Chris
Chris
Nowhere, LA
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Vanessa
Hi, Chris! I have to say I think your problem may be as you said, you're "very nuts and bolts like that". It sounds like you're interested in making original artworks but have only been practicing others' works and the basics of shapes. I'd suggest, as uncomfortable as I imagine it might be, that you try to create an original scene or character you have in mind using your preferred paints (don't worry, you can always create it again after learning more, and don't have to show anyone). Once you finish a few paintings look at them critically and ask yourself where you'd like to see improvement without being too hard on yourself (original ideas can be a different skillset than copying and referencing). Then, see how you can work on that. Some key skills for splash art would be things like: faces, figure drawings, character design, composition, colour theory, among other things. Art doesn't follow one process or one "best" material or learning schedule for everyone, it is truly a creative art. I would also say art can be cyclical. Acrylic and digital and pencil and ink can all be used for simultaneous growth. If you practice in pencils you can get a good understanding of shading and value - the same skill that can add to your acrylic paintings. If you learn how to hold your pen/pencil and use good lines this can lead to future accuracy with a paintbrush. This is true of most art forms, they all add to one another in the long run. What you can mentally see/draw/imagine helps you make images in any medium. Painting is essentially just drawing in colour, so there's no harm in practicing inking or shading (and you can do no drawing at all under your painting if you trust yourself to draw in paint, just it's harder to fix mistakes). So focus on what interests you or where you want to improve and it should add up (similar to what another poster said, if you can learn from someone who does something with their art that you like, I find this is the fastest way to grow - absorb and learn that same thing you like to look at in art! Then it's already stylized to your preferences and goals). If you're a complete beginner with acrylics I'd recommend looking for any intro classes, or simply following along with some free tutorials on youtube. You can sometimes pick up the basics by following along and slowing down these videos to get the hang of blending and layering in your chosen medium. Plus, it's very cost effective before you decide on what teachers, courses, or subjects you may want to learn from. Overall, I just wanted to comment and say I think what's holding you back is probably your mindset. It's not the tools or the order you learn things in. Learn lots of different styles (maybe even the anime and inked comic art you hate so much) and especially learn the application of the art styles and medium you're interested in. Let go of right and wrong - because to grow you'll have to step out of your comfort zone and be wrong often to find the next step forwards. Hope this helps in some way. Let's do our best on our art journeys :)
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Chris
Thanks for the post. First off; I don’t hate comics/manga, I’m just not overly inspired by the blocked in colors. I’m also not too concerned with the painting right now, too busy struggling to get something on the page to paint. I’m also not copying other artists right now. I’ve only managed to find one artist that I’d want to learn from and the one sketch book of his that have got immediately shelved as a I have no clue where to start or what to do with it. I’ve considered learning from David Finch but I have no idea what to do with the comic style and, again, blocked in colors aren’t my thing. I should maybe consider it. Right now my biggest issue is figuring out the basic forms and what to next with them. I can draw a slightly wonky Loomis but that’s as far as it goes. I can make a really off contour drawing from a reference but don’t know how to fix it or keep going. I can stick figure a… figure but don’t know what to do with it. Really starting to think I got most of the parts in front of me, I just can’t figure out how they go together or what parts I’m missing. I can’t know what I don’t know. It doesn’t help that the basics course is really slow going and while it’s thorough it’s lacking in how they all need to be applied together.
