WIP for a Contest

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    WIP for a Contest

    The theme is aviation/pilots. It was very open ended and didn't give specifics. My idea is to take steampunk and combine it with a fantasy style dragon. I plan on giving his saddle some interesting modifications when I start to work on it.

    Hope you guys can see where I am heading with this. I know it is still in its early stages, but I would like feedback as I go.

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    Maybe it's the roughness of the image or just me, but I don't think goggles alone are enough on supporting a whole image in the aviation/pilot theme.
    I mean that nothing else in the image really says flying. I can't see the dragon's wings (or steam propulsion rockets or whatever it uses to fly) and having a dragon that looks like a mix between a cow and a crocodile doesn't really scream "this thing flies" as both cows and crocodiles are pretty much the exact opposite of flying. And there isn't even that sort of aerodynamic gracefulness like in Falcor or Asian dragon designs that could give that sort of air of "this things is created to fly even without wings".
    Same might go to the kid, having lots of loose cloth that the wind can grab and bare skin aren't things that come off as very pilot like.
    If the creature was actually flying, these might work bit better, but like this, aviation is the last thing that comes to my mind. The dragon actually reminds me more of a motorcycle.

    Is this the best composition of the thumbnails you did? Did you do any thumbnails? Is there anyway else you can say "aviation" in the image, like... give more visible sky and have the little kid look up there of the other flying dragons all dreamy and happy as he's waiting to get back up in the air (as opposed to like he's now, looking to the ground all depressed) or something.

    Also as a nitpick, the dragon's goggles look like they'd actually limit its range of vision and they don't really seem to fit the anatomy of its face at all.
    And I can't figure out how far away the kid is from the dragon. Looking at the ground, the kid seems to stand at least a meter or two away from the saddle, as he's further away than the dragon's arms, but he can still reach the saddle with his not even fully extended arm?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TinyBird View Post
    Maybe it's the roughness of the image or just me, but I don't think goggles alone are enough on supporting a whole image in the aviation/pilot theme.
    I mean that nothing else in the image really says flying. I can't see the dragon's wings (or steam propulsion rockets or whatever it uses to fly) and having a dragon that looks like a mix between a cow and a crocodile doesn't really scream "this thing flies" as both cows and crocodiles are pretty much the exact opposite of flying. And there isn't even that sort of aerodynamic gracefulness like in Falcor or Asian dragon designs that could give that sort of air of "this things is created to fly even without wings".
    Same might go to the kid, having lots of loose cloth that the wind can grab and bare skin aren't things that come off as very pilot like.
    If the creature was actually flying, these might work bit better, but like this, aviation is the last thing that comes to my mind. The dragon actually reminds me more of a motorcycle.

    Is this the best composition of the thumbnails you did? Did you do any thumbnails? Is there anyway else you can say "aviation" in the image, like... give more visible sky and have the little kid look up there of the other flying dragons all dreamy and happy as he's waiting to get back up in the air (as opposed to like he's now, looking to the ground all depressed) or something.

    Also as a nitpick, the dragon's goggles look like they'd actually limit its range of vision and they don't really seem to fit the anatomy of its face at all.
    And I can't figure out how far away the kid is from the dragon. Looking at the ground, the kid seems to stand at least a meter or two away from the saddle, as he's further away than the dragon's arms, but he can still reach the saddle with his not even fully extended arm?

    The dragon I'm working on here was inspired by the shapes found in three animal heads. So I'm glad you noticed the cow and the alligator! :p The fact that he looks like a ground creature is intentional only because I wanted it to have a certain feeling as to the kind of dragon this is--that this particular dragon is a working class breed, trained, and a loyal companion.

    He will have wings!

    And you're not too far off from "seeing" a motorcycle either. I actually really enjoy drawing vehicles and other mechanical related imagery in my spare time. Since I am planning to include steampunk (I won't say how just yet) I wanted the head of the dragon to also mimic handle bars on a motorbike.


    I found this to be very interesting that you picked up on things that were intentional, but maybe not necessarily your taste.


    Your other suggestions to this section of the drawing;
    -Probably should have done more thumbnails
    -The composition is very static
    -Does not produce the reaction "aviation"
    -Make adjustments to the boys positioning/distance from dragon and clothing.
    -The goggles I definitely understand, but I don't think I'm going to part with them anyway because I like how ridiculous it looks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeweledelephant View Post
    I wanted it to have a certain feeling as to the kind of dragon this is--that this particular dragon is a working class breed, trained, and a loyal companion.
    Because cows and crocodiles are known to be easy to train and loyal to their owners? Also I might note that because it is a dragon, it can be pretty much anything and when we don't have any non-working class dragons to compare, it's harder to try to evoke that feeling, especially when it's supposed to be a flying working class dragon, and not something that pulls carts and does heavy labor on the ground.
    Just saying that for the sake of clarity in this singular image, making the dragon look like a heavy ground creature and a motorcycle can end up being confusing because the viewer will not necessarily pick up any of the thoughts that you have behind the design, and you don't have much room to go explaining the concepts either, especially since this is for a competition with a specific theme (which may either help or hinder you, depending on whether the viewer automatically connects the image with flying or if they do like me and start to view the image even more critically).

