hehe well man... i feel you in a lot of those things you said. but you need to stop doing this for others. do it to satisfy your own standards... and if you succeed at that and still are unhappy... raise them.
do post those wips of the dog, and the troll and whatever else... you didnt do it to feed us in the first place... why start now? you (and we) are doing this for YOUR growth, take it or leave it, but stop with this attitude of making excuses.
good thing your client wants what you were heading for... yet thats a conscious decission.... thats something worth going for. if not confronted with them by someone else you seem to avoid them entirely. we cant impose those on you... we re just some strangers on a forum. we can tell you another 100 times to plan ahead, avoid certain pitfalls, etc. its on you to decide you do or dont use it, but do/dont for a reason!
you probably cant get by on the long run, by avoiding decissions.
You are absolutely right, and for that reason I already started thinking a bit on my troll (a bit late in the game, I know, but I did manage some decisions that were of benefit).
I also got reminded of my old elephant sketch that I completely forgot about. I picked it up and finished it. It was just an experiment, nothing important.
EDIT: In digital painting techniques book 4, everyone is always finishing off their images with the dodge and burn tools. I never tried them so I was curious to give it a go. Worked out well and I am excited to incorporate this into my future toolset. I also duplicated the burn/dodged layer and set it on top to "soft light" on 57% opacity. This juiced up the contrast, making it more intense. Is this more juicy then the original version?
So I did some super quick experiments. I saw in another thread how rotating the picture really helped the person's painting seem dynamic. So I tried it with my elephant. Are these better?
And I did a quick tiny sketch. Full size first and then some crops. No plans for this one, was just having fun.
tilting an image horizon (or a large horizontal image componant) a few degrees is a useful trick that helps make a flat horizontal perspective a bit more dynamic, but really its more useful for things that are very fast, like cars and cheetahs. or to enhance the depth of an image. for an elephant standing in side profile farting fire, its not really adding much. its always worth a try when youre coming to the end of an image, same as you should always fiddle around with things like contrast and colour balance, but this time, nah.
here its used to masterful effect by Peleng
and Syd Mead
Wow Peleng is an absolute murderer as always and Syd Mead is so stylish, it is unbelievable. I am just not sure about his background textures, a bit too distracting for me. Did he burn the left side of his painting?
Hahaha you had me laughing at "elephant farting fire". I was hoping it would be his leg on fire, but farting works too.
Pelengs really fucking good. really really good.
i guess those marbled textures were pretty hip back in the 60s or 70s. you put a layer of oil based pigment on a water surface and put the paper on it. an easy-ish way of generating lots of very complex visual noise before the days of photoshop custom brushes. roger dean used the shit out of that technique too. in cases such as this id refer you to Elwell he unlike pussies like me uses real paint and knows all about it.
you hoped the elephants leg was on fire... you are unique Pavel, Ill give you that.
Tilting a painting only pushes the dynamics if there's dynamics to push.
Your elephant seems unconcerned at the fire - you really need to push the posture and sell the emotion of the scene.
It doesn't look stressed at all.
Theres a fine line between realism and intent with a 'dramatic/dynamic' painting. It depends which one you want to push.
still going for the would-be happy accidents aye?
that elephant pic could be a good starting point for a strong picture. evaluate the possibilities of its narrative first and foremost, use it as an ideation sketch, getting a clear idea what to paint... then eliminate everything thats working against that... then start adding stuff that should be in there. (the priorities are important here!)
there a fundamental problem in just going for the happy accidents and calling stuff finished... you cant rely on them. (i had to learn that the hard way... not saying i ve overcome that tendency yet, but i had to face the fact that just fooling around, may be not enough... by far... and if you signed a contract... that HURTS! way to get into trouble up to your chin.)
you need to establish a workflow... a pipleline.... idea > sketches > refinement > finish.... not sketch > idea > refinement, or even worse sketch > refinement > least bad justification... it just isnt reliable.
if you tell yourself... ok on the next piece im doing it right... (whats the odds?) youre wasting what you already have. why not take something you put several hours into and tell yourself... well aint working as a finished picture... but its a starting point for a good one... ill build upon it rather that ditching it entirely.
just tell me to get lost if youre fed up with me ;).
