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Jack Sparrow WIP

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Re: Jack Sparrow WIP

Postby Anderson » Sat Feb 24, 2018 3:06 am

When I first heard of circulism, I could not wrap my head around the concept. And this was probably a decade back. Circulism was the answer I was in search of, the magic technique that made microscopic detail pop off a page. All you had to do was draw tiny circles close together.

Frankly, I still don't get it. I can draw all the circles I want, and pores aren't going to appear on my portrait as if by magic. And believe me, I have tried.

I teach linear and circular shading. Some would describe my techniques as tonal rendering. I never learned classical techniques studying old masters. Rather, I drew pictures and as I did, I analyzed and categorized what I did so as to relate concepts to others.

You move the pencil back and forth along a line, this is linear shading. Very fast, sloppy, even risky—depending upon the look you are going for.

You move the pencil slowly in a circular or oval manner, this is circular shading. It is great for small spaces, layered gradations, and avoiding the unpleasant scratches or marks one can get from linear shading. Circular shading creates tone while concealing pencil marks that betray photorealism. Need a shadow with gradation in all directions—use circular shading. Now, is this circulism? I have no idea. I do know that there is no way on earth I am going to draw one tiny circle after another, linked like chain mail. I would go insane trying to do that. What I do is more of a controlled scribble, done at a scale and with a light touch that the individual pencil marks themselves are all but invisible.

To draw skin that looks like skin, you have to have a particular unevenness in tone that replicates an almost random arrangement of values across a unified surface with detail appropriate to the scale of the given work. At small sizes, you are not going to draw pores and fine hairs in skin. But at large sizes of work, you almost have to—otherwise, the work appears cartoonish.

How do you get the texture of the paper to look like skin? Again, no idea. But then, I'm usually trying to defeat or overcome the texture of my paper, to hide it, and create visual textures with my pencils and stumps that simulate the look of a photograph. I actually started blending to keep the texture of my paper from betraying my work as a drawing. I have no idea how to get the texture of a paper to simulate the deeper shadow of a pore or the almost microscopic specular reflections adjacent the patchwork of tones visible in even the smoothest of skin. To get the granular realism of an Armin Mersmann, the best I've been able to conceive is advancing across the drawing surface at a snail's pace, layering tones here and there while avoiding some impossibly small bits of highlight scattered about randomly along the way.

I understand that is not what is being prescribed. I also understand that I do not understand how the texture of a paper can simulate the texture of skin. It would have to be some kind of paper! Maybe this happens when using very soft pencils, as all manner of chaos results where those are pushed against even smooth surfaces. Perhaps rough paper makes the circulism concept evident? Trapped in a vacuum as I am, I remain unable to connect to this very popular and apparently apparent technique—I work in isolation, armed with little more than my limited imagination and experience with which to figure this circulism thing out.

The OP seems to be after some level of realism. I'm of a mind that realism is accomplished by either being very experienced in faking detail by way of visual texture trickery or by inhuman obsessiveness and patience. Trickery is the better choice for most artists and for overall mental health (part joke and part sad truth).
I am a teacher.

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Re: Jack Sparrow WIP

Postby Zeroiqz » Thu Mar 01, 2018 2:19 pm

Thanks for feedback! And thanks for the tips john c and Anderson!

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