Sketchbook: Falcon's Progress - updt Oct1/06 (at bottom)

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  1. #1
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    Falcon's Progress - updt Oct1/06 (at bottom)

    Seeing as I've been advised more than twice to make a McSketchbook, and get cracking on the whole artist thing.. here are my humble beginnings.

    Following the advice in Betty Edwards' 'Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain' I did these three exercises to guage my current, relatively uninstructed artistic ability.

    I have since discovered that i need to press much harder to stop my scanner from mocking my efforts.. here they are, with brightness/contrast adjustments.

    I would ask for crits, but I know that there is so much wrong with them, that crit-ers might not know where to begin.


    1) Self portrait using a mirrior

    Name:  darkportrait.jpg
Views: 344
Size:  213.7 KB

    Yes, this is me.. or it would be, with a few billion minor adjustments, and perhaps some major ones. As is, I could probably pass for a B-movie actor.


    2) Person from memory



    What happened to her face? o.O


    3) My Hand

    Name:  hendybenchmark.jpg
Views: 334
Size:  92.2 KB

    I didn't think this looked too shabby on paper, but my scanner is always happy to spoil the moment. I really need to press harder or else the critics will go blind trying to figure out if there's something on the screen or not..

    I tried it with a digital camera, and found the results to be much more forgiving.. Are these supposed to be inserting as thumbs??

    Name:  forgivehand.jpg
Views: 317
Size:  159.0 KB





    And now, a random quotation from Oscar Wilde, on the subject of Absinthe:



    “After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were.
    After the second, you see things, as they are not.
    Finally you see things as they really are,
    and that is the most horrible thing in the world.”

    Last edited by FalconInverse; October 3rd, 2006 at 01:04 AM.
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  3. #2
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    Hey Falcon. Nice start here

    Something I'm seeing is that the forms all look a bit too bendy and rubebr-ish. I think what might be causing this, is you're makign tons of small pencil strokes and it tightens the image up, before the diea is really there.

    You could try making some big messy shapes, just blocking in shapes of the body, and then goign in and tightening it up after. I think that way also helps some more spontaneous ideas jump out at you, from seeing abstract shapes.
    Hope this helps

    -Loren

    * Help a CA artist! Visit the Constructive Critique section! *


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  4. #3
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    Great to see you've started the book! Keep posting to watch your improvement!

    The Betty Edwards book is great, definitely follow through with it, it teaches you all the fundamentals you need to know.
    Overall I have three main crits. First off you should use a darker pencil, or at least not be so shy about making darker marks. I think thats the reason why the scanner isnt doing a good job, youre working too light. Second thing you should start working on is your line itself. Youre using many so called "hairy" lines one on top of another, which is something everyone does when starting out, but the sooner you practice a more confident, smooth line, the sooner you'll get the results you like. Practice drawing long straight and curved lines of all angles, and at first avoid drawing from your wrist, try using your elbow instead. You get less controll for small details, but for long lines of all angles it works much better. Last of all as I said in the Sheridan thread is the observational skill. A common mistake is to draw what you know, not what you see. WHat this means is you see a human face, and you draw the individual features as you know or think the features look, rather than the way they look on the person. Try, and I mean try since it is difficult at first, to match the shapes, angles and lines as best as you possibly can, even if it takes an hour or two longer to finish.
    Youve got a solid foundation all round i think, now go through the betty edwards book as well as the andrew loomis book i pointed out in the sheridan thread and keep showing us the results!
    Good luck!

    Nikola Odic
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    you got them purty lips, boy
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    Big messy shapes and heavy sweeping lines.. hmm.. sounds like the consensus is that I should work on the big picture first, and worry about the details after I've developed more confident basic elements.

    Thanks for taking a look. I sure hope i can find time to work at this regularly.

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    One thing, I recall, which kept me depressed for a year and a half back in the good old Middleschool days was Les Misérable.. i was only 13 years old, and it was rather the first major production I had ever seen. Quite stunning. I found the character of Fantine to be particularly inspiring.



    Photo ref for this. Not perfect.. I put a bit more time into this one, but as usual, my shadows aren't shadowy enough. Still, I'm happy with it so far.

    Maybe i'll do some more work on it. Maybe i need a larger canvas (I'm just using 81/2 x 11 printer paper. )


    The original photo (or painting? It's hard to tell):


    Name:  FantineAlpha.jpg
Views: 318
Size:  19.3 KB

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    Last edited by FalconInverse; September 13th, 2006 at 11:25 PM.
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  7. #6
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    Silly dsg scribble for topic 'man bites dog'

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    Last edited by FalconInverse; September 10th, 2006 at 03:36 PM.
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  8. #7
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    hehe welcom, work hard and you will go far! when shading, make an effort to distinguish between midtones and darks, make your darks as dark as you can and your pics will pop out!

