Dan B
Dan B
Australia
I enjoy drawing little insects, particularly wasps. My favourite media are charcoal, pastel and graphite. Slowly getting into digital
Dan B
First thing I would say is try to make sure photos are in focus and with even lighting so the drawings are nice and clear. I think you have really good proportions and forms, I would try to work on line weight so they're not so dark all over, then add heavier lines for important focus areas or overlapping forms, etc.
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Dan B
Very crude job, but fun anyway. Caption "ah, this is the life"
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Dan B
Ok so I tried to implement the feedback here: added slightly more contrast to the wasp body/head, toned down the contrast in the cocoon with slightly cooler shades (maybe too much?), added a little more detail to the leaf and some light cross-contours to the centre of the leaf. The changes are fairly subtle but I think work well and leave the wasp most focal. Thanks for the feedback!
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jkovalchek
I think you've done something quite fabulous here. You have great color unity. You've well described so many different textures: the reflective glassiness of the wings, the shiny body, the matte smooth leaf and then my favorite is the fuzziness of the cocoon. If your concern is that the cocoon is distracting, it is a dominant element: You have the highest contrast in values (brightest light, near darkest dark) and it takes up a significant portion of the image. If you don't want it to be a dominant element, it probably would be difficult to recompose at this point without losing parts of the wasp, but you could make all the values on the cocoon more mid range, and increase the difference in values on the wasp where you want people to look (maybe brighten the highlights on the abdomen right next to the dark rings (ridges? I don't know wasp anatomy. Sorry) All that said: I like it! You're good with wasps. What's your medium?
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Dan B
Thanks! I do the wasps digitally generally now (InfinitePainter), but like to use some charcoal and graphite. Otherwise and dabble in painting occasionally but haven't for a while. I see what you mean about the cocoon, I might try reducing the value a bit, making it cooler to reflect the sky a bit and bump up some highlights with a mask. The wasps are tricky because they're so small you don't get nice big shapes for light and shadow and there's lots of intricate forms. It's definitely been a challenge, but I enjoy it, so :)
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Steve Lenze
This looks great, well painted. The only thing I would do is maybe add some color variation in the green leaf background, and perhaps add some detail, like veins in the upper right hand side of the composition to help balance it out, and some cross contour detail on the stem part of the leaf to show its perspective and add some dimension.
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Dan B
Thanks Steve. Colour variation is a good idea. I wanted the background quite plain to simulate the depth of field, but it does make it a bit flat. I'll play around with it a little.
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Dan B
I like the fluid nature of building the image here and it's how I find I paint digitally too, particularly the bit about painting too grey and then bumping it up with a mask/contrast! It's great to see strong results just mixing and layering in colour rather than picking specific hues and tones, which I struggle with.
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Dan B
1mo
It's me again, the weirdo that paints wasps :) My concern with this piece is the lower detail of the cocoon (it's a Lacewing cocoon being parasitised by the wasp), which I don't really notice because my attention is on the wasp but I wonder if it is actually distracting? Source pic: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/113030643. I didn't try to be exact with colours, but tried to keep my piece cohesive at least.
Dan B
It depends what you want to get out of that fun. Do you still want to become a 'good' artist and produce high quality artwork, even if just for yourself? If so, yes Proko is a good fit, but generally geared towards humans as the subject matter. Still, the fundamentals course is great and you want to learn as much technique and theory as you can as it will start to integrate itself into your process and eventually allow you more flexibility and confidence. What do you want to draw? This is a far more serious question than I think people give credit. What you want to draw, or enjoy drawing, can heavily guide your learning path! I.e. portraits, cartoons, still life, architecture, fantasy, product design, nature, etc. There are different styles and different skills you need depending on which way you want to go... If you know what you want to create, it's much easier to guide your process. I struggled for a long time not knowing what I wanted to draw but yet enjoyed drawing and wanted to do it! It has been very frustrating at times, where I needed to remember to just draw, without putting on the pressure of becoming 'a good artist' until I figured it out. I hope that helps in some way :)
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Gannon Beck
Doing some review in preparation for painting some portraits.
