Sketchbook: Pavel Sokov's Sketchbook - Page 2
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  1. #31
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    The line drawing you made before painting that bust is actually very symptomatic, if surprising in someone of your technical skill. It's a tracing of contour.

    It should have been a structural schematic, instead. You're recording lines and blots, and while focusing on lines and blots you are missing the whole point. Lines and blots are not the end, they are the means of constructing a representation of the form.

    Man, you are trying to compete with the best, and annoyed that they are rejecting your efforts? Well, they are right. After seeing that trace I realized that your problem is far worse than I might have guessed from the finished work; your relatively polished technique threw me off. Now I can see it clearly. It doesn't matter how many drawings of this bust you made; if you aren't using the correct method, your effort is wasted.

    Look at what you've traced. You've put in the irrelevant detail lines in the hair, where you should have been focusing on the masses it forms; and you've omitted relevant (and perfectly inferrable) lines in the helmet where they were obscured by the light bloom. You ignored the shadow despite it being useful for inferring the form. You weren't thinking, you were blindly following the photo and piling mistake upon mistake in the process, because you weren't looking at the right things.

    Here, I made a quick example of what a proper starter drawing of the same thing might have looked like. Can you see the difference in the method? I am not following the naive lines, I am figuring out and reconstructing the forms. I couldn't care less if a particular line is visible in the photo; all I care is whether it helps me to record the 3-D form for later rendering. I put in center lines to record the angles. I use little horizontal marks to record the parallels. I put in symmetrical lines for every structure even if I cannot see them; if I see a particular gradient on the right, I use my knowledge of perspective and human anatomy to figure out what structure is making it, then I mark it with a form-describing line and recreate the symmetrical line on the left even if the camera did not register it. I do use the contour, but only where it describes the actual form, not where it is visible in the stupid photo. Above all, I am not trying to copy a photo; I am building a head by inference.

    Is this enough of an explanation?

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    Eugene I suspect you may not get thanks from many people for that due to wrangling and emotional issues etc.
    But I personally would like to say thank you very much I personally found that explanation extremely useful.

    Thanks mate and all the best as always

    A great kind hearted lumbering bullock



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  4. #33
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    Must have lost patience again... I can explain the same thing to the same person maybe three times before losing it a little.

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  5. #34
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    Nezumi,

    Thank you, I understand about the shadow band! Check out my new update I will post here.

    Arenhaus,

    That was actually a very helpfull and insightfull explanation, as always tarnished by your air of snobbyism. But if it allows you to be helpfull then I will take it gladly.

    This structural breakdown is what my teach in my outside of school class keeps on telling me about and its been nice to finally understand what exactly he wanted from me.
    I see that making this breakdown allowed you to understand the forms much more.

    But your lower lip is wrong, in real life it is actually flat, doesnt go into the mouth.

    EDIT: extra questions:

    What does the horizontal line on her forehead signify/measure? And what about the horizontal line on her chest? Is that the half way point between end of neck and end of chest?

    But I am worried about one thing. What if I make a nice scructural breakdown like that, but what next? Will that change the way I paint and my end result? I am afraid that I don't know how to use this map. Even thinking about it now, if I stole your map and repainted the entire thing looking at the photo, I don't know what I would do different.

    Is the point to forget about the photo and try to make something slightly different looking because I should assume the camera fails to capture the structure in its entirety? Which is why I hear people saying that working from photos is a much more advanced task then from real life observation?

    New update, probably the last. Moved the eye to the left (still rotated) to regain the expression that I felt was lost. Fixed the shadow band like Nezumi asked, and cut out a section of the nose on the shadow side to make it more parralel to the other side.

    What else can I fix?





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  6. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pavel Sokov View Post
    This structural breakdown is what my teach in my outside of school class keeps on telling me about and its been nice to finally understand what exactly he wanted from me. I see that making this breakdown allowed you to understand the forms much more. But your lower lip is wrong, in real life it is actually flat, doesnt go into the mouth.
    That shows that a photo isn't a perfect representation of the form! See, making the breakdown didn't help me to understand the photo; it helped me record what I understood from the photo. I used my pre-existing knowledge to interpret and restore the structure from a flat, imperfectly lit image. It is no wonder that I misinterpreted something that wasn't quite clear in the photo! I also guessed about the eye holes and the nose guard of the helmet, for example.

