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  1. #1
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    ICBanMI - Composition 1.1

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    For my first composition and value practice, I choose Rembrandt'sThe Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicholaes Tulp. Approximately 1 hr and 7 min.
    Analysis: Rembrandt has excellent control of edges, rhythm, and focus(three total). The first is the three men in the center with the corpse. The second is the five men around the outside, and the last is the supplemental materials in the bottom right-hand corner. Each sequential emphasis has more and more economy bringing the eye back to the men in the center. The picture is balanced by the corpse and teacher in the middle-lower right, with all the students being in the middle left, and the most economical part of the painting in the bottom right. Lots of variety with the men's faces and position.

    Workflow: For this session, I used a flat brush with ten grayscale values not quite equal distant from each other-five lights and five darks. Flow and Opacity were 100%, but I could still create lost edges painting lightly. I went straight into painting values without an underdrawing and found I had to correct several proportion and position issues in the last fifteen minutes. The flat brush had to be rotated and resized often to create planes on the painting.

    Areas I can see I need to improve in future composition studies: Use a different brush that allows much better control without as much rotating and sizing. Focus a bit more on getting the proportions and positions correct before developing the forms. Will redo my gray scale color sampling chart to still have ten values, as some of the values were too close together to be indistinguishable and others had too much contrast that they needed to be blended to not focus the eyes on that edge.

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  3. #2
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    Jul 2017
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    Took a Week Off and Then Returned

    As the title says, I had to take some time off and then return to these studies. Hadn't done much painting for the last seven days, so decided to redo the first one to fix and practice some of the issues I experienced the first time around. I broke it up in to three separate pictures to get a better critique. The first attempt I used a 12 value color scale where the values were not exactly equal distance from each other. This second attempt I used 8 values equal distant from each other-the lightest and darkest not being quite white or quite black.

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    First stage was 15 minutes and involved putting in all the tic marks. So that the shapes in the next stage would be more accurate.

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    Second stage ended at the 30 minute mark. General shapes were finished.

    Name:  ValuePaint_1_Repaint_Values_1Hr.jpg
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    Last stage was the 1 hour mark where I did as much value matching as possible working smaller and smaller.

    Well, there are better and worse things than the first composition/value study. Placement is better, but shapes are a bit worse this time around. Proportions are much better than the original, but I ran out of time before I could start blending-this attempt has no blending. Values are much worse this time around. My biggest mistake was not matching the value of the background with the painting's background value. My next big mistake was I blocked in the shapes regardless of their actual value in the painting-I just choose values up or down one value to show the silhouettes best of the shapes. This proved to be really problematic when I went back to fix the values and the background. So I ended up spending the 30 to 45 time period trying to match values, realizing they were really far off... and then figuring out it was because my background was much brighter than it should have been.

    This new one doesn't leave me feeling as confident as the first one did, but I need to make these mistakes and internalize them if I'm to get better. Any advice or confirmation if my technique is correct is appreciated. Thank you.

  4. #3
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    2nd Value Painting and Composition

    Second Value and Composition Practice. Choose Silver Warrior by Frank Frazetta.

    Name:  ValuePaint_2_10M_TicMarks.jpg
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    First picture is Tic Marks which took about ten minutes. Unfortunately saved over the 2nd picture with shapes but I was done with those at about the twenty-five minute mark... so right to the finished product with 1 hour's time.

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    Analysis: I chose this painting because rhythm, edge control, focus, and a real command of economics to leave texture around the central figure, his sled, and the polar bears to suggest freezing, trepid temperatures without painting much of a frozen tundra. There are mountains in the background, but it's more to frame/emphasis the Silver Warrior's head, hair, and sword. Horizon in the lower 2/3rd of the frame as we're looking up at the figure and focus is completely on the center warrior, sled, and four polar bears. The four polar bears are a good example of variety and rhythm each looking away snarling. It's a very aesthetically pleasing painting to look at due to the composition and economics.

