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Kicking my own ass by alicexz Kicking my own ass by alicexz
I saw this before/after meme floating around and really wanted to do it!

The Before piece is from August 2008, approximately 2.5 years ago, when I first started digital painting with my very first tablet, a tiny Bamboo Fun. I remember I referenced an actress's photo for the hair and thought I did ~such a good job~. Looking back I think the entire piece is very stiff and awkward. I drew everything in Adobe Photoshop, a program I was already familiar with for other graphics work. This was the first completed painting I did with a tablet, and also my first upload [link] to DeviantArt.

So the After piece is a work I have finished today, April 13th 2011, a portrait of the same character also painted in Adobe Photoshop, on a Wacom Cintiq (a wonderful gift given to me over 2 years ago by my boyfriend, when he saw how interested I was in digital painting.) His investment paid off - I personally feel I have improved a lot (not just because of the fancy tablet - I still use a regular tablet for many pieces), but because I have tried out a ton of styles and techniques and spent many many hours practicing digital painting in these past 2.5 years... I fully believe it will be a life-long interest and hobby of mine.

What I've Learned:
- Never be timid with color choices.
- Don't use the same boring brushes all the time.
- Never draw a zillion individual strands of hair - hair has volume and mass, and should be "painter-ly" not "line-y." This is not to say that hair can't be detailed - but details come after basic form.
- Black is the least interesting color and should be used minimally in paintings - nothing is ever just BLACK. Shadows can be cool or warm. Always be aware of the multitude of colors at your disposal.
- Don't outline in a painting. PAINT IT. It must have volume. If you're going to outline, you have to outline everything (aka, just make it lineart, and then color under the lineart.)
- Try new techniques all the time. You'd be surprised at what you can come up with just messing around!

Things That Haven't Changed:
- I love doing portraits above all else.
- Ginny Weasley is really fun to draw.

I hope this was at least a little bit interesting/helpful to everyone! I'm sure there's bound to be at least a couple of people who like the Before piece better, they are very different styles after all.

Add a Comment:
 
:iconalltogethernow28:
alltogethernow28 Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Please upload your brushes, or many tutorials!! :)
Reply
:iconemerald-wolf13:
Emerald-Wolf13 Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014
I really think both are pretty good.  The older one has a bit more of a photo feel, the new one a bit more impressionistic.
Reply
:iconuntoldpromises:
UntoldPromises Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Wow this is amazing! Both are still a lot better than what I could ever do.
It's very inspiration. Great job :)
Thanks for adding what you learned to help others ^^
Reply
:iconteeabrew:
TeeaBrew Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow
Reply
:iconannlittlesmile:
AnnLittleSmile Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2013  Student General Artist
Wow. Very wonderful. 
Reply
:iconlabyrinthine-queen:
labyrinthine-queen Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2013  Student Digital Artist
It was this post that inspired me to start experimenting a little with my art and begin steering away from such a realistic style of painting. I still don't have a style anywhere near as unique as yours, but at least my paintings look less like photographs now. I love how you use colour and every time I see one of your paintings I want to add more colour to my own work.
Reply
:iconvfdhaven:
vfdhaven Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2013
Both are beautiful, but I love how you've progressed!
Reply
:iconaesop-epics:
Aesop-Epics Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
(On the after piece) Do you have the soul of Leonardo Da Vinci? Because that is just... that's Marvelous! The raw emotion in her eyes, the texture of her skin, and the beautiful silhouette of colors! I dare say the Renaissance Masters would be envious of this divine work. Madame, you are the best I've seen in a long time. Bravo!!
Reply
:iconmidnightwillow11195:
midnightwillow11195 Featured By Owner May 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I like the color and detail of the 2nd better, but the style of the 1st.
Reply
:iconskittledrainbow:
SkittledRainbow Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This is amazing! <3
Reply
:iconserggart:
SerggArt Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I think their both great, but the after is more colorful, and a lot more detailed, definitely an improvement.
Reply
:iconsnapshot120:
SnapShot120 Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I like the before more.
Reply
:iconterrara-antaria:
Terrara-antaria Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2012
I swear your old Ginny looks like Amy Pond!
Reply
:iconbluebellwriter7:
Bluebellwriter7 Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2012  Student General Artist
That's amazing! Excellent work, on both of them.
Reply
:iconschilles-photography:
schilles-photography Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I like both but I love your "new" style of art. When I see one of your pictures I immediatly know that it is from you
Reply
:iconlufione:
Lufione Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2012
OMFG COLOURS OMNOMNOMAWMNAWM
Reply
:iconijao:
Ijao Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2012
Even if I really like your 'modern' stuff, the older is by far better.
Reply
:iconcarandacar:
Carandacar Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
WOW~! YOU DESERVE MY WATCH
Reply
:iconravenclawprincess199:
RavenclawPrincess199 Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow You really kick your own ass
Reply
:iconblueumbrellagirl:
BlueUmbrellaGirl Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2012  Student General Artist
wow you really have improved a lot
Reply
:iconshadowhunterwolf:
ShadowHunterWolf Featured By Owner May 27, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I personally like theold one more (style wise) but I think the new one is drawn better. But they are both absolutely AmAZinG
Reply
:iconhummingbird96:
hummingbird96 Featured By Owner May 13, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
To me they look like two different people
your first one i find i actually like more though (even though the second is beyond amazing haha)
Reply
:iconljdavis:
LJDavis Featured By Owner May 10, 2012
I really like both the first one i don't see a whole lot of stiffness but it gives more of a quiet, shy feel where as the other one is more bold and outgoing. :)
Ps: soo jealous you have a cintique >< :P
Reply
:iconyf19-sama:
yf19-sama Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
I like the left draw style more too and agree with your comment. The hair on the right side seems to have been done with less time.
Reply
:iconlyraalanquia:
LyraaLanquia Featured By Owner May 9, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I love both!
Reply
:iconloewenherz:
Loewenherz Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2012
That's a stunning - if not quite fair - comparison.