    What does the horizontal line on her forehead signify/measure? And what about the horizontal line on her chest? Is that the half way point between end of neck and end of chest?
    The one on the forehead is simply a horizontal; it marks no structure in particular, just the direction of the plane it is on. The one on the chest is my guess about where the manubrium sterni should join the sternum. See, it's not a formal representation of the bust; it's a record of what I thought was important/helpful for me to render that bust. You will probably find you need different lines, even mark different things in different subjects. Think of it as shorthand record of the outward form and anatomical structures, not an all-encompassing model.

    But I am worried about one thing. What if I make a nice scructural breakdown like that, but what next? Will that change the way I paint and my end result? I am afraid that I don't know how to use this map. Even thinking about it now, if I stole your map and repainted the entire thing looking at the photo, I don't know what I would do different.
    Ah. When you are already trained in the method, then you could just paint using such a sketch. If your case is that you don't know how to proceed, I suggest you do it the "proper" long way, and make a plane breakdown.

    That is, you use a sketch like this to simplify the form into large relatively flat planes. Each plane would be evenly lit from a definite angle, see? You continue analyzing the form, only this time you do it in relation to the light. The result might look like this sample (not mine):


    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Eiwce13X73....Man.vsm.W.jpg

    Obviously, if you continue the plane breakdown further, making smaller and smaller planes, you'll end up with a smooth form because they'll blend together. And there's your painting!

    Artists experienced in this method do this step in their head, without even thinking, but if you never tried it, it pays off to do a few exercises like that. It teaches you to think in terms of lit form in space, rather than flat image on a photo. If you start looking for solid form and the lit planes automatically, both in photos and live models, then you are halfway "there".

    Is the point to forget about the photo and try to make something slightly different looking because I should assume the camera fails to capture the structure in its entirety? Which is why I hear people saying that working from photos is a much more advanced task then from real life observation?
    Not "forget", you use the photo to figure out what the real form was. But yes, you should assume that the camera registers the structure differently from your eye/brain. And yes, this is why you hear that working from photos is harder than from life. You have to have extensive knowledge not just of form, light and anatomy, but also of what camera does to them.

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    Wow, what an informative thread.

    If I can add comment to the earlier pictures.

    The idea of size is lost because of the eye level or the familliarity of the objects first seen
    . The instinct is to assume that you are the size of the statues and the style of the gates is sized for things human sized(density), a water dropplet would be jelly to an ant. Likewise a gate that size should have an altered look as not to look like an upsized/scaled up human gate. Something in the desighn of the gate should indicate magnitude and not just how it compares to the dudes going through it.

    Stuff like flames not being as large as you would espect them to be or something like that.

    Hope this makes sense.

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    Allright Arenhaus.

    I took a photo of a friend that made my website, and will paint his portrait digitally. During it, I will try to make a plane breakdown like the one you showed and hopefully will get a better result at the end.

    You never commented on whether or not there was imporvement in my last version of Athena?

    George,
    How do I design the gate with scale in mind? I figured that not putting details or engravings into the steel parts of the gate will make it look large. How would you go about it?

    I made some adjustments to my Davids, mostly David 1. trimmed his right leg down, and made his head hole wrap around the head.




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    Quote Originally Posted by Pavel Sokov View Post
    I took a photo of a friend that made my website, and will paint his portrait digitally. During it, I will try to make a plane breakdown like the one you showed and hopefully will get a better result at the end.

    You never commented on whether or not there was imporvement in my last version of Athena?
    Good luck. I'd recommend asking your friend to sit for you at least for the sketch, though, rather than coping from a photo again. Don't forget to work structurally.

    As for Athena... honestly, I think that building a few structural drawings from the start would be better training than fixing a finished painting. Unless you need that finished painting for something, of course.

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    hey pavel!
    my anatomy and painting skills are laughable and you have some top flight people here advising you on that so i wont, but one thing i would say is remember you can always go back and chop things around to tie it all together graphically... photoshop is perfect for experimenting with that kind of thing. if something is looking loose and not hanging together, cut it apart, flip things, change their colour, etc etc etc
    that hellgate image, lots of interesting ingredients, not hanging together. so go back and play around with it till the parts start to relate to eachother. i messed with the it 10 mins, see what you think, might give you some ideas to play with..

    thats not to say Arenhaus isnt 100% correct; he is. plan everything out beforehand by drawing it and redrawing it til it all sits nice before rendering every tiny detail and youll save yourself a lot of headaches.

    about the Davids, i guess the issue is youve taken one of the most beautiful works of art ever and sort of uglied it up. his face is all rotted off and he has horrible wounds on his body. that could work but its all painted in a dark smudgy way. its ugly on many levels. i realise thats the point as this is a gate to hell but there you go.

    imo that head is looking pretty good! 12000px seems insanely high res (double the area, quadruple the work...) but thats up to you.
    maybe a slight perspective issue on the hat where the photo washed out but in general not too shoddy.