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Patrick Bosworth
Sounds like you need to take a traditional painting class! The drawing classes you’re currently enrolled in are all great, but none will explain the basics of preliminary painting stages. If you’re looking for a good basics of digital painting course check out Marco Bucci, Ahmed Aldoori, Jon Neimeister to name a few. For traditional painting techniques check out Ceasar Santos, and James Gurney on YouTube, and grab Gurney's books Imaginative Realism and Color and Light. Both are great painting reference books. Your minis are very beautifully done. You clearly learned a great deal of different artistic processes to bring them to the finish you’re capable of! However to draw and paint ideas out of your head, on paper and canvas has a lot more going on. Ultimately the foundation of fantasy painting is drawing so the better you are at drawing your ideas the better you will be able to paint them. There’s a lot to unpack here, but here are some quick answers to your questions-  What pencil should I use for sketching? If you’re painting over it, use what ever pencil you grab first. If you have a choice, start with and HB or #2 pencil Why? HB/#2 pencils are cheap, ubiquitous, don’t smudge, and have a decent value range (light to dark) If you NEED a darker value, use 2B or above, If you NEED less smudging, use 2H or above. If you NEED a pencil… just use whatever you have.  How far should I take the sketch before I start putting down paint? It’s a very personal choice how far to take this stage. No wrong answers. Many begin painting after a simple linear under-drawing, some after blocking in values, some go further. It’s frustrating to hear, but only you can know this. How much do YOU need on the page to comfortably begin and finish a painting? Your minis look amazing, but have you done any fantasy painting, or copied any MTG or Warhammer scenes in acrylic? If so, posting some for critique will help you get a barometer of how much of each preliminary stage you might want to include in your process to improve your work. But some experimentation will also help, pick a favorite MTG card and try to replicate it in pencil, or just try to paint it in acrylic. You’re only going to learn by doing. I’m a huge Karl Kopinski fan and he has shared some of his process here on Proko, so check out his process for some insight.  Line Weight? Line weight is just a tool used to convey an idea. If you’re inking, you might want to include it in your sketching phase. David Finch applies line weight AFTER fully drawing the basic tight line-drawing of his scene, and then uses the line-weight to dictate where he blocks in shadow. David pencils very tightly and fully completes his line weight, rendering and full shadows for everything in pencil on his pages before it’s inked and colored. David also paints in acrylic a lot on his live stream so check out his YouTube channel for some of his process there. Like I said, Line weight is just a tool used to imply light direction, form, movement, distance, among other things. Only you can say how much you need in a sketch if you’re going to paint it, but learning how to use it will help inform your paintings. Ink Unless you’re traditionally inking your work, no need to incorporate it, but it’s a great medium to practice and to learn. If you want to traditionally replicate the second image of the red stylized comic character you posted you could ink your lines using waterproof ink, and paint over it with watercolor, gouache, acrylic, etc…. Again… it’s up to you. Alex Ross uses black gouache as his “ink” in some of his work. Worth checking out.  Figure? Where should I concentrate my efforts Life/reference or construction? Both.  If you want to include figures in your work, there is no wasted time in studying Loomis. Loomis is just a tool to improve your understanding of how to draw the figure. Doesn’t matter what method you use to draw your figures, Reilly, Loomis, Bridgman, Proko, Hampton, Jones, they’re all excellent, and there’s no wasted time in studying how each solves the problem so you're more versatile. Comic artists draw from imagination using construction, and make it believable having drawn from life. Learn construction so you can draw anything from imagination, and learn to draw from life/photo reference so you don’t have to make it all up! Why learn to blend graphite from 2H through 8B for a perfect tonal shift if you're going to paint over it? These two aren't connected. You don't NEED to do that in your under drawing, you can, but as you realize it would be unnecessary. However, being able to blend a graphite gradient subtly from 2H to 8B trains your hand to evenly apply values, and trains your eye to see value shifts. If you can control these value shifts in graphite you will be able to create more relevant sketches/thumbnails/compositions/planning stages of your painting. Painting is all about value, and learning to separate and organize values in graphite will make you a better painter. Bonus: A “Painterly” style is used to describe loose, brushy, impressionistic strokes, over a highly rendered photorealistic style. The blue image you posted is more painterly than the red, but I would consider the blue image more tightly rendered than “painterly.” Hope this helps!
