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I'm trying to draw a half-dragon-woman-thing-creature like we all know it and I try to focus as much as possible on the "rules of art" if I may define them so. And from the first step it seems to go wrong already.
The thing I would like to get right at this point is the silhouette (I hope it is ok I leave the composition out of it at this stage?). I started to draw a few poses without the wings first (as in a floating figure really). I also tried to get a pose with some action in it. The one you see below is what I liked the most (not that I did so many, this was the first pose I drew from a few and it only got worse, so I used this one).
Now the problem comes with the wings and tail, which I drew (and re-drew and re-drew and so on..) in the next step. The nice silhouette from the "floating figure" was totally gone and replaced by the silhouette from the wings. I definitely didn't want that to happen, so finally I came up with something in-between. I still don't really like how the right leg blends with the tail in the silhouette, but I'm just wondering if I'm being too precise here..
Now, I'm not a 100% sure if I finally did the right thing. I mean, didn't I take this silhouette rule too strict? Perhaps the tone of the wings could be a lot darker (or should it be lighter, I'm not too sure about that either), which makes it have two silhouettes. For that matter, can I use different tones to create the silhouette, as I've done in one of the drawings below?
A lot of questions I just keep asking myself. Now I just hope someone has enough courage to read through all this AND take the time to help. I would be so grateful.
I like the idea and the sillouete works fine overall. Some things do look wrong to me, though. I don't like how the right leg bends at all. It looks painful. Also, it seems the tail would be better flowing backwards. Unless he's attacking with it? I am not good enough to offer direct correction and solutions for anatomy so I hope you get the help you need from others.
I agree on the leg. It is bend a little high.
The pose is great and the second version of the wings is my preferred version.
Right now the composition is odd. The central image here is the wings. If this is part of a larger composition, then great, but the non-centered nature of the character takes all the attention away from her. All I see are wings.
Can we see a zoomed in version of the figure?
I don't really agree on the leg, since I actually want the creature to be both strong and flexible. But I also know when people criticize I should listen, so I did. I don't like the outcome too much though. I feel as if the strength is gone or something.
As for the composition, didn't think too nmuch about it yet, but I did a quick sketch, which you can see below. This might change in the future though (apart from the details of course)
Thank you for the advice till now, it's much appreciated!
I think you might be digging yourself into a rut if you don't attack some more pose options. Typing "cirque du soleil" into a google image search gives some amazing results ^^ Do some pose/gesture sketches and post them here, better to resolve the issue earlier on. It's not going to hurt to practice poses and even if you go back to that pose, with the acrobat ref you should be able to find a leg resolution that still shows the strength and flexibility that you want to portray.
I'm with Hawk. Also: Don't change something for the sake of change. It's excellent that you are willing to subject to criticism and to work with it, but if it gets in the way if your message and your art than you don't have to do it. Don't let anything get in the way of your vision!
If you don't like a correction that others suggest, either you are not ready to understand it (knowledge you gain depends on knowledge you have and has to be integrated in a certain order) or most likely it's not a correction at all, it's just another mistake. You should listen to others because their ideas might possible help you improve your work, but don't bypass your own judgement. If anything anyone says makes you like your work less, nevermind. Find your own solutions.
I agree the first leg you did is better. What I meant by the leg was not how high it was but how far to the side it was. But if as you say you want her to look strong, maybe the way we feel it would hurt if we tried that pose is a good thing. I can't do it myself, but that's what I deserve for not exercising. It still seems a rather exposing pose.
Don't quit on this piece, I really would like to see it finished.
First of all, thank you all so much for the input, it is more than useful.
Image 1 - Leg adjustment.
Thank you for the paint-over Leonor, it showed me what exactly you guys meant and it makes so much sense now. As you can see, I just flipped the leg horizontally and made some adjustments. The leg looks less painful, more believable and still strong and flexible. Just what I wanted.
Image 2 - The tail:
I tried to change the tail in different ways (the best one is the one I show here), but I still think the original worked best. This time I've been thinking it through. I think the reason why I like it the most is because there is a nice anticipation of follow through. As if the character just reached the top of its flying action and the tail.. well, follows the body really. Sorry for my bad explaining skills.
Other images - Pose sketches:
Thank you so much for the "Cirque Du Soleil" tip -HAWK-. I made a few quick sketches based on pictures from Cirque and other things I found. I still think I'm going to stick with the one I'm working on now, but it was definitely a very good practice. And who knows, maybe I'm going to use them in the future.
Well, unless someone has a real problem with anything so far I think I can start colouring, right? This is something I haven't done too much, so any help is welcome here. First step is deciding where the light would come from I guess and a colour palette. Some warming up exercises and tutorials are always welcome to aid me.
First and foremost, the silhouette of the original design you have is worth exploring by itself without the line drawing. And, honestly, I would redraw this traditionally with any medium; I guarantee you will capture more of its "essence" that way, since digital sketching is just too weird. And you'll have a better design this way, naturally. Nonetheless, so far so good. Just to push it further, do very small thumbnail sketches of it and REALLY push this creature as far as possible. The quality will skyrocket in time.
Also, check out the video game series, "Castlevania" for great inspiration for such a creature. =)
I think you took those suggestions really well and incorporated them into your drawing flawlessly. I must say that the choices you made from the critiques made me like this piece very much. I like the flow of how the character is with its tail underneath. It has a sense of flow continuity.
My only suggestion is about the background. Because of the way the lady's head is tilted, I think its just reached its intended height AND is about to either do a dive or change position towards the background. But, the look of it would have a greater feel of movement and dynamic if the horizon is tilted a bit. Maybe tilted a few degrees clockwise? Hope this helps. I can't wait to see this in a few hours or more of work!!
Live life, Live love, Love life, then die -- SaiVix
I would really love some honest critiques and improvements suggestions
Renewed Study - I'm drawing again!!
majiinakuma, thanks for the advice. However, you speak a bit in riddles for me. Lets say that my language skills are to blame, to avoid embarrassment.
SaiVix, I see what you mean. I'll experiment with it a bit more. The current background was actually done real quick, just to get an idea. Does anyone know good reference for dynamic composition, since I'm actually not very good at it in the first place.
Oh, I'll clear myself up a bit. Sometimes, I've been told that I make things difficult in my explanations. Here I go....
1. You are correct with the silhouette idea. Heck, you can even take the first silhouette and do more line drawings within it. Here is the perfect example from the master Feng Zhu... check the link out, there should be a sample of this expensive video. I hope this helps.
2. I'm so extremely sorry. I had no idea you just started four years ago. If that is the case, then simply use what you like. However, look at the work of James Jean for really killer line work in his finished paintings, they are great for inspiration. And although he draws traditionally, I know you can apply it to Painter or Photoshop, as long as you the tools well.
3. I just mean the pose, and how cool the creature itself looks.