Irshad Karim
Irshad Karim
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
I'm a concept artist at Silverback Games, I run drawabox.com, and I draw the web comic "Orc and Gnome's Mild Adventures"
Irshad Karim
Feedback is useful at a number of stages - not just when you're done. Once a piece is done, it's done. Any feedback you receive on it can be used on the next piece, but this one's over. Lots of people seek feedback when they're at a crossroads and aren't sure which direction to take. Plenty of people post WIPs (works in progress) when they aren't sure about something specific. I think when posting unfinished work for feedback, the best things to consider are what specific issue would you like the feedback to address, and simply whether you yourself put a good deal of time into working through your issue on your own first. For the first one, "I don't know where to take this piece" is vague, but certainly still an issue worthy of feedback. If you can offer people something specific to focus on however, that is certainly going to make things easier on the one offering their time. That last one is subjective, but some people have a habit of valuing their time in this context a little too highly, and actively seek feedback early and often as a way to minimize their own time investment. As long as you feel you've made an attempt to think through whatever it is you want help with, then there is nothing wrong with asking for help. Worst case scenario, let's say you post something for feedback and you receive none - that doesn't mean posting your work was somehow wrong, a mistake, or inappropriate. It simply means no one had the time to offer in that instance. No harm done. Ultimately just remember that posting your work for feedback is not a performance. No one is looking for you to meet some standard or to please their sensibilities. They're giving feedback ideally because they want to help people grow. That's all. It's easy to forget that sometimes amidst the eternal pursuit of validation social media engagement.[object Object]
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Irshad Karim
I've got a bit of a spiel about style, and how it relates to the "fundamentals" - which is, in a lot of ways, what you're asking about in regards to style vs. realism. You'll find it in its original context here: https://www.reddit.com/r/ArtFundamentals/comments/gpxkca/the_battle_with_style_vs_fundamentals/frpzxn1 but I'll paste it below as well. --- There's no battle between style and fundamentals. It's not an uncommon way people look at things, but it's not accurate. Instead, it's better to look at the concept of style as being a filter or a coloured lens through which one is looking at the world. The fundamentals are the world itself, specifically taking things that are three dimensional and capturing them - not hyper-accurately, but at least in a believable, tangible way - on the page. The fundamentals are about selling the illusion that what you're looking at in a drawing is real. Style is a series of choices an artist applies to their work. You can think of it as a recipe, or an algorithm. In that sense, it's not unlike how an instagram filter works. You've got an input (the actual thing being depicted), it goes through a series of choices, and out comes the final, stylized work. So when it comes to creating a style of your own, what you're doing is developing your own recipe, your own clear set of rules and choices that will govern the works you wish to produce in this style. The first thing you need to learn, therefore, is what are the recipes that others use? And really, what is a recipe? How do I apply it? You can do this by doing master studies - that is, studies that involve looking at another artist's work, and attempting to reproduce it specifically focusing on the stylistic choices they've made. You know how one might go about capturing something real at its most basic and most un-stylized (assuming you've got pretty solid fundamentals, which you should if you're worrying about style), and so you need to analyze how the artist got from that point to their end result, and decompile their algorithm. Find out what choices and rules they followed to achieve that cohesive look. Do this a lot. Do master studies of works you admire, do master studies of works that are in the totally opposite direction you'd like to go yourself. As you do so, you'll find little pieces, individual rules that will appeal to you, and as you gather these pieces, you'll be able to start experimenting on how those rules and choices can fit together into their own styles. These things will develop slowly - just like a chef testing out a new dish, they'll try things out, make tweaks, let things sit, scrap them entirely, and try again. And gradually you'll come to a style that has been tailored and engineered to suit what you want now. And you'll probably keep working on it even beyond that, eventually your tastes will change, and you'll find yourself desiring a new style altogether. And this is how you'll go about it again. But if you don't feel like you have a solid grasp on your fundamentals, on capturing things as they are (again, not hyper-realistic which is a style in and of itself), then you may want to strengthen those building blocks. That isn't to say you can't do master studies now, but that it helps a great deal when analyzing another artist's choices to have a good grasp on the raw material. --- So in this sense, understanding, say, how human faces are actually structured in 3D space will help immensely when it comes to understanding *why* other artists - say, manga, or cartoonists - choose to represent their faces in a particular fashion. It helps us understand why they're making the choices they are, and so in turn it allows us to better understand the choices we make. When we just attempt to create style without this bedrock, our choices become more arbitrary and less grounded. That said, if your art teacher is suggesting that you stop drawing whatever stylistic stuff you're drawing now - ungrounded and arbitrary as it may be - I staunchly disagree with that. I think there is a lot of benefit in balancing both areas, to draw the things you love most on one side, just for its own sake without stressing over whether or not it comes out well, or as you intend, and studying the fundamentals, reality, whatever you want to call it on the other side. Setting out separate periods of time for each will help you maintain balance. It's very easy to just delve completely into studies, and to lose one's sense of direction as a result.
