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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Thanked 3 Times in 2 Posts

    Spooschy’s Sketchbook (need help with painting)

    Thank you for stopping by

    first off
    I’m new to and forums in general
    and I’m not sure how well I can describe things but I’ll try

    I’ve been struggling to learn how to paint for years
    and it feels like I’ve tried everything and nothing is working
    (I’ll start with what I’m trying to achieve then show what I’ve tried)

    about 7 years ago I sort of set a goal for myself
    to be as good as Kkuem:
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    her rendering/3Dness/realistic light and shadows
    use of colors (hue saturation value)
    and way of drawing fabric and hair
    still impress me

    and I don’t just want to be able to render things (which I can’t anyway) and make them look 3D in a “cheaty” way (like Sakimi-chan..)
    I want to be able to do painterly stuff too
    I want to be able to use a ton of colors

    I want to be able to sketch in a painterly way like:
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    it looks 3d and real
    though it’s just few thick gray brushstrokes

    “do studies” isn’t a good enough answer for me
    I want to know what exactly I’m doing wrong

    all I’ve done in the past 2 years or so was studies
    and I still can’t paint
    I’m tired of crying and constantly stressing over not being able to paint

    I’ve spent a year or so doing anatomy studies and figure drawings
    and I went from:
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    (and even better now I hope)

    then I spent a year doing color studies
    (and some figure drawings)
    and I’ve learnt NOTHING

    I can pick colors fairly accurately (nothing near perfection but I’ve done some colore studies with my 2 artist friends and their colors were way off; more than mine at least)
    so that’s not the problem

    I do think in 3D (or as much as I can at my skill level)
    and it feels like my sense of 3Dness is enough or more than enough for being able to paint yet I can’t do it

    I sketch in 3D/thinking about 3D stuff
    I separate planes in my sketches
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    so that’s not the issue either

    and whenever I seek answers I either find things I already know/do
    “think of where your light source is”
    “think in 3D”
    “do studies”
    or techniques that don’t help..

    and I recently met an artist (called “Mint”) of the same or similar skill level as me
    he literally tried painting for the first time
    and he did it just fine
    with good color variation

    and 99% of the time I try
    it goes bad
    the other 1% is when I make “lucky accidents” and it turns out okay but when I try to reuse the same techniques that seemed to have worked
    it doesn’t work again

    here’s a bunch of my attempts:

    at first I tried(several times; even before I started doing studies) to force myself to use 1 layer (I’d tend to use up to 200-300 layers normally back then) and just try to paint with no prior sketching (which is what Mint does and he suggested that I might not be able to paint cuz I sketch beforehand)

    I’d get so focused on getting the shapes right (and I would be able to get much better/accurate shapes via sketching) and I wouldn’t be able to shade anything cuz it’d ruin the edges
    so that didn’t work
    (I didn’t save any of these attempts)

    I tried making a 3D looking stylized face:
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    didn’t work at all

    I tried to use more colors/make it look like sunlight
    (since you get these saturated edges due to sub surface scattering):
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    and I created a monster trying to do that..

    I learnt about how the face has different colors in different areas and I tried to apply it:
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    (Kkuem’s outlines)
    slightly more 3D but still bad
    (and the different colors on the face are really not working for me..)

    I seemed to be able to shade better on Kkuem’s outlines cuz the shapes were more 3D
    but mine are 3D enough too now and yet I still can’t do it

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    I managed to get this one looking okay somehow
    but it’s still not actually realistic..

    I tried to use a under painting technique:
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    still not realistic..

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    this one turn out okay too

    but still not realistic enough
    skin doesn’t look like skin
    it doesn’t have all these subtle value/color variations

    tried some more:
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    really bad

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    turned out decent

    the anatomy is good
    but still no actual painting
    just cell shading with a bit of blending and a lot of luck

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    (not my outlines)
    and it's worse than the previous one..

    my friends said it looked 3D and stuff and were impressed but..
    it looked/looks bad to me
    no color variation
    just cell shading with a bit of blending

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    made sure to go from yellow to orange
    changing the hue not just the value
    as a lil paint doodle

    but of course
    it just reminded me how I still can’t paint..
    others seem to render like that
    but I can’t even render

    more utterly failed attempts:
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    semi-successful attempts:

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    purely cell shading with blending though..

    tried painting an actual scene:
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    I couldn’t at all but I worked more on the face anyway and at the time I was happy with how the face looked
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    so I tried to “finish” it
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    and it looked worse..

    lucky accident:
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    tried painting a whole scene (again):
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    couldn’t do the background so I decided to paint on top of my ref instead but
    still couldn’t do it
    AT ALL
    (and I've done plenty landscape/buildings/room studies..)

