I agree on the head size and trunk shape issues. The thing about the trunk is that right now it feels like several straight pieces stuck together rather than a smooth, continuous shape if you know what I mean. But for me, the biggest issue in the image is that the background and subject have the exact same color palette, saturation level, and value range, which makes the image feel repetitive and same-y and reduces the impact of your focal point. Right now the elephant just blends into the atmosphere rather than standing out.
Also, you might want to be careful with how much you reference photographs that are not yours and are not stock. Stretch your artistic muscles and alter the pose to make it your own and enhance the image. Why is the tail up, is it helping the image? What if the trunk was up instead? What if the elephant was rearing or running, would that make the image more exciting? Determine your goal with the image, the message you're trying to get across, then research your subject and explore how to portray it in a way that meets your goal.
I am not hiding my use of reference, so I'm not worried about that at all. I hope my painting looks different enough that the photographer won't be upset.
The reference I used looks a bit squished up horizontally so my elephant is a little wider which I think makes him look younger. So I definitely at least tried to change it up a bit haha.
I did think about the pose as I read your comment and I thought a few small changes like making the head look up, and the tail point down improved the scene.
I also made the body bigger as you guys suggested.
I tried pointing the trunk upwards but it looked very jovial. I am going for a more sombre feel so I have to keep playing with the trunk.
I had preferred your earlier version of Putin with the unfinished tie and jacket. Now the tie looks plastic. I'm trying to do more of this in my own work, i tend to over detail, so trying to control where the focus is can be tricky. Little thing but maybe it'll help you out.
The long strokes in the foreground of the elephant look bad to me, and why does he have a hairy ass? lol
And this may contradict what someone else said, but something about the anatomy is bugging me, and looking at the ref, I think his head is to small?
I think your elephant is bulky in the wrong places. Look at other photos of elephants and see where the body is rounded and where it is more flat. The ref photo you're using has daylight and I think you're reading the body wrong when trying to light it with...yes what are your light source/s? The lighting is not consistent, f. e. the knee and butt are shaded like a strong light is coming from top right, the lower back is shaded like the light is coming straight on, and the forehead and trunk are not shaded at all.
What a disaster! I made the body bigger so the head isn't so big, and now you say his head is too small
That wasn't supposed to be a hairy ass, it was supposed to be fire or something
As for Putin's tie I was trying to replicate the shiny silk texture that could be seen in the photo I used. I didn't mean for it to look like plastic, however.
Oh god, I don't know what I am doing here. I think the elephant is surrounded by fire, and that means that... everything is a light source?
What a mess. I need to choose an obvious lighting system.
My mom critiqued my gf portrait again before I went to print it today and it was for the better! Fixed a lot of stuff!
I printed it on fine art paper, 18 by 18 inches, and put it in a black frame.
Terrible cellphone photo:
I was hoping to enter the "Repurposed War Walker" Industrial Design of the Week competition, but the deadline is on the 15th and I obviously won't make it. Here is a sketch though:
Last edited by Pavel Sokov; April 13th, 2012 at 10:20 AM.
Pavel, I find your determination inspiring. But you are putting it to use in the wrong places, really. You keep throwing yourself around: a couple photocopied portraits here, an elephant study there - but you found it too boring to just analyze and recreate the form, began playing with the lighting and lost all sight of the form - then another leap to the side into SF drawing for yet another contest. Your greatest motivator seems to be entering and trying to win in contests.
I most likely sound harsh. But I have been watching this thread for weeks, and you're not really going anywhere. You can more or less reproduce a photo if you follow it closely and its lighting is forgiving. Give you a photo with less concealing lighting, and you begin to fumble. And when you try to change the lighting, or deviate from the photo, it becomes very obvious that you are no better at seeing the form than you had been when you first created this thread. You've really, painfully butchered that elephant painting. It may be less painful in a raw beginner; but if a person with some skill shows such a consistent lack of form awareness, it's bad.
Forget about contests. They are nice for stroking your ambition and for motivating you; but you are kind of missing the point there. Ask yourself: are you doing it because you love to make art and want to be good at it, or are you doing it because you want to win contests and be admired? If it's the latter, you might get to win contests eventually - but what you will become good at is winning contests, not making art.
Focus on the art. Don't draw because you want to have a picture. Draw for the love of form and light. If you don't have this love, at least try to understand how it is possible to love just the form... not yourself a winner, not yourself an artist painting the form... just the glory of the form and light itself. Try to learn that love of form. It makes all the difference, in the end.
And practice drawing simple forms from life. A few still lifes of everyday objects will give you 100 times more than all these Putin faces and elephant photos. Still life is used as a practice exercise in academic drawing for a reason.
