Alchemicals's journey (to improving)

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Alchemical polycounter lvl 2
Hey everyone, Im a bit of a lurker that's made a post now and then asking some questions and issues with software, but I haven't ever put up any posts for critique. I hope with this thread to get some feedback and critiques from the community and hopefully that will feed into the pressure I feel whipping me to stay on track. :smiley:

So I will upload any painting or drawing I do onto this thread and l would greatly appreciate any critique I can get! Here we go:


A recurring problem of mine is I can't wrap a painting up. There is an entire graveyard of .PSDs and pages in my sketchbook that I've started out but cant finish. The main worry is that I never can seem to get it right and keep getting frustrated early on. So I close it down and move on, promising to come back to that later... but I never do. I even made a post about this long ago, Im scared to bump a dead thread but if any of them see this Im grateful for the advice I got. On top of that, I blend WAY too much, I can sit for hours just blending things up until my art teacher recently pointed it out

The premise of this little study-project I've been doing is simple, Im gonna do a bunch of 1-hour still life-paintings of different objects I place on my desk once every day. What I hope is that most of my flaws will hopefully be apparent as I go along and what to work on next. The time limit will also force me to manage the process from start to finish, hopefully improving my workflow and stop me from wasting time with unneccessary blending.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

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  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2
    Today's still life. Really happy with this one, light and shadow isnt as pronounced but I was more loose and relaxed throughout the process and I think it turned out the better for it!

  • Dezzipixels
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    Dezzipixels polycounter lvl 2
    Hi there! I understand the frustration of figuring out how to finish a piece, I struggled with it my self when I learned to paint. The thing that will make a painting look "Finished" is a mix of soft form shadows and hard edge cast shadows. I would recommend practicing by painting still lives with objects made out of different materials in grey scale. This will help improve your forms and rendering. Also pay attention to you perspective points. A lot of your objects look mushy because of incorrectly placed ellipses and cast shadows. These are very important to the structural integrity of painting. Keep painting and improving, Look forward to seeing your next piece ^^. 
  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2
    Hi @Dezzipixels thank you so much for the feedback, I followed up on your advice and did this days still life entirely in greyscale. 

    And Im happy I did, it forced me to look at the objects differently and I feel as if I got a better understanding of volume. Not too pleased how it came out however; so I'll take another crack at it tomorrow!

    To be honest, I have no solid understanding of perspective, most of it is guess-work. I recently bought both of Scott Robertson's How to Draw Any Object and How to Render aswell as following the exercises on DrawABox, both very focused on perspective. So hopefully putting focus into that will get that in check.



    Im also required to start working on a figure drawing portfolio for school. Here is the first piece I've finished. I had my teacher critique it so I need to work on proportion aswell as faces. Majority is from reference but the head, club and loincloth is from imagination.



  • Dezzipixels
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    Dezzipixels polycounter lvl 2
    @Alchemical, yeah that's definitely starting to look better. Again definitely pay attention to things like the different ellipses around the thermos. They have to be perfect ovals or else it will look like its dented. Scott Robertson is awesome, definitely cant recommend his books enough. I would also recommend checking out youtube channels like Proko and  Sycra who do an amazing job laying out the basics for both figure and perspective drawing. Hope  
  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2
    Hi everyone, day 7 of this little exercise of mine. As it stands Im learning lots and will probably give it another week and see where it all stands then.

    Once again I did it in greyscale, it worked alright, Im not thrilled with the results but it was decent.


    I decided after this to challenge myself and did another one in colour. A bit better perspective-wise, but the values look all off to me, aswell as the colour just looks like a right mess.
    So I pushed on. I did a bit of an experiment, I took a photo of my set-up and colour-picked the colours from it and painted it over with the "correct values" (since it was a camera it probably wasn't a 100% accurate). Here's the result:

    Made the entire thing get some very much well needed contrast, have to keep that in mind going forward.
    It feels as if my approach to painting is changing, aswell as the look and feel of them. While I dont like the quality of the results from these 1-hours, I hope I can refine it in the coming week.