    VERY lucky accident:
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    (painted on top of a water color cell shaded drawing with 0 effort put into it
    the color variation on the hat was 190% an accident and it’s the best part about the piece..)

    it made me realize even more
    I really learnt nothing in the past year
    I did so many portrait studies
    yet I was struggling to get subtle variations on the chest/collar bones area..
    (I didn't actually know the anatomy behind it despite all the studies for it I've done.. )

    and it was meant to be full body but I could barely do it as a portrait
    and I just couldn’t render hair

    more fails:
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    I tried traditional in hope it’d teach me how to use colors:
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    I’m happy with the background but not the character..

    so what am I doing wrong?..
    anything I could do to overcome this?

    thank you for your time
    and thank you in advance for your help

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  4. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    new island
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    Hi stranger, welcome to

    I see in your drawings that you made a lot of progress, even if you don't say so.
    I don't have experience exactly in this type of art, but maybe I can help you.

    even if you say you failed, I don't think so,
    you made progress, even if you don't realize it.

    once I heard that the barriers in life isn't intellectual or complex, they are emotional barriers.
    the problem is almost always inside you
    not because you can't , but because you can't bear the "not knowing and don't see progress"

    I recommend that you analyze your drawings, and mainly your goals, establishing exactly where you want to go, and what you want to do.
    Find yourself.

    After that, search for a "path" to get where you want,
    and after that , starting walking in this path and self-criticizing, "this is exactly my goal?" and when you feel that you are sure about the goal, everything will be easier.

    And remember,every path makes possible to learn something new, that can make your life better,
    and that there are innumerous paths that end in your goal.

    Good luck lady.

  5. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    United States of America
    Thanked 9 Times in 9 Posts
    The first thing to learn; that's taken me forever to learn and am still in the process of doing; is to stop putting down your own work and accomplishments. You use phrases like "lucky accident" and "utterly failed..." You're taking away your own accomplishments and endeavors by saying these things. Please stop doing that. Look at your work ; at the little things and see what you did better than before, things that were the same in quality, and things that need work. By doing that you will be able to learn how to properly grow and see what needs more practice.

    You're still learning and you're not gonna be the very best in the beginning. A baby sucks at walking but eventually walks despite multiple failed attempts. You're gonna learn so much by staying with this and not being harsh on yourself or comparing yourself to others. Your journey matters more to you than someone else's. Focus on your path.

    You've definitely improved! You're old work looked a bit stiff but just look at your newer work. There is a nice expressive feel to how your figures hold themselves.

    I hope to see more of your work on this site.

  6. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Thanked 41 Times in 39 Posts
    Wow, personally I think your already making good progress. I do understand how irritating it can be, I've gone though this process myself as painting is sort of my thing. Now... first thing I think you need to start doing, is to stop trying to be like other artists. You'll never do it, you never can, you can get close in time but your setting yourself up for disappointment because you'll always only be able to be you, and that IS a good thing! You have to learn to stop comparing yourself. Learn from other artists by all means, but stop thinking about how much better others are, and look at how much you yourself has improved. Strive to be better then the self you are now, but never strive to be like others.

    Like the others said you need to stop putting down your attempts. You didn't utterly fail, you learned what you feel doesn't work. Look at it and think about what you can do better next time, then apply it to your next image.

    Now, for the actual painting. Biggest thing I think you need to fix is your fear of failure. I can see it in your work. You don't push your values enough and your afraid to go darker. You keep the shading too smooth a lot of the time (which still looks lovely, but doesn't get your desired results) If you want to improve faster you need to mess up more. You need to experiment and go too far. You need to slap colours down and make it look awful and try to fix it and try again with a new image. Your art is already very nice, but if you want to go farther your going to have to get out of your comfort zone and try things that might not always work. I know you have obviously done that before, but you need to keep pushing outside of your comfort zone, and you need to learn to enjoy what you can learn form failing.

