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    Viatrix - Composition 1.1

    A little about me:
    I've been self-studying art in the last 6 years on and off. It's always been just a hobby of mine but I thought that I should take it to the next level by enrolling in this class. I have to admit, I am more than intimidated by the skillset of those who submit their works here. But I really want to get better so here I am

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    Frazetta is one of the artists who really uses composition to create an impact with his drawings. This is no exception. Economy is observed by the simple background and the mist like effect around Conan's leg to emphasize the subject's head and torso. There is a variety of textures present from the leather of his belt and hilt, the skin and the metals. The tilt of the axe and the shield going in opposite directions creates balance between the two.


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    This beautiful painting of Frazetta once again does not disappoint displaying the principles of design. There is rhythm and repetition with the way the leaves are arranged on both sides. The birds are placed strategically to balance the left-side of the artwork.


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  3. #2
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    This is an excellent start. You could push your darks a bit darker and then start working on your edges. Keep it. This could be awesome.

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  5. #3
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    I'll be honest, I almost cancelled my membership due to my busy schedule and figured I'll just focus on commissions. But this post by BlackSpot has got me thinking, maybe I shouldn't give up. My subscription is ending this month but I will extend it and get at least one drawing a day in this thread.

    Attachment 2192717

    For my 3rd assignment, I chose a Rembrandt painting. I haven't drawn an old man before so it is a challenge for me. It is clear that the focus of this painting is his head. The dark hat and his clothing seemed to pose as a frame for his face. The light shining from his right side emphasized this even more. The purpose lack of detail from his clothing and the background while the creases on his forehead was being emphasized was nothing short of impressive.

    I also noticed that the overall form of the old man is a triangle which I think made it a unified and solid piece.
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    Last edited by Viatrix; May 18th, 2016 at 11:29 PM.

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    I am not usually drawn to still life paintings but this artwork by Alexei Antonov is an exception. I've had this painting in my favorites for awhile because it caught my eye when I was looking for something with good composition. The variation of textures and values make this a very eye catching piece. I can tell that the fruit (which I think is a pear) is the main focus as it nestled on the leaf. The light from the left side really made an impact as it illuminated the different surfaces in the picture from the leaf, to the fruit and even the engraved cup on the right side (which balances the painting)
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    Last edited by Viatrix; May 20th, 2016 at 08:59 AM.

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    Painting portraits is harder than I thought because the likeness has to be there exactly. I spent more time on this than the others but it was worth it. The headband to frame her head, the clothing with its creases add variety to the artwork. I like the subtle highlights of her hair as well but not enough to draw away from her face which is the emphasis of the piece.

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    I think this is fantastic!! You really got the basic composition and values down really well, without getting too worried about the detail. My only suggestion would be just to get one more value of white, something almost totally white, and just bring in a few more highlights (a bit more on the beard, forehead, etc). But again, I think you really nailed this one!

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  10. #7
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    Thank you Slivka, I will keep that in mind,

    Next study is "The Stone Bridge" by Rembrandt. I tried to not get caught up in the details this time to practice being able to see the whole picture.
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    Based from my analysis above, it seems that the tree is the emphasis of this piece yet the title is "Stone Bridge". This is probably intentional but I am not sure why. If anyone has their thoughts about this observation, feel free to let me know what you think.
    Last edited by Viatrix; May 24th, 2016 at 03:05 PM.

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    Here's my next study and analysis. About halfway point of this assignment , I thought I bit more than I could chew but I pushed through.

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  12. #9
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    Really love this piece ("Apples") by Rembrandt and the impromptu values study I got from it. The colored version is even more amazing because of the pop of red.

