Great Work guys. I'm too wiped to give you a crit but lets just say I'm jealous and I need to jump on the landscape bandwagon too. Keep it up!
Here's couple of perspective drawings for the day, I've been working from The Techniques of Feng Zhu Volume 3 dvd which has been really enlightening so far. I'll try and bash out a few more complicated compositions tomorrow. I also had a shot at Nathan Fowkes portrait drawing technique which was great fun. It was a real challenge for me to try and use shape and tone rather than line to construct the drawings and I'm excited to try some more drawings using this technique. I hope you guys are well. Cheers!
Last edited by David Keen; July 30th, 2012 at 10:09 PM.
Whooza! Great job on the landscapes eb! Especially in your first post. I will write in-depth coverage for you tomorrow. Also, nice exploring of new techniques.
eb & mike: I will try to answer both of your emails as soon as possible!
Personally I am going to shoot for some more speedpainting/value studies etc for the rest of my time here in Finland. (one week!) Don't want to start any big projects. I am going to get a good laptop as soon as I have an apartment in Vancouver and start something nifty, probably mountainous because, you know, Vancouver.
Anyway, on another note I hadn't had glasses for some one and half odd years. I had thought I don't really need em that much, but boy was I wrong. Got a new pair today, and I have to say my work has some serious hard edges. Without glasses they always looked so soft, and my stupid brain couldn't link that & the problems with eyesight.
EDIT: I just had my first .PSD corruption. It was just random sketching psd, so no probs there. Teaches though that one should never turn off computer by force while Photoshop is closing down.
Last edited by Eelis Kyttänen; July 30th, 2012 at 01:16 PM.
Glad you liked the landscape stuff Eelis, there was more to come but images seem to be down on the site at the moment. I'll try and upload them tomorrow morning.
I'm looking forward to seeing more studies from you Eelis but it's worth having a quick look at this video by Matt Kohr about the dangers of silhouettes and speedpainting. It raised some interesting points for me and made me think a little more carefully about the way I approach my pieces.
That's pretty funny about the glasses! Sounds like you'll be seeing your work in a different light for a while now. It's strange how easy it is to think you're sight is pretty good until you put the right glasses on and look at the world with newly enhanced vision.
Good luck with your work guys!
Alright! Let's get down into the business. I will answer to your last post first, Eb!
So, yeah, the point the ctrl chap makes about speedpainting is accurate. However, the focus of his mention was more about skipping the essential steps in handpainting by applying a butt-load of textures/images et cetera to the image to speed up the process. That kind of act is indeed a trap for the beginners.
Personally though I just hand paint everything. Speedpaints for me are more along the lines of establishing a good value/composition/colour structure and then not taking it to the rendering phase at all. So essentially, the only thing why I spoke of 'em as speedpaintings is because I stop painting them further. :p
I made a nice little four-step mix to demonstrate how I usually approach them. Was working on the speedpainting in question today, and I probably want to still go on with it to link the foreground and background better together colour-wise.
Righto, on to the crits! Let's see.
The most glaring problem in both of your post 239' images is the background fade. You are definitely trying to use the athmospheric perspective the right way, but the problem is that the fade looks unnatural. In other words, it looks too accelerated. In the mountain pic it might go on as fog, but in the vertical piece that would be impossible due to the strong sunshine you established.
Instead, don't be shy to add some darks in the distance too. However, you should simply not just pick up the same dark values as in the foreground, but to create the illusion of dark colour by encircling any colour with ligter tones than that particular colour.
I really like how the effect was achieved in this one: http://fc08.deviantart.net/fs71/i/20...ar-d51ws64.jpg
The second point concerns edges. Try to have a few more smooths there and here, even in the speedies.
That was a quick point. Actually I can't really think of anything else for now. Good work on the value structures and doing some grayscale stuff too. Keep pushing at it and you may as well be able to create some real great full-fledged characters + environment illustrations later on. Personally for me that's something I really want to be able to do at some point.
The points above also apply to post 240. Remember to block the shapes in and keep the shadows in the same tone if the distance isn't too big/some other things lightening 'em up.
Back to packing!
Ok, last post before vacation time and NO, I will not be checking CA while I am away. At least I tell myself this but Daedelus has become part of my daily routine, like coffee.
Regarding the landscapes and speedpaints. I'm with Eelis and I like to paint what I see and leave the textures as secondary tools. They can be very helpful and I think one of the better methods is the Feng Zhu one whereby he uses them more to set up his color and composition. But, Eelis is the man when it comes to environments so do what he says. I'd like to see more enviro studies based on real observation and less from imagination. It makes it easier to gage the learning curve when you have something to compare it to. Your thoughts?
Eelis: I feel your pain with the Photoshop blues. I've had my own share of critical errors and it's pretty much time for me to give up the ghost and upgrade my PC. Do you guys have any thoughts on a top notch machine that is not a MAC? I need specs and I will either upgrade what I have but more than likely I will end up building the machine I need. Look after those eyes! Staring at my Cintiq has aged my eyes incredibly this past year and I'm due now for a new perscription. Nobody warns us about this crap when we sign up to be artists. Talk about an oversight! No real crits for the environments today and I'm curious to see if I notice any difference due to your new glasses. To be honest I think you need to push yourself harder and move away from the speed paints. It's time to move onto something more challenging and technical. Perhaps a master study or a long study based on observation or a still life. I'd really like to see something realistically rendered from you and I think you could learn a ton from those exercises that will only make your speed paints even stronger. Just my 2 cents though.
