Stylized Skull and Candle (first digi painting)

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  1. #1
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    Stylized Skull and Candle (first digi painting)

    Hey Folks,

    This is a digital recreation of one of my favorite oil paintings I did in art school. The original did not have the glowing green eye, which brings me to my point. I am hoping one of you kind folks would be willing to do a quick paintover showing me where you believe the highlights from the eyes light should go. I have kind of hit a brick wall as to my direction and would like some help there.

    I plan to add it to the smoke as well, but have not gotten to it yet.

    Anyways, thoughts on composition? colors? anything at all, and of course paintovers are welcome and appreciated.

    * Update - Added brighter highlights to the skull reworked upper lip and nose area

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    Last edited by zedkhov; January 15th, 2010 at 09:10 PM. Reason: adding more information

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  3. #2
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    I've come to realize my highlights need a sever beating as well, so I am upping those considerably in addition to trying to even out the confusing lighting on it's nose and upper lip area.

    Thoughts?


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  4. #3
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    Alright so, 12 hours no reply. Not a good sign...Anyone want to chip in what's wrong with it? c'mon now...


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    The critique forum seems to be going a bit slow, at the moment -- don't worry, it isn't you. c: I'm not very good at writing critiques, but I will give it a shot.

    It looks like your lightsource is coming from the left, but there are no directional shadows on the candle. If the light is coming from the left, then you should have all of the candle's highlights towards the left side. Right now you have kind of a diffused light from the direct front going on with the candle, and a side-light from the left on the skull.

    I have to admit that I am a little baffled about where the reflections would go for the green glow, so I'm no help in that area. :c Honestly, it doesn't feel like a very bright light at the moment -- more like a dull glow -- which makes me feel that it isn't really going to effect much, and what it would effect (i.e., the away side of the candle) isn't visible to the viewer, anyway.

    You may also want to use a larger, harder brush as well. The image seems a little muddy at the moment because your brushes are too small and soft. For instance, you've got nice sharp lines for the purple writing on the skull, but the skull's edge is really blurry.

    I'm not really a fan of the colors; I think it's really distracting, personally. You've got bright orange, red, purple, green, and virtually nothing else. I think you should decide between having the candle or the skull as your focal point, and go for the bright colors on the one you choose. Typically, I find that it's most effective to make your focal point bright and light, allowing everything else to be a little less saturated and a little darker.

    Although this is a stylized drawing, make sure to use references -- not only for the skull, but for the candle, as well. (: I used to hate using references, it felt like cheating. But honestly, I think that in order for improvement to be achieved, references are really a necessity no matter what you're drawing (at least at first!).

    Anyway, I hope that helps a bit! I know little or no feedback can be pretty frustrating, sometimes. (:

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    Hey Pepokis.

    Thank you for taking the time, that's what I was looking for! I did not see the glow as being so diffused but I think you are right. I think what I will do is make the glow if any very subtle on anything it may touch.

    The colors are something I will consider as well, I tend to gravitate towards dark earth tones and I find it extremely difficult to get out of it, but I have to. I will rework my overall light source as well it's all over the place I know. I was at a loss with what to do with it.

    And you are absoloutly right, I really have to get away from the soft brushes. I will try to get another version up this weekend with some tweaks and changes.

    Thanks again,

    Z


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    I did a paint over to address three issues

    Composition: This piece has a LARGE amount of empty space which does not seem to be serving any compositional function. 'Because that's what size the canvas was' is not an acceptable reason to include dead space that isn't adding to the composition. In it's current format you have two items a candle and a skull which may or may not be part of the same scene of have anything to do with each other.

    My solution to this empty space was to just remove it. At first I just shifted the candle over next to the skull, but it looked awkward and crowded, so i moved it in front of the skull. Not only did this solve the dead space issue, but it helped us establish depth in the image.

    Lighting: Yeah, you have some lighting issues going on here. The light source on the skull is from the left hand side of the image, but it isn't very well defined. The candle on the other hand doesn't seem to be 'lit' at all it's just got darks and lights depicting candle form or drip form. When you are painting, imagine the object as a 3d form, think about how the light would hit the object. If you have trouble imagining such things i would suggest you find random objects around your pad and light them with a lamp and do light and shadow studies.I largely kept with your stylized skull's anatomy, but i did paint in the back of the eye socket, because eye sockets are not gaping holes that lead to dark abbysses. I'm not sure how much of this was 'stylized' and how much was lack of knowledge/didn't look at a reference, but since you specifically said it was styled, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume it was all purposeful.

    Simplify unnecessary elements: As for the glowing eye thing, I personally didn't like it and felt it was distracting to the overall image. The image seemed to more be about the objects than the glowing eye, so in my paintover, I removed it. This was a personal opinion, It's your image and only you really know what it's supposed to represent, so that eye orb may very well need to be there, I personally just didn't think it added to the piece.

    Best wishes, look forward to seeing more.

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  9. #7
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    What a fantastic paintover truepinkas I truly value your yime taken and advice. I think with your comments along with pepokish I have some more direction in this painting and I will be heading that way.

    This is the thing I miss the most from art school, straight up no BS comments and crits. Thanks again very much. I'll post more soon.

    Cheers,

    Z


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    Update Jan 17th

    Just so you guys know I haven't been slacking here's what I got so far.

    So,

    I've changed my color pallette a bit. I stuck to my earth tones in this one. I've reworked the eye, size of the eye and the nose as well as put in the rough paint for laying down more detail. Obviously I'll be redoing the candle, teeth and smoke.

    Thoughts so far?

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  11. #9
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    Looking good so far in terms of redux.

    As I said to you elsewhere, if you move the nose over to the right a bit, it will help balance the feeling of the skull a bit more.

    It'll be nice to see after you do a bit more work on the candle and such - I'll throw you a paint over later on tonight, as I have some thoughts for some elements (I'm at school and didn't bring my tablet).

    Lots of improvement from the initial image. Good work, man.



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    Thanks buddy. The feedback on these forums is just fantastic, really gave me a better direction.

    I'd love a paintover. I'll be moving the nose over later tonight and tweaking the skull a bit more. I will try to get started on the candle and teeth as well depending how much time I have.

    Cheers,

    Z


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    Alright, here's a quickie paint over.

    I changed the colour of the candle to something a bit more neutral since the skull seems to be the intended focal point - correct me if I'm wrong. The purple was a bit too distracting since it was pretty vibrant as Truepinkas stated above.

    I also added a bit more saturation since the colours seemed a little bit on the dark side to me (but that might just be my taste) and lightened the shadows a little bit.

    Hope this helps things a bit

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    A bit of improvement so far.

    Overall, I think the forms of the objects are still pretty flat. Rendering reflected light would make quite a difference. If you decide to follow Truepinka' advice and do lighting studies, it may interest you to learn about the chiaroscuro and the six catagories, one of which is reflected light. In addition, it would help to make highlights lighter and shadows darker on the skull but only to a certain degree. As opposed to the skull, there's much more contrast on the candle then there needs to be, and the areas that are supposed to shadows are actually outlining the shape of the candlewax and flattening its form.

    In terms of color, I think the candle is okay, that's if it's the focus. It's light inherit value, higher saturation, and it's cool color sets it apart from the skull and background, which obviously have warmer, duller (and darker) tones. If the skull is the focus, then you may need to add in more details to the skull, kinda like a camera focusing in and making everything else blurrier.

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  15. #13
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    Thanks for the paintover Bean. I think in this case I will be making the candle the focal point of this composition. The highlight reference in the paintover is a great help as well. I'll look into it. Orochi, Thanks for the input I'll play with the darks and lights some more and see what I can do.


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