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Author   Topic : "Looking for an honest critique/advice"
Howie
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Joined: 31 Oct 2006
Posts: 225

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:27 pm     Reply with quote
Hi everyone, I feel like I've hit a wall with my development and I'm not sure if what I'm doing is helping me get to where I want to be in an efficient manor. I've been trying to find payed work for about half a year and have had little success and I think it might have to do with my current skill level

I have been trying to do as much work as possible which includes photo studies and personal pieces, but lately with the studies I'm doing I don't feel like I'm learning anything from them. I've just been copying photos without understanding and I don't know what I need to focus on. I'm having trouble figuring out what exercises/studies I should be doing to improve my work so I thought I'd ask you guys what has worked for you in understanding how to create environments. Are you able to clearly say what you have learned from each study or is it more of a subconscious thing and the lessons are learned after many studies?

Anyway, I would really appreciate any advice on improving and starting out as a professional artist. You can see my work on my site at www.artofhowie.com

Thank you very much!
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Tomasis
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Joined: 19 Apr 2002
Posts: 813
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 4:33 am     Reply with quote
My first thoughts are lack of details and flat light that needed to be addressed but when I checked your blog, your last three ones look quite good. Smooth, fluid surfaces. Add some details and voila! If you make the whole portfolio that look like that, you can go far. I know that doing environment poses another bigger challenge and it requires patience. I like your first two pieces from environment section, if you work more on those, it will be good start for more competitive portfolio. Think about what companies expect to see from works so they can add that in games, movies or so.

I think you should continue to work as you do, there are no secrets except hard work. It takes time. You should put more time on single piece like 1 week or more to learn how to be more efficient under so many hours and raise the limit bar all time.

I really like your vision, motives in your works. Some of your works look as fine-art. But for concept art, it maybe needs more attention on industrialism, "cold rendering" mixed with thrilling light. I see that you're good at composition already Very Happy

Good luck with it!
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Sumaleth
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Joined: 30 Oct 1999
Posts: 2852
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:04 am     Reply with quote
There's some very nice work on your site, but here are some thoughts:

If that website is your work-seeking portfolio, it should only contain your very best work. I'd remove the "studies" section for example -- nothing there will get you work, and all of them could lose a project for you. That's not to say they're not worth doing (more of this below), just that they lower the average impression of someone looking at your website with a job in mind.

You need to cultivate an eye for seeing when an image brings that average down. This is a completely different skill to composition, or rendering ability, or theme, and so on. And it's equal in importance to anything else. The self portrait, for example, doesn't look "quite right". The eyes and nose are in the wrong place, perspective isn't consistent, etc. Sometimes you'll only see the problems after you've been away from an image for a bit -- fresh eyes see things that accustomed eyes don't. It's worth going back to old images, identifying problems, and working it some more. Then take another break, come back and work it some more. Really learn to see problems, and learn how to fix them. You need to practice these skills, to grow them.

Materials is an area you have a lot of room to grow in. Perhaps it's a stylistic choice, and if that's the case you're heading more towards a fine-arts career than an illustrative or design one, but in most of your images everything is rendered in the same "material". That means the same value range, the same reflective qualities, the same use of brush strokes. If you look at a Mullins image you see fantastic contrasts. He really knows how to make wood look like wood, and a cobbled road look like a cobbled road. And efficiently too -- he's not drawing each grain or stone, he has simply studied and practices enough that he can imply a surface with a minimum of fuss.

Perspective is an area you need to work on. Doing it by eye is fine if you can do it by eye, but until that time you should be doing the old horizon-line-plus-vanishing-points one two step, or pre-vising it in something like SketchUp. The quality of your work will leap with that simple change.

Look at the concept art from any project you can find concept art for (assuming concept art is an area you're interested in), and study their form. So where the camera is located, are they distant shots of something or close examinations, perspective or front/side-on. Once you see what is being used in your intended field, you can push your work that way.

Last thing for now: values. All the best artists know the way light applies to objects and scenes, and, like perspective, nailing values is one of those things that can make the quality of your work take a sudden leap. Think of those old white-cube-on-white-ground projects that Mullins and Lemens ran here all those years ago. Texture and color can confuse the issue, which is why learning that stuff with white-on-white was so informative.

