Today l wanted to share this photo with you. This is a sleepy little chipmunk that l drew in 2016. I was looking through some older work the other week and l pulled out this piece and looked at it. What l realized was - it wasn’t bad but it could look much better.
I wanted to share it because l often get asked by people what they can do to improve their art. And often when l see their work this is pretty much what l see. Something like my 2016 piece. There is nothing really wrong with it. The drawing is accurate. The colors are accurate. The fur is the right length and direction. The composition is nice. It just doesn’t pop off the paper. The good news is that this is such an easy problem to correct.
So l looked at my piece from 2016. I decided not to redraw it, but to spend more time working on the 2016 piece. I realized that with a few more layers, a lot more contrast and the edges sharpened it would look so much better. And this is really fun to do. The hard part and the boring underlayers are already done. All l had to do was tweak! I added more (and stronger) color to the fur. I sharpened and refined all the edges and then l really ramped up the contrast. I hope you can see from these two pieces just how important contrast is to make a piece 3d and for it to pop off the page. It has taken me a long time to learn to be bold with contrast. But l am learning that it is almost impossible to overdo contrast. So if you aren’t loving a piece you are working on, don’t bin it! Take an hour or two to punch up the color, sharpen the edges and whack up the contrast, you will be amazed at the difference!
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