View Full Version : Winter Train - comment/critique welcome

Leslie F.
02-15-2014, 03:57 PM
I haven't posted a piece in months, finally got back to it. This was done on my iPad, in iPastels. The subject is outside my comfort zone. I was going for impressionistic, avoiding too much detail, which is my besetting sin. But the perspective is bad - I couldn't plan out vanishing points in advance as I would have in natural media, can't draw a straight line digitally. This is probably the Train to Nowhere, as a result, or the Train About to Hit a Brick Wall. And I have discovered I can't do train tracks. Snow can cover a multitude of sins, but even the impressions of tracks are off, both structurally and in layout, if you're looking for any sort of verisimilitude. Also the fence line on the right meanders for no good reason, and I had gone too far to correct it easily. But it was fun, and there are bits of it I like very much. Thanks for looking, and for any comments!

02-15-2014, 07:03 PM
You are way to critical of yourself as are we all. The fence on the right does kind of meander but I really like the rest. Since your not going for photorealistic, i personally see nothing wrong with the tracks. And I really like the trees and the train is just plain fun. All in all I like it!

Leslie F.
02-15-2014, 07:31 PM
Thank you, Barb. Yes, guess I do get a little obsessed with what could be improved right after I quit futzing, and call it done!

By the way, kind regards to Chaos and Chloe from the Foraker kitties, who like to have it known how broad-minded they are, communicating with ferrets. I'm sure the reverse is also true!

02-15-2014, 07:41 PM
Nice snowy winter day, I think you did well..I agree with Barb an the fence, but other wise it looks nice.


Leslie F.
02-15-2014, 07:59 PM
Well, you know...fences happen!

Thank you, Lucy.

02-16-2014, 11:23 AM
Nice atmosphere and I think the perspective is close enough.

Leslie F.
02-16-2014, 01:06 PM
Thank you, Michelle! 'Close enough for government work,' as they say....

02-16-2014, 03:51 PM
I am curious as to why you state that you can not draw a straight line digitally. It would seem that drawing perfectly straight lines is one thing that Digital techniques easily allow.

02-16-2014, 03:59 PM
This a lovely scene Leslie and I just happen to like crazy/old/misaligned fences. :) The fence could have been built on very rough mounded hilly terrain (which the snow is hiding) and the owner of the area was also in a bit of a hurry, and maybe a bit sickly at the time, or concerned that his animals would find their way to the tracks and get hurt so it had to be erected no matter what. :) . Your train is so cute and i love the style of the tracks in the snow. As for' too much' detail in art? Nothing wrong with that and it's a great skill to be able to do it. :)

02-16-2014, 04:21 PM
I am also not entirely sure why you are concerned with straight lines. But to the extent that you wish to be able to preset your perspective most programs have a version of an "artist's grid" that one can use as a transparent overlay to help. If yours does not, you can make your own and store it in a otherwise unused layer - either adjusting the opacity or toggling it on and off as needed.

Finally in addition to making straight lines Changing the perspective is something that can also be done with simplicity on a digital canvas.


Leslie F.
02-16-2014, 06:52 PM
Thanks for your thoughts, Mike. I've been using my iPad, and the iPad apps I use don't have the kinds of tools you describe. Thus a straight line is rather more of a challenge. I just make a rough sketch on the 'canvas', and use multiple layers while i lay in color and carve out the details, much as I would in natural media - but without rulers, protractors, etc. This was done in iPastels, which hasn't even the option to resize, flip or otherwise transform discrete areas or objects. Except for layers and 'undo', surprisingly like the real thing. (ArtRage for iPad is a much simplified version of the full program, but does allow you to transform.) However, I never considered scanning in a sheet with straight lines, etc. to 'underlay' my drawing and provide a guide. Thanks for providing that spark! In any event, to the extent I am an artist, I'm not a digital artist - I just employ digital means to do what I would do otherwise. I admire digital art, and think I would have enjoyed learning and understanding how to do it, but....

Leslie F.
02-16-2014, 09:03 PM
Thank you, Michelle.

Fattab, I expect you're right - probably that misaligned fence built by the crazed old man is holding the evils of the city away from this little pocket of land - he thinks, but in fact it's likely the commuter train yard, and he's living a little shack, there, drinking Old Tennis Shoes straight from the bottle and living in the past....

Thanks for looking!

02-17-2014, 07:00 AM
This is very well done and you have captured the winter mood. I use painter and I usually sketch on a top layer my horizon line and vanishing points.

Leslie F.
02-17-2014, 01:08 PM
Thank you so much, Arlene, and for the suggestion re vanishing points, as well. I'll give that a try!

02-17-2014, 03:23 PM
Having a saved file with guide lines on is it ideal. But in a pinch it is possible to use any straight edge you may have at hand.. an envelope for example, just hold it in place and run your stylus or finger along the edge- voila- straight line.

Leslie F.
02-17-2014, 09:07 PM
You know, Mike, that's what I thought some while back, and I tried it, but without success. Undoubtedly user error, makes no sense, will try it again. I don't need truly straight lines often, but when you need 'em, you need 'em! Actually, now that I think of it, it wasn't a straight line I wanted, but a truly circular circle, and I tried a template, one of the thin plastic sheets with various sized circles cut from it; I believe the problem was that the tip of my stylus was too broad to go cleanly around the inside. Anyway, I guess the simplest answer is often the most elusive. Thanks for the (too obvious for me to see) good tip!

02-18-2014, 01:28 PM
In artrage, I routinely do a very simple "pencil sketch" to get proportions and perspective and such and then paint on a layer underneath. Then I can delete the pencil sketch layer when I don't feel I need it anymore. It's a bummer that you don't have stencils in iPad, because that contains rulers, french curves, circles etc. Although, I must say I don't use them much.

I think your perspective on the train tracks are fine, it's a "low visibility" kind of snowstorm. if you can fix the fence to line up with the tracks better, I think you'd be fine.


Leslie F.
02-18-2014, 02:28 PM
Thanks, Elaine. Yes, in my iPad apps, including ArtRage, I also do a quick sketch although I do mine on the bottom layer. The meandering fence wasn't an accident, I believe. When sketching it, I apparently had another layout in mind, which would have been evident in the original sketch, but as I laid in color, I diverged from the sketch, I think - after partially completing the fence. I kind of erase parts of the sketch as I go, but some lines I sometimes retain and merge them when I merge layers. In natural media watercolors, for instance, I always like to see a little evidence of the sketch. But that sketch in natural media is one of my besetting sins. I love drawing best, and I tend to get carried away with detail and shading in what is supposed to be a rough sketch. It's a lot easier not to do that digitally!