About a month back I was digging through some of last year's stuff, and saw my old ArtOrder Dungeon Delve piece...and it hasn't sat well with me. So I recently decided to go back and rework it into something I'll actually enjoy looking at!
I feel pretty good about the composition and layout at the moment, but I'm always grateful for any good advice people are willing to give. If there's anything that can be improved right now, I'd love to hear it. I've posted the old piece, the new piece (currently in pencil stage), and a little lineup I did when I was deciding which of the poses I drew I wanted.
That pose of his is very awkward for me. If he is crouching over because he was wounded then I'd make him hunch over more.... if he's cold... i'd make him hunch over more the same.
Also, the direction of where his arm and lantern are throughs off where he is looking, it's because his arm is so far over his body that the light would light up a different area to where he is looking. I'd make it atleast be in front of him more.
I am going to be amazing! .
I think you've got a good point, Marlo. I was trying to get him to be leaning against the wall in pain (and acting it out looked like it would look good), but looking at it again...now I'm not so sure. I've tried out a different pose that has him in a bit more of a hunch.
Funny enough, it took me a redo of the first guy to kinda see it...you were right about the face and the arm (that arm especially...I had my foreshortening all sorts of wrong on it,) and after I fixed it I started to think about the other point.
In anycase, I've posted both versions that I have going now. The more I look at it, I do think I'll go with the new option...it just works better. So thanks for pointing that out!
I actually really like the original illustration, but I think what bothered me about it is the lighting. I'm not sure how you plan on lighting the new version, but the original looked very flat. I think if you darken the cave and let the lantern do the work, it helps to give you a much more 3-dimensional environment. I think by also allowing the lantern's light to crawl over the surface of the ground, it gives a much colder, icier feel. Also, the light helps to add some contrast and break up some of the blue saturation without sacrificing that cold feel of the original.
Recent Paintings and Drawings...
Keith, that was definitely something I didn't like about the old illustration and was one of my goals for this new one. I still don't really like my old composition though -there's a lot of random stuff that doesn't have much of a purpose being there, but they stick out since it's a pretty sparse environment.
So, speaking of rejiggering the lighting and color, here is my color rough! Still open for suggestions on it, though I like where I've headed on it so far.
I didn't realize immediately that there was ice in the first illustration; I just thought it was limestone stalactites until I figured out that there were frozen characters in the pillars. I would suggest that you be sure to include some bright glints off the ice to make sure it reads immediately as ice and not just stalactites.
I'm thinking that if I'd been stabbed I wouldn't be using that side to hold a heavy lantern
Perhaps the other hand could hold the lantern and then you could 'apply pressure' (bloody hand) to show there's been an injury.
Love your pencil work! though you've lost a bit of the energy in the tightened up version (JMO)
looks good i would say you are not taking advantage of the hand thats gripping his wound. it could be flexed and really pressing in on the wound to stop pressure. and dug into his shirt.
the composition is very biased on the left, the turned head in the previous thumbnail kind of broke it up and told a better story, to me anyway.
the horrific element in the foreground of the skeleton was another story telling element that served as a punchline.
Eclectix, you're right - they weren't very ice looking...hopefully the new ones look a bit more colder, but my first stab at this was very poor.
Venger, I think I'm gonna keep the arms crossed for this one - I like how it makes him look more like he's buckling over a bit in pain than if his arms weren't crossing. And yeah, I need to work on keeping the energy in my pencils going over to my final - that's a bugbear that's plagued me for some time...
Ferrando, thanks for the advice, the hand was something that bugged me and I kept putting it off...you pointing it out was the final push for that. I dunno about the other compositional elements at the time, but maybe when I take another look at this I'll go back and adjust it again.
Fixed the hand to make it more...grabby. I left the injured side holding the lantern though, since I really liked how the limbs crossed over the body.
This is more or less the final version, unless I come back to it in a day and find something else to tweak, in which case this is the near final version
If there's anything that I can tweak before I wrap it up I would much appreciate it, thanks to everyone so far that's helped me with this!
Hm. I think that storytelling-wise the original picture was actually stronger. I like it a lot, in fact.
In the final version there, he's staring into the pillar, his arm is pointing to the pillar - but there's nothing there.
The top half of the picture is pretty redundant. You could actually cut it without any loss to the story and the picture.
The first picture was obvious, simple. Protagonist walking into dangerous, unknown place (I also love those frozen figures btw and wish I'd thought of that). There was tension that's lacking in the new one. Harvey Dunn repeats this over and over: "Don't be subtle. Be obvious."
Now, the new piece is much clearer in terms of value and lighting, which is great. I also really like that the environment is more varied, and not just made up of ice. Anyway, hope I don't sound discouraging. I really like the general idea and mood.
P.S. Just looked at the pencil sketches you put up on your blog and holy heart failure, batman! Those are amazing. Great shapes, linework, very dynamic, but still solid forms. So jelly.
Not discouraging at all! The only way I'll ever improve is if I get that pointed out. That was something I was afraid of, Benjaminba. Composition isn't my strong suite (at least not yet,) so a lot of this is me throwing a crapshoot...I think I might call it quits on this piece though and start something new - there's only so long I can work on something before I lose steam for it. I might revisit it again in the future, but for now, it's time to take some stuff I've learned and apply it to a new piece.
And thanks for the compliment about the sketches! I liked a lot of the stuff on your blog as well - I'm always very envious of people that can paint well.
I was just going to say how much I adored the storytelling in the first piece as well! I'd definitely say that you've got some really strong compositional skills, at least what you display in these two.
It's still very strong in the second, but there's one thing I'd try to loosen up - his shape is almost a perfect rectangle. Vertical lines of cloak, lantern and edge of his back meet horizontal lines of both arms - you've got these great diagonals leading the eye in and drawing the viewer, and then you condemn him to zigzag in right angles across the figure.
Still, extremely nice work and great illustrative style.