Hi guys and girls,
There's something I've been thinking about for a while, and it's a confusing issue for me since I'm hearing various things from various sources.
I'm wondering what you guys think in terms of polish vs. "quick and dirty" for an artwork or image, especially the focal point. From what I remember, I've always heard that your focal point should be rendered and polished, because it's going to be viewed the most closely, or because it's this polish that's going to bring extra attention to the focal point. In my mind I've always linked this principle to the blurring of the background/foreground that occurs in our vision, and the fact that our eye generally looks at the lightest point in an image (the rest being darker, thus receiving less light for our eyes to discern the details, thus justifying the rougher brush/pencilwork).
However, I've always experienced my rough sketches to be much stronger than the final, polished result, so I've always experienced this polishing and rendering to take out a lot of life and strength of the original idea, especially if I started touching up the focal point.
To add to my personal experience, I've been receiving more personal critique due to working on my graduation, and the thing I've been hearing a lot is that polishing in general takes away attention and strength, and that I should keep things rough and loose. To give a few examples:
When I was discussing rough work and polish with my teacher, he showed me this painting by Velasquez:
The point was that even though the girl is the focal point, the brushstrokes are clearly visible, and through it, there is more life in her and she attracts attention. If I remember correctly, he even said that Velasquez then could spend the rest of his time rendering out the other elements in the painting, but the girl had been put there with just a few strokes and is much stronger because of it. I have to add that I always think that faces (for example) that are drawn in just a few quick strokes are very powerful.
Now I'll blatantly post some of my own work and show what I'm doing with this rough/polished issue at the moment, since those might clarify my confusion:
http://www.conceptart.org/forums/att...1&d=1331585336 (<= NSFW warning, naked lady)
Some of the feedback I got from teachers on these included more remarks that, for example, the chandelier behind the woman in the 1800's getup attracts a lot more attention than the woman, simply because it's rough and not over-rendered (now I have to admit I'm not fond of the woman's face anyway, but that's beside the point).
The same goes for the image of the black-haired woman. Even today I got remarks that her body is more interesting to look at because of the rough brushstrokes (however, a fellow student of mine remarked that he liked the confidence in her face and didn't like her body at all because of muddy colors and the rough brushstrokes, which didn't define a lot).
This feedback is similar to what I get a lot from teachers and professionals that look at my work, pointing out that my rendered work is cramped and lifeless, and that my focal point should be kept rough.
Now, to go back once more to the "polish the focal point" idea: I was reading through one of Tony Cliff's Tumblr posts, and I came across this when he was explaining doing value studies beforehand for comic panels:
Am I confusing detail with polish here? If so, how would you integrate more detail in a rougher drawing, since there's a lot of "detail" there already?Additionally, since the value study would help to emphasize the focal point of the composition, I would know where to focus my time and effort in developing detail. “That’s where the reader’s supposed to be looking, so let’s make sure it’s rendered most fully.”
I'm curious and thankful to hear any thoughts on this.