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How to 'Proofread' your Art

Thu Jun 26, 2014, 2:43 PM by meiyue:iconmeiyue:
:iconprojecteducate:
:iconprojecteducate:


Community Week


Ever feel like there's something wrong with your art, but you just can't identify what?


Here are some surprisingly simple tricks that you should do throughout painting that will help you easily 'proof read' your art for mistakes and issues:

Check your values


If you're painting a picture in colour, this technique is really helpful. Values are important in a painting to give a 3-D feel and to make the painting not feel flat. 'Value' is how light or dark a colour is. It's often hard to tell the value of a colour as colours can easily trick your eyes into thinking they're lighter or darker than they actually are.

For example, take a look at these two colours:

Which is darker? The blue probably appears to be. However, when we make the image greyscale (take away the colours), you'll see that the values of the colours are almost identical. 



Oh noes! :noes: How do I prevent myself from being tricked? Check your values often. Here's how you do it: 

For digital painting in Photoshop:

On your layers bar, click the circle with a black half and a white half..
Then click Hue/Saturation and turn the saturation down to -100:
Click 'OK' and toggle it on and off by using the eye next to the layer:

For traditional art:

Close your eyes halfway and look at your painting/drawing.


Image courtesy of photorescuer.com

What this will do is make you see half blindly, which will make your picture blurry, getting rid of all the details. With the details out of the way, you'll be able to see the general values on your canvas/paper. Actually you can even do this for the image of the yellow and blue above (if you squeeze your eyes tight enough).

Look at your picture from far away


This allows you to see the picture overall without getting distracted by details. It'll give you a good idea of your range of values and you'll be able to spot anatomy issues/proportion errors more easily. For digital art, zoom out often and look at the thumbnail of the picture. For traditional art, well, just put it in the front of the room and move to the back of the room xD.

Do the flip check


This is extremely helpful for spotting anatomy/proportion issues. When we stare at a painting for too long, our eyes, due to human nature, will automatically adapt to imperfections and errors, making them harder to see. Flipping the image will disorient our minds (yes, we want that! :iconwooooplz:), and mistakes will appear again.

For digital painting in Photoshop:
Go to Image, then rotate canvas, then flip image horizontal.

For traditional art:
Use a mirror! Artists have been doing this since the renaissance. 

Try it with your own paintings and see if you can spot any errors!

Take breaks


When you sit and paint for a long time in one session, it's easy to get short tempered. You may be tired and need a break, but you're so close to finishing your painting, so you keep painting to get it finished already. This happens to me a lot. It makes me impatient and not pay attention to my painting. You don't want that (well, you shouldn't)! So relax! Take a break! It doesn't matter if you're close to finishing, you can always come back and finish it after. Go eat some ice cream and come back to your painting with a fresh eye, and renewed patience. 

Also, when you think you're done your painting, don't upload it right away. Go do something else for a bit, and come back and look at your painting with a fresh eye. The longer you look away, the better.

Add a finishing touch to your work


(the below is only for digital painting in Photoshop)

Use colour balance:
This will intensify some colours, and well, you can play with it yourself to see the magics! :la:
Go to the black and white circle (see above). Then click 'Color Balance' and play around with the slides. 

Bump up your saturation:
It'll make your image more vivid and bright! :D
Go to the black and white circle (see above). Then click Hue/Saturation. Turn up the 'Saturation' bar up as much as you'd like.

Add more contrast in values:
This is the lazy way (because we love lazy! :iconyeahplz:) to add more values to your painting.
Go to the black and white circle (see above). Then click 'Levels'. Drag the white and black arrows inwards to raise overall contrast of values. You can also just make your image lighter or darker.


I like to do all the above for the 'finishing touches' to every one of my works. It really makes the image feel more polished :D


I hope this helps! Good luck, everyone! :D



Written for projecteducate!

Next community week is in September, you guys should share something :la:
Add a Comment:
 
