Geale
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    Geale

    Hey everyone, I'm doing a painting of one of my creatures from this story I'm developing. He plays an important role and I really want this to come out fantastically to show him off.
    Here's where I'm at so far with this painting. I'd love to hear anything you guys have to say, especially regarding the colors and texturing.
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    This character has unusual anatomy. That means you're going to have to describe that very carefully and plainly.

    Claws, body, wings...that's reading okay. But I can't for the life of me work out what's going on with the head (I see the eye, but no beak/mouth. And is that...ears and antlers?). The tail is okay, but what is that mass directly above it? The stranger something is, the harder you have to sell it.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post
    The tail is okay, but what is that mass directly above it? The stranger something is, the harder you have to sell it.
    Hmn i see it like a Chinese dragon like form that's wrapping around the top of the mountain

    but i might be wrong

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post
    This character has unusual anatomy. That means you're going to have to describe that very carefully and plainly.

    Claws, body, wings...that's reading okay. But I can't for the life of me work out what's going on with the head (I see the eye, but no beak/mouth. And is that...ears and antlers?). The tail is okay, but what is that mass directly above it? The stranger something is, the harder you have to sell it.
    For the head I was going for an owl-ish appearance, in that it has a tiny little beak and the mouth is hidden under the black tufty feathers on his mouth. It's supposed to be sort of a deception, since I wanted it to look like it should have a regular mouth but it actually has a horrifyingly wide mouth. Similar to those frog-mouth birds.
    Name:  jnicks.jpg
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    As for that mass above it, that's just a really poorly developed back leg! :p

    Quote Originally Posted by SweatiestDegree View Post
    Hmn i see it like a Chinese dragon like form that's wrapping around the top of the mountain

    but i might be wrong
    Right-o! That's pretty much the pose I was going for!

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    Looking at the sketches, the head reminds me too much of the How to Train Your Dragon dragon. My biggest grief with that is the stupidly large eyes that leave no real cranial room for a brain.

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    Personally the "wrapping over a mountain" look doesn't really work because you're going with a design that's a mix of a bird and a moose which to my eye doesn't translate to serpentine motions as naturally than a Chinese dragon (if the creature were more overall fluidly stylized, that'd be a different thing), especially since the "cut" makes the body parts two separate huge lumps, confusing the first time viewer. On another point, the whole hindquarters of the creature look way too big in the painting for me to believe it can actually fly without its butt drooping down. In the sketches the perspective makes the legs much more streamlined and smaller that makes the design work, but that's what missing in the painting in my opinion.
    Also the way the tail feathers bend comes off more like a tail of a nine tailed fox, rather than that of a bird which again is present in the sketches but not in the painting.
    Just sticking more to the original sketches would help a lot I think.

    Also on more fundamental level, the creature has very flat forms. And it looks like you've painted the torso from side, but then added the wing there too, causing it to look really awkwardly angled, not to mention you cut off the creatures view to the mountains by slapping the wing there for no real reason. Do you have a undersketch for this and could you show it?

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    Ah. Okay. I thought the three shelves of snow were part of the beastie.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hexokinase View Post
    Looking at the sketches, the head reminds me too much of the How to Train Your Dragon dragon. My biggest grief with that is the stupidly large eyes that leave no real cranial room for a brain.
    Well, it's not like that head shape hadn't existed before HTTYD, right? To be honest, I don't mind him being sort of reminiscent of Toothless as long as it's not something that the viewer can't get past.

    As for the eyes, he lives at and hunts from extremely high altitudes and travels at high speeds so I imagined he'd be mostly reliant on eyesight, and I wanted that to be pronounced. Also, from what I've been told, bigger eyes allow emotion to be better conveyed.
    I do believe I've left enough room for a brain though in the back of the head.. Eyes aren't completely spherical after all, and intelligence and brain size aren't necessarily proportional to body mass.

    Quote Originally Posted by TinyBird View Post
    Personally the "wrapping over a mountain" look doesn't really work because you're going with a design that's a mix of a bird and a moose which to my eye doesn't translate to serpentine motions as naturally than a Chinese dragon (if the creature were more overall fluidly stylized, that'd be a different thing), especially since the "cut" makes the body parts two separate huge lumps, confusing the first time viewer. On another point, the whole hindquarters of the creature look way too big in the painting for me to believe it can actually fly without its butt drooping down. In the sketches the perspective makes the legs much more streamlined and smaller that makes the design work, but that's what missing in the painting in my opinion.
    Also the way the tail feathers bend comes off more like a tail of a nine tailed fox, rather than that of a bird which again is present in the sketches but not in the painting.
    Just sticking more to the original sketches would help a lot I think.

