Bookcover WIP

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  1. #1
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    Bookcover WIP

    Working on this bookcover since some time now, but I believe I might need some help to make it really kick-ass. Any serious critique, wether it be on composition, colors or light, are welcome. Please help me making this a really good image!

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    Definitely not bad
    Though it's unnclear what the main light source is, and why it is perfectly white.
    The clothes and the weapons look nice, but you could apply some subtle colors to them and to the whole figure. It's too ... gray.
    the biggest issue with the figur is his face. Too smooth, too grey, too lifeless. Put some more work in it, because if it doesn't work the whole piece won't work. It can be a good idea to draw it separately in higher resolution and then to scale it down.
    The forearm with that cloth on it also looks off. Take a reference maybe for folds.
    The hand with the colt in it looks a little small, but nothing serious.
    The bigger problem is the background. I just can't figure out what's going on there. Is that a town or a village in a valley? And what is that gian monster (and what is it doing)? and that red circle - is that the Sun? If it is, why is it so large and so ... pale? It should be shinier (or not be part of the picture at all).

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    Not really a crit, more a suggestion. I have been looking into the cover art of some books I have and found something interesting. It seems the artist paints a picture twice as large as the front, Why? So they can wrap it around the back of the book and have that look cool too! The above image looks great, but certainly isnt large enough for that.

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    Thanks for the feedback!

    No, this wont be a wrap-around cover, simply cause the commissioner didn't want one, just a front.

    The sun is a lot bigger than ours, and red rather than yellow. That is a village, or city, in the background, and the monster is an ancient, withered statue, taller than the mountains.

    Obviously I succeeded lousy with the second light source - it's supposed to be ligthblue, not white. I'll add more color to that. The face and that sleeve is what was bothering me too. The sleeve folds looked good on the sketch, but now they are just so weird. And the face looks... dead. I have failed to find a ref for it, if anyone have something that could be helpful, cough it up!

    I'll fix what's been pointed out right now and come back for more feedback later, thanks a bunch!

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    Top part is kinda empty. I know the title is gonna be there, but it also needs a small thing of interest, like a flying bird, plane, spaceship? Just so you give a bigger impression of his world than just hero and the bad guy.

    The guy in the bg is not threatening enough. If you added several of these guys kinda ganging up on the hero, it would present a bigger sense of danger.

    I like how he's pretty sharp and the textures you used on the outfit. But his face could use a bit more attention, especially around the eyes, as they seem pretty 'empty'/ light now.

    The rocks on the left are distracting and don't seem convincing, they stand out too much from the rest and don't seem on the same plane/ground as the hero. Directly behind the rocks... there's a small ravine? That area seems very flat, more like chocolate milk than mud. It's also confusing how the hero is on solid hard ground, but 1 meter behind him, it's chocolateliquidlike and with the bad guy... sandy. How can he not notice that hole in the ground and the evil dude on the other side then? I'm also not sure if i see skulls/faces in it or reading bubbles wrong.

    I get this might be a fantasy novel or some alienstory. Still, the readers will compare your visuals with the earthy memories they have from certain landscapes. Your bg is too empty. I think it might be a desert, but i'm not sure. Some stuff in silhouette will help read the setting better. Example: this or this. Or maybe a castle wearing out or perhaps going futuristic?

    Curious to see where you're taking this, cos it looks very nice so far.

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    Well, just remember, its a book cover so the title and author and all that jazz will have to go somewhere. So it might be good to have a little empty space.

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    Hey, this is going great! I really like the lighting on the figure and I love the way the clothes are textured.

    Alot of people seem to be pointing out the face as a trouble spot and I agree. The nose and mouth look out of perspective to me. the head appear to be turned such that the nose would protrude more to the right, off the centerline of the face. The center line of mouth too, being on a ball like shape and therefore separate from the centerline of the face, would also be protruding slightly right. Some subtle wrinkles on his forehead wouldn't hurt either, and would help determine his age (by how deep and obvious they are) as well as describe some anatomy up there so it doesn't look so "egg smooth."

    The problem too with the folds in the sleeve of the left arm. Where the elbow bends there needs to be what is called a "half-lock" fold. This is a fold created when loose clothe changes angles abruptly, causing the clothe to fold over itself and create kind of a tube of negative space.

    The two things that jumped right out at me as needing fixing were the gorilla silhouette and the figures cape.
    I feel the shape you have right now is too lacking in contour line description. That silhouette is all you have to describe that figure, so alot of information needs to be there. If it's made of stone, make the edges course, show us where there are little imperfections, show us more of what the face is doing. Does it have a face?

    And lastly, the cape. I understand that your trying to convey its thickness by showing light shining through it at its tips, but as it turns out that color is exactly the same color as parts of your background. This is making the read of that cape edge extremely unclear, which is not an acceptable sacrifice for that light effect.
    I would suggest either abandon the "light through the cape" effect all together, darkening the cape up so we can pick out is silhouette, or find a way to change the color of the background so it is not so close to the cape color. Desaturating it could be an option, as it would also give a better sense of depth via atmospheric perspective.

    Pic looks great, Look forward to seeing the finish!

    Rock on!

    ...my humble and uneducated opinion.

