WW2 Painting, WIP Oils
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    WW2 Painting, WIP Oils

    Hello all,
    Back again on a new painting, oil on water colour paper as usual. The theme this time is WW2, the story behind which is that at the moment all my art is historical and I need to put something with hard edges in my portfolio! I have no interest in planes, boats and cars, so tanks it was! I'm weaning myself onto it though, a larger painting (image, minus bleed, will be 23 x 17inch) with only the one tank and lots of soldiers. I want to include ruins as I'm still trying to improve my background and environments.

    The format is book cover, and the painting works in a ratio that will include front cover, spine and back cover of a general paper back. Bearing this in mind I presume that there has to be a justified composition that works on the front and rear cover alone, and both together.

    From the feedback gathered from my last paintings I think my main problem is composition and use of figures, so I'm starting from a very base level and I'm showing you the painting at sketchbook level first.

    Attachment 336556

    The red line represents what I see as the main composition, a simple triangle (tends to work on book covers for obvious reasons) which leads to a slant on the rear cover. There is then a less obvious but corresponding line in blue, which mirrors the first. The green lines represent some vertical grounding lines which will take the form of ruins etc.

    Attachment 372962

    Attachment 372963

    A rough for the foreground figure on the front page, This figure will take most of my attention and I'll need to make sure he looks spot on - a combination of determination and wear and tear.

    Attachment 336558

    I'll get working on the under drawing now, but any comments on the very little I've given you so far would be appreciated. I understand there's not much to go on, but like I said, I wanted to start this from point zero and so hopefully steer myself in the right direction.

    Cheers all,
    Phil

    Last edited by Phil Moss; May 20th, 2008 at 07:09 AM. Reason: Cocked up the thumbnails on this one - whoops!!!
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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    Phil,

    Stop a moment and take a breath. A composition is an *integrated* thing. A work of art is a total effect. I am sorry if this comes off as over-critical, but you are thinking in terms of "spots", rather than a totality.

    Let's talk a little a bit about composition, eh? I know you didn't hire me as your life coach, but I'd like to get you to do something first before diving into this composition. And that is the following.

    Find about 5 battle compositions you really love and post them on this thread. And then I will help you analyze them for what makes them good or bad and what principles are at work. (And hopefully some other people will join in.)

    How's that sound?

    At least Icarus tried!


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    Cheers Kev, thanks for taking the time out. With composition, I usually think of images and hope they fit! So this is a big help - they didn't really teach us this at college.

    Anyway, heres some images and why I think they're good, content aside

    The movement and interaction in this is great. There seems to be a swirling composition with all the figures spinning about a central point
    Attachment 337166

    Again the movement in this (very grainy!) image is great
    Attachment 337168

    I like this for the wrong reasons - the tanks look fantastic as they trundle along menacingly with the front turret scoping the distance - however they're not moving at all! Either way, that's the effect I get.
    Attachment 337169

    Although this is a bit bare in places for my liking, the intereaction between figures is good
    Attachment 337171

    For character compositions http://www.bookpalace.com/PicLibs/War/INDEX.HTM a bit crude but they do the job well I think!

    Anyway, that's a quick brainstorm of images I had at hand, or near enough.

    If anyone else could offer any choice gems that could help it'd be appreciated?

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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    Phil, I would say that only the first one of these pictures is actually a really good composition for a paperback book cover. The others are good compositions, but as illustrations rather than covers. Covers should have a more "poster-like" effect... they should read well in silhouette.

    So let's look at the first cover. you say "The movement and interaction in this is great. There seems to be a swirling composition with all the figures spinning about a central point"

    Okay. Take the picture into photoshop and identify (paint lines over) all the elements of the "pinwheel" that cause you to think the composition "swirls". Understand, "movement" in a composition is the movement of your eye across the picture. That which moves the eye creates "movement". What we are talking about here is rhythm... the repetition of shapes, and how they are placed on the canvas.

    Secondly, notice that the entire composition gives the illusion that the figures are contained in a pyramid shape. This is a classic compositional technique. The artist who did this picture was probably influenced by Frazetta's classic Conan covers in that regard. Look them up. The thing about a pyramid is that it leads to a point. That "point" is called "the focal area". That's what we pay attention to. You must make sure that the focal area is very prominent and visually/graphically strong.

    I would suggest making a series of quick sketches using a tank and some men on it to create a similar "pyramid" shaped composition.

    At least Icarus tried!