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  13. #10
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    Back to Frazetta again. I really hope to get even just a sliver of his skill. His pieces always look unified and very alive/dynamic. His knowledge of anatomy is exceptional.
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    Hi Viatrix,
    I think you're doing really good here. I think overall your shapes are close to what they are on the originals. I think your values are your strongest asset, although I feel your last study is a bit of a step back. It feels kind of rushed compared your other studies. The values are less accurate, for instance the body of the girl is too light. Also the tiger on her right is too light in general. But taking all the other studies you did into account, I think the quickest and biggest improvement you could make is by working on your edges, like Black Spot said earlier. You tend to keep them on the soft side. For instance on study #10, the edges on the face are too soft. Making them crisper where they need to be, will help in bringing more focus into the piece. The same goes for study #9. Your boat seem out of focus compared to the original. I think if you would spend an additional 15 minutes on your edges, like a last pass, it would help a lot.
    I am looking forward to your next studies!
    Vloed

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  18. #14
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    What vloed said. Edges, hard and soft help to focus an image and play an important part in a composition, ignore them at your peril. Maybe think of these as an art test where you need to capture the essence of what has gone before might help. Keep it up.

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  20. #15
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    Thank you for the feedback. Admittedly, the last piece was kinda rushed because I guess a part of me was getting a bit lost by the lack of critiques lol. Anyhow, I was gonna post my 12th assignment then I read your critiques. I tried to work on the edges. Let me know if this is good or if I should work on it more.

    Question though, does the type of brush being used have an impact on the edges? I only use one type of brush in all my assignments and it's always full opacity and 100% flow.

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    And here's another Rembrandt piece. I am finding myself really liking his style in conjunction with Frazetta's. I love doing portraits and a part of me would like to be able to apply Frazetta's dynamic compositions with Rembrandt's interesting play with lighting and textures.

    Speaking of textures, the first thing that I noticed with this portrait is that. There are variety of textures in this particular painting that I wanted to see if I could take on. I rarely draw old people so I found this a bit challenging. Again, the economy in the background is there and the V formation on his fur collar draws the eye towards his face.

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    Hi Viatrix,
    Good job on the last one. There's much more edge variety than in your previous studies and they are less soft overall. You miss a bit of hardness in the hat, especially on top. You have almost a lost edge while Rembrandt's edge is still pretty distinct. Also the bottom of the hat is sharper in the original and I think you miss a bit of sharpness in the face, most noticeable around the right (lighter side) eye. These last two help too bring focus into the piece.
    The values are again really close. I guess you miss a bit of darkness at the bottom of the collar. And if I am really picky, I could say the values of the right side of the face (the light side) are too far apart. The darks are too dark, the lights are too light. Also on the nose, the highlight is too strong/large. Rembrandt's tonal shifts are really subtle. But good work anyways.
    Your shapes are looking good. The smaller shapes in the face are a bit off, but because it is a face, it shows immediately if an eye is only a couple pixels off. For me it takes a lot of time to get a face correct and I don't know know if it's really necessary for this assignment to put that amount of time into the details. But it definitely is easier to spot differences in portraits than in landscapes.
    About your brush question, You say you only use one brush. I assume that that is a soft brush/airbrush, because of your tendency to go soft on the edges. Yes, brush choice has a lot of impact on your edges. If you drag a softer brush along an edge, you get a softer, more blended edge. If you put a harder brush on say 50% opacity with pen pressure for instance, you are able to blend an edge, but at the same time, the hard nature of the edge of the brush makes it possible to make a hard edged stroke. If you use a heavily textured brush on an edge, it can break the edge up and give it a softer impression. I hope this helps, but I can only really say you should experiment and see what kind of results you are getting with different types of brushes. But in general I think it is not such a bad idea to limit yourself a bit in your brush choices in the beginning to not get lost in all the possibilities and focus on the actual painting itself, instead of all the effects that fancy brushes give. I hope this helps.
    Vloed

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  23. #17
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    Thank you again Vloed! I really appreciate the critiques, I am taking them to heart.

    Quote Originally Posted by vloed View Post
    If you use a heavily textured brush on an edge, it can break the edge up and give it a softer impression.
    You nailed it right here. I am trying a textured brush.

