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Here is my first attempt at a "master study". I was confused at how to approach the assignment and I feel that I was very slow to refine all of my "big picture" shapes and values, so I ended up spending 5 hours on this one! I definitely want to speed things up.
I used grids to try to get my shapes/composition right, and I made a point of not using my color picker on the original artwork. I feel like eyeballing the values is a good practice.
I have discovered that I LOVE NC WYETH. I love his style and subjects and I will do many more studies based from his work. I chose this image because I really like the eye-catching negative space that the sky makes, and the similar vertical lines are repeated by the swords and tree background elements. It keeps the viewer's eye moving between the two men in the foreground. The gaze of the men in the background also guides the eye back to that interesting area.
In this image, Wyeth outlines the subjects with a darker color to separate them from background elements.
Last edited by 99Chihuahuas; April 28th, 2014 at 11:28 PM.
Ok, This time I only allowed myself ONE hour!
I chose this image because of how striking this guy's beard is. His bushy beard and pale face contrasts against the simple, economical dark background and jacket.
Last edited by 99Chihuahuas; April 29th, 2014 at 02:06 AM.
Nice start! Good on you for not using the color picker; I dunno where I saw it explicitly stated on the forums, but I know you're right to not use it as it can be a crutch that prevents you from seeing the values.
Also, don't be afraid to take more time than an hour when you're starting out-- a lot of us are trying to work down to that 1-2 hour limit, but AFAIK the consensus seems to be that it's better to take the extra time early on to really map out shapes, pick values, and figure out how to control the edges, before trying to speed things up.
As far as crit: I think you have a tendency to make some of your dark values a little darker than they are, so that might be something to watch out for. You did a great job on the textures in the Wyeth painting and I can see some early attention to texture in the Van Dyck too which is real nice.
Welcome, and looking forward to seeing more of your studies!
You are doing a great job with your values. Before you push more with rendering and such let's really focus on shapes. Here is what i had to say earlier to another artist that applies to you a lot and will be helpful. You have a good eye btw..you just need a bit more time working out your shapes and mapping out the drawing.
When you are first getting started it is very important to really focus in on the mapping out of your shapes as accurately as you can possibly get them. If you put a shape in the wrong place and commit you end up having the other shapes off and require fixing, which increases painting time. By taking just a few extra minutes early on to measure out your shapes, to compare your shapes, and be sure they are placed and drawn accurately will make the rest of the painting process, working out your values and edges, much much easier.
You should flip the images horizontally and vertically so that you see the shapes with fresh eyes. This should be part of the process and if you are already doing that, keep doing it more. The professional artists will often flip images or use a mirror to see with fresh eyes as many as three or four times a minute as they are working when things really get flowing. You can also back away...actually get up and back away...and doing this works for shapes as well as checking values and edges.
Keep up the good work.
@aolian: Thanks for the crits. I am surprised that it didn't say in the assignment thread not to use the color picker on the original image. That could be a real crutch! I decided to slow down again. I'm not in a race! My shapes really need more attention anyways : )
@Jason Manley: Thank you for the advice on flipping, I didn't know about that technique, but I will use it on my master studies from now on to try and get those shapes more accurate.
Here is another go, chosen because I liked the strong contrast and focus on the face and hand. I do see flaws in the shape and proportion, I am still struggling to nail those down. This was done before I read the above advice, so no flipping was done to try to control the shape.
Time= Around 3.5 hours.
I decided not to go too much into tiny detail, I wanted to move on.
nice work. shapes are the area that needs more accuracy...the mapping time, as mentioned. Secondly you could run a sharpen filter on it as yours is a little less crisp. Watch for that or you will have slightly blurry works.
Great job on the values and the image overall. keep it up.
hey mate. Your only on your third and these are looking sweet. I was a bit confused of was required at what was required at first too. i went the opposite way and stuck to 30 mins for my first 2. your 5 hours is some commitment!
but jason soon whipped me into shape. one thing i found which i see in your 2 latest portraits is the tendency to make the heads and features bigger than the original.
anyway i can see that by 20 yours will be spot on
@Jason Manley: I tried the sharpen filter for the first time, cool! I notice is crisps up all of my edges though. Is there a way to minimize that?
@W!L: Thanks, I hope to be whipped into shape soon : ) I totally see that I make heads/features bigger than they should be, what the heck! Haha, it is actually a terrible habit of mine I have had a hard time breaking ; P
Here is my 4th master study, chosen because I like the subject matter. This image has a neat rhythm: the eye is guided across the image by all of the horizontal lines. The figures are located in the largest and brightest horizontal "bar".