Wicked perspective studies. They will never let you down and if you can master that then you are pretty much there when it comes to concept art so keep em coming. I checked out the Nathan F video and was totally inspired. When I get back, one of the first things on my to do list is a portrait using that method. Did you check out the rest of his blog. I loved the pic of his studio at dreamworks. How the hell he can work with all of those plants all over his easel is beyond me! Your own version of his technique looks unfinished. It looks like you could restate the darks again and after a little modeling, then go into the white. Good first start though.
Going way back to your pirate character: It's good to see another finished design from you. My biggest crit is that his features all get bigger the further down the body we go. IE his legs and feet are huge but his head is small. It is as thought you drew each section /limb independant of one another. The design itself has a nice mix of future Retro and I think it hits all the points you were trying to make. Maybe for the next time you might want to take the design portion further by pushing things a bit more. IE his goggles. They look like regular old goggles that I've seen before but maybe next time, consider designing some goggles that I haven't seen before. Think of it less as a costuming exercise and more of a designing exercise. Besides, that can be the best part of any gig.
On a different note. I came across this post on Matt Rhodes Blog where he talks about how because of the internet, it makes him feel like everything has been done and he no longer feels creative. http://mattrhodesart.blogspot.ca/
Anyways, it's an interesting post and worth discussing. Personally, I think he has just hit a low spot and is venting via the blogosphere. Realistically he is a successful concept artist with some original ideas of his own so he is contributing the the problem he is complaining about. Again, I personally don't allow myself to go down the road he's traveling and try to do the best I can with what I've got and not worry too much about what the next guy is doing or what has already been done. Otherwise, you are just being depressing and holding yourself back. Anyways, your thoughts?
Vacation! Alright! The best time of the year, enjoy and relax, Mike. I hope you are able to peek into here occasionally though! I find myself checking Daedelus out as my daily routine too nowdays.
About enviro studies wheel. Personally I like to think studies from imagination and studies from reality serve two different purpose. I will break these down to a few bulletin points:
Envio-studies based on reality:
-Methods include plein air, still life setups, master & photo studies
-Always based on pre-created content, be it from another artist or from the nature itself.
-What is essentially learnt: How environment works in reality. (values, lights, colours, shapes, land formations etc.)
-In a nutshell: Real observation based studis improve your skill to understand the basic principles and basics of the world around us & how to transfer them realistically to the canvas.
Enviro-studies based on imagination:
-Methods include just about anything
-Based on artists own imagination and skill to see things. A reality/space created solemly by the creator, with influences from the real life experiences, views and references.
-What is essentially learnt: Composition, imaginative concepts, storytelling and skill to apply real life principles unto a concept that doesn't exist to make it believeable.
-In a nutshell: Improves one's ability to come up with new realities.
That's how I would summarize these two methods. However, I don't see these as completely seperate entities, but instead two halves of one. To be a succesful artist, one has to learn what both of these have to offer and unify them into one single mass.
However, it is not easy to really decide which you should focus next. That's why I still try to do these fifty-fifty. Recently I have felt that I have very strong problems of coming up with entirely new composition, placements and places. Thus I've tried to improve this area by doing quick sketches that include all the basic fundamentals to the level where I could take them to the rendering phase.
Speaking of which, my current absolute max rendering is the latest forest scene. I am going to push into the realistic rendering area next, more below!
I absolutely agree with you Mike that I should do something real challenging now. I am currently doing quite a load of environment lineart with pencils, so it is time to do something heavy with digital tools. My previous masterstudies have been more about learning the space/colour et cetera, so this time I am going to do a huge, 1 on 1 (well, as close as possible) render of a painting. Will start today, hoping to get it done before leaving next tuesday.
By the way, I will most probably be without a computer until I can fetch an apartment in Vancouver, so hopefully I will be able to come back to ditgital stuff in a week starting from next tuesday.
Speaking of computers Mike, I will be facing the excatly same problem now that I am moving. Personally I think that any machine that is suitable for gaming can satisfy the needs of a digital painter. Bundle that up with some real hi-tec screen and you are on a good track. I was thinking of getting a laptop first, but I am not so sure anymore as the screens tend to be bad. I will really have to give this a long hard thought.
About eyesight: Yah, I have had bad eyesight for almost my whole life. :p Nowdays I can do without glasses, but apparently I couldn't really see clearly enough. It will indeed be rather interesting for me too, seeing what happens now that I can finally see the hard edges.
I didn't actually know you had a cintiq! Nice!
Regarding your last note about Matt Rhodes, I have to admit that I sometimes tend to sport that kind of mentality. For example, I might get this idea of a castle in some stranded mountain place (duh), be happy with the idea for a sec and then remember how cliché it is. However, I don't really dumb that sort of idea instantly, but try to come up with something new or just some interesting details that would make the painting more..interesting. This often leads to some way too long thinking and scribbling process though, since I really have problems with imagination these days.