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    Ok, here are my quick attempts at pyramid composition, the first image is just of the soldiers (ran out of paper), the second using the soldiers for two compositions (both pretty much the same).

    Attachment 337332

    In image A the flare of the tank shot needs to be moved a to be in line with the point of the pyramid. I did image B to see if the crest that the tank in image A is riding over is too high - I can't make my mind up myself? I'm not sure if filling the dead area in image A between the tank and soldiers with another chap or two would overwhelm the image.
    Perhaps the flare is too obvious and shouldnt be included, I thought it would help bring a focus on the tank, but perhaps its silhouette alone would do this and make the image less cheesey?

    Attachment 337333

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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    Phil, these are already better.

    A couple of points... very important... it is not only okay to have a tipped pyramid, it is more desirable than a straight up and down one. So leave the tank blast where it is, and fix everything else into a tilted pyramid.

    From now on you are not allowed to leave out the feet. The whole silhouette matters. Where feet contacts the ground establishes the perspective of the ground plane. The feet of soldiers can be used to establish the perspective of the hill the tank crests.

    Try to make one big interesting silhouette shape of the tank as it crests the hill and the soldiers in the foreground. Weld them in silhouette (even though they may be separated by value and line when rendered) B is better than A in this regard, just the figures are facing the wrong way... have the soldiers facing in the same direction as the tank and its cannon blast. This creates dramatic unity.

    Once you get a good Image (the central part of the picture where the figure read as one welded silhoeutte) you might want to get some significant chunks of broken buildings or trees to surround and frame and lead into the action.

    Keep going.
    kev

    At least Icarus tried!


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    Cheers kev, I'll make a note of what youve said in the sketchbook and work on that for the next post.

    This I quickly did to see for myself if the characters still work correctly going the other direction (all the rifles are back to front now), but I wanted to list it for the visual record.

    Attachment 337351 Attachment 337352

    Right, work work work,

    Phil

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    Righto, here's the image as a silhouette, I included the draft of 'detail' aswell, as I wasn't sure if the line was readable without it.
    I took the decision to flip the tank rather than the figures as, because of the position of the rifles, the figures don't look so dynamic with rifles 'at ease'. They look fine with rifles at 'fire', but this isn't really to my taste as it's a bit obvious.

    Attachment 338000 Attachment 338001

    With the 'finished' image, I'd intend to crop the front figure at the waist or thigh, thus defining the pyramid more I think - however, I'd like to paint the whole figure as to avoid it would be taking the easy way out I think! Though I could be wrong, is it okay to have a downward point aswell as the pyramid?

    I think the tank would be more suited slightly to our right with a longer cannon barrel (with the blast flare in the same place as it is now), but, due to the period tanks, I can't do this as the barrel is a bit short unfortunately. I'm using a Churchill tank for reasons which don't need discussing just yet as it has little to do with composition and design.

    How am I going?

    Cheers,

    Phil

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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    There is no necessity to make the composition a triangle. That was only a suggestion because you do need to unify the composition. (And because you chose as one of your fave battle compositions a triangle shape.)

    As far as this latest post... the composition isn't bad but I would say it isn't "there" yet. In fact the composition was better in post #7. I didn't mean when I said "you must draw the feet" that every character has to have his feet drawn, so you can't cut off any figures. I just mean that for those characters that you draw that should be full figures, you shouldn't neglect to draw the feet. In post 7, A or B for instance, you can cut off the guy in front, but have the guys behind him with "boots on the ground".

    In this last post, again you've turned the left-most figure away from the overall direction the other figures and the tank are heading. This makes that figure look like he's lost. Its very distracting. Why are you insisting on breaking the narrative up? You are trying to make an book cover illustration. You don't have time to tell two different stories. You need to make one solid image that does one thing... one attempt being made by the characters in unity with each other.

    As far as why you turned everything to the left rather than toward the right... with a book cover, what I've heard, is that you would like to lead the reader into the pages of the book, rather than toward the spine. So if you do have a left-right composition, it is better to go right so you lead into the book.

    Also, in this latest post, the two figures on either side of the main figure look like mirror images of each other. If you take the one that looks lost and flip him horizontally and make him larger, that might help out the composition. (Then you can take the whole composition and flip it right... I'm assuming you are doing this composition assisted by photoshop) But overall, I'd recommend going back to post 7 and just adding the legs on some of the figures. I thought those were better, more solid, more dramatic, arrangements.

    At least Icarus tried!


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    Ok, Iv'e gone back to the previous comp and added legs! I've also altered the weapons and stances to solve the problem I thought would come from flipping the figures, I think it's sorted now.