Venger "Tilting a painting only pushes the dynamics if there's dynamics to push."
That explains everything perfectly! I really like that.
Yea I was just picking up an old sketch I forgot about, that I think I started to try and paint some fire and temperature, as well as en elephant. Is there really enough in there for me to attempt a real picture with a good pose? I might, but I'm just not too into this elephant pic.
To be honest I am more excited to see if my little greyscale sketch could turn into anything, as it seems sort of dynamic and fun. I could put lots of other characters in the midst, while keeping in mind the rules of composition I am reading about in framed ink. Could turn out to be a worthwhile battle scene, no?
As for the elephant... Is there potential there?
So I have been working on the dog, drawing hair by hair. I feel this is not promoting form and volume very much so I plan to use either a multiply layer to bring back some form (it looks more like texture now) or even the new burn and dodge I have discovered:
"Could turn out to be a worthwhile battle scene, no?:
i think it certainly could. but why not do 4 or 5 more similar ones, i guarantee youll discover whole new things. then you can work some of them up to really tight renderings which is where you excell. seriously, your rendering over a tight composition would be a thing to see.
then go for what excites you! why are you asking me/us for its potential? the potential is in your mind first and then in your ability to transport that image onto canvas. it hardly is in your audience.
Originally Posted by Pavel Sokov
i think an elephant running from a fire, can be a powerful picture (also depending on context). but it doesnt have to... depends on what you do with it. same goes for your greyscale sketch. theres only as much in there, as you imagine and manage to carve out based on that mental picture you got.
my impression is that you got caught up trying to master some tools, while neglecting the initial need that got you drawing... beeing able to create pictures that matter (most importantly to you... and some cases only to you, but so be it). you should start to explore the possibilities you got, instead of slavishly trying to adher to your interpretation of what someone else might want.
all this training is just means to an end, not the purpose itself. the info and richnes of your pictures is introduced by decissions, you wanted and had to make along the way into a picture. if you avoid those (by rendering every hair e.g.) your picture is going to end up hollow and bland. going for an exact reproduction is just masturbation in my opinion, once you left the field of just pushing your seeing-skills. feels good for a moment but in the end gets you nowhere.
sketching is good for getting ideas, but it doesnt stop there. once you got the idea you (re)start at step #1 ... doing sketches exploring, exploiting and evaluating that idea. im very pragmatic about that (and i see not everyone is like that)... but i simply approach it by asking questions... is it working for or against my idea, the feeling i want to convey?... in every aspect! composition, contrast (value patterns, edges, colors,...), rhythm (pacing, repetition,...), is it working for the story i want to tell? or against it?... did it turn out my story is flawed while i dug deeper? then go back to #0 and adjust your story, eliminating the flaws. once thats working (again) you proceed to #1 (sketches).
its a back and forth process, searching for possibilities and killing the flaws.
get ian mccaigs storytelling dvds from gnomon.
Yeah, I kinda get the feeling that you are so focused on external image, both of you and your art, that you make superficial work in the hopes that some showcase judges will accidentally validate you. It's not douchey or pretentious to think about your art. It's kinda douchey not to. If you don't really give a shit about what you're drawing you're going to have a hard time convincing other people to give a shit.
I might just do that, I think there is potential there and I have always wanted to paint a small battle scene.
You know, I was on reddit for a bit yesterday and someone posted this guy that copies celebrity photos in pencil:
I found myself bored. The only I liked was this one: http://i.imgur.com/4Gw9Pcu.jpg
I found out that it is the only one where he took the ref photo himself, because it is his cousin.
This kind of shed a light about how boring it may be to look at a picture even if it is copied well. To prevent this, people engage in planning, sketching, exploring and constant evaluation throughout the process. That is what takes their good rendering and makes the piece interesting as well.
Hate to break all this positive talk with this, but here is an update on me doing the exact opposite of what I claim i understand. The client likes it this way, I did ask him if he would like me to try something more lively but he refused.
