Monday, May 17, 2010

To render or not to render?

I've been thinking a lot about something I've noticed in my my art in respect to trends I've been seeing in digital caricature art, as well as digital art in general, the choices that are made on how much detail is really necessary in the rendering.

It all comes from the fact that i feel i can never put the finishing touch on my artwork, it always feels a little rough around the edges. I always get to a certain point and can never seem to get it to the finished quality i really want. I end up stuck in the limbo between impressionistic rendering and realistic that leaves my work feeling a little blah. I even start to worry that it is this missing polish on my art that is holding me back from being great.

Of cours,e all the while i see other artists going to the extreme in rendering their work and i end up wondering why. Do we really need to see every pore in the subject's skin? do we need to see every hair on the person's head? My answer is no yet i perhaps secretly want to render the same way, i just don't let myself get carried away lest i get too caught up in the details and lose perspective.

i suppose all the problems i have with my art and the art i see from others could stem from the fact that it's all digital art. i'm sure that part of the fact that i struggle to find a stopping point is that i have unlimited choices in photoshop, the same goes for the artists who in my opinion over-render their art, can zoom in a thousand times and use a brush smaller than anything in the real world.

it's a real dilemma for me because i really don't know what i need to do to take my art to the next level. I am hopeful that when i take my first college painting class this summer that i will be able to discover a level of finish on my art that I'm comfortable with and that i can bring to my digital work.

what has always been an option is trying to develop the styles that i've used before that don't involve photoshop painting. i have had some successful experiments with more abstract caricatures, and the use of simple flat colors. I don't know, i suppose that this is just the current problem i face and will have to get through it to keep growing as an artist.

well, sorry for the rambling...


Toby_K said...

Hi Will, I see what you mean.
Some artists do put in so much detail digitally and some don't but can still produce amazing pieces. If you go on you can see a good example. Look at his Rihanna picture and then at his Joker. Both are done differently but still look awesome.
Mabey you could try doing a more detailed peice like I did of GaGa, just to see what you can do. Hope this helped:)

Scott said...

I have had the same feelings in the last couple of years. To the point of purposely leaving parts of the sketch showing and even giving my work an unfinished look as a kind of statement. My Jack Nicholson was left really ragged. If i am honest, i see a lot of digital work that looks amazing but pretty much the same as the next one. I like to visit Russ Cooks blog just to appreciate draftmanship and caricature rather than blending techniques and fancy overlays. Hope i haven't sent you asleep :-)

She-Thing said...

Hey Will, how's everything.

I'd say that what's happening to you is more or less similar to what it's happening to me... I'm not sure if I'm making a progress or I'm moving backwards, or whatever.

What stops that "limbo" going on my head is that there is no "next level"- in fact there'll always be a "next level". Even Kr├╝ger or Seiler are making progresses. I bet that they doubt their own amazing, perfect, pieces of art.

In my situation, I have this "need" to render and render because it's useful for practice (as obvious as it may sound) Bit by bit I'm learning, having an experience of what a face consists of, so then I can either simplify it, reduce, enlarge, squash, etc.
i have this thought that a true caricaturist can draw any face from memory, exaggerate any facial feature and still get a likeness. Ah yes and all done with his eyes closed X) So, to know any face I need to know the basics... where do hairs go, their usual reactions to the specific mood, how an eye reacts to a certain kind of light, what kind of smile does that specific actor have, buld a head etc

After you think you know almost everything, everything of a face, you can do whatever you want with your work, because you'll demonstrate on your art pieces themselves that you know the rules. You'll demonstrate a confidence, and al those doubts will go "poof".

Of course, because I'm very impatient with my own stuff, I already want to exaggerate everything without a basis X) That's why in some of my drawings you can see simplified sketches which came out like crap Xp

So I'd say, yes, render, but be conscious you're learning something :)

Anyway Will, it's a megapost, but hope it'll be useful to you.


P.S. What I do when I think I'm loosing perspective is go out to swim, skate, etc for a while forgetting completely of my art worries. Then I come back with a fresh head..

Jean-Marc Borot said...

William : I didn't reed all your post (too long for me in English, sorry) but I want to say that WHAT I like in your caricatures is that you do what is essential : a caricature.
Render is not essential.
The feeling, the likeness, doistorsions and exaggerations : you are really good at this.
This is my opinion. Many people don't think like me (see the success of caricature artist who make great renderings)
but in my opinion, your way is the good way.

Will Appledorn said...

Thanks for the comments guys! i hope didn't sound all "woe is me". these are just the things i'm thinking about when it comes to my art lately.

Toby- it may not be a bad plan to simply go all out and render the shit out of a piece, it's only when you've done everything, you can start leaving things out.

scott-ha, i hear ya. it's important to have a unique twist to your work like Russ Cook in a world filling up with the same old same old.

shething- i think you have a strong point there, knowing every nook and cranny of the face is a plus to a caricature artist. i'll try not to be so conscious of trying to attain that "next level"

Jean-marc- thanks for the kudos! sorry for the long, English post.
you're right about capturing feeling, something i need to focus on more consciously to make for better portraits