Thanks so much for the kind words and critiques. Here is an update.
Srsly tho I think this piece shows a lot of progress. I do wish the piece had more of a sense of space and atmosphere, but that probably just wasn't one of your personal goals with the piece. For practice, I think it would be great if you could shrink this piece down to kind of a large thumbnail size (I'm thinking like 400 pixels long or so) and cut it up and experiment. You could play with how it would look if the trees in the back had much lower contrast or maybe just lighter or more neutral or a bit blurred etc. Maybe grab a nice photo of a forest scene that you think looks cool and see if you could, just by using basic filters and levels, try to emulate the atmosphere of the scene. I think that kind of stuff can be difficult for people to do serious studies of because in order to really see how contrast and saturation levels affect the scene, it helps to have a scene that's already rendered to cut apart and use as a test subject. Just a thought
Edit: W00t 5 pages
Looks like you enhanced color contrast? When I wrote about value contrasts I was referring mostly to the volumes of the characters and things, not the general values of the scene. Same for the green fairy. But it's ok, I won't bug you with that since you call it finished I'll remind it to you for the next WIP. *Waiting*
Thanks Leo and D for the comments. I am taking the advice of both of you and doing things different with my next piece "Hansel and Gretel". I don't know what is up with me on the Grimm fairy tales lately, but they are fun.
I would say I am 25% into this painting, what I am sharing right now is more of a digi under painting as I try to figure out what looks good to me.
A couple goals for me with this one is to pull off the brightness and candy likeness of the house without over powering the composition. I want the woods to be very dark, giving strong shadow, it is the black forest after all. I want gretel to be wickedly looking back at the house sort of enjoying the fact that she just pushed the witch into the oven. I also plan to have a trail of candy wrappers flying around from them.
1.) I am addressing the saturation/atmo perspective issues in this painting from the get go. As you can see below, I am actually planning out my color pallete choosing a hue, and then the 26,46, 66, and 86 saturation for it, and the 86, 66, 46, 26 brightness for each saturation. This is giving me a good range and I am kinda building a permanent pallet I will use in more paintings. You can see my progress on this palette below. Note the top where i have "bg -> fg" written to remind me to keep saturation and atmo perspective in mind.
2.) I am separating all the elements on seperate layers this time. The little red riding hood painting i did on pretty much a consistent 2-3 layers. So this time around i can control the elements of composition more etc.
Here i my first ruff. A lot of fundamentals are not yet addressed like light, form etc.
Thanks in advance for any comments etc.
Hey wheezy, a couple of things about your piece atm:
1) Narrative - what's happening in this piece? I'm a little confused because they seem to be leaving the house with candy? I thought in the story they went to the house to get candy and then were ushered inside by the witch and when they did leave, if was probably more like running away with their lives than skipping down the street. I feel like you need something in the scene that tells the audience where in the story this scene is happening, whether it's before or after their encounter with the witch.
2) The figures - Hansel looks like a dwarf compared to Gretel proportionally speaking (not overall size). Hansel's only 3.5 heads tall making him look like a toddler whereas Gretel appears 15. She also appears to be much further behind Hansel than the space between them implies.
3) Composition - Right now you have a very strong directional motion happening in the piece. That immediately creates movement and sends the viewer's eye through the image, which is great. I do wish it were a little more circular though, thus I would suggest adding a little something in the lower right and upper left to activate those corners. For the lower right, it could be a creek or just a dip in the grass, anything that can produce a line that connect the moat with Gretel. For the upper left, it could be a bird or other animal or just a twinkle of light peaking through the trees (enough to make a small focal point to draw our eyes away from the central line). I'm attaching a quick sketch to illustrate what I mean. The green/blue lines are existing focal points and the movement between them. The purple are suggested additions.
Hope that helps, and godspeed
Dierat's very good advices leave me nothing left to crit!
Yes, one thing: Pay keen attention to the lighting from the very beginning in order to give the whole scene a strong "it's there" feeling.
Keep the stronger saturations and levels for the exposed areas of the sunlit parts.
I think the Black Forest is called so because of the coniferous which look somewhat dark blue and grow thick. At least that's what I recall of it.