Anyway, there's some thoughts.
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Howie
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Joined: 31 Oct 2006
Posts: 225

PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 11:58 am     Reply with quote
I can't thank you guys enough, I really appreciate the help. I should have more clearly stated that I want to work as a concept artist specializing in environments but I think you guys figured that out after looking at my work. I definitely agree that materials are a weak point in my work, I'll have to focus on some more life studies with contrasting materials to really nail down the differences. I think your totally right about the studies section on my site Sumaleth and I think today I'm going to go through everything and take out that section along with some of my weaker work. I feel like I can do a photo study pretty successfully but a lot of that success is lost when I go to work from imagination, I'm kind of clueless as to where to put my light sources and how to properly lay out my perspective.

Anyway thank you again Sumaleth and Tomasis, means a lot!
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Simon Gustafsson
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Joined: 04 Jun 2000
Posts: 249
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2011 5:49 pm     Reply with quote
I agree with what Sumaleth and Tomasis are saying, theres great potential in your work but there are some more things that I think you should consider.

Firstly, draw and paint from life. There is nothing wrong with copying photos and if you do alot of it Im sure it will expand your 'visual library' eventually. There is a risk however, that when you copy photos you fall in to this mindless shape copying habit and it doesent feel like you learn much. Ive tried it, and at first its exciting that you get a nice and shiny result but after a while it gets boring. If you paint something from life its very difficult to do it mindlessly. You have to pay attention otherwise standing out there freezing in the forest, or wherever it is youre painting, feels pretty pointless.
If you want to get in to environment design you need to sharpen up your perspective skills. Dont worry about brush economy or fancy texturing tricks in photoshop. Looking at your stuff its pretty clear you have a good understanding of the software and digital painting techniques so try to focus more on drawing. When I get stuck I sometimes try to make a lesson for myself, create some limitations so I can focus on something that dosnt seem impossible to grasp. It can be something really simple like going out to study how trees come out of the ground. Trying to capture their weight and the feeling that they have grown out of the ground rather than just beeing an object resting on top of a surface.
Also, one suggestion I have for you is to go outside with the intention of studying scale. Draw a scene where you have subjects at varying distances. It can be houses, trees, rocks, lamp-posts or whatever, but make sure you measure their relative size before you put them down on the paper. Practising this will definitely help you with perspective and give you a better sense of depth when you create imaginary scenes.

Secondly, if you want to use photographs, i strongly recommend learning about photography as a photographer would. I got really into photography a couple of years ago, learned lots about the kit and how different lenses work, learned what kind of pictures you get from using different lenses, what a limited value range cameras have etc etc. (You dont have to buy expencive gear to understand how it all works) Its really fun and it has helped me loads when Im trying to create scenes from imagination. Plus my holiday pictures looks much better now! =D

Anyways I hope some of my ranting makes sense. Keep practising and keep drawing from life!
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Howie
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Joined: 31 Oct 2006
Posts: 225

PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 12:33 am     Reply with quote
Thank you Simon that really helped a lot. I definitely feel like I got into the shape copying groove with the photo studies and you're right it's boring and I don't feel like I'm making a lot of progress with them. I recently have been setting up still lifes next to my monitor to paint from but you can't really learn how to paint atmospheric perspective and scale when your looking at something that close. I really need to go outside and paint environments from life to get a better understanding of different lighting scenarios.

Thanks again for the help, really appreciate it!
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aaron2
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Joined: 21 Oct 2012
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:55 pm     Reply with quote
love your artwork..but one thing i will advice you in order to make it more public please share your art on blogging sites like google+ facebook etc. anyways thats just an advice...keep up the good work though!
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Returner
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Joined: 01 Oct 2000
Posts: 347
Location: Sweden, Stockholm

PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 2:13 pm     Reply with quote
Hi. I've just started painting and can't give you any critique on that but I suggest you do life drawings like Simon says. Buy paint and get out and paint and also paint from a model.

I'd suggest going to some art school which focus on realistic art.
They'll supply a model and a teacher but YOU still have to do the hard work.
If you paint for say 2-3 hours a day and sketch for an hour or two you'll get results quickly it's all about what you put into it.

I'm taking art classes once a week and be starting at a school next semester. And also maybe fine art is something for u?

Nice site btw u clearly have some talent, good luck!
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