|Color and Light||1.1||Do Assignment|
|Color and Light||1.2||Do Assignment||1.3 | 1.4|
|Illusion of Space and Atmosphere||1||Do Assignment|
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Before I get into details on the question I want to preface this by saying that I watch a ton of video tutorials, do a lot of imaginative drawings, read about and drawn a lot of figure drawings, and gathered a huge library of reference and inspirational images.
Now while the above is all true, up until now I've mostly been operating on muscle memory (basically drawing by trial and error). Whenever I attempt to create a character, I can execute a pose with simple gestures but when it comes to constructing anatomy I never know what reference to pull out, so I mostly focus on trying to remember how the muscles and bones move. After I get a base down, I have trouble designing outfits and looking for reference and tutorials on how to do so.
When I attempt to create an environment I usually start with a perspective line and draw in small gestures for buildings and mountains, but when it comes to outlining the scene, I lack any visual knowledge of architecture so it ends up looking like generic cubes and cylinders with random roofs.
In the technical aspect of drawing, I feel like I have a good understanding of value, shading, and line work. Color I'm still trying to study and perspective I feel is my greatest weakness. Now when it comes to design, I feel as though my visual library is lacking and no matter what I watch, read, observe, or attempt to make from a study, I'm not learning much (hence the reason why I operate on muscle memory). In video tutorials like Feng Zhu, his information gives me a great understanding of the things I'm trying to learn mostly because he uses science to teach it; but he purposely doesn't give an explicit explanation of the fundamentals since most of that is taught with his students.
So basically I think I'm either muddled with too much information to know where to start or too lazy to find out where to start if that makes any sense. I want to avoid being complacent with my work and start improving so that I can build my portfolio to a professional level. Now should I be working more on learning and understanding the fundamentals (science and techniques) or building up a visual library to help improve my designs? Also what are some good exercises/advice to help learn both? I'll link to some of my pictures to help understand where I'm coming from.
For a background of myself, I'm in art college right now studying animation and game design though I'm focused on learning digital painting, concept art, storyboarding, and 3D modeling. I had a previous interest/background in comic art so some of my older work may reflect that.
"The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing with work."
- Emily Zola
Ok man, here's my take at it, without being an expert, but being very critical on
my own work.
Muscle memory is a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing. You see, when you
rely on instinctive gesture alone, as a beginner, what's the possibility of it being correct
in what you draw? Very slim. Yes you do look and you adjust accordingly...a little, but
you don't observe. And by that I not only mean the subject, but your own work especially.
The reason for this is that you're semi-training your muscle memory, giving yourself
a skewed set of gestures you use to put a thing together. I know because I have
made the same mistake. For instance, I may have drawn a face, and although it
may have had some quality, I'd go back and look at it and I'd notice certain discrepancies
repeating. This had to do with my viewpoint, my left handedness, and my lack of
practice on drawing from life or copy. The latter, builds your observation of proportion,
angle etc of THE WHOLE, as well as parts. In other words you will be able to see
problems easier and faster. It's easy to develop bad habits of constructing bad and
disproportionate because we tend to draw things bit by bit and get caught up in
that. That's why proportions, gesture and solid laying down of major masses with
accuracy and speed are important. But you will not be able to make this critical
judgement of your development if you don't train this way.
That being said, the major problem I see with your work is that you need practice in
your drawing skills. And this is no shame. There's many artists out there who are
pros who say the most difficult aspect to develop, and something they see in others that
is underdeveloped, is drawing. We nag about color etc, but drawing is really the one
that's tough. No matter how well you seem to have it down at some point, especially
when you're a beginner, you are just impressed with your progress, not your lack
of skill. It's a trap that's easy to fall in.
So for now, I'd say you shift gears, slow down a little on what you're doing, keep
it up don't stop, but put your weight behind drawing from life. Do long studies, do
short ones, etc. Focus on good drawing first, before going on to render what you
The rest you mention is a situation that's different for each person, but you really
develop it as you practice in any part of the picture making art.
"Don't judge a book by it's cover" Frank Frazetta 1928-2010
DA gallery http://michaelsyrigos.deviantart.com/gallery/
CA Sketchbook http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=131601
I see two possible major issues here...
First, how much practice are you getting drawing and painting from life? Not from photos, from life. Painting from life is one of the best ways to hone your understanding of color - you'll start seeing color subtleties you never even knew existed. Also drawing and painting from life helps bolster your imaginative work. I'm not sure why, but the act of trying to capture a real object in a drawing makes it stick in memory better than just looking at it. I know that in my personal experience, the more life drawing I do, the better my imaginative work gets.
Second, you seem to struggle a lot with making your imaginative work convincing and interesting. I think what you need there is RESEARCH and REFERENCE. Don't be afraid to use reference! If you can't figure out a pose, get a friend to pose or pose in a mirror - even if you can't hold the exact pose, you can get a lot of useful information from something fairly close. If you don't have ideas for costume or architecture or whatever, immerse yourself in books about costume and architecture or whatever as part of the process of making a picture. So, for instance, say you want an armored warrior in your picture, you might research various styles of real armor throughout history for inspiration. Research can make a picture much stronger than simply pulling everything out of your head. You research before you start a picture, or throughout the whole process, whatever works. Personally I like to gorge on source material during the early brainstorming and rough sketch stages, and then wing it in the later stages based on what I've absorbed.
As for building up a "visual library", just be curious about everything and look at everything - not just art, EVERYTHING. Absorb it all. You never know what will be useful later. But of course you'll never be able to pull everything and anything out of your head, so project-specific research is also a good habit to get into.
Excellent feedback so far - I agree 100%. I'll just add that visual art, whether it's design, concept art, illustration, drawing or painting, starts with an understanding of the fundamentals, from composition on up. Don't be confused by the catchy term of "visual library"...it's a misconception and doesn't mean what you think it means. Professional artists build/develop their work based on fundamentals every time, adding detail and information as necessary to convey their message. We use reference often to inform our work in areas we may not be familiar with. If you visualize/draw some subjects enough you can pull them out of your head to an extent - but how realistically you wish to represent the subject determines how much you need to rely on reference or direct observation.
I think you are actually on the right track and just need to keep moving forward. I would recommend along with others to draw a bit more from life while working on a better understanding of fundamentals. Good luck!