Medusa and Perseus
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    Medusa and Perseus

    Hi folks,
    I've been working on this painting I have in mind for a while. Made a quick sketch. Started Perseus, it was okay. Then Started Medusa and felt something wasn't okay at all. So I abruptly stopped, not knowing how to fix it. I'm wondering if I should have started in values and then add colors. I plan to add some background, details and enhancing the torch light when I'll see where I'm going.
    Any useful comments and advices would be welcome.

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    Elwell's Avatar
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    What about the whole mirror/shield thing? That's kind of an important part of the story.


    Tristan Elwell
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    Yes indeed, actually I planned to add it on the floor next to them as if it has felt in the struggle. And if you follow the true story Medusa would be sleeping and Perseus would kill her in her sleep like a coward wearing a magical helmet that makes him invisible but it's more epic like this ;-)
    That being said, any idea/critic about this painting?

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    I don't think it's a very good idea to start on the details in the figures while the background is still solid black, it will be much harder later on to get all the parts to fit together in a cohesive picture that way. At least put down some color or value to give some idea for the setting and mood.
    That being said, there are several issues with the anatomy, His leg looks too short, and at the top it looks like his left leg, but the foot looks more like a right foot, which is a bit confusing. His pose doesn't feel very natural. I you try the pose yourself you can feel it's not a very comfortable way to try and slay someone
    Maybe you can pose and have someone take a photo of you, or have them pose for you.
    And why is it cut off at the bottom like that? It looks like you simply wanted to avoid drawing Medusa's hand.

    Last edited by Theeroos; November 25th, 2012 at 05:04 PM.
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    I'm not a master of anathomy, but I took the liberty of redlining your picture:

    Name:  Medusa_rl1.png
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    I marked blue for where the front is. Now, this twist of torso is a bit hard to achieve so I'm saying what Theeroos said - maybe you could try to get a photo-reference, or any reference actually! If you find yourself wondering "How does this look" - check a reference rather than draw it for what you think it may look like. This is also the case with the fabric on the skirt; right now I get a bit of a "plastic" feeling that I think you can work against if you remove some of the highlights on it, since matte fabrics absorbs more light than skin does, and rather work with its shadows.

    And I'll say: An important thing about boobs is that they are sacks of fat. They hang down to the ground with gravity and aren't connected in the middle, rather think them as just... hanging sacks that droop down on the sides of your chest.

    Also remember to keep a sense of "ground" for where you place Perseus' feet, Medusa's torso and her hands. I changed them a bit to "fit" in the picture.

    Otherwise, I like how you made their skin and the sword! Perseus' face is very full of expression!


    I'll also attach a suggestion to what you could do to make the torso-twist a bit less extreme, and also a suggested change in the arm, but I think the image loses a lot of its "moment" if you change the legs, so I may be going for the wrong thing here:
    Name:  Medusa_rl2.png
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    Quote Originally Posted by StefRob View Post
    Yes indeed, actually I planned to add it on the floor next to them as if it has felt in the struggle. And if you follow the true story Medusa would be sleeping and Perseus would kill her in her sleep like a coward wearing a magical helmet that makes him invisible but it's more epic like this ;-)
    That being said, any idea/critic about this painting?
    Yeah, but the whole point is that he can't risk looking at her. All she has to do now is arch her back and/or turn her head a little and he's statue-fied. Also, his sword arm isn't positioned properly for a decapitating downstroke. And where are his wingy sandals and magic bag? I'd really recommend rethinking this.


    Tristan Elwell
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    I like Zarkadi's idea. However, his second image looks a bit weird where the sword is concerned The movement of the arm and the curved blade look like a useless combination. Is it stabbing sideways or slashing? Looks like an ineffective mix, resulting in an innocent poke on her back. Besides no one would hold a sword in that position. The blade should either be rotated on its own axis to stab, or 90 degrees from the arm to slash. Experiment yourself with a stick or something, and see what would be most effective. (at the same time, take note of exactly what muscles are contracting or relaxing and maybe exaggerate those features)
    Also, your original image suffers form an apparent avoidance on overlap. Medusas tail very conveniently fits between the guys legs. Looks like you were afraid of overlapping them. Besides looking better, fixing this would increase depth perception.

