Sketchbook: It came from Japan...Back and back to basics! (4.14.14) - Page 38
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Thread: It came from Japan...Back and back to basics! (4.14.14)

  1. #1111
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    hey everybody, long time no see. just wanted to let you know, a lot of changes are happening in my life, and i'll be taking some time to work on them. i'll be off the .org for an indefinite amount of time. thx sooooooooooo much for visiting and for your support, it means a lot to me. so long and good luck.

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  2. #1112
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    and iiiiiiiiiii'm BACK!

    a ton a ton has happened in my life over the past year and a half. haven't been doing as much art as before, but i'm getting back into the swing of things. i got married, and that's going great. due to issues with my back, i recently left my job and i'm looking for work as a Graphic Designer/Illustrator. i've had some freelance projects, like some CD covers, logos, business cards, as well as illustrations. i'll post some of that stuff here, over time. i've also been getting back into studying; i feel like there's some rusty bits, but working on it every day will help to shake that off. anyway, cheers, and wish me luck! thanks for stopping by.

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    -A

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  3. #1113
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    Looking good with the painting from life. One thing you might try: fill a layer over top of everything else with black and set it to "saturation", so you can turn it on and off to quickly desaturate your painting and see what it looks like in grayscale. Some of your value arrangements are so close together that you're missing out on a sense of light; looking at them in black and white would make that stand out more clearly, I think.

    Here's a great article on what I mean: http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/2012...structure.html

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  4. #1114
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    JC - thanks for the crit and the great link. i tried going back and forth desaturating my pictures, and it's really eye-opening. i know that i need a ton of work in the value department; just have to get better at it. i've started to work on the Reilly method from Apollo Dorian's book, so i hope that helps. anyway, thanks again, and feel free to offer any tips or crits you like. i really want to grow as an artist, so all would be welcome.

    ugh, it was one of those days. just seemed like nothing was working artistically. but i'm going to keep working at it. the one bright spot? i finished a series of small paintings for practicing environments, something i never do and need to do more of, and i'm happy with how the last few have turned out; i feel like i've progressed a little. i've also started working throughApollo Dorian's book Values For Pictures Worth a Thousand Words; trying to wrap my head around values and lighting in a practical sense; i understand this in theory, but i'm really horrible at it when it comes down to it. back to the grindstone...

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    -A

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  5. #1115
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    One thing I've found helpful in controlling values is to limit the values I use to 5 (at least for the block in; I blend between them later). GregPro here on CA did a bunch of really great tutorials on this technique. Here's one:



    This gives you a few important advantages. You're controlling your values by default. You're never at risk of making the dark parts of your light areas darker than the light parts of your dark areas (muddying your values). And simplifying your values will make your image read very clearly; it will give it punch.

    I use values 0, 40, and 60 for the lights, and 85 and 100 for the darks, but any 5 definitively separated values will do.

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    I do still not know whether to post this or not.. but honestly, it took me too long to write it not to.

    Thanks for dropping by and commenting on my sketchbook I don't quite know what to say here.. but I get the feeling that you tend to keep your colors the same when you slide the brightness up and down.. usually there is also a change in color in one or another direction depending on what color the light is that still gets there(be it from the sky another human standing behind an object.. or yeah, whatever. Now again.. I do see you do that sometimes, but I get the feeling that you neglect it a bit and that your color choice is currently rather random. Well.. anyhow. It is probably not your weakest spot, so do whatever you want to do. I like that red scarfed girl on this page Pretty dynamic pose.

    But.. you should probably go back to the basics and learn how to render the basic forms. Or uh.. practice it.. at least start thinking about light and shadow and not just what you might see.. but more about what you would actually see. That kind of sounds dumb, eh? But your shadow-placement is pretty random as well.. there is no real consistency in your lighting. It's like.. take those balls you rendered. say we have a big lightsource and can so to say see more of the ball be lit than on the other paintings.. which I think you did from the left to the right(I'm talking about the upper ones here, not the ones lit from the front). Now.. for all of those there comes a point where direct light doesn't hit anymore and for all of them it is not the same point. Yet the shadow you put beneath it(I mean.. you put one) is a pretty random shape yet again. Mostly not even circle. But depending on the distance&size of the lightsource you would even get different sizes of shadows. And well.. if that isn't even anything you wanted to indicate.. the spots where the hardest shifts occur should be the same spots with all of those balls. I don't really know why I'm writing all of this.. most of it should be clear to you and just be some sort of sloppiness. But honestly.. I think you shouldn't be that sloppy. I think you're avoiding thinking about it right there when you do that. (Might also be something you do to keep you productive.. but honestly, I feel you don't learn too much that way. At least not if you're 'studying' like that.)