Hello Arenhaus, glad to you see back here!
I would like to address the topic of my motivations. While I do agree that a lot of times I like to find a purpose for my artworks (ex: portrait for a friend, insignia for the office, elephant to try an animal painting, girlfriend portrait to obtain more sex (joking),etc), winning a contest isn't really one of them.
I am throwing myself around a lot, that is absolutely true. That is largely because I don't have a style or a theme to my art. What strikes me a lot about professional artists is that often times they kind of do one thing. I am working on finding it.
I don't really want to win the contest (because I won't, even if I found a time vacuum where I am able to actually complete my war walker ), I wanted to throw myself at the challenge quickly for the following reasons:
Take a break from relying heavily on photography reference, which has really been the basis of all my portraits and even some of the elements in the company insignia ( I used ref for wings, and I scanned the company pens for refs as well). I am afraid that it has become a crutch, and I wanted to see what happens if I go back to trying to make something up.
So I fired up google sketchup a bit, and decided to make up the war walker and try to lay my own shadows of it based on what the shadows of the other google sketchup elements in the scene. As we can see, the results aren't so hot. Maybe I need to take a step back from reference and use my brain a bit?
It seems I am a man of extremes. Before you guys were trying to convince me into using reference, and now I can't take a break from it haha.
Winning the contest is really not an objective that will help me get better in any way, plus I won't finish the thing in time. So I'm not worried about the "winning".
Besides that, you are absolutely right.
When working with portraits, I spend a lot of times fumbling around with getting the likeness and proportions and whatnot. Maybe form is on the back burner. Perhaps that is why still lifes are used since there is no likeness to worry about, just the form. However, I do think that while trying to read the elephant and Putin and my friend's photos, I am making an attempt at reading form and displaying form as well. My Putin is definitely more voluminous then any other portraits I reckon.
I do agree that there are lots of distractions that go along with those projects, and that is why people spend time painting spheres and such first. Looks like I am trying skip steps. I definitely should try painting bottles, apples, skulls,etc and forget about that artwork being used in any purpose other then my betterment.
The points Arenhuas makes are valid but i say do what you enjoy, go all over the place.
I think your problem is you need to do more research. Your work ethic is there, your intellect is keen, but you need grist for the mill that is your brain.
Im probably going to get flamed by flamers as usual for saying this but if I may go all hippy on you for a moment, your homework from me is if you dont already to watch loads more movies, listen to more Radio4, read more new scientist and National Geographic, and sf, and Penguin classics with the orange spines that youd never otherwise read, take more photos, go to a wierd museum drunk, like the zoological museum or the lawnmower museum, make a huge file on your hard disc of things you love, look at everything closely, and then from far away, and fill your brain with as much random crap you love and hate as you can and stay up for two days and do whatever drugs you like, whatevers your thing, and fucking jam man. Get angry!
Your art is your universe, you can do anything there. Fly through a star. See an exciting chase from 5 angles. See lovers first meet, or the end of the affair, or see the microscopic, or just a microscope, or the vast or the ancient. See a cliff collapse or a ship be built or fuck off that cliche shit and do something youve never seen before. Mix things at random. Draw it over and over till youve found the coolest angle.
Its all about whats in the frame, and whats not.
What do you want to do today?(TM)
Last edited by Velocity Kendall; April 15th, 2012 at 04:37 PM.
Oh and i know its pretentious and all but watch Kubrick.
Kubrick, Kubrick, Kubrick, Kubrick. Every frame of Barry Lyndon or 2001 is a painting.
Hes the fucking shit. I think so anyway.
It's not about finding a style or theme, though. There are artists who are passionate about one thing, but just as often they simply paint what sells or what their art directors like to buy, and a single consistent style can help an illustrator find more jobs (and also condemn them if the market's stylistic prefernce changes).
Don't worry about style or theme; your style will grow by itself. Focus on the process, not the result.
Reference itself is a useful thing. If you use reference to observe things and build your picture with the knowledge you gain from it, it's great. You aren't building, though; you are just trying to copy and end up copying the wrong things.It seems I am a man of extremes. Before you guys were trying to convince me into using reference, and now I can't take a break from it haha.
So I'll sound like a broken record and say it again: don't copy the color spots, analyze the form and reconstruct it. It's all about the form. The only way that reference is going to be helpful is if you use it to understand the form so you can construct the scene.
There still is plenty likeness to get in a still life. The process is essentially the same as in portraiture. They are used because they don't move. (And can't run away screaming. )Perhaps that is why still lifes are used since there is no likeness to worry about, just the form.
