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Thanks for the comments!
I bought Jason Manley's videos about composition and especially the first part was a real eye-opener. He explained the 8 principles of composition with the help of some Japanese woodcuts and instructed the viewer to look at their own paintings and see what of those things could be handled better. I did and instantly saw many flaws in my paintings, found reasons to why I like my favorites and what makes other pieces look confusing or boring.
Pumped with new info both from the TAD video and things I've learned in my current graphics job in a game company, I'm revamping my portfolio. This because I'll try my hand at freelancing from the start of October. A few days ago I bumped into this old painting about a historical battle I started maybe three years ago (the painting, not the battle). The basic composition was ok, I had already designed the poses of the soldiers and there was a clear idea in the piece so I decided to continue it. Below is the old version and a version with 15-20 hours of improvements. It's been a blast but there's still refining to do. I've only been using one brush which I described in post 575.
Manley's composition lecture was indeed awesome. So much priceless information for such a ridiculous price.
Definately keep working on that piece. What I would like to see is bit more color variation in the shapes. You know, more hues and such. Less flat patches.
Keep it up, man.
"You might be disappointed if you fail, but you will be doomed if you don't try"
yes your doing a great job recently
i just think you should workalittle biton color, i mean you make these studies for example look pretty exact and close to the original but your colors seem a bit flat all the time, like your wood is brown, your grass is green a blue trousers is blue etc etc
there are many ways to get rid of that (dont get me wrong,in many cases your way of coloring perfectly does the job)
the simpliest way is to just throw in random colors from time to time, and let your mind guide you how to make it fit
another way would be to make color studies from life not from photo - there are so many hypercomplex color interactions going on everywhere try to see the green in a white wall, the grey in a red carpet, the blue in womans red lips ...
but yeah looking forward to your next updates!
Such a great progress you have here! I really like your studies of landscapes and anatomy :-) And you know how to construct things - very important skill. Your clouds are also cool ,but if it's possible try to paint them from life - you'll see how colors looks different in life ,photos making them a bit wrong ,too grey sometimes or sky looks oversaturated. Keep your stuff up! :-)
Ismo - Thanks for that crit! It helped me get more feel of materials to the painting immediately after reading it.
Reika - Thanks, glad you like it!
Xbert - Thanks for the spot on critique! Yeah, I've got to get to the habit of doing more life drawings.
Zoriy - Thanks for dropping by and the great advice!
Quick sketches from life:
Update on the battle painting:
I took the colored dwarf painting to the level you see below:
The colors made it look like an organized vomit so I trashed everything but the line drawing, started with a different approach (dark background and keeping it in grey scale longer) and had more success with the values and everything:
Portrait studies from photo-reference-for-comic-artists.com:
Sketches from window:
Chili leaves done with pen and ink and watercolors:
I painted a Christmas card for my portfolio. The colors on the watercolor version came out so washed out that I finished the PS color sketch I did for reference too. I think I'll show the PS version in my portfolio.
I've been neglecting environment sketches for too long. Here's a bunch I'm mainly happy with:
Two and a half hours (!):
Nice figure studies, if i had 1 crit it would be about the enviroment with the houses, all the houses are almost the same size which is confusing because they should be getting smaller the further away they are in perspective. Other than that very nice stuff keep it up .
Sean - Thanks! I don't know if staying detached from the confines of one medium is the right way to put it, rather I'd say different mediums teach you different things. If I sketch with pencil a lot in a day, I feel my strokes get more confident. After painting with watercolors, I find it easier to think in terms of color relations rather than trying to nail realistic colors in my reference individually at the expense of spontaneity and liveliness, like I have a bad habit of doing if I paint for a long period of time just with Photoshop.
Your question about the photo studies really hit a nail in the head. I give my photo studies the same level of rendering everywhere and of course it carries over to my finished work so I definitely gotta do something about it. So thanks for the eye-opener! On the studies in this post, I've given this thing a lot more thought and left some parts more loose.
Splode - Thanks! Very true about the houses, another reason for me to hate that sketch.
