You will be eaten by magpies!
 
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  1. #1
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    You will be eaten by magpies!

    Here is a piece I did recently in gouache and I was hoping to get som critique on it.

    It is intended to be an illustration for "the Story of Gösta Berling" by Selma Lagerlöf. It's a scene where a witch is offended by an unsuspecting countess, in her anger the witch curses the poor countess to be eaten by magpies.

    Worth of note is also that I used a painting by Caspar David Friedrich as a reference for a part of the background.

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  3. #2
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    I like your expressions on the figures and the general motion of the magpies, although I feel you could have had even more magpies "swarming" around the woman in black to really get the feel that they were pecking her like crazy. The expression on the witch is great.

    However, this painting feels a little washed out. I would up the saturation on some areas of focus like the figures, and maybe parts of the foreground. You might also consider cropping to make the figures more of the focus than the trees in the background.

    "The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the one doing it."

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  5. #3
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    Thank you for commenting!

    When I made the sketch I had actually drawn a lot more magpies, but it turned out to look repetitive and uninteresting, mainly because I didn't vary the poses of them enough, but I agree that I should probably have more of them swarming around her.

    I also thought of the "desaturatedness" of it, which is something that occurs very often in my paintings, I don't know exactly what I should do to prevent it, but I guess I have to be more bold when adding colour, since I'm generally a bit careful.

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  6. #4
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    Maybe making the foreground magpies a little bigger will help. I'll look for a couple of refs for you too to help the pose problem.

    http://i.pbase.com/o4/88/85188/1/599...gpieflying.jpg
    http://www.kentos.org.uk/Stodmarsh/i...4-11-07zz1.jpg
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3522/...c1dbc82bef.jpg
    http://files.myopera.com/Flying%20Re...g/magpie02.jpg
    http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1375/...b150c774de.jpg
    http://gallery.photo.net/photo/7836770-md.jpg

    How are gouache paints btw? How do they compare to other types of paint? Are they easy to mix, etc. I ask because my college wants us to get them but I'd rather know if I'd use them myself before buying them. They're really expensive!

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  8. #5
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    Wow! Thanks for the links, they ought to help me with my pose problems.

    I just recently got into gouache paints myself but so far I am really happy with the way they behave. As you might know they're water soluble, which is always a plus for me, with easy cleanup etc. They're easy to mix (compared to acrylics which I have given a try before), They do dry quickly, but not too quickly (again compared too acrylics). They are very opaque with little water added, but with more water they resemble transparent watercolours more. Once dried the surface is matte which is something I prefer to a glossy finish.

    There is one issue concerning gouache however, and that is that once they're dry the colour is still water-soluble, so that if you paint in layers with a lot of water added, you might accidentally "revive" the layer underneath and it might get mixed into whatever you're painting on top. Another issue is that gouache paints sometimes change in colour once they dry, I am not sure yet of the reason to this since it does not always occur for me.

    But all in all gouache paints work really well for me.

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  9. #6
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    Ah cool. My tutor mentioned something about mixing Acrylics with gouache to change the consistency and stuff. Maybe that'd help with the solubility and colour change problem...Thanks for sharing your experiences though, I tried asking on the CA chatroom but they made fun of me and were not wiling to help at all. You're a good artist though...Thanks!!! ^_^

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  10. #7
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    Happy to help, and hey, I might try that out, mixing acrylics with gouache and see what happens!

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  11. #8
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    Hey Staffan!

    The picture is coming along nice, but I feel the characters are too stiff, and the witche's staff is too... transparent, for lack of a better word. At least for me it always washes into the background and I have a hard time focusing my eyes on the staff even if I look at them.

    The house on the left gives the picture on that side more weight than the downhill curve on the right. Try balancing the picture maybe? Even though the focus is more on the lady in the left, the house accentuated that and I keep looking away from the right side Maybe if you had the trail of the magpies coming from the right side of the picture?

    The sky and mist came out really nice, but the ground looks muddy and dirty. Muddy painted, not muddy muddy texture. I'd think you should give it a little more work.

    That will be all from me, cheers, and show us how you're progressing. ^^

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  13. #9
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    Thanks! I really see all those issues you have pointed out and I will try to fix them and post an update as soon as possible, been working on some other stuff lately. Thanks again to everyone for your feedback!

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    Ok, here's an update of the picture!

    So, what I changed is:
    I added some magpies, thanks Foxtrot Wolfwhistle for the poses, they where great help!

    I made some changes to the grass to make it less muddy. I was unsure how to accomplish this so I just added more straws and generally corrected some of the more horizontal brush strokes into more rough ones. I think it's better than before but at some places just look like the same old mud with straws sticking out of it :/

    I changed some stuff around the countess' face to sort of emphazise her expression.

    I played around digitally a bit with saturation and contrast levels. And the witch now generally has a darker tone and stands out from the background more, which I think at least somewhat balanced the picture, which was an issue that SoulBeaver pointed out, but I still want the general motion to be towards the right.

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