Russian Fairy Tale about Ruslan and a giant head. RESURRECTED WITH AN UPDATE!
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Thread: Russian Fairy Tale about Ruslan and a giant head. RESURRECTED WITH AN UPDATE!

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    Russian Fairy Tale about Ruslan and a giant head. RESURRECTED WITH AN UPDATE!

    Hello, this is a painting I started based on the bogatyr (Russian knight/hero) Ruslan in the fairy tale "Ruslan i Lyudmila". Here he is seen speaking with a giant head.

    I need to know how this is looking before I go ahead and render details on a faulty drawing. Is the human well proportioned to the horse? How is the composition? Is there some better cropping that could be used?

    Thank you so much!

    EDIT, sept 21st.

    Hey guys, I remembered this painting and came back to it. Please note that I am removing the original composition from the attachment and putting my new update. This may interfer with the first few comments people posted in this thread, so be mindfull of that when you read them!

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    Last edited by Pavel Sokov; September 22nd, 2011 at 12:00 AM.
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    The horse seems kind of small to me, more like a pony then a huge warhorse that one would need to be big enough and strong enough to carry someone with that much armor on a long journey. It looks like if the guy got down off his horse and the horse raised its head, they would met at eye level.

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    I agree with Osiris, but look it up! I'm sure you can find plenty of pictures of people on horses that you can go off of.

    I'm confused as to what's going on in this. Is the head a ghost? Or is it a giant head sitting on the ground? The cropping at the bottom seems a bit awkward and the whole composition seems a bit cramped, though it could be just because the values are all dark.

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    The horse is still too small? Damn, I already increased its size 3 times haha. Ok I will do it again. Osiris, is a fully extended man not supposed to be eye level with a horse? I''m not too sure.

    As for the composition, I am a bit worried about it as well. Can somebody suggest how to improve it? Should I expand the canvas to the right, and move the giant head there? Should I expand it to the left and down a bit to accomodate the entire horse's hoof?

    The giant head is not a ghost, its supposed to be a titanic sized head of a bogatyr sitting on the ground.

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    This is good work. I like it so far. I thought the head was probably in the sky. That might be a very hard thing to make convincing since it makes no sense. You may want to ease off the fog at the bottom, and show the ground and the head merging. Maybe show some plants growing up the sides a little.

    As for the composition, why not make the knight much smaller? He may be the protagonist, but in THIS image he is tiny in comparison. So make him tiny in comparison. And yes, you absolutely need to fit the horse hoof in but the rest is fine.

    Look up horse and rider reference. ALWAYS use reference. And ask for help sooner in the future I would say. You painted this quite well already for something that you might change or even start over on.

    Good job

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    Hey ArtFix! Thank you so much! I used some reference for the horse, but I keepon mangling the proportions of rider to horse for some reason, my mind is glitching or something.

    So the head is confusing ? hmm.

    Well in this composition test I got rid of the fog at the beard, and I a extended the canvas while including the hoof. Keep in mind I made this before reading your comment. I will definitely try to merge the head to the ground more in the future. I was using intense fog because I thought that would create distance and scale. I guess that didnt work.

    Is this composition any better?

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    Hey. This is what I was picturing depending on how small you want to go for the rider.

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    I like this image a lot. The proportions are fine, as long as the hero is understood to be riding a pony. Otherwise, you might want to swap the pony out for a horse. ;-)

    It does seem to me that the image is suffering from a mild case of "soft brush disease". I know it is supposed to be rough, but all the more reason to keep your form distinctions nice and sharp.

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    ArtFix:

    Thank you so much for the paintover! I really like your second composition (makes the head seem powerful and wise). I think I'm going to replicate that one if you don't mind!

    Giffman:

    Thanks! I will fix the soft brush business as the picture comes into focus. I will try to keep faraway stuff soft, and add sharper edges to the things that are closer and the things I want the viewer to focus on!

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    I hope I haven't gone too far with this, but I mocked up another composition idea. I really like the mood & story for this piece.

    Since this is a conversation between the knight & the head, I think you can get rid of all the landscape & create scale by bringing the knight much closer & overlapping him with the head. I might've cropped a bit too tight... I guess you need to see at least some landscape so we know it's just a giant head in the countryside huh?

    I couldn't tell if the scale of the head was supposed to be like a mountain or a house... In this version it's more like house, but I like that sense in your original that the head is like a mountain in the distance.

    The beard could come down onto the ground plane connecting the space between the big face & the knight, or you could push the head further away by having the knight on a raised hill/cliff & the head sitting on a lower ground plane.

    I put a torch in the guy's hand (his shield is on his back) to throw him more into silhouette & justify more lighting on the giant's face, making that the focal point (since it's not everyday you see a giant head sitting around in the countryside). The values are all off but I think you get what I am saying...

    Then I thought a little eye contact would tell us that the head is alive and aware of the dude and show that there is an interaction happening.

