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This is going to be a bookcover for my portfolio.
The book is called "In Pursuit of the Green Dragon" It´s a story set in medieaval England.
I am a bit of a newbie when it comes to proper digital paintings so this is a big project for me and I need all the help I can get.
So far I have the composition set up and some colours layed out.
I feel a bit uncertain on how to proceed.
The colours are all in one layer by the way. Maybe I should have the woman on a separate layer?
Last edited by Frida Bergholtz; June 8th, 2009 at 11:49 AM.
Yes I have found more layers the better. it makes it so much easier to fix mistakes or change ideas. Just remember to change layers as you go. i keep forgetting
Heres a version with some placeholder text to show you what I´m planning and a version to show you only the front of the book.
Now I´m going to bed.
Watch out for having too much transparency from photoshop in the image - it makes things look like there's the wrong amount of distance between the objects and the viewer. It's simple enough to take out these sorts of transitions with a softer, opaque brush.
Hey Frida Bergholtz, nice image.
I like the composition and it looks like you've got a good start to the colors!
Before you get too far, I would suggest changing the womans pose. Straight profile is not a very interesting pose and would not impress as much in a portfolio as a 3/4 (or anything else really). Try and give an angle that would make for the most interesting portrait, since the woman is all you are working with.
Her gaze also leads us off the cover (assuming the book jacket is around a closed book.)
Having her engage the viewers eye might not be a bad idea since grabbing attention is the principal function of a book cover. Try and find some good inspirational material. Maybe go for a "Girl with Pearl Earing" by Vermeer-type look:
What purpose does it serve to be able to see her nipples through her shirt?
Last edited by Mute; June 8th, 2009 at 04:54 AM.
...my humble and uneducated opinion.
The first one is that I wanted to make paint the cover in a suitable historical style. A bit like this.
The other reason is that, in the story she is leaving her home to find her husband who has gone missing overseas. So I wanted her to gaze away in the distant thinking about where he could be.
It feels like it would be boring to have the common 3/4 portrait looking at the viewers kind of deal. I think that I would rather do something completely different.
I really dont know.
Anyway the nipples are just part of the underlying sketch.
Thank you very much for your advice.
Heres a little update.
I still havnt decided if I should keep the profile or not.
I´m also thinking about giving her a halo.
By the way its supposed to be "In Pursuit of the Green Lion" I just remembered.
Last edited by Frida Bergholtz; June 11th, 2009 at 12:44 PM.
The historical portraiture you referenced have the torso also facing in complete profile. It's gotta be one way or the other... Or maybe there can be a compromise: Turn her head SLIGHTLY towards us, so that we JUST see a bit of her other eyebrow, other nostril, etc.
Since this is a character-oriented cover, having a bit of a 3/4 show there is more than one side to her, excuse the terrible pun! The profile portraiture often done for noblemen and -women wanted to make them seem perfect, aloof, unattainable. This woman seems more friendly than that, and wistful.
Thank you misosoupaddict.
I made a few sketches to se if I could find a perfect angle for Margareth.
In the first one I tried the historical style all the way. It turned out a bit dull but if I paint it beautifully enought it could work.
I tried a more approchable style in the second picture. It looks better as only the front cover but it doesnt have the mood I was going for and the composition as a whole doesnt look as good.
The last version has a more interesting angle on her face and it fits the mood but it has even less contact with the wiever.
So what do you think?
Ooh, I like that last one. It's got a lot more of that "yearning" aspect that you mentioned before. Her neck seems a bit long, so you'll have to watch that, but it seems to work.
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give her a strong pose, she's a brave woman right? I think the last pick shows that, and even gives her more personalety cus she seams to be thinking about her chooise. she seems to have some intention in that, she looks fierce, and also a bit hesetant? I don't know if that is intentional? or fitting, I don't know the book. the first one looks very lifeless, the secound one looks like "Im here to do what Im told, and try to look cute in the process" cute but boring, go with the last one or one similar to that i'd say
the english contryside bg, dosent really bring the story forward, I mean you have alredy established the timeperiod by her clothes, maybe put her house behind her in the bg of the front cover (shoing that she is leaving) and maybe blend the contryside into cliffs by a stormy dark ocean in the back cover. or maybe give her some luggage, I don't know but, right not the bg just looks nice it dosen't really tell us anything. (or maybe it is? is she going to a castle where her husband is being inprisoned?) maybe she shuld have something belonging to her husband on her to, so we can guess what she is thinking of. just suggestions
anyway good luck! and I look forward seeing the pic done
Last edited by Metso; June 21st, 2009 at 12:33 PM.
I liked your original pose better. The only problem was that she was leaning back a little too much.
Do consider flopping the figure. Wraparound covers are tricky, because you want the full, unwrapped composition to work, but the really important part is the cropped front cover.
Definitely develop the figure and background on separate layers, at least. It will give you much more flexibility.
Last edited by Elwell; June 21st, 2009 at 10:48 PM.
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I like this new angle on her face but I feel that I am losing sight of my original idea to paint in in a medieaval portrait style. This look vagule preraphaelite, whitch isnt neccecarily a bad thing I suppose.
I have refined the sketch and tried flippping the figure. She has to do something with her hands for it to work.
I also made this stupid looking sketch to see if a different background would work better.
Any further input would be appretiated.
Her husband is indeed inprisoned in a castle. The castle in the background could be that castle or it could be the home she is leaving.
Fierce and hesitant is a good look. She is leaving her two small children behind.
I like Wraparound covers so I wanted to do one plus I am a bit lazy so I needed to make something a little more challenging.
Right now I just want to start painting the thing though.
Last edited by Frida Bergholtz; June 23rd, 2009 at 11:46 AM.
Heres a version with some more expressive body language. I like that it seems like she is picking up her skirts.
I´m really terrible at sketching in photoshop, maybe I should go back to pen and paper for now. This thing looks less finished with every update.
i think you're forgetting that it'll be a book cover (it will be, no?)
so don't forget that the first time someone takes the book in the hand he'll see only the girl, not the castle from the back cover
I personally think you should go with this one try creating the mood with your painting skills. It is a really interesting angle that would surely attract the viewer. And it would give a more professional look. If not, go with the version on top of this one.
The last one is nice, but not for a book cover!! One can't see the castle if he doesn't open the cover, no? So it would look a bit strange..
Hope i helped and good luck~