    Then again.. I might be wrong.. (I have no means of insulting your efforts here, really!) :/ Well anyhow. I hope it helps you in some manner and that you understand what I'm trying to tell you. Some of your thumbnails are really nice, mostly the bottom right ones.
    (o o o
    o o x
    o x x)
    The other ones you spent more time on are quite nice, too

    And last but not least.. I think your perspective is slacking a little. I mean.. it's probably the root of all trouble. And yeah.. even for that you should study the basic forms(I'm not talking about circles here).

    So yeah.. my conclusion is.. efficiency wise: Do perspective studies. Motivation wise.. do whatever you want..

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    Hey Aaron, nice sketchook. what are your plans as far as art, are you planning to become a professional or just a hobby? I am sure you wrote it somewhere. either way you should practice fundamentals more and go back to it every once in a while, I do it, the masters do it, refreshing the basics is really good and you always learn something you did not understand or notice before, its natural.
    work on your values especially, push out your lights even more and your darks as well, make things pop and have better contrast in your pieces, if you like I can do an over paint of any art piece you wish if that will help to give you an example. keep it up man, will be back for moooaaaah(Igor style)

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    JC - thanks for the link and the tips. great link to the muddycolors...i could stay there all day! and Greg Pro is...a pro. the things you mention, about the blocking in and keeping the values in their categories (lights with lights, shadows with shadows) are exactly what the Apollo Dorian book talks about, so it's definitely being taken in. it's slow going, but hopefully i will come to understand it well. wish me luck!

    Nysta - thank you for the critique. i've been studying for a while, but over the past 2 years or so i have gotten HORRRRRIBLY out of practice (as you may see over the gap in my posting), and i don't think i had ever properly mastered value and form and such before moving on to color. i am attempting to correct that now, so yep, i'm going back to the basics. as for the balls and specific questions about them, they were studies from a specific page in a specific book which had lighting conditions in a certain way. my goal wasn't to be exact, but to begin to understand the concepts in a general fashion. the cast shadows weren't important, they weren't even included, but i felt it would be a little more clear to indicate them, so i blocked them in roughly. i do understand what you're saying, though; sloppiness doesn't look good, and it doesn't communicate that you know what you're doing. maybe i SHOULD be more careful in the future to make my studies look as good as possible. we'll see. i tooootally know what you mean about the environment stuff, and i agree. the bottom ones are where i feel i hit my stride. i tried not to spend too much time on them; they're more about getting better at environments and abstracting, but every little bit helps. really, thanks for the crits dude, i do appreciate. i'm trying to become a better artist and there's some things i don't see cause i'm too close to the pictures and don't always see my faults or my weak points, so keep letting me know. best of luck to you as well, dude; i'll see you in your thread.

    DK - thanks for the visit Dan! it's been a while, right? as for my plans, i'm currently pursuing work professionally in graphic design, and i get some freelance gigs here and there in illustration. personally, i just want to get better at art, and painting, so like i've been aiming at and you and others have suggested, i'm going back to basics, learning to manage my values better cause i don't do such a great job of that. i find that i also tend to get too detailed too quick, so i'm working on establishing a process and an order, working big to little, which will help me in my traditional painting as well...it just is more cost-efficient digitally. too many people on this site are toooooo good, and it's disheartening and inspiring at the same time. but i'm going to give it my all. i try to post pretty much everything here, good and bad, so that i and others can learn from my misses and my hits. thanks for the encouragement dude; it'll be a life-long journey of learning, but hey, i enjoy it, and i want to get better. can't stop...won't stop. no Miley.


    so as i said, going back to basics, trying to absorb stuff from Apollo Dorian (a student of Frank Reilly). i'm starting to understand it more now, but i need lots and LOTS of practice...

