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This started out as a sketch but I have grown to like it a lot, so I'm hoping to get some feedback as to how to get the most mileage out of it.
During a bout of nostalgia I decided to try a redesign of one of my favorite old-video-game villains. I do need to pull some reference for materials for the armor (among other things) and work on rendering out volumes better, but I am wondering whether I can get away with this composition? Ideally, I am going to be shooting for a kind of techy Gigeresque art-nouveau look.
EDIT: Putting up the most recent version in the top post because it's gone through so many changes.
Last edited by Envisualist; March 23rd, 2013 at 07:22 PM. Reason: Updating image.
Best thing to do right now I think would be to ditch the colors altogether and work out the values before you do anything else. Also, the composition isn't working like this; it's just way too cramped, she's being cut off top and bottom and her hands seem forced to fit into the picture.
Art nouveau is often very delicate and light, whereas this piece feels very heavy and solid. It's cool that you want to go in that direction (I love art-nouveau) but then you also need to prepare the image in that direction, not force it into that style halfway through.
Lhune - Thank you for taking the time to look at it, I was kind of worried that this was the case. I'll be sure to expand my canvas size and rethink the other elements to give her more room - maybe a more vertically-oriented format might work well.
The art nouveau thing, I'm thinking of using a nouveau-inspired decorative style, but twisted into something more heavy to make it a bit disconcerting - so that you get that nouveau association but it's actually the opposite, if that makes sense? I do get how the compositional elements need to support this direction as well, though. I think I got overly excited at the sketch phase and just ran into it without due consideration. _-_
It's either the head and hand feels large or the body/arms feel too short. and yes ditch color work on value first. Also try to specify a light source a bit more instead of making a lot of stuff feel shiny if you get what I mean. Make sure lighting makes sense.
JFierce - Once I increased my canvas size, I realized that, yeah. I fixed it in this version - she has a small frame, but not quite as tiny as it was before! Gotcha on the light source, since I am in the middle of redoing composition and values no time like the present to figure it out.
Posting a WIP to show where I am headed right now.. it's still messy but the format and anatomy issues have been addressed. Hopefully well. Getting a little further away from the art nouveau influence and more towards random cool-looking abstract shapes too, it seems.
Pretty much done with the value planning stage, I think - minor things here and there need adjustments, but other than that I am not able to tell whether there are any major issues. I'll go into colors after this, if anyone sees something that's just not working out, please let me know?
In my opinion it still reads poorly, because I think you've not got a consistent pattern in your values (i.e. having all the values in the background in one range, all those in the foreground in another range) - so I can't easily figure out what is foreground and what is not. Case in point I didn't realize the animal was sitting on her arm because I thought the arm was part of the design in the wall. If you posterize it in photoshop this really stands out:
Try it again but only use 3 values, foreground, midground and background. Once that reads clearly, then you can add variation within each section but keep them still discrete. Hope that helps.
I agree with Justa, the shapes get very confusing. I separated the arm with some lighter value just to find it, it took my a while before I realized it was a claw. The first thing I noticed though, was that the torso was way too short, comparing it to the size of the face and her left arm. The skull also felt very large (same size of her ribcage) so I just gave her a hair cut at the top haha. He neck was also quite long for the angle her head was at. Her right arm was shorter than the left- I drew a pink line so you can see how the elbow lengths mostly match up after I lengthened the left arm. Lastly the pose looked too unnatural, so I separated them into a regular standing pose. Hope this helps a bit. The backround shapes you have are pretty interesting, just try using more contrasting values to put them apart from the figure. If you're going for a somewhat art novae style, you might notice how they often use very thick contour outlines on the figures.
justa - Thank you for pointing out the value issue and the suggested solution. I had trouble seeing it when I posted, but after your post I printed my image out and looked at it from a distance, and I saw what you meant immediately. I think the best way to link the animal to the girl might be to use a similar value distribution (mostly dark with some light accents).. this should put them on the same plane and relate in terms of storytelling as well. I do like knocking down the values of the BG, that's something I'll try.
bopx - Thanks for the anatomy check! I think I will just need to go into my image and redline out the correct anatomy for a 5-6 head petite body before fixing it. She's not particularly tall, but it should still make sense. : )
Will try to work out the kinks by tomorrow!