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Some context: I used to spend a lot of time here years ago, taking my first shaky steps away from just being a guy who could draw well to someone who could confidently paint and concept imagined subject matter. Then I landed a storyboarding gig, and let's just say that getting paid well to churn out sketches stopped my artistic progress dead in its tracks. So here I am, 7 years later, at basically the same level. This time I'm sticking with it.
This is my first attempt at a finished painting. The challenge I gave myself was to have no lines, have everything completely from imagination, and light it and color it in a halfway convincing way. I definitely have a ways to go.
I am still, as we speak, practicing light and shadow (my weakness) and trying to understand more about how to successfully use color - so these are the things that I'd like to focus on here. But really, any tips, weak points, really just any thoughts that anyone has that I can use to make my next painting better are completely welcome and much, much appreciated.
I'm not too sure about painting completely from imagination. Everyone who wants to produce proper results will be looking for references. That being said, you are right about lighting, values actually. You need to use values to build forms and shapes, which you've done a bit randomly. But your compositions need much more work. It's just a dinosaur crammed into a canvas and nothing else. There are no focal points, no movement, nothing to really get us to look around the painting and tell a story. Correct me if I'm wrong but storyboards require thinking about how to tell a story from the image, not only in terms of facial expressions and text, but placement of characters, how each scene is linked to the next and so on. Similar rules apply to painting. So I'm quite sure you've learned more from storyboards than you actually think.
paid well to churn out sketches stopped my artistic progress dead in its tracks
..dude that doesn't make sense.
Not doing preliminary sketches is disastrous.
Will you be doing the end elevation next
First of all thanks for taking the time and the words of wisdom.
I definitely concede that I paid zero attention to composition, and was more going for a test of my values and modeling form abilities - but you're right, there's no reason to ignore that aspect of art even if it's just practicing.
If possible, could you elaborate on this a bit? I completely agree that the overall impression is that my values look randomly chosen...unfortunately this was not my intention. I was actually trying to suss out how things would be lit by the sun, where bounce light would be coming from, etc. So, I agree that I failed. And probably the answer is just more practice from life. But if there's anything specific you could point out or advice you could offer, that would be tremendous.That being said, you are right about lighting, values actually. You need to use values to build forms and shapes, which you've done a bit randomly.
If it helps, this is how it looked before I colored it.
Let me say that first I like the subject matter quite a bit, Dinosaurs are a favorite because of the child in me, so I want to encourage you on your course.
What jumps out to me is that there is no action. The Dinosaur is just standing there, and I think it would add to your painting to give the triceratops something to do, like eat something, bathe, charge, or just generally act like a dinosaur in movement. James Gurney, a master at dinosaur painting and art in general has many, many good examples of dinosaurs in action that tell a story.
I am sure you have some great story to tell as well!
Secondly, and I agree, there is no focal point. While you are showing blurring in the foreground I think the main focus, and the main detail should be on the triceratops and whatever it is doing. Also, I think you could get more interest if you have your dinosaur in a different view, say three-quarters or at a different rotation. That is not to say you cannot make it work completely horizontal, I am sure you can, it is just my thoughts on the matter.
Finally time of day, looks like the sun is setting, perhaps some sunset colors to add to your composition?
I hope this helps Brad, and looking forward to seeing your progress.
On that great road, always and forever journeying forward to that shining city on the hill.
Well the dinosaur looks like he's a bit flat, and like you've spent more time on building each detail rather than the whole structure. For example, the tail is completely flat and has absolutely nothing suggesting it might be round. Some aspects are done much better like near the front legs. Which is why I said randomly, you aren't getting them all wrong, it's just that they need a bit more consistency.
Well, I do see some action in this piece. The raptor in the background is going to attack the triceratops? Perhaps you could emphasize that drama some how.
No matter how much critique you get, please keep in mind that a painting like this is never a waist! You properly learn a lot of cool stuff by painting it!
If you want to learn about colour, values, light and depicting threedimensional forms, study the real thing. Paint as much as you can from life. Trying to understand these concepts in theory and only applying them from imagination won't help. You have to see, analyze and replicate reality to really understand and reach proficiency.