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    Look! They finally changed the ConceptArt banner! They must have heard that I didn't like the old one. Wow, finally some good news.

    Oh, well I just happened to be here when I noticed that. Uh...looks like you are just beginning. How's it feel, you enjoying it? Do you have dreams of being a great artist, or are you just fooling around?

    Yeh everyone recommends you start out by drawing what you see, but I always see that with the end goal of being able to draw well from imagination. But then sometimes I think the only thing that drawing from life/copying stuff really teaches you is how to copy stuff better. I don't know how you learn how to draw well from imagination. See, you're supposed to learn stuff when you draw from reference...how things look and also how to represent three dimensional things on a two dimensional plane. But for some people (me), it doesn't work. So there is no guarantee you'll ever improve your imagination drawing skills. To me, drawing from imagination is the only TRUE kind of drawing - everything else is merely copying. Many people would disagree with me on this, but I've felt the same way even before I started to draw. Of course, at this point I would be happy just to be able to reproduce the image of things well but that won't happen. Some people are amazing at copying, and can make almost photo-realistic copies. It's pretty amazing, really. I would be delighted to have that skill. They say if you practice enough you can learn how to do that, but I think some people (me again) just won't ever be able to perfectly copy stuff. We just don't have the patience/powers of observation to do it, no matter how hard we try. But really I was never interested in learning how to copy perfectly, as much as it appeals to me these days. No, I've always wanted to be able to draw well from imagination. To me, it seems like there is no greater power than to be able to bring an image from your mind to paper. This is what truly appeals to me about drawing. Naturally I have been attracted to comic art, which does this commonly - as opposed to realistic fine art which routinely use gratuitous reference to draw/paint anything. Not all artists do this though, my favorite artist Frank Frazetta has stated that he never uses reference when making his paintings and drawings, it all comes straight from his mind. I don't know if this is entirely true, many other artists are very skeptical of this claim, but I believe it to be true enough that I find it admirable. I always wanted to make realistic looking pictures of things that don't exist, so I have wanted this skill for some time. But it seems only true prodigies like Frazetta are capable of such feats, most artists are doomed to use reference. But I have seen many other artists that are able to make truly convincing (if not entirely realistic) drawings straight from their minds. I recall seeing the production sketches from the Predator movie and being truly impressed that someone could formulate and then draw an entirely new creature so well. Also I have this picture of one of the programmers of Doom, posing with a drawing he did of one of the monsters in the game that is very impressive. He is not even an artist by profession - and yet he is capable of such genius! I wonder, can someone as untalented as me LEARN how to do this myself. The answer is of course: no. I have tried for years but have learned absolutely nothing and never have I improved my drawing skills no matter how badly I wanted to. But then I wonder, if drawing well is really such a wondrous ability-that so few are capable of-then why is it not celebrated more? Could it be that the ability to make such good drawings is not really such a remarkable skill afterall? Can mere idiots (such as myself) really learn to do this too? All answers have been "no", as I queried the world and my own nature. This matter has confused me deeply. Some say to me, "there is hope", but I have found none to be had. And so I have sought teachers, being unable to learn on my own. But I have found no teachers. So what should I do? Keep trying to learn on my own even though it has borne no results for so many years? Doing such a thing seems ridiculous, especially given that I despise the process of "learning how to draw". But I don't know what else to do, since I have found myself unwilling to give up on my goal of learning how to draw. I look to others, hoping that seeing them progress will give me clues as to how to teach myself. But honestly, I can see no one learning anything. They tell me that learning is going on everywhere, so why cannot I see it? Is the process just so slow that even years of work produce so little results? If that is true, then is it possible I have been learning all along, only at a pace so slow that I have failed to notice it myself? If the process of learning how to draw is really so slow, then what hope do I have of ever becoming accomplished at my craft? I can think of no other skill that is so slow to learn. That must mean that drawing is very special, but that gives me no hope of acquiring the skills I aspire to.

    And so I wish that you have the "talent" which I lack, and I subsequently wish that you have an easier time with drawing than I have. Of course, I can think of no one that has had as hard of time with drawing as I have, so I suppose wishing you better luck than me is moot. So instead I will just wish you good luck at fulfilling your goals, whatever they may be.

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  10. #9
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    Well.. that was unexpected.

    I don't know if you'll stop by again to read this..