    Also if it will have wings, shouldn't you have planned them in the composition already? If the wings are the usual bat wings, I'm having a hard time seeing how you will position/draw the other one so that it doesn't cover the saddle? And if the other wing is folded, wouldn't be boy be stepping on the wing? Overall it looks like the parts this image will have aren't really connecting together.
    And I just noticed, is the rider supposed to be inside that cover? if yes, why does he have goggles then?

    Since I am planning to include steampunk (I won't say how just yet)
    What, do you think we will steal your idea if you say it? It's just making it harder to critique when I have to just guess what you're going to do.

    Last edited by TinyBird; July 26th, 2012 at 04:10 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TinyBird View Post
    Also if it will have wings, shouldn't you have planned them in the composition already? If the wings are the usual bat wings, I'm having a hard time seeing how you will position/draw the other one so that it doesn't cover the saddle? And if the other wing is folded, wouldn't be boy be stepping on the wing? Overall it looks like the parts this image will have aren't really connecting together.
    And I just noticed, is the rider supposed to be inside that cover? if yes, why does he have goggles then?


    What, do you think we will steal your idea if you say it? It's just making it harder to critique when I have to just guess what you're going to do.
    I feel like I came off the wrong way here? I was trying to use that post to organize my thoughts and I guess I shouldn't have been in such a hurry to reply and made myself clearer. My process on this one is kind of messy, but I keep changing my mind about things. Thanks for the suggestion on the saddle cover--it really didn't make any sense.

    And I wasn't thinking about the idea being stolen. :p

    I was more or less just wanting to keep it as a surprise. I think if I felt that way I wouldn't be posting here period.

    What I took from your critique was less talk and more drawing! So, I'll just leave it up to my work to do more of the talking, with minor tidbits from myself here and there, and more listening as well. I am hoping to have this entirely finished some time in the weekend, but here is how far I got tonight.

    I appreciate any and all feedback--I'm learning a lot already.

    P.S. Still need to make adjustments to finding where I want the boy to be standing but this is getting closer to what I am wanting aaand definitely more adjustments to his backend area/tail/foot.

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    Last edited by jeweledelephant; July 27th, 2012 at 04:17 AM. Reason: forgot a section of changes that will be made
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  7. #6
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    Well, now I really have to ask if you want to make the thing look like it realistically flies at all?
    Like personally I think there's bit of a dissonance between everything in here, as you're going with very "realistic-ish" and recognizable animal look with the dragon, the cow and crocodile being recognizable, but then the wings have zero to do with anything anatomically or mechanically correct and wouldn't even keep a kite up, let alone a heavy set creature that weights at least two tons.
    If you look at bats, hang gliders and pterodactyls you'll notice that all of them have a lot of the wing membrane that takes on the wind and keeps them up and it's generally attached all the way to the toes, and actually even birds have it similarly (though in a different way).
    In the case of your wings, they don't look like they connect anywhere, could lift anything, and even if they could, there would be nothing that would support the hindquarters of the dragon, so it's going to experience some dire Hanging Butt Syndrome.
    This goes through explaining most of what I mean here, and shows the HBS problem: http://wolfpearl.deviantart.com/art/...t-03-112542437

    If this were just a really cartoony dragon (like the Gronckle that works like a bumblebee in How To Train Your Dragon), I could give this more of a pass, but it's not, so I would really work on either making the wings work or help the dragon fly somehow (steam rockets, plane wings, additional wings in the butt, something) as I'm kinda looking this and expecting that the dragon wouldn't actually fly, but that it's been engineered through steampunk to fly, but if that is what you're going for, I'd say it should have been more clearer and designed/planned better from the start.

    Same goes for the "wanting to keep it as a surprise" (...for whom?). If something is supposed to be an important part of the image, it doesn't speak well if you can just later add it without it actually destroying the image/composition. Like the wings. You literally just added them there which kinda shows that they mean little to the image. The dragon would just have been an earthbound creature but not having wings wouldn't have ruined the image, as opposed to say, if the dragon was actually flying or if the boy was interacting with the wings somehow (like if you have an image with a plane in a hangar and a kid is sitting on the plane's wing, you can't remove the wing he's sitting on without it making the picture make no sense).
    But now all the things are just props that don't interact. You could remove the boy and it wouldn't affect much, you could remove the dragon and aside the kid's hand, it wouldn't otherwise affect the kid much (he could be resting his arm against almost anything), you can remove the wings and that wouldn't affect the dragon or kid much and so on.
    You say the dragon would be a loyal and trained friend (and I assume at least moderately intelligent too) but neither character is even looking at each other or showing any affection (like a rider might hug his horse or a kid his dog or show that they have personality, like the dragon could be licking/poking the kid to ruin the "photo" or the kid could be climbing around the dragon and so on). Both look pretty depressed and uninterested to be there.
    And the kid still isn't anywhere near the correct perspective or position. Look at the kid's other shoe which is in profile, and look at the distance between the dragon's wrist and the ring on it's side. Draw your horizon and map out the perspective for the dragon and fit the kid there too.

