Relearning with new purpose - seeking critiques!

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    Relearning with new purpose - seeking critiques!

    Hello, CA I'm 29 years old and have been drawing off and on my whole life.

    I've always enjoyed drawing, but have gone through spurts of improvement, followed by no drawing at all for long periods of time. I wasn't sure what I wanted out of drawing. I loved drawing faces, so I drew faces, faces, and more faces. And then I wanted to use those faces as part of pictures that people would want to look at, and I got frustrated because I couldn't get the pictures to look right, so instead I just kept drawing faces that ended up being boring and unsatisfying because they were nothing more than...faces.

    I recently started to draw a picture of a brown-haired elf woman (see attachment), got her face looking decent (though not flawless by any means...the ear is atrocious and her left eye looks too flat and lacking in dimension), and realized that I was never going to finish the picture because the rest of it is BORING. There is nothing dynamic about it. It is nothing more than a pretty -- and that's debatable -- face.

    So all that work would have been for nothing, except that I finally figured out what I want out of drawing. I want to paint portraits out of my imagination that are interesting and full of life. And that means learning how to draw the bodies that faces are attached to, drawing realistic movement and dynamic environments. It means studying anatomy and drawing from life, apparently. I've been lurking here a few days and have picked up some advice already

    I also picked up "Figure Drawing For All It's Worth" and have started sketching human figures in perspective. Depending whether my scanner is going to cooperate with me or not, I will either upload some of my sketches today, or add them to this thread tomorrow.


    And if you managed to read all that rambling, congratulations! Here's some pictures to look at.

    Brown-haired elf: As described above. Used a variety of reference pictures plus my own face in the mirror.

    Robot girl: Used a doll head to try to get the perspective right, and wasn't really successful as the face looks rather flat. Recent picture, maybe a month old

    Blond girl: An older piece, using a variety of reference pictures plus myself in the mirror. I'm attaching this oldie because it is one of the only portraits I've done that actually includes some sort of environment.

    Name:  elflady.jpg
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Size:  396.4 KB.Name:  robot girl.jpg
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Size:  225.4 KBAttachment 2019342

    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by Zardi; August 16th, 2014 at 01:57 AM. Reason: fixing thread thumbnail
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  3. #2
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    As promised, here are some perspective sketches of the human body done with the help of Loomis' figure drawing book. These are roughly in the order I did them.

    Name:  001.jpg
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Size:  116.1 KB One of my first practice sketches after I received the Loomis book, though I did some basic ones first with no perspective.

    Name:  002.jpg
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Size:  97.4 KB Two-point perspective with a bottom vanishing point and one on the horizon. I kind of like how this came out, though the calves, ankles, and feet are a definite weakness.

    Name:  003.jpg
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Size:  169.7 KB One-point perspective, vs. the next one which is...

    Name:  004.jpg
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Size:  115.0 KB...two-point perspective, with the second vanishing point off the page. Once again, the calves, ankles, and feet are a weakness.

    Name:  005.jpg
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Size:  120.6 KB A bit of a fish-eye view, with both top and bottom vanishing points, as well as a third "depth" vanishing point right in the middle, which I've indicated with a big ol' dot right on his crotch. I promise I'm not being lewd on purpose. I think this poor guy looks like he's lying on an autopsy table, which wasn't the intention, but maybe I should run with that idea. I think the calves/ankles/feet improved somewhat here, but there is not enough form to the hip area.

    Name:  006.jpg
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Size:  186.1 KB My first non-standing pose after starting studying Loomis. I don't think his legs quite work with the vanishing point, but I do think I know what went wrong so I can fix it next time.



    Next steps:
    1. Apply what I've learned to a piece that I can get critique on. I have promised a pageview "kiriban" gift to someone at DA, and I think the two-point perspective scheme with a horizon vanishing point and a bottom vanishing point would work well.

    2. Practice more calves/ankles/feet from different angles, both from photos and from life.



    What do you think? Do you agree with my assessment of my weaknesses? Do you have any other suggested next steps?

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    Oooo. Zardi. I think I know you from a certain WOT forum, mainly in the artist's section. Is it you?

    Welcome to CA! Can't wait to see the progress in your sketchbook.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpysaur View Post
    Oooo. Zardi. I think I know you from a certain WOT forum, mainly in the artist's section. Is it you?

