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Old 11-03-2011, 09:36 PM
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captainduh captainduh is offline
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Talking Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday help

I am in the forming stages of an oil painting that includes Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday. I am struggling to get a likeness of him however. I have adjusted the eyes, nose, mouth, etc. This is just a forming stage so I'm not using color yet. Here is what I have versus a photo of Val Kilmer in the role. I wanted a surprised expression so I am not just copying something from a photo. The photo is merely serving as a reference. Anyone see what needs to be modified? In the middle of the latest repaint I just decided to stop spinning my wheels seek some fresh eyes. Speaking of eyes, they need serious work, but I cannot figure out what. What needs to be moved, expanded, shrunk, etc.? Thanks for the help.



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Old 11-03-2011, 11:55 PM
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dirtysteev dirtysteev is offline
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Re: Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday help

in general, dont focus so much on detail, look for shapes, big ones first, then break them down into smaller shapes. notice how they relate to one another. try putting your reference photo farther away from you, and let your focus go 'soft' if you know what i mean. so what you see is more of a blurred image. this will let you see more of the lights and darks and general shapes that are the foundation of the figure.
now on your portrait, the head shape is off, look at width vs height on the reference. look at the jawline. when you get into the features you must paint what you see, not what you think you see, i.e., eyes are not football shaped.
concentrate more on getting the lights and darks in place than trying to paint 'a nose', or 'an ear'.
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Old 11-04-2011, 12:24 AM
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calin4thewin calin4thewin is offline
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Re: Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday help

- Measure more.
- Squint more (to get the shape and value of the larger shapes) - Eyes are not that white, just squint at the photo and you will see the white of the eye is white only in name
- Use a mirror, it will point out errors

- Simplify shapes as much as possible, and paint them accurately
- Every now and then step back from your canvas, put it far behind your monitor, so you see it about the same size as your photo
- Flip your ref photo upside down and do the same with your canvas. Work like that for a while, it will help you a bunch, because you will paint shapes and values that are there, not the face/nose/eyes that you think are there

If you want to change the facial expression from your ref photo, you'd better know a lot of facial muscles anatomy and such, or at least have a lot of other ref photos, with the exact expression that you want, seen from the same angle. Best if you find a ref photo of Val himself, with that expression.
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Old 11-04-2011, 12:24 AM
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WFMartin WFMartin is offline
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Re: Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday help

I suggest that if you begin your painting from a reference photo such as I have shown below, directly with paint on canvas, your probability of creating an accurate likeness is much more likely (I'll almost guarantee it.):


Things will be in their correct places, and at the values they belong. You seem to be seeking advice, and the very first time I tried this method, I was able to achieve a much better likeness of my subject than ever before, or by having used any other method I had tried.

And, an even better suggestion would be that you begin your painting as I often do, by orienting the reference photo as follows:

As a portrait painter, you need to be able to paint shapes, positions, and values, rather than "things". When that takes place, and you totally discard the goal of painting "eyes", "mouth", "nose", etc., etc., you will achieve a likeness, almost automatically, and possibly with the first try. Give it a whirl.

I just now see that calin4thewin has offered much of this same advice. I totally agree with that (and with dirtysteev) and I've tried to offer a bit of practical advice regarding the way to achieve that. Beginning with a greaty-blurred reference photo is nearly foolproof, and it saves all that squinting.

It's been working for me for quite some time.
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Last edited by WFMartin : 11-04-2011 at 12:36 AM.
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Old 11-04-2011, 12:49 AM
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Re: Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday help

Also, make use of negative shapes (shapes of "things" that aren't the subject at all, such as the background). One helpful thing to notice is that the edge of the canvas actually forms ONE part of the negative shape, and it can be used to good advantage. For example, how difficult would it be to paint the shape outlined below? Not very. But, once that is painted (and with that same value) you actually have nearly half the roughing-in of this painting accomplished.
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Old 11-04-2011, 10:37 AM
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calin4thewin calin4thewin is offline
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Re: Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday help

@WFMartin - some of the advice is taken from your tutorial on how you approach portraits, I've also tried it and it works, that's why I passed it on

@OP - Looking at your painting I see you are trying to put Val in a different position (torso facing right, neck twisted) but there are serious anatomical problems there, especially with the neck. So only thing I can recommend (other than putting a few weeks/months into learning anatomy) is using A LOT of ref photos, not just this one.

