Solemn Skies - Critique GREATLY Appreciated!
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  1. #1
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    Solemn Skies - Critique GREATLY Appreciated!



    A commission I finished just today. I'm curious as to you guys' takes on it, as I find myself drawn towards dragons, fantasy, and stormy weather! : P

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    Remember that the rocks will have high specularity like the creature's flesh does, so some of those rim lights/ highlights work be on the rock too.

    I am not into how some of the raindrops curl back up at the bottom (like next to the wing) Might want to clean them up and get it looking more rain-like.

    Adding some contact of where the rain is bouncing off of the character would add a lot too.

    Lastly, the neck feels too bulky. It is almost as large as the ribcage, which would make it really off balanced for flight.

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    I got a tad lazy with the rocks.. Gah, Looking back, a lot of this does look a bit rushed. x_x

    I admit, I became sloppy with the rain. I have little patience when it comes to that.. *Blushes* That, and this is pretty much my first piece with rain.. I do believe I'll go back and fix that.

    I was almost afraid to do the contact with the bouncing water, as I didn't want to pull it off too strongly.

    As for the bulky neck... Yeah, anatomy fail. xD

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    I feel like the head is huge compared to the body and the seated position seems almost completely fake. Based on body shape, I would look at meercats for your inspiration. I would splay the toes on top of a rock. Where you have a dark patch on the dragon's right foot translates to my eyes that there is no rock there. The rocks are all one piece. That would never really happen that way. Little reference here would help a lot. I hate painting rocks, and I'm not very good at it, but I've always seen it done by painting the main shape and then carving the rock out of it. But it's the little details that make it really pop.

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    Ha!

    Nice. Hope to see an update!



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    Blarf. I always hate looking back on this stuff. XD Looking at the head, I did see how it was so big compared to the body... The whole position, AGAIN, was laziness on my part.. The toes are a minor fix, so I'll splay them tomorrow when I get home.

    The rocks.. I had no reference for. I pretty much painted this on the spot while up at my dads. No internet up there.. And it's nothing but sand where he lives.. : P I'll be sure to look up the rock references tomorrow and keep you guys updated.

    How can I prevent these awkward mistakes in the future?

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    Practice, and draw more from life.

    You could also post your line work for critique before starting in on painting to get the underlying structure down better.

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    Just thought I'd add a few items that have not already been mentioned. First, the only light source I can determine comes from above the dragon, and, for the most part, your highlights are in the right place, but then you have the wing reflecting back on the body...as if the light source was in front of the dragon. That's OK as long as it's consistant throughout the piece.

    Alos, you could use a little more dramatic lighting. try making your lightning more contrasted with the clouds. By doing so, you could also add some highlights on the dragon for a more sizzling effect.

    I added a paintover to show a bit of what I was referring to.

    In response to your question...keep drawing. Doing anatomy studies of humans and animals will help. Looking at other people's work does as well, but nothing will do you as much good as continually drawing and making tweeks along the way until you're mostly happy with it (I say mostly, because, I'd never finish a piece if I waited for totally happy).

    Good work, keep it up!

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    Hey man, thanks a bunch! I'm always trying, and to tell ya the truth, this one was rushed a lot more then intended. : / The idea had been sitting around for a while, and I wanted to produce something for my commissioner - God bless him; the patience of a saint, I say! - so I came up with this.

    Looking back on it, there's one thing I can totally reprimand myself for; don't rush your art. Thank you so much for the paint over, it makes things a lot clearer.. But then, what should I do for the apparent highlights from up-top/the side? (Arg, consistent light source is another of my faults!)

    And, the lightning is supposed to be, well, VERY distant, far away, I didn't know how to much convey this besides making it fade. Sharpening it up makes it seem closer and more in the foreground, so again, I'm nervous as to how I should fix these few errors (That I can) on my part.

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    I think you should keep to top side highlights and lose the shadow of the wing. That's where the light source confusion lies. Darken the body and make some of those highlights on the top side sparkle. It's rain....highly reflective.

    Your desire to have the lightening distant doesn't work with the angle you've chosen. If you were looking at the dragon from an angle just above his level looking down, it might work, but that's not what I'm seeing. It almost looks like you're looking up at him a bit. It's on a dragon that's on the top of a mountain. there's not much atmosphere left for it to be distant. Besides, dull and rainy is well, ...dull and rainy. LIGHTNING! Now that's screams power!

    You could also make some of the clouds have lightning just behind them in the back ground creating more depth.

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    i'm thinking maybe all of your values are just too close. Look at it from far away... or just shrink and see what you can make out. If the big picture isn't there, don't move forward.

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    Quick redline for the feet, got rid of the wing shadow; undecided as to how to continue further with the rest of him, and, could you guys explain to me a bit more about the lightning? I'm terribly confused about that. : x

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    Oooh.. I very much like that contrast. But now, I'm thinking of taking away my main lightsource altogether, and just muting down the highlights... What do you guys think? Brighten up the lightning in the image, as Arshes showed for an example, or just taking them away altogether?

    I wanted to try and convey a sense of depth with them, but I do believe that, ultimately, I've failed in that aspect.

    Also, Quigleyer, do you mind elaborating further on the subject of the values?

