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Old 04-26-2014, 07:18 AM   #201
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Along with the speed paint in my other topic, i also did some more practice with poses using vilppus techniques. Some of these i did with imagination others i used refs.

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Old 04-28-2014, 04:00 PM   #202
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You have a habit of shifting parts of your work as you go through your process. I've noticed it in cheeks and eyes for other works you've done. This piece it's the shoulders. I have a hyper perception of detail (for lack of better wording) so I'm not sure if anyone else is seeing it or not. Speaking of details, don't over-do the details. A couple well placed wrinkles may be better than all the wrinkles that you might see in a live model or a reference photo.

I love all the work you're putting in. I wish I had the time and patience to commit to improving my skills. I've too many interests and I've made the choice to follow another path. I live vicariously though PK members.
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Old 04-29-2014, 01:23 AM   #203
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I believe part of the reason i begin noodling or start concentrating on certain areas is namely my lack of knowledge in those areas. I would understand the shape but when i went to refine the process i get a bit stumped and then start rendering the parts to shape them hopefully to build off them. Case in point the cheeks or the bridge of the nose. With so little information i start drawing lines and its something i absolutely detest. The solution is to use a delicate touch and render the area with subtle shading and subtle is something i can't do yet on a wacom tablet.

I would love to find out how to "less is more" as i watch youtube videos of people and notice how few strokes they make and absolutely destroy my efforts that would take me quarter of an hour. Its something i haven't truly understood. Why is it when i make the same number of strokes it comes out wrong or how does it work for the person?

My style is far too sketchy and needs to be refined if i was ever to move on to the next stage of a complete picture. ATM, the mass of lines just masks the imperfections as imagination would fill the gaps.
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:02 AM   #204
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Being out of work for the last few weeks has given me much more time to practice drawing whilst i stare vacantly on job sites and listen to Yahtzee's drown out videos. I had been studying female legs still and still not getting them right.

Anyway, decided to put what i had learnt (curving every line on the female body including straight ones) via photoshop and getting some exercise using the tablet.




I had done some painting practice with faces and trying different techniques and one of the things i noticed that the nose area was always constantly wrong. So i decided to do some practice of those as well. Not really much progress on this front. I think i need to learn the planes and do so via painting and not sketching them. I had hoped drawing the lines first would help me progressively get better and then ease myself into painting.




And finally a keep sketch of a random mountain. I saw in a book an excerise to draw a mountain and what surprised me was that all it consisted was scribbles and thought i'll try it out myself and see what would happen. The mountain i referenced and promptly ignored a like for like sketch as that would have driven me nuts. Added the trees and foreground to experiment with the technique.

As a rough mock up excerise i'm surprised it worked well. Even if the mountain looks a bit misshapen and i went a bit ott with the soft brushes.

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Old 05-17-2014, 07:14 AM   #205
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Weekend practice. I really need to upload my practice stuff over the last week but its proving far to much work to take photos and upload them. Yeah being lazy.

Today just some practice. Initially it was merely using a reference to practice drawing a pose of a head and using my own style. It took me much longer then expected. Poor draftsmanship left me trying to fix the head whilst i painted and took me near 4hrs to get to this stage. Most of the fixing consisted of me using the lasso tool to free transform to victory. Not to mention that everything i learnt in using references went out the bloody window to start with. By the time i finished the face i had no patience to draw the armor properly and make any decent attempts at it. The side pose had backed me into a corner anyway as i couldn't even develop the concept further.

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Old 05-25-2014, 05:03 AM   #206
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What started off as practice drawing clothing folds quickly changed to drawing clothes for woman and a token gesture to clothing folds. Not a great start.

Anyway a variety of clothes, some refs, some not and also a proper test of the armor painting method and by the looks of things, it doesn't hold up properly. Back to the drawing board whilst i practice drawing other things on scrap paper. Might not have as much time in the fortnight's time as i've got a new job working in another company IT. Nervous, despondent and wondering whether i would be up to the job.

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Old 06-14-2014, 04:59 AM   #207
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Apologies if anyone was expecting this to be updated every week. But i'm sure most of you guys know that i was doing other things in the exercise yard. Anyway, as part of the sketch exchange i wanted to draw the face.