Gretel looks more like she's jumping backward than running. Do you want her to hop and skip while running? I might help with the anatomy once I know your intention.
Thanks so much guys. A good critique is just as important as any other tool in an artist's toolbox. So I do appreciate the time you have given me.
dierat - I want to address your comments first in your numerical order.
1. In the narrative Gretel actually pushes the witch into the oven. So it is implied that she dies. Also the house is made of ginger bread, candies, and has sugar windows. So yes I am embellishing that a little but it is how the witch lures children to her house in the woods. I see your point about them skipping away happy, but I kinda want to give the impression that they enjoyed offing the witch. I am failing at that right now, but hopefully as I battle through this I can make it happen.
2. I like hansel a lot, even if he is only 3.5 heads tall, so I think a redesign of gretel is in order. good call.
3. I plan on moving the figures more to the right and actually cropping off a lot of the left woods so that the characters with the house in the background are the focus. The woods leave a lot of dead inactive space. It should be my salt and pepper on the mash potatoes of characters and house, rather than the way it is right now which is a whole other meal.
leo ki - thanks, i am going to be addressing the woods more with the above mentioned cropping and i plan on finding some reference photos. I want the lighting to be strong to the right of the characters back toward the house as if the trees are towering over the path. We will see how that plays out.
Thanks a bunch again. I plan on having an update to the image by tomorrow night. Cant wait to see some more updates from you guys. Take care.
Maybe if you leave the door open and give Gretel the right look back it will become really clear they are leaving victorious?
Yes or maybe Gretel is holding the witch's severed head in her hands...
Whoops, thats too much for the kids. HA
Seriously though I think cropping off the woods is a good idea, they are not working as is. Also pay attention to how the house meets the ground. Determine where the light is coming from and add shadows accordingly. Make sure your use of brushes is consistent across ground, characters, etc. You dont want one technique for trees, one for Hansel...
I had to put Hanzel and Gretel on hold for right now because of a couple of things going on.
wilkerson - I actually like the idea of the witches head! haha I may do that.
LK - I am redoing gretel all together, so her holding the witches head and being proportioned right may make it all work better.
dierat - I may also rework the entire background for them to look like they are just coming right out of the house which will make it all work a little better. What I need to do is redraw it in pencil to have the exact composition down before painting again.
Thx sketch group peeps for helping me battle it through. All great suggestions.
1. A friend of mine wrote a short story called "Shadowblade" which he is going to make a small hand made 4x5 book for. So he wanted me to do a cover for him. I am about 50% finished on it. I need to make the walls more defined, fix the lighting issues etc. I plan on putting a pattern on the carpet maybe, add texture to ceiling, finish his harness etc. I hope to finish this tonight.
2. My green fairy painting was killing me with the background. I went back and reworked it. It was eating at me, I just had to go back and redo it.
Hey wheezy, nice update, they're both looking great. For some small suggestions:
I think in your Shadowblade illustration, it could really help the piece if you worked on the assassin's expression to make it look like he's listening as the bishop guy approaches. Right now it looks like he's daydreaming because his face is fairly relaxed and he's looking off into the distance. Maybe take some photos of yourself and do some quick sketches on it.
For the fairy, it would be nice if the composition were just a teeny bit longer so you aren't cutting off the fingers on her right hand. That's more of a nit-pick though ^^
Keep up the awesome progress!
I was up late working on this one because it had to be done by today for a friend of mine. So I said on my blog, if I had another week I could have noodled on it more. But it is what it is. A learning experience and a step further in the right direction. And he was happy with it, so that is what really counts I guess.
I have a long ways to go to get better, and I will always be learning something to get better at art until the day I die. However, I just looked at the beginning of this sketchbook and it is like seeing apples on the first few pages and oranges on the last ones.
It is exciting.
Indeed, you've advanced by leaps and bounds since the first page. The only thing that jumps out at me to crit at the moment is the assassin dude's knife (though I guess I'm a bit late here) and Green Lantern's mouth and crotch look weird. Also his chest emblem should be skootched over a few centimeters.