    The mood of the background will be very important to how the image is perceived. I would encourage you to experiment a lot. Feel free to just paste in images from google (e.g skyrim dungeons etc) to see what mood or concept works best, before drawing it.
    Whatever you do, make sure the background remains low contrast not to draw attention away from the main subject. Atm the strong lights behind are very distracting.

    The color palette seems completely random, you basically color things according to what color they are rather than how they would be perceived under certain lighting conditions. I would suggest making the whole scene blueish, while coloring brightly lid areas warmer. E.g. Shadowy would be blue.

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    Why worry about fixing anything until you've worked up some composition studies, posed or shot some models, done some value studies, color roughs, etc? That is the process required to develop a complex image like this - why waste your time and short-change yourself?

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    Zarkadi,
    thank you for taking time to sketch this. I like what you've made in the first one, it's things clearer and you made me notice that on my painting his head and neck are in a weird and maybe painful position. Actually, while posing this way I realised that maybe I should make the sword point upward. It's more natural, especially if you want to swing it for a decapitation. What do you think? Problem is I'll have to widen the image area to include it and the feet and Medusa's hands.... Any idea how to do that?
    About boobs, as I said, I've stopped the Medusa's drawing so, no refinement on her but I do like how you rendered them and I'll copy yours ;-)
    Otherwise, I like how you made their skin and the sword! Perseus' face is very full of expression!
    Thank you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Yeah, but the whole point is that he can't risk looking at her. All she has to do now is arch her back and/or turn her head a little and he's statue-fied. Also, his sword arm isn't positioned properly for a decapitating downstroke. And where are his wingy sandals and magic bag? I'd really recommend rethinking this.
    Yep, that's why I made him hold her head this way. Agreed on the sword arm position as mentionned in another comment, I'll fix that if I can find a way to make the image wider :-(. Concerning the sandals, I think I'll add them but the magic bag would make the image more confusing IMHO. That being said, the main problem remains, I feel like every part doesn't tie up together...

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    PaleBluePixel,
    Also, your original image suffers form an apparent avoidance on overlap. Medusas tail very conveniently fits between the guys legs. Looks like you were afraid of overlapping them. Besides looking better, fixing this would increase depth perception.
    Thank you excellent idea! I didn't do this on purpose, just the way I thought it. But now you're mentioning I'll maybe start over with a new perspective point, more in a "wide angle way" close from Medusa with a lower point of view, I've got to do new sketches. I'll post them when I'll have time to do them.
    The color palette seems completely random, you basically color things according to what color they are rather than how they would be perceived under certain lighting conditions. I would suggest making the whole scene blueish, while coloring brightly lid areas warmer. E.g. Shadowy would be blue.
    You're a mine of good advices, dear. You pointed out my big BIG problem: color comprehension. Actually, in my head it was a scene with rather high contrast very dark background and the warm light of the torch. Almost a "clair-obscur" (I don't know the expression in english for it) classical painting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    Why worry about fixing anything until you've worked up some composition studies, posed or shot some models, done some value studies, color roughs, etc? That is the process required to develop a complex image like this - why waste your time and short-change yourself?
    That's a question I'm wondering for a while. Should I work directly in colors or pure values and then color everething? I can't say what's the best. I'm pretty new to painting, I understand drawing but colors....

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    Hmmm...hate to say it so directly but you don't really have a handle on drawing yet. Drawing is the foundation of image making and you just can't jump ahead into working "directly in colors or pure values" without a really solid understanding of drawing and composition. I highly recommend stepping back and taking as much time as necessary to develop your drawing skills. The two books I think would help most are Gurney's "Imaginitive Realism" (all about the illustration and reference process) and Deborah Rockman's "Drawing Essentials" (all about drawing from observation). Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    Hmmm...hate to say it so directly but you don't really have a handle on drawing yet. Drawing is the foundation of image making and you just can't jump ahead into working "directly in colors or pure values" without a really solid understanding of drawing and composition. I highly recommend stepping back and taking as much time as necessary to develop your drawing skills. The two books I think would help most are Gurney's "Imaginitive Realism" (all about the illustration and reference process) and Deborah Rockman's "Drawing Essentials" (all about drawing from observation). Good luck!
    Hmm... I guess you're note totally wrong about it. I'll practice then! No harm when it's said cautiously.

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    I think another thing that isn't mentioned is the shading seems off to your light source on medusa, i'm not sure though cause it's not a finished product and that could have been something you were going to do later.

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