    In the shaded image the figure to our right has been moved in a touch as I wasn't sure whether he was too far out and didnt gell with the rest of the silhouette.

    Attachment 338751 Attachment 338752

    I imagine the idea here is not to fill the page with all the figures that will eventually appear in the final image, but only those that will be/are essential to the composition? All other figures to make it to the final cut (background figures I'm talking about) could, I assume, be added at a later stage as long as they don't alter the silhouette in terms of shape or value? Tell me if I'm talking rubbish!!

    Is this ok? I thought perhaps the tank could be raised higher to give more space to include more figures and more 'umph' to the rush of men, but as this is a book cover would that make the focus of the image to tall (in terms of type etc) - and like you rightly said - I could be putting too much into it.

    Cheers,
    Phil

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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    Phil, you have to be careful about tangents (this stuff isn't easy, is it? )

    I notice the smallest figure looks like it is touching the largest figure, this makes him seem like a doll tied to the larger figure's arm. The smallest figure's head also seems to contact the tread of the tank. Tangents/contact points break the illusion of depth. Gotta watch out for them. The middle figure may have to be changed to more reflect the direction of the tank and the other two figures as well as to prevent the tangent problem. Maybe come up with a more dynamic pose for him?

    By the way, you might want to extend down the most forward figure just a little bit. And you might want to start thinking of the composition as being bordered, so maybe start drawing in the outline of the edge of the book cover so you can see how the composition would work enclosed by a frame.

    Yeah, it might be easier in a complicated composition to break it down into component images, the main one, this one, first.

    Thought: You are trying to make a "unity of action", and one of the ways that is accomplished in art is to have everybody facing the same way. But also that shapes and the angles they point at are repeated. Unifying by shape and angle. I notice that now that the tank is pointing up at about 55 degree, it seems to be fighting a different enemy than the soldiers because no one else is firing at that angle.

    Overally, I think you want to keep all weapons essentially pointed in the same direction with very slight variation, or, for rifles, slack at the soldiers' sides or being held at the ready moving towards firing position. This creates "animation rhythms" of the action of shooting the gun.

    I still kinda like composition 7B more, if only the second figure had legs and the tank turret was pointing lower. It just feels more "alive" than what you have been "constructing" these last two posts, especially with the scrambling little figures struggling over the ridge. It is essential that you always imagine in your minds eye the scene as being real. when you start treating everything as dolls in a play, the reality tends to slip away. Push your imagination to see the image clearly and strongly... in all its emotion. Imagination is just as important as craft.

    Have fun!

    kev

    At least Icarus tried!


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    Interesting thread Phil and Kev,
    Pardon my worming in on the discussion just want to make some observation on what may work in a piece like this and what isnít going to work, and these are really questions from me actually.

    Phil since the work will be an extended piece (front and back cover combined) I know that you want each side to be itís own painting, and then to work as one painting together, but, my question: Shouldnít one side be more dominant than the other. The front should overrule the back. When the book is opened to show the total work it should be that a flow is established that draws the eye away from the main interest (the front) but then slingshots it back. You donít want two points of interest competing when the cover is viewed in its completed form? The back should maybe be less interesting and a tad trout so that if the back is viewed alone it will send the message that the viewer should turn the book because the main interest is on front. Now not so dull that it creates no interest at all, just enough so that the book will be flipped over. Kev and Phil, whatída ya think?

    Just my train of thought at the moment, and Phil I like the idea ( military art is a favorite of mine).

    Bruce

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    Cheers again Kev - I'm making studious notes of all this, learning every step though!!

    This is a quick reshuffle in photoshop so forgive the crudeness:-

    Attachment 338897Attachment 338898


    I don't intend to have any of the characters (not the foreground ones atleast) firing, but looking at the outermost character with the larger weapon I see he especially is a distraction. I've lowered the tanks barrel, and I had a go at altering the direction of said chaps weapon, but moving both higher and lower, in angle, made it worse - so if there's still a problem perhaps I should give him a smaller weapon to hold at ease, or even strapped over the shoulder like you suggested.
    In 'B' I've lowered the tank barrel still further and raised the longer weapon of the outermost chap slightly.
    I've also repositioned the background fellow and added some others keeping in mind not to confuse them with each other. None of them are in a perfect pose, but this is all copy and paste at the moment.