    Other than that Im working forward on my figure drawing portfolio.


    @Dezzipixels Cheers, I know of them but haven't watched them extensively, I'll make sure to give their video a watch through (and work on those ellipses.)

  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2
    Hi, Im posting every other day now so I won't bump the forums too frequently. So here is my day 8 and day 9

    Day 8. It's okay, I still cant keep my ellipses under control and it really shows but atleast the shadow and light is a bit more pronounced.


    Day 9. Quite happy with it, values could have been pushed more and the cork on the bottle could have used a lot more detail.
    Ultimately however, I feel like Im stagnating in terms of the results I get out of these exercises. I may have to start considering my next move on how to progress further.
    Hope the weekend's been good for you all!
  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2
    Hi guys, got absolutely swamped for two days and unfortunately didn't have time to make the daily routine. Oh well, back in the saddle we go.

    I think there is an obvious weakness with glass, I'll focus the coming days on having glass and its ilk in my still life's. Aswell as that, I had quite the difficulty with the bristles. Small details like that really stumped me and I want to correct that for next time. Do you guys have any advice?


  • lotet
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    lotet quad damage
    overall your studies are looking really good, great rendering and texture in your brushstrokes and good understanding of the rendering.

    I think you could use a lot more defined hard edges and straight lines in your objects though, a lot of the time you have wobbly shapes and things not aligning properly even though they should. looking at day 1 and 2 you had way better edge control then you do in the more recent pieces.

    anyways, keep it up!

  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2
    @lotet Thank you so much! :smiley:

    You're right, I was stressed out about keeping the edges pronounced at first, shortening the time to render it proper. Now that Im a lot less tense, Im attempting to reel it back in for day 11 and 12.

    Day 11. Practising more glass, trying to get that stuff hammered into that thick skull of mine. Overall quite happy with it. But with 10 minutes left, I was struggling to keep going, I didn't know where else to take it, with the alotted time I had left I just felt done. Decided to raise the bar for the next day.


    Day 12. Oh boy. There's a lot of issues with this one but I feel I learned a lot from it too. For one, I upped it way too far, the bottle was a complex object and I think it warrants its own study, the shapes and perspective suffered for it. I ran into the same problem here of having a considerable amount of time left but not knowing what to do. Is this a common thing?








  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2
    Back again and unfortunately I had no time to do these over the past few days. So back on it again for day 13. Quite a bad comeback too in my opinion, the goal was to try and focus on one object solely. and see what would come of it. Im not disappointed per se at the results. But this one actually cut to 40-minutes instead. I was just sitting and staring at it, thinking where I could push on with it next but I couldn't figure it out. Im thinking on moving on to something else soon and looking into how to push my rendering skills would be good.
    I also decided that I try to keep it imaginative with a small little concept project going on the side. Im designing a coffee cup atm. Here are some quick thumbnail. Definitely expanding on 3 and 4.



  • Dezzipixels
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    Dezzipixels polycounter lvl 2
    @Alchemical, yeah that's definitely starting to look better. Again definitely pay attention to things like the different ellipses around the thermos. They have to be perfect ovals or else it will look like its dented. Scott Robertson is awesome, definitely cant recommend his books enough. I would also recommend checking out youtube channels like Proko and  Sycra who do an amazing job laying out the basics for both figure and perspective drawing. Hope this helps and keep drawing ^^. 
  • Dezzipixels
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    Dezzipixels polycounter lvl 2
    @Alchemical, yeah that's definitely starting to look better. Again definitely pay attention to things like the different ellipses around the thermos. They have to be perfect ovals or else it will look like its dented. Scott Robertson is awesome, definitely cant recommend his books enough. I would also recommend checking out youtube channels like Proko and  Sycra who do an amazing job laying out the basics for both figure and perspective drawing. Hope this helps and keep drawing ^^. 
  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2
    Ding ding ding! Day 14 completed, bumpy ride but Im ready to put these studies aside for a moment to adress the issues noticed through feedback and self-critique. Excited to see what I can apply to my imaginative works.