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    Last edited by Velocity Kendall; October 29th, 2011 at 07:56 AM.
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  15. #40
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    Jesus fuck Velocity, that is badass looking! I am especially curious about the traingles above their heads, very random but has an air of authority and ritual.

    What did you do to Athena, I can't really tell?

    arenhaus

    Another friend of mine asked for a portrait of her and her parents at the Helsinki figure skating world cup, to give to her parents as a gift.

    I started with opening the photo, and I did these lines right on top of it. I realize its lame to do lines right on top of a photo, but I don't want to spend hours messing up proportions on a piece thats not even for me.

    The point is, I made the following 3d Mesh type lines to breakdown the form. Is that what I was supposed to do all along?




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    Well, if it helps you, you can do a "3D mesh".

    Only you are still kind of missing the point here. The point of using these construction lines is measurement. You draw them so you can track where the form is. Just drawing them for sake of drawing them doesn't help in the slightest. If you look at your sketch more closely, you'll see two things: 1) you aren't really tracking the 3D form with your construction lines, you have a lot of looseness there even where the face is seen front on and is quite symmetrical, and 2) you've put them in the faces but did a ton of your old 2D contour on the bodies. Your "3D mesh" is still rather 2D.

    All this shows that you still are not thinking in terms of form and volume. Stop thinking with lines and blots; the form and volume are the only thing that should interest you. The picture isn't flat, it's a window into a scene.

    (As a tip, I can suggest drawing with pencil on paper. Control is ten times finer with a pencil, tablets are terrible for sketching. I can do it in need, as you've seen, but if I can avoid it, I never choose a tablet for sketching. Pencil is quicker, easier to control and more expressive. Less indirection between you and the page!)

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    I'll also add that construction is WAY too early a stage to be adding details such as pupils and individual teeth. Big shapes first, and once you've got a handle on those, start breaking things down to smaller shapes.

    I'll also add that simply throwing a new layer on top of the photo and drawing on that teaches you very little. This might not be for you, but you should try to learn from it.

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    "Jesus fuck Velocity, that is badass looking! I am especially curious about the traingles above their heads, very random but has an air of authority and ritual.

    What did you do to Athena, I can't really tell?"

    I love black triangles, theyre my favourite shape.
    I just moved the eye things on her hat, they were tiling upward with a different vanishing point to the rest of the hat and skull, making the drawing look like it was tipping backward.

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    Arenhaus

    I agree that pencil and paper has better control, but I wanted to cheat and make the contour lines straight on top of the photo, because I didnt feel like solving these problems.

    Nezumi

    I completely agree. But recently I got commissioned an oil painting portrait for a family aquantance. I barely know how to use oils, but 52 hours later I percievered and finished a decent portrait. The person never called back to even show up and look at it.

    I am not angry, I just have a different perspective to commissions now. I am not interested in spending 50 hours and then being ditched. I just don't feel motivated for this particular piece. It would take ages for me to make the correct proportions, and they would honestly never be correct.

    Velocity

    Ah I see it now!

    Well here is a portrait of my other friend who made me a website for free. I made the following sketch focusin on finding volume and form. Obviously I am messing up, as the two people have profound differences. I am hoping to avoid drawing the linework right over the photo for this particular piece.



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    When it comes to drawing the planes of the face, where every little tweak in structure is so integral, make sure to draw what is actually there, not what you interpret as being there. I struggle with this too, where I look right past parts of the face that I'm not used to paying attention to, like how the chin juts out, or that way that the eye fits into the eye socket into the cheekbone. Err. This isn't a very lucid post; I was just reminded of my struggle with this. I guess the flesh of what I'm trying to say is that you should pay close attention to the subtleties of the structure of the face.

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    It's cool to see the comparison of your older work with this bust. Your understanding of transitioning from soft to harder edges is sooo much better.

    I think it's awesome that you're getting rejected only because (from reading your posts) you seem relentless in your pursuit. So that's awesome if you can handle the frustration of not receiving that feeling of success . .. you'll grow faster, you are getting better. . and the success will come. When it does look out, you'll be a beast.

    "harder, better, faster, stronger" yeah-yeah

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pavel Sokov View Post
    I agree that pencil and paper has better control, but I wanted to cheat and make the contour lines straight on top of the photo, because I didnt feel like solving these problems.
    Cheating didn't work so great, did it? This reminds me of those students who spend so much time, ingenuity and effort on cheating that they'd be better off actually studying.

