I'm in the middle of a commission for Kelestia productions that I have been working on for quite some time and it would be great to get some feedback on it.
I'm doing a series of 12 portraits of the crew of a freight ship. The illustrations are for a roleplaing module and the setting is an early medieval themed fantasy world. It is very down to earth fantasy so there isn't much room for craziness.
Any thoughts and critique is welcome.
Thank you very much.
Last edited by Frida Bergholtz; June 12th, 2013 at 05:24 PM.
Here are the two youngsters of the crew. The chippys apprentice and the deckboy. I tipped over a cup of coffe over my drawing right before I was going to scan the finished thing. Some of the resulting textures actually look pretty nice on the finished painting.
More to come.
Two more. I usually keep the original line art of the sketch in the finished paintings so I thought that I would show you those as well.
This is the captain of the ship he was extra important to get right. Marden is the heroic type.
ugh I forgot to downscale the intial sketch.
I'd say these look pretty good, though the lack of any visible colour in the shadows makes them bit gray, but it might work for the benefit of you to give a bit more sadder feel.
The first one feels to be the weakest though, his butt seems to be kinda hovering above what he's supposed to be sitting on, and I'd think we would see his other leg too.
Also on a side note that depends on how real medieval look you're going for, but all of these people thus far seem to wear really brown and gray clothes, which (as far as I know) wasn't really the thing in medieval times. Some specific colours were expensive sure, but you could get several kinds of other colours from nature that were available for common folk. Of course colourful clothes might not fit the mood, but just throwing that in there.
This is one of the more gruff sailors and the pilot of the ship.
I got five more to do and I'm finishing off with the one I just started on.
Recently I removed his hat because it made him look to 16th century.
Durn it to large again...Oh well that was all for now thanks for looking.
I will see what I can do about the hovering butt issue. Maybe some extra shading could fix it.
I know that I have an issue with grayish looking colours. Partly it is because I put my original drawing on top of the paint, making everything looking a bit grey. Party it is because I'm simply not very good at colours. But I'm getting better gradually.
I know that bright colours were popular. I have been starting out with bright colours on many of these paintings but eventually I ended up with muted tones simply because I liked the look of it better. I'm also trying to avoid them looking clownish to our modern eyes.
Thank you very much for your thoughts.
I have the same opinion on colors...or the same difficulty if you want to call it that. I find that bright colors look cartoony and so my paintings are almost always very muted. I think it looks more subtle, more sophisticated, and just more appealing. But I am also starting to learn gradually, like you, to add more saturation.
I especially like the boy looking out the window whilst peeling the turnips or whatever they are lol. Good job.
The right arm of the gruff sailor (his right) looks very weird to me, I don't think bending that way is possible, or at least comfortable, and the underarm looks too short. Actually, having the elbow inwards like that looks more feminine than gruff Also, the lady's head might be too big.
Other than that, I really like the feeling of these pictures. They remind me of a children's book I have about the middle ages. It has lovely illustrations, you might want to have a peek at it: "Tillbaka till medeltiden" by Ebbe Westergren and Tord Nygren.
I really like the feel of these!
The deck boy's foot isn't right. We should be seeing more of the sole from our viewpoint, and it's direction isn't matching the direction of the leg (this could be easily fixed with lighting/recolouring, I imagine). Attached a quick paint over for ideas, hope you don't mind.
The jolly man with his brew's legs need reworking. His left/top knee isn't defined well, making the leg look like it's twisting down the leg. His right/bottom leg seems to be oddly broken. The green in the paint over highlights the odd area. There's also something about his mid-section that I can't quite put my finger on.
The captain's left leg on the sack also is turned oddly from the knee down.
Really love the strong pose of the lass with the dog! I feel you could incorporate some this boldness in to the gruff sailor, as his right arm (camera left) doesn't seem to be bending correctly. Posing myself, the elbow should tuck further behind.
The dog-'n'-lass is definitely the stand out favourite for me, and I love the vibe the jolly brew man has. Makes me wanna be a pirate or some such @:-D
http://www.artofbrain.com/ - Crawling back
Yes those are turnips, I could'nt have him peeling potatoes. Besides turnips are prettier. It is my favorite one as well, because it is the most narrative of the bunch.
As a kid I read everything about the medieval times that I could get my grubby little hands on, but that one must have been eluding me. Which is strange me being Swedish and all. But that illustrator has been a big influence on me growing up.
Thank you very much. I will see what I can do about the arm.
Interestingly enough the pictures where I have used no reference at all are the ones that seem less flawed. It suggests to me that I have not fully understood the poses where I used reference and that it would benefit me to sketch the skeleton underneath before I draw flesh and clothing.
Henceforth I will upload my works in progress instead of my finished work so it will be easier for me to alter them if I get some useful critique.
Thank you everyone so far. Your input has been very helpful.
Circumstances forced me to but this job on ice for a long time but now I'm back to work.
This one is near completion and some input before I finish it would be welcome. I would especially treasure some thoughts on the lighting. The painting was rather rushed.
I still don't get the anime comment Arenhouse but I sat down and did some sketches of the muscles and tendons in the neck, and I do think that I got a better and more detailed knowledge of the area now.
