Drow vs Mind Flayer DONE - but not finished!

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  1. #1
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    Drow vs Mind Flayer DONE - but not finished!

    I've been seeing a lot of posts about ArtOrder, so I popped over to see what going on and came across this brief.
    Thought it sounded very interested so I'll see if I can fit it in with work.

    Book Challenge brief

    Quick toned study - just need to make sure of figure placement:
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    First colours -with a HUGE nod towards Dan Dos Santos and Todd Lockwood.
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    With the layout:
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    Quite a lot will be refined when I slap on some (digital) paint.

    Comments on the figure placement would be great! (or on the figures too!)

    Last edited by Venger; July 26th, 2009 at 01:12 PM.
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  3. #2
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    Hey man,

    I think this is a case of "everything is technically fine" as in nothing is jumping out as compositionally or anatomically incorrect, but it definitely feels like something is missing. It feels more like an interior scene rather than a book cover. Personally the feeling worsens when the image is cropped and the drow + 3 have to stand on their own. This is possibly due to the fact that in that reduced scene we lose the difference in ground elevation and we also lose the other two mindflayers who offset the two that flank her. Basically the elements that add some more interest are lost.

    Making it a bit more engaging could be as simple as changing the drow's arm position or moving one of the background guys up or down. If you have the time you could change up the main area of interest to include her battling one of them, or at least having one in closer proximity.

    My only other suggestion would be to focus on the cropped front cover for a while. You've made a good overall scene, but like I said when it's focussed to that one spot it loses something.

    Sorry I can't be more helpful,my skills/knowledge with composition isn't as advanced as I'd like it to be

    Good work though, and with that one elusive 'thing' added it'll be awesome

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  5. #3
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    Cheers Jason,
    That's what happens when you mainly work on internals lol
    Think it's her pose
    Good plan to work just on the book cover area.

    Wish I'd started this earlier!
    Where's Elwell when you need him huh

    Hmm maybe I should get this moved to the crit section?

    Quick redress, gave it more story, any better?
    Obviously still tinkering (usually would have done all this before slapping some paint on!)
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    Last edited by Venger; July 16th, 2009 at 01:31 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venger View Post
    Where's Elwell when you need him huh
    Speak of the Devil...

    The pose is definitely better, but it's still very symmetrical, and her shoulders and hips are parallel, which combine to give an impression of stillness and make her looked posed. Conceptually this could work, but you have to have a clear storytelling reason behind it; maybe she's standing in a pile of dismembered flayer corpses, and the others are momentarily backing off and regrouping. Think Uma Thurman in Kill Bill.


    Tristan Elwell
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  8. #5
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    Cheers Elwell,
    Hmm I was going for a 'pause in the battle' theme, but I'll tinker some more - I'll probably rotate the torso some more and add some more bodies - as its not obvious.

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    Ok pose is updated - feels a lot better!

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    I like whats going on,the mindflayers are in good positions, I think her pose is what was awkward.

    What you have is better.

    How about turning the blade in her left hand so its across her body, then maybe turn her head in a little and down givering her more of a "im gonna kick your ass look"

    just a thought, with pic.

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  12. #8
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    Yeah that works, still follows the same comp, but looks better
    (work Z comp, through the Author down through the pic to the title)

    Cheers Zazerzs!

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    Hey man, this is really great stuff. It reminds me of the work of Karl Kopinski, an ex-Warhammer illustrator (whose artwork I adore). I like the textures/brushes you've used; I think it adds atmosphere

    EDIT: You're Des Hanley... No wonder it looks a bit Warhammer, hahaha

    Please give erudite, constructive critiques or give none at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by phiq View Post
    Hey man, this is really great stuff. It reminds me of the work of Karl Kopinski, an ex-Warhammer illustrator (whose artwork I adore). I like the textures/brushes you've used; I think it adds atmosphere

    But... remember not to be lazy when you are drawing/painting characters with striking poses. The pose is good, but it does not necessarily mean that blocking in any weapon at any angle will keep the pose looking how you want it, or, God forbid, only "good enough". For example, in the last post... can we really tell what she is doing in that exact pose whilst with her sword held out like that? If you're going to illustrate a warrior bracing for an all-out attack, then pose the figure with the various weapons bracing for an all-out attack. If you're going to illustrate a character just about to strike, then pose the figure with the various weapons like she is about to strike. Replacing weapons with others and placing them in different angles without taking into account the pose as a whole may stuff things up... I know sometimes it can be pulled off, but it's best not rest on such practices.