    Something that might really help you is to paint in gray. Don't use any colour, just different shades of gray. This can help you to understand how dark you need to go. You can also overlay your coloured images with a white layer set to colour/colourize. when you turn it on you can check your values. It's also a good idea for you to take some of the art you look up too and do that same, that way you can see how their values look.

    Next, stop leaving things half done. if you start with the intention of painting it, paint it all the way though. You learn a lot more by completing then you do by dropping it the second it seems like it might not work. Your failures might have ended up a success if you hadn't given up too early! They look like good starts, not like something that didn't work at all! Most of my paintings start as "oh shit this is never going to work"... yet a lot do, even if they are not perfect. Don't give up on something so soon, try to save it. Even if you can't, you still end up learning more!

    Lastly, I know it's infuriating to hear... but practice. Do studies, paint from pictures, keep trying, study light and colour even while your walking around town, even when you cant paint or draw, do that in your mind. Yes it's irritating to know you just have to wait, but it's the truth. You just have to keep trying.

    Oh and as an after thought. Post some of your studies! We might be able to help you more if we know how your studying.
    Last edited by HeathWalsh; March 9th, 2017 at 08:37 AM.

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  8. #5
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    Jul 2014
    Thanked 188 Times in 174 Posts
    I don't know what you're complaining about. Looks good to me.

  9. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Thanked 3 Times in 2 Posts
    thank you for all the replies and optimism

    especially HealthWalsh

    and I don't think I'm bringing myself down I think I'm sort of realistic?
    I don't want to stop at a mediocre level and never improve (or worse think my art is the best and never improve at all; seen it happen.. I think it's kind of sad)
    and mostly I wanted to be honest about how i feel/what I'm asking to be helped with
    (I'm tired of being stuck; I'm here for help, to find out what I'm doing wrong)

    (I really hope that doesn't offend anyone; trying to explain stuff
    I do know you people are trying to help/motivate me and I appreciate it)
    (I probably have a horrible self esteem regardless though)

    anyway so here are some recent studies and such

    been trying traditional (acrylics) in hope that'd help in any way

    (note: my ref was on a screen so color accuracy is off but

    I cared more about how well the colors "get along"
    though I think I sort of mindlessly copied the contrast or something
    which i think it's better than just mindlessly copying them?
    plus i think my acrylics dry darker so..

    and more importantly
    for the first few I had technical difficulties so I can't send the originals
    so all you're getting is pictures of a screen

    uh too much whining)

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    (I had another lil study that I did before this one
    my colors were off and you could see how it was like a warm up but I can't find it)

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    (this artist is so good look at all these colors and brush strokes;
    next studies are based on his studies too)

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    and I tried a lil gray scale face to sort of follow your suggestion
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    will post more when I'll have more

    thank you once again for the replies
    for your time
    and for your help

  10. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Thanked 3 Times in 2 Posts

    not sure how this works
    I'm new

    so idk if you can see when I update the post
    but I assume you'll get notified when I reply to your reply so

    I'd like you to know I've posted some studies
    (no need to reply asap though; take your time if you need to)

    thank you for all your help
    your reply is really helpful
    and I look forward to your next crits/suggestions
    Last edited by Spooschy; March 19th, 2017 at 07:09 PM. Reason: added who the reply was aimed at

  11. #8
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Thanked 55 Times in 54 Posts
    I agree with the others, don't be too harsh on yourself! Something I must say is that you seem to be doing a lot of studies, but also remember it's important to create just as much art from imagination! If you're always doing studies and hardly any works from imagination, it may take awhile for your imagination skill to catch up. So try to practice more from imagination using things you learned from the studies. And if you don't like the outcome, try again with more gusto! Art is trial and error, after all

    Also, try finishing your artworks! It may seem bad when it's a WIP, but upon completion you may realize it wasn't that bad. Plus, the more you practice finishing your artworks, the more you'll get better at it! So, when it comes to art, just do it even if you might think it'll turn out bad, and keep on doing it until it gets better

    You've got a lot of potential. Just try to be optimistic and keep making art!
    My Sketchbook - Help out an aspiring MTG artist!


  12. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    United States of America
    Thanked 9 Times in 9 Posts
    We dont really get a notification per say but your sketchbook appears on the first page of sketchbooks no matter who comments on it as long as it is recent. So any replies or update brings your sketchbook to the first page and it displays the name of who has last commented or posted; be that you or someone else commenting.