I would kinda really like to get rid of that way of thinking, but it probably is about wanting to do something recognisable in the end. Gotta think about it.
@Eb: Good job on those perspective studies! Keep em coming. Also, thanks again for that FDZ dvd!
@Eelis: Thanks for all your great feedback on my enviro attempts man. You've got some really solid advice and I feel that the repeated attempts are starting to sink in more now. I understand your position on speedpainting and agree that seems like the best way to approach covering a range of images quickly. Just like Feng pointed out in that video, the essential parts of the painting are done very early and when comparing the blocked in version and the final the only difference should be the details.
Good point on blocking in shadow tones that share a similar value if the distance isn't too far, I need to remember that!!
I agree with your feelings about working from life and working from your imagination. That's a key part of my environment study that I haven't been attending to. I'll be getting out there this weekend to do some plein air painting and I'll try and do a couple of master studies as well. The master studies seem to have made great improvements to your work Eelis. I agree with Mike that now is the time to try something that is really going to push your work. Maybe another image with a figure? Or perhaps something with a heavier architectural focus? Or just something else that you've never tried before. Go all out with something different and really push the boundaries of your skills, don't forget you need to make 1000 paintings to make a truly good one.
Thanks for all the great feedback dude, I'm glad to have done some topics that have allowed your expertise to be really shown off. Looking forward to more environment time soon!
@Mike: It's new PC buying time! Hooray! I'm going to live vicariously through you and look around at what a good rig will be. This one probably wouldn't be a bad place to start. It's a little over a year old now but that means the prices would be cheaper and you could always add a little more RAM and check out the updated versions of these components. The guys at tested.com do a seriously good job and all the advice of theirs that I've followed has gone very well for me. I'll have a look around though and see what else is happening. What's your monitor situation like? Noah Bradley was repping his monitor recently, it seems to go on sale quite a bit a looks pretttttyyy nice! I didn't know you had a cintiq either, jealous!
I've been following Nathan Fowkes blog for a few months now and it's been a really solid source of quality information. He has another blog purely for his plein air studies which is rocking as well, check it out. I agree with you about my portrait. Not to be a bad workman blaming his tools but I only had some really cheap hard charcoal on hand and couldn't get it to spread very evenly on the paper. I'm going to grab some nice soft compressed stuff from work and give the drawing another crack, thanks for reminding me though.
Good points about the pirate design. It could have been pushed a lot further, I ended up playing it safe because I didn't have much time and wanted the rendering to be pretty solid. I'd like to address this issue in my future designs though.
Have a fantastic time on your trip and don't do too much work when no one is looking. We're gonna miss you, but lets be honest how could you stay away from us for long?
Talk soon guys.
Sorry for silence! Loads of stuff going on.
So, I am leaving tomorrow. Couldn't finish the masterstudy in time, but got almost half of it done. I will finish it when I have an apartment and new computer! Speaking of which, David (name change? great!) I decided to stick with a more familiar subject this time, because I was just going to do it for strong rendering practice. + I wanted to learn to render nature better. It has some wildlife too!
After that one is finished I am going to tackle a cityscape. Probably rural, but still a cityscape.
Can't wait to see your plein airs! I am also going to do a few with acrylics or gouache n watercolours when I get down to VC.
And no probs for the tips, happy to be helping!
But yeah, I will be on my way now. Gotta format this comp and backup all the important stuff before that. I am going to buy some nice smartphone and tablet device when I touchdown, so I will keep in touch!
Argh! Lost my reply! I'll keep this short and sweet now.
I hope your travel to VC goes well Eelis. Have you got friends or family over there already or are you adventuring solo? I can't wait to hear all the news once you get setup. I'd definitely grab a desktop computer or a decent laptop that you can hook up to a standard monitor, colours and values are just to unreliable on laptop screens.
Wheels: I hope the holiday is going well and that you're getting some relaxing downtime.
Here is a little composition I put together yesterday. I've been primarily working on my plein air stuff recently and will scan them once they're completely dry.
Keep well guys!
Well,only mildly but I hope to contribute more soon. Vacation was good but never long enough but I did get a chance to meet Eelis in person and we got to talk shop and do some sketching at the beach in downtown Vancouver. Now Dave, all you got to do is come to Canada and we can all have a sit down. Or maybe we can target a con and all go there to meet up and mix it with business someday. Also I got to meet Quinn Simoes who is also on CA and is a full time concept artist at Iron Clad games which was pretty cool too. Quinn mentioned that he stops by this thread from time to time and I told him that he should join in with his 2 cents when he gets the chance. So you hear that Quinn, I made the invitation public! Now you have to join us.
Dave: Love the perspective studies, they really seem to be working for you and I hope to see that knowledge transfer into your illustrations. Keep posting them up.
Here is a quick Sketch I did of Eelis at the beach using a Bic Pen and I think it took around 10 minutes. He kept moving but I think the likeness is close enough. Maybe we should continue to do this exercise and draw each other for this thread?
Yeps, met with Mike! Was great. Got me into traditional stuff again with his forced digital break et all. The sketch ya did of me is damn great considering I couldn't stay still and you did it in so little time! The likeness is alright, it is just weird seeing me with glasses as I only use them while drawing.
You will definitely have to travel to Canada some way David sometime. A big convention wouldn't be too bad in the following years, let's see how it plays out.
