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Months ago, when I first got my Wacom tablet and was still very new to digital art, and somewhat new to working with color, I decided to do some still lives to work on my rendering skills, observational skills, knowledge of light, etc. Well, after months of procrastinating and distracting myself by drawing fun creatures, I'm finally getting started. My goal with these still lives is to increase my knowledge of light and form, hone my observational skills, learn to render different types of materials, as well as work on my digital rendering technique.
For my first still life, I decided to paint my Wacom pen stand, because it was right there on my computer desk. Here are my steps:
First, I set things up. I took two years of mechanical drawing in high school, and it has helped tremendously in my later, more fine arts related endeavors. I recommend mechanical drawing classes to anyone interested in art; they really help you think scientifically and logically about drawing. Anyway, to get the ellipses right, I simply created random ellipses with the ellipse tool on photoshop, then free transformed-->distorted them to fit onto the grid I'd made.
Next, I turned off the line and ellipse layers and painted the surface the pen stand was sitting on, in this case a wood desk. I painted in three general blobs of hue (yellowish on the lower right, orangish on the lower left, and more desaturated up top), and then blended the hues together with a brush composed of many dots. I left it somewhat rough.
Next, I blocked things in using imprecise smears of color.
Starting to refine.
More refining. The pen stand is now pretty much done.
Yet more refining. I lightened up the shadows a bit my lowering the opacity of the layer they were on, and darkened the background to give some more depth. And that's when I stopped.
Things I know I need to work on:
-Grounding the object more. The right side especially seems to be floating.
-The composition. The object is smack in the middle with a shadow on the left and nothing on the right.
-The rendering. Could be smoother in some areas.
So, now that I've given you probably much more info about this painting than you need to know, what to you all think? In addition to what I just mentioned, I'm seeking critiques on...just about everything. My style, my method, etc.
Thanks in advance for anything at all you have to say.
Update: The attached image is a very slightly revised image.
Last edited by Moai; January 12th, 2007 at 01:16 PM.
For such a mechanically perfect object, I suggest spending more time on the edges. Make sure they are perfectly straight and smooth. You can get away with a lot more within the faces so long as the edges are tidy.
By the way, if you use both an artificial light-source and indirect daylight from a window, that will give you a more colorful range of light to work with.
Are you going to do more of these still-lifes? :-)
I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.
Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.
SillyLing- I'll take a picture of it tonight or tomorrow night, when the lighting conditions are the same again. I'm a little confused about what you mean here:
Are you talking about a reflected highlight on the side of the object? I'll check it out when I get back to work on this, to see how strong of a highlight it needs.For now, I think it's missing the cast shadow on the left side. Probably add a little orange on the object?
Seedling- Yay! The CA queen of still lives is here! I'll get to work on those edges as soon as I can. Thanks a lot for the tip about lighting. I drew this at night, so it was all indoor artificial light. I'll do my next still life in the day with the window open. So yeah, I'm going to hopefully do a lot more of these. I'll probably do this same object a few more times as well, in different lighting situations and from different angles.
Thanks for the advice, both of you! I'll have this updated tomorrow night, as tonight I have work and New Years activities keeping me away from the computer.
Here's a very small update to my pen stand. I basically just blended the colors a little bit more and got the outline a little sharper, as per Seedling's recommendation.
I'd post a photograph, but even if I got the lighting perfect, the colors and lighting in the photo would look completely different. So, oh well.
Last edited by Moai; January 12th, 2007 at 01:14 PM.