Saturday, May 3, 2014

Took a little break - and 2 goals to pursue

Journal mode -

2 reasons behind my break over the last week:

1) My car failed its last emissions inspection, so I had to schedule an appointment at the dealer to get it fixed. My aunt was kind enough to drive me out there to drop it off and pick it up, but it was early in the morning each time, and I'm nocturnal by nature, so that resulted in a couple days of extreme sleep deprivation. I found I was utterly unable to concentrate enough to draw or paint anything for a few days. I'm still feeling the effects of it, but expect to be able to get back to it today.

2) Just before that I happened to look at my paintings on Flickr and realized I was having a blast back when I did those, and haven't enjoyed all the studies and exercises and copies anywhere near as much, and that I need to get back to doing paintings on my own terms, at least for a while. I was making some good advances then too. Beginning with Spearpoint Diplomacy, what I consider my first successful painting, through Charmaine, I can see some good strides being made, especially in value contrast to separate shadows from light/halftones, and even a bit in getting control over color saturation, which I now understand was too strong all over in my earlier ones*. Color should be strong in certain places and weaker in others - generally it's strongest along the edges of shadow shapes, and weaker in bright light (especially if that's glaring light) and shadows. Though depending on the strength and angle of the light it can also be strong in halftones. I was just doing it strong all over, which fails to create any contrast. But I see I was handling it better on Charmaine, my last painting before beginning the studies associated with Conceptart and especially Level Up.

2 goals I want to pursue in upcoming work -

1) Painted drawings

That group of paintings on Flickr are fully painted, like Frazetta's later work or some of Williams' fine art stuff. But all 3 of my favorite illustrator/painters also did what amounts to line drawings that they then painted in. Jones also did both kinds.

2) Work from reference of non-muscular bodies

Fionkell made me realize in a recent sketchbook post that when I work from muscular reference (photo or cast) the hard shapes of the muscles take my attention away from the larger and much more important shapes of the human body itself. Essentially I was studying anatomy without figure drawing. I do assign equal importance to the skeleton and muscles, in fact even more to the skeleton, but that's not actually the same as the human body, which consists of many more things than bones and muscles and has a fluidity and grace that must be studied aside from muscularity. Only after learning figure drawing/painting should you really start to work on muscular figures.

Of course this is weird, because in order to learn the human body in the first place it's necessary to exaggerate the bones and muscles so you can memorize their shapes and positions. I guess it needs to go in phases. Now I need to be doing a soft-body phase, paying attention to forms like the chest rather than the ribcage and pectorals.

* Actually I don't think it was just a color saturation issue. That's doubtless a part of it, but it's also about hue. I notice in all of those paintings, except Charmaine, I used essentially just one hue for skin in light, and one for skin in shadow. Local color, only modified for shadow. I think I need to pay more attention to Jones' colorful greys, and to using many colors in both light and shadow. It's a good beginning strategy, the way I approached it, but I do need to work toward more complexity color-wise.

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