And indeed, another member wouldn't hurt. You are welcome to chime in Quinn if you just got the time!
Your idea of us all sketching each others faces is a good one Mike. I am definitely up to it when I get some temporary secure accommodation. (hopefully today)
But yeah David, I am traveling all solo. It has been quite a place so far, but when I get that temporary place to stay it will start rolling nicely onwards. Especially when I get a real apartment and can import Krik here too. Can't wait for that day!
Who wouldn't miss this face?
Sorry, couldn't resist. I am pretty homesick.
Anyway, about your darn great perspective sketch David. It really works and the architecture looks mostly real. Maybe a bit flat and especially the top area would have been interesting with some changes in height, but it is just a comp/perspective sketch so np.
However, I know you have done the calculations for this one so I could be wrong, but in my eyes a few things are a bit out of perspective. The hallway's door's top area, I mean the 'door' on top of the ramp should probably be a bit more aligned with the top roof because he height difference isn't that big. he camera is at a very low point so the top area shouldn't be that horizontally straight. Now it looks like we would be viewing it at the same height. Same goes for rightmos window's bottom panel.
Compositionally I would move the front horseman quite much to the right, or at least so that the balconys pillar wouldn't look like it is coming straight out of his head.
There is also another angent with he left bottom corner tip of the ramp as it's very final tip touches the border of your picture.
Otherwise great stuff, keep em coming! Can't wait for your plein airs either. I showed this one to Mike already, but take a look too David;
That's by artist named Omar Rayaan who does almost exclusively watercolour paintings. Makes me happy to know that with great skill you can do such paintings in watercolours too.
Oh well, that's it for me folks. I hope to be able to scan a few traditional stuff when I get access to schools lab. Speaking of school, it has rather bad library but own printing lab with professional staff. O.o And not just for small prints, but for some 1.5 metres wide machine too! And all ya have to pay is the price for the materials. Can't wait to get to use that.
But yeps, hoping to get that temporary accommodation soonish.
Hey guys! Great to have you both back online. It's been weird over the last few weeks without the daily communication. It's really cool that you guys got to hang out in person! I've been talking to my girlfriend about taking a trip next year after I finish up with uni and we've been discussing a visit to the U.S. and Canada so we may be in luck! It'd be great to time that trip with a con we could all hang out at that as well. We'll have to see how I go on savings.
Sounds like things are still pretty hectic with you Eelis! It's really impressive that you've made such a big move by yourself, takes a lot of courage. I'd be missing Krik if I had a dog like that as well. I was just thinking the other day how nice it would be to have one on the plein air trips, it gets a little lonely out the by yourself for a whole day. Hopefully you'll be able to find a place that takes dogs soon.
That piece by Omar Rayaan is really cool. I have a huge amount of respect for artists working in watercolour. It's the medium I find most difficult to use, due to the finality of every stroke you place. But the beautiful colours and luminosity of the images is undeniably effective.
Thanks for the feedback on the sketch Eelis. Some valid points, especially about the pillar coming out of his head. I'm gonna try and get back to that but I'm kicking into gear with the paintings for this semester now so it may get left behind. I've got to speed up my workflow a bit so there probably won't be as much time in the preliminary stages as last semester. With that in mind below are just a couple of sketches for my first painting. I decided to read a few old pulp novels and classic sci-fi books and have a shot at some new covers for them. This one will be for Tarzan The Invincible, I'm set on having Tarzan, the lion and the little monkey in a pretty classic pose but might play with the composition a bit. Let me know what you guys think.
Nice sketch of Eelis Mike! Great lines. Doing some portraits of each other sounds like a good idea. It'd be nice to do some more non traditional expressions for headshots and decent reference can be tricky to find at times. Shall we email the photo's to each other?
Quinn, you are of course most welcome to chime in whenever. I had a quick look at your work and you've got some really beautiful pieces. Great stuff!
Lets get to it guys, I'm glad we're rolling again!
No more Ebersol eh? Lets definitely keep a Con meetup on the back burner, I think it is a good idea and it will be fun to all get together and talk shop over a beer or coffee. Although Ellis will have to drink water
Sure let's trade some photo's for fun and see what we can come up with. Personally, I want to get away from the pen work and start doing more color. I came across this guy's blog and he does Lyendecker styled portraits daily and I think I'd like to give it a shot. http://ninnjapizzaburgers.blogspot.ca/
So Tarzan the Ape Man. Cool topic. Have you read the story? Is there a particular scene that you want to illustrate? Is this your final thumbnail? I'd like to see more thumbs if possible. Give yourself a chance to really stretch your ideas and try to come up with your own unique statement. OR, you could try and create a homage piece remenicient ( can't spell today) of previous "Classic" Tarzan covers. You thoughts?
For me, Did some PC shopping yesterday. No purchases yet but I got the spec worked out and I think the best way for me to go is to build a machine. I'll sit on it for a while before I make my final decision but I'm looking at about 1300-1600 bucks for a top end unit. Conversely I could buy an off the shelf product for around 800 but I would have to upgrade it to get it where I want it to be. The thing that bugs me the most is that now with PC's they are already out of date before they are even sold because the Tech is moving so fast!