Ref used here was this:

http://joanaslichtpoesie.deviantart....ning-348667467

I wanted a challenge and i got it. It was going to be a losing battle right from the start but if i don't push hard i won't get better. I did take my time on this one spending extra amount of time staring at the relations of the face and where hair curved etc. That was initially but as things progressed i made it up. The biggest problems were:

The lips - That drove me nuts no end last week. The subtle slightly opened mouth proved immensely difficult to draw. Not even using proportions, thinking invertly or seeing shapes solved the problem.

The coat and scarf. This was today's work. I extended the canvas a bit as i didn't have enough information to suggest what the hell the stuff at the bottom was. I lost patience with painting the coat and scarf very, very quickly. i still don't have the skills to draw textures and getting my head around the folds and how to draw/paint them annoyed me. In the end i had to compromise by making a half arsed attempt and fudging it. Something to study next time. maybe. If i don't give up from frustration.

The snow on the hair. i was never going to get this right and finding the right brush with the right settings proved a lot of work and this was the best i came up with. Need to figure out how to add snow in hair or any texture for that matter.

Enough stalling. The reveal:


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Old 06-21-2014, 07:13 AM   #208
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Over the course of the week and last sunday, i've been trying to cook up my drawing for the sketchjam of Sword gal drawing by retiredoldie. So i did what came most easy (and the most important aspect): the face.

PLANNING:

What kind of person was sword gal? I had an idea that she was someone who was tempered by rough living and rough housing and was unafraid of a fight. The impression i wanted was that sword gal was young brash and head strong. The plan was to make her cocky as well.



IDEAS:

I tried not to deviate from the drawing too much (believe it or not) whilst putting a spin on the image. I gave her feline features, such as her messy hair resembling cat ears and her eyes are much larger and oval at times. The large youthful smile completes the look. I added scars and a plaster to show that shes been in scuffles both in the past and recently.


Execution:

I spent the week first getting the face right or get a feel for it before opting for expressions. Since there was so many expressions to practice and the one i wanted was above my level, i opted to focus on just ONE expression: Anger, rage, frustration etc. Trawled through google for angry female eyes and looked at various artists to see how they implemented it. After a few paper practices i decided today to practice drawing the face in photoshop. This time as an added bonus was to practice line inking and just be better then my previous attempt with spacesuit girl which were far took thick. This time i opted much smaller brush. Something like 15 pixels for the sketching and 9 pixels for inking. I also ditched the black colour and opted for a dark red color as i hear that it helps during the painting stages and if i was to paint the face i would save time going over the lines in a different colour and plus i hear it prevents turning colors muddy when black gets accidentally mixed into the tonal range.








Final thoughts:

The face is more or less complete, but i need to probably refine it, the hair might not be working out properly and perhaps work on some expressions. I also need to focus on fabric and the attire. Whilst drawing faces is fine, we need to address the weaknesses to get better.
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Old 06-22-2014, 05:14 AM   #209
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Johnway, I appreciate how thoroughly you document your thoughts and process while you work. It opens the door for our C&C to go beyond the pros and cons of a particular drawing and into how you go about drawing in general. IMO, that's a much more valuable discussion to be had, and it takes a lot more time and effort than just drawing a picture and posting it.

So, let's talk about process a bit:
  • The amount of consideration you put into your work is 100% on target.

  • The "shifting parts" problem that Anyte mentioned earlier is very evident in this batch of faces. It feels like the individual features of the face were tackled in isolation of each other, and they are floating around the head in strange ways. Sometimes the head itself has to be extended or squashed (looking at the bottom two) in order to fit the features.

    An approach to remedy this would be to focus on placing the bigger masses correctly, and working down to the smaller details. The placement of the features will be more evident if the head is correct.

    This video explains a good method for doing that (originally from Loomis): http://www.proko.com/how-to-draw-the...rom-any-angle/.


  • This caught my attention:

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by johnway
    I also ditched the black colour and opted for a dark red color as i hear that it helps during the painting stages and if i was to paint the face i would save time going over the lines in a different colour and plus i hear it prevents turning colors muddy when black gets accidentally mixed into the tonal range.
    What you've heard sounds like good advice for a specific rending style, but not as a universal maxim. It seems related to underpainting, where starting with a red or brown (when painting organic subjects) is generally a safe move. This process example from James Jean explains it better than I can:


    You can still see the influence of the initial colors in the final painting, even where he's painted different colors over the top. But this is a very painterly approach. If you were to finish your concepts with a comic or animation cel look, you wouldn't need to do this.
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Old 06-22-2014, 06:36 AM   #210
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hi xchris i have seen the vid in the link provided and sometimes i do use the ball method every so often. I've never been a huge fan of measuring out features properly as this goes back to my early days when i used lines to scale the entire body and other things as it made things look awful as they were crushed or simply didn't flow or look natural. What really sealed it was when drawing complex poses where the basic rules were simply thrown out and i opted to not focus too hard and i switch techniques/styles as and when needed.

