Sam K (axegirl)

40 replies · posted

Axegirl - Sketchbook

Hi, welcome to my sketchbook. I am currently trying to better my concept art skills but I almost feel like I'm not making any progress. Any critique or suggestions would be great! The biggest thing I feel like I have a problem with is coloring and putting together a nice composition. 

  • These are a couple of my finished drawings. Just thought I'd post these first.





  • Going to be posting some studies/WIP's. Any critique would be greatly appreciated!!



  • crew

    Nice work so far Sam, keep it up!

  • great work, Sam. Love the way you study with your own style.

  • Anyone seen the anime movies Berserk? I kinda went for their style of eyebrows here :)


    Forgot to add the finished piece!!

  • Old study.

  • Great stuff  :) You wanted some critique for your studies? Here you go! 

    If you do studies, you should always keep in mind on what subject you set your focus on. Is it pose and dynamics, anatomy, color, lighting or texture?

    After choosing the theme you go through different steps in your study. First you analyze your references and try to recreate it. How does this pose work? How´s the lighting in the picture or how´s the structure of the face. That´s the first step.

    But to truly learn and understand the subject matter you have to go deeper. For the second step you take what you learned from your references and apply it to variations. Can I find other ways to pose that character but with an equal appeal? What if I change the lighting in this room? Can I draw the same face from different angles too?

    So that´s my critique. I personally often forget about the second part - but this is the most valuable. 

  • I started on this but the skin tone just ended up looking really sickly and bad so I stopped out of irritation. I re did the colors for hours but couldn't get it right. (The reference is Franky from Skins UK)

    Things I think I did well: The shading of the nose(I was really proud of this :) ) and the overall anatomy.

    Things I think I could work one: Color of the skin, overall composition.



    • Hey there! I know I'm super late on this (you posted this, what, 3 months ago?) but I have something that'll come in handy in the future (hopefully).

      So, you say that the overall skin color was not what you wanted, and you say that the shading on the nose is what you're really proud of. A technique called "underpainting" is a quick solution to this problem. Essentially, underpainting isolates the struggles of coloring and shading. While it does not remove them completely it does allow you to try out multiple color options and see how they would look on your rendered image without having to re-do the entire thing. I recommend you watching lots of tutorials on this subject because I doubt I will explain it adequately, although I will try my best.

      In essence, what you need to do to make an underpainting is simply render the whole image in one color. This does not mean one shade, but simply the same hue. Most artists will choose a sepia color or just black and white, but this is solely up to what color you want your shading and lighting to be. Once you have your image, shading and all, you add color to the underpainting by layering transparent color over your pre-established values. You can do this by creating a new layer, adding color to the areas you wish color to be applied to, and changing the layer from "Normal" to "Multiply," "Overlay," etc, and see which one looks the best to you. Alternatively, you can do this by creating a new layer, applying color where you want to, and then turning down the opacity level on the layer to a transparency that fits your needs. 

      This reply was written with the assumption that you have a digital painting software that allows these features. I personally use Paint Tool SAI, but I know lots of artists use Photoshop, and you can use FireAlpaca as a free alternative. 

      Hope this helped! Happy drawing!

  • This was a drawing I did for the Kay-9 mask contest on here. I wasn't able to finish on time because I kept starting over.

  • I know that I am probably improving but I am getting irritated about how slow I am improving. I need to go back to practicing everyday and that is exactly what I am going to do. At least one quick study a day even if I don't finish it. When I improved a ton a year or two ago it was because I started drawing everyday. I gotta focus on anatomy, color, shading, and other basic dynamics. 



  • For this one I was trying to practice color, harmony, and the parts of a face. 


    This was a random sketch I did trying to practice drawing without line art. I was trying to work on color, color harmony and the parts of the face.

    So here I tried to not focus on blending but focus on value and lighting. I know that it is a bit messed up. I used to reference just to remember the face shapes. Even when I get the colors and shapes down I can rarely get from here to a polished piece. 


