Sirens

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Thread: Sirens

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    Sirens

    Trying a somewhat new process, simple sketch, basic colours underneath then painting details directly over top. Used to be everything was values first then colour overlays then direct paint but sometimes I feel my values and colours are a bit hollow.

    Anyhow any crits welcome. I think the laying siren needs to have a bigger head and I'm not sure if I want to move the foreground one up on the canvas or not.

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    I like the way you have painted the standing figure. Very nice.
    If I was to critique it, it would be on composition. There is nowhere in particular that seems to be the central focus. The standing figure is the most detailed (but it is a WIP, so I don't know how far you will take the other figures). If the standing woman is meant to be the focal, then I think you will need to find ways to make this the case, be it by introducing more colours, more intensely lit etc.
    No figure grabs my attention more than another. The focus could be all of the figures, but the way that they are laid out makes this out of the question in my opinion. I feel to strengthen the composition, the furthest away figure will need to be dulled significantly, or taken out. The front two figures disappear off the frame, which is fine, but most of the paintings that I have seen work a lot better without the frame cutting some limbs off.

    (This is all advice from someone who knows less than you, just my $0.02)

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    I have to agree with the previous poster. A suggestion would be to perhaps move the sirens a little to the right so that the standing figure (who seems to have been intended as the main focus point) is more centrally located and draws the viewers eye better, because in her current position she seems out of the limelight.

    Secondly, I would maybe like to see a few small lights, like oil lamps, added on the boat, just to give it a little bit of life. I think it would not only give a little more color contrast to the predominantly blue piece, but also not let the ship get lost so much in the background, because right now it would be tough to tell exactly what's going on in this picture if I didn't know the title.

    Hope this helps!

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    Thanks guys, I like the crits on the comp and boat lights a lot; my intent for the focus was for the viewer to start at the beginning of the little story (sirens pulling in a ship) on the left, but then moving down and through the look of the laying siren down to the "reveal" which would be the skulls, blood and sword. I think some more contrast/detail down there would help bring more focus (I tried that with the blood), and I'll see about shifting the positions of the sirens (and toning down the back one)

    keep em comin if you got em.

    Last edited by Jason Rainville; October 15th, 2010 at 02:32 PM.
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    The tangent between the foreground figure's head and the laying figure's torso is kinda awkward, it makes it look like the laying figure is balancing on the foreground figure's head. I think the piece would look stronger composition-wise if you erased the laying figure completely, slightly scaled down and moved the standing one to our right and added some more canvas space to the top and left sides.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Iridyse View Post
    The tangent between the foreground figure's head and the laying figures torso is kinda awkward, it makes it look like the laying figure is balancing on the foreground figure's head. I think the piece would look stronger composition-wise if you erased the laying figure completely, slightly scaled down and moved the standing one to our right and added some more canvas space to the top and left sides.
    Good point, but i'm reluctant to remove her wholly as when she wasn't there it just seemed as if the two beckoning sirens were too far removed from the hidden one in that they wanted different things (the foreground one being jaded, or wanting her sisters dead or something) She felt a little too on her own. I feel the laying one and her little look connects the "secret" with the advertisement. What I'm thinking now though is a more significant overlap of the sitting one over the laying one, and doing as you say with moving the standing one right and padding the left side.

    Thanks

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    The only real issue I have with the composition thus far is that, well, the figure lying on her stomach is lying flat against the rock. And last I recalled, rocks aren't always obliging in creating a nice flat patch for you to lie against, not to mention how jarring it is compared to the other figures which are more naturally posed in the environment.

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    At risk of unbalancing the composition, I'm wishing that there was more canvas space between the ship and the girls as well as more of a sense of the vastness of the ocean. Right now, it seems like the feeling of the relationship between the vast ocean and the little island the girls are on are reversed, which just doesn't feel right to me (even if the focus is obviously on the sirens).
    All the girls are looking good to me except for the laying one. The contours/lighting on the back don't look quite natural and the shoulders seem a bit masculine or something. And I do think the head may be a bit small (either that, or she needs more cranium).
    Also, since the girl at the bottom is holding a bloody knife, will we see a [somewhat fresh] victim's corpse right next to her, maybe going off on that corner of the canvas.

