Art Order "Art Test" challenge: UPDATE 4/28 final WIP
***UPDATE 4/28-*** check page two for latest updates
Hello again everyone. Just read the most recent Art Order challenge and decided to put my other illustration on pause and work on this first. The challenge is to depict a soldier or town guard from the culture of a selection of character concepts. The link to the page with the art is here, towards the bottom of the article-
From the concept art I got an Eastern European/Central Asian kind of feel, so that's the direction I'll be going with for the soldier's clothing and armor, althoug these drawings are still too rough to really see that. I also got the impression this culture exists somewhere cold due to the character's clothing, so these pictures take place in mountainous areas or tundras.
Last edited by dwilliams; April 28th, 2012 at 10:53 PM.
Composition wise the two on teh right have teh flag and cape blowing the same direction as th ebackground...might want to counter them. Also values of background are too dark...same darks as in the figure and foreground.
Personally I would push for something dynamic or that had more a sense of place or narrative. Perhaps an indication of an outpost/wall/tower/citadel in distance as a secondary focal point?
I would check out how some other artists handled similar compositions - not so much theme but arrangement wise - Angus Macbride comes to mind. What I mean is I would decide if I wanted it to be a concept piece or an illustration.
What would Caravaggio do?
Thanks for the replies. I've definitely been looking at some Angus McBride for this piece. I'm thinking I want this piece to be more of an illustration than concept art, since that's what I'm more interested in doing career wise. I'll play around with adding other narrative elements into the scene.
Okay a little update before I go to bed. I took some of the advice I got and made some adjustments to the composition. In the background towards the horizon I added a city to give the soldier a little bit more of a setting and narrative, so that it isn't a picture of just some guy on horseback in the middle of nowhere. I also changed the direction of the clouds so that it wasn't symmetrical with the flag and cape. I still might need to tweak the values a bit though- let me know what you think
Much better imo. I was reading the large dark backdrop form as cliffs rather than clouds...really have to watch values with clouds - they're never as dark as you think.
So, a question to ask on the narrative aspect...why is he occupied with holding a big banner? I mean...it's pretty and all but? I would maybe try to think of ways to include the dynamic and identification of the banner, but in a way that fits the context just a bit better. Just a lone horseman out riding patrol with a banner doesn't make much sense.
What would Caravaggio do?
Hey d. I have been tumbling ideas around in my head for this artorder too. I'm really excited that theyre looking for new talent.
I think the composition you chose is a good one. But its my opinion that the horse doesn't belong. Its blocking the character design. I know you want to do an illustration, but you sure as hell better fill the brief that Jon has asked for. And the brief is for character design, AND its for a city guard, not cavalry. EDIT: It does say 'or soldier' which is open to interpretation I guess. But I stand by the non-horse thing.
Also, why would the city guard be so far away from the city? And like Jeff said, why is he holding a big banner?
What if you take the third thumbnail. Remove the banner. Make the dark cloud shape the city wall behind him. Then have his head turned looking to the right... you know like with a vigilant gaze into the distance. And probly turn his body to the right a little so hes not straining to look to the right. BAM!
Thats my opinion
Last edited by Artfix; March 31st, 2012 at 03:34 AM.
I was thinking maybe the soldier was on patrol, which is why he would probably be on horseback, and the banner was just a nice compositional element to add to the piece, but I'll keep playing around with the narrative some more so that everything makes more sense.
Okay I think I may have found a compromise here. Instead of the soldier carrying a large banner, he's carrying a typical lance with one of those small flags on top of it, so it gets the interesting movement of the banner but also makes more sense narrative wise. I also added another soldier on horseback behind him. With the low contrast and having most of the second soldier hidden behind the lower ground I think the soldier in the foreground will still be the clear point of interest in the piece. Adding a soldier behind him I think helps the patrol narrative a bit more, as if the two are partners kind of like today's modern cops going about looking out for trouble.
Hey, really nice idea. I also like the middle composition best, though for some reason I keep trying to view it as having the horse and rider facing to the right rather than the left. Maybe I'm feeling dyslexic today.
Not much to say about narrative elements or values because they're beyond my ken at the moment. But I do like the horse in there so I think working things around that would definitely be a good idea because without it, the picture in general might lose some of its impact. For me anyway.
Also, looking at your stormy sky immediately brought Turner's "Hannibal Crossing the alps" to mind (I have a thing for Turner) so I thought I'd post an image for some possible inspiration for clouds/stormy skies etc -
Good luck with this one, and I'll be following to see how it develops.
Hello again! Here is the value painting. There's still some small stuff to mess with, like the patterns on the front soldier's clothing, but otherwise all of the important stuff is there in the piece.
Does the value structure work? Does the guy in the background look like he's riding up a hill, with only his top half visible, or instead does he look like he's shooting up out of the ground? Does the city/castle in the background look enough like a city? It's important to have it in there for the narrative of this piece, but I don't want it to distract the viewer from the soldiers too much. I'm trying to simplify the city to light shapes and dark shapes in the distance, but I'm not sure how well I pulled it off. Any advice would be much appreciated
This is looking great generally but there's one or two things that stood out to me. The city in the background looks like it's overlooking a lake because the ground in front is so flat. Not sure if thats intentional but if not, it might be something to think about. The further away rider looks fine so I think you got the hillside effect there, but the horse in the foreground could use some work in the head area. The browbones arent showing above/around the eyes so it makes the horse look a bit like a toy at the moment.
And since I'm in picture posting mode, here's one of a horse head thats on a similar angle to yours that might show what I mean -
Hope that helps a little and best of luck with this. I cant wait to see the colour version.
Wow! This is really shaping up nicely. I think your overall tone structure is good, but consider lightening the city as a whole. It could look really cool if that gap in the clouds was lighting it up all eye of the storm style.
Here is the underpainting with some revisions. I found a good reference for a russian helmet for the soldier's face, which I think looks a little better than the previous version. I also rendered the soldier in the background a bit more, as well as rendering the front horse's head some more. I'm still not sure how much I like the city in the background, but I'll probably just keep touching that up as I go along. I made a bunch of other smaller changes too- let me know what you guys think.
Next step is the color study. I'll probably do something with a very cool color palette to help reinforce the coldness of the environment they live in.
Yeah the face needs more rendering to it, but his silhouette of his neck is covered up by the chainmail coif and fur cloak, so it's hard to see. Here is a larger picture of the soldier's head. Is it the face, the armor, or both that doesn't look right to you?
Also I'm not sure if you're talking about the soldier's actual nose or his nose guard, but I based the helmet off of Russian helmets I found during my research. I figured this change would make the helmet look a little less like your standard Viking helmet with a nose guard. Here is an excellent illustration by Angus McBride I was looking at.
If the focus is on the soldier I think you are losing it by covering up his face. In the McBride illustration I look at the middle figure, the ones to either side are less noticeable, if I am making myself clear.
You might want to consider removing the nosepiece and lowering the chainmail.
ok fair point with the sholders i should have really picked up on that. however the neck still reads awkwardly. the weight of the helmet would possibly be forcing the head down and the spine to arc but its hard to show that with the angle and all those cloths. i still think he could do with a higher head indicating more of a neck... or try and make it look as if hes leaning forwards.
by nose i ment his actual nose. at first i thought it looked too low, but after looking at your line its ok. but the rendering looks very flat, try indicating the plane is changing rather than just a outline. also maybe a slight form shange under the eye socket/cheekbone.