Critique (help is needed!)
Hi guys! I know Proko is not a critique bureau, but I would really appreciate some of it :) I'm a self-taught artist and critique is crucial to me, but till now I hadn't had any. I've been learning how to draw for a year and a three months by now, and here's the result. I know I should get into anatomy ASAP and I need to observe the reality more to improve my shadow/light relations, as well as perspective. But maybe there's something I'm not able to see, so I would really appreciate if you could tell me the most obvious mistakes to give me the chance to improve my art. I also know I have big problems with composition(I've made a lot of effort to make it decent in this drawing though), but I don't understand where I can learn how to make it better. Is it by observing the world around me, or maybe there is some good books you know about? I would really appreciate some advice on this issue! I know by the Proko challenges that there are a lot of great artists over here, and maybe you could help me! P.S. The little girl was suppose to be my focal point, but it definetely didn't work out as I expected.
To add to the other great feedback here, I think the first thing to look into composition-wise is tips to create focus. You mention the girl is meant to the the centre of focus, but she is partly behind the plant and, most importantly, she is in the shadows. You really want to make sure the point of focus is lit and high contrast (at least for less advanced composition) so it stands out. You could use the branches of the pot to lead to the point of focus, but if just beginning it can be tricky to get 'leading lines' and such things right. Keep up the great work, I like your character designs. I've done a really quick hack job to try and highlight how little changes can help in composition. I just added a couple of shadows (not accurate!) and a bit more contrast to the girl and you can see that while she doesn't become the clear focal point, she does stand out more now.
Hey, @vicky_a! It’s been a while since you’ve posted this, but hope I’m still in time to share a few insights. :) I really like the narrative aspect of your illustration. The way the characters are shown and the elements you’ve chosen to work into the environment convey a sense of storytelling and make this universe familiar. There are technical aspects, yes, which I believe could become priorities in the next steps of your growth journey - but not anatomy or lighting (at least, not right now). Instead, I’d strongly suggest trying to really get a grip on perspective! I agree with @Steve Lenze as this being the most crucial aspect standing out right now as to what could be worked on. Some simple perspective techniques should already help a lot with handling the size relationships, the sense of form, depth and space, the angles and even the placement of the elements in the scene, which would also benefit the composition as a side effect. There’s a handy course on CtrlPaint that presents perspective techniques in a relatively simple, “sketch-oriented” way (it costs U$10): https://ctrlpaint.myshopify.com/collections/foundation-skills/products/perspective-sketching-1-the-basics I’m thinking their approach to using a perspective grid as a base for constructing a scene is something you could find helpful (at least, I found it extremely useful when I learned it a few years ago, and I still use it often nowadays). Then, secondly, figure drawing, character design, composition or lighting could be possible choices of following steps, depending on your personal preferences and interests. I wouldn’t consider getting into anatomy before getting familiar at least with perspective, form and figure drawing basics. On the issue you brought up about learning composition, yeah, observing the world around sure helps, but also make sure to get some technical knowledge on the subject through courses and books! There’s plenty of material out there if you do a quick research; here’s a few that I’ve seen before and recommend: . CtrlPaint’s “Principles of design” series (this one is free): https://www.ctrlpaint.com/videos/principles-of-design-introduction . “Pictorial composition” course with Nathan Fowkes on Schoolism - https://schoolism.com/courses/illustration/pictorial-composition-nathan-fowkes . The book “Framed ink”, by Marco Mateu-Mestre - https://www.amazon.com/Framed-Ink-Drawing-Composition-Storytellers/dp/1933492953/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3W1KEYVGMCAC9&keywords=Framed+ink&qid=1651785922&sprefix=framed+ink%2Caps%2C141&sr=8-1 . The book “Composition of outdoor painting”, by Edgar Payne (although it’s focused on landscapes, the general principles also apply to other subject matters) - https://www.amazon.com/Composition-Outdoor-Painting-Edgar-Payne/dp/0939370115/ref=sr_1_1?crid=22U7GAL8MKGHJ&keywords=composition+of+outdoor+painting+edgar+payne&qid=1651785947&sprefix=Composition+of+outdoor%2Caps%2C143&sr=8-1 By the way, composition is a sort of an interdisciplinary topic in the arts, so you might also find helpful content about it in books on photography, graphic design, animation etc. This year or so you’ve been studying so far is a great start, and I bet you’d be amazed if you were to compare your current drawings with older ones from before you started studying. But, for the long run, it might be still a very short amount of time, so you can say you’ve barely started your journey - and I mean this in a good way! There’s energy and excitement when looking at the road ahead. There’s so much to learn, and our brains need time, repetition and rest to get used to the new skills we practice. Steve Huston often says it can take many years of dedicated study for an artist to level up to professional technique. I know this can sound a bit intimidating at first, but, hopefully, it could also sound encouraging: getting some perspective on how long it can take for someone to develop as an artist might help take it easy on yourself and don’t put pressure on rushing things too much. Hope this helps! If you have questions or would like to discuss anything else, just please let me know. Other than that, just keep it up! And please feel free to keep sharing your work. Count on this community to get feedback whenever you need. Best of luck!
Steve has great advice. You're doing amazing for only having a year and some under your belt! Your characters are so expressive and full of energy! Other than perspective, colors is pretty glaring. Everything is fully saturated, and not harmonious. I would start studying color theories and work on more harmonious colors, and pay attention to color saturation and temperature.
Hey Vicky_a, Congrats for deciding to study art, keep working hard. The most obvious things that jump out to me are perspective, both background and figure. Also the size relationships between the figures and the background elements is causing problems with your scene. I did a quick sketch to show you some of the things I noticed, I hope it is helpful for you :)