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Dan B
Nice work. Make sure the chin line is in perspective with the brow/nose. It appears to be too angled in some of them (or the brow would have to be more angled to match the perspective).
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Dan B
Experiment! Play with the brushes and settings, you'll start to work out which ones click and which ones don't. I found two things important: which brushes do nice lines and which ones blend in a way that I like. Blending in particular has a few approaches and what works for one (say, using transparency and flow) might not work for others (say, 'wet' brush you blend by virtually mixing with your strokes).
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Yiming Wu
Yeah exactly... It's quite dumb... Flickr and DeviantArt show full aspect ratio which is more pleasant. One thing though... on web it's actually a bit hard to display the correct aspect ratio for all images and put them so they fill up the horizontal space for each row. It will need a script to specify calculated sizes for all images and when the client window changes size it's gonna need rearranging etc... It's not like there are no existing solutions but I think the devs on artstation are just too lazy to implement that :/ I think the backend of them is wordpress, that might introduce some unnecessary complications but whatever. They could do it so much better.
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Dan B
Yeah I don’t get it. Even just a little spacing between the images would help, it looks like it’s trying to be one large composition with them all jammed together.
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Katey Jensma
Hi @Dan B We really hope to become the perfect place for this and check all the boxes you described. We have lots of great website features coming your way in the future.
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Dan B
That sounds great Katey. One thing I have realised is that I now hope Proko never does the ‘discovery/gallery wall’ thing like ArtStation/DefiantArt/Behance, etc, at least not as the main page. It seems that always turns the focus of the sites to advertising and self-promotion rather than thorough community engagement and real critique. Just being able to search users (and maybe add tags) and comment directly on album images would be enough I think, so that people can find your portfolio and comment on it, but it doesn’t introduce the wrong incentives.
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shackman
Week 32+33 It might become a close race between how long my savings will last and how long I need to make money with art, at least the race is exciting again! In the past 2 weeks I made huge progress on my painting skills. I'm working my way through the painting workout by Wouter Tulp and continuing the pictorial composition class. Also made a new animation in Blender, a robot trying to hack an ATM. I liked it but it bombed on social media, the usual... I bought tickets for an art event in Berlin, I'm going to see Aaron Blaise and many others live! Not sure if this is going to be a giant waste of money (tickets + driving 600km back and forth) or life changing, I'll know more in 2 weeks. For May I want to focus mostly on getting better at painting and also use Blender for illustrations. I'm going to learn about stylized shaders but also how to paint over blockouts.
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Dan B
I’m also looking into using Blender for illustrations, after being particularly inspired by James O’Brien (here: https://www.artstation.com/jamesobrien). Let me know how you’re finding it and if you find great learning material! I’ve seen some pretty good stuff by Marco Bucci. And I hope the Aaron Blaise gig goes well, he’s an amazing person.
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Dan B
Does this annoy anyone else like it does me: the gallery/explore page is all squares, mostly the same size! I’ve been wondering why I find other sites like DeviantArt far more interesting to just browse, then it finally clicked today that the aspect ratio (aside so many images with just a black or white background) is the same for all works on the page on Artstation. For a site all about design, that seems terribly poor! Is it just me?
Dan B
I did some updates. Added more ‘rim lighting’ by adding more hair fringing, made front leg stand out more and hopefully adjusted the background to read a bit better. I’m scared to touch the background more as I’ll probably get stuck in little details and make it look disjointed, so hopefully it’s ok enough now.
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Dan B
For the first image I would say the nose side plane should be as dark as the left side of the face. It will be a little darker at the eye due to occlusion. You have to think about where the light is coming from and which planes are visible to it. For instance, in the second image if the brow is casting a shadow over the eye, it will also cast one under the nose. The value used is relative to the brightness and angle of the light, so you need to be able to imagine the flat planes of the face's forms and the angle the light hits them. Whether the edge is hard or soft depends on how strong the light source is. Dorien Iten has some great videos on shading that might help?