    Keep up the good work!

  13. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Thanked 41 Times in 39 Posts
    Yeah, don't think there is a way to notify others, but when you thank someones post they are notified. (I usually check back on people sketchbooks after some time even if I don't get any notification, I like seeing how others are doing!)

    Well from your studies I can see your really good at picking out the colours from a reference, so that's a great start! Try to do some from life or photos of real people/objects too. You can only learn so much for others artwork. Not saying you shouldn't learn from art too, I think that's pretty important because you can pick up on what others did and learn from their ways of doing things. However learning to see the colours in life and transfer them on to paper or a screen is still best. (I always find the typical painting an apple that's on my table is a good one to work on, or a glass full of water, hard, but over time I learned a lot doing that! Bonus if you always try them under different lighting conditions!)

    To me it seems like your understanding of colour is pretty good though. To be able to get the colours looking so similar with traditional media is really awesome. So what you need to work on is learning to apply that knowledge to your own works. Just a suggestion, something that helped me, was to take a photo or even some artwork that I liked, and for practice, I would use the colour palette but on my own drawing. Doing this you have to pay more attention to how the light works, because you can't just copy what is in front of you, you have to really think about how the same lighting would look on a different surface/pose/etc. If you want to do a simpler version of this then try doing texture studies on cubes or spheres. Like these >> Again they will help you to start thinking about how the light and texture is affected by the different shapes so that your not just copying what you see.

    You actually do a better job of picking colours in traditional media from my point of view. You allow yourself to get darker then you do in digital media. The ref you have that you re did in digital has a lot of areas that should be darker in your version, but I'm not sure if it's just that you stopped before you got there. It's not really a viable option unless you have a decent amount of money, but in the future you might want to look at getting Corel Painter. It mimics traditional media and it seems to me that the tools your using are part of what is tripping you up. Digital painting is a huge learning curve if your used to traditional painting, but Corel Painter works more like traditional art.

    What I found helped me before I could get Painter was to watch many different artists on youtube and pay attention to how they painted. Look at everything you can and try out their techniques to see if they work for you. there is an amazing amount of different ways to get the same sort of result, so be ready to experiment, it might just be that you haven't found the tool or program that works best for you.

    Lastly, I get the feeling you try to keep your painting neat and looking ok even as your building it up. While this is likely what you need to do with traditional, I've found it's better to not worry so much about how a painting looks in digital until you have the colours blocked out and move into the final details. A lot of the reason many digital artists still have that nice texture to their paintings is because they don't blend and smooth everything. They leave edges to their colours and rough areas. You do this with your traditional but avoid it with digital, so I think that is taking away from some of the feeling you seem to want in your paintings.

    I hope some of these thoughts help, your doing a great job and I think your actually moving forward more then you personally can see. Just keep experimenting by trying new ways of doing things, stop over thinking, and just keep practicing. Trying new things is the biggest though, even if you fail the more you stretch yourself the faster you'll pickup on all the things you want to learn. If you do that you should be able to move forward.

  14. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Thanked 34 Times in 30 Posts
    I love your sketchbook, your art is looking nice already!
    Cant wait to see you improving even more towards your set goal.

  15. #12
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    Oct 2016
    Thanked 3 Times in 2 Posts

    I've already tried most of these things
    and i don't think I'm making progress I've been doing color studies for over a year and I'm still as bad as when i started..

    I'll keep trying though
    Last edited by Spooschy; March 20th, 2017 at 03:34 PM.

  16. #13
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    Oct 2016
    Thanked 3 Times in 2 Posts
    I think my thought process when doing colored studies isn't quite there and I don't know how to relax

  17. #14
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    Oct 2016
    Thanked 3 Times in 2 Posts

    I'm currently working on this thing

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    I think it's going well
    I've got the thing where you can see things wrapping around
    and i think I'm pushing mt darks enough for once
    and I'm pretty much ignoring the details

    might be going better cuz it's not my outline
    (it's sort of for a contest plus it's easier to paint on others' outlines for some reason)

    idk thought I should show it
    (though tbh I am kinda scared I'll get judged (I don't mean critiques these are welcome) but I'm kinda biting the bullet)

  18. #15
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    Oct 2016
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