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I hang around this subforum a bit but I always manage to forget to put my own WIPs here for help. Here's a personal thing that's been hanging out on my hard drive since the beginning of winter break last year:
I remember I was trying to go for some kind of high-key, peaceful mood (was thinking of freshly fallen snow for some reason) but it's just a bit of a mess right now, and I don't quite know what to do about light.
This basically looks good. I suppose my critique would be that--even if you're going for a "peaceful" mood--everything in the picture is so centered and idealized that it feels a bit dull. Among the Old Masters, even the calmest compositions have some areas of contrast to move your eye around.
The two main things I'd suggest are move the wall to the left so it's not dividing the picture evenly in half, and add some kind of dark stuff--grass or shadows or whatever--behind the girl to create a contrast between foreground and background. The other thing I'd advise in the long term is to find some reference photos. There's nothing really "wrong" with your drawing of the girl or her dress, but it doesn't really "grab" me either. I think if the picture included more details observed from reality it would hold the viewer's eye a lot more.
As always, just my two cents.
its very pretty! I think with some careful thought this could be a really nice one. the crow looks excellent. (ive always wanted a pet crow)
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I think you can push the contrast and the drama of the image without sacrificing the peaceful nature of it. I did a paint over to help illustrate what I mean.
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I like it, but (there's always a but )
I'm seeing the landscape as the primary and the girl as a secondary focus - I think it should be the other way around.
I do like Giacomo's PO, the building is to strong in the picture and I think the girl to low - move her up to or breaking the horizon.
Also why portrait? go horizontal and show us the vista!
On the basic OP: Basically its the same shot, I just expanded the landscape and added points of interest. I forgot the crow, d'oh!.
I'd like a little more 'story' in it though, but that's just me.
(Oh I did a 'romantic' version, but you'd need to break out your 'Turner' ha ha - I can post it up if you're interested…)
Venger: sure, I'd love to see it! I live 5 minutes away from a nice collection of Turners so I'm actually growing very fond of his work.
woah, thank you guys so much. I really like Venger's PO and Giacomo's comment on everything being too balanced hit it on the head, I think that was why the composition felt so boring. I'm not sure why I never even considered landscape format! And I'm thinking about how to incorporate a bit of that cool lighting from keith_v.
I'll try grab more refs if I can, too. I was working off some photos of a towel draped over myself, heh. I might try redrawing her face too because it feels really flat + structureless. I'm at this really awkward stage where I don't entirely want to do 'realistic' heads and faces, but my manga days are over me, and I like how, say, Stanley Lau handles faces...except not entirely.
Once again, I really appreciate all the comments and POs. Midterms are coming up but I'll try and work a bit more on this as soon as all necessary homework (= what's due on Monday) is done. We're completely snowed in over in Connecticut (kids were cross-country skiing around campus today), so classes might be cancelled and I'll get a day off to draw.
Ok, now this sketch stemmed off from your paint over - so its not really connected to your image (it's now a completely different story)
I'm just working in more story and connecting the figure to the background - (it went a little mills & boon on me.)
Working the composition some more and directing the viewers eye. Girl to boat and back again and using background elements to frame the boat and support and direct the flow.
Hope it helps.
I thought I'd throw a couple of suggestions in here too, though you've already had some great advice! I personally like the vertical format, and the fact that the girl isn't necessarily filling the frame, but Giacomo's suggestions on moving the wall were valid since the background and girl/wall had the same amount of emphasis. I think you could stand to push your values a little more even though it's a very pastelly scene. Venger's point on flow are really valid.. if you stay with your original composition, have a play around with the elements like the foliage to try and create a nice flow around and to the girl. You could add some extras like trees in the foreground - the repetition will help the sense of distance in the background too.
I also tried to push the sunlit aspect of it more... as Blackspot was recommending. Hope there's something useful in here!
Venger: That's an awfully difficult pose to hold for the girl but it's a cool picture, and I get what you mean about story now.
zephyri: wow, that's really awesome - thanks so much! I'm kind of curious about why yours has such a stronger sense of light - I assume it's because there's more value contrast, but when I tried adding more contrast between light and dark on my own (mostly making the shadows darker and adding more highlights) it just looked kind of messy and like the darks were too dark.
I'm really excited at all the POs (and they're making me slightly want to give up on this and go do studies instead until I'm better, but I haven't finished a complete picture in very long so I'm going to make myself finish this)
I think the contrast definitely plays a part, but it's a number of things... stuff like paying attention to where the light is coming from and where the shadows fall - if it's coming from the right of the image and close to the horizon then everything will cast long shadows that are tinted by the ambient light of the sky. It's also using more saturated colours - especially in those lighting conditions, the transition from light to shadow tends to get very saturated, as there's a lot of red light bouncing around. And I pushed the values between the planes to help the distance read a bit better too. Mine's still not perfect and I'd suggest trying to find some reference for people sitting in that low, mid afternoon sun to make sure it still all reads well. It's definitely worth pursuing as a final image, it's like a more anime take on a lot of the old master paintings (check out guys like Alma Tadema, Bouguereau and Leighton - they do a lot of painting of ladies lounging outside in flowers and sunlight )
I started trying to work out the lighting again yesterday, but it's kind of messy. I should also probably think more about the composition and things before getting into that, but I got kind of carried away.
All the ref pictures I can find for lighting condition have really washed out skies - I know in part it's just because of how the camera works, but I don't know how exaggerrated the effect is in photos.
For whatever it's worth, I liked the color on your original one a lot more than on the updates. The new ones feel very muddy and the eye isn't moving around as much.