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Serena Marenco
Hi Dan! You certainly don't need to finish all the sketches but the level of detail you've achieved in the finished example you've attached I'd say is very good if you feel like spending a bit more time on a subject. It's up to you whether you want to finish a job or not. I've seen others notice that outside of the focal point (head and torso of the insect) you've left the rest too smudgy. So, this would be a problem if your goal is to make a naturalistic drawing, for example for a magazine: in this case you need to abandon the realistic view and try to include as much information as possible, without worrying about depth of field. Maybe you are familiar with the beautiful habitat plates in books or magazines like Nat Geo (oh my God, I don't know if it is still like that, but when I was young these plates were a feature of popular magazines): there are plants and animals all represented with the same level of detail because the aim is to show in an exhaustive way what everything looks like; the eye of the observer must move over the figure looking for all the subjects and then go and read the description in the captions.  It is a learning process, not just passive observation. If, on the other hand, you just want to paint a dragonfly or a bee or whatever, there is no need for every part, including the background, to have the same level of detail, indeed to do so would create distraction in the viewer. The legs in the foreground will necessarily be more detailed than those half-hidden further back. If for you the most important part of the subject, the part you want the viewer to notice first, is the head and torso, there is nothing wrong with paying less attention to the final part of the abdomen.
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Dan B
Thanks for the detailed feedback Serena! I'm definitely leaning more to expressive realism than natural history level accuracy, in this case retaining the DoF from the macro shot. I do also love those habitat plates, they're amazing. For my own painting I like light and shadow (which is a frustrating thing when insects are my favourite subject, not the best for showing that :P) and creating realism rather than the natural history style, which I also probably don't have the patience for :P With the insects I do want to be anatomically accurate as best as I can though, I think it's important to show as they're so poorly represented as is. I'm definitely going to fix up that front foreleg though, it should stand out more.
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Matthew K
Your work is beautiful. I think, especially in this case, that the detail in the background detracts from the focus. I like the brighter surface, but less detail like the first draft. I'd suggest a medium between them with suggested texture and leave it at that unless there's a particular need. Always enjoy your work.
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Dan B
Thanks Matthew! That's where it gets tricky for me in where to find balance with detail. I did struggle with the background on this as I kept finding it looked like low-res videogame texture rather than simplified reality. Backgrounds are hard, maybe time for some landscape practice...
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Félicia Gagnon
I think the most important thing is that you enjoy the process, and if that means working on details for you, then allow yourself to do that from time to time, at least. But if you're trying to develop a global understanding of colors, normally yes, doing more small color studies, without focusing on details, could make you improve faster. Like someone else mentionned, it depends what your end goal is and what skills you want to develop. Being able to do detailed work is a skill in itself, and you might want to practice that, but it's also one of those things that take up a lot of time, time that you could spend doing many sketches for instance. So it's up to you to determine what is the most efficient and enjoyable way for you to learn. And it's okay to keep readjusting yourself. Finding a balance that is just right for you can be a lifelong quest. (hopefully a pleasing one)
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Dan B
Thanks Félicia, I do enjoy the process, I just sometimes feel afterwards that I've 'wasted' a lot of time fiddling around with the details. I'll try to take it as an indication that I just have to put more shorter practices in between to reduce the rework I do when in details.
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Dan B
If you want the brush to not create sharp edges on each stroke, depending on the app you can just change the 'softness' setting for the brush. If you are trying to blend and get soft edges you can turn down the opacity and/or flow so the colours don't create solid separations and so the transparency 'mixes' the colours instead of just painting over them. For a lost edge they can be different colours but must be essentially the same value. In the end it's about the transition of values (and colours to an extent) and you can use the methods above to achieve those transitions.
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