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This is a sketch for an illustration I'm planning on painting in oil. I put it into PS to do a quick color study. Obviously some parts are more polished than others. But my main question to you is: Do you understand what's going on, if you just have the picture and title to go on? That's my main concern right now - how readable is this picture, and its story? Of course, all other crits and comments are welcome too!
Well I"m not sure if I understand what's going on, but I'll tell you how it hits me in case that's different than what you wanted.
It looks like a superhuman battle with a dragon in the background with a large god-like knight. But what I can't figure out is what the people in the foreground are doing and why they aren't reacting to the epic battle going on in the background.
I like the colors you've got going on with the dragon and knight. A minor tweak I'd do though is the dragon's hand around the spear seems pretty passive like it just happens to be sitting on his hand. Maybe have him grasp is more or not at all.
"This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy." -Douglas Adams
My goal: To get good enough to post in the Finally Finished Forum.
Are the dragon and knight in the shirtless guy's imagination?
The exchange between the shirtless guy and the guy in the hat seems important to the story, but I can't tell what's going on there exactly. Likewise, I can't tell what the guy on the left is holding. I know that these elements aren't finished yet, but are they significant to understanding what's going on?
"Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it" -- Confucius
"Imagination is more important than knowledge" -- Albert Einstein
I see a modern hero/martyr about to be executed, maybe a rebel? In the background we have the archetype of a hero. Great idea by the way!
Thank you for your comments! Yeah, some important pieces are pretty muddy and hard to understand, I guess. The guy in the hat is using a knife to cut the ropes of the other guy's hands. The soldier to the left is holding a hood that the prisoner walking up the stairs going to be wearing when he is hanged.
Talpa got pretty close to my idea. The one walking up the stairs is supposed to be hanged instead of the guy walking down the stairs. Because of this, he is a hero. The fight in the background is supposed to be sort of a symbol of his act of heroism, and it's supposed to be going on in the clouds, far far away, in a fairy tale, in fantasy, what have you. Obviously, I have to work on making these points clearer.
Oh, and the dragon's hand on the spear is supposed to be pretty passive, as if he's losing his strength, dying. I'll have to work on portraying that as well..
Maybe if you took the knight's helmet off (even though it's one of my favorite parts of the picture) and made the knight's face the same as the guy going up the stairs? As it is now I'm not personally able to tell that the knight's sposed to represent the guy going to be hanged.
Then again it seems a tad twisted to relate killing something to saving someone's life, it might just end up making me think that the man going upstairs killed a dragon in the past. Hoo I don't know, this piece is complicated!
ooo, oo, or maybe if you made the guy with the hangman's mask in the same pose as the dragon?
sb's sb: Crit it! Hurt it! Make it cry!
That is an interesting idea, Stacybean, but I don't really want the hangman to represent the dragon, as the hero isn't going to kill him. I was thinking of giving the hero a tattoo, like a rose, and having the same image as an emblem on the knight's armor. And I'm definitely keeping the helmet, because 1. I like it and 2. I want the knight to be an anonymous, symbolic archetype of a hero. Thanks for the comment and suggestions!
The kight has a small torso and a very narrow arm. The dragon's upper jaw is disproportionately small compared to the lower, and the eye's further forward than I would put it. I can see no relationship between the background scene and the foreground, and most of the foreground figures are stiff, out of proportion and out of scale. The knight's helmet is so far the best part of this image.
Last edited by dashinvaine; February 15th, 2009 at 06:35 PM.
I think some warm light reflected on the characters in the foreground and a darker sky would make it more dramatic and bring the painting together as a whole.
I don't understand the white light on our "hero". Where does it come from? It’s not reflected on anyone or anything else, why?
Also you need to make it clearer that the soldier is cutting the other one free.
Having the dragons head tilted up in pain will probably help show its loss of strength and incorporate better with the arm. You might also try having the dragon reach towards its chest instead of the spear. It's fairly instinctual to grasp at a painful wound. The problem right now with the top image is the dragon doesn't really seem affected by his chest wound which makes the two figures appear somewhat disjointed.
Overall the story doesn't read well. The easiest way to fix this would be to change the title to something that will cause people to look for the story you're trying to tell. The harder but ultimately better approach imo is to rework the image. Try to make the bottom panel tell it's own story in entirety. As it is there isn't really any way beyond guesswork or being told to know that the guy walking up the stairs is sacrificing himself for the guy walking down.
Sorry if this seems harsh. Good luck.