    Here's my next assignment, sorry it took so long. I tried a more detailed painting this time by Bouguereau ( I always have to look up how his name is spelled).
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    I tried to be mindful of the edges a little bit more but at the same time not get too muddled up with the details. I chose this piece to challenge myself a little bit and at some point I was wondering if I bit more than I can chew but I pressed on.

    At first glance, it is very evident that the emphasis of this piece is the little girl's upper torso/face because of the economy in the background around this area and the high contrast between the background and the foreground. The plants were carefully placed/slanted so that it directs the viewer's eye towards the girl and the straight lines from the structure of the chair and the pillars, provide balance overall. There's also repetition that can be noticed from this.

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    you're still missing hard edges, this can be problematic because some shape get lost or harder to read. If you are finding it hard when doing the proportions use the grid.
    "Know yourself. Express yourself. Master yourself"
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  26. #19
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    lol I am really struggling with this edges thing. Anyhow changed my brush a bit now that I look at it, I should've probably fixed the jittery edges of the brush.
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    This artwork captivated me because of the unique emphasis. Instead of the face, the artist seem to highlight his body more. The drapery and the shield provides a nice contrast in texture.

  27. #20
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    It's hard not to pick a Frazetta art for this assignment. His works look very cohesive and impressive.

    This is my 15th assignment. It took me about an hour:

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    I chose this one to try out a very hard brush. I never really used these types of brush because they were intimidating to me. I am glad I did thanks to the critiques regarding my edges. I hope this is a step in the right direction.

    It doesn't take much to notice the S shape of the figure on the top of the mountain. It really directs the eye well throughout the piece. The background is also clearly using the economy and the muscle on his body add some variety and gives us a glimpse of the man's anatomy. I also like how the moon subtly arcs over the man's head, further emphasizing the main focus of the artwork.

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    Hello Viatrix,

    Hard brush made you good. You know how to use soft brushes and you know how to use the hard ones, now just combine them. As I see it: hard brushes for edges, sharp details (also setting the base colors), soft ones are for value transitions. Also when I feel that some of the hard edges are too much, I smooth them down with low opacity soft brushes. Like with the hand of the guy on the ground you could do. Also on the body, if you go in with a black one - the same what you used on the hand - and you go over with a lighter, low op. soft brush applying toward the leg, you can get that value lightening up. So to speak: you take away the teeth of the too dark values, and they won't bite you in the eye.

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  30. #22
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    Frazetta seems to be a huge inspiration to you and that is A OK in my book. You improve with every one you do. The last one is your best so far. Nice loose style, works great. You have some tones off here and there, could be a monitor thing, glares, monitor settings for brightness. I would say that if you like Frank then you should try a couple of his contemporaries like Jeffery Catherine Jones, Ken Kelly, god forbid I say it, Boris, Simon Bisely, Glenn Fabry, and the formidable Gerald Brom. You might have to make sure those are OK to use if not then you could try N. C. Wyeth, Arthur Rackham, Maxfield Parrish, Frank Schoonover, Mead Schaeffer, Harvey Dunn, and the Great Dean Cornwell, the man could rock some pirates. Keep pushing forward, you're doing awesome!!
    Last edited by chrsnorbt; August 13th, 2016 at 07:04 PM.

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  32. #23
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    Just like 7alvo said, you need to combine the edges and it's a good advice how he does it.
    the background is good, just the moon need a more define shape.
    the shape of the man and the rock he's standing are out of place.
    try to work with 75% hard brush as the hardest, practice doing the edge of the shapes more accurately, this is not a drawing where lines describe the forms, here are shapes and values.

    Keep the good work
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  34. #24
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    Hello!

    Good work and I can understand your frustration about 'knowing' how to fix something and 'not knowing'. Been a great round of discussions and good feedback that has been happening about how to address your 'edges'. Think you are really close to making a break through.