    Bruce - thanks for chipping in! I think the sensible thing to do at the moment would be to concentrate on a single cover painting until I get it cracked, and perhaps move on to a double cover piece another time. I think you're right though when you say the back should be less vivid than the front - in my first post i have both the front and back covers fighting for attention.
    I think in looking back I could still make a double page painting work, especially as the figures here are para's, I could perhaps have the remaining men of the unit parachuting down in middle distance along the horizon which would neither be as detailed or dramatic, mostly a case of silhouettes? Anyway that's just an idea, but for now I'll work on getting the front cover done until we're happy

    Cheers again,
    Phil

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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    I think the relationship between the two largest figures guns and the tank is fine in the second picture. But you have added a small figure who is holding aloft a gun... and guess what? The gun is pointing away from the flow of the action. Yep. I also don't know why that guy is behaving like that. Usually that kind of stance is when a direct physical confrontation is about to occur, which doesn't seem to be happening here. In fact that figure is filling up some of the nice negative space formed by the edges of the tank. Part of good design is knowing when you have an interesting and informative silhouette... and to know when not to fill up the negative space that forms the silhouette. Silhouettes are the key... they read from 30 feet away if they are done right. And then when you get up close to the book/painting, you see the detail. This doesn't mean making the figures an outlined cartoon. Just that art offers an arsenal of "tricks" for making a silhouette pop forward and become "readable". but fundamental to that is that the gesture of the silhouette be very descriptive of the action being taken. There's no use silhouette a running figure if the pose is stiff and upright, rather than diagonal and exciting.

    Anyway,
    kev

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    He was a bit crap wasnt he? The idea was he's jumping over the crest holding his weapon aloft - but I think the composition has grown enough to leave him out.

    Right, Ive altered the larger weapon to a sten gun so the guns are going the right way (maybe too straight? just a thought). The background chaps weapon is also aiming in the same direction.

    Attachment 339041

    Ive done these two spacings within the constraints of the book cover size ratio to see how the image looks as it should be presented (I'm god awful with photoshop and for the life of me I can't see how to draw a simple black box outline without all that path bollocks getting in the way, so this is my way of doing it!!).
    The first more centred, the second to see how the image looks with more space given to the background to allow more scenery and environment, however it could compromise the action bit?

    Phil

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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    So here's another quick take away.

    Negative shapes are very important. Negative shapes have gesture just like positive shapes have gesture. In fact, negative shapes because viewers tend to see the figures first, are very important because they hit the viewer at a subliminal level.

    In a picture that is an action picture the silhouettes of the figures should be "in action." Everybody knows that. But the negative silhouettes, the negatives shapes should also be in action.

    Now... look at the negative shape formed in between the two main figures in your second picture. That shape, the top of which is the bottom of the tank, it turns out, is totally stable... symmetrical. It has no "action" to it.

    All the shapes have to sort of "say" the same thing for a picture to be unified around a dramatic moment.

    kev

    At least Icarus tried!


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    Jumping in here - hope you don't mind.

    Think you may find this useful when your working up some roughs Phil - it may stop your images sinking to the bottom of the page somewhat
    While not totally dependant on the lettering and the space it provides, it may help you compositionally when you come to placing figures and objects.

    Name:  ACTIONDRAMA.jpg
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    I also think you had something going with this one that you haven't recaptured yet.

    Name:  attachment-9.jpeg
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    Last edited by Venger; April 3rd, 2008 at 08:25 PM.
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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    I am in agreement with Venger about 7B. Notice too, the negative space formed by the light aread between the figures and their relation to the tank. The light area separates the two figures then turnes right at the front of the tank and then goes back left as it it moves toward the canon. This is a zigzag shape... a classic dynamic shape that is exciting to look at and corresponds nicely to the meaning of the picture.

    At least Icarus tried!


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    Cheers venger - I see I was making the cardinal error of designing a composition without incorporating the type! I'd left room for the title, but not for the author/footnote, which now I think about it was a major error of my saxon painting; jumping straight into the painting I confess I never once thought what the text would be or where it would actually go! Good man, I think a simple page like you produced would do well to be near the starting block of any book composition I do.

    Kev - I've been thinking to much about character compositions and not enough about the whole shape, apart from the 'outline' of the main comp. I'll make a note to look out for negative space that can be dynamic rather than 'empty' space - cheers again

    Attachment 339508

    This is a light box copy of composition 7B, with only the arm position altered (as they were all left handed). The figure to our right looks a bit stale at the moment, he will need special attention when I get round to sorting out anatomy/poses/action of the actual drawing.