    Welcome to CA! Can't wait to see the progress in your sketchbook.
    Thanks! And yes, it is me! Hi Are you still on that certain WOT forum?

    I knew if I kept using the same username, someone would eventually catch up with me. I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner

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    Nope, haven't been on in years. Haha, I still cringe a little every time I think of my piece in the calender.

    Cool studies. I think I skipped that when I did Loomis. I'll have to go back and do it sometime. I think you are on the right track with those. It looks like you are thinking in three dimensions, which is good. I'd recommend Bridgman to get a better understanding of the three dimensions of the individual body parts. It should help a lot with feeling more comfortable with legs and feet (and everything else). As of now, it does look like you struggle with the feet, most of them look like they are on tippy toes. . . you may have to work out how to place them on the ground plane a little better.

    Keep up the good work!

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    welcome, Zardi!
    it looks like you're on the right path - you have your goals, and you know what tools will get you the results you want.
    If you keep doing studies and gesture drawing -- you'll get to where you wanna be for sure!
    post more stuff, don't be afraid of sharing - i'm sure everyone would enjoy following your progress.

    and a little tip that i found very useful when i was starting out - try using broader strokes with the pencil/brush when you draw; your current lines are uniform in width and darkness and it impedes the dynamic feel you're looking for. they also all seem to be short and overlap each other. this makes the drawing look timid and stiff.
    don't be afraid of drawing big, long, expressive lines; try to use your whole wrist, even your shoulder, when you're sketching. even if your lines don't go exactly where you want, happy accidents often happen, and at least you'll have a feel of uninhibited motion.

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    Thanks for the comment in my sketchbook I'd say you're doing great with those perspective studies, however studying some anatomy will help you define those forms a bit better. Also don't fear hands I noticed you sort of hid them in the elf painting, but after you draw a bunch of them they won't seem that much difficult anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpysaur View Post
    Nope, haven't been on in years. Haha, I still cringe a little every time I think of my piece in the calender.

    Cool studies. I think I skipped that when I did Loomis. I'll have to go back and do it sometime. I think you are on the right track with those. It looks like you are thinking in three dimensions, which is good. I'd recommend Bridgman to get a better understanding of the three dimensions of the individual body parts. It should help a lot with feeling more comfortable with legs and feet (and everything else). As of now, it does look like you struggle with the feet, most of them look like they are on tippy toes. . . you may have to work out how to place them on the ground plane a little better.

    Keep up the good work!
    Yeah, I try to keep my calendar piece separated from this username so I can continue hiding on the internet

    Which Bridgman book? I looked on Amazon yesterday after you mentioned it, but there are several, and some seem to be compilations, so I'm not sure which one would be the most helpful.

    I did a few more sketches last night after posting, and I think the feet are coming out better...not consistently, but still better I will try to post one of them later.

    Quote Originally Posted by Happy Satan View Post
    welcome, Zardi!
    it looks like you're on the right path - you have your goals, and you know what tools will get you the results you want.
    If you keep doing studies and gesture drawing -- you'll get to where you wanna be for sure!
    post more stuff, don't be afraid of sharing - i'm sure everyone would enjoy following your progress.

    and a little tip that i found very useful when i was starting out - try using broader strokes with the pencil/brush when you draw; your current lines are uniform in width and darkness and it impedes the dynamic feel you're looking for. they also all seem to be short and overlap each other. this makes the drawing look timid and stiff.
    don't be afraid of drawing big, long, expressive lines; try to use your whole wrist, even your shoulder, when you're sketching. even if your lines don't go exactly where you want, happy accidents often happen, and at least you'll have a feel of uninhibited motion.
    Oh, thanks for the tip! I will try to start doing that and break my old habit of little sketchy strokes. I've read that line width and line weight is important, but I never understood how exactly to apply it.

    I will post some more things tonight, hopefully. I did them yesterday before you posted this comment, so they unfortunately do not take your suggestions into account, but I will from now on

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuroro View Post
    Thanks for the comment in my sketchbook I'd say you're doing great with those perspective studies, however studying some anatomy will help you define those forms a bit better. Also don't fear hands I noticed you sort of hid them in the elf painting, but after you draw a bunch of them they won't seem that much difficult anymore.
    Thanks I am studying anatomy. Do you see any areas in particular that are wonky, other than the parts I mentioned? I know the hands in my elf picture are partially hidden, but I don't fear hands They're partially hidden because that was the pose (she's touching something over her shoulder that I ended up erasing), not because I didn't want to draw them. I do need to practice hands more, though. They are undefined in my sketches for the practical reason that the sketches are fairly small, so I decided instead to just try to get their size correct relative to the body. I need to dedicate some pages to just hands.