The point here is learning to see the form in space. A photograph is not going to give you that unless you already have enough experience with seeing the form. So, still life.
Try to see the form as if you were sculpting it, not copying a flat photo.
Yup. Couldn't say it better.I do agree that there are lots of distractions that go along with those projects, and that is why people spend time painting spheres and such first. Looks like I am trying skip steps. I definitely should try painting bottles, apples, skulls,etc and forget about that artwork being used in any purpose other then my betterment.
Hey guys! I agree that my work is not very creative, as I myself am not much of a hippy and can't see myself going to museums alone. But I do read scientific american and watch Ted talks everyday, so there is plenty of intellectual sustenance in physics, science, and brain chemistry that I interested myself with.
I was thinking about painting the microscopic world!
What you say is very much in line with the fine art teacher I had during a brief extracurricular class I had in the fall.
I will try my best to think about form.
quick update on my war walker. Mo form going on much yet.
"can't see myself going to museums alone."
Well considering the fight going on, I will chime in by mentioning again that I think arenhaus is extremely rude and condescending, but stays helpful nevertheless.
It is difficult to read his posts, since he has that merciless (merchant of truth) thing about it, and it is needlessly insulting.
However behind the snark remarks and the rest of the immaturity there lie some valid points and I have learned to focus on and ignore the rest. That is why I welcome arenhaus to my thread, as I do everyone.
Obviously I find it strange that he is so rude, but I guess that's how the internet works. People feel they can get away with being rude online, which is something they wouldn't do in real life, so maybe that brings a deep pleasure.
As for arenhaus' drawings, me being me, I will just say that the validity of points made can often function in isolation from the work the advice giver produces. For example, as bad as I am, I can often dish out valid advice. I think this largely functions on a bias system that prevents you from judging your own artwork correctly, so I often find myself giving advice that I myself never follow. Strange how we work eh?
Arenhaus, if you could speak to me normally that would be fun, but if not, I welcome your commentary nevertheless. You really do get me to think about form after all.
I don't see arenhaus being particularly rude, to be honest.
Have you read the lounge/art discussion threads? The amount of ruthless condescending of new people going on there by members of all kinds of positions in this forum is .. extraordinary, to put it nicely.
I'm not going to comment about skills of anyone, but I found it necessary to put the use of language in a context. To a certain degree, this is what everyone puts up with here on CA- you can only decide to take part or stay out of it.
Lets keep things civil please and focus only helping out on the artwork
that Pavel has put in his thread. Take all other arguments and such to the PMs.
I agree Star Eater,
How is the composition in my science fiction piece? I admit that I don't understand composition, and that is why I am pushing for a more dynamic camera angle on this piece, to try to make it less stiff then my regular works.
This is just my 2 cents of course, but I don't think that composition comes off as dynamic at all. You have a focal point in the very center of the image and what feels like a collection of unrelated objects scattered haphazardly around it. You don't seem to be telling a story or saying anything specific other than that this robot is on what appears to be an alien planet near some hay with a colony in the distance. The whole left side is empty and most of the bottom as well.
The robot is very well drawn btw, and I think you have some interesting stuff in the image, but you're just not connecting them in a meaningful way and conveying their story to us. Figure out what you're trying to say with the image and consider doing some thumbs to find the best way to say it. Working with different camera angles is important of course, but I think right now you have a bigger problem which is that you're arranging the various elements in a way that is not tempting the viewer to look around the image and explore your vision.
A dynamic composition is not really a function of the camera angle. It's more dependent on symmetry and balance of the values. (Composition is dependent on arrangement of objects, but in a painting it ultimately comes to the arrangement of values.) If there is a "flow" in your picture that makes the viewer want to move his eyes predominantly to one side, that's dynamism. A composition that attracts the eye predominantly to the center is more static.
That's an inexact science, of course; I found it's best to learn a few rules-of-thumb and then get a lot of practice applying them and looking at their uses in other pictures. It's easier to pick it up gradually from examples, than try to formalize it: these rules are among the most "bendable" ones in art.
OK this walker.
I think the design is cool, it reminds me of something from an ealry 90s low budget sci fi like Hardware or Deathmachine.
I think this view is awkward though. Hows your 3d? Are you able to knock up a rough model to help you pose it for maximal coolness? It really only needs to be boxes, nothing detailed, but just to hlp you show off those cool legs and head. Then when youve got a good view you can photoshop over the top.
IF 3d isnt doable, maybe try making a wire model and photoing it on your desk top from a low angle, again to experiment with poses and create underlay images..
