I'm happy with the poses and the image as a whole but its not quite *there* yet. Any suggestions?
I know I need to work on the foreground rocks a little but past that i'm just stuck with it
Hey, great work. I think what may be missing is a bit of scale, is the red dragon big, or the blue dragon small ? If You were to add something familiar the image would be much easier to connect with and read, perhaps birds, a human, a horse,trees or anything at all really, and it wouldn't have to be too detailed, just something for the sake of scale and maybe even added perspective.
The dragons are really pretty cartoon like, which is fine, but I think the use of the photo texture backdrop just makes the gulf between believable and oversimple seem larger than it needs to. I think the characters would be better served by a backdrop drawn in a similar style. Hope that helps.
I like these dragons. They have a lot of personality. A couple things to think about (besides the issue of scale Mr_S_14 mentioned):
-Ditch the photo background post-haste. You can still borrow elements from it, though. The blues, purples, and greens in the photo are a good place to start for your new background. Keep them subdued and not too saturated, so that the dragons still stand out.
-If the new background has a similar natural light setup, then the shadows need to react accordingly. Natural light = yellowish light = bluish or purplish tinted shadows. You can still have dark shadows, but the pure black on the red guy and on the ground is too harsh.
-The light seems to be affecting the two dragons differently. Why is the light hitting the red dragon with so much more intensity than the blue dragon?
-Also, there are a couple confusing tangents in the blue dragon's near wing.
"Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it" -- Confucius
"Imagination is more important than knowledge" -- Albert Einstein
the big dragon's feet need to planted into, or at least onto, the ground. As it is, it gives the illusion that he's a few inches off the ground. I like the vibrant colors you used.
Thanks for the crits guys they were really helpful so here is an update.
Mr_S_14 : Thanks will look into that, had a little experiemnt with a tree but it wasnt working for me but thought I should update anyways.
aedman: Photos are gone - used them as reference still but did some painting to join them in better with the dragons
Soulweaver: Hopefully have made some progess with the light and shadows, and have got rid of the tangents.
binoched: planted him back on the ground w00t
Jason: Hopefull I have sorted out the light issues.
One thing I read about painting recently that you may find helpful in the future is: never use only black as your shadows (and avoid using it at all).
When you just mix a colour with black to make that gradient to shadow, it ends up having a 'dirty' look. Clear example: try making a gradient of yellow, using black and white at the far ends. The black makes it look dirty and turns it green -- a strange green that in no way represents a good shadow of the colour yellow. Now try a gradient of black->purplish red->a reddish brown (Sienna)->orangey Sienna->yellow->white, and you get something much more pleasing and realistic to how we perceive yellow shadows. Try painting a banana using these two different gradients and you may see the difference more easily.
(The reason black looks bad is something to do with the fact that in nature, black doesn't exist: it's not a 'colour', it's the negation of light. It absorbs light and doesn't reflect any, so when you use it as a shadow, it takes the life away from the main colour, making it look dirty.)
Also, I know you said that you're finished with this picture for now, but for future reference you may consider adding more reflected light at the edge of your shadows -- to make it look more 3D.