The problem has always been poor foundations as i am not an exact guy when it comes to measurements. Which makes the circles and squares drawing exercise important. I would frequently cut, crop, crimp all through the drawing if something didn't look right i get cutting. So all exact measurements i use are lost anyway. Might have to spend some time showing how i do draw heads in general and see where i go wrong. I do find that using the same cookie cutter method gives me a wide range of results and no 2 faces are the same even if i use the same technique the variations are massive.

-One of the more frequent methods i use is to draw a curved vertical line and a horizontal line that could be either the eye line or the brow line (usually the latter).

-Add a mark for the nose to show where the nose line is and the same distance for the chin.

-Reflect with what i've got and add the eye line and sometimes i draw the mouth in as well.

-Build rest of the head. Making adjustments throughout. For various features i like eyes i usually shade in areas.

-Work begins on details and working within the constraints. Depending on the size of the face originally, the paper, the drawing tool itself, this can either work out ok or it turns into a total nightmare. A common mistake i make is when i draw the lower chin/jaw area of females and i keep going over that area so often that it creates a thick line that's both distracting and not to mention pisses me off as it looks like i've given her a neck beard.
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Old 06-22-2014, 06:41 AM   #211
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnway
I've never been a huge fan of measuring out features properly as this goes back to my early days when i used lines to scale the entire body and other things as it made things look awful as they were crushed or simply didn't flow or look natural.
It's better not to think of Loomis' ball method as "how to draw." Think of it as "how to measure." Practice it a lot until it becomes an instinct. You don't want to have to stop and think about it when you need it.

When it comes time to perform, draw as comes naturally. But when you find yourself running into trouble, you can call up the method as a tool to help you out.



Quote:
Originally Posted by johnway
-Build rest of the head. Making adjustments throughout. For various features i like eyes i usually shade in areas.
This should come before the other steps. Perfecting the facial features first and constructing a head around them almost guarantees distortions (usually the features will be oversized). It will get even harder to keep the proportions in check when you move on to add a body.


Quote:
Originally Posted by X Chris
Sometimes the head itself has to be extended or squashed (looking at the bottom two) in order to fit the features.
After posting this, I realized it might not be clear without specific examples. So, here's a rough liquify filter touch-up that "re-shifts" parts of each head back into shape:


The filter introduces its own brand of wonkiness, but hopefully the animated comparison makes it easier to see the distortions in the originals.
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Last edited by X Chris : 06-22-2014 at 07:05 AM. Reason: "how to draw" vs "how to measure"
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Old 06-22-2014, 09:47 AM   #212
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Indeed it does. I did have a quick go at the circle method again just to see how things go and part of me raises a few eyebrows when i draw with this method. The main one being how long the faces i draw became. But i was doing this on photoshop so it wasn't really a fair test. I suspect that my measurements are wrong somewhere as well.
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Old 06-28-2014, 07:28 AM   #213
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I decided to go back to head studies after last weeks comments. I was less reluctant when i realized i could kill 2 birds with one stone and submit it for the sketch exchange. Assuming that its ok.

Surprisingly this took less time then usual. There was some practice drawing heads over the course of the week using the circle method with mixed results. I practiced both on paper and on the tablet. After much frustration i opted for the oval for the 3/4 view. Burne hogarths idea i believe.

Anyway, no refs apart from the glasses and the clothes. The face i took my time with it and opted for my older methods of drawing the face. The rough is shown below (Please note that during work i erase lines that get in the way of the face or impact the drawing. Generally in most pictures i would keep the sketch lines as it adds and weight to the drawing and the noise some of adds textures and fullness in my pics)



I started the painting process and flipped it and painted it as i went along to rectify problems. Like how his jaw line receeded too far. BUT Despite this there are problems. The lips aren't as full as i wanted or had been lost during the painting stages. The colors aren't quite there and i simply did what i could.

I painted with the chalk brush to get the foundation and then used circle and round brushes to finish it off. Threw on a background and considered it finished.

