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How is this piece looking at the moment? Its at a very early stage. I'm still trying to sort out values and composition tbh. I'm not happy with the person in the foreground, and will probably re-do her completely. However, I'm mainly posting to ask about the lighting. Do you think the values work? If not, why not?
You may want to crop this a little further, and tone down the flames on the left side a little more. Also, don't stick that dragon wing directly into the upper right corner, it is a bit of a dead end, compositionally speaking...
Grinnikend door het leven...
Values wise, from what I've learned, this is the stage where you need to work out what's happening with your lighting. From what I can see you are very unsure/unconfident about this issue. Is the dragon been lit by the flame or another light source? Is that light source from above or the side? Is it night or day or indoors? These all need answering and that's all about values, so get a fat brush and just slap it down! Try to go from very dark to very light so that the range is good. Don't be afraid to be bold!
Here's a thought… Change the cliff to be more rocky and organic. Change the angle of the dragon in relation to the cliff and maybe adding some background rock formations and you can create a more dynamic scene with a sense of space. I think if you simplify the dragon and make him larger (I think you can even make him larger then I did) then you can focus on the head and those glowing menacing eyes. (I didn't have time to light up the dragon's face or work out any further elements with him due to lack of time) Notice how the character has almost become a silhouette because of the intense backlight… I think this is much more exciting. And by leaning the character forward and facing her towards the outside of the page I think she feels more off balance and gives a greater sense of escape. Lastly, putting something in the foreground can help you create a further sense of space. My 2 cents, hope this helps.
It is an improvement, but what I liked about the original is how the curve through fire and wing leads you back to the dragon, foreground, and so on. I suggest you restore this.
Grinnikend door het leven...
Looks pretty good already. I agree that something looks a little bit off about the character but I can't quite place it. The composition looks good, I would vote for changing it back to the original as well, the curve of the entire body of the dragon leads the eye nicely to the real subject which is the dragon's head and the fire it's spewing at the character. The lighting could be better indeed. Like lovingit said, you need to pick where your light source is and don't be afraid to make things really dark or bright. I would definitely make the flames the brightest thing, kind of obvious that the flames would be the brightest but you still have to be careful not to carry that light through to too much of the insignificant parts of the painting like the dragon's tail all the way in the background or it might distract from the focal point. again on the composition of the first one, it has good movement and looks like a great action shot.
Thank you for all of the comments, and especially the paintover. Opinion seems divided on a few points. This is what I decided to do after a lot of sketching and playing around:
* I prefer the slant of the dragon in my original picture - I think it adds more energy to the piece - so I have softened the line into the corner to lead the eye into the picture rather than out of it.
* I liked the way that Pindurski emphasised the line of action in her paintover, by moving the figure out, and flipping it so it felt better.
* I have tried to make the lighting from the fire clearer. I will have a very soft cool back light too, I think.
* I have lightened the background to bring the dragon forward a bit, without it becoming as dark as the person (to improve the feeling of depth, I hope).
I'm still playing around with this, so any more input is greatly appreciated!
Progress so far:
the fire breath is coming out the mouth looks kinda off angle to me
Damn. (And thank you) Now you mention it, it needs to look as though it is coming forward more... It looks like the dragon is breathing fire out of one side of its mouth... I'll have to re-work that...
More work. Spent some time mainly working on the angle of the fire, and the woman.
I think this is approaching completion now:
I probably should've piped up earlier, but I have real trouble figuring out how the hind legs attach. Also not sure what all the little square bits flying off the rock are. Strange coins? Remarkably regular shards?
The rest looks pretty nice to me, but I'm no great critic there.
Thank you Vermis - I always appreciate your input.
I hadnt thought about the regularity of the debris - hopefully this looks better now. I've also switched the leg position to be more hind-leggy. I originally wanted them to be arms, but couldn't get it looking right. I think this looks better now.
I've also pushed the values a bit more and added some rim lighting which hopefully gives more impact to the image.