    Honestly, it might be "What brushes and settings" that you are using that can make a HUGE difference. So don't be shy about trying a variety of brushes... change the settings. Personally, all the brushes that I use only have a few 'setting/features' turned on and avoid downloading various brushes from the net.
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  36. #25
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    Thank you all for the feedback so far. I just want to mention it here that I have not forgotten this assignment. I got sick lately and have some commissions to finish. I might slip in a study here or there in between though as I am excited to apply your feedback



    Quote Originally Posted by chrsnorbt View Post
    Frazetta seems to be a huge inspiration to you and that is A OK in my book. You improve with every one you do. The last one is your best so far. Nice loose style, works great. You have some tones off here and there, could be a monitor thing, glares, monitor settings for brightness. I would say that if you like Frank then you should try a couple of his contemporaries like Jeffery Catherine Jones, Ken Kelly, god forbid I say it, Boris, Simon Bisely, Glenn Fabry, and the formidable Gerald Brom. You might have to make sure those are OK to use if not then you could try N. C. Wyeth, Arthur Rackham, Maxfield Parrish, Frank Schoonover, Mead Schaeffer, Harvey Dunn, and the Great Dean Cornwell, the man could rock some pirates. Keep pushing forward, you're doing awesome!!
    Thank you for the artist suggestions! I did browse some of their works and I think my next few will be taken from that list.

  37. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Viatrix View Post
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    Painting portraits is harder than I thought because the likeness has to be there exactly. I spent more time on this than the others but it was worth it. The headband to frame her head, the clothing with its creases add variety to the artwork. I like the subtle highlights of her hair as well but not enough to draw away from her face which is the emphasis of the piece.
    Great job. Values are very close especially on the headband and face. There are some errors with shapes - the hair volume (or positioning of headband) is off and the neck and right trapezius is thicker. To help spot this flip canvas horizontally. You can also use objects as markers - observe the thickness of the hair below the headband and above it.

    I am sure with more time you could perfect this. So keep up the good work and I hope you keep improving.

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  39. #27
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    After hiatus, I have cleared all my commissions and decided that my New Year's Resolution is to finish the workshop. Of course it doesn't hurt to start one month early so here goes my 16th. My rustiness is very apparent but I tried to mix up soft and hard brushes to work on the emphasis of the piece:

    total time: 2 hours

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    Prior to this workshop, I had this mindset that every space in the painting must be filled with something. Thanks to this workshop, I have more understanding of composition. I really like how the emphasis is very clear on this piece while the rest is sort of a blur to signify movement and dynamics (in addition to the diagonal/slanted direction of the objects in the painting). The soldiers' rifles pointing horizontally and (somewhat) vertically gives everything balance.

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    Here's my 17th composition assignment from Jeffrey Jones. I picked this particular artwork not only because of its good composition but also the way the edges were used to denote emphasis and depth. I've always had issues with my edges throughout this assignment so I thought I put it to practice here. I really enjoyed painting the elephant with its intricate grooves and textures and how powerful it looks in the image.
    The man on top of the elephant is also highlighted by the bright sky background. I like how the rocks seem to frame the subjects without being overpowering. The horizontal spear (?) also provides some stability and balance to the mostly curved brushstrokes throughout the art.

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    I think you're finally getting there, but you then lose a bit of the shape - the spear is at a completely different angle, which changes the whole composition. Vales and edges tons better. Keep it up.

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  43. #30
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    Thanks Black Spot, that was a good catch. I never realized it. I tend to miss so many details and just notice it after the fact. Any advice to avoid this?

    Anyhow for my 18th assignment, I chose a work by Gerald Brom:

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    I spent 2 hours on this piece and I have to admit that I had a hard time getting the likeness as the reference picture was smaller than I would like.

    The focus is clearly the upper body of the woman. The contrast between her hair, clothing and background and the brightest highlight certainly made the emphasis every clear. There is repetition on the horizontal lines of the structure she's sitting on and the flow of the water(?) seem to frame around her. The light colored cloud on the upper right brings balance.

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