    Attachment 339514Attachment 339515

    These two I've used in conjunction with vengers title page layout, one is more grounded to the bottom to allow for it to be large, the other smaller (will need to finish off the legs in this one) which gives a bit more space to everything. However, considering the actual size of a paper back, perhaps it's not a good idea to go too small. I can think of a particular novel off the top of my head which has a great painting on the front cover, but it's so small that everyone I asked who wasn't an artist said it was rubbish! (years of working in a book shop, the conversation got a bit dry...)

    Phil

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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    So here's a little diagram for you.

    Red equals dynamic shapes. Blue equals stable verticals. Green outlines the stable circles.

    What do we learn? We learn that the major figures in this picture are essentially stable and undynamic. It seems like just the guns and arms that jut out from the major figures are at dynamic angles.

    Yet, the negative shapes are fairly dynamic.

    You need to get everything to say the same thing graphically.

    (The second is the same as the first except I also show how the tank is a stable shape)

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    Ok, bearing what you said in mind, Ive altered the rear character to be holding his rifle behind him, jumping over the crest lets say, so his rifle arm and empty arm both follow the line of action. Likewise I've rejigged the tank to how it was before I changed the comp according to '7B' so it again is more in keeping with the line of action.
    I'm struggling to see a means of changing the foreground characters to be more dynamic - it seems at the moment to get this dynamism, the figures should show movement or atleast form towards the action line, however I'd come to like the the heavy look of the front characters (post #5 shows more of what I mean here, I think they've deadedned slightly in the redraw), especially the foremost who is almost going against this line. Is this just, or am I seeing it in my mind how it doesnt appear on the page?

    Attachment 339677

    Forgive this quick make over (using the touchpad on a laptop by god...). I'm offline over the weekend so I wanted to get a reply in beforehand.

    I'll mull it over and keep my sketchbook with me and have a think about this

    Cheers for the help again

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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    Phil, part of this is simple. If something is straight up and down or straight horizontal, it is static and boring. If it leans at an angle, it has more dynamism.

    This goes for the smallest, shapes, the negative shapes, the figures and the overall composition. This is why I said earlier that it is okay, possibly even more desirable, to have the overall compositional triangle leaning, rather than straight up and down.

    But you have changed this composition into, essentially, a diamond shape. That's also a inactive shape, like a circle or a stable horizontal or vertical. (The red circles represent the "corners" of the diamond shape. They are essentially parallel to their opposite corner. They should not be parallel, drama is imbalance.)

    Dynamism starts with the gesture of the graphic design, lightning bolt zig zags, conflicting diagonals, thrusts that break out of shapes, imbalance, etc.

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    Brief reply:

    That's great, thanks for clearing that up, I'll get print outs of the last few posts and let you know how I got on over the weekend.
    Sorry that you're having to point out every little thing re. composition, but like I said before - I was taught how to paint, not how to do a painting!

    Phil

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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    When you compose with elements that are already dynamic, you are halfway home. Composing with dynamic elements seems to lead to negative shapes that are also dynamic.

    After you get in the dynamism, then you can play with unifying the shapes into triangles or lightning bolts, or large tidal-wave-like sweeping shapes or whatever. Unity is easy. Dynamism is hard. Drawing is hard. Once you can achieve well-drawn dynamism, you've got the problem mostly covered.

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    Right, back again. Let's try these.

    Attachment 341831Attachment 341832

    Taking into account the previous posts regarding dynamism and direction I've made an effort to make my characters more exciting. Forgive the poor draughtmenship on these figures, they're just scribbles at the moment.

    I'm not sure about the firing soldier, is he perhaps too static? I could replace him with a figure running 'out' of the bottom corner - this would solve the preoblem with the front chaps weapon aiming at the seconds face! Although I do think the current figure, with more work on stance (perhaps moving his left leg to fit in the green line) holds that side of the page well and adds a second 'important' figure to the one at the front.

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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    I think you are starting to get the importance of graphic design. So much of it is thinking of everything you are doing as "vectors" that send the eye in a direction.

    I think you haven't yet grasped how essential graphic design is at every level of shape size. And how it happens in the interior of figures as well as with whole bodies and negative shapes and the overall composition, and all the props, and furniture, rubble, or what have you.

    In this diagram I demo the stable triangles with red and point out with blue rectangles that the corners of your composition still make a stable, undynamic shape. The points of your composition should not be parallel to their opposite side. So the top-most protrusion should be at a different point along the horizontal axis then where the composition leaves at the bottom. The same goes for the two sides.