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    I always like triangle compositions. I think its just a good standard set up that works.

    As for suggestions? I think the values so far are leading the eye but all the of the sirens are so equally lit, the dept isnt really reading right for me. I'm curious if you have some preference on the overall layout? Because I agree with what wooblood said about the ship and the girls, so maybe you could make it more of a horizontal piece? You could fit more space as far as aerial perspective and space on the picture plane maybe?

    I really enjoy the colors though.

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    nice, what are your brush settings when painting skin? Also, you use hard or soft brush?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DAMJAN View Post
    nice, what are your brush settings when painting skin? Also, you use hard or soft brush?
    For pretty much the whole thing it's been a standard round brush, 100% opacity and flow, usually very soft but harder for certain parts. I've been neglecting the soft brush for too long and wanted to see what I could get out of it.

    Update; the crits on the comp I think were spot on, the sirens feel more gestalt and there's a bit more lead in to the story. I also thing the stronger highlights on the standing leg lead the eye down a bit better. Also not sure if I want the crashing wave or not;


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    Much better indeed . The only crit I have is a bit of a nitpick I guess; the skulls indicate old kills but the blood is fresh (also contradictory with the fact that they are still trying to lure in the ship rather than already having made their kill). I think if you painted old blood stains on the rock, brown and rusty, it'd be less contradictory.

    The left leg of the standing siren seems a bit thick, there isn't very much of a transition from thigh to knee to calf. I think the thigh should be just slightly thinner close to the knee. Quite beautiful women otherwise though, I'm very pleased you chose to give the women a slight bit more meat than you see on your average fantasy woman.

    Oh, and perhaps the sky should be slightly darker. It's really good otherwise though. You're an inspiration to me and I'm sure many others .

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    Oh, and I forgot something. I think the underside of her left butt-cheek needs a slight.. Crease? The weight is on that leg and she's standing upright, so as a result the muscles of the leg and her butt are being pressed together there. This is based on what my own body does though (and a reference). I made a quick paintover to make myself more clear; also changed the leg a bit while I was at it.

    It's also really good to hear that I'm not the only one who uses the standard round brush for painting ^^.

    Sirens

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lhune View Post
    Oh, and I forgot something. I think the underside of her left butt-cheek needs a slight.. Crease? The weight is on that leg and she's standing upright, so as a result the muscles of the leg and her butt are being pressed together there. This is based on what my own body does though (and a reference). I made a quick paintover to make myself more clear; also changed the leg a bit while I was at it.

    It's also really good to hear that I'm not the only one who uses the standard round brush for painting ^^.

    Sirens
    Ahhh thank you, I had a ref for her bum but I didn't actually make enough of a crease there. I was actually fixing up the leg when I saw this so I'll get right on it

    Oh and; wave or no wave?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Rainville View Post
    Ahhh thank you, I had a ref for her bum but I didn't actually make enough of a crease there. I was actually fixing up the leg when I saw this so I'll get right on it

    Oh and; wave or no wave?
    Welcome ^^.

    Definitely a wave, but maybe a bit more subtle? Without the wave the picture is definitely missing something.

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    Think I'm almost done. Not sure if it's too monochromatic even though I do like the colour of their skin. Colour overlay to the rescue, not sure if I want to do the whole image or just the sirens. Overlay on just the sirens gives more contrast but the overall image adds more colour variation throughout. Bah either way it's about done I think, thanks everyone for the help;

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    Beautifully rendered figures and your skin tones there are amazing. True that the composition could be stronger but what is really distracting me are the hands and feet. A skilled artist will always look at them, especially the hands since they can tell stories themselves. Painting then are probably the hardest things to do (for me at least) so I think you could try to give it another go at them. Really nice work though man, you almost have yourself a portfolio piece here.

    and one more nit-picky thing here....to my knowledge sirens dont generally use knives to kill their prey, I think the blood would do the trick without the knife, but hey you're the artist.

