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    Unsure of composition

    Hey, I'd really like some critiques or suggestions on this. I'm unsure of the composition, I did know how I wanted it, but now I feel the unicorns head is distracting, amongst other things.

    I'm thinking maybe I should cut off the bottom bit of the rock and have it more landscape-y, but then I feel I'd lost some of the meaning/story behind the character.

    I'm not sure if I should have her left hand on her leg, behind her wing or doing whatever else. (see below)

    I did design her with goat fur on her legs, as you can (somewhat) see below, do you think it would ruin it?

    She is bald by the way and I plan on making her look more evil, rather than her looking so damn casual. I also think her right thigh/knee is too big, no?








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    I would definitely not put the hand behind the wing, that would be quite and awkward position. Whether you include the unicorn head or not, you cant position it as it is currently, it wouldn't stay in that position ( think of its weight). as far as composition goes, Ide be tempted to stick to a closer in view with a plain or something in the background.

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    What reference are you using for anatomy and lighting?

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    IMO the flag and the character should be closer to and complimenting each other - try placing the flag behind her to help draw attention to her, perhaps? At the moment they're more or less demanding equal attention from my eyes and I'm not sure what I should be looking at first.

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    I'de either have her holding the flag up.. or remover it entirely.

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    pimpwacker : Thank you. I've removed the spear/flag for the time being, might add it in back later, with her holding it like you suggested or something else, when I figure out the rest of the composition.

    JeffX99 : I'm not using any. I know everyone will suggest I should because there are probably all sorts of anatomy/light issues, but rest assured I'm doing all the anatomy/light studies aside of this kind of personal stuff. Thank you.

    crossmirage: Yeah I agree. I removed the spear/flag for the time being. Aswell as them being so far apart I think the fact that the flag seemed to have more of a contrast than the figure didn't help either. Thank you.

    Oh and I'll be moving her left arm, so just ignore that bit, also ignore the ridiculous skull lol

    Thanks guys.



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    You might check some bat wings for reference - the wings are looking kinda simplistic at the moment, which doesn't go well with the more realistic human base. Even if they're meant to be decorative, they could use some more solid structure, a sense of bones within the "fingers" instead of a single smooth curve.

    Just MHO...

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmiPark View Post
    JeffX99 : I'm not using any. I know everyone will suggest I should because there are probably all sorts of anatomy/light issues, but rest assured I'm doing all the anatomy/light studies aside of this kind of personal stuff. Thank you.
    Just keep in mind the best artists and illustrators always use reference...and there are a lot of anatomy/light issues which could be worked out from good reference, so I'm not sure why you wouldn't use any? The personal stuff is a perfect opportunity to put your studies into pracice. Anyway...just kind of making it much harder than it needs to be.

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    Brightdreamer: Hey, thank you. The wings are unfinished. I'm not sure if anyone can tell as of yet but the lines on the wings are going to be veins showing through the membrane, from where the light is coming from behind. That probably isn't very obvious at the moment. Yeah, I agree, I should do some 'joint' type things, hopefully the more angular lines will make her less 'angel-ified'. I might change her left wing too, the angle of it seems mismatched to her body. Thanks for the suggestions!

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    JeffX99: Well I guess, 'best' artists is very subjective. I just don't like to use reference on things other than studies and practice. I am doing this to put my studies into practice and I wouldn't be putting them to practice if I resorted to references, because it would mean I've basically learnt nothing, in my opinion and for me anyway. Aww, why do I always feel like you're putting me down lol =(

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    Sorry Emi - wasn't putting you down at all...just trying to point out some of the realities - didn't mean to come across as a putdown. That said though, you have some misconceptions that I'm trying to help you work through. "Best" artists isn't really subjective in this case - Michaelangelo, DaVinci, Sargent, Rockwell, Mucha, Vargas, Gurney...basically any illustrator/artist you care to name uses reference in their work - usually from the live model. Those that do not use reference (and there are a few) tend to work in a stylized manner that is less realistic - not that it is bad - just stylized much more.

