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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    East Coast Australia
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Red face How NOT to do stuff (image heavy)

    Hiya peoples, I'm new around least, I don't think I've joined up before.......I've certainly been lurking for a while. ^_^ I'm still a bit of a newbie, so I thought that this section of the forums was the best place for me, though I've been doing digital art (with active efforts to improve, not just mindless doodling) for almost two years now. ^_^

    I've mainly joined up to this site because I'm starving for some good critiques and technical tips. So, as a way of introducing myself, I've posted my latest work in progress. However, I've also been doing this picture in the little spare time I have with my full time job, and I've somehow managed to do this picture in THE MOST ROUND-ABOUT WAY POSSIBLE. So here we go peoples, here's how NOT to go about creating some digital art...........(this should be interesting.............*cough*....)

    How NOT to do stuff (image heavy)
    Here's a couple 'initial sketches'. This is fairly typical for me, when I have noooo idea what picture I want to draw. At this stage, I'm paying very little attention to anatomy, and rather just getting an idea on the page (mistake number one: not spending even a minute on planning what to draw, and then not paying any attention whatsoever to anatomy.....this lack of attention to anatomy is a BAD habit to get into).
    At least by the final drawing, I've figured out that I wanted her to be sitting. O_o

    How NOT to do stuff (image heavy)
    Okay, I've cleaned it up a little. By this stage I have a basic idea of just what's taking place in the picture. By sketch number (6), I've laid down my basic idea, though the composition leaves much to be desired.

    How NOT to do stuff (image heavy)
    More cleaning up, and starting to get a better idea of my picture. However, I did make the mistake of keeping my line work far too messy. It was a pain in the butt to try and figure out what half the lines I drew WERE. In sketch number (8 ), I've extended the canvas and tried to make the composition just a little better. (Yet another mistake- trying to make the composition work AFTER drawing the picture).

    How NOT to do stuff (image heavy)
    Having become sick to death of trying to clean up that mess I call 'lineart', I've started splashing in some of the background. First some sky, then the background city (complete with futuristic plasma dome), then the drones in the midground, shining their spotlights amongst the debris. This is the first time I've attempted a background before.
    In image number (12), I started splashing on some colour onto the girl, and tried to figure out just how contrasty that area of the picture would be. But, this was one mistake that I tried to fix early on. I then deleted the layer with this new splashing of colour. I realized that if I took that track, I'd be painting how I've ALWAYS painted, which turns out looking flat and generic. In an attempt to do at least one thing right with this picture, I move onto the next step......

    How NOT to do stuff (image heavy)
    I laid down some more colour into the foreground, and made things a bit more gloomy than I originally planned. Not as contrasty as I would have liked, but at least the colour was there. I decided not to go too outrageous with her clothing, and blocked in some basic colour. I may still change the colour, but at least a base is there. Wanting to take a break to move onto some 'fun' stuff, I painted her face a little. Still just sketchy- textures and proper colour is yet to come, but at least the colour is there. I'm starting to see a little progress. I also tried to avoid relying so heavily on my lineart. Instead of colouring between the lines (as I normally do), I've painted ON TOP of them, making small adjustments along the way. I've colour picked from everything on my canvas so far, and while I'm still not 100% happy with the semi-realism (need to work on it more), I've left it alone for a while, to work on some more things in the picture.

    How NOT to do stuff (image heavy)
    I started to fill in bits around the canvas- the drones in the background now have a bit more detail, the 'wall' behind the girl is more contrasty and has some fake detailing on it ('fake' as in I will be properly detailing this later). We now see a little better what is inside the jar-like thing she's holding, as well as the roots coming out of the bottom of it. Much more vegetation to come, but there's the start of it. I also worked a little on the girl's hair and goggles, though I'm considering removing the goggles completely, as they're looking a bit dorky. I also used a big, low opacity brush to quickly slap a big shadow over half of the girl. Not a correct mapping of where the shadow will fall, but rather just something to give me a basic idea of what I'm working towards. It's on a separate layer so I can easily get rid of it later.

    And, here's a slightly bigger detail...
    How NOT to do stuff (image heavy)

    Things that I'm wanting to accomplish:
    > I'm going to work on the sky in the background, try and paint some convincing looking 'apocolyptic' clouds. This is something I've never tried before.
    > I want the city and its dome to look convincing, while also trying to maintain a sense of distance. Again, never tried before.
    > I'm going to detail the debris and drones in the middleground, and try and get the spotlights (from the drones) look convincing, with the light hitting the debrish (and casting shadows) in a plausible way. Again again, never tried before.
    > I want the vegetation coming from (what I'm suddenly going to call ) the plant baby to be detailed a convincing, though obviously fantasy. Haven't attempted plants before, either.
    > I'm going to try and paint everything with as little reliance on my trademark 'big black outlines' as possible, trying to use lighting and colour to define form. I haven't really got a point of reference, so I'm not sure just how much I'm succeeding in actually pulling that off. I think we'll be able to see that a little better when I work more on the picture.
    > I need to fix up that darn anatomy still (see, I told you it was bad to keep putting it off), but I'm not 100% sure on what the problems are exactly, to be able to fix it.
    > I think I will be doing some colour adjustment. At the moment, everything is screaming PURPLE PURPLE PURPLE. I want a more dusty, monochromatic look.
    > I want ATMOSPHERE.

