• Fur Affinity Forums are governed by Fur Affinity's Rules and Policies. Links and additional information can be accessed in the Site Information Forum.

Painterly or Detailed?

FireFeathers

Mr. Red Flag
Wasn't entirely sure where to put this one, despite the lurking I do about this forum. Anyways, I've got a question. My stuff often gets described as painterly, which that's what i'm going for, so huzzahs, i suppose. though I always feel that pictures lose their livelihood, thier moxie, thier soul, if i keep detailing down from the Painterly-level. I've got a crop off the next picture i'm working on right now.

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i141/Raydart/painterly.jpg

I guess what i'm trying to ask is the level of painting that looks best to you. I don't know when something looks finished enough to be painterly, or when it just looks unfinished. I'm only like....5 hours into this full painting so far, but I like the feeling and emotion the face, at least around the eyes looks right now. But I don't know if that still looks too unfinished for a final product? Agh, i'm a little paranoid about pleasing the customers, i've had bad ones in the past. I don't want to put out something that looks halfassed, but I think the images lose something when you go balls-out detailing it down to the hairs on the nose.

I guess it's a matter of preference, but what do you guys think? Balls out or no?

Those interested in seeing the full image so far for more context: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-GRZCoCV-L3U/T-E2nc3xfEI/AAAAAAAAByA/U_Tt8ArJwso/s1600/haruiwip.jpg
 
Last edited:

Arshes Nei

Masticates in Public
Right now, you really need to work more on the values. I'm getting a medium value and see a light value, but your darks...they're not that strong. So you need to work on that.

The other side to getting a loose painterly feeling is learning how to "hide n seek" which is another post about edges. You want to decide where you're going to have hard and firm edges, where some become soft, and introduce some lost edges. http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=125553

http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2008/04/edge-induction.html

Some artists I feel good with this is Nathan Fowkes http://nathanfowkes.blogspot.com/

Henry Yan (NSFW Nudity) http://www.henryyanart.com/paintings.php

I also like looking at Craig Mullins work, but also older Impressionist masters like John Singer Sargent and Anders Zorn. It's too bad art rewneal shut down access to some of their high resolution images to pay only - because http://www.johnsingersargent.org/Carnation,-Lily,-Lily,-Rose-large.html gave you a really good glimpse on how the brushstrokes are placed (only other way to see stuff like that now is a museum. ) and make you realize how "less is more" in some instances.
 

FireFeathers

Mr. Red Flag
Right now, you really need to work more on the values. I'm getting a medium value and see a light value, but your darks...they're not that strong. So you need to work on that.

The other side to getting a loose painterly feeling is learning how to "hide n seek" which is another post about edges. You want to decide where you're going to have hard and firm edges, where some become soft, and introduce some lost edges. http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=125553

http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/2008/04/edge-induction.html

Some artists I feel good with this is Nathan Fowkes http://nathanfowkes.blogspot.com/

Henry Yan (NSFW Nudity) http://www.henryyanart.com/paintings.php

I also like looking at Craig Mullins work, but also older Impressionist masters like John Singer Sargent and Anders Zorn. It's too bad art rewneal shut down access to some of their high resolution images to pay only - because http://www.johnsingersargent.org/Carnation,-Lily,-Lily,-Rose-large.html gave you a really good glimpse on how the brushstrokes are placed (only other way to see stuff like that now is a museum. ) and make you realize how "less is more" in some instances.


It's a Wip man, I'll add the dark values. Hell, ive' just been doing rock tones for most of those hours, which I add the crevices last. I don't jump in doing black then work up.

I'm still as confused as before. I'm trying to find if where i've got the image right now is too loose to be considered finished or not.
 

Arshes Nei

Masticates in Public
Yes, I know it's a WIP. It is still not addressing the problem you're having. You're sounding like you're compartmentalizing your piece here with it being one rather flat value it's not reading and you're worried about details.

Your picture should sorta read as a whole I should say, the values should be placed down....kinda like how this goes http://nathanfowkes.blogspot.com/2012/02/step-by-step-reprise-and-video.html

Images 2 and 3 in that demo give me a good read, if he stopped there - I already pick up what's going on with it.

Because the first thing when people ask me if "something looks ok" is not the detail, but how it reads overall. I look at it at a distance and/or squint. If it's coming off a bit flat - that's the first thing that will be the issue.

Just like you look at a picture in increments of 25% to 50% to make sure it reads. So the details of the face...well it kinda doesn't matter till the end honestly.
 

FireFeathers

Mr. Red Flag
Okay. I'm gonna try and write this without tearing my hair out. Because i've written the same message like 9 times now in varying degrees of utter frustration. So here is the very...calm...and totally not frustrated reiteration of the topic.

