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I got a new Norman Rockwell book and was inspired
I like it. Well done. Specially face. and shoes. Also like how one strap is hanging down. Loosens up the symetry of his pose. Had you not hidden his hands in his pocket, you might have had the oportunity to express sth. with em.
The picture also kinda lacks contrast. It looks like a sunny day but I can't see any shadows.
This needs ot be finished. So far, it's great. It's just hard to critique accurately without more being done to it first
All in all, good stuff!
Grave Sight Graphics: The Art of Eric Lofgren.
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I like the way you've styled his face, but the bent knees and large shoes are a little bothersome. It's also hard to tell if his hands are in his pockets or simply in his pants. Perhaps a wider-brimmed hat would be appropriate? That's up to you.
Keep up the good work!
Here are a few paintovers which I hope you find helpful.
First, about the drawing. Look at how the figure is standing- it appears that he's leaning a bit to the right- like he's about to fall over. Really look at your own drawing until you see this- it's the hardest to see on your own work- and really one of the most important skills you need as an artist is the ability to see your own work with fresh eyes. You get caught up in this detail or that, and in your head it all makes sense- but what is actually on the page is often quite different than what you think is there. I think of an analogy of "reading" the picture, in the same way that if you are taking notes on something to share with others, you may need to go back and see if others will actually be able to read what you wrote- whether it's because of your handwriting, abbreviations here or there- or maybe even your pen ran out of ink and you didn't notice.
But I digress. There's a trick you can use to check the balance of your figure- look at the sternal notch (the space in between the collarbones where the neck meets the chest) and how it relates to the feet. You can draw a vertical line straight down from this point on the neck, and it should land either a) somewhere inbetween the feet when the weight is distributed between both feet, or b) right on the ankle if the weight is being held on one foot (as in contrapposto). If it's outside of the feet, or over the wrong foot, the figure will appear out of balance. Of course there are times when you want this effect (i.e. someone receiving a punch, or losing their balance on the edge of a cliff), but otherwise unless the figure is clearly walking or running (or flying through space or whatever) it will seem kind of off. Even for a running or walking figure, it's important to be aware of this line.
As it stands on the figure above, this point on the neck is almost outside of both legs, and is over the unweighted leg. It gives the feeling that he is *almost* in balance.
The next thing I would do is add some "depths" and control the contrast a bit more. By "depths" I mean places where almost no light reaches- particularly where two planes overlap significantly (think of the line that occurs at the edge when a piece of cloth is placed on top of another piece of cloth, or an arm disappearing inside a sleeve). Learning to control depths (the shape, the value, and the hardness/softness) can help define a lot about the image- where the light is coming from, where one form is in front of another, and more. You've already used depths in the collar- the dark on the right of the neck makes it appear that the neck is going *inside* the collar, but you could add some to the hat to make it appear that the head is going inside the hat. You could also make a depth on the shirt where it's overlapped both by his right sleeve *and* the overalls- almost no light would get to this place. However, don't make it black- if he's outside there is enough light in the atmosphere and enough reflected light that its very difficult to get completely black. Also, you could throw another depth where the fabric of his left leg is overlapped by both the fabric of the right leg and the fabric of the crotch. These are very small marks- they should just be little accents- but they go a long way to defining the form as well as setting a tonal boundary for the image (these will be the darkest colors on the whole image). Ingres is a master of controling depths- particularly check out his portrait drawings and how he varies the line and adds little dark accents here or there. Outside of the carefully rendered face he conveys a tremendous amount of form using just line and depths.
Also notice a few changes to the contrast of the piece in this first paintover. Controlling contrast should be one of your primary goals in any drawing or painting- the areas with the most contrast are where the viewer will look. You should orchestrate the contrast in your picture to guide the viewer exactly where you want them to look. In the original, the area with the most contrast is actually the random line between his left upper leg and the background, followed by the shoes. This is a shame because you got a great expression in his face- even though as humans we want to look at faces, our attention is being dragged away by these other areas, which are definitely less interesting. So along with adding some depths in last paintover, I got rid of that strange line along the left leg, knocked back the shoes a bit, and darkened the eyes just a bit. So now the most contrast is between the depths on the hat, the light on the face, and the dark of the eyes, which brings the viewer right to his face.