Work wise, I'm still going strong. This Cult/ Lovecraft gig that I told you about is very interesting because it is really pushing my personal boundaries regarding tasteful and moral picture making. I find my self working on stuff that makes me uncomfortable and even sick to my stomach. It's weird but I hope that that is transferred to the work and evokes a similar emotional response from the audience because that is kind of what we are going for. It's putting me in a different head space.
Hello Mike, David and Eelis,
Thanks for the invite to your study group. This a really cool idea and I hope to contribute and participate as much as I can.
Mike, sounds like the lovecraft gig is going well. Quite timely after his birthday yesterday! I'm looking forward to checking some of the work out, it'll be fun to see how I react to it. These ones were also pen and ink right? Or am I confusing gigs?
I decided it was time to move away from the Ebersol handle. Hopefully this will make it a little easier for people to find me on the net and generally more searchable on CA. I'll miss Ebersol though
I'm planning on doing a full round of thumbs for the Tarzan painting, but I'd like to actually start painting sometime this week and not let the whole project get away from me. I'm still reading the story at the moment, it feels like a time capsule more than anything else. So much weird race related stuff and loads of anti communism talk, it's a very different style of writing from what gets around today. I'm more interested in doing a homage piece than illustrating a full scene. It'll be easier to finish the painting quickly this way and I'd like to keep things relatively simple. I'm using the class work as more an opportunity to work on my colours and rendering in oil at this time.
Sounds like the PC hunt is going well, building it yourself is the way to go. A bit of a chore but $1300 isn't bad for a top of the line machine. I'm still thinking about going Mac when they refresh the iMac's next, but that money might go into my overseas fund now.
I'll try and take some photo's of myself tomorrow and we can get rolling on the portrait studies.
@Quinn: Looking forward to seeing some more stuff when you get the time to do some personal work. All the best!
Today I wanted to relax and just do some concept work for a while. All the plein air and oil portrait work is hard as I'm still such a novice to that medium so a bit of digital work was in order. I heard a bit of buzz around the Chow topic this week and decided to try and put together an entry for that. I'm thinking of doing a pair of fire and ice monarchs so here is my flame queen. Pretty fun topic to play with, I'm looking forward to finishing this one off.
Water? No way! I have been regulating starbucks to death for their awesome hot chocolate for the last two weeks! I am completely addicted to that stuff.
Anyways, I was finally able to rent out that room so you can expect me to get things rolling again. The owner would be okay with a dog, so I might import krik over before even finding an own apartment. Shall see.
Thanks David, and you are absolutely right. Dog is a great companion on those otherwise lonely environment drawing trips to the woods. Have you been thinking of getting one? I can warmly recommend even though having one kinda ampes up the responsibilities, but that's life.
I was going to scan some of my pencil studies today, but had so much other stuff to scan too that I forgot! Will do it the next time I am around the school, so in a few days. I have gotta say though that sadly the drawings tend to blur out because of those pages rubbing against each other. I hadn't really ever looked into that issue before, but will do now.
Will be a while still though until I can get some digital stuff on. Have to order laptop from Amazon etc. Will probably be able to pick up some watercolours and gouache from the shop before that, but gotta wait for my student discount first. And yeah Mike, shelf ones are no go. :p Often the system is designed to work just and just with the insides they put in there and the power boxes are timebombs. Do you have a good screen currently? I think you could get quite nice desktop with 1000 and then add that 700 dollar screen on top to reach the price range. With 1000 you can get quite good machine these days, especially if you are not planning to do any high-end rendering.
I will try to snatch some nice pic of myself soonish to post here! Don't have anything recent sadly. Those portraits behind the link you posted Mike look real great! I am probably going to stick with 'em pencils for now to get a better feel of em.
Great to hear you are having plenty of interesting work Mike, I indeed remember you telling about that gig! Remember them holes. Oh, and now since me and David have both started using our real names you just gotta join the club!
Mm, tarzan David! If I recall right the illustration workshop a few months back had the same subject. Most of the awesome horse chaps visited there too I think. Check it out, could be a nice location for some inspiration.
Also good going with the ChoW piece. I would bring out some more colours to her face, it is a bit monotone and grayish right now, actually all the skin areas in general. Are you planning to have a warm light source coming from her staff? That would work nicely in conjuncture with the ice monarch's cold light source. Any ideas on how to make them interact with each other?
Interesting ChoW. Some will surely reach for some real utopious like matter and antimatter, so easy to go over the board with those. . Wish I could attend. I would need atleast a few weeks though because it still takes so long for me to fix up the anatomy. Would probably go with something not so outlandish though like poor and wealthy, fantasy and reality and so on.
But yeah, hoping to get to that scanner soon!
I'm glad to hear you found yourself a place to rent for now Eelis. Is this one just a temporary lease or just not suitable for a long term stay? I only ask because you mentioned that you're still looking for an apartment. I'd love to get a dog but I hope to do some work and study overseas in the next 24 months and having a dog would be tricky while travelling. It's something I'll be thinking more seriously once I decided on a spot to stay in for a few years.