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  9. #1119
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    trying to make sure to post regular updates. i have a couple projects i'm working on at the moment, but i'll post images as i can. in the meantime, here's some sketches and some studies.

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    Last edited by purb36; January 26th, 2014 at 12:47 PM.
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  10. #1120
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    and some more studies.

    trying to get more of a handle on value and simplifying...

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  11. #1121
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    more and more studying. i feel like i'm getting to understand and control my values and edges better. Happy February!

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  12. #1122
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    some more value studies and a still life...i think i'm getting the hang of this.

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    Nice! Studies are looking good, got nothing to crit really. Just remember to try to apply what you're studying to imaginary stuff too. Keep up the good work man!

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    Great work Purb, those form studies are very good (I need to do those!), that last still life is extremely successful. Thanks for visiting my sketchbook, I'll come by often.

    If you have a moment, Help me improve with critiques. thank you Sketchbook

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    pie - thanks for the compliment, dude. as for imagination stuff, definitely will do, man, that's what this is all for. thanks for the visit, and i'll see your delicious rendering soon.

    tNiz - yeah, dude, doing these form studies has really helped me think about lighting more and about being consistent. often i find myself losing track of the lighting and just shading with no constant source in mind. i'm trying to break the habit, but it's hard. these are helping a lot, though; i'm starting to visualize situations a little better, so that's good. see you at yours, dude.


    more value studies. i'm gonna get this nailed down someday...

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    I'm really love'n what I'm seeing here! These studies are awesome, and I'm glad to see you using both physical and digital mediums. That's super valuable and will really help you develop your style. Keep this going, I just love it!

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    the bottle piece looks good, thumbs up for tackling values, give it time and you will see noticeable improvement

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    Eric - thanks, dude! i feel like i have a lot more control with traditional drawings vs my digital stuff, and i'm trying to correct that gap. thx for the encouragement, dude, and keep going with your stuff too (as if you wouldn't :p).

    Danny - thanks for the encouragement. yeah, it's taking more time than i would like, but i know that in time it'll become second nature, so i'm gonna be patient and keep at it. "Slow and steady wins the race."


    so i've been pretty busy these past couple weeks. freelance work has picked up, and i've been too busy to do any painting. but i've done some sketching. more to come soon.

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  19. #1129
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    Hey purb! Congrats on getting married!!! I always appreciate your comments on my SB.
    Hmmmm are you saving your images as jpeg or something? There appears to be a hazy dust look to all of your digital painting images...
    If you are, try saving as .png haha D:

    Besides that, try and work on the transition of your strokes. The surface always appears to transition roughly and that might not be what you're going for intentionally. What I would advise is for you to get a 100% opacity brush without pressure sensitivity locked-change this via brush settings- and brush each value transition manually ( keeping in mind planes ), WITHOUT blending in between each shift. Then after you've done EVERY value shift, take a pressure sensitive brush and only lightly transition the two together... don't use the smudge tool. And slightly try an airbrush with loooowwwwwww opacity( 20-30% max ) on the edges if roughness still is apparent. This will help solve the problem hopefully. If you're already doing this, need visual to what I mean, or it's not the issue please tell me... and I've got some other possible reasons why it might appear this way.

    Anyways keep up the workin'..
    I'll subscribe now to your SB...couldn't find it via your signature before,
    which is why it took me so long to comment. My bad!
    ( even though it's listed on your profile erk )

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    Pou - thanks for the visit, and the congrats. no idea what you may think about marriage, but for us it's been pretty awesome. my wife is my best friend, and i'm soooo glad that i get to be hers!
    as for my comments, they may not all be helpful, but at the least i hope that they are encouraging at the least. too many cooks spoil the soup, especially when the soup is already coming along well. you got a good thing going, so other than the occasional comment where i think i can help, i'll keep watching and encouraging.

    again, thanks for stopping by, and thanks for the comments. as for the stuff about jpegs being dusty and all, i'm not quite sure what you mean; would you be able to show me? i'm still working on my painting process, and at the moment, i'm mostly concentrating on recognizing and reproducing values to describe form. edges are somewhere in there, though, cause they're key to describing form. definitely need to keep working on my transitions. one of my goals with my studying is to be able to paint in the same way with traditional paints. so partially because of that, and partially because of personal preference, i only paint with full opacity (and i don't use PS...that's another story). but yeah, i do need to work on my blending and my transitions. i'll try to pay more attention to that and hope that i can get better at that in the future.

    made my siggy more obvious, so hopefully that helps. i'll be by your thread, and i'll make my mark. thx for the visit dude; see you soon.
    --

    still busy and still kicking. freelance projects keeping me busy; they've been fun and i'm learning a lot. calling it quits on a recent study; learned a lot, but more to go. i have a lot of sketches to scan, so they'll come with the next update. thanks for the visit, let me know that you came by!