    Also on more fundamental level, the creature has very flat forms. And it looks like you've painted the torso from side, but then added the wing there too, causing it to look really awkwardly angled, not to mention you cut off the creatures view to the mountains by slapping the wing there for no real reason. Do you have a undersketch for this and could you show it?
    Hmmm... Well, I designed this guy wanting him to be sort of like an avian dragon, so I wanted his spine to bend sort of like that. Is it really that hard of a sell?

    I hear ya on the legs. I'll make the hind quarters much leaner. As for the tail feathers, you're right there too. I'm pretty sure that effect comes from the final downward curve the feathers are making, which really shouldn't happen given that feathers are actually somewhat stiff, even when being pushed by wind. I'll correct that.

    Oh no! It looks flat?! Ugh. That sucks. I mean, I need the wings, antlers and tail to look flat but his overall body should be more like a bunch of rounded cylinders... I know deeper texture like that of feathers and fur flattens things out, but it's very important to me that this creature look dimensional.

    As for the undersketch, it started out as this:
    Name:  1.jpg
Views: 226
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    and then as I did more work on the painting I turned it into this:
    Name:  2.jpg
Views: 248
Size:  150.6 KB

    (Sorry they're so rough, I have a terrible habit of starting my paintings that way...)
    The pose I'm going for was that the body would be wrapped around the rock, but he'd be sort of his stretching his neck off to the side because he sees something off camera.
    The wings would be in a state of mid-furling/unfurling. (You know that moment birds get when they can't decide whether they want to open or keep their wings open or not.)


    Anyways, any tips you guys may have on how to correct the problems, especially the dimensionality problems, I'd love to hear them. Thanks again for all the help!

    Also, do you think my palette is too blue? I'm having a hard time introducing other wonderfully painterly colors into it without it looking goofy.

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    Well, personally I'd do something like this:
    Name:  birdyedline.jpg
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    Remove the rock cutting the creature in half, angling the wing differently, making the body curve even more exaggerated so you can see it's the critter's butt, etc etc...

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    Those snow lumps in the first pic looked like white caterpillar legs. I propose that your monster would be at least 50% more awesome with half a dozen caterpillar legs in the back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TinyBird View Post
    Well, personally I'd do something like this:
    Name:  birdyedline.jpg
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    Remove the rock cutting the creature in half, angling the wing differently, making the body curve even more exaggerated so you can see it's the critter's butt, etc etc...
    Hmmm... The only thing about that composition that worries me is leaving so much empty space on the right side.
    Lemme give it a shot when I get home.

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    I'm having a bit of an off painting day, but I tried to modify it to be a bit more like what you had in mind, and this is what I came up with.

    Name:  gealepainting.jpg
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    I'm... Unsure about it...
    My main problem with this composition is not only the the massive amounts of free space it leaves, but also the fact that it gets in the way of the silhouette of the beast.
    I didn't want to do an up-view of the hind quarters either, because that just looked even more confusing unless they were more sprawled out, which I didn't want.

    It does give me some ideas for the original piece though, if I can make the rock he's resting on smaller and push the secondary feathers behind his back, instead of resting on his side, it'll probably look a lot better.

    Last edited by DDar; December 4th, 2012 at 10:24 PM.
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    Okay! This is where I've gotten!
    I'm at the point where I'm not really sure what else to do with it, so I THINK I'm done, but I'll let you guys be the judges of that.
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    I really like this creature and the mood of this image ! I may just shadow a little more the left wing (the one closer to us) in order to push the central body part be more standing out.... Also, this left wing looks a little flat, on the contrary of the central body that let us feel a pretty nice volume !

    About your previous composition attempt, what was very interesting was the head "included" in the shape of the right wing. Here the nose is super close to the edge of the wing and it lead a little confusion. If you can just try it, maybe you can move just a little the wing behind the head and let see if it's help to better understand the face shape of your character ?

    Anyway, I really love this griffin, hope you will create new stuff with him !

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    I really didn't like the sort of tangent it made across its body, so while I did revisit it, I couldn't find anything that wouldn't have made me start the entire painting all over again (which I'm afraid I don't have time for.)
    I did however keep working on it based on some suggestions I got elsewhere. Here's where it's at now.

    Name:  gealepaintingnewest.jpg
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