- Ref photo of guy with torso facing left, face towards camera, neck twisted
- Ref photo of cowboy face lit from that side (as I see you want to put the lighting in a different spot from the original.
- Ref photo pof the facial expression you want, lit from the correct side

Feel free to flame me for saying this, but I think you are stretching yourself far beyond your current skill level, and it will likely bring you a lot of frustration.

What you're trying to do here (portrait of Val Kilmer with a different facial expression, different light, and different anatomical position) is something that would be a handful for even the most accomplished of portrait painters, even on a good day. Reaching a good likeness under these conditions would be an absolutely amazing feat, and hats off to anyone who does it.

So I have to ask:

- Have you successfully done a good likeness of Val from a regular photo, without modifying anything?
- Have you successfully modified a facial expression from a photo, without changing lighting and position?
- Have you successfully changed the position of the light source on a face, from left to right, without changing anything else?

If not, you really got your work cut out for you
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Last edited by calin4thewin : 11-04-2011 at 10:41 AM.
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Old 11-04-2011, 02:47 PM
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Re: Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday help

Quote:
What you're trying to do here (portrait of Val Kilmer with a different facial expression, different light, and different anatomical position) is something that would be a handful for even the most accomplished of portrait painters, even on a good day. Reaching a good likeness under these conditions would be an absolutely amazing feat, and hats off to anyone who does it.

This is so true! ! The modifications from this original, reference photograph that you wish to make are, indeed, profound. I would submit that only the most skillful, and highly-trained of portait painters (and illustrators) could do this effectively. It is certainly beyond anything I would attempt to do.

And, calin4thewin, thank you for verifying the credibility of this process. It has worked very well for me.
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Old 11-04-2011, 03:56 PM
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Re: Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday help

I think you need to practice drawing more, with focus on the human head/face. Another thing is to get some tracing paper and trace your ref, and then compare that to your own drawing. It'll be a bit easier to see where you are off on your drawing. Good luck and be patient!
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Old 11-04-2011, 06:50 PM
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Re: Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday help

I think number 9 has the floor here ... i must agree with him although I dont agree with tracing to see ~~ this is something that is learnt with time -- , you ' , me ' number 9 , 'everybody who ever takes on the subject of painting and drawing must realize it is more important to get the foundation of drawing down to a fine art or the likeness fails to appear as we would like to SEE IT -- hence it takes lots of practice, constant drawing even to the point you get so sick of it but then little things start to kick into place and the little wins more then make up for the not so great stuff ~~beleive me I speak from experience !.... OBSERVATIONAL SKILLS need to improve for this to all happen and to make it the subject your painting move forward to a higher ground ....

Drawing is for me as in the imortal words of coldplay~I turn the music up,
Got my records on
I shut the world outside until the lights come on
Maybe the streets alight,
Maybe the trees are gone
I feel my heart start beating to my favorite song
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Last edited by lovin art : 11-04-2011 at 06:58 PM.
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Old 11-04-2011, 07:51 PM
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Re: Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday help

Indeed, "observational skills" quickly improve with the adoption of the method that I described.
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Old 11-17-2012, 03:10 AM
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captainduh captainduh is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday help

Just to finish the thread, here is what I ended up painting. If you would like to see a video of me painting this then check out my youtube channel. Thanks for the feedback.

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Old 11-17-2012, 04:21 AM
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Re: Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday help

nice painting!
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Old 11-17-2012, 04:22 AM
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Re: Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday help

good tips here!
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Old 11-18-2012, 02:23 PM
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Re: Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday help

I like the concept .... I think the overall likeness are not very representational of the characters but it's a good try for sure ...

Val is one of my favourite actors loved him in real genius funny and nerdy - love it !!! And the popcorn at the end of the movie is extreme , I mean who wouldn't want to jump around in popcorn ... I would !
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