Now about color. In the original image, the colors in the figure look a bit flat- he has the feeling of being colorized. The first thing you need to do is make some shift between the color of every form between the light and the tone (the areas outside of the light, aka "in shadow"). This will depend on the color of the light- if the light hitting a given form is cool, the color of the tone of the same form should be a bit warmer in comparison, and vice versa- a form being hit with warm light will look relatively cool in shadow areas. You need to make a decision about your light and stick with it. Here, it looks like he is outside, but since the overall contrast between the light and dark is not so much, it doesn't look like he's in direct sunlight- probably in the shade of some saloon or farmhouse. Reflected sunlight (which is what he would be in if he was in the shade) is cool, so the lights will be cool to the relatively warm shadows.
Next, you need to make some difference between the lightest areas and the halftones. The halftones (between the light and the shadow) generally have the most saturated color compared to the light and the shadow. In other words, if we say the shirt is a certain color purple, then the halftones will be closest to that actual color we say it is- not the lightest part, as might seem intuitive (because it's receiving the most light). This is because the color of the lightest part will shift slightly towards the color of the light, while the halftone has less of this influence (though always a little bit!).
Lastly, there should be some variation of hue within each of the light, halftone, and shadow areas by themselves. In every area of color there should be some play between warm and cool. In fact, it's really impossible to have a flat color. If we have, for example, a green wall, intellectually we know that someone mixed up a big can of green paint and spread it all over the wall, making it green. So in our picture we take some green and paint the whole wall that green color. Makes sense, right? But if you *look* at the color of that green wall, you will always see some other colors besides that overall green color- often a sort of yellowish color, along with some blue. It's very subtle, but it's there. This is usually influence from the overall color of the light source, and from reflected light from objects around it, as well as how the original green paint was made (was it mixed from several other pigments, or was it a pure green pigment?). The exact colors will vary depending on the environment and how the local color was created.
So, ultimately what needs to happen is that every warm color needs some cool in it, and every cool color needs some warm in it. And usually, a color won't look right until it has at least two other colors in it- in fact a teacher of mine once said that until a given area has three colors "in" it, you don't have real color- you have a colorized tonal drawing. Without this play of color, the colors will look flat. There are endless ways to actually apply this principle- you can do it impressionistically with little dots, or you can glaze the colors transparently, or blend them in carefully and subtlely. Just look at any of the great masters and try to pay attention to when there is cool inside of warm and vice versa.
So to demonstrate this point (which is quite difficult to explain in words) here are three paintovers. The first is just a smaller version of the one above with the added depth (I made these three small so you can see the overall effect of the color rather than focusing on the drawing). The background already has a play of color- the light turquoise color, the purply blue, and some yellow coming through subtly, probably from underpainting.
In the next image, some variation of color is added. The light of the face already has some play of cool and warm between the cooler light color and the tannish middle tone. But the shadow area looks sort of plastic, so a few touches of blue are added. The purple of the shirt needs a blue to relate it to the blue atmosphere of the whole image, as well as the overalls. The ground gets some touches of blue green to give it atmosphere as well.
In the third image, some red is added to the face to give it color. It probably still needs some small touches of blue to give it atmosphere- the overall color of the face still looks too brown (squint at it a bit). But the purple shirt looks much more alive when a warm yellow is added to balance the two cool colors from before (violet and blue). The little touch of violet to the light of the pants also makes them look more alive- overall they are still brown, but now they are beginning to look colorful within this brown color.
So the progression of these three images in terms of color play is (from left to right)- areas of color made up of one color, areas of color made up of two colors, and areas of color made up of three colors. Can you see how the third looks more alive & atmospheric in comparison to the first?
Of course, these are pretty rough, but hopefully it illustrates the concept well enough.
So, that's probably a lot of information to throw into a thread called "doodle", but hopefully it's helpful to you (and clear enough). Please let me know if you have any questions.
I want to see the hands or to see pocket for the hands to go into -- also shadows would be nice. I like the development on the face.
Thanks guys. Thanks for the tips Dose. That sternum trick for creating balance will come in handy. My characters always seem to be falling over.