    Well, as you can see, a lot of this is me experimenting with things for the first time, and I actually do catch on (albeit sometimes a little slowly) with new techniques I read about. So here we go, I'm turning to you lovely bunch for some tips on how to go about finishing this picture. Don't worry about sounding harsh- I don't offend easily- the more information the better. I can guarantee it won't be a waste of your time- you should see how I started out almost two years ago! Big improvement. ^_^ I'm hoping to improve some more.

    Thank you peoples! If I don't respond straight away, it probably means I'm at work. I do look forward to reading any critiques I might get.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    On the fringes of "acceptable" observation and commentary.
    Thanked 136 Times in 60 Posts
    Well, you definitely get 100 points for being able to objectively see your mistakes yourself (planning, anatomy, etc.)...But, you lose 300 points for not following what you yourself admit are "the Basics."

    This is pretty good piece for mood, though. It just doesn't make much sense (see Planning...). Some orb thing is hunting with the light, CityRose is hiding in the shadows with some fetus in a jar that is extending roots into the ground...uh-huh. Containerized lifeforms usually don't sprout roots, otherwise why contain them? Also, wouldn't the searching orb home right in on something that is rooted into the ground that looks like a fetus??? And what role does CityRose play in this flimsy tale? Is she planting that thing, or trying to wrench it out of the ground? At present, she's tilting it and looking like some kid stealing cookies when no one is looking...

    My biggest gripe, though are those shoes. Now, I can appreciate a fine pair of stack heels as well as the next person, but with shoes that high, there is no physical way she can be sitting on the ground with her feet flat without having to lean REALLY far back. Just the physics of the human anatomy.

    The foundation for this piece is weak. REAL weak. I'll let the others make suggestions for shadows, anatomy, and values, because I don't feel this piece is solid enough in concept. I will tell you though, that your positive/negative space is effective, as is your depth of foreground, middle ground, and background, with a good balance of shapes and forms.

    I'm rating this at 2 stars, with one of them because you did at least acknowlege all the Basics that you then ignored...Personally, I rate this 2/10 for concept, 5/10 for execution (You're spending too much time on face painting, when you should be addressing your compositional flaws...)

    Change is Inevitable, Growth is Optional
    I am The Choosen One!
    Jason sez: Draw more from Life!

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    GA and the world
    Thanked 122 Times in 63 Posts
    I'll give you 8/10 for the effort in puting this together. I'll assume that the title and its related comment are facetious, as this is clearly how you are doing this piece.

    I'll admit that I'm not certain what's going on, either. I'm not certain if she's trying to get into the city, has stolen this and is fleeing, or is in a Madonna video. Neither the face nor the body display any identifiable emotion, which reduces viewer interest. The cool color scheme evokes a feeling of escape, but there is very little temperature contrast to keep the whole piece from feeling that way.

    Of course, most of this could be excused if the image rocked the house. Unfortunately, the incredible inefficiencies in the unbiquitous, little scribbles is robbing the piece from any coherent value plan. I thought you were going in the right direction (mostly) in image 12, with big brushes blocking in the basic colors. It seems like you wasted a massive amount of time putting in all the little baby strokes.

    As an aside, I much prefer pose 5 for the piece. It gives it a more dynamic flow and instantly gives a little more of the story (assuming she's escaping with the Jug O'baby).

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    East Coast Australia
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts


    Ah, I apologise about the late reply- you guys have probably already forgotten this thread. >_<

    Thank you to the both of you for responding. Now I know what issues I need to sort out with my next picture. ^_^ I thank you also Madster for mentioning the things I have done 'right'- that helps me give me a bit more drive to improve on those things further.

    *starts thinking out loud*
    I will certainly spend more time with planning, and push myself through that anatomy stage before moving on to the other things. I think if I do that, then I will get a more successful picture. As far as the 'story' goes (I see now that the picture doesn't really reflect it, but there was a basic story); picture some Green Peace/ Hippy girl- she has escaped from the modern world of technology to this desolated area outside of the city, and is 'releasing' that plant baby- allowing it to ground itself and spread roots, in an attempt to bring new life to the earth. But the authorities don't allow this, and have sent out their searcher drones to hunt her out.......
    It's a bit of a cliche- now I know what I need to work on. I've always been a fan of 'cinematic' pictures- I'll try and work towards this myself. That would involve me having to plan much more, to try and get the picture alone to tell the story I'm trying to tell.

    *ends thinking out loud*

    Thanks again for replying, I do appreciate it. ^_^ I've grown to dislike this picture a way that's kind of bad because I've already spent time on it, but I think now I can get working on a better picture, and sort out these issues in the beginning; when I was supposed to. Lol. Hopefully the next picture you see from me will be a significant jump up from this one ^_^


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