Thank you for your time.
Last edited by Frida Bergholtz; June 25th, 2012 at 04:01 PM. Reason: spelling correction
I really enjoy looking at all of these, they look like they are drawn in such a careful way.
I think I get what Arenhaus meant, did you draw manga when you first started out with art? Some characters show a manga influence around the eyes, especially in the first two pictures. Somehow these roots always shows up in the work of illustrators. But it's not a bad thing, it's just visible. I think that's where a part of Arenhaus comment came from . I'm not sure about the neck-part though, maybe it's the sharp shadow between jawline and neck that is so common in anime but not so common in real life? - it's especially visible on the girl with the dog, the captain and the female archer.
Now it is finished. It is not terribly exciting but eh, time to move on.
I'm still alive and I am still working on this thing. Don't ask me why this has taken forever. The new deadline is in february.
I just finished a portrait of one of the ships guards and I just started one of ships first mate. It is still very rough. The idea is that he is in port purchasing supplies. His hands are still a mess so I need to find someone to pose for me real soon. I can't get the right angle in the mirror. He is supposed to be holding a wax tablet and a stylus.
Any input is of course most welcome especially on the new sketch.
Thank you for looking.
Last edited by Frida Bergholtz; December 13th, 2012 at 04:41 PM.
Nice work...you've obviously done your research on these and it shows. I get a strong sense of character from each one.
There are some serious issues with your use of color and value here--everything is extremely dark and murky, and it's going to get a lot worse if these pieces are going to be printed on paper. (And, before you bring it up: my monitor is calibrated properly. Trust me on that.) You'd really do well to work a lot brighter, even if you're going for an "antique" effect. You might also want to consider how variations in value and saturation are moving the viewer's eye around the image. JPEG attached below of how I'd key the ship's guard.
The other thing you might want to watch out for is minor glitches in the foreshortening, especially in the characters' faces--when you draw a head in a three-quarter view, you tend to draw the features on the far side of the face in an almost frontal view, which gives the character an unintended Cubist feel. As always: find some reference photos.
That was tought to hear about the colour but appreciated never the less. I really thought that I was making some improvements about the flatness and murkiness. I have never been much of a colorist since I have been working with pure graphite pencils for so many years.
Working on this series and also some critique that I have been getting has convinced me that if I want to work with a full range of colour I need to change the way I work. I can't rely on the shading in drawings as a crutch because firstly it takes to much time to draw a full pencil drawing and then paint it and as you can see the colours become dull and murky.
I better finish the series in the same manner though since they should fit together, It will be a pure pdf product so at least it won´t get worse.
And I will pay closer attention to the facial features in the future.
Thank you very much for your input.
Would something like this be better? It looks somewhat garish to me and of course I need to spend more time revamping it.
Last edited by Frida Bergholtz; December 13th, 2012 at 09:21 PM.
To clarify my earlier point, the issue here is that the midtones and the darks in your pieces tend to be really dark and really grey. As you correctly noted, it's the result of painting over a greyscale image. Basically, you need to be laying in your shading with color somehow to keep the tones juicier. (It's true that Ingres and other French academic painters of the 19th Century started with a tight grisaille rendering and added color by glazing transparently over it, but in my opinion that technique only produces good results when used with real, physical paint. I've never seen a digital painting done that way that didn't look really sludgy.)
Last edited by Giacomo; December 13th, 2012 at 10:06 PM.
Well actually yellow is one of the colours that is rather easy to get really saturated with natural dyes. A friend of mine made a real bright chicken yellow with plants and a bucket of urine.....But that is beside the point I suppose
You are right again, I tend to paint with dark colours overall and then I throw in some highlights thinking that that would brighten it up a bit. I guess I just have to experiment until I find a process that works for me.
Anyhow I refined the sketch a bit and made two real quick sketches of possible lighting. The cast shadows are giving me troubles in both versions. I'm leaning towards the first version.
Just to show you that I'm actually listenening to what you guys are saying here are some of the neck studies that I did as a result. It helped a lot.
This is the final drawing that I intend to paint. I minimized the shadows in the drawing this time to see if I can get a better, not so murky looking result while still keeping the same style throughout the series.
Please take a look at see if you can spot anything that needs some work in the figure and composition, because when I start to paint it revisions will be a whole lot more of a hassle.
I'm happy with it but you can't go wrong with another set of eyes.
Thank you for looking.
That's not bad, but you'd do well to find some photo reference for almost every piece of fabric in the picture--the guy's robe, the sails, and the sack.
Also check your perspective on the barrel. Right now it's listing inexplicably to starboard and the latitudinal ellipses all have pointy ends.
Yes I better have another go at the barrel. Although it doesn't really bother me that it is leaning since the ground is just uneven earth. But I was lazy with checking the ellipses.
Thank you very much.
I like what you've been doing.
I notice the style has changed since you started. In the beginning there was a dusty quality to the work as if it had been hidden away and discovered after years. Which was quite nice given the theme.
Now it seems to be more polished and recent. This is not a bad thing,just something i noticed.
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