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  1. #1
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    ZeCarnevilCat - Composition 1.1

    Hi

    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

    Name:  composition-1_1.jpg
Views: 2643
Size:  270.3 KB

    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)


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  3. #2
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    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/

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  5. #3
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    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!

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    2 - "PANDORA" by Thomas Benjamin Kennington

    Name:  composition-1_2.jpg
Views: 2027
Size:  128.0 KB

    (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)

  7. #5
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    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

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  9. #6
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    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.

    jm

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  11. #7
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    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

    Name:  composition-1_3.jpg
Views: 1898
Size:  127.8 KB

    (~2 hours)
    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.

  12. #8
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    Ok, finally decided to buy a LevelUp subscription, can't go back now *gulp*.

    4 - "Classical Beauty" by John William Godward

    Name:  composition-1_4.jpg
Views: 1822
Size:  139.8 KB

    (~ 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 :

    Name:  4_1hour.jpg
Views: 1790
Size:  52.6 KB

    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.

  13. #9
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    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?


    Quote Originally Posted by ZeCarnevilCat View Post
    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...
    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 ^^ !

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    5- "The Dwarf Sebastian de Morra" by Diego Velasquez

    Name:  composition-1_5.jpg
Views: 1806
Size:  162.9 KB

    (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!
    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.
    Exactly. It's a bit strange, your story is almost the same as mine.
    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!

  16. #11
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    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..

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  18. #12
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    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.

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  20. #13
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    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.

    Great job.


    jm

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  22. #14
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    @ 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

    Name:  composition-1_6.jpg
Views: 1707
Size:  144.0 KB
    (~3 hours, got lost in fixing things at the end)

    1 hour study:
    Name:  6_1-hour.jpg
Views: 1711
Size:  43.3 KB

    I choose this one for its good balance, suggested movement and repetitive but varied triangle shapes.
    Name:  composition-1_6_analysis.jpg
Views: 1722
Size:  146.9 KB



    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)
    Name:  6_1_sbs.jpg
Views: 1706
Size:  310.8 KB

    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

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  24. #15
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    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.


    jm

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