Before and after SVS
Thank you for all of the great comments everyone!! Really appreciate your kind words
Amazing progress! You can really see the growth. The image on the right is so dynamic and flows very well. When do you think you had that "aha" moment where it all came together and things made more sense? Was there a particular course that made it clear?
@Joslyn-Schmitt Thank you Joslyn! - I think it is just a bunch of little things adding up - i think the main classes for me were probably the Creative Composition class on SVS and Nathan Fowkes' composition classes on Schoolism - putting long hours in, using only one brush, not sleeping, and really the most important thing for me is this forum - the pieces in my portfolio would not be the same without the critiques i've received here - in art school (20 some years ago) if you were in a class with a group of people that were committed to their own work and committed to giving honest and well thought out critiques then you were very fortunate - those are the classes i remember most (composition class with Lucinda Parker was the most memorable for me) These are the classes i got the most out of - so i encourage anyone and everyone to participate thoughtfully in the forums - it really is the best of what art school has to offer - Thank you again
My iPad was looking at me reproachfully after i pressed submit .....so i should add this - i think that without the iPad pro, Apple pencil and Procreate i would not be as comfortable with digital drawing - i can draw anywhere and never feel like the tools are in the way of what i'm trying to do
@Kevin-Longueil Ahhhh no wonder!! Nathan Fowkes class is definitely on my list of classes I want to take!!! Especially his lighting/shadow and environment classes. Have you been to any of Schoolism's workshops? I am hoping to make it to one next Spring. It looks like it is just jam packed with great information! I am 3 years out of art school so I know how tough getting a good critique can be. The worst is when there is absolute silence and no one has any opinion. :o
Were you using the normal round brush for this painting? What are the next classes you plan to take? Or what is your next plan in honing your craft?
Also thank you for all your information and for sharing your experience. It is very helpful and inspiring. I do not have an iPad but I do have a wacom tablet which I am hoping to trade in for a cyntiq in the near future. (iPad would be a cheaper route for sure) At work I mostly use a mouse and the pen tool in Illustrator to create work but in my personal time I am still using traditional mediums such as pens and prisma markers.
@Joslyn-Schmitt You may also look into the Surface Book or Surface Pro. When my PC was going to die I looked into getting another PC and cintiq but then read some reviews on the Surface and went that route. Saved thousands and like @Kevin-Longueil says you can take it anywhere. I love to sit on the train and sketch people. Or go in my backyard and paint on my deck. If i had the cintiq then I would be stuck in my office.
Hi Chip! Thank you for the suggestion. When it comes to technology I still have a lot to learn. My heart is set on a cintiq because I was spoiled in college and got to use one often. This may seem like a stupid question, but when you use the Surface Pro, are you able to use the full features of Photoshop on it? Layers, Timeline, etc etc?
@Joslyn-Schmitt Hey Joslyn - No i haven't made it to any workshops yet - would love to do that some time - i have only recently started taking myself seriously though so things like that were not really on my radar - i'm currently working my way through a Sam Nielson class on Schoolism and just started watching Jake's new class too - Sam is very difficult for me - he does not stress important words when he talks ....so i find myself having to rewind quite a bit - so much great information though - the only brush i've used for my last 8 pieces has been Nikko Lockertsen's pencil brush it came with one of his Artsudyonline.com classes - ..actually i did use his spray splatter for the dappled underwater light on the mermaid ... felt like i was cheating i use Procreate - have not used my cintiq since i got the iPad pro - but i only have the 13 inch cintiq touch... large one might be cool -this look interesting too
Nikko's classes are great - when i first started digital a couple years ago i did not get much out of them - but now i go back and watch him paint and listen - blows me away - keep waiting for him to make new videos - anyways - thank you again for your kind words
@Joslyn-Schmitt Yes the surface runs full windows 10 so you can run all of adobe on there. Just like a laptop. Actually the youtube video that @Kevin-Longueil just posted is the Sony version of the Surface. Pretty much the same thing. Only difference which makes the Sony nice is that if you detach the screen the keyboard still works. With the surface once you detach it the keyboard no longer works. But i have an external keyboard i can hook up with i want to use shortcuts.
@Joslyn-Schmitt I have been to a Schoolism workshop in Berlin - Sam Nielson and Nathan Fowkes were also there. It was an awesome experience and I highly recommend it.
I personally think that Sam Nielson class on schoolims is the best digital painting class existing - and that considering all the university classes I did as well. I took it with the live critique (the only one for which I spent that amount of money), and sticked through all assignments - which may explain why I found it so incredibly useful. I took his second class too (though not live) and it was equally enlightening.
I should not say so, but I have recorded all of them with screen capture, and I watch them over and over again up to this day ;-).
Nathan Fowkes does amazing work, but I find him not so successful as a teacher - I cannot say I have learnt much from his courses or his books (which he sells at conventions and stuff like that - not sure he sells them online anywhere). His work is worth studying though.
@smceccarelli Agreed! Sam Nielson's work and teaching are great!