    The main misconception is "resorting" to references - artists realize, as they grow, they must turn to nature (reference) for information. The reference is of course interpreted by them to suit their expression and statement in any given work.

    I hope that helps some...I would highly recommend getting a copy of James Gurney's "Imaginitive Realism" - it will provide so much more insight than I can here. Keep at it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmiPark View Post
    JeffX99: Well I guess, 'best' artists is very subjective. I just don't like to use reference on things other than studies and practice. I am doing this to put my studies into practice and I wouldn't be putting them to practice if I resorted to references, because it would mean I've basically learnt nothing, in my opinion and for me anyway. Aww, why do I always feel like you're putting me down lol =(
    Normally I would agree with you, but of late I have decided that I will try to become a concept artist rather than a lawyer, so I have been trying to develop my art. Now, I don't usually get caught up by anatomy but I was doing a picture because I knew the position was a bit odd, I'de had trouble with it before and wanted to challenge myself, Its actually in this forum under 'de-rut me'. And it is incredibly shit, it instantly attracted harsh critism. After coming back to it maybe half an hour later I instantly saw that it was ridiculous, but I didnt notice it at the time and as such, got humiliated. All of this could have been avoided if I had a sassy gay friend. I mean, a reference. Maybe ill get one of those little wooden models, or some plasticine.

    edit - I just read this post and its really quite hard to read. sorry. I'm tired.

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    JeffX99: Well for me, the 'best artist' would be someone who can draw from their brain rather than their eye, if you get me, so I feel it is subjective because I know alot of people would disagree with me, like you. Nowadays with software like photoshop and art like photomanipulations, I've seen alot of people spend ages doing a digital painting using references for more or less everything but then I think that they might as well have just done a photomanipulation. But this is just me, what I'm saying is probably just biased because I'm not a fan of referencing.

    Yeah I'd like to get both 'imaginitive realism' and 'light and colour' by him, just waiting for some spare money.

    Pimpwacker: Yeah, I know one day I'll look back on this and wonder what the hell I was thinking but at least I can be happy knowing I did it =) lol

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    I don't mean to put you down EmiPark, honestly, but for you to improve as in to get better is using reference. How do you learn something new from your imagination? That's how the mind works, if you haven't studied, your brain will think about something as right, even though it might not be. That is why reference is so important, you study how things really are. Reference is nothing to be ashamed nor afraid of - it is not copying. It's the best way to get you to improve! When I was in high school I really thought that reference is for losers who "don't know how to draw and need help". Soon I noticed who wrong I was. Think that every new piece you create is a new study, a new challenge for you!

    My 2 cents.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Minelo View Post
    I don't mean to put you down EmiPark, honestly, but for you to improve as in to get better is using reference. How do you learn something new from your imagination? That's how the mind works, if you haven't studied, your brain will think about something as right, even though it might not be. That is why reference is so important, you study how things really are. Reference is nothing to be ashamed nor afraid of - it is not copying. It's the best way to get you to improve! When I was in high school I really thought that reference is for losers who "don't know how to draw and need help". Soon I noticed who wrong I was. Think that every new piece you create is a new study, a new challenge for you!

    My 2 cents.
    I am referencing, in my studies.

    For me, it's like doing an exam while looking at the answers, it's pointless and you don't learn anything. You look at the answers whilst studying, like I'm doing.

    What I'm saying isn't the 'right' way to learn or improve, but it's my way and everyone learns differently.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmiPark View Post
    For me, it's like doing an exam while looking at the answers, it's pointless and you don't learn anything.
    Actually, yes you do. Plus you're supposed to know the answers before you take the exam and if you don't know them, then you haven't studied well enough, meaning you have to get back to it.

    Comparing a certain personal piece to an exam is just limiting yourself. Nobody is going to "fail" you if you look at the "answers". And right now, you need them, so I would take another look at them if I were you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lhune View Post
    Actually, yes you do. Plus you're supposed to know the answers before you take the exam and if you don't know them, then you haven't studied well enough, meaning you have to get back to it.

