A year's difference...



  • Hey everyone. Hope you're all having a good weekend. I just posted my latest piece on social media..and I remembered that I did a really similar dragon pose just over a year ago. I hadn't looked at it for ages, so I thought, hey let's just see what's changed...and I was really shocked! ...at all the anatomy, the uneven leg lengths, all sorts of things that jump out at me now, that would need fixing. I'm slightly ashamed to post it again...because I was pleased with it at the time! ..although I knew it wasn't perfect and wanted it to be better....but at the same time I can see the progress. I don't know whether to be pleased or horrified, it's an awkward mix of both. So I thought I'd share.

    Here's the January 2016 piece (cropped - the full original posted here: http://forum.svslearn.com/topic/946/what-the-dragon-did-next/26

    0_1491686192375_dragon-splash-2016.jpg

    And my April 2017 piece:

    0_1491686237579_dragon-colour1a-web.jpg



  • This is awesome, thank you for sharing! They first piece is good, but the second shows such a clear level of growth. More polished, and with a distinct style and confidence that wasn't quite present before. Really nice to see, inspiring!



  • Yes, great improvement on an already great style.

    I am glad that you posted this here, because I didn't want to ask you about how you are getting such texture on social media, due to the fact that I didn't want to start a conversation about process on your page.

    So...how are you getting those great textures? Are you scanning watercolor pieces and using them as background and foreground textures? Is there a tool you are using in photoshop that I can't get because I only work digitally on an iPad Pro?



  • Wow Dulcie, that is awesome, you have put in so much work and it is paying off, you should be so proud!



  • @natiwata Thanks so much - really appreciate the encouraging words! Makes me want to keep going to have the same amount of growth next year :-)

    @Eric-Castleman Thanks very much! Oh I wouldn't mind replying on social media but I have more room for writing here, another reason to love the SVS forums :-) Yeah the textures come partly from watercolour pieces that I've scanned in - in this case the bushes with outlined edges are made with splashy watercolour I made just for bushes...and the dragon has a base layer of a watercolour texture I made. The rest is done with Kylebrushes - mainly his watercolour ones (the Wamazing ones are very useful...I use some of them for adding texture to the ground and on the dragon...), his digital pencil for details on top of the watercolour, and a few of his Spatter and Concept ones too.

    @lmrush Thanks so much, I appreciate the kind words! :-)



  • I would be proud to have done both of these they are beautiful,but yes the second one shows how much you have progressed .Wonderful work!



  • Both are beautiful, but the second one definitely has a bit "more" It is cleaner, the colors are brighter and happier! It could go in a book right now



  • I like both of them in terms of style but the second one is definitely stronger in terms of design and color!
    awesome work



  • @Dulcie omg your work is so beautiful! I love all the soft textures of the latest one, the composition, the detail, everything is stunning.
    I actually like the face, wings and scales along the back of your first one better (I do like the new wispy "eyebrows" though!). The face in particular looks a little more dragon-like to me. Your new one reminds me more of a hippo's face. This is so very subjective though so feel free to ignore it! It's really splitting hairs anyway - it really is stunning. Great progress in a year!



  • Go Dulcie!!! :D I saw the new dragon on Instagram and was impressed at how your style has developed. :) It's so cool to see these two pieces together and all the areas you've grown. Thank you for sharing them!



  • @DanetteDraws said in A year's difference...:

    @Dulcie omg your work is so beautiful! I love all the soft textures of the latest one, the composition, the detail, everything is stunning.
    I actually like the face, wings and scales along the back of your first one better (I do like the new wispy "eyebrows" though!). The face in particular looks a little more dragon-like to me. Your new one reminds me more of a hippo's face. This is so very subjective though so feel free to ignore it! It's really splitting hairs anyway - it really is stunning. Great progress in a year!

    I think the expression/smile on the first dragon's face is happier looking because the lower jaw is longer--that gives it more depth and a wider, smily-er face, which I also really like!



  • Wow, that´s incredible. Good for you. Your work has evolved amazingly. Thanks for sharing, it´s very inspiring!



