Critique these! UPDATED-19/8/12 (Scroll down to bottom)
These are some of the first few environments I have painted. Both took at least a few hours as I was trying to find a nice composition. Can you please critique them hard and give me some tips so I don't make the same mistakes for future works.
Thanks in advance, WoofyDesigns
Last edited by WoofyDesigns; August 19th, 2012 at 12:45 AM.
First one actually looks like a landscape: you got some perspective and even atmospheric perspective going on. It still lacks depth though. Mountains which are closer to us should be darker. The water is the same hue all over the place. Reflections are quite random. Cropping of the picture isn't good, it's hard to tell what's going on in the background and where the horizon line is.
Second one is... just a mess. I don't even know where to start. I guess I'll just point out one most obvious mistake you have here: waterfall. First thing you should do is to research how waterfalls work and why they exist in the first place. You see, waterfalls appear where the the flow of water meets a great change of height. So the water drops off this height. Pretty obvious. Now imagine what this "wall" can be made of. Yours is made of sand, and the flow of water tends to destroy sand in a blink of an eye. Plus it's kind of unrealistic that this whole pile of sand would stand there almost vertically, but that's another thing. In reality "walls" of off which water falls (pun?) are made of rocks, solid rocks.
If you don't understand something, find some refs. I googled for "beach waterfall", you could do the same
For the first image: How should it be cropped? Where should the point of focus be positioned? And I find it hard to understand how the horizon line would be depicted? I guess its back to studies for me
For the second image:
I tried to simulate that the curve part was a rocky surface by adding the cracked type of texture (was just an experiment). With the waterfall, yes I should have definitely used my common sense and fixed that. I painted it in different days so I kind of forgot to fix that. I am definitely going to fix the image and post it back up here. Is there anything else I should fix?
I will try to give some feedback on the first image and I'l also try not to copy to much of Snowgoyless words, although s/he is right on the money.
First of, try to use a descriptive subject title rather than swearwords. It's not professional.
Now, onwards toward a more in depth look at whats problematic with your image.
Horizon line: It looks like its bent, and unless you go for a fishlens typ look on the image (which it looks like you do not) then I would scrap it simply on that and start over. Without the horizon line you, the person drawing, do not know where your eyes are in relation to the image. Think about that and then look at your mountains again.
Perspective: Saying anything about the perspective is problematic because you lack repeating shapes and reference points. I don't know if those mountains are 3000 meters high or sandcastles made by a toddler. I need a reference point (a human, car, hand, bird, something). Repeating shapes tells gives me clues on how those shapes change, so they are good to include.
Cast Shadows: The mountain to the left casts a shadow, but the mountain to the right does not, neither does the mountain at the lower right corner.
Shading: I will keep this short. The mountains at the left looks like they receive light from the left (this is not in conjunction with the rest of the image, but ok). Now, the way you have drawn them the cylinder-shaped mountains is problematic, for one they lack a core shadow (the darkest part should not be at the back of those cones due to reflected light but at the point that the lightsource, the sun presumably, passes parallel with the object, that is, for this object, 90 degrees to the lightsource on the side of the mountain).
Get that straightened out before you start on the reflections.
Thanks a lot for the feedback! I will change the title because I can see where you are coming from.
Thanks for the explanation of everything! I think I will just make a whole new image and take into consideration exactly what you have written. I am still no where near comfortable with the use of fundamentals such as light, etc yet. But that just comes with practice.
Below are some speed paintings I did a few days ago. Is this starting to get the right idea of the horizon line etc?
4 and 3 look okay to me horizon-wise. 3 actually deserves to be a finished painting. Just sort out the values and get some refernce material for mountain landscapes.
2 and 1 are weird, espesially 2 where it seems that the river is flowing upwards. I can't quite put my finger on how to describe what's wrong with perspective here.
Fun nature fact: rivers and other waterstreams flow through the lowest parts of earth's surface. It's natural that all the rainwater, melted snow, and even underground waters gather in the lowest parts due to gravity and ability to flow.
Thanks alot Tony and Snowgoyless. I think I am just going to stick to studies and doing 20 minute speed paintings every day until I think I am up to the point where I have gotten a better grasp of the fundamentals you have stated.
In general you need to develop a better understanding of fundamentals. An in depth critique just wouldn't help at this stage. What I can recommend are two books that will help:
1 - "Drawing Scenery: Landscapes and Seascapes" by Jack Hamm...it will help a great deal with composition
2 - "Imaginitive Realism" byJames Gurney...an excellent resource on how to develop as an illustrator
What would Caravaggio do?