    Comparing a certain personal piece to an exam is just limiting yourself. Nobody is going to "fail" you if you look at the "answers". And right now, you need them, so I would take another look at them if I were you.
    Well yeah, you do an exam to assess your progress, see what you've done wrong and where you need to improve the most, how else would you know?
    I see it as this: I might as well not bother studying anatomy if I'm just going to use a photo of a womans body for reference anyway.

    People can reference if they want, I personally keep it for practice and studies, like I've already said. There is no right or wrong way to do art or to improve.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmiPark View Post
    Well yeah, you do an exam to assess your progress, see what you've done wrong and where you need to improve the most, how else would you know?
    I see it as this: I might as well not bother studying anatomy if I'm just going to use a photo of a womans body for reference anyway.

    People can reference if they want, I personally keep it for practice and studies, like I've already said. There is no right or wrong way to do art or to improve.

    Thing is you won't know where you need to improve until you actually attempt a piece like this. You won't find out where you're having the most trouble except when you try to put your studies to practice. Works like the one you're doing now are your main learning processes.

    Your goal is to be able to draw from the top of your head, but right now you're obviously not capable of doing so yet. Until you are, you're going to have to "just use a photo of a woman's body", because there is no other way you are ever going to improve this piece, or yourself for that matter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lhune View Post
    Thing is you won't know where you need to improve until you actually attempt a piece like this. You won't find out where you're having the most trouble except when you try to put your studies to practice. Works like the one you're doing now are your main learning processes.

    Your goal is to be able to draw from the top of your head, but right now you're obviously not capable of doing so yet. Until you are, you're going to have to "just use a photo of a woman's body", because there is no other way you are ever going to improve this piece, or yourself for that matter.
    Uh-huh, so apparantly you know how I best learn things? I've done the whole referencing thing before, I didn't learn nothing and I'm talking for myself here, not everyone. I'm trying to learn, not create a technically correct master-piece. So I hope that settles the referencing dispute. =)

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmiPark View Post
    For me, it's like doing an exam while looking at the answers, it's pointless and you don't learn anything. You look at the answers whilst studying, like I'm doing.
    Learning art is not really akin to learning, I don't know, accounting. Making a painting isn't a literal test of one's art skills. It's like you're doing a study, but you stick with it longer and take it to a higher level of finish.


    Quote Originally Posted by EmiPark View Post
    What I'm saying isn't the 'right' way to learn or improve, but it's my way and everyone learns differently.
    People have given you very sound advice, but no-one can force you to take it, I suppose.

    At least provide yourself with the answers. Whether or not you use the reference in your "exam," have one available so that you may check your work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmiPark View Post
    Uh-huh, so apparantly you know how I best learn things? I've done the whole referencing thing before, I didn't learn nothing and I'm talking for myself here, not everyone. I'm trying to learn, not create a technically correct master-piece. So I hope that settles the referencing dispute. =)
    I'm only trying to explain what has worked best for the majority of people in the past and present. If you feel that your way works better for you, then by all means stick to it.

    Nobody expects you to create a technically correct masterpiece. But if you're looking to improve then it would probably be best if you at least had that ambition. If you're not looking to improve this piece and determined to create it from the top of your head to see where you're at, then I don't understand why you bother to post it here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lhune View Post
    I'm only trying to explain what has worked best for the majority of people in the past and present. If you feel that your way works better for you, then by all means stick to it.

    Nobody expects you to create a technically correct masterpiece. But if you're looking to improve then it would probably be best if you at least had that ambition. If you're not looking to improve this piece and determined to create it from the top of your head to see where you're at, then I don't understand why you bother to post it here.
    If you reference something does the artist personally become better at art, or does the piece of art just become better?

