The bottom of her nose seems bent a little to the left, and the shading under it makes it look separate from the depression under it.
The Nezumi Works Sketchbook - Now in progress
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"Skill is the result of trying again and again, applying our ability and proving our knowledge as we gain it. Let us get used to throwing away the unsuccessful effort and doing the job over. Let us consider obstacles as something to be expected in any endeavor; then they won't seem quite so insurmountable or so defeating." - Andrew Loomis
I think you're afraid, when you're working on this. Afraid of making mistakes. Don't be. And in the end this is all digital, you can save your different steps while you work !
You have made her face very round. There are no bones anywhere. Where you can see or 'feel' the bones (you can try it out on yourself) the shapes are more defined and 'sharper', where there is muscle and fat etc under the skin, these areas are more, let's say, blurry. Not so defined. But don't just make them blurry !
You could also push your values. If you're copying from the photo one-to-one, then don't be afraid to adjust the reference photo's contrast a bit. Make all the shapes read better in the reference picture, You can always lighten things up.
Remember - the old master way is working from dark to light, from shadow to light, highlights come in the very end.
To check your drawing you might want to use tracing for that. But don't rely on tracing to get the drawing right ! You wont evolve that way.
Use tracing just for checking your proportions etc when you're starting out with this kind of thing. Trace the photo on a separate layer and save that layer over the image you are painting. Make that layer invisible while you're actually painting but every now and then you can use it to check what you have gotten wrong. Later, when you are confident enough you won't need the tracing any more
About the roundness - yes, I can see it's very round. I'll try defining the bone shapes more. The reference itself isn't as round as I did it.
I used the photo itself on top of my drawing, invisible. When I needed to check if I got something right, I adjusted the opacity, checked where did I go wrong and hide the layer again. No brush strokes done while that layer was visible.
I've put this painting on a lot of places on the internet and got some critique on the hair, that it's looking like rubber tubes. I'll try to address those problems too.
Thanks again for the critique.
You've done a fantastic job is measuring out the face. The proportions are spot on. As you said you went to great lengths to get this right by overlaying the reference to aid you as you went. But this is only one part of many is developing a likeness and pulling over a good drawing.
The two biggest weaknesses with this are values and edges. Her whole face is almost one value. Squint at it and you'll see her whole face is a very light value in your picture but when you look at your reference in the same manner you'll see more values. Whenever there is a plane change the value will change. The planes facing the light source are the light while those angled away the most will be the darkest. As you really look at your reference you'll start to see different values all over the place.
Find the correct shape and value of the shape and place it correctly.
You'll also want to look closly at your edges. I'm not just talking about where one form ends and another begins like the edge of her face vs. the background. An edge is any where two planes meet and thus any place where two values meet. You've outlined too many of her feature with very hard edges.
I hope the attached overlay I did helps explain what I mean. First, I darkened it a lot because your overall value was so light and I personally prefer working from dark to light. In the first image I've outlined a ton of value changes in her face. Your control of these will help model the face and make it look more 3-D. In the second I've quickly thrown in some of these values. This was done in just a few minutes. You can smooth out and re-establish these values and shape more accurately over and over. This built up will also give you a nice quality and variation.
Hope some of this helps. Keep up the great work.
Corrected a few issues according to your advices:
- Hair tubeness
- Shading near her nose
- Forehead shading
- Tip of the nose correction to the right
- Shading under the nose
- Lips' edges were to hard, adjusted some
Thanks for the feedback. Still, critiques and comments welcome.
Last edited by cl0aked; November 14th, 2009 at 04:52 PM. Reason: shit forgot the attachment
I completely second what bfowler said.
About the hair, it seems flat to me when compared to her head. Especially on the left side. On the right side at the temple and eyebrow I think the hair is quite effective, as it is on her shoulders. In those places you've identified not the individual strands but the groups of hair and drawn the well. On the top part, though, it's mostly shading but no groups.
I do think you've gotten the likeness quite nicely. Good job!
I think you should try to study more portraits in a more dramatic light. There is nothing wrong with doing pretty ladies, but try to find some more interesting light settings, so that you can really see the different planes of her face and her facial features. Most fotos of celebrities have the aim of making them look beautiful, which often involves indirect lighting and a general softness to the skin. This makes the face seem a bit flat.
The flatness comes from the photographer using a long lens to intently flatten the face. This keeps pointy noses and such much more subdued. That's why painting and drawing from life is a much preferred way to study portraits. See if you can get a friend to sit down for a little bit. You don't have to get a full image done, just study those planes so you can better understand how to paint them when you are stuck with a photo reference.
Getting a little better but you're way to scared of messing it up now. Decide what stroke or mark you're going to make. The shape, value, etc. and be bold and confident.
You're still not seeing all the correct shapes and values. I took your photo (left) and you're latest version (right) and dropped the levels way down in photoshop. Now, you can more easily see how you're too light and how a lot of your values shapes are not correct. For example, look at the shape of the halftone and highlight on her forehead. The half tone near the bottom of her forehead should extend well to the middle of her other eye. And in yours you don't have the highlight defined. In the photo you can see highlight going into halftone going into shadow. Yours is a half to shadow. This is one example but these transitions are all over the place.
Someone else mentioned texture. Photoshop brushes are usually very very slick. You need to find a brush that has more texture to it or is scattered or add more grain to the skin. There are a variety of ways to add the fine texture of pores and stuff the make up the texture of the skin. And be careful of working from photos. There are things camera do that you have to compensate for like compression of values, washing out of lights, lens distortion, etc.
Keep at it but take more chances. It's hard to do but the more you mess up and experiment the better you'll get. I've struggled with that same thing forever and still do sometimes. You cannot be tentative! Let it out! Swing away, Merrill, swing away.