"I did ask him if he would like me to try something more lively but he refused."
lucky. a good habbit to get into is options; rapidly knock up 4 or 5 alternatives; ie, original flavour, one on light blue, one on dark green, one with a blurred photo behind, etc.
I actually like the last one quite a bit. He really looks like he belongs in that background (his eye reflections match the surroundings).I am debating forwarding it to the client. I feel like he already told me to not worry about it, but I might still propose it.
Thank you so much for the alternatives! Looking at them, I realized the dog still looks like he is leaning his head to the right.
I did a quick mock-up at work of my attempt to fix that issue. Is this any better?
id say do it that way... no reason to bug your client if thats what you got and what he likes.
if youre doing another pet portrait one day, i recommend looking at the sketchbook of Fernando Issamo. they are quite lively and fresh. (for some reason the images dont load for me atm... may have to try later, but i wanted to post it now so i dont have to search again :))
this migbt be germaine.
drawing every hair; not necessary.
Oh wow, I loved Fernando Issamo Skeetchbook. The volume is great and the personality of each dog shines. So airy. I kind of wish I did it like that..
Well, here is where I am at. Might be done, might notice some extra things yet.
its pretty damn realistic.
maybe run with the grey background but make it a grey misty hunt morning or something!
I wish you put more detail on the ears, they look rushed and take away from all the nice detail you did on the face.
ok i think the eyes look wierd being all mirrored. mirror eyes look dead. i didnt use ref and just tried to remember what my dog looked like, so this could well be way off, but see what you think
I might give full detailing on the ears a go. The idea behind not rendering the parts around his face hair by hair is that I didn't want the eye to lose focus. I was the viewer to look straight into his face, his eyes, and nose.
Hmm, my eyes do like kinda glassy don't they? I think it made perfect sense in the context of the Ref, where Guinness was standing a midst snow, but now that he is surrounded by grey it seems to make a bit less sense.
I should tone down the reflection to a lesser area and expose more of the natural eyeball. Too bad I don't know very well how his iris is positioned within the eye. Is the black circle vs the brown the same proportion as a human? Or does it take up 80% of the colored area?
I will also take the super faded piece of back in the lower right of the image and try to remove it. This will help the dog look like he is sitting his bum down like in your OP, which is kinda how I imagine a dog would sit for a portrait.
Finally, I will have to reposition the eyes. In yours the DOG's right eye is too close to the middle of the head as compared to the left. On mine it is too high. I need to find a happy middle ground.
"Too bad I don't know very well how his iris is positioned within the eye. Is the black circle vs the brown the same proportion as a human? Or does it take up 80% of the colored area? "
Yeah thats just too bad i guess. since labradors went extinct and google went bust theres just no way to know...
Yea it is tough! We live in such uncertain times
that lab looks so much better. well played sir.
i still think you should put a subtle hint of some trees or something in the grey cloud behind, but thats look great. i think its twisting abit, maybe try warping it a bit.
Hmm. So neither the client nor my friend (who's uncle is the client) are happy with the new eyes. They don't think it looks like Guinness and they prefer the old eyes.
Thats a nasty surprise. Maybe before giving up and reverting to the old eyes, I can create some sort of happy medium?
I thought the new eyes look much more alive, and I want to maintain that feel.
clients love fucking things up at the end, just do one version thats exactly as they say and get paid, and keep one for yourself with the things you prefer.
If the client is happy I would have taken Velocitys advice, but if you want a happy medium I think the answer lies in your original reference picture. It shouldn't be too difficult to think away the white reflection of the snow and figure out how large his pupils are. Then you would only have to tone down the red tint to the eyes to make them more natural looking.
Hmm. Yea I will do as the client says but also do up a version with reduced pupils. Maybe they will hit the spot and to the client's surprise, he will like them!
Btw, I forgot to respond to velocity's OP:
The warping is good! however I think his reduced body makes his head look bigger and therefore more like a puppy proportion.
As for the background, the trees are creeping me out kind of. It seems like a rather scary environment. I imagine a graveyard or some mystic marsh. A little too scary I find.
I decided to attach the photo that made me go for a grey background. It is a black/brown dog on grey that I thought looked really sleek.