:iconchocominty:
chocominty Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2014  Hobbyist
The tip about values is very helpful! I think a lot of the time my shading ends up flat and almost like it wasn't shaded at all... I tried to use more contrasting colors to shade in my more recent works (like using a green brush to shade a yellow-orange scarf), which sort of helped, but sometimes it's not enough and I'm painting over and over the area to make it darker xD 
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:iconmeiyue:
meiyue Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2014  Student General Artist
Glad it is :D. Colours that look very different can have similar values, so using contrasting colours doesnt really help :P
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:iconyelimoon:
YeliMoon Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks so much!! I'll use these the next time i draw something :-D
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:iconmeiyue:
meiyue Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2014  Student General Artist
Pleasure, glad you find it useful :la:
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:iconcrimson-dragon-king:
Crimson-Dragon-King Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Nice!
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:iconmeiyue:
meiyue Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2014  Student General Artist
Thank you! :) 
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:iconcrimson-dragon-king:
Crimson-Dragon-King Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Your Welcome! :)
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:iconrangerbowhunter:
rangerbowhunter Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014  Student General Artist
I will have to try some of these! This is so helpful! Thanks so much!! La la la la 
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:iconmeiyue:
meiyue Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2014  Student General Artist
Awesome :la:. Pleasure! :heart:
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:iconerudithral:
Erudithral Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
This is very helpful. It can actually be applied to other mediums too.
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:iconmeiyue:
meiyue Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2014  Student General Artist
Glad it is. Oh, cool! Which other mediums, though?
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:iconerudithral:
Erudithral Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
I can't remember anymore. It was awhile ago when I commented on that .
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:iconmeiyue:
meiyue Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2014  Student General Artist
Haha, yeah, sorry for that late reply ^^; (and this one too)
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:iconerudithral:
Erudithral Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
It's alright.:)
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:iconaureolin-swatch:
aureolin-swatch Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
thanks - this is useful stuff - a contribution for me
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:iconmeiyue:
meiyue Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2014  Student General Artist
It's my pleasure, I'm glad you find it useful :)
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:iconanonymyth:
Anonymyth Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Also, do a detail check! I've often forgot small things like pockets and eyebrows, and sometimes I've forgot to fill in pieces of hair ;-;

make a checklist of things you often forget and check it before submitting ^^
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:iconmeiyue:
meiyue Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2014  Student General Artist
Good idea! :) I'll do that, actually xD
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:iconanonymyth:
Anonymyth Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Yay! I hope that helped ^^
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:iconaegiandyad:
aegiandyad Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014
This is the kind of thing I do. Most images can be re-lit, rebalanced, sharpened a bit, contrast enhanced, and levelled to make them more closely resemble the artist's ideal, although with some photos perfection is impossible. There are also those rare pictures that are already nearly perfect 'in camera' and are likely to be disimproved or 'over cooked'. Over cooked HDR is one of the worst offenders. Over saturation is so tempting that I do it myself. Here is an example of just how far things can be 'pushed'. This Queen Charlotte's Cottage Kew by aegiandyad was used as it was, straight from the camera; and this If Edward Hopper Visited Queen Charlotte's Cottage by aegiandyad has been Photoshopped severely, the camera data admits it. Nor has it merely been wildly over enhanced. Other carefully chosen 'artistic' PS filter effects have been at work on it. The degree of transformation that Photoshop or its equivalent can bring to the digital image medium is so extreme that there comes a piojt when the 'source' scarely matters, having become unrecognisable in any case, like these Not Whistler's Dull Day Out At The Beach by aegiandyad & Macroscopic Quantum Reality by aegiandyad , the second of which provoked a discussion on the nature of reality itself.
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:iconmeiyue:
meiyue Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2014  Student General Artist
Yeah, with PS you really can go over, but with a little retouching it can make your images significantly better. ^^
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:iconpaixi:
Paixi Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014  Student
Actually the blue is a darker value. When the saturation is turned down it's only getting the lightness value of the HSL colour model rather than its luminosity or brightness.



Looking at the blue and olive here with peripheral vision, the blue will appear much brighter because the eye has most of its blue receptors outside the central vision. How we subjectively see luminosity is known as brightness.

To find brightness find a shade of grey that blends in and contrasts with the colour the least while staring at a fixed point a desired distance away. How far away the colour is from central vision will affect its brightness.

Luminosity can be checked in Photoshop and GIMP via Image > Mode > Greyscale. Seeing brightness though needs an experienced eye since it changes depending where we look.
Reply
:iconmeiyue:
meiyue Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2014  Student General Artist
Ah, I see, I didn't know there was a difference between the two! I'm still a bit confused; is there a way to check brightness using filters? It seems that you have done so there in the picture. 
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:iconsparkie-adopts:
Sparkie-Adopts Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014  Student Digital Artist
It doesn't help that I'm chinese and I still have to squeeze my eyes halfway… Is there even HALFWAY for my eyes? haha 

