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  1. #1
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    Mustacheberry's study attempt

    So for a while now I've felt like I've just kept spinning my wheels in a place, trying all the different aproaches to learning how to paint, none of wich seem to really work. So I kinda gave up and decided to just go head first into one of the most common ways of practice, a.k.a studies.

    The problem is, and I know this is dumb, I don't really understand how is one supposed to improve with this. It feels like a dreadful waste of time, but that might also be because I immediately go into "mindless copying" mode trying to replicate the reference rather than to learn something from doing it.

    So I would like to ask you for some tips on how to get the most out of this kind of work, how to do it "right" in the first place - do I focus on skin tones or just on values and shapes, does it have to end up looking exactly like the original or just stay at lose version with the right values and proportions, etc. and of course on any critiques to what I'll show here, if those even apply to this kind of stuff.

    This is a first little lot of studies (I mixed up the subject matters to try and make this at least a little bit interesting):

    Name:  Gave up 1#.jpg
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    PS. Hopefully the nipple dots don't violate any forum rules.


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  3. #2
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    I think you are heading in the right direction. For instance, I love the color variations on the helmet. Cheer up, you do the work, you try. What else would one need?
    Since you are learning/improving, it is NATURAL you are confused. Allow it, do what you think is right and relax. It is all supposed to be fun (it's actually important).

    I have the same thing with studies.
    Maybe try to make them interesting? If you are studying a horse maybe add something yours to it. A background, a saddle.
    You are not a photo camera. As a painter you interpret reality, so do it however you authentically feel like.

    Watch some of the Ahmed's positive videos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aimx8YENurE
    my sketchbook -> pow!
    wanna stay in touch on facebook? -> bam!

    personal portfolio -> knack!

  4. #3
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    Some of your skin tones look muddy: look for interesting cool/warm contrasts as well as sub-surface scattering. Whenever possible: study the real thing!
    Grinnikend door het leven...

    Sketchbook Blog

  5. #4
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    wiktorpaluch - I can't possibly imagine this ever being fun, but bearable is good enough.x) I'll try to spice it up a little when I get more used to doing those, hopefully it will help. And thanks, but Ahmed's videos don't really do it for me, I get my motivational doses from Sycra's, Sinix's or Apterus's vidoes.^^

    eezacque - I do, after woking it a little I go around with color picker checking how close my colours/values are to the real thing and in most cases the real thing has a bunch of desaturated near pure white tones. Hell, half of the rhino bellow is eye melting white and that's my point, while its realistic I know its not something I should do in a painting, so my question remains do I interpret the colours, or go for 100% accuracy? I'd love to put more blues and color variation in general but those are the references I can get my hands on and I don't want to make up things that aren't there.

    Btw. english's not my native language and I'm trying to find environmental references, like bigger scenes, mountains etc. does anyone know what magic pasword I have to smack google with to get some useful ones?

    Here's another package, let's see how many I can spit out before slitting my wrists with the pen. x)

    Name:  Gave up 2#.jpg
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  6. #5
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  7. #6
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    Just a bunch o' lips, it took me a while to figure out soft brush was the way to go, so some of them might look a little randomly sketchy as I just went over the ones I've allready done again, instead of redoing them.

    Name:  Gave up 4#.jpg
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  9. #7
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    You have more skill than I do, but I'll pipe in and say that drawing what you drew from reference at a different angle could feel helpful for you. This sort of exercise makes me think harder about what I'm studying instead of thinking like a copying machine like you said.

  10. #8
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    Dude, your studies look awesome. What you're looking for is to learn a conceptual way of approaching art, rather than just copying (which doesn't work, and will only give you miniscule improvement).

    The real trick is where to find a way to acquire, practice and get feedback on the conceptual way of approaching art. That is the trick.

    Depending on what it is you ultimately want to make, you gotta practice things like memorizing your own mannequin in 3D, with simplified anatomy and simplified volumes, and then applying it to real models. Artists like Will Weston and Michael Hampton teach ways to conceptualize the figure. Glenn Vilppu is my go-to for gestures and the most basic approach to drawing. The, if you need a way to conceptualize light and color, Bill Perkins is great. Also the lectures here on composition of Concept Design are great too.

    I think that just copying will not really lead you anywhere. You will spend a lot of time spinning your wheels on empty. Real learning starts when you have a definite way, method or approach of analyzing and simplifying your subject matter.

    Places like Art Center (in LA, CA) teach that.