A brushtest I'm now using as a wallpaper
Photo studies with more thought on where I want detail:
Portfolio sample (tried to get a 19th century themed gig):
I guess I'm learning to think more in terms of big abtract shapes at the beginning of a painting. Before getting the forms of the individual sails down, I got the whole mass of sails to look good. I guess the magic to a good speedpainting is to think about it as a few big abstract shapes at the start and start chiseling the details stroke by stroke, moving to a smaller brush as you go, so that it looks good all the time. A no-brainer perhaps but the thought helped me a lot on this one.
The dwarf piece almost finished:
wow this is a huge sketchbook. might take a while to flick through it entirely.
i love the last piece in post 645 alot... its spring...flowers blooming and some giant with a big club is going to give you a bad time if you stand still for another 10 seconds
seriously, there is a lot of really nice stuff with a big variety. looks like youre not stuck with some particular topic/technique
You're starting to get really nice brush economy into those photo studies. Good job. The chainmail on that dwarf looks ace, but the overall image doesn't read too well on my monitor. He kind of sinks into the background.
I'd also like to see you push some of the enviros to final. Really get some details in too to make a piece hold interest bit longer. I know your style is loose, but still areas that are more defined would make a piece feel more finished.
One thing I've started to do with photostudies lately is that I take a reference picture and really just stare at it for a while, focusing on figuring out how light/color and different materials/elements work. What makes trees look like trees ect. Then I'll start a personal piece where I'll try to incorporate the stuff I learned, usually referring back to the photo to check things I didn't quite understand. I think doing that has already helped me to stray away from the generic look that I often tend to get when working from imagination (plastic looking mountains and ugly stuff like that). Studying this way also feels more interesting and efficient than just simply copying stuff (though which too can be useful at times).
"You might be disappointed if you fail, but you will be doomed if you don't try"
I really like that texture your bringing into your works
Ziegengrimm - Thanks for those kind words! I like that giant piece as well, might try to make something finished out of it.
Ismo - Very sharp-sighted critique as always! I'll do something about that dwarf. I tested out the color study thing you suggested on the two sketches below and it feels incredibly useful. It's easy to go to autopilot when copying a photo but this way you can't cheat yourself. Thanks for the great advice!
Kidult - Thanks! I made a few big grunge brushes out of textures from CGtextures.com and have been having lots of fun with them.
More work on this piece I'm slowly getting fed up with:
Sketches I made following Ismo's advice. I stared at reference photos of the topic and tried to get the colors and feel down in a new composition without peeking.
I watched another bunch of videos from the Feng Zhu channel and gotta really appreciate how packed those videos are, not only by information but also catching energy and enthusiasm. The videos about reference books was sort of an eye-opener to me and surely worth watching, I never really understood their value. As another highlight, vehicle sketching had some great, practical career advice, though there's of course loads of that sprinkled in all of the videos.
So, having gotten a dose of inspiration and lots of new tricks I should test and because I need more skills and a better portfolio, I thought I'd try to start a habit of doing a page of vehicle or creature designs, a page of character designs and a page of environments per day for as long as I can. Today they took 12 hours and it may be the first time I've drawn that much in a day.
I sketched all of these in 1.5 hours at first and then moved on to details. The reason is that in some of the videos, Feng Zhu said there's only a given amount of good designing time in a day so it's best getting it done first and move on to details later. Seemed to work for me, I never gotten so much done in such a short time.
(Stargate inspired helmets):
Cars from yesterday:
Great wide variety and skill range, always good to have a browse thru your pages of goodness.
This one's from yesterday:
I made a bunch of new brushes out of some marks I did with watercolors. The file doesn't want to get attached but if anyone wants the .tpl file (works from cs3 upwards), just ask.
I realized that using good-looking brushes helps with speed and vibrancy of colors because the big brushstrokes you lay at the start don't have to be blended afterwards. On the waterfall picture, probably most of the area of the rock wall is covered with strokes I did on the first half an hour. I made sure not to tinker with them to keep the vibrant colors of the initial sketch, just added shadows and details.
All of the environments took me about 4 hours. I think the main thing that sped things up was focusing more on painting things from background to foreground as opposed to painting them in whatever order I feel like and trying to keep the layers organized. With the time limit I set for myself, I also had to get details painted at once rather than leaving them on hold while I work on something else.
You are getting better and batter with colors man. Loving the paintings.
About the monastery painting... I like the overall style, especially how you rendered the rocks... But the monastery itself doesn't seem to fit in there. Don't know... Something about the color or that it looks flat compared to the rest of the environment.