    I found your post to be .. well.. very different from the kind of feedback I'd imagined I would recieve. I checked out a few of your other threads, and your Deviantart link.

    It is unfortuante that you have been threatened with banning. I do understand why though.

    A lot of people here, myself included, are very hesitant or very afraid of failure. There are a lot of people in this forum who know what they are doing and can produce some magnificent works..

    ..and then there are people like me, who have literally been to shy or too unsure to even Try to make a start at a proper peice of art. I myself have spent the last three years going back and forth over whether or not I want to persue an artistic job in the future. In the mean time, I've been doing the kind of lifeless work-a-day job that I'm terrified of getting stuck in permanently. As time passes it becomes more and more clear to me that I have to do SomethinG creative with my life, or I'll go insane.

    So, I am just beginning.. starting from scratch as it were. I don't have a history of artistic experience. I've taken one course about 2 years ago.. and I will be taking more in the coming months.

    My artistic style might be described as hesitant and terrified. Thus, reading someone speak about giving up, and lack of talent, and failure is frightening to me, because all those things are on my mind, and i'm trying to ignore them and create something anyway.

    I'm not a spring chicken myself. I'm turning 27 this year. I have a degree in English, which took four years of my life, and now feels wasted. At this age, surrounded by what seem to be younger, more talented, more experienced artists, I have a natural tendency to feel inferior.

    But if I let it get to me, of course I'll never become much of an artist. A person who doesn't try loses heart. A person who tries can still gain something.

    Thats why I like both the peices I just posted.

    The first one is taken from a photograph, just a copy really.. nothign special, but it looks like the beginning of something that might turn out well. It shows me my fear as well. I find it difficult to make those dark shadows, and heavy sweeping lines, because I'm afraid to get it wrong, and it is hard to cover up big dark mistakes.. wheras little light mistakes are easily hidden.

    The second little sketch, while by no means professional, shows my sense of humor. I did it for a DSG 'man bites dog', I don't know if i'll find time to improve it, but i like the way it set me apart from the other entries. Most of them went to a voilent approach, a ravenous man tearing into a dog. I prefered to take a comical edge, and I tried to capture some feeling. The dog, for instance, I wanted to appear very sincere and worried.. not actaully bitten, but knowing what fate has in store. The human, I wanted to be fairly oblivious, or uncaring.

    Anywho.. I don't know my art yet. I do know that it takes an incredible amount of patience, and a strong comittment. This is not the first time I decided to break out the pencils and be an artist.. but I hope it is the last time. I really want to do this.

    I'm reading a book called 'drawing on the right side of the brain'. I don't know where you're skill level is at, but I'm finding this book to be very helpful. In the fifth chapter, they recommend you try copying some interesting line-art upsidedown. People who did it right side up made something pretty weak artistically, because they knew what they were drawing, but when you look at it upsidedown, it just becomes a bunch of lines and spaces, and odd shapes. It is so much easier to draw something when your brain isn't trying to tell you what it should look like. The brain doesn't know how to draw. The eyes do. I think its just a matter of getting your brain to stop interfering, and let your eyes tell you what you should draw.

    Drawing from your imagination seems hard, but there are ways to make it easier. Everything your mind can visually come up with is based on things your eyes have seen at one time, or another. Every creature you imagine is probably an approximated combination of real existing creatures. Getting references for those different parts would help to make a realistic whole.

    I remember there was a good thread about this. Called Creature Design process 101.

    Right, well, I dunno if you'll be reading this. I think your own personal biggset obstacle as an artist is about confidence. If you refer to yourself as a 'mere idiot', you might be joking, but then again, you might not. If you don't learn to appreciate yourself, how will you be able to appreciate the things you create, even if they are spectacular to others eyes?

    If you are really committed to a future in creative art, you just gotta bite the bullet, shove out the negative thoughts, and keep plugging away at it, until you lick it, or until it licks you.

    Until that day comes, you are still on the journey. It isn't fair to judge yourself until the journey is over. Additionally, we're all our own worst critic. Thats why the community exists - to get a second opinion more valid than our own.

    I see a lot of exceptional artists here, and I might go into their threads, and see their work. I wont say 'I suck compared to him', but I will say 'I hope I can learn to do something as good as that.' and now I'm gonna do whatever I can to make it happen.

    I'll keep trying until I do, and if I ever fail, or give up, it'll be on my terms. I think this skill can be learned. And I think I have a chance to make my own visions come true, and It was Extremely frustrating at first, because I tried to bring them right out of my mind and put them on paper and make them dance.. but people aren't meant to be able to do that. I'm finally willing to admit that I need to begin at the beginning - with the simplest bits and pieces.. and build until I can create what I've been dreaming about. It might be a very long time, but the ideas live within me, and they want to get out, so I'll try my best.

