
I believe I can ! My sketchbook -> http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=273512
Deviant art: http://igson93.deviantart.com/
Thank you Igson!
Indeed, I think you're right. I'll try gathering enough courage to do it for the next pieces
It's just that I feel terribly scared of showing my work to others.
For the past years I've been through really harsh and rude comments that got me really depressed, so...
Anyway, thanks again for your comment!
2 - "PANDORA" by Thomas Benjamin Kennington
(Around 1 hour and a half)
I choose this picture because of the strong contrast between the girl and the background. This creates an emphasis on both on the figure and the box. There's also continuity, as the eye follow a kind of circle formed by her posture : her left arm and shoulder, hair, tilted head and the almost vertical line formed by her hanging hair to the box.
There's also variety in the shape of rocks and vegetation. There's also a lot of economy in the background which helps focusing on her face and the box.
I tried not to focus too much on details for this one.
(Argh, the rock on the right is wrong, I only see it now)
I know how you feel I am far away from doing those studies in just one hour.
And yeah, there are many talented people here ... but you know, you are one of them! Look at your first study! I think you did a really great job. And I don't think you should care about rude comments from people who are obviously blind.
Don't give up! I want to see the next 18 studies!
Look what I did! Vep's sketchbook
beautiful job on your shapes on this most recent piece. a bit stronger light to model the forms on the figure would really pull it together. just another ten or fifteen mins to get those values spot on and the forms suggested and you are where you need to be. keep up the great work.
Vep : Thanks a lot for the support Vep! You are very kind! Your message really helps me keep some motivation I wish you the best for your art as well!
Jason:Thanks too Jason!
I've taken some extra time to adjust values on my next one. I hope it's a bit better.
Tons of thanks for the videos, it's very interesting to have real academic art lessons and studying the basics. I never found any school in France which could teach me that.
3 - "Isabella and the pot of basil" by John White Alexander
I choose this picture because I liked the dramatic light coming from the bottom, and the vertical height enhanced by the black and whites folds of her dress.
I think it's also well balanced as the focus point is situated in the upper part of the picture.
Ok, finally decided to buy a LevelUp subscription, can't go back now *gulp*.
4 - "Classical Beauty" by John William Godward
(~ 3 hours)
I love how he portrays women. Was a tough one though. There are so many subtle egdes and values on this face! >_< I took some extra time to work more closely on her face, since I always have some difficulty getting it right.
Here's the 1 hour sketch for comparison :
Here's another try at analyzing the painting (I don't know if I do this right, it's pretty difficult to explain it clearly in English )
The dark background emphasizes her light skin and face features. There is repetition in the diagonal folds of her dress and the position of her arms. I also noticed some variety in materials (silk, fur, and embroidery). The curly aspect of her hair is suggested by some large light and dark brushstrokes, so I think economy is used there.
Wow, your studies are gorgeous!
And I really appreciate that you posted up the 1 hour sketch for your most recent one. It helps a beginner like to understand the process a little better. If it's not too much trouble, could I perhaps ask you to post up the beginning of your study? More specifically, just a shot of how you map the shapes?
I don't know if you still feel this way, but I can seriously relate. I've always felt a bit uneasy showing other people my work. I went through a period of extremely harsh criticism that I involuntarily took to heart so I know how that can really get somebody down.
if you have the time, I would highly recommend "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield. It was recommended by some people in a small art community elsewhere, and I have to say it's a pretty worthwhile read. It reads really fast and although I don't completely agree with the author on some of his points, he has a really great section on criticism that might help.
Well, anyhow, I just wanted to pop in and check out your studies. I really like them! You really have it going ^^ !
5- "The Dwarf Sebastian de Morra" by Diego Velasquez
(around 3 hours, don't know exactly... was interrupted many times )
I don't know exactly why I picked this one... I found the portrait interesting but I can't explain why.
Maybe it's because of the rhythm created by the alternation of light and dark tones, and the nice balance of the centered and symmetrical composition.
@AdriKoh: Thanks a lot! But there's still many mistakes and I take too much tiiiiiime. Also, obsessed with details.
Er, I usually use one layer or two for this assignment, so I'm afraid I can't show you the step by step process for this portrait. But I'll try to do it for the next one!
Exactly. It's a bit strange, your story is almost the same as mine.I don't know if you still feel this way, but I can seriously relate. I've always felt a bit uneasy showing other people my work. I went through a period of extremely harsh criticism that I involuntarily took to heart so I know how that can really get somebody down.