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    Hey Zardi! I had the same problem for years - drew nothing but pretty girl faces, till I realized that that would get me nowhere fast. I've been working hard the last year or so to fix that mistake. You can do it!

    First, post more! It'll be easier for people to give you critiques and advice when they can see a wider range of your art. I can tell you have a good understand of female face structure, but otherwise, it's hard to tell yet. Your perspective sketches show that you do have some understanding about anatomy, but it isn't all about getting the proportions all 100% accurate! Have some fun, get loose with it and draw some gestures and quick figure studies. Use people around you if they're willing to pose, otherwise there are a lot of great resources online made for artists looking to study anatomy.

    I have the Loomis book, and it's great! Another book suggestion I might make is Figure Drawing Design and Invention by Michael Hampton. And if you want to see some figure drawing in action, I'd suggest checking out the Proko Youtube channel. For figure drawing, here are a few of the other online resources I use. There are probably hundreds more, but hopefully it helps some. Good luck!

    Bodies in Motion
    Croquis Cafe Videos
    Loomis Books PDFs


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    Quote Originally Posted by Lydiamay View Post
    Hey Zardi! I had the same problem for years - drew nothing but pretty girl faces, till I realized that that would get me nowhere fast. I've been working hard the last year or so to fix that mistake. You can do it!

    First, post more! It'll be easier for people to give you critiques and advice when they can see a wider range of your art. I can tell you have a good understand of female face structure, but otherwise, it's hard to tell yet. Your perspective sketches show that you do have some understanding about anatomy, but it isn't all about getting the proportions all 100% accurate! Have some fun, get loose with it and draw some gestures and quick figure studies. Use people around you if they're willing to pose, otherwise there are a lot of great resources online made for artists looking to study anatomy.

    I have the Loomis book, and it's great! Another book suggestion I might make is Figure Drawing Design and Invention by Michael Hampton. And if you want to see some figure drawing in action, I'd suggest checking out the Proko Youtube channel. For figure drawing, here are a few of the other online resources I use. There are probably hundreds more, but hopefully it helps some. Good luck!

    Bodies in Motion
    Croquis Cafe Videos
    Loomis Books PDFs
    Wow, thanks for the great suggestions! I'll check out all those resources over the next week or so I started drawing again just a couple of months ago, so I don't have much recent work to show, but I'll go ahead and post two others that are recent, plus some older things. I hesitate to post too many old pictures, because I'm not sure how helpful they will be in determining what kind of help I need, especially given the gaps in my practicing. However, if the great people here say it'll help anyway, I'll post whatever you all want.

    I don't live with anyone, and my family that live in town won't pose for me (I've been asking for years). However, I can try to sneak some sketches at work tomorrow without looking too creepy. We're having meetings all day, so I can probably make it look like I'm taking notes or something.

    I'll put those in a new post, and then some sketches from last night in a post of their own as well.

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    Name:  zardi_thranduil_edit.jpg
Views: 123
Size:  307.0 KB Ok, here's a fairly recent one from maybe two months ago. It is essentially a black and white copy of a screencap, though I tried to change his expression a bit. It just made him look awkward. I know the eye on the right is a problem. I fixed it as best I could, but by that point I'd worn down the paper so much that I couldn't erase anymore. The lesson I learned: measure, measure, and measure again before laying down lots of graphite. (This is pencil and white charcoal on toned paper, which I'm finding fun, but Loomis doesn't like toned paper. Anyone know why? He doesn't really explain in the book, just says that pencil looks better on white paper.)