    Also, the figures look like they are falling backward a bit. They are also too similar. You also don't want to have the graphic design "read" like the foreground figure is sticking his gun to the neck of the smaller guy to the right of him in the picture. Graphic design must tell the correct story. Sticking the gun into the neck of your fellow soldier is bad graphic design. Even though with rendering you will be able to separate the foreground soldier's gun from the neck of the guy in front of him, the first impression graphically will be neck-sticking with the gun. Graphic design is the first understanding a viewer has of a picture.

    I would say, overall, the scene is less believable. Stop, put down your pencils and dream the composition in your mind's eye. Don't move a muscle until the dream you are having in your minds eye is awesome and full of force. Once your imagination finds something you like, then remember it. Don't move a muscle toward pen and paper unless you have remembered the scene you are imagining.

    With all this info I am giving you... its all designed to correct errors. It is never to be used to create the idea in the first place. The imagination, I believe, is the key to the whole process. You must believe the scene you are portraying. When you start imagining stuff in a dynamic way, none of these "rules for dynamism" I am offering you need be used. They will already be an integral part of your composition.

    kev

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    Just popping in to thank Kev, those tips you gave Phil were extremely helpfull, reallly appreciate the diagrams and the explanation.

    BTW, good work on the wips thus far Phil, looking forward to see the finished piece

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    Thanks again Kev - I'll particularly take your point of developing the image to a believable and fixed point in the mind before putting it down on paper - at the moment all the ideas are being developed on the page, and then resized and rearranged, which clearly isn't getting me too far.
    Good man, very helpfull

    Quote Originally Posted by t i m o t h y View Post
    Just popping in to thank Kev, those tips you gave Phil were extremely helpfull, reallly appreciate the diagrams and the explanation.

    BTW, good work on the wips thus far Phil, looking forward to see the finished piece

    It's going to be a long time coming!! Luckily I've a few other things on the drawing board at the moment, I'm really taking my time (and kevs time for which I'm VERY appreciative) with this to get it right and put me in the mind set for the future

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    Righto, I've tried here to think of something a bit more forceful before putting anything down on paper - I tried to visualise the image moving and then freeze framing it in the current position. This made me see that there was very little relation between the characters which led me to see the pointing figure in the foreground a) highlighting the direction of movement and b) looking and shouting over to the two figures at the back ( if that's difficult to make out it's a crouching figure with a piat rocket launcher - or drain pipe! and an officer type fellow with a pistol which I included to have an exciting silhouette on the 'horizon') who in turn are redirecting back towards the flow of movement.

    Attachment 342463Attachment 342464

    I think this works alot better, there are obviously draghtmanship issues which will need addressing at a more forward rolling stage - all scribbles right now!

    There is perhaps still the issue of the foregroug figure's gun sticking into his friend's gut, but I could easily extend the length of the gun ( I tried repositioning both figures to no avail) by replacing it with a bren gun or something - not really a firing from the hip weapon - but this is art not history!!

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    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    Phil, I really like how you echoed that one angle of the cannon with the gun and the pointing arm. That is good design... it is called "theme and variation". The theme is the weapon pointing at a particular angle, and the shape and angle is repeated, but using different objects at different depths. Very good.

    The rest of the composition is still not as dynamic as it can be. You really need to break out of static balance and into dynamic imbalance. Don't make people standing around... make them in the process of moving. Push your mind to see a moment of change, rather than a moment of stasis. The feet aren't planted (forming a stable triangle)... one foot is coming up to take a step, or coming down but not yet hitting the ground. The figure *does not have to be in balance* as per Andrew Loomis' instruction. Movement is caused by imbalance, and then we adjust to keep our feet. In any action figure, throw it as far off balance as seems sensible for the moment, but not far enough off balance that the person could not recover his equillibrium. Figure out, once you've made an imbalanced pose, how, if you were in the same pose, you would attempt to re-balance yourself. Figure out which leg or arm would need to come forward to re-establish a stable pose by contact with the ground. Then have that leg or arm in the process of getting into that position on the figure you are drawing. Don't have it there yet, because we still want imbalance. But have it moving towards the position where it could save the day, and save the figure from falling over or down a hill or whatever.

    Do a bunch of quick really small thumbnails to try to capture the composition. I think you are working a bit too big on these sketches and your drawing habits are getting in the way of your suggestive imagination.

    Oh, and when you analyze your own compositions look at the biggest shapes, the longest lines first. Those things that are obvious from 30 feet away. Those are the most telling thing in your composition in terms of visual dynamism.

    kev

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