@smceccarelli @QuietYell Simona and Scott - you are both such excellent painters - could you distill what it is that you found most helpful form Sam? What did you learn that has become part of what you think about while you are painting?
@Kevin-Longueil I would say just about everything ;-)) His course on surface rendering is my cornerstone - I do not always apply everything as he taught it (my limitation mostly), but I learnt how to deal with light and color on any type of material, from velvet to water. Even after the fifth time re-watching, I still learn stuff from him. And when face a special challenge (like reflective metal) I still go and re-watch his lessons about it. It was a turning point for me, and it resonated a lot, maybe because he is so scientific about it (and scientist I still am, even after changing careers).
His second course is equally enlightening but a lot more complex to apply somehow. It deals with rendering processes and how to use different lighting to convey emotion and character. I should actually re-watch it now: I don't think I was far enough with my skills to appreciate it in full the first time.
As an aside: in person he is very business-like and not very approachable. But he delivered an great live demo about decision-making in illustration: so he is and remains an awesome teacher. I proudly own a signed print
@smceccarelli I will switch immediately to that class - i am going through "Lighting for Story and Concept Art" why i did not start with "Fundamentals of Lighting" i do not know - thank you!
@Kevin-Longueil wow thank you so much!
Yeah like @smceccarelli said, "just about everything" haha
I think that “everything” boils down to value structure. (I don’t mean to say that everything else is irrelevant but rather that the value structure is so important.)
This entails how light works with objects & environments but also how the visual response can be driven through the way values are used.
Objects & Environments:
Light works differently on a matte surface vs. a glossy one, or works differently with translucent material vs. opaque. It works/looks differently at different times of the day and when it is a different colored light source on different colored objects or if there is one vs. more light sources. When it encounters atmosphere or dust or the edges of light fuzz, etc. etc. etc.
The point is that the values within a piece for the objects & environment are dependent upon how light works with those objects’ attributes (color, texture, material, translucency, distance from light, etc.)
Knowing how light & color works, is pretty important for representing things believably (I say “believably” rather than “realistically” because caricatures & monsters are not real but can be painted believably)
This is more the artistic aspect of painting rather than the representing reality/fantasy in a believable way. It is more “emotional” or “existential”.
Here one is attempting to communicate something and perhaps elicit a response from the viewer (whether a particular emotional or intellectual response or increased engagement with the art piece)
The way the values are positioned within the canvas/object/etc. determines how the viewer’s eye moves through the piece and what impression is given.
The eyes move through the piece because values can play off of one another: “White looks more white when next to black” So if you really want something to pop, that’s a sure fire way to do so. But, you have to use it responsibly, because just like how hot chili peppers can give some zing to some food, too manny peppers and now all you taste is chili peppers and not the food. The same is true with “popping values.” By using values, one can draw immediate attention to the primary area and then lead the viewer through to secondary, tertiary and other areas, back into the primary area again.
For giving impressions, just like how light looks different at twilight than at high-noon or the middle of the night, one’s emotional & intellectual response changes with such. For instance, if you want a somber or dreary piece, you probably won’t be doing high contrast values or even a brightly lit piece.
I know that right now, I am personally struggling with me seemingly often relying upon a darker midtone foundation popped with lighter values. It might make a single illustration nice, but I feel that it leaves my portfolio of work on the dark side (even though my subject matter isn’t “dark” but “light”). (BTW, I haven’t re-checked his site but that is Will Terry’s approach with his much of his work too.) My push is to diversify my pieces and do more that are of a lighter midtone foundation popped with darker values.
With all of that said, color, line, shape, composition, etc. are all instrumental here just as much as value, but it seems to me that increasingly knowing how light & color works and how to create a compelling value structure to an art piece is a highly significant foundation.
Sam Nielson’s first class is strongly about how light & color actually work (from a scientific foundation), which is I guess why I liked it so much.
@Kevin-Longueil let me slightly expand upon what i said about my work:
While I am pushing to diversify my pieces in their lighting structure approaches, I don't mean to say that doing a structure with a darker midtone popped by light values is wrong or creates bad art. I am simply saying that I want to have more value structure diversity to my artwork so that I can approach a diversity of moods & such. I personally want to err on the side of lighter midtone foundation popped by dark but I think that I tend to be personally impacted by art I see where it is a darker midtone popped by light (such as many pieces by Rembrandt)
@smceccarelli I wish I would have recorded those classes....lol...don't tell anyone...yeah, I agree with you I think Sam Nielson's first class on there is the single best class I've ever taken and I didn't take it live. I would stress watching those extra videos where he crits the live classes there is as much helpful info in those as there is in the course work. He was suppose to publish a book with all the info from that class but it never happened. And I did the same as you I re-watched those classes over and over again because there was just so much info in there. I let my subscription there run out this year and I sort of regret because it was a great reference but I couldn't justify the expense since that was really the only class on there I watched. I didn't get much out of any of the other classes. (how much fun was it to paint that fuzz effect the first time....I was like "This is SO AWSOME..." lol...