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    hey purb! Here hopefully this will help you differentiate the quality difference between .jpg and .png

    It depends on the resolution ( quality ) of the .jpg but these both have the same 300dpi [which is print quality]. You should notice that the edge quality is better in the .png ( left ) than in the .jpg ( right ). It is even more noticeable with more blended paintings. In addition, it is not too visible here but .jpgs change the hue and value of a picture ever so slightly. Theyre a bit more diluted looking and not as saturated. Theres a bunch out there explaining this...but I'm lazy and the topic is expansive so go look it up for yourself ahha!

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    Feel free to test other variations of save formats as well, .png changes the colors ever so slightly too. At least I think so XD

    And glad you're choosing that method to work on your form! ( solid opacity ). I'll keep into consideration you working on your value quality. Buttt why not try to transition a little more in the same study? It only requires a bit more effort and I think you'll learn more out of it in less time used ( which is even more prevalent for a freelancer ). Edge quality in itself is important to describing the form. Depending on whether an edge is softly transitioned or harsh describes the lighting and shadowing. Plus you might develop a weird eyesense that you'll have to correct later if you don't try and practice it now.

    What program do you use?

    And no problem buddy! I will stop by as well at your sb often ( when you upload ) I appreciate the support because yes....many advices can become overwhelming, but feel free to drop some advice off if you notice something you think is important ^___ ^

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    Pou - i see what you mean about the grainy quality of the jpgs. at larger sizes, i think they won't matter much, and the png filesize can become enormous really quickly. but at the sizes i'm posting at, pngs will most likely show better quality at about the same filesize. cool beans. about the transitions, thinking about it honestly, i'm probably more lazy than i'd like to think or admit. but that's all something i need to work on, the motivation as well as the technique. thanks for the kick in the butt; i do need it.

    been going back to anatomy more, being motivated by my waning ability at it and also by Pou's studies. learning to work not just with lines, but with value shapes as well. i'll get there eventually.

    *edit - actually, pngs take up a TON of space for the same pixel size.

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  23. #1133
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    Haha Aoohhh but the quality of .png is worth it! Do you have an old relic computer or something?

    About the gouache, sorry that's what I meant! I think using gouache might of had a negative effect on how you see values, since you can't really achieve a wide range of values easily with it right. Or at least I think so.... I've never used it before but isn't it pretty similar to watercolor?

    What program do you use if not PS? You didn't answer earlier but I want to mention what might help with your values a tad. In PS there are options such as "auto-color" "auto-contrast" and "auto-tone". if you flip those on and off you can see how much your values could improve... But if your program doesn't have those, I'm sure it has options to manually up the contrast which is the same idea really. So just try that out with your program and then keep the same idea in mind when doing B&W. Or be more aware of a wider range of values.

    And here is your value study from the previous post, see the darkest value is only 84%!

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    In reality there are majority dark dark values ( closer to 90-95% ), and this isn't close... Our eyes enjoy contrasts in some areas . Hmm try to observe values more than practicing for a bit. You can always also drag an eyedropper across a photo that you are studying to see how dark/light the values really are. Observing is an essential part of any learning, also seeing the references would really help me to help you ;D

    Keep up the value studies and I'll try to continue to motivate you.
    Do you find learning value interesting? What intrigues you most with drawing

    Good luck purb~

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    May I ask what these cylinders are about?