    Work with a pencil, and stop imitating the external features of a method. Follow the meaning, not the appearance of structural drawing.

    Your attempt to draw without tracing shows clearly that it would help to learn to track the form's landmarks without tracing over a photo. Envelope, parallel verticals and horizontals, angle measurement.

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    try to do this in your mind; pick a point, draw an imaginary vertical or horizontal line from it and see how it relates to other things in the reference..helps a lot.
    also remember you can refine it as you go..

    photoshop is cool though cos you can put your referent exactly in line with your canvas which makes comparison easy. poor old sargent had you run back ten paces, hav a look, decide what to do and and how to do it and then run back to his canvas... the genius of the man...
    anyway point is you can blob on big shapes and then figure out the details as a whole to finer and finer detail. that means that your whole face isnt fucked if you get your initial estimate of an important landmark like the chin totally wrong.. its insurance against wasting loads of time.. just some thoughts..

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    Pavel, the Athena bust was awesome. You nailed the feeling of light and to me, all the forms read well. This quest for perfection is a fools errand, and if CG society rejected your piece, then excuse my french but fuck their approval. You did good and the Athena piece was a solid effort. Just my 2cents. Overall your drawing could use some work as far as the portrait of your friend goes, but to me like most problems in observational drawing, its a problem in seeing.

    Anyway all this academic talk and high and lofty speech is giving me a headache. Being on this forum makes me forget that art is supposed to be fun..which is the reason some of us started doing it in the first place. Nothing we create will be perfect. Even the "old masters" had glaring flaws in their work. We should always do our best and strive to bring our work up to the pinnacle of our ability. Not saying its acceptable to leave errors in your work and be comfortable with mediocrity, but accept when good enough is good enough and start a new piece that you can learn something new from in stead of spending 100 hours on a painting trying to get it "right". And even if you get it "right", if someone is looking for a reason to give you a critique and find the errors in whatever you do, they will ALWAYS find what they're looking for because nothing is perfect.

    Anyway, take my comment as a grain of salt. I am an amateur and I suck at everything I do and apparently I possess none of the talent many of these people in this forum (including yourself) have. The folks in this forum will probably slaughter me verbally, ignore me, or leave some clipped comment trying to discredit so I'll just beat them to the punch and acknowledge my degenerate and ignorant behavior. Good day sir and keep painting

    Last edited by Amara91; November 4th, 2011 at 06:24 AM.
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    Wow. That's gotta set the record for wordiest asspat on CA. Your trophy is in the mail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amara91 View Post

    Anyway all this academic talk and high and lofty speech is giving me a headache. Being on this forum makes me forget that art is supposed to be fun..which is the reason some of us started doing it in the first place. Nothing we create will be perfect. Even the "old masters" had glaring flaws in their work. We should always do our best and strive to bring our work up to the pinnacle of our ability. Not saying its acceptable to leave errors in your work and be comfortable with mediocrity, but accept when good enough is good enough and start a new piece that you can learn something new from in stead of spending 100 hours on a painting trying to get it "right". And even if you get it "right", if someone is looking for a reason to give you a critique and find the errors in whatever you do, they will ALWAYS find what they're looking for because nothing is perfect.
    Well, at least I see that Pavel has asked for this kind of critique and he has gotten very detailed and great answers which have helped him (an a lot of other people on this forum) a lot.

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    I feel really oddly about this thread. So much useful information but also a lot of seemingly unnecessary snark as well as hurt feelings.

    My one bit of advice for Pavel is not to be in a hurry. Take all the advice that was given to you here and try to apply it. Study form in the way Arenhaus has suggested. Don't expect to take his explanation, try to apply it to a drawing, and expect results right away. It takes a lot of time to be able to get anywhere with your art. I sympathize because I'm on that road too.

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    Guys, lets not get feelings here. I made the mistake of feeling affected by arenhaus' snark, when it was completely irrelevent to. I have a goal so I should only identify pertinent information and ignore all undertones.

    Sorry for the brief absence, I was in Toronto for the weekend trying to get my marketing career started. It is rather intimidating being almost done school.

    Ryansumo
    It is hard to not be in a hurry. Everything flies too fast. I am 21, and as I graduate from university, I find myself not good enough to have a career in art. That is ok since I have a business degree, but imagine I was in fine arts? It would of been game over, I would of been stuck. Time is always gone before you know it, and its all too late.

    It will only be a month before I am not studying, unemployed, useless, and begging any city that would have me to give me a job. Had I been working harder at school I would of had a better CV, and maybe even had a job lined up right out of school. But its all too late.