The problem I'm asking about is clarity. That's it. I am aware of the tone issue. I am aware there is a large amount of hours I have left to go to finish this image. I do not consider the tones- finished. I don't consider the image- finished. I don't even consider the detail I have ON there right now, finished. I like the emotion and the expressiveness of the lines in the face right now. I am DUMB when it comes to knowing when something could be considered "done" or not. That artists I really admire: http://mr--jack.deviantart.com/art/Exploratory-259299499 breathe a new life into an image by keeping it unfinished. And hell if that doesn't appeal the fuck out to me, someone who does commissions for a living because extra hours spent on an image refining it down could be spent on another picture because food and gas are not cheap and I work my frustrated little fingers to the bone already.
 

Bark

Member
I absolutely adore the painterly style. I've been fussing about in my painting classes, leaving things out detailing certain spots and leaving others blocky. It definitely is a bitch to get right. People either tend to think it's done and love it or not. v: At least with my works.

I really like the direction your piece is going, I think the background is looking great. The only thing that sticks out to me as not really pulling together in terms of painterly finishedness is the arms. When my I look at it, my eyes travel from the face to the arms, and then to the wing. It makes me go, 'oh, that's sort of odd, why is that wing more detailed than the arms?' But maybe you're still working on that P: With the picture you linked, the first thing I notice is just how smoothly my eyes tend to go over the piece. My eyes hover out to the detailed bits, but they move over to the lesser detailed bits and it feels 'right.' With yours it seems like there's little stutters here and there.

Sorry if that made no sense at all and I'm just blowing out my ass at 3am.
 

Zydala

Kisses for everyone!
I'm still as confused as before. I'm trying to find if where i've got the image right now is too loose to be considered finished or not.

I'll answer this as directly as possible for ya ;]

The state of the WIP above does not feel finished to me. This isn't because of the amount of detail or its 'looseness', it's mostly due to the way you place the brushstrokes. It's not confident enough and there's a lot of them that I see that I describe as very "fidgety" - you're kind of staying in small spots and reworking them a lot with small brushes. You gotta get to a point where you're confident enough in your brustrokes to need to place minimal amounts of them down. A lot of Arshes' links have examples of this. To really punch out a good painting in minimal amount of brustrokes a lot of people make sure their darkest darks and their lightest lights are placed quickly and confidently. This might be why arshes emphasized it and her link in her second post is great at showing it.

Hope this is useful!
 

Arshes Nei

Masticates in Public
Okay. I'm gonna try and write this without tearing my hair out. Because i've written the same message like 9 times now in varying degrees of utter frustration. So here is the very...calm...and totally not frustrated reiteration of the topic.

The problem I'm asking about is clarity. That's it. I am aware of the tone issue. I am aware there is a large amount of hours I have left to go to finish this image. I do not consider the tones- finished. I don't consider the image- finished. I don't even consider the detail I have ON there right now, finished. I like the emotion and the expressiveness of the lines in the face right now. I am DUMB when it comes to knowing when something could be considered "done" or not. That artists I really admire: http://mr--jack.deviantart.com/art/Exploratory-259299499 breathe a new life into an image by keeping it unfinished. And hell if that doesn't appeal the fuck out to me, someone who does commissions for a living because extra hours spent on an image refining it down could be spent on another picture because food and gas are not cheap and I work my frustrated little fingers to the bone already.

Yep, and that's why you need to plan out the values first. Placing down the values is going to give you a general feel of where the piece is going. Letting some areas stay in shadow and not detailing it, you would have saved yourself the headache. Your values will tell you, how to focus on the image. Mr Jack ( I like his stuff too watch him on CG hub) in the picture you showed shows that he left the backgrounds at a certain value, and left the strongest values of where you want to focus. This case it's the machine that has a larger range of values.

Here http://mr--jack.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d411zrt he uses more of a chromatic effect, and really the strongest parts are in the parts he wants you to focus on. Red is painted in large shapes. He doesn't do detail in shadow areas. If you look at the robot, you get the feeling there's "gears and parts inside the machine where you can see the inside, but he left it indicated and opted for large shapes of strong chromatic colors to get your eyes to gravitate.

What makes an "unfinished looking" Painterly effect successful and gives you more of an idea of when to leave out stuff and just let it be indicated is the fact our eyes are very good about finishing shapes. That's why I said in my first post the importance of "hide and seek" aka Lost and Found edges. It's why I keep telling you to change your approach and work on getting major values out and you'll start to see what I mean. You'll see your eyes will gravitate to something immediately, it lets you realize "ok, I know where the focus is, *this is what I need to work on* and composition wise I now know what needs to be worked on less.