    I like that study(still life) from post #1122.. and I don't really know what to say other than that Just keep it up I guess! (Maybe spend some more time on individual studies)

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    Hi Purb

    nice range of studies ! i love it when people get motivated by each others. your late studies seems giving benefits.

    crits:

    -loosen more your line (just a reminder)
    -always check, recheck and rerecheck proportions since you're still learning.
    -when doing hatching better not do a right angle with other hatches(that will form a square)
    -when doing values, be sure that there always a value shift in any area (expect if it's plane). for example: in the late cylinder, the area in light is flat, it always should be a variation (since the for is turning) same with sphere and any other thing
    -in the late figure you used grays and a bit of white and no dark gray or black, there should some area darker, like Pou said.

    -your glass study is pretty good, keep up

    if you can do it, go for Sam Nielson Course, it's the Ultimate lighting/shading course.

    good luck with your nexts

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    yeah i agree with previous posts, you need to push more your darkest values to create a better form, ot its gonna look too flat, also play alot with the dark values, sometimes just 1 or 2 points in difference makes a huge different, also i dont see much edge control, try to play alot with that, try brushes, stokes, pencil ways, etc etc. all that affect the form, anyways keep it up, i like what your doing with your studies.
    maybe start with your darkest dark in some studies.

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    Pou - haha, no, my computer's not so much very old as getting very full. i dunno...it's actually almost 5 years old, so it may be slowing down for that reason. anyway, sry about not answering the question about my program, it kept slipping my mind. i use Paint Tool Sai...i love the way the colors blend and you don't need a special brush to blend, or need to change any settings to get the brush to blend as well. i always found that annoying about PS and i really can't get over it. every time i try to use it and get into it, i just get really annoyed and switch back to Sai.


    anyway, about gouache, yes, it's basically the same as watercolor, but it's opaque instead of transparent. but even with watercolors (and i'm referencing other people than me, as i don't work in watercolors and my skills are terrible), it's possible to achieve a wide range of values. it's all about how you use the medium, and how you work within its limitations. you can't expect watercolors to act like oils, but you can capture the light as best as you can with each medium and make amazingly beautiful pictures. my biggest painting influence and favorite artist John Singer Sargent worked equally well in oils and in watercolors; the way you have to work with each of them is just different. working with in the limitations of both, it's still possible to achieve a "full" spectrum of values, the main point is to be able to change them relative to each other to get the effect you're looking for.


    yep, i'm trying to observe as much i can. one thing i've been learning about values is that the range of values depends on the lighting conditions, and that depending on the light something will either be darker or lighter than you might think. darks aren't always going to be very dark, especially if you're in a situation with a strong light source and strong reflected light. for the value study you were mentioning (which was from life/memory, not a picture), that was the case. i'm not saying that i hit the right values exactly, but i was trying to understand that principle, and work on tempering my values to describe form simply. i still definitely need work, but i'm still going to keep working.


    photos can be helpful for studying, but we need to understand the limitations of them. photos can tend to wash out values either in the high end or the low end, and cameras (at the moment) are not as sensitive as the human eye, so colorpicking from a photo can be a helpful tool, but it depends on the purpose. i generally haven't done studies from images online or on my computer, so i get the training in observing as my eye sees. i specifically avoid doing auto-color and auto-contrast, because if i'm relying on that to make sure my values are correct, i'm not training myself to accurately identify and to accurately put down the correct values. some days i may be better, some days i may be worse, but it'll be me doing it and learning in the process, not just getting the results without the work. i know that i do have a problem with values, and contrast especially, but hopefully the work that i'm doing will help with that. i do appreciate the reminder, and i know i gotta keep working at it.


    i'll tell you the truth, i sometimes get bored with doing value studies, especially as i see other people working in color and the pictures they're making. but i know that learning to control my values is the basis for all good painting, and i had decided not to touch color until i feel i've gotten a much better handle on value. sometimes you have to step back to move forward, so that's what i'm doing now. it's frustrating, but the better i get at seeing my mistakes and correcting them, the more excited i get about doing things this way. i'm trying to be patient and not be in such a rush to move forward without really giving myself the time to master the fundamentals. and there are interesting things i'm learning, like about the way light behaves on surfaces of different values and different textures. for example, unless there's no light at all on something (called ambient occlusion), the shadow value on a lighter colored surface will ALWAYS be lighter than the shadow value on a darker surface. and thinking about it, it just makes sense. and then you have reflected light that will adjust the shadow value as well, but...yeah, there's a whole lot of stuff. and a whole lot that i don't know yet and am excited to learn about. i do find it interesting to understand the world more in relation to painting. i hope i can translate that into being able to paint better.


    anyway, that was a keyboardful, i hope it's helpful. i appreciate your critiques and comments, and taking the time to think of them and write them. i love the work that you're doing, and seeing your progress and your work motivates me as well. keep up the good, hard work, dude. thanks for the visit.


