Need to improve on art quick

Hi! Any tips for someone who wants to improve my handpainted art quickly? I am improving way WAY too slowly. For example, this is something I made after practicing on and off handpainted art after a year.

Nowhere NEAR where I want to be. I need help to stop being shit so I can move on to learning other parts of 3DCG.

Will keep on posting my work till I am satisfied with it.


  • Dethling
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    Dethling polycounter lvl 6
    First rule for improvements: You can't rush it.
    Simply practice, re-evaluate your work, watch tutorials (for Handpainted I can only strongly suggest the ones from Tyson Murphy and Kelvin Tan) and if you can afford it take a course (or two).
    But most of it: draw again and again and again....

    Your examples here are not a bad start at all (if you want to go hand painted texturing), I would take a look at the Style you aim for and then try to mirror it and from there build up your own style.

  • Winstone
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    Winstone polycounter lvl 3
    Agreed with @Dethling. Don't rush the journey man. Don't focus on the finish line. Focus on the training that gets you there. Enjoy that process :) ;) 

    Lots of fantastic tuts out there to follow and play around with. 
    All hard work pays off, soo keep it up man! ;)
  • CrackRockSteady
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    CrackRockSteady Polycount Sponsor
    Can you be more specific with how much time you are putting into practicing this?  You say this is where you're at after practicing on and off for a year but it's hard to gauge progress without a better understanding of what that means.  Are you putting in a few hours a week?  A few hours a month?

    Getting really good at something like this takes patience, putting in a lot of work and a lot of hours.  If this is something you're really determined to improve at you need to be disciplined and schedule time for yourself to practice and learn.  Put in an hour or two every night, post progress here, get feedback, do research, watch tutorials, lather, rinse, repeat.
  • Elithenia
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    Elithenia interpolator
    I would say that it doesn't matter how long you practice for unless you practice consciously. 
    Trying to learn something new, evaluate every step of the way what you are doing, how you can do it better etc. 
    Otherwise 'practicing' you just end up doing the same thing over and over again. And while you become very good at doing just that, you will not see yourself improve that much. 

    I came across this in my youtube feed. Might be something interesting to listen to. About a guy who learned how to draw basically, over a year, and improved.

    Good luck! :)
  • TayAllen
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    TayAllen triangle
    So there are a bunch of people here that can run circles around me in painting...  But,  I'm going try to lend a hand because I understand that learning a skill can be rough -- and I can see that you're really frustrated!

    First, here's a very rough paint over and a half:

    You have the opposite problem that I do. I'm gun-shy about overdoing things, so my work ends up too dark, and I have to go back in and pull my stuff from the depths of low contrast hell. You, on the other hand, from this example, go full bore into all of it. Full opacity, full brightness, full saturation -- full everything. This is painting yourself into a corner, literally and visually.  

    Hitting ctr+u and pulling down the saturation netted me a lot of room to move around your texture:

    The next thing that stands out is that you're not using reference. The need to use some can't be overstated. With time (like, years...), we can build a large enough mental library to where we can fudge many items and get away with it. But even then, that isn't enough to skip it entirely.

    The third main observation is your lack of lighting and form (outlined in purple). if you use a cooler, lower-value color between the boards, it'll help create surfaces for you to work with. 

    Random tips:
    ~ Because you're starting out and getting used to painting, I would recommend painting from rl, as often as possible since stylization is the simplification and exaggeration of real items.  You can work from photos (I like to do landscapes from NatGeo or similar). Try to get as close to an image as you can until you feel comfortable and confident in your strokes, color choices, the ability to gauge value and color, etc.

    ~ Additionally, A great place to establish a foundation for yourself is Matt Kohr's site, CtrlPaint. It's a very well-designed library. The videos are bite-sized (like 5 mins each) and each builds upon the last and moves through a series of topics that'll build the core of what you'll need to make progress. Definitely watch them in order, first to last.

    ~ Keep your brush at 75%-80% opacity max, and no more than 70% flow for the majority of a piece/texture. Softer edged brushes are ok, but use them selectively (toning down the sharpness and certain areas, adding initial gradient type lighting, fog). 

    ~ Color variation can bring some liveliness to your work. A good rule of thumb is to move darker and cooler into your shadows and warmer into your lighting. For example, in the wood, I used some green between the planks, and purple in the deepest parts. I used your stone to further illustrate this point. 

    ~ Imagine your paintings as a photo that you're bringing into focus - use a large brush to start, and lower the size as you progress into more defined shapes and details. Combined with the above two.

    Ok, I'm done rambling - Hope some of this helps, and good luck!

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