You've certainly vastly improved in style and technique, but i can't help thinking a bit, that the verybig difference in the color palettes / realism/impressionism does not really lend to a fair and objective comparison of both pictures and / or styles. The old one isn't purely "bad" or outdone and the new one isn't without fail.

The biggest difference is probably the impact, the emotion that the new picture provides, which lacks a bit in the old version. but then it's far more abstract and thus has it got a lot easier to reach such goals than a bland "vanilla" portrait... so don't be too harsh to your old "you" it's at least as much a difference in the artistic idea as in the proficiency and complete impression of the finished piece...
Reply
:iconcrisharu94:
CrisHaru94 Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2012  Student General Artist
amazing! this encourage me to improve my drawings!
Reply
:iconohfelia:
ohfelia Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2012
they are both amazing in different ways though!
Reply
:icondannemanplay:
dannemanplay Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2012
This may be needless to say, but this is some amazing work (y) keep on painting. Never stop. Ever!!! :D
Reply
:iconmarioluevanos:
marioluevanos Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2012  Professional Interface Designer
Interesting and great advice, just wonderful.
Reply
:iconquandaghost:
QUANDAGHOST Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
you are amazing
Reply
:iconphilliasss:
philliasss Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
amazing! :)
Reply
:icondustdown:
Dustdown Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Very impressive development! This inspires me to work harder!
Reply
:iconlanda-wolf:
Landa-Wolf Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I like before
Reply
:iconthubanarts:
ThubanArts Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Of course I love them both for very different reasons. As someone who paints with words, to a degree, this is how I describe this:

In a TV series, or any collaborative work, like comics, a movie, etc, there has to be a character reference. This can be in the form of whatever the team puts into it, a sketch, swatches of material, etc. It goes into one big reference "bible" so that everyone is writing in continuity. The second, newer art, is the actual story, comic, movie, fleshed out. Both are gorgeous and I feel they are like listening to Bach and Beethoven. Both brilliant, both different in style.
Reply
:iconfatalxframe:
FATALxFRAME Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2012  Student
Good description/tips ^^ I definitely want to improve my digital art.
Reply
:iconmini-ebil-ninja:
mini-ebil-ninja Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2012  Hobbyist
DANG. I love that improvement, it gives me hope lol. her eyes dang. Both styles are great, but your current style is so defined that there's no competition +_+ ♥
Reply
:iconskyeheart98:
skyeheart98 Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2012  Student General Artist
I love both of them! Just because you improved doesn't make your earlier work an less amazing!
Reply
:iconjaymoth:
Jaymoth Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Both of them are gorgeous!
:iconclapplz:
Reply
:iconnovox-prayer:
Novox-Prayer Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
i agree :sprint:
Reply
:iconwolfinmyheart:
wolfinmyheart Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Yesss, thanks so much for the advice!!! :D

I like both of the paintings, but the right one is more my taste. :)
Reply
:iconartvoodoogirl:
ArtVooDooGirl Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2012   Digital Artist
Admire your work!
I have a similar story, but I'm only at the beginning of its path)))
Reply
:iconhungergamesfan10:
HungerGamesFan10 Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
awesome! your drawings are amazing!
Reply
:iconiamupinthewoods:
iamupinthewoods Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2012  Student Filmographer
The first one looks really alike to me, wow, good job on both of them, they are looking really nice :)
Reply
:iconlazulina:
Lazulina Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2012  Professional Filmographer
I love the advice!
Reply
:iconabilovesemmett:
Abilovesemmett Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Love it :D
haha I love both of them, but in different ways.
Like the first I love because of how realistic it looks, but the more recent one is more colorful and BAM hahaha
I'm not sure how to describe it.
Both beautiful works of art
Reply
:icondaughterofartemis134:
DaughterofArtemis134 Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I actually love the before piece very much. The After piece I love too, but to me, they're two different styles.
Reply
:iconkylassmemphis:
KylassMemphis Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
O____0 Ginny looks ready to bat boogey hex someone in the after picture....LOVE! *Favorites*
Reply
:iconwinkyfaaace:
winkyfaaace Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2011  Student General Artist
very nice! :+fav:
Reply
:iconmilohilltop:
MiloHilltop Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2011
I found your first piece to be fantastic! Although I prefer the first for stylistic reasons, I can see and appreciate the improvements you've made. My opinion is that you've improved the shape of the face, as well as the lips and eyes; quite tricky the way you angled the face, too. Bravo!
Reply
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