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Chris
Daaaaang! Now that’s the kinda help I was looking for. First, thanks for the line on videos, I didn’t know Gurney had a channel and never heard of the other guy till now. I do have Gurney’s books though. Unfortunately, I’m gonna pass on the digital for a while since this is proving to be a rough start and I’d rather break a pencil instead of a tablet. Plus the buttery smooth blends and tonal tricks I know I can get with acrylics are too hard to step away from, though maybe one day I will. Thanks for the pencil tips, I wasn’t sure if it would mess up anything if went too soft. I decided the other day to just stick with HB while practicing and it’s nice to see that it’s kinda the “standard” for this kinda work. I just gotta figure out how to get crisp lines without them going too dark from constantly going over them. As far as copying goes; I haven’t done any yet really, I’m struggling to figure out the basic steps and how they go together in order to get a finished piece. I’ve never done a finished piece, no clue how to get there. I may give ink a go any way, I forgot that acrylic is transparent and it’ll go a long way toward assisting me build the shadows like a good zenithal prime. Though I will admit I don’t always stick to that method. My Loomis head looks weird but I guess I’ll keep trying to get it. Though how to take it beyond that still escapes me. And I’m still trying to figure out Hampton’s book. I’m also struggling with how to draw the figure from reference since all I’ve done so far is wonky contours. Pretty hopeless so far for someone who wants to paint people but if I can stick with crappy minis for 8 years then a year of bad figures will be a cake walk. And I’m gonna stay far, far away from anything “painterly,” I’m addicted to smooth blends. Thanks again for the reply, you have no idea the load that just you just took off my mind.
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Thomas Sperl
so what i understand from your post is that you want to get good an make amazing splash art or concept art like some of the great artists you admire , but you dont want to waste time on finding out how you get there and on things you might not use.. so you just want to learn whats neccessary to get some great art pieces. The simple answer on your questions like for example with the pencil is try out for your self and get a feeling for what works best for you... In Art there is no 1 way to do smth, everybody learns different and works different.. there are probably more ways to achieve a great splash art then there are people teaching you to do so. For the Construction Question and the Reference thing.... Its no ways of time to learn the lumis method and learn constructing, becouse you will still use reference, most great artists rely on both their ability to construct and to use multiple references to achieve their vision. If you only use refernece it will get very hard for you to paint or draw smth pure from imagination.. u have to learn to understand the construction of basicly everything and how to use multiple refernces without relying on them to be 1 to 1 what you want to draw.. its a trip, a journy dont try to rush art to get to smth, try to find joy in learning different techniques and after working for a few years you start figuring out whats the best way for YOU to make epic splash arts etc.. Try to make courses from people you admire and try to do so as they say you will autimaticly pic the habits you want to do for your work process, you can learn from nearly anything. sry for my bad english not my main language.. hope this helped you a little bit
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Chris
Not really doing splash art, that was just the first thing that popped into my head for a comparison between a painting and comic art of the same subject matter. Quick isn’t what I’m looking for, I just keep getting bogged down in the tools because I can’t figure out what I’m supposed to do with them and their exact purpose. This keeps leading to wasted time repeatedly drawing circles and the exact same box over and over with no rhyme or reason behind it. I'm also not trying to skip steps in the learning process, just trying to figure out where to focus my attention and cut out the unnecessary parts. Why would I learn how to blend graphite from 2H through 8B for a perfect tonal shift if I’m just going to turn around and paint over it. Same goes for line quality if I’m the only one who is ever going to see it.