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    Oh yeah, I've just noticed that hands and feet are the only things that make your peace look weak. Thanks for the response.

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    Mm, partially agreeing with DAMJAN. The standing figure on the left's left arm is strangely foreshortened. It looks like it's somehow pointed towards the right or just intended for a different body.

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    The foreshortening on the standing woman's left arm is way off. Right now it looks like a stumpy arm of a child. Did you use ref for it?

    The problem is in the shoulder is drawn as if the arm is at her side, but the arm is foreshortened in front of her. So look at some shoulder ref in that position, because I think the bicep is in the wrong position and the lighting is off.

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    Think I would put less spray as the one looks like she's getting it all in the face. I'd say lose the spray above the knee level of the the standing woman. The standing woman also seems to have legs that are slightly too short, and as noted here arms are a bit odd. Not sure if you have references for the skulls but they don't look very realistic, either.

    It would probably more convincing as a nocturnal scene without the warm colours in the foreground, unless there is a light source. Blood looks black by moonlight, so I'm told, and the figures looked better in the cool tones of the earlier versions. (I think I would leave out the knife and the blood and just have the bones, as it's a bit much.) Aside from that I think it's a great picture.

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    I personally think this is gorgeous, but I loved the mood of the piece before the colour overlays. It was very ominous. Now I'm just sitting there wondering where all that bright light is coming from out in the middle of the ocean.

    But a very beautiful piece indeed!

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    It's looking beautiful, the skin tones especially, very luminous. I would keep working on this though. You have many areas that you can improve.

    The legs of the woman standing need to be a tad bit longer (or a smaller torso?), and narrower at the ankles.

    Ultimately, if you want the composition to work you need to take out that "interaction" that is taking place between the two middle sirens, its distracting. The one on the the rock seems to be looking at the one below with that look... lesbian sirens? I would suggest having one of them face the ship.

    You could try having cloud formations such that it creates a circular flow to the piece... as your eye would go from the ship to the sirens into and through the clouds, through the standing woman and back to the ship. Just one of the many ways to improve composition IMO.

    Blood colour would depend on whether its fresh or not... Judging form the skulls one would think it's not but the siren is holding a knife which seems to indicate that it is fresh. There's a conflict there.

    remember, the rocks are going to have a different texture than flesh.

    Would they be carrying torches on the ship?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lii-chan View Post
    I personally think this is gorgeous, but I loved the mood of the piece before the colour overlays. It was very ominous. Now I'm just sitting there wondering where all that bright light is coming from out in the middle of the ocean.

    But a very beautiful piece indeed!
    Agreed, I liked it best before the new color overlays.

    I find the standing siren's head to be too large in proportion to the rest of the body.

    Also, with the siren laying down, it seems that her cheek on the far side is missing. Her you can see most of her forehead, but not her other cheek. It makes her look extremely gaunt.

    Gorgeous piece, I love the wave and your subtle soft shading style.

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    Light the ladies in the foreground a little more. Right now they're not too much brighter than the boat in the background so it's flattening your image a bit. If possible, make the sea darker. Really start pushing those values on the rocks and women. I think it would be something very special then.

    Sirens

    Last edited by s.ketch; October 22nd, 2010 at 06:29 AM.
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    I love the a ocean splash and flesh tones.

    Only comment I have is the skulls look a bit cartoony too me. It reminds of these hand made skulls which are more stylized. The zygomatic arch, with the spacing isn't as apparent.

    http://aranamuerta.com/wp-content/up.../skull-012.jpg


    Here is some helpful reference that might help define the forms better.

    Sirens

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    Just want to pop in and thank you guys for the crits, taking it all in for the final

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    Looking at the last post of your work, wow. It is awesome. The only critique I have is the skulls and bones around the Sirens. They appear flat and cartoonish in a rich and lifelike painting.

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    I love it, great work.

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    Just stacking another ticket for the original colours. While the overlays make the sirens stand out more it totally kills the otherwise beautifully rendered moonlit skin.

    -NWS

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