I'm persevering with trying to get a handle on Joseph Zbukvic's style. I think this is the closest I've managed so far and I had a bit of an epiphany on the way.
Browsing through pinterest I came across a lot of Mr Zbukvic's sketches. And boy are they great. For example :
Nice huh? I mean really nice. And the thing that struck me was there's no contour drawing here. Not much outlining at all. It's all *values* and a lot of them. Now my 'value' sketches look something like this :
Bit different huh? To be fair his sketches are 'proper' sketches and mine are just layout thumbnails but it got me thinking. If I'm having a problem getting a good range of values into my paintings how about I practice with a more detailed value sketch first? Genius yes? I then hit myself in the face for not thinking of this before.
So I tried to do something a little more detailed
Better yes? Actually now I come and look at it again I could have gone further but definitely better.
Interestingly when I came to the painting itself I found there was very little drawing to be done. Once the roofs and windows were done and the boat everything else could be left. And the lack of drawing made for a very different painting experience. It felt much much simpler and I could play about with the colors and the textures. Even selecting the values felt easier as everything had been simplified beforehand.
So I think there's something here I can use. The finished painting is nothing to write home about but boy it's better than all the others I've tried. If I ever do something to be proud of I'll post all the failures but I'm not there yet.
Oh - and here's the Zbukvic original. Had to put it at the end as the comparison is painful.