I would probably look like I have my eyes closed like this (-.-) 
hahaha! :D 
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:iconmeiyue:
meiyue Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2014  Student General Artist
Hahaha! Guess you don't even need to!
Reply
:iconsparkie-adopts:
Sparkie-Adopts Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2014  Student Digital Artist
hahahaha! Yeah, anyways thanks for the wonderful journal! It was really helpful :D :love:
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:iconmeiyue:
meiyue Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2014  Student General Artist
Hehe it's my pleasure :la:
Reply
:iconjust-to-look1:
Just-To-Look1 Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
I think I REALLY need to see this journal more often from now on (and yes it is helpful). The thing that's always bugging me is the fact that I want my art to look stunning from a distance, meaning the shading has to be visible from a distance too. But when viewed from a long distance away, my art always looks flat, even though it has shading in it. I think it partially has to do with the printer, because my printer can only support up to A4 size. You can see an example here: just-to-look1.deviantart.com/a… . Can you give me some tips on how to get the colors to be visible from a distance with only A4 paper size? Constructive criticism is welcome. :)

Also, I tried squinting my eyes at my drawings, and no matter how hard I try, I can't get my eyes to see grayscale! :XD:
Reply
:iconmeiyue:
meiyue Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2014  Student General Artist
^^. 

Printer? Do you mean scanner? I'll try my best to give advice :)

I don't think the paper size matters; that only determines how far 'at a distance' would be. I really love your cartoon style and all the characters' expressions xD. 'get the colours visible?' Do you mean that you want the colours to pop more, or that you want it to have more a 3D sense and not look flat? I'll assume it's the latter xD. 

Looking at the picture in greyscale, monosnap.com/image/7jqwmCfz4lO…, it seems that the range of values is pretty nice. However, the values on the characters themselves aren't enough. If you look at this guy's face and hair in greyscale, monosnap.com/image/qjhRVSSHrdz…, you'll see next to no range in values. It pretty much applies with all the other characters ^^. Hope this helps, feel free to ask questions, though I'm nowhere close to being an expert. 

It won't ever go completely greyscale, it'll just be easier to see the values. I think it works better on non-digital stuff xD. 
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:iconohbeautifuldelilah:
ohbeautifuldelilah Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014  Student Writer
This is really helpful! Thanks for making it! :D
Reply
:iconmeiyue:
meiyue Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2014  Student General Artist
Glad it is, pleasure! :heart:
Reply
:iconohbeautifuldelilah:
ohbeautifuldelilah Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2014  Student Writer
You're welcome :)
Reply
:iconexotickilling:
ExoticKilling Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Very helpful! Thanks :D
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:iconmeiyue:
meiyue Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2014  Student General Artist
Pleasure :D
Reply
:iconkitten-bubblepuff:
Kitten-Bubblepuff Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
YOU ARE A GENIUS! :iconiloveyouplz: Thank you so much for making this! Let's just hope I can remember these tips. I think my favorite one is to take breaks. That will be super helpful for me. I always get so impatient and frustrated with my drawings. I think that taking breaks in between drawing would be a good thing for me; my brain sometimes gets overwhelmed and needs rest. I never heard of the 'flip test'! I'll have to try that sometime. I'm sure it'll come in handy!
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:iconmeiyue:
meiyue Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2014  Student General Artist
:iconohstopityouplz: Thank you! Hope it helps xD. 
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:iconkitten-bubblepuff:
Kitten-Bubblepuff Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I hope so too! Although, I usually forget all the tips I learn in tutorials when I'm actually drawing. 
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:iconmeiyue:
meiyue Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2014  Student General Artist
Haha that happens to me too
Reply
:iconkitten-bubblepuff:
Kitten-Bubblepuff Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Luckily, I keep tutorial books handy when I'm drawing. 
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:iconmeiyue:
meiyue Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2014  Student General Artist
I have none T_T
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:iconraymondeternal:
RaymondEternal Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Sure this is Helpful , Thanks for Making and Sharing it to Us :wave::worship:
Reply
:iconmeiyue:
meiyue Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2014  Student General Artist
Awesome, glad it is! It's my pleasure :heart:
Reply
:iconminato-kushina:
Minato-Kushina Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2014
Thank you a lot for this article! :hug:
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:iconmeiyue:
meiyue Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2014  Student General Artist
Pleasure! :heart:
Reply
:iconultralithematic:
UltraLiThematic Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Alright! Will check my values more often! :o
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:iconmeiyue:
meiyue Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2014  Student General Artist
Awesome :la:
Reply
:iconslendersanereality:
SlenderSaneReality Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Gah this is so helpful! Why haven't I seen this already?
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:iconmeiyue:
meiyue Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2014  Student General Artist
Haha, well it was just submitted a day before your comment xD. Glad you find it helpful :heart:
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:iconsilversketch13:
SilverSketch13 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
thanks!
Reply
:iconmeiyue:
meiyue Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2014  Student General Artist
My pleasure! :D
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