Time spent: around 3 hours
I didn't use a grid on this image. Instead, I flipped it a LOT to re-set my eyes and get the shapes right. I would also occasionally toggle the original painting on a layer so I could see if I was on the right track or not.
I focused so much on shape that I skimped on some fine details, but I really just wanted to move on.
Here is where I was at around 1 hour (if that interests anyone).
Some people on this forum are making some incredible studies, so much so that I have to look twice to figure out which is the original image! I don't feel that I am quite there yet. I get frustrated if I spend too long on one of these studies and I just want to move onto the next one! Is that normal to feel? I feel like I should be striving for perfection, but I also want to just write these off as rough value studies and not put a ton of time into them.
Last edited by 99Chihuahuas; May 8th, 2014 at 11:07 PM.
I chose the "The Hunter" because of it's peaceful feeling. The man's stance and direction he is facing leads the eye to the flock of birds. I like the way the faint moon makes the tip of the bow more noticeable. The man is the only vertical item in the composition, so he sticks out amid the other horizontal lines.
This took me several hours to nail, perhaps 3. I am getting better on NOT relying on a grid to get proportions right, instead looking at everything as whole. I still have to occasionally toggle the original image on top so I can make sure things are truly lining up correctly though.
I have decided I am getting caught up in the "fingernails and eyelashes" mentality when it comes to detail. I'm trying to focus more on the values and less on the tiny detail in these next 2 images.
The following portrait kind of looks like me, so that is why I chose it. It also looked lovely and simple to do, as I have been choosing rather complex ones until now. The detail is focused on the face and then tapers down as it gets further away.
I know it isn't perfect, but I gave myself a time limit of 1.5 hours. I am very happy with the result, as I feel I am getting faster and a little better.
you are doing a fabulous job with your shapes. Now it is time for you to take the next step and really put your attention to values and value transitions. For example, your wyeth piece has a darker sky.
When you get your shapes worked out well, pay very close attention to the values. You want to match the values you see as closely as you can. It is important to be very honest about what you are seeing. try to put the accurate value down with each stroke as otherwise you end up having to fix things along the way and being accurate will save you time. Really take the time to observe and compare and choose the right value. If you are off, adjust it, don't keep working and come back to it. You are doing great...just need to focus in on value a little more.
Keep it up.
Oh...and I am not sure what you mean by "minimize it" in the question you asked in the prior post. Can you elaborate?
This was a tough one with all of those tedious wrinkles!
I chose this one because I thought the dress looked interesting and I wanted to attempt it. The dress ended up being the most difficult part. I'll consider this image my "practice" image at wrinkly dressed (because I think it looks terrible), because I want to move on.
I tried to choose values immediately, instead of my old way of blocking things in with a solid color, then painting in values. I like the process better and will continue doing it.
Nice start. I agree that the process of being deliberate goes much more smoothly when choosing values and brushes that match shapes. Might as well just do it with less marks and work, so you can be as efficient as you can. You can get even closer on values, and so keep focused there.
Keep up the great work.
I adore N.C Wyeth!
I chose this image because of it's strong sense of dangerous movement and action. I also liked the impressionistic background and how the horse faded into it near the hooves.
I went as fast as I could on this image, testing my speed with my new method of doing these master studies: blocking in the image WITH the correct values, instead of my previous method.
I attempted to zoom into the image WAY LESS than usual, so I could get more of the "big picture". I only zoomed in a few times for small details.
My proportions are a bit off because I stopped flipping my image partway through . Whoops.
I feel like I'm getting faster and more decisive with my brushstrokes. This took me about an hour and a half.
These are getting progressively better with each one. I really like seeing that happen. good work.
You are getting about 90 percent there with the three most important things...shapes, values and edges. are you flipping your images horizontally and vertically every minute or so to check accuracy?
Make a pass at the end where you double check the following, in this order.
At this point all I think that is needed is double checking things at the end in a quality control pass...so to speak.
Keep up the great work.
Thank you for the tips Jason!
-I was NOT flipping vertically for some reason, only horizontal. Wow, flipping vertically really helps!
-Working small for as long as possible is really helping me see things more clearly, too
-Thanks for the "QC" pass idea. I did that and caught a lot of errors (even though I am sure there are plenty more)