And yeah... I used to really put all my heart into my work, but now... I'm suffering from depression, so lack of motivation,doubts, constant tiredness and sleeping troubles ensues...
In any case, I'll definitely give a look at that book you mentioned!
Tanks again for your kindness and support! I wish all the best for you! Keep going!
Hi ya! Quite impressive stuff you have here, no worries about that And I wouldn't worry about the time limit too much either. So far I've stretched it everywhere between 1,5 and 14 hours, usually working longer on those that I mess up more on the first hour.
Looking forward for lots more and hoping that you have fun with what you do..
Screw the haters, your work is of a very high level, ZCC. Can't wait to see more, I struggle with being insecure about my work too, I think a lot of artists do, it seems to be intrinsically linked to being a creative type, for many.
Love your impressive control over values, and your landmarks/shapes are pretty damn accurate.
Just watch the head and the eyes in your study of the dwarf,your head seems bigger, and the eyes are further apart. Nothing a quick visit to Liquify can't fix, with a bit of painting over.
Jason has said to me recently that you need to being constantly check the ref every second or so:
"keep your eyes moving back and forth. the differences like the hair shapes, values on the face/jacket etc...all stem from not bringing your eyes back to the reference. it is like...don't rely on your memory for more than a second or two the mind tells little white lies about what we see and has an affinity for inventing." Obviously he is talking about one of my studies, but I thought perhaps this might be helpful for you also? Jason, hope it's cool that I quote you ;P
In terms of wondering where you are skill wise: JM said you only need to spend 15 mins more on a piece to get it to where he is happy with it. From what I have noticed, he has very high standards, and doesn't bloke smoke up anyone's a$$, so fifteen minutes is really saying something about your skill level. Have an awesome day.
it always amazes me that so much of this is not taught in france as much of what we are learning, theory wise, here....is of French descent. Impressionist color theory...Degas composition theory etc...
you widened the skull shape a little on the velasquez. watch your shapes...keep an accurate eye on those things.
The prior studies are also strong. Just keep an eye on your shapes and the rest will continue to fall into place. Just double check all positive and negative shapes and you should be ok.
@ Jason: Thank you Jason! I'm working hard on those shapes. There's always something that looks misplaced but I can't figure it out immediately... I only see it one or two days later -_- (And then I can't get my eyes off it!)
@Illoostrader: Thanks for your notes about the dwarf. I don't know if it's due to digital painting, but I struggle a lot with scales and mapping shapes.
Regarding values, I used to work with charcoal for some time. That's how I really discovered how all those lights/shadows and counter-lights worked. I don't know if it helps, but it's really good exercise .
Thanks again for your support and advice. I should definitely move more my eyes while painting too.
@Samwaulu: Hi! Thanks for popping in and for your encouragements too! I'm starting to understand why the first hour is critical for building the entire painting. By the way your work is pretty impressive! Good luck for the next assignments!
6- "Bacchante" by Mary Cassatt
(~3 hours, got lost in fixing things at the end)
1 hour study:
I choose this one for its good balance, suggested movement and repetitive but varied triangle shapes.
And here's the step by step process asked by AdriKoh:
(Pics 1, 2 and 3 are the same and done at the same time, but I separated them in 3 images for purpose of clarity)
N°1- I start with filling my canvas with a grey/black color (as close as possible as the background color of the reference) When mapping shapes, first thing I do is trying to see if any shape is close of borders or cutting them (red lines). It can be used as some sort of "anchor points" for placement. At the same time, I check at negative spaces for more anchor points (purple lines).
N°2- Then I squint my eyes and try to paint the main big black and white chunks in the picture, trying to position them correctly according to the reference.
N°3- Next I add the remaining big geometrical shapes and add some grey values with a simple hard brush (green). The orange line follows the core shadow of the figure and connects the neck to the the elbow. If well placed, it can be an useful anchor point for refining details around that zone.
N°4- Rendering... Nothing much to say besides constantly looking back and forth your drawing and the original. Soft brush used to reproduce gradients and a hard brush for details.
N°5- I use a textured brush to refine the background and/or parts of the painting in order to make it look a little less dull.
Not perfect but I hope it helps a little. Send me a message if you have any questions, I'll try to answer them
a sharpen filter would probably get the edges a little closer. you can be a bit soft in places...just a little bit.