    All you guys' feedback is very much getting me motivated! C'mon, keep it coming. :3

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    I think what he's trying to say is that your colors blend into each other so much that there's no contrast. It makes the illustration lose any sense of purpose. If you can't take a step back and look at the illustration and know what the artist wants you to see, then it needs more. It all depends on how good you want to be as an artist. The step from where you are (which is leaps and bounds above the average Joe) and where the guys with galleries on this site is big...and I'm right there with you.

    I'm starting with anatomy 101, looks like you might want to look into color and composition. You can't get that in a critique. This is where the real work starts. Do some tutorials, find a mentor, bust your dragonballs and you'll find that you are capable of amazing things! Good luck and keep posting!

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    Ilahmec, thank you! Yes, actually, I've been hassling my AP art teacher non-stop these past few weeks, (which I believe is fraying her nerves to the breaking point!) about such things.

    She's lent me her ancient copy of Dynamic Anatomy, (Which I've been vigorously studying the human form from. I've pretty much conquered my fears of drawing human facial anatomy) and I've been thinking of investing in books on the subject.

    Color theory, and composition, have never been my strong points, sadly. But, I seriously want to make my career in this field, if at all possible.

    An update in my next post, as to not bore the crap out of you guys.. xD

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    Pushing for the light in the background to -try- and save the dragon from blending into the background.

    ... POP.

    And advice for the fellows toes? : B

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    There is this site: http://hippie.nu/%7Eunicorn/tut/xhtml/

    This book is good: http://www.amazon.com/Art-Animal-Dra.../dp/0486274268

    Bridgman is free at Archive.org and I believe much better than Hogarth. http://www.archive.org/search.php?qu...rge%20bridgman Loomis is another good find and you just need to do a google search and you'll find books for download. http://www.scribd.com/search?query=f...rawing&x=0&y=0

    I would also recommend Joseph Sheppard and Anthony Peck http://www.amazon.com/Atlas-Human-An...dp/0195030958/ over Hogarth. Hogarth is extremely stylized, while the others have their personal styles without studying stripped down, basic anatomy. Ron Tiner http://www.amazon.com/Figure-Drawing...dp/0715306464/ also has a good book and talks about different body shapes. Do you see Hogarth mentioning either?

    I mean where does Hogarth display the differences between the following:

    Endomorph and Mesomorph?

    http://www.mens-total-fitness.com/ec...mesomorph.html

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    Thank you Arshes. :3 (Bookmarked, downloaded, and wishlisted! Those books are definitely gonna be bought.)

    And, just really quickly, I darkened the clouds, added a bit more pop to the lightning, made some minor anatomical adjustments to the dragon, (Namely the calf and chest.) and re-did the toes with a more canine-quality. Plodding around google for rock references.



    Yes, the toes still look bad. Mm.. I should really start a sketchbook thread.

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    Why is it that lizards can sit on cliffs? They have "Jazz Hands"

    Rather the lizards have rather long talons as do birds so they can claw onto jagged ledges and rocks.

    You need to create a better color harmony, everything is the same kind of hues.

    Try adding more blue to the clouds, more orangish/yellow tones to the dragon and rock.

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    I guess I became too blended, yeah? : / I do this too much. I choose a select color theme for a piece, and I end up blending it too much, and being afraid of doing very much contrast. Originally the clouds were going to take on a purple/blue, but I got scared. So, I just stuck with neutral tones.

    Totally obliterated the rocks and re-working them, just a sketch right now. Made the toes more lizard-like.. Though not too much, because the overall dragon is bulky. Albeit disproportionate due to my rushing in the earlier stages.. x_x

    Added a very faint deep blue to the clouds, and colored over the lightning with a slight blueish hue; hopefully it's shaping up to look better.



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    How changing color hues can give depth. It's a bit of an extreme example but you should be able to get the hint. I'd also lighten that sky again since when I looked at the thumb even of my example the values were all the same.

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    Aha!

    Visuals help for what you're trying to convey. I just couldn't form a mental picture to really get what you were saying. I can be a taxing individual to work with at times, so bear with me! :3

    Now, when you say lighten the sky, do you mean more or less as a whole, or the 'pockets' of lightning? Confused me a bit there.

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    I hate to sound mean, but I think I would ditch the piece and try redrawing the creature in a different pose. Getting the feet working to where it doesn't feel awkward is going to be more time consuming than I think it is worth, plus when you add in the other anatomy problems and the lack of development in the background, it might just be worth starting over.

    I like the creature though, and would like to see it worked in another piece.

    Sorry man.

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    Hey, Bai Fan, don't sweat it. Although, it's up to my commissioner whether he thinks I should ditch it or not.

    It's not a personal project, and I wanted to see how much of this you guys could rip apart. The supposed, "Final blow" that you've just given me has propelled me into a catatonic state of joy.

    It's his money, though I think I could've done better with this piece so he could get his monies worth. I'll just see what he decides on it. :3 And, if I redo it, I'll be sure to post from start to finish for ya'll to slash into and help me improve.

    All of ya, thank you SO SO MUCH for the advice and critique you've given me. This has been a very practical and much needed learning experience on my part.

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    I hope to see more. It really was a pretty good start, I just think it needed a bit more tweaking to the first few stages.

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