    So, Im already on top of what Im doing next.

    1. Im currently reading through Scott Robertson's books, teaching myself about perspective and construction drawing. On top of that Im doing DrawABox on the side, currently doing the 250 Box Challenge. Im not sure posting sketch-exercises is a good idea but maybe you guys can tell me where it's all headed from these.



    And 2nd Im gonna be concepting an asset aswell as working on getting a full illustration done using the skills I've learned.

    Sorry for the long post! Hope you all have a great weekend!

    @Dezzipixels I think you double-posted a couple of post-drafts

  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2
    Hey guys, promise I wasn't dead and the two months gone has been spent solely working hard. Here are some projects I've been working on:






    WIP

    More on its way! I want to push myself more into enviroments and such now that I've worked so long on singular objects.
  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2
    Did a V.Plein Air painting today, really liked how it turned out and Im gonna do some more!



    Here's also a WIP, I feel like I can keep going, clouds could use some work and add general details... fix those horrid foot prints haha. But the more I go, I feel like Im messing stuff up. Maybe its normal? Who knows




  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR interpolator
    Nice rendering studies! I like your gun concepts and the proton powered mine pick. Look forward to seeing them in 3D someday.
  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2
    @NikhilR Cheers mate! LasGun's being worked on atm. Once I finish the concept, I'll model it.

    Submission on Monday for Life Drawings, here's what I think are the top ones. I think its solid so far, cept I can't put decent faces on top of them. Doing a portrait on its own is fine, but a full body is really uncomfortable.



    In other news, Im working out on finalizing the concept for the LaserGun,

    Sideview:


    3/4 Frog view, can't decide what kind of frame would be better suited, a straight or a round one... Would love some feedback on this!





  • Tosmo
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    Tosmo polycounter lvl 2
    A lot of good work here, it's great to see the improvement.

    For the weapon design, I might recommend focusing more on the design and perspective more than the lighting and rendering. I like the previous page of sketches and thumbnails more because it is very clear and shows several iterations of the same design. 

    In my opinion, a front 3/4 frog's view usually is not the best way to display a design such as a weapon, because it does not do a great job showing us the important details. A "looking-down" 3/4 side-view is often the most effective way to show how an object exists in 3d space. 

    Also, I think you can apply some more of the perspective knowledge you have been learning. The front of the barrel on your 3/4 view is very close to being a full 90-degree circle rather than an ellipse.

    Keep it up, I hope to see more iterations. 
  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2
    @Tosmo Thank you very much!

    I hear what you're saying and I left it as it is for now, if anything Im happy I got to atleast explore the perspective for future pieces. Doing the perspective you adviced proved to be a tad difficult for me, Im still trying to figure it out. Im gonna read some Scott Robertson and come back to it.

    Here's a WIP Im working on for fun, Im a bit stuck on this too but quite enjoying painting it nonetheless.


    To break the trend of unfinished pieces and to combat me being discouraged of being stuck on a lot of things right now, I did a study based on a Still Life-Photo, author unknown...




  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2
    Took the time to do a portrait exercise, I did a bunch of random ones off screenshots from GoT, Im pleased with Snow and Guardman, but the other two I either couldn't figure out or lost likeness in the end.
    and then using what I learned from these to make a portrait of a character completely from imagination.
    Sketch:

    Finished, I absolutely promise I did not use any reference of Sean Connery ;p
    Im quite happy with it, so happy Im afraid we're gonna have to say goodbye to Templar-man
  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2


    Wanted to do an enviroment piece, I've always avoided these, but no more! Here were the thumbnails.



    And here is the current WIP, I feel like the image itself is a bit boring, Im gonna see if I can add some more interesting stuff to it. I was thinking of having the castle be a lot more ancient.


    However, there were some problems and that was that I had trouble with the lighting and my experience in vegetation/trees was lacking. So I whipped up some studies:

    Saw someone else doing theses and figured it'd be good practise

    Individual sets for now, working on a couple of more packed in like bushes and live trees atm.




