A typical Conan painting, I've just started with the washes of color. I spent some a good amount of time with the face, I'm sure its not perfect. I thought it would be a good idea to ask for some guidance. I have little experience with digital painting.
And another question would be, what would be a good resolution to do a digital painting when you want to take care of finer details? I'm using a 2500 x 2500 canvas with this piece.
Edit: Put the final up front.
Last edited by J.R.Hollis; March 7th, 2013 at 10:20 PM.
well... your line art is not good also, there are a lot of problems with the structure of the character, if you make it better in the paper, use it, scan it to computer and paint it digitally....
Speaking specifically of Conan, who has a lot of artists for comic books, if you want to learn from studying these ones, I suggest you restrict your references to the work of Neal Adams, John Buscema, Barry Smith and Cary Nord... for painters, use Norem (he made a lot of covers for Marvel)... Use their work to see how the build the figure of Conan and how they gave some action for that comics....
best regards and keep going
Ahh, thanks. I should have looked up those guys from the start! I love Norem's pulp art, thanks for the recommendation!
As far as the structure of the character goes I'll try my best to iron out anything I might be able to catch. Anything wrong in particular with the structure?
I woke up today, added more color to the piece. But not to throw away your suggestion, because my scanner is out of commission for some reason, I just created some thumbnails.
Perhaps what you mean by "structure" is anatomy? Or the composition? How he swings his sword?
Okay, I know this is going to sound like the most tired, overused piece of advise you'll ever hear on this forum, but you NEED a reference photo to draw from, especially because your grasp of anatomy is far from functional. I'm sure you can find a zillion really good references for human anatomy drawing, but for practical purposes, use yourself. Have someone take a picture of you from the angle you want the viewer to be, doing the thing your character is doing. I know it sounds silly (and you'll have some explaining to do if anyone ever finds your phone and looks at the pictures) but it will help. In fact, its just about the only thing that does. Also, it cuts the scanner out of the equation because you can upload the picture without it (or just choose to look at it while drawing, but I'd recommend the former).
As for the thumbnails, I like the one second row on the right. Its kind of like the one you have now, but it makes more sense if you consider the mechanics of the scene (for the angle you're currently using, to see the ceiling, both the barbarian and his victim would basically have to be lying flat on the ground, ie making it impossible to be swinging a sword or doing anything).
Please, please save yourself the hassle and don't go any farther with coloring or rendering until you fix the basic structure. I guarantee you will not regret it. Hope this helps!
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Bah, weather it's used advice doesn't mean its tired. Thank you for your advice. I don't have a camera...but I DO have a sizable mirror near by. I think it should do for now. I don't know why I didn't use it in the first place. The only thing that is sort of jarring with me modeling is that I don't have the muscle of Conan. However guess its the functionality I'm looking for. I'll re-post with a more refined composition.
That being said, since this dude is really muscular you're probably going to want to supplement your references with some pictures from online so you can get a feel for the way the muscles connect, overlap, etc. Or you could just get really buff. Whichever is easier. ;-)
Soldier onward friend!
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After hours of metaphorically crumpling the ball and throwing it in the waste bin, It clicked that I needed a real setting for the piece. So I looked up Aztec ruins, and since Conan is fighting monkey people, I made an Aztec Monkey theme. So I had at least some sort of context to the action. Just like actors I needed some motivation. The bananas on the top of the pyramids are a little goofy for Conan, but workable. I still have the 1 point perspective, this time better and the mook being chopped in the head. This time from a better angle.
This is just a punk-ass thumbnail, but from here I think I can progress. I've included another thumbnail of a file that I didn't delete (With the blue layer on top.), this is the pose that I modeled for. Ill do the same when I go into details on the less detailed thumbnail. I think your suggestion really helped with that Dead_Reaper. Thanks
Aside from having a good single piece of reference to work from, sometimes it helps to look at a bunch of pictures showing poses kind of in the ballpark for what you're doing. Get them, stare at them a while. It really does help.
Happily, these days, you can get what you want with a few well-placed keywords in Google images. Try doing a search on "swinging axe" and see if those aren't giving you ideas (an axe being the commonest sort of thing people wield like Conan swings sword).
Also, REALLY helpful -- take the pose yourself. Use a heavy prop, if you can. Even if you can't get a digital picture, stand there and hold the pose and FEEL where the strain is. Feel the weight, and which of your muscles gets tired first. It's like getting in the skin of your character. It'll also help you not do really implausible things with your poses.
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).
"sometimes it helps to look at a bunch of pictures showing poses kind of in the ballpark for what you're doing. Get them, stare at them a while. It really does help."
This. the first thing you should do is google up a big A3 sheet of things youll need. in this case barbarians, axes, action scenes, frazetta, movie stills, anything youll want to mix in. its like assembling your ingredients.
i really like the coloured sketch where hes splitting the poor guys head, its got tonnes of impact. now try looking at how that sword would look in his hands, at the moment hes cutting with the flat side of the blade; totally impossible. try cutting some bread with the flat of a knife! put the camera on the ground on a timer and stand over it grinning like a crazy man with an umbrella in your hand, take about 15 that way youll get a good one.
do it with your shirt off to get the muscles, etc. i see people taking ref images of themselves wearing jeans and a hoody, which is fucknig useless if the character is a bare to the waist barbarian psycho or a lithe sorceress.
Thanks for the advice Stoat, as soon as I read that I started looking up people swinging heavy instruments. Ive saved them all in my reference folder I'm making. I also posed for myself with a large wooden bat, I took pictures. I used a camera on the ground like Velocity prescribed and I took some poses that looked pretty vicious.
