Tuesday, August 25, 2020

What is Overmodeling?

Emanuele Sangregorio asks: "I must ask what is the meaning in English of 'overmodeling.' I found it also in some Andrew Loomis books, but for shadow tones: Don't 'overmodel' shadows."

Michael Cooley asks: "What exactly is overmodeling? You mentioned this in one of your blogs. I was told I was overmodeling one of my early portraits. Im not sure what this means."

Gurney answers: I'm glad you asked. Overmodeling means using too large a range of values to describe a form, and often too many hard edges and planes. 

For example, in the anonymous war bond poster at left, the artist used some rather dark values in the light areas and some rather light areas in the shadows. The plane changes in the forehead and the nose are stated more harshly than they need to be. 

Typically beginning painters overmodel areas in the shadow when they should be handled simpler, softer, and flatter. The effect of overmodeling can be to make the form look shiny and hard and to break up the simple poster-like impact of the whole picture..

By contrast, John Singer Sargent (above) is a good artist to look at for modeling that is restrained and disciplined, with no misplaced accents, unnecessary details, or overstated value ranges.


forrie said...

John Singer-Sargent was a master of the paint stroke. I recall seeing one of his works at a local museum, where an elongated pearl earring ended up being two masterful, intentional paint strokes -- the human eyes did the rest of the work.

He and I share the same birthday (January 12th), if only the artistic talent in my work would translate :)

Whenever I see one of his works, I can spend a lot of time gazing into it; walk back, up close. Truly amazing work.

Susan Krzywicki said...

I've seen this sort of thing before but alway thought it was a stylistic choice - that the artist thought this looked "good." This was common for inexpensive products in commercial illustration in the 40s and 50s, right?

Harlock said...

Hi James, would be "overmodeling" the same as "over rendering"? Thank you

James Gurney said...

Harlock, related, I suppose, but it's not a question of finish so much as value range for each area.

Harlock said...

That makes sense, thank you for your answer James!