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Onna bushi

PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:46 pm
by jerbar
Hello guys, I'm not new here, but this is my first time in the critique section.

Recently I hit a snag with my art. I noticed it's not interesting and bland. While I know my technical skills are far from perfect, I realized I have completely neglected to work on the appeal part. This results is a lot of time put into my drawings with little to no feedback/interest from other people, which is off putting to say the least :D

So I finally decided to open up here and ask for advice from you knowledgeable people. Please help me put my efforts in the right direction with my art. So far I have improved myself on the bare minimum of critique, but this is not efficient and an unsustainable way if I want to constantly improve myself.

Please give me advice based on this painting. Anything goes!

Thank you!

Onna bushi

PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:13 pm
by Audiazif
It looks like you have a grasp on enough of the basics to convey what you want so I am going to ignore the flaws in execution. It seems like you are asking more for how to make an image more than just a thing on the page. I would maybe try to shift your efforts on to the "what" and/or the "why" (but don't abandon learning and strengthening the fundamental). I mean I can see it is a warrior but what are they doing or why are they doing it? Those are questions that add interest to an image, basically any question will add to an image. Make a story. It doesn't have to be complex or anything. You just need to add more substance. You have the basics of a warrior, armor and a weapon. Now you can add detail to show some back story. For example, if they have been in battle you could give the armor and weapon some battle scars or give the warrior some scars. Or they look young so they might of not been in battle before, if their armor was dinged up it would maybe show that they were given the armor or they took the armor. The pose can also add substance. Right now it is kind of stiff and awkward which would convey a lack of confidence, nervousness, or timidness. Not sure if that is what you were going for. Those are things you wouldn't usually associate with a warrior.

Onna bushi

PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:10 pm
by jerbar
Hi, thanks for taking the time to help me out!
So from what you're saying, instead of simply drawing something, I should engage the viewer? Alright! I will try to incorporate details into the props and backgrounds that tell a story. It's so simple I don't know how I haven't figured it out :D Thanks!

And yeah, I need to work on my poses... I've been doing gestures, but surprisingly I still have the most trouble with a standing pose... :oops:

Onna bushi

PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:12 pm
by warm-wax
^^ I agree with Audiazif, a story is what you're lacking. Once you have an emotion or character you are trying to portray, then you can use various techniques to draw that out. I'll try to suggest stuff that doesn't totally change the drawing...

Two things I would work on: varying perspective and colour.

varying perspective is an good way to keep artwork interesting. It's hard, but it definitely pays off in the end. Classically, a worm's eye perspective is powerful, and a bird's eye makes the character smaller, and therefore weaker. I would experiment using a generic 3d model like <this one> to experiment with angles to see roughly which one you like best.

Colour is an easier way to keep things sharp and interesting. I've never really liked purely representational colouring myself, and it's quicker and more dynamic to only colour. It's also super fun to play around with and find something that suits the mood you're going for. Use masks, overlays, multiply layers... everything you can find :)

I tried with mild success to mock up some ideas. Editing has never been my strong point :lol: but here they are:


Onna bushi

PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 11:04 pm
by jerbar

Yes colouring is one of my banes when painting! For some reason I can't vary the colours of items. In my heads it's "the armor is red, therefore it should be red". And I know it's a very boring kind of colouring. I try to mitigate it by shifting the hue more in the shadows to add a more interesting lighting, but I find this is often not enough. I know it can be done without the crutch that the shadow is (skin could have green/blue/red patches, white window frame is in reality green, not white), but for me it's hard to grasp for some reason.

".... and it's quicker and more dynamic to only colour", can you elaborate on this? And can you explain your thoughts behind the last two edits? I don't quite understand what you meant there. Also thanks for that sweet resource, I'll definitely make use of that website!

Onna bushi

PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 6:57 pm
by warm-wax
jerbar wrote:".... and it's quicker and more dynamic to only colour", can you elaborate on this?

Sorry! I must have trailed off halfway through a thought. I was thinking of picking only a few things to properly render, leaving the rest uncoloured/black and white. Idk if it has an actual name, but let's call it "selectional" colouring.

For an example, here's representation art:

Everything in here is painted exactly as it appears in a photograph, which is technically very impressive and makes a great piece of artwork. However, if you look at the best pieces of artwork, the eye is led to a certain part of the artwork, usually the eye or a small piece of jewellery or something like that. By only letting yourself colour certain parts of the artwork, you're forcing yourself to decide which part of it you want to emphasise. In this piece, it's probably best to focus on the girl's expression, and showing her character through there. You could do that by making the face a lighter value compared to the armour and the background.

Here's an example of art where only a few things are coloured:

jerbar wrote:And can you explain your thoughts behind the last two edits? I don't quite understand what you meant there.

Essentially selectional colouring. In the second one, I pasted in the picture into two layers, make the top greyscale and erased away parts of the greyscale face to leave the coloured one showing through. In the last one I added a block red layer above the image, set the layer to overlay, and erased the eyes and gold metal of the helmet to remove the overlay from them.

I didn't really have thoughts behind them... I was just playing with changing the colours and stuff.

Onna bushi

PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:21 pm
by jerbar
That clears things up! So it's basically creating a point of focus but using colour vs gray instead of contrast or areas of high detail. Thanks!