This one is my favorite. ( This is me by the way. Nice to meet you guys.)
One thing that conflicts with the scene in my mind is that Frazetta in true Pulp Art fashion never ends the scene with the expected climax. Mine is showing what the viewer expects to see. Even if Frazetta and other Pulp artists are probably one of my higher inspirations, I don't feel like I should conform to this standard. I like seeing the reaction. Total tangent, but I feel this this is a better place then ever to state my observation.
Anyway, before I go off and start on a new white canvas, I just wanted to show how far I got with the second iteration with two other photos:
As you can see I'm working on the setting. Should I take this out of my W.I.P folder and stick this in my sketchbook? Should I try again?
Okay okay. Quick edit before I hit the hay.
Using my favorite pose that I posted, I generated this thumbnail. I think I hit the mark I was looking for. Simple lighting that the viewer can easily understand. Conan isn't floating, and looks grounded and ready to chop the monkey's skull in twain.
Last edited by J.R.Hollis; February 12th, 2013 at 12:25 AM.
one thing is the head is blocking his arms, move him out to one side if you can.
yeah reaction is also totally legit, reminds me of;
Now that is a comic cover, going strait to my inspiration folder!
Now, which of the pieces is kick ass? The one more developed with the monkey temple, or the thumbnail? I just want to know which would is worth developing.
Last edited by J.R.Hollis; February 12th, 2013 at 09:04 AM.
I like the monkey but feel sad you lose so much of conan gesture because the head hide a lot... I know it's a lot of work but can't you turn the point of view a little so we see a little more Conan ? No need to be in side view, something a little like your second one but with him continuing his swing or arming it. I would prefer an end of swing with some blood trace that can work as guide to lead the eyes but that up to you
Warning, ref coming from spartacus and conan movie, do not looks at them if you are sensitive.
Last edited by Griffonnage; February 12th, 2013 at 09:41 AM.
Yeah, that is definitely something I'm going to move around. To go through the trouble of finding conan's pose and recreate it just for this chopped up monkey to block the view irks me too.
Thank you for the stills, always useful!
Quick color composition.
I'm thinking a battle at dawn isn't going to be the best for this piece. I like how the light contrasts with the buildings, but this would definitely involved a heavy shadow over the action. I know that shadow is extremely heavy in the first peice., but I know I can't use normal tones. Its like I'm going to have to use middle tones and down. I made a lighter color wash too.
its a good idea, still cant see him enough. it looks like a monkey wearing some sort of conan-shaped hat.
More awesome reference. Who's the artist?
And yeah, that position is getting on my nerves. I'm going to have to rethink that whole composition, it can be streamlined. God do I hate restarting, its a naughty habit. I really am working on this thing, I want this to be portfolio worthy.
Good news is, I worked on my other pose on the side. Tell me what you think.
I really like this one, it's better and we see the action way better !
Now I think you try to put too much things absolutly in the view. The two characters are great, but you have to think your environment as a full one. Hide Conan and the monkey and start drawing what's behind them. Extend your canvas, you can make a simple square to remember where you want to cut your image. That will help you not being annoyed by the corners and limits. If not you may try to fit everything in the surface and that will feel unnatural.
@Azura Pesant - Looking a lot better. I wanted to mention a book you could look at - Glenn Fabry's Anatomy for Fantasy Artists. Some really good insights into how he constructs a painting from start to finish. Particularly if barbarian stuff is an area of interest. He did a lot of work on the Slaine comics which you should also check out!
Alright, after I kept trying to add line after line over my lines like I always do. I stopped, looked at my lines.
And said, "Dammit man if you keep trying to make your lines look "Perfect" your never going to finish this."
So I said fuck nit picking and started trying to paint.
The first colored try I worked on a lot last night, then I realized that the colors looks goofy and weak because I didn't work on values. So I went to sleep, woke up. Ate some B-fast and worked on value, this is where I am right now. I want Conan's eyes to "glow in barbaric rage" even though his face is covered in shadow.
Tell me what you think.
action anatomy dynamics..may i be soo bold
Ooooh yes, I've seen you're work friend. The Conan piece is my screen saver, you're lines show so much action. And the important thing is that its Conan, full of all the quirks and mannerisms that the books say except its in a totally different style that really works. I wouldn't be surprised if someone told me that these where the original iterations of the character.
Inspirational man. These are already in my inspiration folder.
Okay, this doesn't look or feel natural. I've been rummaging with these gray pixels for a good while now.
Just to tell you what my plan was, I was trying to take care of the values of the piece. The facial features of the original lines are completely lost, which irks me. I just need some understanding.
That last composition looked like crap to me, I didn't want to touch it again. It just plain had nothing going for it besides Conan's comic expression.
Back the the drawing board!
- I went back to the super low camera angle, It looks right to me.
- pulled up a shit ton of reference for the monkey.
- The totem monkey is based on Indian architecture.
- I actually developed some sort of compositional three way.
- In this piece, Conan's revealed eye will be the focal point, ice blue and full of energy.
As you can see in my last layout it was flat as shit. The Totem animal competed with Conan in a height race, so my eye couldn't rest and absorb the scene, among other things.
Ah ! Very interesting, I really like this new camera angle !
I would just say : can you try to take your image and tilt it a little to the right ? I think about that because : the arm of the monkey will be in "mercy" posture and that will trully enforce your storytelling !
damn that looks pretty cool!
Yeeeeaaah, that tilt does at a bit of umph. Great advice!
Right after I tilted the scene I added a bunch of stuff, and I realized that this is my problem with most of the things I create. I clutter the scene up, I just wanted to show you guys. I thought it was interesting that I caught myself.