The final reveal:




Final comments:

It could be better. Somehow. The head isn't quite there or got lost in painting. Proportions are still off. I need to scalp the top off or something.

Incidentally, in an effort to try and figure out where i'm going wrong i intend to upload some videos of my work on Ezvid/youtube. Where words fail me, hopefully a visual display of my skills will show my faults and make me better. Assuming i can get ezvid to work and get what i need done in 10 minutes or less. I don't want to waste peoples time watching a train wreck of art unless i can figure out how to compless and speed up the videos.

Might try it tomorrow...
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Old 07-06-2014, 02:29 AM   #214
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Another weekend, another practice. This time more concept work for swordgal, but i was more interested in fleshing out the idea of the character further. Disappointingly it didn't work out as i wanted. I might go back to basics and use character sheets and just randomly sketch out ideas and then develop the idea further. I was hoping to take the idea and improve on it. Looks like its a massive step back. There are days that i realize that i'm not cut out for design work and this is one of them. Completely bankrupt in the creative department. Will need to look at coats more and practice drawing them.



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Old 07-06-2014, 06:55 AM   #215
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Don't be so hard on yourself!

A sketch exchange is a safe place to experiment. It's sort of a given that some experiments don't work out. However: a.) that's okay, and b.)you can still learn from them, so they are worth doing. At the very worst, you've practiced thinking and drawing.

Anyway, I disagree about your being "bankrupt in the creative department." You've helpfully journalled what your were thinking, and you seemed to have come up with a fine avenue to pursue:

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnway
I had an idea that she was someone who was tempered by rough living and rough housing and was unafraid of a fight. The impression i wanted was that sword gal was young brash and head strong. The plan was to make her cocky as well.
I think you are mostly frustrated by a lack of visual vocabulary. You know what you want, but not how to draw it. Coats are a part of that, but more importantly it's how you convey the attitude of the character. This image doesn't seems nearly as rough, brash, or cocky as your initial concept.


Suggestion: Use touchstones to keep attitude on target

I notice you googled pictures of angry eyes for reference. I suggest taking a step back and begin by collecting touchstones for attitude first. Find images that give off the feeling you're going for. They don't have to look anything alike, they just have to feel cocky, brash, or headstrong. Put them all in a folder together.

After you've collected enough (your call), lay out the touchstones so you can see them all at once. See if you can figure out out what makes them work and if they have anything in common. You might find that the strongest ways of communicating what you want is actually a kind of pose, or composition, or palette. It may turn out that a character's body language is more important than a facial expression, or that a gleam in the eye with a half-crooked smile looks more cocksure than an angry face.


Thumbnail ideas based on feeling

Start scribbling out quick ideas. The goal is to play with the elements you're picking up from your touchstones and begin synthesizing them into your own concept. Favor fast, small, and loose sketches and focus on nailing the flavor of your concept. They can be thumbnails for the image or parts of the character. Play with things until it comes together. You should finish with a favored character design or composition thumbnail or both.

BTW: These sketches are just a means to an end, so they don't need to be pretty and you won't be showing them to anybody (except us, if you choose to document your process).


NOW look for (or shoot your own) reference

When you have a strong visual idea of what you really intend to draw, then you can look for references to support drawing it well. It's like shopping for ingredients after you've decided what to cook instead of the other way around. In other words, don't let the references you have dictate what you're going to draw. It's better to shoot your own than cobble together a bunch of refs that only half work.


This sounds like an engineering process, but it's solving the right problems in the right order. Reading through your process notes, it's probably a good fit for how you already work.
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Old 07-06-2014, 02:30 PM   #216
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Hi Xchris many thanks for the post of some excellent advice and i'll look into it. i did have an expression that i wanted to convey my only problem is execution. Its annoying that you can see an idea but your hands fail to replicate it. Either because i don't have the skill or the image isn't clear enough. Maybe both. Its like not having a voice to express yourself.

I did do some quick mock ups of swordgals coat today on paper (whilst i was listening to yatzees drown out). Occurred that the coat is probably one the biggest key elements of the person. I had the idea of using a sort of long naval coat made from a thick durable material like denim but not denim. I was satisfied with the idea but the more i look at it, its probably one step in the wrong direction.