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    Falcon's Progress - updt Oct1/06 (at bottom)

    I think i'm finished with this now.. silly DSG ^^

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    I read both Goodbye..fromthevoid's and your post Falcon. All I really wanted to say here is to not give up, just because some person is not amazingly talented (wich very few are) is not a reason to give up on your dream. When I see your drawing I see lots of potential, sure there is loads of work to be done but as long as you dont give up you'll keep improving.

    So dont give up or be afraid and keep posting those drawing!

    Putting the FUN in FORUM!.... wait...

    My Sketchbook
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    Another couple exercises from the book of Betty.

    She had me draw these ones upsidedown. In both cases, I did fairly well until i got to the heads.

    Name:  upsidedownigor.jpg
Views: 338
Size:  211.1 KB

    Name:  upsidedownkerniggit.jpg
Views: 348
Size:  186.4 KB



    I also tried my hand at drawerizing a portrait type thingy. She's almost impossible to capture for someone at my stage of the game, but it was fun to try :

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    Damn life wouldn't keep still.. i mean uh.. i have this funny jar.. actually a few. I collect funny looking jars. I think this is why people usually draw while they are awake..

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    Art Dumpity Dump time?!

    A few from the sketchbook.. and now i'm taking classes, so there's some charcoal and conte mixed in with the pencil stuff. Yay art class!

    (Beware of Approximations of people without Clothinks!)

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    Some humble beginnings. (Comentary welcome!)

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    Good stuff, youve made a lot of progress since October Falcon!

    The pastel stuff is definitely the strongest, though you would definitely benefit from usiing some sharper edges to sharpen up the suckers.
    The life drawings are stronger in confidence and proportion, but can definietely be taken farther. Get a sketchbook and start drawing people around you all the time, at home, on the bus, in the street, from photos etc. Limiting yourself to only doing so in life drawing slows down your progress. Dont forget to study the proportions and anatomy too, there are some great books out there, just check out the fine arts & discovery section if you havent already.
    Value-wise the drawings have also improved. Try using conte or something similar instead of the softer charcoal, you'll have more control of the values instead of immediately going into the darkest darks. The other thing to worry about is the placement of the values, in most of the life drawings it looks more like youre marking where the shadows are, rather than how they affect the surface. Do some more value studies, maybe even from photos to give you more time (you can get tasteful nude photos at sites like domai.com, check the BOD archive). Focus of the shapes of the values and getting them as accurate as possible, and constantly try to think about where the light is coming from and how it is affecting the form, that is where and how the shadows go.
    Keep posting, dont go quiet on us again!

    Nikola Odic
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    you got them purty lips, boy
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    Thanks for responding SirGreenSock! Those last i posted were from the tail end of the same 10 week course i started in october (mostly from january).

    Unfortunately, I currently lack the necessary equipment to get my art online. I borrowed a digital camera for these.

    They were done at these night classes i took at the AGO. Very nice instructors. The drawings that look charcoally actually were done with Conte.

    All the instructors had us working with Conte-2B, except for a few classes at the end, where we experimented with the pastels.

    I guess they might look like Charcoal, because of my specific quirky way of doing things. In all my classes, I seemed to have a sort of 'blurrier' or 'scruffy' result. I wouldn't say that i do it on purpose. I'd call it a bad habit that i need to break. I have so much to learn!

    I really appreicate you taking the time to comment! My biggest issue remains confidence, with procrastination as a close second. I think they feed off of each other. I really hope going to an all arts school, and escaping my mindless job with Scotiabank will help turn both of those things around.

    I'm putting together a nice little library of artistic materials. I've got

    Anatomy for the Artist - Simblet
    Drawing on the Right side - Edwards
    The complete guide to perspective - Raynes
    Persepective made easy - Norling
    The natural way to draw-Nicolaides
    The complete guide to drawing from life-Bridgeman

    as well as a bunch of fluff... so combining that with all the stuff I've found on the web (loomis, vilppu etc.) and conceptart, I don't really have a shortage of reading materials.

    I figure I probaly just need to draw about 1000 times more often than I currently am..

    But trying to learn to control my values probably wouldn't hurt ^^
    I wonder if maybe once we're in school you might show me an example or two, of how i could do it differently? (I understand the problem, but i'm not sure how to correct it)

    thanks for stopin by!

    Last edited by FalconInverse; July 29th, 2007 at 10:02 PM.
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