If you want, just take another layer over your current image. Start labeling what is important and outline the shape.

If the focal point is the dragon character, label it 1. Draw the shape.

Decide what is next, and label that and so on.

http://mattiassnygg.posterous.com/post/4284127322

tumblr_lj15n87rgi1qhtj8d.jpg


There's another example. He kept the areas he wanted of importance light, he left a lot in shadow and created a lot of lost edges.

The other trick is balancing light against dark. See where the troll's head meets against the the cave and trees? Value change. He kept the troll head lit, put the trees in silhouette and didn't bother with details. Made a decision that "light areas will have more details, and my shadow areas stay in shadow" You can do the opposite but never treat both areas the same ...(keep the details in shadow areas and less detail in light areas).

The third thing to do is because you have values planned out you can see how it works composition wise. Remember the exercise I said earlier, about labeling what is important? See how that follows in a composition. If you decide to keep the dragon's head lit, put in those strong values and see how your eyes travel over the piece.

Look for the overall shape of where you intend to focus the piece. http://mr--jack.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d49wsoe Strong value of the body of the robot, but most detail went over the composition of the shape of the arms to get you to focus, everything else is left at a value. Left a lighter value background because immediately your eye is going for the silhouette.

So you need to also work on the silhouette of the character. Does it read?

http://www.scottmcd.net/artanalysis/?p=987

http://characterdesignnotes.blogspot.com/2011/03/use-of-silhouettes-in-concept-design.html

Also, if you don't mind and want me to give you a better idea of what I'm talking about you can PM me and I can give you a Livestream Demo if you don't mind. (Just have to set up the time).
 

Arshes Nei

Masticates in Public
Ok, coming back to give you the base idea of what I'm talking about

First the Silhoutte. I used a very saturated brown because while dark, it's not gonna drown out the background. By the way, the background is fine if you wanted that Mr Jack stage of rendering. It will help with the focus.

http://i47.tinypic.com/a0e7b8.jpg

Next is kinda like sculpting only with values and color. I went high chroma on this for the first pass of values.
I'm using a Camel Hair Brush in Painter, Dab Type is set to Circular with blending set on reverse (lighter strokes, blend more, darker strokes introduce more color). This is handy because that brown color helps set up for better intensity to draw your eyes to the figure.

http://i45.tinypic.com/2qn5xdz.jpg

I just keep continuing the shaping process. I make sure that I try to at least pay attention to form, if I can't figure it out at the moment, I don't try smaller strokes to indicate some shading. Just let the major forms play out first.

http://i47.tinypic.com/an0805.jpg

You can see it's starting to read, as I just "color sculpt" in. It now gives me an idea of how I keep going into details. I try to keep the amount of values to a certain level so I can see my dark vs light. That blue is not going to be the highlight, and although I have my darks out and that will probably be as dark as they get, I don't have to do too much work in details. No reason to try to detail in something you aren't really supposed to see. Giving it even treatment as my light areas would make it confusing.

The only things I'm playing with now in your background is the dark/vs light. Some areas I did put in more saturation in the shadows, others I left alone to keep from being too busy.

Obviously from the silhouette, I knew the wing and tail were going to be a problem, but that can get worked out.

http://i46.tinypic.com/sfyyj8.jpg - Is pass 4 where I start to shape in forms. By having her at higher chroma you and a good dark it starts to pop and you can just refine to smaller forms little by little.

I hope you see what I'm getting at now. Working at flat values with detail is gonna give you a headache and you're not gonna know when you're finished. Setting down your darks and lights as large areas give you a better idea. I also like doing the silhoutte, so you can see the shape, and having a base/underpainted color gives you something to play with.

This is digital. You go too dark, just adjust. Unlike traditional painting stain your canvas with black, you might be fucked ;)
 
Last edited:

Saeto15

Member
Right now, the character just looks unfinished. A true "painterly" style would have loose strokes and suggestions of features, but reads well enough that no further detail is necessary. Take at look at this piece by James Gurney: http://jamesgurney.com/site/images/teaching-images (since I can't direct link it, look at the last image in the second row, the portraits of the man). The one on the right is more tight and detailed, while the one on the left uses "chunks" of colour to suggest the features and where the light his hitting. On that portrait, no further detail is needed, because all of the important information is right there.

For an illustration of someone's character, I feel that a combination would be better. For the customer, their character is the most important part of the piece. You could easily have her face and hands in focus, but the wings/hips left less detailed to suggest movement, or to bring the viewer's attention to those more detailed areas.

As for issues with colour, you could start by painting in grayscale and adding colour later. I do that on some pieces if I don't have an idea of what the tones should be yet.
 
Last edited:
Top