I've been working on a couple of paintings in my free time. I used to draw dragons all the time when I was a kid and thought it would be fun to revisit them, but I feel really stuck when it comes to these two. I'm pretty unhappy with them but I can't figure out what exactly is bothering me and how to fix it. Deviantart was pretty much unresponsive, it seemstough to get real critiques on that site.
When it comes to the backgrounds, I'm stumped. I feel like they are too bland, but when I add some detail the detract from the focus of the painting. I feel like the composition/poses are really boring, that's always been a major weak point for me so any pointers on how to improve in that area would be much welcome. Really, any suggestions would be great, don't go easy on me, I can take it
Oh and by the way I'm using photoshop but I just got a copy of painter that I plan on trying out soon.
Well first one is not bad. There is something that I like about this one. I guess because it's not that typical dragon. It's skinny and agile. However, you need to work on the anatomy of that creature. Since this one is slender, maybe you can use reference photo of cheetah to help you out. Since first image is in dark, those glowing spots on tail and a shoulder would bounce of the reflection on some areas of it's body. This creature looks playful as well. Your composition is boring because it's in center. It's not telling any story at the moment. I would expand the image to the right of the creature and add maybe some baby dragons running after their mother/father. That way it will give the explanation of that happy bounce that the creature is doing. If you would add atmospheric effects, then you would be able to make the creature stand out a little more. Since its the night, foreground would be lightest, then mid ground and background darkest.
Second: I like the head, then neck is not even which makes this creature sloppy. Also, here you have some anatomy issues. Biggest problem is that it's lower body is heavier then the upper body. He wouldn't be able to fly and would definitely have hard time walking. His right wing reminds me of a bat because its slender muscle. I would position it's right wing some other way. Expand the image and put the creature in one of the four corners to add interest. Also, there is no story here. Why is he acting like that? Seems like he's about to be attacked by a creature that's not in an image. Your grass is really flat and u've added color on top of the grass making it look like it's frozen and it's under thick ice that's brown color. Also, your foreground blends with horizon and the sky. This makes it look like a backdrop and not real environment.
I LOVE the idea of adding little baby dragons onto the first one, it's perfect! I hadn't thought of using a cheetah as a reference but I think it would work really well. I hadn't noticed how strange the neck looked on the second one, thanks for pointing it out, same with the lower body, it's definitely out of proportion with the upper half. I originally wanted to have something attacking the dragon in this one, but couldn't think of anything, so I'll revisit that idea. Thanks for the tips on the background as well
Glad I can help.
Alright here's a quick update. I think I'm gonna focus on the first one and put the other on hold for now.
I extended the canvas and added the babies like you suggested, I think it looks a lot better this way, again, thanks for the idea I also added some more light and reflections from the glowing spots, but I feel like I went a bit overboard, I just can't tell. The babies are still pretty rough so I left in my sketches so you can kinda see what I was trying to go for. I also revisited the anatomy, specifically the legs and chest. I deepened the chest a bit to match a cheetah's and changed the hind legs entirely, I think they look a bit better but if anything stands out please let me know.
Thanks again for being so helpful
Another update, mostly working on the first baby