A good fix for your smudged drawings problem is some stuff called "workable fixative". You can buy it in a spray can from your local art shop and it's great for creating a protective coating over your drawings. I used to use hairspray as a cheap alternative to fixative but it is an inferior binding and while it costs less per can you end up using multiple cans of hairspray for the equivalent of one can of fixative. Another tactic is to work in a coloured pencil rather than graphite as the coloured pencils don't smudge as easily. I've taken to spraying each page of my sketchbook at the end of the day.
I do remember a few of the IMC attendees doing Tarzan paintings, I'll have to check them out! Hopefully I'll have some decent variety in my subjects this round as they are a few sci-fi books and a couple more pulp and adventure styled things to mix it up. Thanks for the feedback on the Chow piece, I'll look into those points when I spend some more time on the image tomorrow.
I've been flat out the last few days and unfortunately haven't gotten to work any more on the flame monarch, but today I was hard at work on building my cradled masonite boards for the book cover paintings. It's a great process and is pretty easy (and cheap) to do at home if you guys are looking for an alternative to stretched canvas. My process is pretty similar to this but I use mitre joints to connect the 1" x 2" boards and a staple gun to reinforce these joins and also to bind the masonite more firmly onto the frame. Ends up costing about $20 for a 1.2m x 0.9m panel and would be even cheaper in Canada and the U.S.
Good stuff Dave. There is not much to crit at this stage as the piece is really unfinished. The pose is a little flat so to make up for that you might want to consider doing something to draw attention to her face or some kind of effect to bring out or evoke her character. It's too early to say. Do you think you will get it done on time? For the Tarzan work, fire up your thumbs when you get a chance and we'll help you out. I think a Homage is a good way to go and " if it ain't broke, don't fix it" If I had a say in it I'd discourage you from buying a MAC. I just hung out with another illustrator colleague the other day and she bitched for .5 hour about the damn thing. I've owned one in the past and it is a money pit. If you are half handy with computers and like to fix and modify them yourself then a MAC isn't for you. But that is just my 2 cents and I'm biased so .
Did you find those candies that you were looking for? lol. I was just bugging you about the water Regarding the smudging problem. You might want to try experimenting with papers as well as leads. I switched to a harder lead like a 4h-2h when I was in art school just for the same reason. Workable fixative is good but toxic so apply it outdoors. Another option is to place tracing paper between the pages to protect the drawing. Really you are getting the smudging because the pages in your Sketchbook are rubbing together. If you really like a drawing, you could simply tear it out and set it aside. No spraying!
That's it for me. I sent you an email as well as I've posted some new work up on my blog too. I didn't want to clutter up the workshop thread needlessly.
Hey Mike. Tomorrow is a day of gessoing boards and doing Tarzan thumbs, so I’ll have them up for your consideration really soon. I’m glad you agree with the idea of exploring a homage, it should be really fun.
I’ll see how things go on the new computer front. I’m getting pretty excited at the prospect of spending some time overseas in the near future so it may be impractical to look into buying a new system anyway. Do you guys know of any good Atelier style schools in the U.S. or Canada? Rather than doing a full post grad degree I’m now thinking of checking out some short courses whether for a few days or a semester. My uni was really rubbish on the technical side of things and it would be nice to get some formal education in the basics from some really good teachers.
I’ll send you a reply to your email in a minute.
I’ve done some more work on the Flame Monarch concept for Chow. What do you guys reckon at this point? I’m a little worried I went a bit crazy on the flame effects and the face is a bit washed out with all the high values around it. Any suggestions for working some contrast back into that area?
Hey dave, You know, that if Technical skills are what you want, the Feng Zhu school is not far from you. I dont' work for the guy but it appears that his school focuses exactly on what you are looking for. Otherwise, I can't think of any Atelier's in my area.
For the Monarch. What I would have done is paint the whole figure first concentrating on local value and primary lighting, then I'd work in the fire effects. I try to approach it methodically just like how lighting works in real life. So with that in mind, why not finish her off and then worry about the fire effect. Right now she needs to look like a she. She's got man hands and arms and that ain't sexy! another thing to consider is her costume. She's a monarch so she needs WAY more detail. Just ref any costume/ dress from monarchs in our history and you will see that their outfits are detailed to the point of obscenity.
Lets see those Tarzan thumbs!
Hey Mike, I’m not sure Feng’s school is really for me. Not that he isn’t a hugely talented guy from whom I’d undoubtedly learn a lot but his school seems very focused on producing concept artists rather than illustrators. I know many of the skills are cross compatible but at the moment I’m really interested in getting some classical training in the techniques of the old masters. My uni was so lacking in the traditional grounding that I feel it’s a huge hole in my education. Once I have a stronger grounding in: form, colour, light and anatomy I’ll be more equipped to take that information and channel it into my illustration work. There is a school in Sydney called Juliann Ashton’s which does training similar to what I’ve described but I’ve heard of a couple more pretty good ones overseas. I’m just thinking about my options at the moment, there’s still plenty of time to decide which direction I’ll move next
I think you’re totally right across the board about the Monarch piece. I put in a little bit of time today mainly thinking about some adjustments to the costume but I’ll try and address the issues with anatomy and sexiness tomorrow Thanks for spotting those issues.