    There's a kind of black thing below his mouth with was meant to be a tree trunk growing up through his beard or something- that was another scale idea that I forgot to delete. Just thought I'd better explain

    I know they're some pretty significant changes, so please feel free to disregard what I've suggested.

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    Last edited by Marcatili; July 11th, 2011 at 07:25 AM.
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    Oh Geeze Markatili, I just came in the thread to post my updated composition based on Art Fix's take!

    Your composition is also very moody and personal, but its so far from my original inentions I don't know if I want to implement it. However the idea of rendering the head more up close, and with the light of the torch on it is very tempting. That would be a blast and be great practice. hmmm.

    Well here is what I have so far. Can you tell me if the horse became a full grown war horse yet? To me it looks like the guy is tiny personally so I'm not sure. I definitely cant make him any smaller.

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    I think you've still got some pony syndrome going on. War horses like Clydesdales are huge animals, bred to carry massive amounts of weight. I can't help but think of this image when I look at the scale you're working with.



    If you take your knight and envision him getting off his horse and standing next to the shoulder, he's just not small enough.

    This is man-to-warhorse scale - I hope this helps.



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    Oh jesus, I never knew they were that big. I thought a man is taller then a horse.
    I am still having suspicions that the man in that photo isnt a man of vertical empowerment, but this is nevertheless eye opening.

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    Actually the position of the legs on the Vasnetsov painting you referenced looks a bit strained. If you compare it to this jousting photo the legs should be much straighter. I don't know anything about horseriding though, it may depend on the horse type.

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    Hi matey

    I like this one a lot and the last one is a vast improvement in my opinion, but I would just push the detail of the head and whatever the head is sitting on a little more, or is the giant burried? I dont know the story I just feel its a bit lacking.

    just my thoughts mate, its very good work!

    A great kind hearted lumbering bullock



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    What about this brilliant Vasnetsov painting?

    I feel like the human to horse proportions on this painting is similar to mine.



    also like Leysan said, here is the direct reference. I feel as though my human already looks smaller then the painting.



    Lightship, dont worry I am just getting started on this!

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    Dont get me wrong mate I think its brilliant !! very different, I'm just a pushy sod who wants to know everything at once LOL!!

    all the best

    A great kind hearted lumbering bullock



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    I think his upper body looks a bit short. Other than that this looks pretty cool. Looking forward to seeing it finished.

    Also horses actually were smaller a thousand years ago.

    Last edited by tobbA; July 11th, 2011 at 11:40 AM.
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    Yeah, like I said, feel free to disregard my version

    I guess my main point was mostly that there are lots of different ways of telling the story & a lot of it can be told through composition, mood & gesture.

    I try to think of the most basic essential things in the story, then work out which drawing/painting techniques I can use to really sell that idea.

    The basic technical idea here (I think) is Big vs Small, or scale.

    Then there's a story, which is an interaction of some sort, so what's the tone of the interaction? Aggressive? Sad? Fearful? Friendly? Discovery? Wisdom?

    With the new changes it looks a lot more like there's an interaction, but neither character tells us anything about what kind of interaction it is. The head has a blank stare & the knight has a pretty rigid pose.

    How can you tell us more of the story through either the giant's expression, or through the knights pose?

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    Hey TobA,
    I will make his torso longer, you are right! Thank you for noticing!

    Hey marcatalli,

    I really appreciate your comment because it opens my eyes to both the importance and the process of story telling. This is grand because I just painted a hero and a head, and considered not much more. Your process of asking questions will really help me develop stories in further paintings. I understand now why people tend to like my WW2 painting because of it's story telling capacity.

    Since I kinda like my current composition (well I stole it from a previous overpaint as you can see), I will try to do my best to commit to story telling within it, by introducing the giants eyes maybe and some other elements. Maybe I can get that composition to be as interesting as yours! If not, I will definitely think harder during my other paintings!

    Thank you so much! I will update soon!

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    That's great mate, glad to be of help. I'm looking forward to the update!

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    rabble rabble wheres the update?? hehe

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    Very nice painting but for me the horse is also not working and think the rider has pulled his legs to much up. Maybe that also makes the horse look awkward. because his legs should almost be as long as the body of the horse. Maybe make the ass of the horse also a bit bigger/longer.

    My girl has a horse and from the ground till the back (height at the withers) he is 1.87 meters high. Dont make the rider smaller but the legs of the horse should be longer I think.

    I put a ref with it not my girl btw

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    Shit guys, I completely forgot about this piece in the plethora of things I had to attend to.

    I remembered it, and got back to it. I am trying my hardest to handle this piece in the most academic way I have attempted yet. First of all, I gathered a bunch of references for this fairy tale, and used them to plan my image. And now I am focusing on working on the ENTIRE piece evenly. Everything should be at nearly the same rate of completion. I always knew that was the right thing to do, but have never went ahead and acted that way. I would always draw in the main character untill he is 100% rendered and the rest of the scene is an after thought. Not this time!