  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2
    Well hello there again everyone. Long time no see. Turns out my recent call to move back to my home country wasn't a good idea. I've been homeless, all things art related simply crawled to a halt and I've only managed to get in a few life drawing-sessions and doodling. Frustrated and feeling a bit lost tbh, now that I've finally gotten back on my feet I've gotten mad rusty with a lot of confidence just gone. Can't really get back on track with my previous learning plan, I have to make a new one until I've shaped up again. On top of that I got a job that eats a lot of time away from drawing, but I'll make time.

    So a bit lost on where to go from here, school again is definitely in the cards but not for a year or two methinks. But here I am, the choice was made four months ago, gotta make the good times come back with what I got.

    Anywho, depressing rant aside.

    Here are some of the stuff I've made in the gap, all of it traditional.
    Bright side: I feel like the gap has given me better understanding, a bit like leaving wine in the cellar or something like that...














  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2
    Evening fellas, its wierd painting and working digitally again after 4 months, figured it was best to ease back into it. Im gonna work solely to fire myself up again by having some fun for a week or two, once I feel a bit more confident again Im gonna go over some old projects and make up a new learning plan.







  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2
    The time spent away is real frustrating and Im trying to make my way back to the flow. I tried doing a painting project for fun but I couldn't seem to get through the initial stages on any attempt, all of it just feeling incredibly daunting even with references and having it all planned out.

    Mate tipped me off to FZD recently recommending drawing rocks, witnessed someone else doing it so I figured I take a stab at it too.

    Rough first attempt, confidence at an all time low.


    Second attempt, loosened up a bit, not drawing random lines to express texture but shadow instead.

    I then tried doing some plants again. After doing the rose, I tried framing the studies a bit to make it less scary to "make an image out of it."


    Gonna do a paint study of a rock or plant next. Then using that to ease me into making an actual full illustration afterwards.
  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2
    Got invited to play some D&D, seems like it isn't happening any time soon, figured meanwhile I attempt to paint my character: a half-orc barbarian.

    So far the sketch is going alright, though I botched the legs and have been re-drawing them for ages. I can't seem to nail a balanced stance for the guy.


    A quick portrait made for use as reference


  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2



    Continued my sketch on my Orcie boi, not sure where to go next from here. I think ironically my painting skills have taken a hit since the move and my drawing skills are a lot more caught up. Letting this one simmer for a bit.


    I decided to do a couple of quick paintings to get back into the flow.

    On top of that, I saw the actual FZD video and figured I'd do some studies.

    It's still a bit fuzzy on where I want to focus my learning on but Im just happy to be working again.

    Toodles!



  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2
    A bit of fun from the daily study group:





    And some hands for good measure
    Feeling a lot more confident again, perhaps time to do something bigger

    Toodles!
  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2

    Yo yo, back at it again with a bunch of studies, I've decided to do a few master studies too. First one being by John Singer Sargent. Not doing these for any anatomical or observational reason, just trying to find the techniques, strokes and use of colour that they used.

    One thing Im really bothered by is that I've been doing a lot of studies to the point that doing anything imaginative is scary now. The brain is chugging with ideas just fine, the thought of applying them to a painting is just real intimidating.









  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2
    Did some more sketches. Came out a bit on the goofy side but the armour was the point of the exercises, not the people.




    On top of that I started working on rendering materials aswell.



  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2

    More material studies!!

    I started trying to learn to tighten up my painting skills a lot more aswell as practicing a tad of bouncelight. Not thrilled at where this started out but happy at where it ended. Main lesson learned is that I need to work on my bubble-game.

    This one I did a while afterwards after letting the lessons from the previous one sink in.

  • Drawmaevedraw
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    Drawmaevedraw polygon
    hey man! i wish i had as much dedication to studies as you do- you've really inspired me! 

    I think those materials are coming along nicely- one thing that would really help them is looking at the specularity of materials.  That crystal one would probably have a very well defined spec.  