Below are a few Tarzan thumbs and doodles. I quite like the big comp that I came up with and would like to continue to work on something similar to this. There are some problems with perspective and anatomy but I was mainly working from my head just trying to get the poses and the shapes in place. What do you guys think of the overall composition? There is a bit of weirdness going on with Tarzan and the lions feet which I need to look at but I like the way the lion appears to be encircling and protecting Tarzan. I want to try and preserve that feeling while correcting the placement of the figures.
I hope everyone’s work is going well!
Hi guys. I've been busy at work the last couple of days finishing my boards for the upcoming paintings. A guy at uni is organising a little charity exhibition with a whole group of artists doing little 10" x 10" paintings within the theme of film. A pretty open topic and I'd planned on doing a Bladerunner portrait but found out later that for some reason films based on books are being discouraged, not sure why that was.. I watched A New Hope the other day and decided to go with a portrait of Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan. It's a very special film to me (and the rest of the world) and it seemed like a good reason to draw some Star Wars stuff. Anyway below is a study of the pose and the first block in layer for the painting. It's been a blast to do so far. I hope you guys are well. Cheers!
I am moving tomorrow and getting my laptop next week. Yay! School begins soon, but I have got no idea how busy it will keep me. It is kinda open uni though, so i can probably integrate some off my own projects into schooo ones.
I have made one strong promise though. I WILL learn to paint and draw wildlife with acrylics and pencil, period.
Good stuff with obi david. I looked at the pic before reading the text and knew instantly who it was!
Anyway, heres some more succesful pages from my sketchbook. Along with these I have got a huge load of simple geometric studies and other from life stuff. Will draw some fully rendered life drawing when I am in the new apt so I can set up some ligts.
Now Were picking up steam again.
Eelis: Good job on the studies. Keep putting in the mileage and you will achieve those goals for sure.
Eb erm... Dave:
The force is with you! Good start for the Obi Wan piece. I must admit that I was tempted to do my own Obi Wan but I didn't want to steal your thunder. Will this be your first portrait painting? Are you going to keep it Monochromatic? Looking forward to the results.
Tarzan: I like the very first comp in the top left (next time number them for easy reference) To me it conveys more energy, power and drama. It also captures more of the Homage feeling I think you were going for. The comp that you worked up digitally will work too but it needs more refinement. It is very static and needs more Drama which I think can be accomplished with some figure studies. The Lion is as big as a horse and not in perspective with Tarzan, his whole hind quarter is wrong and it doesn't make sense how he over laps Tarzan. The up shot works for drama but make sure to fix Tarzans feet. He should be planted flat footed to make him look strong and ready. Poised and deadly. Having him on his toes destroys that image. Lastly, you may consider flipping the background trees horizontally so that they curve up and to the right. It will help give the image more flow and dramatic push. currently they pull you back and away from Tarzan which may or may not be what you are going for. Keep refining those comps. Trial and Error is how you will nail this baby!
As for school: You know what is best for yourself. I find that so much depends on the instructor and his/her dedication and NOT the school. So do the research and even better, try to talk to a former student if you can. That should help you make an informed decision.
For me: Still working away. I have very little that I can post publicly but I do have a quick sketch/ study I did of a chick I saw at the local coffee shop. She looked like a Hooter girl with Pirate boots which I thought looked funny and totally incongruent. Anyways, here is what I came up with. She wasn't this good looking in real life but I am in the entertainment business right? lol
So I did actually attempt to do the quick colored portrait ALA BTANK whom I mentioned a couple of posts ago. This here image is what I came up with in approximately 30 minutes. It's a start and surely no J.C. Leyendecker homage but it felt good to do a quick study and I think I will do more. When looking at this guys stuff, I can't tell if it is Photoshop or Painter. I think it is painter only because I can't get a similar OIL painting type feeling out of photoshop. Anyways, your thoughts.?
Great to see the thread looking so busy again! We should be hitting 10 pages pretty soon, a bit of a milestone for the group.
Eelis, your idea of merging school projects with personal stuff is an excellent one. It's the main way that I've managed to stay motivated with my uni projects while continuing to explore some areas of interest. I've found uni assignments an excellent space to try some different things and work outside my comfort zone. It's also great news that you're getting your laptop soon! Have you had a chance to do any traditional painting since you've been over in VC? Well done on the sketchbook pages, I'm looking forward to checking out your other life drawing.
Thanks for the kind words about Obi, I'm glad you recognised him, that's always a scary test... He will be my first proper portrait in oils so I'm hoping to try and get a pretty decent likeness. This is just the first layer as a monochrome underpainting but colour will come after this is dry. I stupidly didn't use much medium while doing the underpainting so it's gonna take a while to dry which is an annoying holdup. Mike, maybe you could do a portrait of another Star Wars character? Keep the Star Wars a'rolling.
Great feedback on the Tarzan comps Mike. There is some definite weirdness going on with the characters feet and perspective in the digital comp. I did a little research into lion's and a pretty reasonable sized one is about 4 feet at the shoulder so I think mine will be about right once the perspective has been adjusted. I'm not quite sure yet which direction I'll take the composition so I'll probably just do another round of thumbs and wait until something really grabs me.
Well done on your Hooter girl. It takes some mad confidence to rock that outfit so kudos to her I suppose, she's putting all my greys and browns to shame! It's nice to see another rendering style as well. The piece ended up looking pretty final and deliberate with what I imagine was much less time than your regular technique. Loomis seemed to enjoy the beautifying his models so it only seems fair that you get the same opportunity!