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Irshad Karim
It's important, I think, to understand portfolios in terms of what they are - a tool to get work. The type of portfolio, what goes in it, and what is okay to include (as well as in what form) all depends on the kind of work you're trying to get. I think as a rule of thumb, it's always important to show respect for the time of the person going through your portfolio. So, in that sense, WIPs could add clutter and become somewhat distracting, making it harder for that individual to gauge you at a glance. If we're talking about a digital portfolio - a website, a PDF, etc. - then there's always the opportunity to provide a deeper look at a given project, how it was iterated upon, etc. via a link that does not detract from or diminish the standalone portfolio itself. If that's the case, then I would still recommend making sure that your WIPs are not arbitrary. They should all serve a purpose, serve to communicate some aspect of how you solve problems, and how you thought through a given piece. If you did work for a client (for which you received permission to share), there *might* be some value, for some people, to see how you engaged with feedback, how you handled revisions, etc. But still, all of this is very much secondary to the main elements of the portfolio that a potential employer or client would want to be able to traverse as quickly and efficiently as possible.
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Siddharth Gupta
Please critic my drawings
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Irshad Karim
I'm not sure an AMA is really a place for soliciting critique, and figure drawing isn't really an area I teach, but I can give you a couple thoughts. I noticed that in a few of these - specifically image 6 - you've got some really nice, solid construction on the torso that gives a stronger impression of the 3D nature of the body, although as you move out from there, the construction tends to become somewhat less confident. There are a couple things that stood out to me, in terms of areas with room for improvement - firstly, draw bigger. A lot of these appear to be pretty small, which will severely limit your capacity to really engage your whole arm as you draw. This predisposes you to stiffening up, especially when you try to pack multiple figures into a page. Working on larger sheets of newsprint is definitely well worth it. To that same point, I would recommend trying to draw more of your marks one stroke at a time - that is to say, instead of chicken scratching lines, think about the specific mark you want to draw, and execute it in one go. Taking the time to figure out the specific nature of the mark you want to make ahead of time, rather than figuring it out as you go, will help you think of your drawing as a series of choices that you're making, and something that you're in control of. Secondly - and drawing bigger will help with this - I'm noticing that as you drift off to the extremities - your hands and feet - you don't appear to give them very much attention. This is understandable, given how little room you have to maneuver, but as a result you'll find that if you allow things to slip through the cracks, you're going to end up with a much harder time sorting them out later.
