This doesn’t look a damned thing like the photo. The veins are embossed in the wrong direction, and I’ve drawn them perfectly straight since I’m not even really following the photo except in the vaguest terms.
I can follow a photo with no trouble in graphite, but you give me color, and it’s like an instant inability on my part to just follow the lines; I’m out of the lane markers entirely. I simply cannot figure out why this is the case. And it’s not really an inability, per se. It’s more a total disinclination. I might be able to do it if I forced myself to, but it’s as if I just stop giving a crap about reproducing the photo the minute color comes into it and just grab pencils at random and make it look however I want. I will never grasp what the hell my issue is with that.
Now, it’s not that there is anything bad about this; I found out about a very good artist named Peggy MacNamara whose sense of color reminds me a lot of my own who is an artist in residence at the Field Museum in Chicago; I discovered her through one of Emily Graslie’s “Brain Scoop” videos. She seems to respect appropriate color more than I do but does have a bit of the same semi-crazy shit going on with it.
All the same, I just wish I could focus and learn how to be more disciplined with color and just make something green if it’s green and brown if it’s brown without going, “I like purple better, though … ” It’s better to break a rule after having learned to follow it. I’ve got a good enough eye for it; if something is sage green with a hint of pumpkin, I’m pretty reliable at detecting it and mixing the colors appropriate to create it; I just don’t care. Either that or else I’m so busy worrying about value, which always seduces me, that I stop giving a crap about color. This is part of why I wish there were a grisaille method for dry media. I bought myself a black Inktense block thinking that might help, but it just sort of smushed and turned into dirty dishwater when I tried to use a damp brush with it. I’m thinking about using Chinese ink, but that’s water soluble.
Hm, it might be just that there is once again not a big value difference in this photo. Everything is sort of the same vague value, like with the fennec fox, and the only differences are color ones. There aren’t any “edges” to the fields of color, and my eyes are drawn to significant value edges. That’s one of the nice thing about doing cats; most of the ones that photograph very well are stripey, and you get lots of sudden value changes in their coats. I wonder if black and white is just naturally easier than color for a lot of beginners or amateurs?
I also think that I need to have a physical photo to work from as well. I really cannot stand trying to work from a photo on a screen, even a high-resolution one. It never feels comfortable for me, and given that my eyes are permanently set at one focus now, it’s just not manageable at all anymore. I need a physical photo that I can get right up to, and that gets even harder if you wear bifocals since you have to do that hunching question-mark thing with your neck to see things clearly; bifocals are created assuming that when you are looking closely at something, you’re looking down, and that’s just not the case any more with screens everywhere. 😦
I should buy a nice coffee table book of pretty flowers and plants, or landscapes or something, and see if that helps.
Ooh, there’s a nice coleus book that I’d probably enjoy. I’ll get that. It’s not even expensive. This landscape book would be nice, too. Of course, these photos are all in copyright, but I can still use them to practice, at least.