I'm still dissatisfied with the things I try to color, at least in the comic-book style. I'm also getting that indecision thing going again. I started out those comic-book covers wanting to do something like Middleton (Pfft! Hahahaha!) now I'm staring at Alex Ross' and Adam Hughes' sites (Ahhaha! Stop, you're killing me!). What I end up with, of course, is flat, messy, drunk-monkey-with-a-stylus colin-style. Double meh.
I'm doing better with the painting side, I think. Maybe that's just the optimism thing again.
I figure I have to keep plugging at it, like I did with figure drawing and anatomy, until I see some kind of improvement, maybe in a year or two. Anyone have any book or web-site recommendations?
Nearing the finish line now. In fact, I may just leave it as is. The only thing I might do is paint the buttons on her shirt. (Seriously! Verisimilitude and all that.) Another difference is that, in the reference, her shirt has a check pattern, which is actually one of the reasons why I started (thinking, "why don't I drive myself insane painting a checkered shirt with lots of wrinkles!"). As it turned out, I liked the look of the blue-white solid better as I painted it, and I like the relative looseness of the strokes, so I'm going to leave it as is.
The closeup is full size, but I painted pretty much everything at 50% zoom.
After much, much redrawing, and one totally abortive attempt at painting, here is that boring old picture partially painted. This is probably as good as you're going to get out of me right now. I hope it isn't as good as I ever do.
It seems that I need to pick colors I think roughly represent the real colors, and then mix those to produce intermediate shades, usually on the canvas itself. And sometimes I just need to ignore the real colors altogether. Otherwise, if I try to pick colors for every major tone I see, I get stuff which is just awful.
I think, maybe, if I show you what it is I really like as far as art goes you will have a better idea of what I'm reaching for, and how really terribly far away it seems sometimes. And if you're not interested, you can always come back later for more pictures of hotties.
First, I like realism. I like representative art. That is, art which attempts to create the visual impression of a real object or scene. I enjoy abstract art from time to time, as well as stylized art, but the stuff that I really love always seems to be that which looks real, or close to real. And yet, photographs are not nearly as appealing to me as paintings, in general. I like good photographs, and I understand the skill involved (having tried, halfheartedly, to take pictures myself from time to time), but paintings give me more. This is probably related to the next thing I'm going to talk about.
That next thing is... well, I don't know a good word for it. Looseness? Performance? Economy? In spite of loving to see a work that looks real at one level, I also love to see the brush strokes. In digital works this translates into things like Craig Mullins' pictures, which when inspected closely seem to be wild blobs of color, but when you pull back resolve themselves into wonderful, dramatically real images. I like painters who combine realism with this abandon, this apparent love of the brush stroke, painters like Gregory Manchess or Carol Marine.
I like dramatic compositions that play with splashes of color and light. But then again, who doesn't?
You may wonder, now, about the comic book artists that fill my list of bookmarks. Well, there are connections. Many of my favorites are realistic artists, in one way or another. Joshua Middleton gets me with his fine understanding of the human figure, among other things. Adam Hughes and Alex Ross both bring an almost photographic quality to some of their work. Even Phil Hale treats his often surreal subjects with an attention to realism. You'll also notice Alphonse Mucha and J. C. Leyendecker in my list, artists who stylized quite dramatically at times, but still maintained some essential connection to realism. This stylized realism, or in some way perfected realism, is another aspect of many of my favorite artists, and what I think attracts me to certain comic book artists as well as past art-deco masters and even certain illustrators from the middle of the 20th, like Rockwell or James R. Bingham (profiled (again) last week on Today's Inspiration).
Sometimes my likes pull me in seemingly opposite directions. One part of me wants to paint and render with rich colors in blobs and chunks, while another part longs for smooth clean lines, dramatic blacks, and smooth flats of the comics. Of course, all of this might seem moot when I really can't manage any aspect of that to my satisfaction. Still, it does seem to me sometimes that my internal debates may have made it even harder.
Anyway, we'll get back to the hotties shortly, or some pictures of tangerines or something.
I think I know what's wrong... or at least one of the things that's wrong, with that last study. I think I should concentrate more on using a small number of values, preferably just two, lit and unlit, to outline the shapes. That would fit a lot better with the line art, for one thing. I started out like that, but somewhere along the way started playing with trying to render things, and it just didn't work out at all.
Also, as usual, some of those lines need toning down.
One way to approach color, or so I hear, is by making a value study.
Doing one just goes to show how off my value-sense is, and how much work I need to do to develop techniques to (1) get the shapes right and (2) produce the look I'm looking for. Still a long road ahead.