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  12. #9
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    mikhaella - I know what yo mean but I still have problems with it, I understand how planes should be set in certain angles but don't quite know how to do it if it makes sense, so I'll do what you said after I get to see a couple of example how the certain subjects should be set in that situation.^^

    ifat glassman - Thanks, I'll check them all out, one thing I'm specifically trying to understand is - when I see all those awesome figure studies I see a ton of cravases, mucles and folds, then I look at a ton of photo references and I don't see any of it, either they have some chaos corrupted models, with a body surface of a earthworm or I'm missing something obvious. x)

    As for the Art Center, I've flushed 3 years of my life down teh drain at an artschool and I've had my fit of formal education.

    Just a bunch of gesture drawing, didn't have much time for anything fancy as we spent the past few days chasing a rogue fridge.

    Name:  Gave up 5#.jpg
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  13. #10
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    Just a bunch on hair and few random studies (the old man is just me messing around with brush settings without reference).

    Name:  Gave up 6#.jpg
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  14. #11
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    ooh nice brushwork! The shading in the last one looks really amazing!

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    Hi, GetsugaDante. Regarding you're concern with colors: you're only working from photos... on the computer? It's my understanding that photos don't render color accurately, and either to screens, no? I recommend studying from life - still lifes, if it's all you have access to. (Color... that's one area I need to spend a few years on my own self )

  16. #13
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    GregorKari - Thanks, I think I've finally figured out a pretty comfortable brush.

    angieb - I have a pretty limited amount of subjects that I can get my hands on irl, but I'll try to use them whenever I'll get the chance, thanks.^^

  17. #14
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    A screencap study from "Léon: The Professional", trying to make a stylized piece based on a reference, still can't figure out noses, that's definitely a W.I.P idea.

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  18. #15
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    Can see you are working hard with all these studies, looking good, keep it up!

  19. #16
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    Ceinwen Fang - Thanks.^^

    This is something I've saw few youtube people do, just these collections of random heads or other body parts squished together onto a page and turns out this is really fun, I even had some success with more difficult angles that I wouldn't even touch normally, I figured this might be a good way to learn sketching.

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  21. #17
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  22. #18
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    Few screencap value "studies".

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  23. #19
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    Javiwan - Thanks.

    Some more B&W's.

    Name:  ScreenCap B&W set  2#.jpg
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  25. #21
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    A random portrait, just tryin to do something enjoyable.

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  26. #22
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    Damn good man, loving the due diligence in here lol. Totally agree with what ifat glassman said back in December about finding a way to simplify your subject matter and having a clear method of working. I will go further in saying that you need to find out what your focus is before heading into each piece or study. If you want to work on simplification, take your study photo or painting of someone you admire, go into photoshop, add a layer. I use a bright red color, and analyze everything about the image. I started out doing this a couple of years ago, anymore, I just minimize the photo or painting multiple times on a nice size canvas in photoshop, leaving enough white space to write down my observations. On each minimized image I'd focus on something different, meaning on one I'd do composition, on another color. At the bottom I'd do a small study of the image. Then taking everything I observed from this analytical study, I would put it towards a piece from my imagination. After I started to do this, my improvement has been fairly rapid. Keep up the hard work! It's already paying off

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  28. #23
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    esriffe - I've always observed other's works or photos this way, tho I never made any notes, I'll give it a try, thanks.


    Just a random figure, the bottom half is rather rought because it was just supposed to be a portrait but I figured I might as well stretch it a little. The skin turned out kinda muddy at places and the belly looks a bit too hard cut but at least the hair turned out decent.


    (the arm's not cut or something I just wanted to paint the belly and didn't have any idea what else to do with it)

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  29. #24
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    I've atempted once again to try l and practice sketching. It ended up as this, not exactly sketchy, but I guess these were at least studies of some sort.

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  31. #25
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    nice stuff !!! I love it...

  32. #26
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    Really enjoy your painting style! Do you do any sketching on paper? Even just scraps of paper and free pens work, it can help a lot if you want to practice sketching. Like you when I'm on the computer I too easily get sucked into drawing more and more detail, so maybe that would help you?

    Anyway, great stuff, keep it up!

  33. #27
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    Thanks, yes I got myself a smaller more comfortable sketchbook to work traditionally as well, Its quite a nightmare especially since I've never really used pens/pencils before, but at this point I can't even make any finished paintings anymore so I might as well at least do this.

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  36. #30
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    Great to see all your studies and paints etc.

    The one on hair is something I need to do.

    Love your paint of Mathilda (The Professional). Excellent job of capturing likeness and expression.

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