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Irshad Karim
Hey @Adriano Bugnotto! You've got a lovely illustration here. Your colour choice and composition is especially well done, giving a strong impression of a lush space suggesting a lot of interesting plants. Additionally, the cave gives the implication of an interesting, secret space to explore. What I wanted to offer with my feedback is less about the illustrative qualities of the piece, but rather its use as environmental concept art. I hope that's alright, since you've posted it under the concept art category. When developing any sort of concept art, an important factor one may want to consider is exactly what the design itself communicates, and for what purpose. It's a common thing for people to gravitate towards producing blue-sky concept art - that is, the vague, explorative stuff that more senior artists may be tasked with at the very beginning of a project to lay down the groundwork for whatever further brainstorming the team may pursue. But when it comes to the majority of concept art that is produced for a project, specifics are important. The concept art we produce is one piece in a pipeline intended to be handed off to the next person in a chain. It can serve many purposes, but in the context of environment design, it will often be handed off to a 3D team tasked with building the scene. So, consider what such a person may need to know about this space you're creating. What you've produced here is an excellent start - as an explorative thumbnail, it defines the general nature of the space, it establishes an atmosphere and provides us with elements we can expand upon. But it is that - a start, and one that will help you determine what more there is to explore. There are a lot of questions we can ask ourselves to get a better sense of how this space should be built. For example, we can consider the kind of shape language we want to emphasize for the rocks. Right now they're rather vague - we know that they're rocks, but exploring the specific design of those individual boulders (or even just defining the kinds of boulders that may be found in this kind of place) will help 3D modelers when they have to actually decide how to build them out. Similarly, your brush strokes and colours suggest the presence of flowers - exploring the design of the specific kinds of plants that make up that undergrowth will similarly give 3D modelers something more tangible and specific to work from. Beyond that, there are other things we can consider from a game design perspective - that is, if this is meant to be an environment for a game. For example, ask yourself how exactly the player is going to be moving around the space. If they're supposed to be able to get onto the hill above the cave, consider how exactly they're going to get up there. This was something that I learned from James Paick in a class many years ago that really resonated with me - thinking about the various paths a character can take through a space can really change the way we look at the space we design. It goes from just being a pretty picture to a real environment to explore, from the eyes of that character. Anyway, I hope that helps give another perspective on how you can explore your designs and push them further. Best of luck!
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Irshad Karim
So as far as the Drawabox 50% rule goes, you're misinterpreting its purpose, and who it's for. The idea behind the 50% rule is that most people who are searching for lessons and courses to help them improve their drawing skills are probably doing so because they've become keenly aware of the fact that their drawings aren't as good as they'd like them to be. It tends to promote a mindset that focuses entirely on the results one is able to produce - on ensuring that the time invested is invested well, and that there is a return on that investment which validates the time spent. A lot of people tend to look at themselves as having a particular personality type, particular inclinations, and a particular way of doing things - but in focusing on ourselves as the unique variable in the equation, we end up opening ourselves to the temptation to decide "oh that part doesn't apply to me" - when in fact, we're just like everyone else, and those parts are specifically designed for the tendencies we exhibit. The 50% rule is there to drag students, kicking and screaming, to draw for the sake of drawing. To "waste" their time, to invest it like stacks of cash tossed into a smoldering oil drum on a warm summer's day. Students tend to hate this, because they're forced to draw things that dissatisfy them. It feels like the complete antithesis of why they want to draw - they want to get good, after all. But none of what we draw is good! That's why we're studying! But as the student's struggling diminishes, and they accept their lot (or at least those that actually follow the instructions as strictly as they're expected to), they eventually find that maybe the development of skills, and the picture at the end to pin to our refrigerators (or launch out into social media for all those delicious likes) aren't the *only* things one can gain from the activity. They find that maybe - just maybe - drawing itself is actually kind of enjoyable. Maybe playing pretend, imagining that we're actually competent artists, and exploring all of the things we otherwise insist we're not ready for, is actually kind of fun. As the frustration abates, you find out that there's more to drawing than the end result. And *that* is where one can derive the most reliable motivation - because none of this is easy, and we face challenges at every turn. The desire to impress yourself, to impress others, and to be popular, simply isn't enough to withstand it all. You may not burn out now, but it will come. Drawing because you genuinely love drawing, garbage results or not, will carry you where everything else fails. When it comes to "getting good", it's not a sprint - it's a marathon, a cross-continental journey, and it's endurance that will see you through.
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