    Name:  riku4_arttrade copy.jpg
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Size:  174.0 KB Also recent, and not yet finished. This is an art trade for someone at DeviantArt, so the character is NOT mine. I was told he is essentially a human with fox ears, and got drawings of his outfit to go buy. So, certain details I can't change, but I'm thinking of changing the lighting and environment entirely to give him more depth and interest. I know a better pose will also add interest, but I want to be done with this, honestly, and move on to something else. Thoughts on what I could do?
    So you know, his body is basically a copy of a photograph, with alterations done to the outfit to get it to fit this person's character. The head and neck are out of my head, though. I am still working on his hands, hair, and trim on his outfit, plus obviously the background.

    Name:  jc_b&w.jpg
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Size:  164.3 KB This is several years old, and essentially a black and white copy of a screencap. Since it's digital, I was able to fix mistakes (obviously...no paper to wear down and you can repaint as often as you want).

    Name:  Luke ESB copy.jpg
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Size:  249.1 KB Also several years old, and uses two different reference pictures. Again, basically black and white copies of photographs. This is acrylic.

    Name:  NYC central park.jpg
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Size:  535.5 KB More acrylic, and another copy of a photograph. Though, I at least took this photo myself.

    Name:  landscape1_foot.jpg
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Size:  313.6 KB Several years old. Still life. My foot This was mostly charcoal, though I had started with pencil and left some unfortunate scratches on the paper.

    Name:  landscape2_lock.jpg
Views: 122
Size:  234.2 KB Another still life done at about the same time as the one above, and also charcoal.

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    Here is some of what I did last night. This was before Happy Satan's suggestion of using longer strokes, so you'll still see short strokes here.

    Some gesture drawings. I tried to get loose and not worry about perfect proportions so much, but instead on getting dynamic shapes.
    Name:  007.jpg
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    Here's what came from doing the gesture drawings. This is the second version, as the first one had screwy proportions. I was aiming for a person sort of leaning into the light or into the wind (those arrows are me going, "yup, there's light here" but ignore them because sun rays should come in parallel). I did this pose myself in a mirror to see how the arms move to maintain balance, what would happen to the center line of the body, etc. Then I drew her so she looks a bit off-balance, hoping this would create some sense of movement, like you catch her while she is leaning and not just standing there. How did I do?

    I think the feet look planted better here, though they are a bit chunky since I went back to basic shapes to get them situated correctly.
    Name:  009.jpg
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  18. #13
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    Hi Zardi. The Bridgman book is Constructive Anatomy. I will say that there isn't really much instruction in the book and the reproductions of his drawings are not the best, but how he breaks things down is really helpful. A lot of people swear by him, though I haven't started on it myself yet. Complete Guide to Life Drawing is good too, but doesn't have as much samples as Bridgman does when is comes to individual body parts. Another really good book is Figure Drawing: Design and Invention. (Another one I haven't tried personally, haha)

    I'm still working on anatomy myself. I have a bunch of Loomis books and while I think he is great for a lot of stuff, he's not the best at helping you understand the different body parts in simplified 3d forms. (His head/face construction is pretty great though).

    Two really good online resources are:

    http://www.drawsh.com/search/label/Anatomy

    https://www.youtube.com/user/ProkoTV

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zardi View Post
    Thanks I am studying anatomy. Do you see any areas in particular that are wonky, other than the parts I mentioned? I know the hands in my elf picture are partially hidden, but I don't fear hands They're partially hidden because that was the pose (she's touching something over her shoulder that I ended up erasing), not because I didn't want to draw them. I do need to practice hands more, though. They are undefined in my sketches for the practical reason that the sketches are fairly small, so I decided instead to just try to get their size correct relative to the body. I need to dedicate some pages to just hands.
    Actually, as you said in your second post, I'd say legs are your weakest point right now. Looking at what you've posted so far I would start from the legs, then arms and finally the torso (when it comes to hands and feet more than anatomy I'd suggest learning the basic shapes they can be broken down into and then just drawing a lot of them). A book I'd suggest above all others is Design and Invention by Hampton, Bridgman's books are really sketchy so they won't be of much help if you don't know already what you're doing, Loomis instead is good but to me it seemed a bit too intricate at times.

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    Hello Zardi and thanks for passing by!
    Nice studies and drawings so far.

    Work on freehand perspective drawings, whereby you set up various perspective planes in various types of perspectives, 1pt, 2pts, 3, etc., using combinations of different angles on the horizon line between the left and right vanishing points. Then, once you feel comfortable constructing freehand planes, I'd suggest moving on with boxes upon boxes upon boxes. As Loomis said, "Everything can be put into a box!"