    I hope that helps!
    All too true, usually I sort out all that stuff before I start painting (not always but most of the time)
    I came to this project late in the day and just 'started' - now I'm paying for it!
    Such is life

    Sadly I never got chance to work with Karl, he joined GW about a week after I left - pity, I really admire his work.

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    Hey Venger, I didn't think you'd pick up my original post... I edited it when I saw who you were! It might sound silly but I have looked up to the artistic prowess of GW artists since I was 11, so I felt a bit guilty critiquing this WIP of yours like I did...!

    Anyway, while I am here: I still remember and love your great Gorkamorka pieces and your Legion of the Damned Space Marine Sergeant from Codex: Ultramarines was etched into my child-brain (I think you also did the Librarian Tigurius pic too [?]... I go back a few years!)

    Please give erudite, constructive critiques or give none at all.

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    "Maybe this world is another planet's hell." - Aldous Huxley
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  17. #12
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    Sadly I cringe when I look at some of those pieces (some were so bad! especially the early stuff)
    Never be afraid to offer opinions on peoples work, regardless of who they are (you might have seen something they might have missed - it's always appreciated! - (as long as its constructive )

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  18. #13
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    I like it V, and think it’s coming along nicely. Would like to see it when you slap more paint to it and the back cover is Oh…..so true. First impression of a book is the cover and I have gotten several for that reason only.

    Cool wip!!

    Bruce

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  20. #14
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    Sadly, I'll have to put this one on hold (paying work to do) - so I might not get it done for the deadline (technically it's not to the brief, which was "a Drow and Mindflayer, locked in combat")
    Might knock up something simpler if I have time.
    (I'll still do this one though.)

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  21. #15
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    Ok, had some time spare....so I completely redesigned it! (thanks brain...)

    Lets see, the deadline is on Sunday - not sure how far I'll get (gulp - might be more of a speedpaint and then I might finish it for the 'best of' book.)

    Think this works a lot better than before.

    Comments welcome.

    (part of me is saying this looks familiar - so if you know of what it is, let me know.)

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    Last edited by Venger; July 24th, 2009 at 11:00 PM.
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  22. #16
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    Venger, wow! So much better! I love how you've framed her with the pillars and that Mindflayer in the foreground is recoiling perfectly (though it is all still rather sketchy). The warmer greens work a lot better too and the contrast of light and dark is striking. How will you light the warrior woman? A sickly coloured flame nearby could illuminate her front-side pretty well, but I don't know exactly what you'll do next. I also love how the mindflayer in the foreground is rimmed by light too.

    Please give erudite, constructive critiques or give none at all.

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  24. #17
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    Scribble, scribble - well done (for the deadline) but not finished.
    there's quite a lot of ropey stuff in there - and I need to shoot some shots for better positioning (face and arms)
    Still, bit of a rush and one I'll revisit to finish properly.

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  25. #18
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    Starting over was a good call, too bad you didn't get to take it further. The flayers look great, but the drow stiffened up a little between the rough and the rendering.


    Tristan Elwell
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  27. #19
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    Yup, it's a common failing that I really struggle with, overworking things when I should be looking at the picture as a whole.
    I'll try and address it when I go back to it (apart from some of the background, she's the bit I'm most unhappy with - especially the face)

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  28. #20
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    Nice.

    The expression on her face is just perfect, but it's getting a bit to gnarled to the point of looking like an old witch. Still though, great job considering the late change

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