Watch for how light models form as you do these, like you did on the head but less so on the arm in the light.
Looking really good though. Great job on the head.
@Jason: Thanks Jason! I've tried to sharpen my edges on my next study. And you're right, now I see it, the light on the arm is wrong. I've probably spent too much time trying to fix the head and was a bit tired in the end. Maybe I should try to re-work those paintings again, just for fixing mistakes you pointed out.
7- "Seal Rock" by Albert Bierstadt
(~7 hours) I think this one just killed me (or maybe just my right eye... a little blood vessel exploded, quite annoying but nothing serious lol)
I still have troubles mapping shapes properly. It usually takes me about 1 hour or 2.
Does anyone know any tips to take approximate measurements in photoshop? (Like using the length of your pen with traditional media?... Could try it but doesn't look easy on a screen...)
Anyway, here's my try at analyzing the painting. I didn't know Bierstadt before I started this assignment, I think I fell in love with his epic landscapes scenes. This piece caught my eye, because it's looks very dynamic even if almost nothing seems to move.
However, a lot of things happen in this picture. The first emphasis is central:the big rock with seals sitting on it. Secondary emphasis is the big wave coming from the left and crashing on the rock. Third emphasis is the misty mountain on the right.
The way seals are positioned add a lot of rhythm to the piece. There's repetition in seal shapes as well as variation in their attitude. This is also creating continuity: the eye follows the seals from the bottom to the top through a Z-like shape that mimic the shape of the rock. Higher seals are mere silhouettes lost in the foam and create a real sensation of depth and focal distance.
But what struck me the most is the real strong balance of this composition. The 3 emphasis are built the same way but with different levels of details. They represents 3 triangles : a big one in the center (focal point), one the left and a third on the right.
But the balance is also created by the use of contrast, dynamic lines and opposite curves. The rhythm and repetition of the seals (along a vertical axis)is balanced by the repetition on the water surface (along a horizontal axis).
The diagonal curve created by the direction of the water and the wave is opposed to the diagonal going from the top line of the wave to the tip of the higher seal and mountains.
The dynamic curve of the water is opposed to the dynamic curve of the rock. This creates tension between massive opposing forces. At the same time, the repetition of the V-shape balances nicely the weight of the whole picture. Without the mountains on the right, I think the pic wouldn't work.
Last edited by ZeCarnevilCat; May 7th, 2014 at 01:47 PM. Reason: bug occured while uploading pictures
great job. no need to rework at this point. let's keep pushing through them and see where you stand. You made great progress with the most recent. Nice analysis as well. Keep up the great work and just keep pushing.
Thank you Jason! I'll keep focusing on the next paintings then.
8- "Painting of Native American" by N. C. Wyeth
Lost track of time on this one, it was a tough week. I worked in small sessions... let's say more or less 7 hours.
Now I see it, the rock next to the boat might be a little too sharp...
Didn't know N.C. Wyeth's work before, and I really love his work too. And because of Pirates and Cow-boys are cool to draw. ^^
The emphasis is located on the Native American since it's the most detailed part of the picture, but the focal point is situated near the furthest part of the boat (where the rock meets water).
The boat offers a nice example of variety and repetition in its patterns (black and white rectangles, round shape with the sun-like form in it).
The water trails introduce a nice rhythm in the picture including small dots of dark values in large white shapes. Economy is used with the distant mountain, which barely stands out on the sky.
The picture is very well balanced. Angular shapes and edges (rocks, mountains) are balanced with round shapes and curves (again the shapes on the boat, the boat itself, the white water trails and the shadow on the right).
The painting in itself seems mirrored both horizontally and vertically, and slightly moved on the right. It creates a big opposition between light and dark values as well for vanishing points. Big diagonals lead the eye toward the right and shorter ones to the left. They meet at the focal point/axis of the picture.
The eye is also lead to this point because of continuity: the water trails form a large and dynamic curve going from the bottom left hand corner to the right side and coming back softly towards the focal point.
the last one is amazing. Keep up the good job.
9- "Mrs. Ralph Curtis" by John Singer Sargeant
This one took me so long =_= (+7 hours). I messed up with my layers and got it all wrong so I spent ages trying to fix it :/
Her head still seems a bit too small and her expression is different. Decided to left it as it was and go on with the next painting. It's a very beautiful portrait, I'm so upset I ruined it.