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Chris
No, seriously I mean that. Explain the basics and painting preliminary work to me like I’m stupid. I’ve included some art from League as a point of reference only. I know they’re digital but I’m confident I can get something close to the big splash art in acrylics it’s just getting there that I can’t figure out. I’m wanting to do fantasy style paintings (non-anime) like you see on MtG cards and in Warhammer and Warmachine/Hordes. Don’t get me wrong I like Frazetta’s art but not his style. First off: pencils. Everything related to using them that I’ve found online is generic typing or assumes I’m going for full graphite art for the most part. I found David Finch’s channel which lead me to other comic artists and I get why they recommend 2H and HB to achieve the results they do for the second image I just don’t want to go that route since I’m not a fan of how the final results are colored (her dress is two distinct red tones and black lined, good but probably a bit boring to do). Also, while impressive, I don’t like how comic sketches look without color (sorry, David). Other places I’ve seen recommend sketching with 2B or 4B for some reason. So my real question here is, what pencil should I use for my sketching (probably gonna draw it on sketch paper and then transfer it in some way)? Why? Further, would how I made the line or its weight actually matter if I’m gonna cover it up completely with paint like in the first image? Also, how far should I take the sketch before I start putting down paint? Once I get the lines down? Shadows blocked in? Ink. Really not sure it would be a needed supply. I know I’d need it to do something like the second image or if I was going for an ink only image. So worth it for the first image, skip it, or what? Figure. Time for some crunch. I know comic artists use “standardized” construction method like Loomis to achieve consistency since they need to repeat a character’s design. I also know that most fantasy artists lean more on references (live or still) to achieve what is likely a one off piece in a specific pose like the first pic. So where should I concentrate my efforts? Life/reference or construction? Does it really matter? I don’t want to waste time learning something like Loomis if I’ll never use it or drawing from life if I’m always constructing everything from the ground up and only referencing specific items (like a fox’s tail). Bonus: what is a “painterly” style? I’ve seen it in places and have no idea what it means. I know all this is subjective but that’s what is making it confusing, I’m very nuts and bolts like that. And yes, I do have painting experience, I’ve painted minis for years. I’m just tired of painting other people’s work. I want to be able to have an idea, commit it to paper, and eventually have it painted instead of conforming my ideas around what is available.
Chris
Not a whole lot going on here, for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what to add to the room.
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Steve Lenze
Along with what @Martha Muniz said, also try to maintain the expression on the face. Acting, or emoting feelings is what gives our drawings life. Pay special attention to the shape of the eyes and the angle of the eyebrows.
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Chris
Didn't notice the head tilt difference till you pointed it out. I'd partially chock that up to drawing everything slightly crooked for some reason. Thanks for that line info, didn't know where those were. I'm assuming that both of those alignments are at roughly the half way points, right?
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Martha Muniz
Hey, cool! Master studies are a great way to learn from other artists, develop your own technical skills, and gain familiarity with a medium. A helpful approach is also to keep in mind a specific quality you admire in an artist to use a focus for your study, like their line quality, shading, stylization, etc. or even something like their approach to armor or hair. I think something that stands out to me for this artist is the angular shape design they use for stylization throughout the piece-- even just in the face alone, you can see sharp angles echoing throughout the design of her features especially as her jaw comes to almost a point, which I think you could reinforce. The use of line weight is also aptly used to reinforce the shadows falling on her face, such as around her eyes, under her nose, and her top lip, which I think is worth trying out with a tapered pencil edge to achieve that heavier weight. I do think your rendering came out quite clean and controlled, and starting to develop a good range of line weight, it's just a matter of pushing it a bit further as you gain more familiarity with your tools.
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Chris
For some reason I keep wanting to smooth out the sharp angles for organic shapes, it's a short coming stemming from trying to draw parts of my initial sketch (like the bottom of the jaw line) in one continuous line. I'm working on that by shorter line segments. The line weights are still all over the place because I'm still trying to figure out how to lay it in properly without changing pen/pencil sizes. The rendering is sort of easy, I've painted minis for years it's just figuring out how to apply it to a 2D form. And yeah, I'm a huge fan of her style and character design.
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Chris
added a new topic
Elf Copy
5mo
I did kind of a copy of an elf head. The original was done by Izzy “Talin” Collier. I did bounce a bit between mechanical and clutch pencils but I’m not sure which I like better. What are your thoughts?
Chris
Started pretty rough and I think I got a bit better as I went, not sure though.
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Chris
I hate hippos, they just look like blobs to me. Fortunately Boo at the Zoo left me with a few options. While I did manage to keep most on the page they’re all still way too big.
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