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    WIP stuck

    Hello. So, here is a 1-hour sketch, featuring mice in "mouse guard" style, walking down the spyral tree trunk, with a few sunlight beams coming through the foliage. So, the question is, how do I make this to a good, worthy level? Seriously, I just have no idea, I wish I knew some kind of actions algorithm, but I don't. Please help me.

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    Hi Cherif,
    Love mouseguard. Cool meeting another fan
    The picture can be improved in a number of ways at the moment. You write the mouse is walking down. However we're seeing him from the side on. If we are looking downwards in the picture, the mouse would be falling. If he's walking down we need to see him more or less from the top.

    Choose your lightsources and light your forms accordingly. If he's going into the earth, the light will come from up top, through the holes in the foliage and some diffuse light. Right now you seem to have blue light coming out of the tunnel, reflecting on the mouse. If the blue is to indicate shadow, it would not or hardly create such a reflection.
    Once you know where your light is coming from, go around the painting and for each part ask yourself wether is is in the light or the shadow. Make sure you paint the parts in the light lighter than those in the dark. A usefull rule of thumb is: the darkest thing in the light should still be lighter than the lightest thing in the dark. Using colours makes this part more difficult, so it's probably a good idea to do this (establishing light and values) in greytones, and add colour later

    Use reference. Find pictures of tree roots and make yours look like those.
    Your sky holes are really small, making your mouse look human sized.

    If you're looking for algorithm, or set of steps, a good way is to find a number of artists you really like and see if they have done any any (video)tutorials where you can witness their progress. There are many such videos on youtube. For example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6rC8uDTLKY
    Techniques and steps differ from artist to artist though, so find one you're comfortable with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schraverus View Post
    Hi Cherif,
    Love mouseguard. Cool meeting another fan
    The picture can be improved in a number of ways at the moment. You write the mouse is walking down. However we're seeing him from the side on. If we are looking downwards in the picture, the mouse would be falling. If he's walking down we need to see him more or less from the top.

    Choose your lightsources and light your forms accordingly. If he's going into the earth, the light will come from up top, through the holes in the foliage and some diffuse light. Right now you seem to have blue light coming out of the tunnel, reflecting on the mouse. If the blue is to indicate shadow, it would not or hardly create such a reflection.
    Once you know where your light is coming from, go around the painting and for each part ask yourself wether is is in the light or the shadow. Make sure you paint the parts in the light lighter than those in the dark. A usefull rule of thumb is: the darkest thing in the light should still be lighter than the lightest thing in the dark. Using colours makes this part more difficult, so it's probably a good idea to do this (establishing light and values) in greytones, and add colour later

    Use reference. Find pictures of tree roots and make yours look like those.
    Your sky holes are really small, making your mouse look human sized.

    If you're looking for algorithm, or set of steps, a good way is to find a number of artists you really like and see if they have done any any (video)tutorials where you can witness their progress. There are many such videos on youtube. For example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6rC8uDTLKY
    Techniques and steps differ from artist to artist though, so find one you're comfortable with.
    Ohh, forgot the perspective, thanks.

    I thought of blue as some kind of reflection from the sky, I mean, the mouse is walking in shadow of the leaves, right?
    That's a great rule, but what if I should paint some near-black matte materials like black silk and light-coloured materials in one composition?

    Thanks for answering =)

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    Hey Cherif,
    The light dark rule is a rule of thumb, and certainly situations can be created where it doesn't apply, though even with the black silk vs white paper you might be surprised. Besides being often correct the rule helps with readability too. It's hard to go wrong with.

    Shadows can indeed be filled with some blue light. How I understand it however this is in situations where the diffuse light going around is blue, as when there is a lot of blue sky around. Here the diffuse light would probably be more green-brown as it has been filtered by the leaves and bounced around the vegetation. Right now your mouse seems lit from both a directional orange and a directional blue light from somewhere above.
    My main advice would be to go outside to observe how light strikes objects and shadows are filled, in conjunction with reading material like "Colour an Light" by Gurney the help understand what you are seeing.

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    Hi, I re-did (if this word can be applied to wips) it. I followed your suggestions, took more time doing lineart and focused on references more. I used this (http://bayardwu.deviantart.com/art/Gardien-425116741) painting as a ref for trees, and sampled skyholes' colors from it.

    Watched this video, much questions left unresolved, like something what seems obvious for a painter in there I don't seem to understand. I just can't get my picture looking 'good' and 'done' as does she and bayard wu.

    So, what should I do next? Do I need to use special brushes and textures? People say, what everything can be done with only hard round one.

    And James Gurney...man, I read this book like three times already. How about the technical skill of digital painting, not about how sunlight works?

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    No one answers? Fine, I'll just post progress then, trying to figure things out eventually. Feel free to add something.

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    Funny thing: I've only received crit the first time because I stated I'm a mouseguard fan. And now there's nothing at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cherif View Post
    Funny thing: I've only received crit the first time because I stated I'm a mouseguard fan. And now there's nothing at all.
    Well, the problem is that your last question is "what do I do next?". We're not here to hold your hand all the way through nor do you need to wait for a crit before you move forward, and the amount of input you get varies what else is going on in the forum as everyone's time is limited.
    Your image has progressed nicely from what you first had, so from my point of view you could just work on finishing it further, and see if anyone has something later to say. Also sometimes you have to just accept that your skill is not enough for what you'd currently want to achieve, which you can use to pinpoint issues, such as "I can't understand how trees and their colour work, I better go outside and paint real trees".

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    Hi Cherif,
    This is a definite improvement over the first image. It reads better, and I'm getting a definite sense of direction of light on the mouse.

    Firstly, try to work in as big a brush as you can for any particular area. Right now it all looks very scratchy. That kinda works on the mouse, but not on the trees.

    I'd also recommend painting the tree without the skylights first. That will give you a better starting point for deciding on the colours in the light. Picking from another artwork can work, but is tricky, since they might be out of place in the context of your painting.

    If you're having trouble finding the right colours consider using a limited palette of colours that are close together, say browns and reds with pherhaps a little yellow. The colours will feel more harmonious and it leaves you free to focus on values.

    Considering the values, try to divide your painting in three or four values. Say a near white, a light grey, a dark grey and a near black. The dark values will be your shadows, the light ones your lights. This forces you to choose whether an area is in the light or dark. Only when you know start blending and adding intermediate values. I feel with the mouse you know what is in light and what is in shadow, but for the rest it's still a lot of guesswork.

    And as Tinybird said, sometimes people are busy, forget to reply, or can't think of anything useful to say.

    Anyway, good luck on moving forward.

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