    Workflow: I made 6 hard, round brushes of varying sizes that function like gouache. I then made 6 soft, round brushes of varying sizes that function like gouache for soft edges. I then made 6 brushes that were really soft to feather edges that were lost. I used each particular brush only for it's intended purpose. I also used the HUD color picker to change value quickly up or down while matching values-it's faster workflow but it lags my computers so undecided if will continue using it. I do feel it contributed to the values matching better. I did not stick to 10 values for this one, but instead kept pushing the value up or down to what I thought matched the shape and form. Completely missed using a darker black on the warrior.

    For this one I tried really hard to do values correct the first time after the tic marks. I thought maybe I'd have time to work on hard/soft edges, but 1 hr goes by so quickly when you're trying to do complex areas. I'm really struggling with starting with a large brush and working smaller and smaller. Also completely ran out of time before I could work on the missing stomach area of the breastplate and the braided, ornate ropes. I feel the values are close, but a lot of detail and proportions are missing. Very difficult exercise.

  5. #4
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    Third Value/Composition Study

    For Value/Composition #3 I choose another Frank Frazetta painting. Cat Girl II.

    Did it in three stages: tic marks, shapes, and then value matching working smaller as I went.

    Tick Marks Finished at the 10 Minute Mark.
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    Finished Shapes at the 25 Minute Mark.
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    Final Part was 1 Hour Mark.
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    Analysis: I never noticed this, but the limbs, roots, and lilies are leading the eyes to focus on the woman. The rhythm and variety are exceptional when looking at the lilies. The painting is really well balanced with the lilies and tree on one side, and the woman and panther on the other.

    I grew up always admiring Chris Achilleos, Larry Elmore, Boris Vallejo(Can't forget Julie), and Michael Whelan but skipped over Frazetta because my first impression of him was the woman's face that repeated in several of his paintings. I always admired his Conan covers, but couldn't get past the three-four times he repeated that face. Now that I've gotten a bit into my own crusade to learn to be an illustrator/storyboard person, and I have a profound appreciation for his use of focus, rhythm, and outstanding command of economics in his paintings.

    Achilleos, Elmore, and Whelan left nothing to the imagination and they are missing a bit of magic that comes from using economics in their work. Boris and Julie did to an extent, but more in an alien/dream landscape way. They all did so much work that appeared in Heavy Metal magazine, but somehow I think I missed a bit in my childhood not giving Frazetta more of my attention.

    Workflow: Same as the second painting. Laid in tic marks for reference, then did shapes, and followed it by detailing more. I felt I had a bit more time with this one, but there was much more detail to be had. Used a hard, round brush at 100% opacity/flow for about 98% of the painting. Then a soft, round brush for the last 2% on the interior lighting on the woman.

    I feel I improved, but really missed out on using a darker value for the cat and frame of the picture. Didn't use the full range of Values.

  6. #5
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    Gustave Dore

    Choose a painting by my favorite illustrator, Gustave Dore. It's based on one of his illustrations from Dante's Inferno. Dante and Virgil in the Ninth Circle of the Inferno, 1861.

    Name:  ValuePaint_4_1Hr_Finished.jpg
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    Analysis: Dore, like all my favorite illustrators, practiced economics in the loosest sense. He has a notable command of rhythm and variety with the way he layers rocks and human beings suffering around the two central figures. The fascinating aspect of the painting is how the focus on Dante and Virgil comes from three point lighting-2 centuries before movies would do it. Almost all of Dore's paintings and illustrations have the horizon in the lower 1/3rd of the frame, and this is no different. The composition is simple with the two figures in the center.

    Workflow: Spent 10 minutes putting tic marks to get the placement and proportions correct. Another 15 minutes to put in shapes, and the last 35 minutes to detail the painting. When putting in the shapes, I tried extremely hard to get the right value off the bat, but had a lot of trouble wi the rocks and bodies around the outside of the painting.

    Improvement Area for Follow Up paintings: Got too quickly into details, and need to focus on forms. I'm really bad at forms. Left side is under developed and right side is completely undeveloped. Should have done some basic forms there before getting to detail. I feel I got distracted from detail as it's required for a lot of center focus.

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