    Then get into ellipses. Being able to freehand draw an ellipse takes time but it is an essential skill to have. From there build cylinders, then cones, and finally spheres. Then begin to combine these simple geo-forms (boxes, cylinders, cones, spheres) into more complex forms, intersecting them at various points, adding and subtracting from the forms.

    Try watching that planes head, i think there are lots of images in google [search it like that "planes head"]
    Its already simplified so it will help you already. The face will come toghether without you knowing if you simply put down its major planes.

    Hope that helps and keep it up!
    Keep thinking...INside...the box haha.
    greetings
    tenniswall










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    Quote Originally Posted by tenniswall View Post
    Hello Zardi and thanks for passing by!
    Nice studies and drawings so far.

    Work on freehand perspective drawings, whereby you set up various perspective planes in various types of perspectives, 1pt, 2pts, 3, etc., using combinations of different angles on the horizon line between the left and right vanishing points. Then, once you feel comfortable constructing freehand planes, I'd suggest moving on with boxes upon boxes upon boxes. As Loomis said, "Everything can be put into a box!"

    Then get into ellipses. Being able to freehand draw an ellipse takes time but it is an essential skill to have. From there build cylinders, then cones, and finally spheres. Then begin to combine these simple geo-forms (boxes, cylinders, cones, spheres) into more complex forms, intersecting them at various points, adding and subtracting from the forms.

    Try watching that planes head, i think there are lots of images in google [search it like that "planes head"]
    Its already simplified so it will help you already. The face will come toghether without you knowing if you simply put down its major planes.

    Hope that helps and keep it up!
    Keep thinking...INside...the box haha.
    greetings
    tenniswall
    Thanks! I am working on freehand perspective now I've been doing perspective by painstakingly drawing all the perspective lines, so it would take me at least 30 minutes to do any of those figure sketches I did, and most of that time would be spent drawing perspective lines. So because of your suggestion, I am working on drawing boxes and spheres inside boxes using freehand perspective. I will also check out planes of the head and try drawing them inside perspective boxes next I've done lots of perspective drawing before, so the boxes are easy. Less easy is putting curvy things inside of them!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kuroro View Post
    Actually, as you said in your second post, I'd say legs are your weakest point right now. Looking at what you've posted so far I would start from the legs, then arms and finally the torso (when it comes to hands and feet more than anatomy I'd suggest learning the basic shapes they can be broken down into and then just drawing a lot of them). A book I'd suggest above all others is Design and Invention by Hampton, Bridgman's books are really sketchy so they won't be of much help if you don't know already what you're doing, Loomis instead is good but to me it seemed a bit too intricate at times.
    Thanks! I'll probably go for another Loomis book at this point, because I like his style of explaining things, but I'll see if I can find the other books at the library.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpysaur View Post
    Hi Zardi. The Bridgman book is Constructive Anatomy. I will say that there isn't really much instruction in the book and the reproductions of his drawings are not the best, but how he breaks things down is really helpful. A lot of people swear by him, though I haven't started on it myself yet. Complete Guide to Life Drawing is good too, but doesn't have as much samples as Bridgman does when is comes to individual body parts. Another really good book is Figure Drawing: Design and Invention. (Another one I haven't tried personally, haha)

    I'm still working on anatomy myself. I have a bunch of Loomis books and while I think he is great for a lot of stuff, he's not the best at helping you understand the different body parts in simplified 3d forms. (His head/face construction is pretty great though).

    Two really good online resources are:

    http://www.drawsh.com/search/label/Anatomy

    https://www.youtube.com/user/ProkoTV
    Many thanks for those links and book names! Drawsh is interesting. Looks like a good quick reference for muscle structures (that's mostly what I have looked at there so far, though I see they have lots of other topics as well).

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    Here is a roughly shaded version of one of my sketches. Red arrows indicate the direction of the light, while gray arrows (that you can barely see anymore) indicate reflected light. This is rough, obviously, and I think the shading in the bicep/shoulder area is a problem. What else do you see?

    I did some perspective sketches also, which I will post shortly, as soon as I can scan them.
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    Here are some perspective sketches. Some are freehand, while others (the spheres mainly) are measured. I tried to use longer strokes as was suggested, rather than lots of overlapping short ones.

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