The jacket in the original reminds me more of a foreigner/traveller and in some ways the concept i cooked up was reminds me of privateer of the seas. Perhaps maybe swordgals a couple years living in a port city in the back steets? Might look into kimono jackets to give it more to the far eastern direction.


hmm... I appear to be going in a different direction again. FOCUS!
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Old 07-18-2014, 05:56 PM   #217
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The swordgal drawing is looking good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnway
doesn't seem to work for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by X Chris
This video explains a good method for doing that (originally from Loomis): http://www.proko.com/how-to-draw-the...rom-any-angle/.
useful. also, about the paint in red, why would red be best? say, why not orange?

Quote:
Originally Posted by X Chris
So, here's a rough liquify filter touch-up that "re-shifts" parts of each head back into shape:
I always wondered what that tool / filter was for.
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnway
i intend to upload some videos of my work on Ezvid/youtube.
That would be interesting, just don't forget to super speed them up.
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Old 07-20-2014, 07:48 AM   #218
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Hi Espresso. I still intend to do some videos and i had a stab at ezvid and it hasn't been working properly. Annoyingly i have only an hour limit. To make things worse is that for some reason when i record it mysteriously cuts out after 10 and after a few stabs i've had no luck. Might try another one.


Anyway, apologies for last week. As i said before Last week i did do some work and it was crap. I just wasn't doing anything right. I did save it to JPG but i'm wondering whether to upload it...


I did however learn something from the disaster and also taking some time to reflect on the problem. I needed to study figures and poses and i just didn't have the skills to cook one up from imagination. So this weekend, i decided enough was enough, i spent the entire week studying and practicing eyes and the odd anger expression. I decided to get a sword pose from deviant art and get going from there.

Initial results were poor, i was thinking of the figure sitting on a beam looking from above but it just didn't capture the pose. I tried some other poses and they didn't work out either. In the end, i decided to keep things simple. It was a character dev sheet and not a full blown picture. I decided to work on the final pose for next week (Its nothing spectacular which is a shame. I would have loved to draw one where she was fleeing over roof tops as guards chased her or have her in an epic fight scene against unknown assailants) and took the second one for more further practice. As shown below:






The picture isn't finished mainly i just couldn't decide where to put the cutlass. It covered too much and caused tangents (which incidentally its still doing anyway). I could move it down and lose the shoulder or the curve of her bust. I thought perhaps flipping it and have it drawn away from her ready to fight rather then a defensive pose. In end i decided to ignore the problem as this was a practice anyway. The pose i ref wasn't doing me any favours anyway. But it highlighted a flaw in the drawing that the bust being exposed was just not working as it stopped me rendering the coat and not to mention a bit tacky.


The more i look at the original pic, shes actually wearing a poncho and no a jacket. I looked up poncho and tweaked it into some sort of naval coat/poncho thing. The head again was lost in development and looks out of shape. she was supposed to be looking up slightly but that got lost during rendering.
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Old 07-22-2014, 03:01 PM   #219
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The planning is already paying off in spots, Johnway.

You might try firing off a lot of quick starts for this basic image to work out what works and doesn't as fast as possible. Keep them very small and simple; maybe set a timer and limit each one to to 1-5 minutes and bang out 30 minutes' worth while focusing on that feeling you had of the character.

Also: try that rooftops scene! If you find yourself saying it's a shame to drop it, then don't (at least, not without a fight). It has potential and obviously interests you. Harness that enthusiasm and bang out a few 1-5 minute thumbnails of it (again: while keeping that feeling in mind). It's a cheap way to find if it's worth pursuing.

C&C: There is still some of the "shifting parts" that Anyte noticed, particularly in her face and enormous, um... pirate chest.

Liquefied suggestions:
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Old 07-23-2014, 10:00 AM   #220
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Ah, the face actually that was me being cack handed. I was suppose to draw her having her head tilted slightly up using the circle method to draw the main part hadn't worked out. I wasn't entirely surprised as I've always struggled to draw odd angles of the head. I thought i came across a solution but promptly forgot all about it.

I might get some thumbnails drawn for some ideas. But this will mean me needing to learn the following things:


Perspective
Composition
Architecture
lighting
Figure drawing
MORE dynamic poses


So yeah, a hell of a lot to learn. That's on top of trying to stop my painting efforts looking blotchy in places.

Need to really do more photoshop, but is not as convenient as say having a note pad, a random piece of scrap paper so i generally book time to do it. Might have to do a 5 minute speed sketch each night on it or something.
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