Join 500,000+ Artists
Its' free and it takes less than 10 seconds!
I'm nowhere near the calibur to post this in the actual, "Finally Finished" forum, but I really wanted to thank everyone for their help! I learned so much through just this one piece, and have a lot of advice I can take with me to others /end corny speech
End adjustments were darkening the figures, making sure the dead woman's face didn't look like it was being pulled down, adding more texture and interest to the ground, and adding lilypads to direct the viewers eye away from the corner.
OLD UPDATE: Made some suggested changes and added the figures. The girl feels disconnected from the pieces for me. I think it's her colouring. Can anyone offer any suggestions for me? Still working on adding texture to the ground...
Why does this still feel super-blah to me? Have I just been staring at it too long?
OLD UPDATE: Uploaded a newer version. I browned the ground out, adjusted the colour of the water, and generally worked on the lighting and depth. Does it look a little better? No figures yet, they're just silhouettes for now.
I just really feel like something's lacking...........
For my grad school portfolio. Just wanting to know if the colours/shading are okay... and I would love some advice on the ground if possible.
Thank you guys !
Last edited by Lii-chan; January 17th, 2011 at 11:41 PM.
Well I love your colors. I also really like the style with the linework in the tree.
Just add some dirt texture for the ground. Or you could add blades of grass, mushrooms, stones, etc.
My main crit would be that one cannot tell this tree has anything to do with purgatory. There's no story whatsoever and so it just ends up being unsatisfying and rather boring. I don't even get a creepy vibe from it. Its just pretty colors. Which is fine too unless you intended more.
I definitely plan on a lot more texture for the ground. I just want the form to be consistent at this stage
Perhaps I ought to not include the title then? The idea for this "purgatory" was based off of a swampy feel, where souls come before they realize they're actually dead. I haven't included any figures yet, but perhaps I should leave the reference to purgatory out, if it's going to leave one feeling unsatisfied. I don't plan on adding any cliche flames or souls in torment.
Question though: are you still bored if I leave out the reference to hell? Is there something I can do to make it more exciting? I plan on adding a silhouette of a little girl in the branches of the tree...
Thank you so much again!
Though I'm bit meh about the idea of a girl in the branches, I'd personally be more interested to see somebody in the water, being all gloomy/bored, like they had been stuck and waiting there for a long time : D
Also if you plan on using a silhouette, maybe adding some mist could help?
I too would also advise on putting some texture or tiny plants/something to the ground, maybe in the water too.
These might give some inspiration:
I think it might help to think of it this way:
illustration tells a story/communicates a them, so you need to think hard about what it is
you want the image to say (a thousand words remember!) and then use composition, colour, light etc to help sell the story.
Im curious, did you do any thumbnail sketches to decide on a composition? thats always a great idea to flesh out ideas and get the bad ones outta the way!
I guess there already is a lot going on in the branches; the little girl is supposed to be the guardian of purgatory, and helps people find their way by making them crowns of daisies. Perhaps having her on the ground, interacting with people? Definitely planning on some mist action
And thanks for the links! those are super helpful!
Theres nothing wrong with painting a beautiful tree and calling it done. I do landscapes in oils which I actually have a lot more fun doing than complicated illustrations.
But it sounds like you wanted more, and in that case, you should have thumbnailed and planned it from the start. I recommend painting some figures on a new layer and figuring that out before anything else.
And in my opinion, a little girl handing out daisies to ghost figures would be awesome. I like that idea a lot.
I also think people get too paranoid about being cliche. If anyone ever tells you that you've done something cliche, tell them you were born in the 20th century, and not the 1st century...so if they want something entirely original, they can look at 1st century artwork instead.
One last thing...make sure the ellipse that your tree is making on the ground coincides with your horizon line. I would say right now that your horizon line is too high in comparison...or your tree ellipse is too flat...whichever you choose.
And hah, yea that's a good point about being cliche. I just don't wanna put something like, "Yea yea we've seen this a million and one times!" in my portfolio to get into school.
Can you explain to me what you mean by the ellipse of the tree in relation to the horizon line?
Thank you so much for commenting and following up with me!
You have hints of some lovely back lighting. I would love to see a bit more of it (but not excessively more). Also, for the ground, why not skip the dirt and go for oozy muck instead? That along with some rotted reeds and bent over grass with scum hanging off of them would reflect the current title a bit better. I like the twists in the tree branches. Nice form. The foremost branch could use a bit of foreshortening though to give it more depth.
And I love that idea of the mud and rotting things. Thank you so much! I am going to give that a go.
thanks for the compliments on form, I really wanted to convey a strong sense here. I'll make sure I go in and revisit the foreshortening on the branch
Thank you so much again
that water should be green more than anything.
Also, why is the tree glowing? Why isn't the grass or water reflecting that yellow light?