    I'd love to find a reference to see what I've done wrong in this but I'm having a hard time finding one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmiPark View Post
    If you reference something does the artist personally become better at art, or does the piece of art just become better?

    I'd love to find a reference to see what I've done wrong in this but I'm having a hard time finding one.
    No offense intended, but I think you're looking at references the wrong way. A reference is not a cheat sheet you should blindly copy to make your work better. A reference is like an instruction manual, you just have to read it very carefully. References are there to learn from; for example for this piece, you don't have to find a reference of a woman in this exact pose with this exact lighting so you can copy it to improve your piece. Instead, you'll want to find references of women and learn to understand their shapes, form and texture. Find references to learn how skin reacts to light. References on musculature, to see where everything goes and try to translate it to your piece. Doing this will force your brain to truly observe what you're looking at and you will learn from it, because there's far more to it than simply copying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lhune View Post
    No offense intended, but I think you're looking at references the wrong way. A reference is not a cheat sheet you should blindly copy to make your work better. A reference is like an instruction manual, you just have to read it very carefully. References are there to learn from; for example for this piece, you don't have to find a reference of a woman in this exact pose with this exact lighting so you can copy it to improve your piece. Instead, you'll want to find references of women and learn to understand their shapes, form and texture. Find references to learn how skin reacts to light. References on musculature, to see where everything goes and try to translate it to your piece. Doing this will force your brain to truly observe what you're looking at and you will learn from it, because there's far more to it than simply copying.
    I'm not offended, I'm intrigued as to what I'm doing wrong lol

    That is what I do in studies, so I figure I'll go back and do some anatomy/light stuff, then maybe I'll be able to see what I'm doing wrong.

    Maybe I have a misconception of 'reference' then because the people I know who 'reference', basically just copy it and then change it a little bit.

    Thanks.

    How it looks now. Hopefully the studies will improve it greatly =D



    Last edited by EmiPark; March 19th, 2011 at 09:28 PM.
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    I don't know who you associate with, but I don't know many artists who use reference just to copy. That's only doing yourself harm, because by copying you can create something that looks pretty good, but you won't really understand what you did.

    Just for example; I don't have to directly copy a picture of a bat wing to observe and learn that wings are like arms, that they have a shoulder, an elbow and a "hand" with extended fingers, and that those fingers have joints. Ultimately, you use references to understand, not to just make your picture pretty.

    Now, I'm no expert at anatomy and I'm pretty sure the leg I drew is still too short (I'm too tired to figure out the other one at the moment; the pose felt very strange and unnatural to me anyway), but perhaps you'll still find it useful in a way.



    I'm also aware that actual bat wings have four fingers. I just forgot the fourth and was too lazy to add it, lol.

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    Well pretty much everyone I know does it, if they don't know how to draw something, they'll google a picture and copy it, maybe change it a little.

    The wing concept I was going for was the 'shoulder blade' type, rather than the 'arm' wing type. Yeah her left leg was pretty awkward, I doubt she'd be able to straighten it that much whilst sitting down like that.




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    I've never heard of the "shoulder blade" wing type, it sounds very illogical to me. I can't really see that wing functioning well (even if she won't use it for flight) :/.

    The other leg looks better this way. Your arm pits are still too low though and you might want to look up how feet connect to legs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lhune View Post
    I've never heard of the "shoulder blade" wing type, it sounds very illogical to me. I can't really see that wing functioning well (even if she won't use it for flight) :/.

    The other leg looks better this way. Your arm pits are still too low though and you might want to look up how feet connect to legs.

    You've never heard of shoulder blade wings? It's a pretty generic idea.

    A human having wings and four arms is pretty illogical too lol

    Thanks for your help anyway, I'll come back to this one day.

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    They're pretty wrong, too ;p. A wing connecting to a shoulder blade simply wouldn't work, because they would obstruct each other's movement. You're also removing a joint that's absolutely vital; try to imagine having arms with no elbows.

    Ah well, good luck with this.

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    Please Noah!? Say something?...

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