  • @DOTTYP Thanks so much! It’s nice of you to say that, appreciate it.

    @Lynn-Larson Thank you! I remember when doing the first piece, feeling SO frustrated that it didn’t have the clean look I wanted…I had seen it in other pieces and didn’t know how to emulate it. Of course there’s a whole new list of stuff for me to learn now ;-)

    @mattramsey Thanks very much!

    @DanetteDraws Thank you, it’s so nice of you to say all that about my work - I’m glad to make progress! (Though not satisfied yet and will keep going..) I totally see what you say about the hippo style of face…I’m sure I will keep tweaking and trying to improve the design, as it’s a character I want to stick with and I’ll try to improve the ‘dragon-ness’. I might re-introduce the little spine shapes on the jawbone, as hippos don’t have those, we’ll see.

    @K.W Thanks so much - glad that there is some improvement that shows! :-) I will keep going :-)

    @Judy-Elizabeth-Wilson Thanks, I appreciate the very kind words :-)



  • @Dulcie What was it that helped you improve your work so much? Hard question I know. What was it that you realised you needed to do to get to this point?



  • @Judy-Elizabeth-Wilson Oooh, wow, interesting question. I guess I would pick at my images and try to improve the things that bugged me. I didn’t know what to do with my linework (that’s still a WIP to be honest!), in the first image it still shows through as little bits of black line underneath. I wanted a cleaner look, and a style that was a more interesting mix of shapes and line and watercolour splodginess.

    I’m definitely still not there yet - many things to improve - but so far, doing several things helped. In no particular order:

    • Being persistent with learning techniques used by digital painters (even though it has been really frustrating at times). The cleaner look has come with sharper edges and that is done with layers in Photoshop. I love traditional feel and textures but my traditional work was still coming out a bit fuzzy and once it was on paper, I didn’t know how to make it better/sharper.

    • doing each element separately (the first image has a base watercolour underpainting with sky+dragon together, in the second each element/texture is separate so the colours and values can be changed more easily. That’s not to say it’s a better way of doing things, as many amazing artists work on one layer or very few layers - it’s just what helped me this time.

    • looking at the work of artists I really admired and trying to work out exactly what their process is/how they do their best bits.

    • getting to know my Kylebrushes a bit better and organising them with BrushBox.

    • I wrote a list of all the things I wanted my ‘style’ to have in it. Then I’d experiment to see if I could add any of those things to the mix. Every so often I’ll check it, and maybe re-write another list with ideas, and see if I’m any closer to adding those things.

    • I had a portfolio review in November with a really nice and helpful agent - she told me several things I needed to do to improve (ditch any overly cute vintage-style eyes was one piece of advice; improve the detailing was another)

    • I also had a Fall Critique here on SVS (paid video critique of one piece), where Will Terry told me to think about my linework. He pointed out that it was all the same value regardless of whether it was foreground or receding into the distance. He recommended looking at Corey Godbey’s work (http://corygodbey.com) - which I did, I bought his video demo which had some good tips on refining the colours/values of linework, amongst other things. I should watch it again…

    • since 3rd Thursday has ended, I’ve been following a weekly challenge on Twitter (Colour Collective). I think having a deadline for a piece each week has helped.

    I hope that’s not too long and detailed a reply…just put all my thoughts down at once!



  • Both are beautiful, but the second one definitely looks more polished and professional. Thank @Dulcie for sharing so much about your journey/process!



  • That´s brilliant reply. Well done. Fantastic work @Dulcie
    Sometimes we don't realise how far we have come and how hard we have been pushing until we stop and reflect.



  • @Dulcie love your textures and color contrasts with the foreground, tight focal point, and loose background mixed with the simple design of the butterflies. Its going to be neat to see your creative progression just seeing this contrast from a year. Great work!



  • @holleywilliamson Thank you! :-)

    @Judy-Elizabeth-Wilson Thanks so much :-)

    @Tyson-Ranes Thanks so much for the kind words, appreciate it. I'm determined to make the same amount of progress over the coming year too, that's my challenge to myself :-)



  • I can definitely see the improvements on your artistic skills. Great job!