I'm going to try and get on the band wagon with the portraits as well. I started one today but didn't quite finish it so I'll put that and another up tomorrow. You're first one is a good study, the time limit has helped push that loose painterly quality in the rendering. I'm not quite sure whether he's using photoshop or painter either but I'll stick with photoshop for now.
Lots to go up tomorrow so stay tuned!
Another quickie portrait. This time I did it in Painter. What I noticed this time is I got lost in the rendering and ignored the drawing and proportion. Hence the crappy likeness. Still, it's just an exercise so I'm not going to beat myself up over it. Painter-Photoshop. The debate continues. They both have their pro's and Con's but I'm definetley more comfortable in Photoshop but Painter makes everything more painterly dig? I recently tried Sketchbook Pro because I was inspired by this guy http://calumalexanderwatt.blogspot.ca/ who can really rock that software.
This brings me to the subject of Style and technique. I've heard it advocated to many students that it is important to develop a style so that you will be easier to brand and AD's can better determine what you bring to the table. On the other Hand, Gurnsey states that the opposite is more important and students should focus on ability and technique(s) and style will develop over time. Personally I lean towards the Gurnsey/ Loomis. I think Robert Fawcett's career is the model to follow and while he was always popular,successful and innovative. He never was the flavor of the week type of Artist. His work still stands up to this day and it doesn't neccesarily feel dated or pigeon holed into a particular genre. While many of his contemporaries were successful, their work will always be associated with a particular style, genre or time period. I think that a lot of our contemporaries focus so much on the look and what's hot which may or may not hold up in ten years. Anyways, these are some of the things I'm thinking about as I noodle around. Personally, I can't settle on a particular workflow, style or technique because I haven't found one that really speaks to me yet. AND I like to experiment and push the envelope.
Also, what do you guys think of this PC setup ?
For the Lion in the Tarzan piece I wasn't so concerned by his height but more so his length and the way his back end curls around Tarzan's legs. Maybe build a maquette to figure out the perspective and dimensions might be an option.
For Oil Painting have you ever used Turpenoid? I used it for everything from a medium to a brush cleaner and I loved it!
Hooter's Chick: Yeah she was fun to do and I will be doing more. The style was a quicker cell shading technique and I've been told that this type of work is more successful than others for me. Whatever I do, I am always trying to inject more energy life into the work so any feedback on that is always useful.
Mike: The comfort part of the debate seems to be the most important thing. As much as I enjoy using Painter I just can’t get it to perform the same way as Photoshop does for me. I’m sure it’s just a matter of getting used to the tools but Painter has always felt like such a resource hog as well and that lag just adds to the slower feeling of the process. I’ve never tried Sketchbook Pro but should try and give that a go sometime, Calum Alexander Watt does really nice work in that program and it seems like the relative simplicity of the tools helps things out. When it comes to style I’ve always agreed with the group that advocate development of your technical skills and waiting for a natural way of working to come from that. A lot of the “concept art look” that is in vogue seems like a popular trend that could end up unfashionable in a few years. Focusing on studying the masters and thoroughly learning the fundamentals seems like the best way to create a timeless look for your work. It’s nice to share similar opinions on these topics with you guys, we’re all working towards similar goals!
The skin in your most recent study is really beautiful, great porcelain, smooth quality. I agree that the drawing and accuracy is a little off but I think it’s important to have different objectives for each study, we know that you can draw an accurate face when that is the required. For my portrait studies I’m going to try and keep weening myself off lines in my final images and create more a painterly look. It was great fun to work on these studies, I feel like it’s a help for my understanding of colour and for picking my colours more accurately.
The rig you linked us to looks preeetty beefy! Should be able to handle a whole lot of pixels without any trouble. I don’t have a great deal to recommend in comparison with what you’ve sent us, you’ve got lots of RAM, that’s a good thing.
I like the maquette building for the Tarzan piece. I might try and build out the whole thing and then try a few different lighting setups. I've been wanting to try some dappled lighting in one of my paintings, this would be a good opportunity and having the maquettes to work from would help set something like that up.
I don't think that turpenoid is readily available in Australia, I stick with an odourless mineral solvent for my main thinning and cleaning solution. Is turpenoid similar to something like that? For my painting medium I use a mix of 2 parts linseed oil to 1 part odourless solvent, this dries things up reasonably quickly as long as I remember to use it! I found out a good little tip for brush maintenance in Richard Schmid's Alla Prima book. If the ends of bristle brushes are starting to go a bit wild a good way to straighten them out is grabbing a little piece of cardboard and folding that over the tip to flatten it out and then use a bull clip to keep it set. By doing this after you've cleaned the brushes they'll dry with a nice sharp edge, it's worked well for the brushes I've tried it on.
I've also attached a few little head doodles for a robot design. The next painting I'll attempt is for Asimov's short story "Robbie". I'm still working my way through the rest of I, Robot but it's been fantastic so far and really inspiring. There's much more to come with these guys, just sketching out some ideas as they appeared.
Looking forward to checking out more portraits soon!
Eelis I hope the move has gone well, good luck with everything man.