I don't want to be a meanie, but your speedpaintings will be a complete waste of time unless you understand perspective. So, with this in consideration I have created a short tutorial and a couple of exercises for you. Don't worry, this will not hurt
Now, I talked about horizon lines before and the main feature of them is that they are at eye-level (not strictly true, it depends on a lot of things, but for our purposes it serves). So, what does that mean? Well, lets take a look at your image with the horizon line drawn in:
Now, the green line is where your horizon-line are and you might ask yourself how I know this, since thats no where near any horizon? Simple, I can look down on the ground on all the areas, thus, for me to see the ground I would have to be above that point.
So, what about the blue lines? The blue horizontal line (see what I did there ) is where I imagine that you want the horizon line to be. Now, the two lines going off to meet on the horizon are important, they are what we call perspective lines and in this case they denote two lines that, if you looked at them from above, would be parallel (in this case, the rivers width). Now, this is important because with that kind of lines you and me can draw things that stay proportionally the right size no matter where, depth wise, in the image they are and I'm certain you know how important proportions are.
If you used the blue horizon line then however the flat that I outlined in blue would not be visible, only the underside of the cliff/height.
Now, that was the theory part, onwards towards the exercise. Take image 1 and do what I did. When you are done, draw a horizon line and do a speedpaint using that.
Getting this far would have required a lot of raw talent, but to get further you need to stand on the shoulders of the giants of previous experience.
Thanks alot for those recommendations Jeff! I will be sure to check them out.
Wow! Thanks alot Tony, it is good to know that there are people like you out there that are willing to take time out of there own day to help strangers! This is exactly what I couldn't grasp when you kept talking about the horizon line. I will be sure to do the exercise and post it up here. And this "I can look down on the ground on all the areas, thus, for me to see the ground I would have to be above that point."
That is SUPER helpful!
So thanks again so much!!
Please tell me this is better!
Last edited by WoofyDesigns; June 5th, 2012 at 06:09 AM.
Your imagination is great I read this on my phone so I may have missed it, but my advise would be draw simpler landscapes from observation and try to make those beleavable
Edit: great progress so far vast improvement
Last edited by Stryno; June 5th, 2012 at 10:21 AM.
"I spent my childhood dreaming about who I would be as an adult, now I am an adult I spend my life dreaming of who I was as a child"
"I play Guitar because I like music, I draw because I have to."
as I said, the last drawing is much, much better than the previous ones and I'm certain that is something that you can see as well. Now, lets discuss perspective.
Snowgoyless mentioned before that the river in image 2 looks like its flowing upwards and the latest image kind of suffers from the same problem, the reason why it looks like that is, at least in part, due to a problem with perspective. Now, if you look at a person at a distance, they will appear as smaller than if they where close, and since rivers are rather long things they seem smaller as they stretch away.
Now, the problem here is that the rivers you draw the extend into the image does not become smaller at the degree it should and as our brains tries to make sense of the image it is seeing it guesses that the river flows upwards or, in my case, that the river is situated a bit above ground.
The shorthand way (unless you use a reference) to solve this is to use what is called a vanishing point, which is a point where, when in perspective, two parallel lines converge.
Now, here is what your last drawing looks like with perspective lines:
As you can see its a lot of perspective lines that ends up in places where there are no other perspective lines. And while drawings very often have more than one vanishing point, for now lets just focus on one.
Your mission Woofy, should you choose to accept it, is to draw another image, but this time, draw a horizon first and then put out a vanishing point and after all that, draw the image and mind the perspective.
Now, this is a tricky subject, very tricky, so don't expect to get it right the first time (and its a lot of other details that I have not yet mentioned), but bear with me and try and if you have any questions this thread or my pm is open
You also have a dark line along the right side of the river in the image Snowgoyless talked about, this makes it look like it casts a shadow, and thus is above the ground level, something you want to try out for yourself I think, try to draw a dark line running down the left side of the horizon line river image you did and see the result, it should be quite startling. I will talk more about shadows later.
Last edited by Tony Meijer; June 7th, 2012 at 07:08 AM.
Reason: Missed some references...
Wow! I just shaped the river exactly how you stated and it looks way better! Thanks so much man! Now that I have done that I need to reshape the mountains. Anyways, I will be sure to do that assignment and post it up here. I thought you have forgotten about this thread for a moment and got excited when I saw this post back up in the top of the forum list with your reply