    Nysta - hey dude. the cylinders were from an exercise in the Apollo Dorian book i'm studying, talking about a process for painting. i decided to try doing the cylinder under different lighting conditions from my head, as practice. i actually made a cylinder recently, so i may redo the exercise from observation. thanks for the compliments on the still life. i think it's one of my best, and i'm happy with it. i just gotta get better with everything else, you know? always good to see you here, dude, and in your thread. i'll see you soon.


    Zou - thanks for the visit, and the reminders dude. i also checked out the Sam Nielson course, and it looks really good and helpful. i'm currently doing a self-paced study from a book right now, which is good for me due to my time constraints, but i think the SNC would be good to look into. thanks dude, and i love the work that you're doing these days!

    Buxu - hey man, thanks for coming to my thread, and thanks for the crits. i'm trying to keep these things in mind, it just takes time to develop the skills, you know? but we're all on that journey, and we'll keep pushing forward. thx again, come back soon, and i'll see you at your place.


    lots of stuff that i've been going through these days, and lots of work has kept me busy, but that's life. i'm glad that i can find time to paint and draw, but for the moment it's always going to take a backseat to life. my friend is going to start a food truck hopefully within the next month, if not the next week, and i've been helping him out a lot with that. i've been doing some quick (and some not-so-quick) master studies of Sargent and an accidental Monet (lol) trying to work on value and simplifying, and being quicker and more efficient in showing form. i feel like i've learned some things about process, and about how i completely tend to dive into working on the details before the bigger stuff is put down, and i need, NEEEEEEED to break that habit; it'll make me a better painter, it's just hard to do. hurg. anyway, here's some recent studies and sketches. as always, crits and comments are welcome.

    thanks for the pats on the back and kicks in the rear...i need them. really glad to have found the .Org.

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  28. #1138
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    hello purb... Mmm I'm gonna break it to you. Even in extreme harsh lighting there is going to be dark shadows in many cases, in the scenes/objects you have depicted if it is harsh lighting there would be an upscale (lighter) of values at the very least. your values don't even reach that close to it so of course I expect there to be more darkness than what you are referring to.

    Back to harsh lighting, if there is an object in harsh light, there is going to be an extreme dark backcast on the opposite side of the object, AT LEAST SOMEWHERE because the darkest value represents the crevice that light cannot reach so easily even with reflected lighting. But there can't be harsh lighting everywhere..it's unnatural and doesn't really happen in nature. ( the dark crevice would just be closer to the object in this case )

    photos can be helpful for studying, but we need to understand the limitations of them. photos can tend to wash out values either in the high end or the low end, and cameras (at the moment) are not as sensitive as the human eye, so colorpicking from a photo can be a helpful tool, but it depends on the purpose. i generally haven't done studies from images online or on my computer, so i get the training in observing as my eye sees. i specifically avoid doing auto-color and auto-contrast, because if i'm relying on that to make sure my values are correct, i'm not training myself to accurately identify and to accurately put down the correct values. some days i may be better, some days i may be worse, but it'll be me doing it and learning in the process, not just getting the results without the work. i know that i do have a problem with values, and contrast especially, but hopefully the work that i'm doing will help with that. i do appreciate the reminder, and i know i gotta keep working at it.
    Don't become ignorant and underestimate how useful B&W photos are. For training values they are one of the most useful tools.
    Cameras actually up the contrast [ at least the newer ones] but it distorts colors and it's unnatural this way.
    which is why its suggested not to study color from photos when possible
    Of course you don't want to train this way always ( via photo )...when you become more experienced it is good to try and see values from life.
    BUT I believe this is not the correct practice for you right now. Especially since youre having issues with values
    when trying to learn value from life, you don't have anything to compare whether you are correct or not for your values!!
    You also have color thrown into it so more than likely you are way more off than if you train with b&W photos.