Sorry for the inactivity lately too. :/
Zweit - Thanks Z. No worries about your inactivity here, I am sure you have been active in other facets of your art life. Yeah that green lantern got axed, but I ended up doing a Batman brush ink and wash, and ink and watercolor joker, and ink and watercolor madalynne pryor the demonic goblin queen that I will post to share tonight.
I agree that the knife could have had a lot more work done to it.
Here are of are 3 natural media pieces of fan art I did recently at the Heroes Con convention in Charlotte. These were my first ever watercolor paintings and brush inking/ink washes. I really liked it and plan on incorporating some watercolor into future digital paintings for texture, value, etc.
The Joker (Second Watercolor ever.)
Madelyne Pryor Watercolor (First ever just this past weekend! Good times.)
Hey Wheezy, good to see your improvement!
Your fairytale stuff is very different from what you have been posting before, and it's great that you are working with colour. I can't really say much that hasn't been said already in terms of critique.
The assassin image shows a lot of improvement in your composition and colouring, I really like the concept of the image. The only crit I can give is the pose looks slightly awkward, but on the other hand, I can imagine it would be very difficult getting it just right from that angle - especially with regards to the neck and shoulders. Great job on the legs though!
As for the watercolour work - it's good that you are practicing with traditional media, it helps a lot, but beware of using solid colours for the colouring. It's a transparent medium, so try layer a bit more and play with more colour mixing to give value. When it comes to watercolour, the most subtle and transparent bit of detail can still really make the painting stand out.
Hope this helps, see you for the next updates
Yay, there's a gripping illustration feel to the Shadowblade picture, you're putting everything together the right way.
Please work some more on the Absinth fairy some time later, you won't regret it.
Watercolor will need more training to blend but it's a good start!
You're also getting much better at anatomy but don't stop training it.
Hey guys. Thanks for the encouragement to update. I will put together some stuff to post in the next day or so. I need to stop slack assing on sharing my stuff so I can get the much needed crits to help me improve.
It is time to give this SB a rebirthing. Thanks for the encouragement of my fellow SSG friends, especially Wilkerson for getting the fire to post back in me. I never stopped doing art, I just stopped posting. I got balls deep into a comic project that I am going to begin sharing with you little by little. This will lead up to some new work I am currently trying to get scanned in etc.
So here are the first 2 pages of the comic in various stages just to give you and example of what I have been doing along with the cover.
Wow... Talk about a surprise!
The short critique: I want to know what happens next, so: It works!
The long critique:
The wide panels of the first page are a good, gentle introduction into the story while the mysterious voices build up the tension in a subtle way.
The perspective of the last panel of page 1 doesn't work for me, but it works in the previous panel.
The large inked areas look a bit too much to me after the coloring. The coloring is rather good on the flat surfaces but can be bettered on the complex objects such as the textiles, experimenting with different brushes.
The line art on page 2 is of lesser quality than on the first page. The anatomy of the limbs is a bit akward. But the general attitude of the characters and their design is good, the full page panel has force.
I love the cover! But the integration of the texture of the continent itches my eyes a bit. But it's a WIP, right?
Charlie, I'd like to know more about the project, and the difficulties and questionings you have so I can be of more help. My critiques above are a bit too general and vague. Discussing the storyboards could be a good idea too.
And remember there's a sequencial art ring that waits to be awakened (in my sig)
Heeeey wheeze. Great that you've been keeping busy.
The ink job on the first page you posted is really solid work, dude. Though your anatomy is troubling you around the hands of your characters. Their legs also look off, like they're broken at the knees. Also perhaps try a more legible font for that newspaper headline. That one you have now is kind of hard to read at the angle it's warped.
I really like your use of shadow and line wight in the first page. Are you gonna try developing that look?
So I am changing my website presence etc and I pointed my blog domain to tumblr. This has broken every image link I have. I am now considering starting a new sketchbook thread. I will let you know soon what I decide.
I will scan in and share a new image tonight I am working on. It is inspired by the chow this week but I am not sure I will have it done in time so I am not going to post it to the chow thread unless I am absolutely sure.