    Here is the update!



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    If you render everything, you'll kill the picture.
    If you render every piece of grass and every hair on the head you'll flatten this image stone dead. Some areas need to be loose so the eye flows over them, render your focus areas (to a point) more than your background.

    What you really need to do is think about the composition, the lighting and what you want us to focus on.
    At the moment all of these are weak (JMO)
    More thumbnails to start off with

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    I like where this is going so far; I'll throw out a few suggestions.

    I know you have more to do.. right now it feels a bit muddy. Try refining the big face more, make it more sharp and crisp, as well as the man on the horse. You don't have to make everything super crisp and rendered, just the two focal points.

    I feel like the big head should be... lowered? I just feel he should be more in the image, he is getting cut off. He is too high, I think. It feels funny.

    Also, I think adding more lights and shadows will help. The image seems to be very grey.

    Good luck.

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    I have to agree with everyone saying the leg position of the rider is super akward. It is a bit iffy in your reference, but there at least the ankles of the rider reaches the stomach of the horse, what you have here is a rider who would fall over from the slightest breeze/movement because he is out of balance. Main thing to keep in mind is to have the ankle directly below the head of the rider. And I think the horse size is fine, for some reason people want to imagine war horses were huge. In fact it would be suicide riding to war on one of those working horses, because they just don't have the required dexterity for battle, they'd get tangled in their own feet.

    Here's a link to riding posture http://www.equine-world.co.uk/riding...r_position.htm I'd wager it's possible the knights might have had their ankles a little more forward because the armor wouldn't bend enough at the ankle, but certainly not where you have the feet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Suncut View Post
    I'd wager it's possible the knights might have had their ankles a little more forward
    Actually several books mention that knights in full armor practically stood in the saddle (also visible in medieval paintings etc), apparently to keep up their balance more or something.
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    Possibly more than that, but to give idea... The ye olde saddle is obscuring his butt a bit though.
    (Horses were also smaller and the saddles different [the expensive ones at least] which may make modern re-enactments different.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by TinyBird View Post
    Actually several books mention that knights in full armor practically stood in the saddle (also visible in medieval paintings etc), apparently to keep up their balance more or something.
    That's pretty interesting, I had a look on some knight saddle drawings on google, and it seems the stirrups are almost always more forward then in modern saddles. I'm going to go out a limb here and say it's probably as a means to balance heavy weapons they are carrying, charging with a pike would put your balance point more forward and you'd need to compensate.

    The position in this piece tho is clearly wrong, and now that I look at it having an axe hanging next to our foot like that while riding would result in you loosing that foot. Also in case the axe blade would get turned while hanging and nicked your horse you'd also have one unhappy horse.

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    Hey guys, I am leaving to Madrid tonight and will be back on the 30th!

    Venger

    Hey Venger, nice to hear from you! Haven't seen you post in a while!

    I am surprised to read that you think I am over rendering it already. As I was making strokes on the background I actually thought you guys would be impressed how loose I am working on. I saw my strokes of grass as hints of grass rather then fully rendered details. What do you consider loose? Are there any areas in my picture you would call loose? Maybe I need to adjust my idea of loose sketching haha.

    I am also surprised you don't like the composition (allthough I agree completely with the lack of interesting lighting, it is rather dull and not solid). I shamelessly stole it from Art fix, as I thought it did rather well at establishing the scale of the head as well as the fact that its wiser and stronger then the rider.

    I am honestly not sure how to improve my composition. I have always been rather confused by composition and that is my downfall. I just don't understand what I could do here after I adopted Artfix's comp. I can recognize that my old version were very cramped and lacked in scale. Maybe I can notice the sky with the forest on the left are too much dead space? Maybe throw a flock of birds in?

    EDIT:
    I was thinking about making things loose as a composition tool and remember many artists that leave things sketchy, but render perfectly where it matters. But then I thought about Alpenfeger, and how he always renders everything 100% it seems. How does he manage to avoid information overload or being distracting? Here is my favourite piece by him as an example. Notice that everything is crisp.

    http://fav.me/d420nsx

    blazinWolf

    I will definitely add detail to the giant head and the rider as those are my two focals. I also plan to add a more obvious lighting system, this one is pretty muddy indeed.

    I can try selecting the head and moving it down as well. I figured it being cut off gives it a sense of largeness? Isn't cutting off large creatures a trick used to make them bigger?

    Suncut and TinyBird

    Oh wow, you guys are absolutely right, riders dont sit like that. I wonder why the painting I used as reference has that pose and it doesn't come out looking awkward?

    I will definitely have to re adjust the pose.

    Also, I am embarrassed about the axe hanging around so stupidly. Clearly a lack of thought on my part. I have in general just piled on the accessories in a not so elegent way on the side of the horse. Looks a bit lame now that I see it. I do want that splash of red still, I find it rather pleasent.

    Last edited by Pavel Sokov; September 22nd, 2011 at 08:53 PM.
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