    I still like the dragon's face, but I also really would wish you had planned this image properly and explored more ideas.

    Last edited by TinyBird; July 27th, 2012 at 10:58 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TinyBird View Post
    Well, now I really have to ask if you want to make the thing look like it realistically flies at all?

    Like personally I think there's bit of a dissonance between everything in here, as you're going with very "realistic-ish" and recognizable animal look with the dragon, the cow and crocodile being recognizable, but then the wings have zero to do with anything anatomically or mechanically correct and wouldn't even keep a kite up, let alone a heavy set creature that weights at least two tons.
    Definitely yes! Alright, so invest some time reworking the wings to look like they fit the body they are on.



    If you look at bats, hang gliders and pterodactyls you'll notice that all of them have a lot of the wing membrane that takes on the wind and keeps them up and it's generally attached all the way to the toes, and actually even birds have it similarly (though in a different way).
    In the case of your wings, they don't look like they connect anywhere, could lift anything, and even if they could, there would be nothing that would support the hindquarters of the dragon, so it's going to experience some dire Hanging Butt Syndrome.
    This goes through explaining most of what I mean here, and shows the HBS problem: http://wolfpearl.deviantart.com/art/...t-03-112542437
    This tutorial was helpful and humorous towards the end there. The expression of HBS dragon got me.



    If this were just a really cartoony dragon (like the Gronckle that works like a bumblebee in How To Train Your Dragon), I could give this more of a pass, but it's not, so I would really work on either making the wings work or help the dragon fly somehow (steam rockets, plane wings, additional wings in the butt, something) as I'm kinda looking this and expecting that the dragon wouldn't actually fly, but that it's been engineered through steampunk to fly, but if that is what you're going for, I'd say it should have been more clearer and designed/planned better from the start.
    I don't have an excuse for the better planning on my part--I should know better from all that my schooling has taught me so far--but, this image was spur of the moment and I am working with what I have now. To remedy this, I can go behind my linework layer and do the rest of the planning before I continue forward with my linework. I just get so excited about working on image sometimes I want to push forward with it quickly. Note to self: Patience and more planning.



    Same goes for the "wanting to keep it as a surprise" (...for whom?).
    If something is supposed to be an important part of the image, it doesn't speak well if you can just later add it without it actually destroying the image/composition. Like the wings. You literally just added them there which kinda shows that they mean little to the image. The dragon would just have been an earthbound creature but not having wings wouldn't have ruined the image, as opposed to say, if the dragon was actually flying or if the boy was interacting with the wings somehow (like if you have an image with a plane in a hangar and a kid is sitting on the plane's wing, you can't remove the wing he's sitting on without it making the picture make no sense).
    But now all the things are just props that don't interact. You could remove the boy and it wouldn't affect much, you could remove the dragon and aside the kid's hand, it wouldn't otherwise affect the kid much (he could be resting his arm against almost anything), you can remove the wings and that wouldn't affect the dragon or kid much and so on.
    You say the dragon would be a loyal and trained friend (and I assume at least moderately intelligent too) but neither character is even looking at each other or showing any affection (like a rider might hug his horse or a kid his dog or show that they have personality, like the dragon could be licking/poking the kid to ruin the "photo" or the kid could be climbing around the dragon and so on). Both look pretty depressed and uninterested to be there.
    And the kid still isn't anywhere near the correct perspective or position. Look at the kid's other shoe which is in profile, and look at the distance between the dragon's wrist and the ring on it's side. Draw your horizon and map out the perspective for the dragon and fit the kid there too.

    I still like the dragon's face, but I also really would wish you had planned this image properly and explored more ideas.
    The surprise wasn't for anyone in particular--just anyone on the board who appreciates ambiguity as much as I do, but I am in error for doing so. This board is for critique, not show and tell. I come from laid back art communities previously, but I've grown tired of not getting any real critique. So, I'm attempting to fine tune myself here.

    I am sure making some changes to the attitude of this image won't be a problem. All of this is really helpful in investigating my process on how I decide things in an image and how it can be tweaked (besides the poor planning at the moment). You're exposing me to quite a bit. I don't get critiques like this where I am from so it is really refreshing to get my butt kicked!

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    Readjustments and fixings for tonight.

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    Apologies for letting this stagnate a little. I've been attempting to get some of my other projects together/get in some pre-fall semester me time.

    They use the lights on the saddle to send information via morse code.

    Comments, critique still welcome.

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