    Same with art, it is time to dance before I become an all-too old hobbyist at best!

    Game Time:

    Here is the series of lineworks including the one you already saw, and the first stage of painting.







    Ref:


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    That looks better....although the fact that the contours of the final version match those of the reference photo exactly when I line them up in Photoshop leads me to wonder how your observation skills suddenly got so good. Your drawing is improving, though. Keep at it.

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  41. #55
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    You didn't have to go in photoshop haha, just ask and you shall recieve!
    The 3d line work was considered close enough to paint with and I was happy enough with myself. So I decided to just call that mission complete and make perfect line work by cheating terribly and making the 4th line work.

    Last edited by Pavel Sokov; November 8th, 2011 at 10:39 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pavel Sokov View Post
    The 4th line work was considered close enough to paint with and I was happy enough with myself. So I decided to just call that mission complete and make perfect line work by cheating terribly and making the 5th line work.
    *facepalm*

    If you wanted to copy the photo exactly, you could've just traced it at the beginning and saved yourself the time and effort...the practice has fallen out of favor, but there were plenty of well-respected illustrators during the 1970s and 80s who just projected their reference photos onto the canvas and painted over that. (And as it happens, there's a vogue for that kind of thing right now among hipsterly young New York fine artists.)

    However: the entire point of drawing it, rather than tracing, is that your interpretation of the form is going to be more interesting than a mechanical reproduction. If what you want is a painterly version of the photo, then just paint over the damn photo, even though some people on this forum will sneer at you for doing so. The goal here, in my opinion, is to produce interesting work--not necessarily to follow some fixed academic procedure.

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    I know, but I wanted to throw a bit of practice in there before I give up. I felt like my lines were as accurate as I could make them, and my mistakes weren't making the face interesting per say, so I just went ahead of did an accurate line work. I am becoming cynical, what can I say?

    Here is the portrait of the 3 people I posted earlier. She liked it but wanted her right eye a bit bigger as something bothered here about her own face. She also wants me to get rid of her mom's double chin and pouff up her hairstyle. I will do all that later I think.





    Last edited by Pavel Sokov; November 16th, 2011 at 10:02 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pavel Sokov View Post
    I know, but I wanted to throw a bit of practice in there before I give up. I felt like my lines were as accurate as I could make them, and my mistakes weren't making the face interesting per say, so I just went ahead of did an accurate line work. I am becoming synical, what can I say?
    I wouldn't say cynical, so much as quick to abandon practice in favour of shortcuts when things get tough.

    You've been around here long enough to know how much good shortcuts are in the long run.

    The Nezumi Works Sketchbook - Now in progress

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    "Skill is the result of trying again and again, applying our ability and proving our knowledge as we gain it. Let us get used to throwing away the unsuccessful effort and doing the job over. Let us consider obstacles as something to be expected in any endeavor; then they won't seem quite so insurmountable or so defeating." - Andrew Loomis
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    I know

    Here is an update though. I worked a lot on the middle girl's face, and had to remove the older woman's double chin unfortunately and add poufier hair.



    Here is an oil portrait I finished in early september. This was a commission but the client never came to even look at it. So I wasted 52 hours. Oils are extremely difficult for me to grasp, so I had a tough time. But that is practice I guess! Definitely missed the digital possiblities while making this.



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    I'm not sure you're still interested in critique regarding the original picture, and, furthermore; lots of people already pointed a lot of stuff out. Nonetheless, I'm just going to add that I think the picture needs more work concept wise. I realize that its a picture of a fantasy scenario, but it still feels like you've mixed too many different cultures into it without adapting to another one.

    I think this is why, apart from the strictly technical errors, the image looks a bit odd. You've got the renaissance/classic statues, standing in front of what looks like a gothic or maybe victorian (unsure) metall fence, above which floats a summerian/egyptian pre classic age throne, and It just doesn't work.

    Looking at the wanderers approaching the gate, I get the feeling that they are exploring an ancient place, now desolated, (partly also because of how worn down the statues are); but I just can't picture any civilization or culture ever having put together such a mish mash of different styles. I think that you should shave more of an intuitive grasp over the concept or background present before you get to actually painting, just so that the picture becomes coherent (not demanding realism though).

    And finally, I think you would find it a lot easier to get the scale right if you studied a little historical architecture and bought yourself a reference book with historical buildings, because there are lots of things which distinguish really huge buildings from smaller ones, (different forms of supportive structure being one example).

    Furthermore if you did this you wouldn't need to throw in arbitrary stuff like the chains which do not seem to fill any function, but rather details that tell the viewer something.

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