I don't know, when I look in tree crowns with my eyes it's usually a lot more dazzling than in the photograph. Anyways, still even there in the spots with blue sky behind still shines through a lot brighter than in the picture.
That leaves making the leaves and branches darker, but I can't make them that much darker than the figures underneath (though I might still get away with darkening the leaves some)
Well the composition leads to the king, and he isn't really popping out a lot right now. That's why I think brighter light could solve it overall, since the holes between those leaves could cast some more intense light reflections on him too. But anyways it's up to you, see it as a suggestion, you've been pushing this picture really far already anyways.
Based on the picture you uploaded of those tree's i did a paintover. I think there is a few things you can do to improve this painting.
I think if you push the king character so that he's face doesnt merge as much with the tree it would help the narrative: I pushed his head a bit out to show you what i mean ( not that its anatomically correct but i thought it would showcase my point).
I also think you can make the boy character a bit smaller, this will make the perspective of his pointing a bit less odd, and make the drawing breath more as there is more space around him.
For colours i pushed up the green and warm tones to balance with the current very blue pallet. I also made the kings shirt much more red. Since it makes the interaction between the boy and the king stronger.
Looking at the drawing now i also think you could make the contrast on the side characters less intense, so that they become more a secondary read.
Wow Bette - thanks a lot for the time you put into this. At this stage I'm not sure how much of your critique I'm ultimately going to take on board, but it's certainly food for thought.
I don't know that I want to make the boy any smaller - simply because he's the dramatic focal point of the image. You can't really see it, but I have adjusted the pointing arm and head to be a little more correct. Though making him smaller would solve another thing that's bugging me - the fact that the branches should really be over him, thus putting him in the tree shadow. But then I'd have to lower the tree line and I'm not sure I like THAT much empty blue sky. As for the bandit's head, I may give that a try. The other characters could indeed lose a bit of contrast relative to the important ones.
Your color scheme is quite different than mine, certainly, and it is very interesting to see such a contrast. On the face of it, the warm colors and extensive greens seem a little too cheerful to me. However, my biggest concern at this point is the contrast between my tablet and my wife's mac book air. The image looks very different, and I don't have a good sense of which gamut is more representative. Are you aware of any resources which can give me confidence that what I'm seeing is what most people will be seeing?
Well, it took me some time to process, but in the end it was hard to find any of Bette's suggestions that didn't seem to improve the thing quite a bit. What do you folks think? I'm still a little on the fence about making the juggler smaller. Does everyone like the changes?
The image is really coming along. I think Bette's suggestions were an improvement as well. I think making the juggler smaller, works because it relieves some of the 'cramped' feeling created by the composition. It also makes more sense in terms of lighting.
One thing that I noticed was the 'scratchy transitions' between the shapes in your painting. I realize that many areas are still rough, but I think that the resulting texture of strokes, calls attention to itself in an unappealing way. Have you tried using the color picker with a 3 by 3, or 5 by 5 average sample, instead of point sample. I find it is easier to create transitional colors between shapes this way, while keeping the texture of painted strokes. You can also soften edges easily without 'blurry' artifacts, like the smudge tool tends to create. I attached a pic to explain. Hope this helps and keep up the good work.
I think the first one of the sketches you showed, laying it out, looks great. The original one looking over the bandits' shoulders? It draws the eye up the tree, noting the crown on a bandit's head, to the king. When it's in color, since the juggler's standing in the light (as referenced by your original sketch) it should also add emphasis to him - but it might also take away from the look up the tree. You might try some lighting effects such as a beam to accent the bandit with the crown and allow our eye to draw back there. Maybe the glint of metal?
EDIT: Bah, sorry. I didn't see the update when I was posting! I think you've achieved the effect, though LordLouis is right about the arms. You might want them bound up and in front of him. Lighting effects are still good for bringing focus, though. Even at this point.
i think the lighting is so much nicer now than it was
blue sky through a big tree is a buatiful sight and its good youre starting to capture that
im not crazy about the near-buffalo shot of the hanging jesusy looking guy but overall much easier on the eye
Here's the reference for the hanging king. I worried that not showing the hands makes him look like he's hanging from the neck or something, but I guess I didn't get away with screwing up the anatomy. The pose doesn't seem popular anyway - any better ideas for him to be "tied atop a great tree as a jest"?
the image as a whole is working well and has come a long way... big congrats and respect on/for that!
but you seem to be intimidated by more complex parts, especially faces. you manage to abstract e.g. legs, whole bodies, action, and so on quite well, but once it comes to faces, it feels heavyhanded and awkward. as i said before (and i wont bug you with that again, because i fear it comes off as preaching) your stylizations of the face dont work, because they dont read as charming/beautiful/cute/appealing, but are somehow scary.
if youre going for charming and/or cute ...do it with as little lines/details as possible. e.g. drawing the divisions between teeth, takes away the charming aspect. try to draw a beautiful women smiling, and separating each tooth... it probably wont work. take a look how charming representations of eyes and so forth are done.
ive done another op, to illustrate what i mean. take the arm for example... theres so many dimples and elevations, where it can be done with one well placed line, it ends up to be lacking design and looking malformed. youre emphasizing the wrong things there.
again... i have i lot of respect for your work and dedication, and only saying these things because i think you can take it , rock on man.
Last edited by sone_one; August 15th, 2012 at 06:17 PM.
I applaud your dedication to this piece over such a prolonged period! I just wanted to throw in a quick bit of feedback that stood out for me. In your last update, we really can't see the juggler's eyes as they are heavily in shadow. He is the main focal character, we need to be able to get that read!
Sone_One: These are some great observations, and I'm very grateful to the time you put in demonstrating them. The question of how to simplify and stylize well is a bit of a thorn in my side, it would seem. I think moving to using more photo references helped overall, but ended up pushing me towards weird inconsistencies of style unwittingly. It's a problem I need to dedicate sustained effort to solving. In my other thread I'm making some headway, I think, so I'm going to see if I can get the juggler character nailed down. After that, I'll revisit this, and apply those insights as well as yours to finishing this piece.
Monkeybread: Good point on the eyes. It's one of those things that seems to look OK zoomed in, but not so great in the normal viewing distance. I'll address this as well.