    -Nate
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    This has the potential to be awesome! One thing I notice are the size of his hands, mainly his left one. It just looks too small. But the hands themselves are rendered extremely well! you could even do the cheap way and take the nifty lasso tool, copy and paste that arm over top of it and enlarge it until it looks more masculine. Then merge that pasted layer with whatever layer you have the clothes on. Great job on his chest armor btw

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    Wait wait wait... I just noticed the buildings in the background. So that rear figure is supposed to be HUGE, right? If so, it's not coming across at all, it looks like it's just a few feet back.

    Also, it could use more bleed all around (designers ALWAYS want more bleed), and the center is awfully empty. If a pull quote or subtitle is meant to go there that's one thing, but at the moment it's not working. I would have put more work in on the composition before moving into the rendering if I were you.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Also, it could use more bleed all around
    Ok, so for the uninitiated, can you explain the expression "bleed"? I am completely selftaught, and so far I haven't come across the expression in my selfstudies.

    Yes, the statue in the BG is supposed to be huge, you are right. What can I do to make it look further away - more atmospheric haze? I believe I have to point out the buildings better, since no one but you seemed to notice them... guess I put too much dust and grit over.

    Thanks all for the feedback, I'm back to working!

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    "Bleed" is the extra image at the border that can be cropped/trimmed off. You want to include at least 1/8" to 3/16" (print size) all around for any piece being prepared for print. As I said, designers almost always want more bleed, because it gives them more flexibility in positioning and cropping.

    Atmospheric perspective isn't just haze. As objects recede, they loose contrast and detail, and take on more and more of the color of the atmosphere. Part of your problem is that you need to defined more levels of recession.

    Also, your two light sources are practically identical in everything except color. For what it's worth, here's a piece I did a while back with a similar lighting setup.
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    Holy shit! I hadn't realised that what i referred to as a 'ravine' were buildings, til Elwell pointed it out. My apologies for that, but i hope you clear that up. I guess the mountains in the bg kinda cause it too, cos they seem more proportionate distance to the dude, but not to the town. Smaller mountains, bigger town?

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    i agree with novbert its challenging to find the light source, and your charecters face is a bit lop sided. I have trouble with faces too and i know how hard it is to get them perfectley drawn. Also is it just me or does it look like his left leg is hovering ???? other than that its a excellent picture at the moment i give it 8/10

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    Bleh, if I had known about the bleed thingie before I started... now it will be a lot more work to fix it. But I guess I have to, so quit the whining already! *points at self*

    Alright, update! Fixed that too small hand holding the pistol, tried to fix the face, gave the second light source more color, changed position of the sun, tried to give the statue and mountains more distance, have... not... fixed the city... yet. I'll get to that. Built up some clouds to give his face more contrast to the BG; making it stand out better. And changed BG colors, too. I like the clouds, kinda pop-arty, though I admit they do take away attention from the character, so I might desaturate a bit in the end.

    Thanks for all the tips and advice everyone, I really feel I'm getting somewhere with this!

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    Now we're talking! It's looking better on most every level. Keep pushing it.


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    The main character is looking really good now. He still seems a little bit too monochrome to me. I know you have already changed it abit but maybe some more colour into his clothes? Or perhaps just splotch some dirt on him here and there, some old stains?

    The clouds do seem a little over the top. The scenary looks like a desert type place and I wouldn't have thought you could have such low clouds in a place like that. You could still have some clouds behind his head but I don't think you need quite so much of it. My first thought was that the clouds had been conjured up by the statue attacking the city like that scene from Fantasia ^^

    I think the Sun is drawing a little too much attention now. I think the sky should have remained reddish seeing as how it is very close to sunset, this would also reduce some of the contrast that the blue sky gives.

    This picture is becoming really great now, you are definately on the home stretch. And I LOVE that new sleeve it looks fantastic! Great work, this is really going to be something special when it's finished.

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    I agree about the sun and clouds. The bg was working a bit better in the first image, balance the two out. The reds are drawing too much attention. Keep the reds you have on the cape, but tone down the sun and the clouds.

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    Great work you really changed his face for the better. Your a great artist what did you colour this on??

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    Thanks for the cheering on, it really helps me doing my best on this piece!

    Cpt_Subtext: I really have no clue what kinds of clouds you get in a desert, but yes, it IS supposed to be a desert area. I had to grab some photo refs, I'm really bad with clouds. I had thought what kind of clouds you get depends on season and weather even in a desert, but I might be totally wrong!

    GetiX: Thanks! This is colored in Photoshop.

    Another update: added some more colors to the character, desaturated the sun, tried a different approach on the village/city, worked a bit more on the sky/clouds. Anything that still stands out to you, people? I think I'm starting to come to the limits of my skills - either that, or I'm getting blind on this one. Let me know if there's something you think I can still do to improve it!

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    Wow, this looks really awesome now, much better than the first one, I love the BG, and his sleeve turned out great!

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    This is much improved from the original, but I also think it's getting close to being overworked. I'd say either go with it as is, or take a day or two away from it and work on something completely different before looking at it again.

    I live in a desert environment (Phoenix, AZ) and the cloud colors you have here are close to what we get when sunsets combine with dust in the air. Your colors aren't as bright (clouds in an Arizona sunset can be DayGlo in intensity), but if they were much brighter they'd distract from the foreground figure. So I'd say go with it as is.

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