    Also I would look at your edge control.  If you are in photoshop clipping masks really help with that.  But overall being decisive of when to have lost edges over hard. for example your jean material is hitting pretty close imo, while the scales one on the top middle seems to feel a bit muddy. 
  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2
    @Drawmaevedraw , Cheers, glad to hear it! The studies while good in helping me improve; I have been using them as a excuse not to tackle doing original work. I have lots of ideas but I don't know how to just make it all come together. So I inch my way with small, sometimes mundane concepts.

    Like this  *RADICAL* eXtreme snapback I did today. I tried applying some of that edge control you were talking about. I prefer doing as much of a traditional approach as possible in my learning stages but I'll read up on how to apply clipping masks too.

    Regarding specular, I know what it is, not quite sure how it works and how on what material. Will have to look it up.

    Thank you for the feedback


  • bigdeku
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    bigdeku polycounter lvl 2
    I very much agree with @Drawmaevedraw about edge control.

    Scrolling through your thread as well I notice you have a big problem with human legs. In almost all of your drawings you make the legs too short over all, especially the bottom part of the leg between the knee and foot. I think you should maybe do some copies of the idealised proportions because its a pretty consistent issue. I also notice with the pec muscles you are often mis placing the insertion points and making it looks too rounded as a result.

    Well done on doing lots of studies though. Keep it up!
  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2
    Time for a recap of June till now. I've started a new project to help me build up a portfolio. Im keeping it wrapped in tinfoil cooking at the stove for a while, besides I think it would deserve a thread of it own once Im ready to show anything.


    Other than that, work has kept me way too busy, not much time to do anything, here's a few of the works to show how Im trying to improve.

    I've been trying to just paint, trying to get some confidence up on imaginative pieces.

    Practising more mechanical things

    And trying to pump up the confidence by sketching in ink and following up on @bigdeku : Legs. My legs are pretty weak overall, so I decided to start on anatomy. Thank you for the critique and Im sorry for responding so late.






  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2
    R I S E  F R O M  Y O U R  G R A V E

    Hello everyone, I'm back.

    I considered making a new thread due to this ones age, but I feel it would defeat the point if you couldn't follow from where it all began. So here we go:

    2019 was a hard year where not a lot of work was produced. I decided to share a few highlights to show where I was at. Im glad I got into some more mechanical stuff.





    Here is a project I did which I have yet to render for a showcase image. I wanted to do a more technical object from thumbnailing stage to finished. I was quite happy with the results, just got to prop it up and render it.






    2020 Continued in the next post.


  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2
    With 2020 I started off on the right foot.

    My drawing skills are seriously lower than my painting ones and it truly limits what I am capable of doing. So I decided to dedicate the start of this year to improving my drawing skills both traditional and with a tablet. (With small cheating here and there)

    SORRY FOR THE BIG POST, I'LL DIVVY IT UP BETWEEN POSTS AFTER THIS








    imageimage
    imageimageimage

    And to make sure I got some goals, I started working on a bigger project. At the moment the brief is that I will design a slightly anthro-rat medieval squire. Before I go ahead and design however, I need to know how to draw a rat. Judging from these attempts I need to  study that some more.

    See you next update!
  • Alchemical
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    Alchemical polycounter lvl 2

    Hello again!

    Just a small update on the general goings on and the Rat-squire design I am working on.

    First off: I did some sketches, a little bit of anatomy and some more rats. These are the highlights:

    Sketching in digital is super messy and hard, even with a cintiq. But I press on, the results don't look as refined and a bit simple compared to my traditional sketches but I don't see any other way than to keep at it.

    Then came some quick sketches of clothes:

    I rarely study cloth or any type of attire; I really do need to make more of these just for pure learning.

    With all knowledge in mind I wanted to try my hand at a quick design using reference and what I had learned. Nothing too thought out, just trying to decide how much rat and how much human the final product will consist of. Aswell as the clothes and equipment will be worn.

    Next up: The actual design. Stay tuned.
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