    Again, I am really bad at color. I tried to make a full sketch with a background and everything. I'll probably finish it someday. I was mainly focusing on color and making a full scene. I was also trying to keep color compensation in mind.

  • New practice. This was from a scene from The Host. I really need to practice backgrounds more.

    Things I think I did well: Creating a metal effect on the car and the overall tone of the piece

    Things I think I could work on: Backgrounds(definitely my worst skill.), and values.

  • Things I think you did well: The Foreground!
    Things I think you could work on: meh. Dunno - I don´t think the background in that case seems to be a problem. In that peticular scene the focus lays on the two guys in the car. You can blur backgrounds out to emphasize your focal point. It even suits the picture.
    But you should work on your values. Take your reference and turn them into grayscale. The guys in the truck do have the darkest value in the frame and are in total contrast to the bright illuminated background.

    • Thanks for your feedback. Looking at it again, I don't think my background is as bad as I did when I had stared at it for hours XD And yeah, values are definitely something I notice I don't do well. Whenever I paint dark values I always feel like they overshadow everything.

  • I have worked as a storyboard artist for a film  company before, but it was low key and not really real work. They didn't really need a storyboard artist so it was mainly practice for me. But today I received my first storyboard job. It's short term, just a few panels and the pay is crap, but it is good experience. Anyways, they gave me specific instructions on each of the panels and they need to be done super quickly. They wanted them to be more detailed than normal storyboards and almost like detailed illustrations. 

    I had to do four today and it took me all day!! So I am curious if I am just really slow or something. These shouldn't take me so long at my skill level, right


    Ignore the white spot!

    Forgot this one ^^^^^^


    Any tips on speeding up to painting process??? 

    I can barely do these greyscale paintings quickly, how do artist do colored pieces without working forever!!!

  • 1) Normally you don´t storyboard too detailed because in the first attempt you focus on the flow of the storytelling. So you just lay out the content, the composition and look if your sequence of images makes sense.
    My Tip: Do quick rough sketches and time yourself. 5-10 minutes for your basic sketch. 30-45 min for the lines and color blocking. (timing yourself is always a good attempt. It is keeping you focused and concentrated on the essence.)

    2) Narrow down what your client understands under "detailed storyboard". Does he have examples in mind on which you can orientate yourself? Can you make different versions of one short frame sequence? From a quick overworked sketch to a worked out, detailed and lined frame. What does your client prefer? When he wants the complicated stuff, your pricing should go up a bit! ;)

    3) Work with the right tools. I have made the experience that storyboarding in photoshop is pain in the a*** :D. For my bachelor thesis a friend of mine introduced me to the software "Storyboarder" (https://wonderunit.com/storyboarder/). I tried it out and it was amazing. It gives you only a handfull of simple tools to storyboard but that makes it possible to concentrate on the essential and not to waste time with too much detailing.

    4) Forget about doing correct grayscale and lightning in a storyboard enviroment. A storyboard always transports the necessary information. You can´t work out the backgrounds in every frame. Just block a value in. Only paint a lightning situation if it is really crucial for the story or the composition. Ask yourself, what information needs to be in the picture and only paint that.

    5) Don´t stress yourself too much. I´ve made the experience that normal people look at your art way relaxed than you might do yourself. You see all the faults, the flaws and the possibilities to improve. All other people just see the image and will add the rest in their mind.

    • Thank you so much for your input! Great advice. 

      1. I will definitely try timing myself. I think I got all stressed out because I felt like every storyboarding position would be this detailed and I would never be able to complete them all! 

      2.Yeah I definitely should have asked for a more detailed drawing but I didn't know it would take me this long. I've never done a piece like this so I had no idea. (Amateur hour over here lol)

      3. Storyboarder looks really cool. I'm downloading to try it out right now! 

      4 & 5. Very good advice! 

      All great advice, thanks :)

  • My client asked me to add a few things, I don't know if I'm suppose to post revisions?... 





  • Sketches, some better than others :)