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post #11 of 12 Old 05-08-2012, 01:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Endiku View Post
As far as porportions goes, I always look for the 'scale' of the subject. In each and every individual, there is scale of measurements that makes them look fluid and well built.

For example, with a horse- my main interest. When looking at a picture of any equine, there is a way to measure everything using only one part of it's body as the scale. This scale differs, ofcourse, with ponies and say... thoroughbreds, but any good artist will quickly be able to pick it out. With a horse, the measurement from the poll of a horse's head to the tip of its muzzle will be the same as the width of it's heart girth to withers. It's ears and muzzle will be the same size. The legs (beginning at the shoulder) will be as long as it's entire body from chest to rump, and so forth. Little details like this are what give your picture good symetry, without looking overworked.

I did not know this. I do all my scaling either by eyeballing it, or using a pencil , holding it up to the screen for ratio porportioning.

another thing I often do when working with very small but important details like eyes. When I look at a certain line, such as the curve of the eyelid, I will really look at the line and try to decide if it is convex or concave, sloping in any direction and where is the most extreme point of the curve. When you do people's faces, the shape of the lines that define their eye can be very minutely convex or concave and if you don't get that, the whole face doesn't look right. I will often put a straight pencil up to the screen to compare a line to it to see if the line is truly straight, convex or concave.
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Last edited by tinyliny; 05-08-2012 at 01:05 AM.
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post #12 of 12 Old 05-10-2012, 01:43 AM
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Absolutely 110% backing up Tiny's last comment regarding the eyes. Bugger up the eyes, and you've wrecked the portrait. If the eye's aren't right, it will look like any old horse/dog/cat etc., get the eyes right, and you can make small mistakes in the rest of the portrait but get away with it, as the focus will be pulled to the eye.

I always do the eyes first when I start a portrait. As tempting as it is to block in all of the colour and start the bulk of it first, you will waste a lot of time if you botch the eyes and have to start over. Because I work in soft pastels on a velour backing, having to start over after already having done the bulk of the subject, would be both expensive and time consuming. So I always get the eyes right, right off the bat :)

As well as getting the lines perfect on the eyes, you need to be very aware of toning. The eyes have tonal values from 1 all the way to 10 - use them and include them! ALWAYS!
Usually you will have a 10 (black) value along the bottom edge of the eye and the pupil, so start there, mark in your 1 value (white) and shade in the rest around those points. The eye has to look round, and it has to look wet. That's where your tones will help you. Practice by drawing sphere's with the light shining from different angles. If you can draw a perfect sphere with smooth tones, you can draw an eye.

As for fur detail, if you are a detail crazy perfectionist like myself, fur probably drives you up the wall and takes hours. If you have a close up of a subject and HAVE to draw the hairs in, think about drawing the shadows between the hairs, rather than the hairs themselves. Hairs are visable due to the light and shadow surrounding them - so draw in the shadows, and then add a little gradual tone to their hairs, letting the light do the work for you.
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