    How are you supposed to know whether your values are correct or not if you are just judging them with something in front of you where you can't flip greyscale on and off. Yes of course you can check by seeing if the colors are correct, but its just not really the best method in my opinion for learning values by itself and not the best method for you right now.

    Just try more B&W photos to see what percentage of which value is more common and appears in which kind of situation etc.
    What I'm getting at is don't disregard something so awesome so easily. And don't avoid drawing hands behehe

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    Pou - Hey dude, i respect you as a friend, and to me it's definitely important to respond to what's asked to me. So in all respect, permit me to respectfully agree with some of what you said, and also to disagree with some of what you've said. Never said i was simple. Anyway, maybe i wasn't clear with what i said, but i'll try to clarify.

    1) Harsh lighting: There's 3 factors that go into what an object will look like under certain lighting conditions: the light, the object, and the viewer. What you were saying about there always being dark shadows, that only takes into account the light and the object, but not the viewer. People's eyes self-adjust or contrast. When you come from a light room into a dark room, everything looks really really dark, but once you're in there for a while your eyes adjust and the values become more defined. In strong lighting conditions, if you're on the light side of the object, yeah, the shadows will look darker, but when you're looking from the shadow side of the object, all of the values shift lighter. That's what it's like in rim lit or back lit conditions, which is what i was paining. Anyway, i'm not making this stuff up; lots of books will say the same thing, and experience as well. You've even done the same things in some of your paintings (your recent ones, like all of post 331 in your thread), and i could readily find a hundred paintings that agree with me. I'm not the best at actually executing on all this stuff, but that's why it's practice, and i'm seeing progress, step by step.

    2) Photo studies: I never said that i would NEVER do studies from photos, i just said that i haven't done many of them. And i should say, i haven't done many of them lately, at least pictures from online. I do on occasion do them (there's some of them in this update, if i get to them; there's a billion pics i have waiting to post), so there's no dispute there. My point was more about colorpicking, and how it can be somewhat helpful, but also counterproductive to what i'm trying to do.

    3) Color picking and auto contrast: Color picking and auto contrast can be helpful, but they're not helpful for getting ME to accurately identify and group and replicate values. I can DO it and get good results, but i won't be doing the learning. It would be like if i said to you, "You have proportion issues, so the best way for you to work on that is to trace other people's anatomical work." (Not saying you do, just using it as an example.) No matter how good the other person you're copying is, unless you take the training wheels off and get the miles and miles of practice doing anatomy and proportions yourself, you won't be any closer to being able to assess and correct your own proportional errors. In the same way, yeah, i'm going to have errors in accurately getting the values down from time to time, but the more i push myself to do it myself, and take the time to analyze what i have done wrong and done right, the more i'll actually learn. Maybe there are better ways of learning than what i'm doing right now, but i'm trying to follow something specific and trusting the process, and the more i keep along that way i believe that i'll get better.

    4) And i'm not avoiding hands, i've just been busy. :p

    Anyway, dude, i'm glad for the interaction, and i like how you try to encourage and push people and kick 'em in the bum from time to time. You're improving awesomely, and i likes it. Keep it up, still cheering you on.

    OMG, has it been busy! Lots of stuff. I hurt my knee pretty bad recently, so i've been limping through. In 3 weeks i'll be exhibiting at a local art fair with my wife (jewelery-maker extraordinaire), and i'll be doing live portraits in 5 minutes each (#lightningsketches), so i've been practicing like mad to get my process down and consistent, and get faster. [shamelessplug]If any of you are in the Boston area, be sure to check out Somerville Open Studios on May 3rd and 4th, and come on down to the Armory to get your portrait done, or just to say hi and introduce yourself. [/shamelessplug] Anwway, i've been working for that, and doing taxes, and a bunch of regular life stuff, and i've been meaning to reply to Pou and it's just been too busy. I'm helping my friend start up his food truck, which should be ready to go within the month, and trying to squeeze some painting in as well. With the #lightningsketches, i'm finding new ways to lay down the initial lines...a dying brush marker works wonders for putting down broad areas of medium tones.

    Anyway, if i talk much longer, you'll be bored to tears, and i won't be doing any studying, so here's the art. Have at it. Cheers!

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