The emphasis is clearly centered on the girl head and upper body. Her white dress vividly contrast with the dark background, making her stand out. There are nice rhythms in the embroidery and folds of her dress. We can also see a nice use of repetition and variety in the different fabrics she wears, the flowers on the ground and the silky curtains.
Economy is wisely used to help the eye focus on her features. The table and her right hand almost disappear in darkness.
It is also well balanced, as Sargeant vertically alternates high and dark values. The left white curtain imitates the curves of her dress, creating dynamic lines in a still pose.
Hi Carnevilcat, really great work in this thread. I really liked your N.C Wyeth, such a beautiful image. I think its great that you share your workflow as well as how you mark out directions and shapes in an image. Very inspiring stuff!
Nice job !!!! very nice.
I can't see any difference between you and the original in the tones. The only difference is in the textures, but is not the purpose of this exercise. Keep doing a great job. it is inspiring
@Atnasina,Ranunkel and Giropiro Thanks a lot for the nice comments and support guys!
Regarding composition, I've watched Jason's video several times and I try to find every concept he talked about in the picture. I also read others'threads, some are really good at this.
Composition is quite new for me but I find it really interesting. I wasn't able to see these things before.
(Just hope I'm not saying too much nonsense ^^O)
If I can do it, you can too, I'm sure of that
I'm glad if it helps a little.
The most recent two images are beauties. Your talent and hard work are both shining in this thread. I really have no feedback as you are doing such a thorough and thoughtful job, and are putting in the effort to take in what I went over in the vid, and create some beautiful studies at the same time. Just keep rolling. If I see anything I think needs adjustment i will share but right now you are up and on the horse and moving along at a great pace. Keep it up.
@Jason: Thank you so much Jason! I'll do my best for the next ten studies!
10- "Le verrou" by Jean Honoré Fragonard
Maybe the corner of the bed isn't quite right shaded...
On a technical side note, I've noticed something weird when I'm saving JPGs with photoshop. When I save a study like above, it seems it gets a little bit darker, but not always... Anyone else is having troubles like this?)
I love this piece because of the composition and story/symbolism being told.
The primary emphasis is situated on the lovers upper bodies, the secondary emphasis on the lock and the tertiary emphasis on the edge of the bed...next to the table where a small apple stands (well in fact, now I look at it it could be a third and fourth emphasis).
The painting is split along a diagonal that follows the main lighting of the scene. The light guide the eye as it's very strong on the upper right and falloff on the lower left.
It starts on the hand of the man locking the door, follows his arm and the face of the girl and her dress on the bed, hits the silky sheets and dies on the little table with the apple.
It's very well done, because if you don't pay attention you may miss it at first glance. The apple symbolizes the forbidden fruit, or even a simple delicious fruit waiting to be eaten. This is a metaphor for the girl and what the man is about to do (hm).
There's also a nice use of variation, rhythm and repetition between the huge curtains of the bed, the sheets and the girl's dress. It makes you feel there are almost tangled together, and even more if you add the shirt of the man. The girl herself looks a bit like a rag doll, and her attitude suggests she isn't really opposing the man.
Some square elements like the door, the locks or the table bring a nice balance among other rounded shapes.
And a process gif :
Last edited by ZeCarnevilCat; May 27th, 2014 at 01:46 PM.
It is a setting issue you are having. It has been six or eight years since i had that same problem. There is a setting that needs to be adjusted. Perhaps someone in here will know or you can ask in the photoshop forums as well. I am sure those in there will have the answer. I wish I had a better answer on that. I will look around and if I find anything will let you know.
Excellent analysis. Beautiful painting as well.
HiYa! Those last one's are very nice
About this "On a technical side note, I've noticed something weird when I'm saving JPGs with photoshop."
Do you save with or without a color profile? When you work, you probably are using AdobeRGB (unless you have changed that), but web browsers use SRGB, which has slightly lesser colour range. So if your profile is changed/different or you save without a color profile, there might be some value shifts sometimes. (Usually only with colours, not greys, but..). Also might occur if you change between CMYK/grayscale/RGB.
If this is the reason, you could go to Edit/Colour Settings to check what you have and Edit/Convert To Profile where you can change the existing profile.
And when you save (for example 'Save as') there's a small checkbox whether to include an ICC-profile. It's good to include a profile, SRGB when saving for web.
Hope that helps..