Sky Pirates, Need to solve some problems
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Thread: Sky Pirates, Need to solve some problems

  1. #1
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    Sky Pirates, Need to solve some problems

    I've been working on this oil painting on and off for the last 2 weeks, and now need some specific advice on some things-

    1) The bluecoat on the far left. For some reason I'm having a lot of trouble integrating him into the environment, he's got a pasted on look no matter what I seem to do. Is there something I should be doing to make him fit? Maybe to the background?

    2) I can't figure out how to get the sword to stick out enough against the guns. Darker? Or should the guns be simplified and knocked back with some scumbling?

    3) I've been advised to add some detailing to the closest gun, like seams and rivets and whatnot. I held off on doing so until I'd added in more of the painting, so now that I have, I'm not sure whether it needs to stay simple to avoid drawing too much attention to it, or whether it needs those details still.

    Things I'm aware of and still need to get to- value corrections on the guns, finishing the empty space behind the pirate captain's right leg, fixing the skin tones on the background characters, adding some steampunk type details on the guns.

    So yeah, any input on those points would really help out, and of course any other advice is always appreciated .

    Edit: A friend just pointed out that her sword isn't being held correctly, so that's getting repainted.

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    Last edited by Sidharth Chaturvedi; July 22nd, 2010 at 04:00 AM.
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  3. #2
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    1) looking at the railing behind the standing pirate i would say that the pirate is standing very close to it. Now comparing that to the bluecoat, his knees is right next to her foot, thereby the rest of his body would have to go into the railing in order for him to fit there. hmm i dunno if that is the reason, but maybe.

    2) i tried to make that sword a little brighter: see attachment. i think it makes it stand more out.

    3) i dont really know if im qualified, but i agree that you should not add any details to the gun.

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    My sketchbook:
    Fumble

    My brothers sketchbook:
    Braintree
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  5. #3
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    1) I would probably suggest changing the hue of the guys coat to slightly more magenta perhaps, this way he would blend more into the woodwork behind him? The main problem is the fact their coats are the same colour even though one of the character is further away. So you need to find out what colour the mans coat would be if he was 10 feet away from you.

    2) I would increase the contrast of that area. So lighten the sword and darken the gun behind it just a touch.

    3) Keep it simple for the time being. If anything you need to detail the main focus of the illustration, which is the two characters.

    I would definitely suggest playing around in photoshop before you jump straight in with real paints. Kudos for working in oils btw, it's bloody tough!

    Form, Form, Form, Form, Form, Form, Form, Form, Form, Form.
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    Nice piece. In my opinion, the problem here is that the values of everything except the sky are all in the midrange, and as a result the picture feels flat. If it were me, I'd push back the background to a much lighter value so there was a clear separation of figure and ground (JPEG below, vastly oversimplifying things.) Also, pretty much every successful picture in the history of art has been set up according to one of the three basic figure/ground schemes (other JPEG attached.) Ignore it at your peril.





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    Just had a thought for desaturating the background, maybe some smoke? Or flying through a cloud?

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    A list of things that will definitely help:

    1. Clear cut light and shadow shapes.

    2. Deeper undercuts in drapery(do some research on this, look in the mirror, whatever you have to do, it's tricky...)

    3. Bolder shadow shape design.

    4. More consistent light and form logic.

    5. Smaller head sizes. Watch the captains left leg too, it extends too far towards us and should either be squared with her shoulders, or reaching back behind her, with the foot turned out.

    Getting into specifics would just be confusing unless I did a paint-over for you. So I attached this image from Craig Mullins. Similar subject, but he does it way better than I would, you will find all the shape design and light stuff is really strong in his piece. Also the costumes are thoroughly researched along with the ship. The hanging lines and clutter really help to create a lived in feeling:

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  11. #8
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    Thanks for all the advice so far, everyone! I only got to work on this for an hour today, I spent just about all of that time trying to increase the separation between light and shadow, as per Keith Eager's suggestion. More tomorrow.



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  12. #9
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    Teeny bit more.



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    The first thing I notice on the newest version of the painting is that there is a bad tangent where her sword hilt is hitting the head of a prisoner behind her. The dead guy in front of the kneeling figure in the front needs to go. he is so identical in color and value that he appears to be part of the main figures body which causes alot of confusion.

    Also on that kneeling figure I was very confused by the front most prisoners pants. His lower body is very ill defined and hard to figure out. You need to clarify where his legs are or make him taller. right now his head looks enormous and his body tiny. There are just alot of weird little tangents that need to be ironed out. Can't wait to see more!

    I LOVE the zepplin in back and the guns are awesome.

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    recent changes are good. My only problem with the new one compared to the original post is her sword. I preferred the shape of the old one.
    You've made the newer one thinner which doesnt really work with the shape of the holster now.
    Otherwise this is looking really good. Nice composition, nice lighting, good narrative.
    Though you may want to darken those wooden boards in the foreground to add a little more contrast.

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    Is it just me or is her sword holding wrist twisted beyond possiblity?

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  16. #13
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    Killskerry: Thanks for the feedback! Yeah, the problem with the pants was pointed out in class critique, just some incorrect lighting there. Sword tangent will be fixed tonight. I wont be getting rid of the body, but I was told to show the guy's arms spread in front of him to clarify what was happening.

    a_mckeown: Thanks! The sword was changed because it was being held incorrectly, given the position of her wrist. I like it this way as well because it's more easily readable against the guns.

    Pavel Sokov: Nah, the pose is referenced, wrist can do that.

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  17. #14
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    Close to final.



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  18. #15
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    I wasn't happy with the composition, so I tried to go at it a little more abstractly and decided it needed more red blobs over on the right. So now there's a crowd there.



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  19. #16
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    Its turned out great! You've bumped out the shadows and highlights really well.
    Thumbs up. Very successful piece.

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