The reason why I decided to do it was simply because I thought you were walking in circles, and, well, needed a nudge to snap out of your comfort zone and get to think about the form. Nudges didn't help, so after some months I decided to try something stronger. I was in the same situation a few years ago: following a routine learned by trial and error, and not advancing. I think I broke out of it, but I am still working that set of habits out of my system. So when I see it happening to others, I sometimes can't resist sticking my neck out...
Its not possible to be using trial and error and not learn something. Its literally impossible.
Pavel do you remember this one. Its your foxy other half. I thought you smashed it with this one. You said to me "I see my gf more in the repaint then in my [this] old version, although my old version captures a different sort of truth in her face. It looks like her.. in a different way? It is hard to explain what I mean."
I got exactly what you meant. You didnt just copy what you saw, and you did right. The photo isnt great, the angle exentuates her snoz. But you interpreted it. You poured your nice feelings for her, and how pretty she is in real life, into the arrangement of colour on the page. I think you got it. Do that. More. It wont work every time but if you can do it once, thats proof of principle. I love a proof of principle me.
The composition is boring as has already been said. Cropping is your friend.
This might not be the best, but it is a lot more interesting.
I think that instead of trying to salvage this particular composition, it calls for another round of thumbnail sketches to see if there is a better solution / arrangement / way to convey the scene.
I am really intimidated by composition. I know I have problems with story telling too. How does one arrange items in such a way as to encourage the viewer to look around? I believe you are supposed to have diagonals pointing to your focal points, or did I just make that up?
The hay is supposed to be an agricultural element. The whole idea which hasn't really been brought into obviousness yet, is that the robot's tentacles are electrocuting/radiating/ spreading instant pasteurizer that encourages extreme crop growth in the otherwise unfavorable conditions of this planet/our post apocalyptic world. I don't think about stuff like this a lot, it feels kind of like playing like a child so I avoid it. The hay is supposed to be harvested results with the help of the robot.
So are you saying my aim is to point the elements towards one side of the canvas in order to create a focus on that side? A focus on one side of the image = dynamicism? Just confirming what I took away from you post, let me know if I misunderstood.
That was an interesting case. I fully love the final version of my work (posted by me on this page somewhere, with a photo of the print), but the earlier attempt is still curious. It looks like a child, but there is something cute and warm about it. The new one, I am proud of, but it doesn't have the same warmth. I should perhaps focus on expression more. With the Louis Ck painting I am posting in this reply, I tried to capture his sad/comedic desperation. Now sure if it worked, but it is something I should be thinking about more instead of just thoughtlessly launching into work at a drop of a hat.
I actually had my original canvas something like that, with the robot mostly on the left. But it stresses me out so I added more canvas. I really am afraid of cramped cropping, it makes me feel like I am looking at a panel of a comic book, that so much is missing.
In the meanwhile here is an update on the WarWalker, and a Louis Ck portrait I started today. One of my goals is to contact the comedian Louis CK and attempt to show him the final version of this portrait some day soon. It is too late to contact him on his Reddit AMA, so I might have to get a twitter account to try and reach him there.
For those that don't know, Louis Ck is the funniest/saddest human being alive. I see his shows every year since he comes to Canada fairly often.
Last edited by Pavel Sokov; April 19th, 2012 at 03:50 PM.
"I don't think about stuff like this a lot, it feels kind of like playing like a child so I avoid it."
Yuo are a solemn sausage arnt you. Thats the whole point! getting paid to play like a kid is literally the exact reason to do art as a career.
war walker looks like this at the moment, you really need to redraw it from a better angle. regarding the tentacles spreading groth hormone, remember the movie directors first lesson, show it dont tell it.
loius CK is fucking hilarious. His "why?" routine kills me.
Last edited by Velocity Kendall; April 20th, 2012 at 05:58 AM.
Just popping in because I saw Louis CK and I absolutely adore that man to bits. I love the expression you captured on his face, but his arm is looking a bit weird to me at the moment.
'Cuz life is full of your regrets, and I should be one...
In general, it's suggested that you don't place the focal point in the very center of the image because it discourages the viewer to look at the rest of the piece and therefore works against movement and dynamism. Diagonal lines are good for movement and tend to be more effective than vertical and horizontal lines. Placing elements on the crop can be an effective compositional tool in certain circumstances. It can suggest that some objects are larger than they really are (because they're sooo big they couldn't even fit in the shot!), it can activate a less important area without putting a full focal point there (cropping off part of an object suggests it's less important), and it can help give a more natural feeling to the image.
As I said before, I think your best bet is doing thumbnails, because if you want to explore composition, explore compositions. Then you can analyze which arrangements are more successful than others and come out with an image that is more effectively composed.