I think you could use another tree or two in the background to suggest that we're actually in a place and this isn't just a picture of a floating tree... even if they're just silhouettes enveloped in mist.
it's looking good, but you need some depth to the piece. That is the most important thing about environments, if they don't bring you into the piece, the meaning is lost. You need to lighten up the background and darken up the foreground. Put a better light source in there, and make it look a bit more moody as far as the lighting scheme goes. Also, the ground could use some more detail, as well as the water. add some stones and grass and such.
I'm liking the ground/water more, but I think you could work bit on the branches. Right now it's hard to see which branches are over others.
Yeah okay this went bit too sparkly and fairy-like but now the branches aren't just a one unified blob and I also added some foreground to the water:
@TinyBird: Oh God, that lighting is MUCH better! I will definitely take your paintover to heart and work on those branches! Super helpful, thank you so so much for taking the time to do that for me. And I kind of like the fairy feeling, though it doesn't quite fit with "limbo" or "purgatory". Maybe I should confused my viewers even more and title this, "Fairy Purgatory"? xDD lol
@Artfix: Oh my gosh. I can't believe I'm admitting this, but I didn't know about that before. (shaaaaame) Thank you so much for showing me and taking the time to redline it out. I definitely see what you're saying now, and that's incredibly helpful for me for this piece, and others to come. I wish I could hit the "Thank" button like, 20 times.
Last edited by Lii-chan; January 13th, 2011 at 02:02 AM.
Updated with figures. Anyone care to give some feedback?
That is a really eerie scene now! Definitely has a lot of storytelling now. Once she puts the flowers on, do they become spirits? They dont have to lay there awake in their dead body for centuries do they? ::gasp::
The trick for you now is to make those figures look like theyre being affected
by the light and fog of the scene. Both of the figures should be in shadow which I think will work perfectly. The dead woman is much too lit-up, and the skin of the girl is too lit-up. There are some hard edges on those figures that aren't matching the rest of the painting. Treat them like they are trees, and paint them the same way and you may be able to make it more cohesive. Some people may say that you must paint skin and bark very differently, but from this distance and with this style, no you don't.
I also dont think its that important that we see the little girl's expression and all those details because its really looking like a style-clash with the rest of the image. Don't worry about the focal point because you can bring OUT the right amount of information on the figures later rather than painting all the details and then getting rid of the right amount of it.
I like the figures so far tho. Good poses and concept
P.S. A trick I use if I cant get things to be cohesive: I'll select the figures and then paint a subtle layer of the atmosphere color over them. This will ensure that everything is harmonious with one another because they share this common atmospheric coloring.
Thank you so much Artfix!!!!! /gets busy scribbling away!
PS. I'm super glad there's more of a storyline coming through... while I enjoy a pretty picture as much as the next person, I really want my portfolio work to engage the viewer.
I am liking this much better as well, but the figures present a composition problem to me. Putting them where you did causes my eye to run right off the corner. The strong position of the girl leaning towards the woman reinforces this problem, as does the woman's pose. A grasping branch might be enough to redirect the eye back into the picture.
I actually like it quite a bit. I'm a little confused about what's going on as far as mood though, just because the main girl's body language is reading as kind of nonchalant. I gathered that this is some sort of funeral? Is this supposed to be more ambiguous? I'm mainly asking about your intent with the piece just 'cause I want to avoid giving you really bad advice . On the whole, I do like what you've done so far.
Incidentally, and this is just me, I'm not getting the problem of eyes running off the picture in the bottom right. That reflection in the water's making nice enough shapes to keep it interesting.
Last edited by Sidharth Chaturvedi; January 16th, 2011 at 09:40 AM.
Her face should be much darker, as is the side of the tree facing us - they're both planes facing away from the light source. Now it seems that she is side-lit while the trees are back-lit.
As for the lower-right corner problem: I'd put a something (branch sounds good) in an extreme foreground, to add some depth and frame the scene.
The trees are interesting, but with this zoomed out composition, they are distracting from the characters and the story.
I did a quick paintover. I first selected the characters and enlarged them so that the girl's head crosses the ground line behind her. This will lead our eyes down the tree and directly into her.
I then cropped the canvas to make for a horizontal composition. It seems if this is a funeral, you may want to imply that the body is being released into a large expanse of water.
I hope this helps!
Thanks guys, eclectix, sidharth, tmth, and lane! I really appreciate you guys taking the time to give me more perspective.
Unfortunately I only got to eclectix's comment (I added some lilypads to hopefully guide the eye upwards) before I had to upload the painting to slideroom and submit it for my grad school app, but I've posted the "finished" version in the first post.
Its come a long way since you began, I really enjoy the story that you are trying to tell within it, I think that really pulls it together. Good work.
it looks pretty good now!
I'm getting a Hamlet vibe from it :p
I love it. The details help pull it together, esp. the bent grasses and the mucky branches, crushed flowers, etc.