This is a painting for one of my projects. The idea is for one of my characters to be chased by these giant scorpions.
This was created in acrylics. I was wondering what people could comment on so that I can improve for my next piece or even this piece. So here is the painting.
Status: Hardcore Critique
I'm strong mentally, I can handle brutal truth, but constructive!
edit: This painting was designed for the back of a game case (those small screenshots), so the idea is to have something which reads at a smaller scale.
The other thing about this shot is to show off the landscape rather than the action; which I guess my title through you off, sorry! The reason for the colours scheme is to show a little energy and to 'fit' with the overall design of this game case I am creating. The mountains are supposed to seem alien, as though this place is surreal, like a dream
Last edited by Rist; February 12th, 2009 at 07:28 PM.
It's not a bad painting, but the background doesn't look finished. The scorpion spider monsters look good. The lighting is good, and the general tone and hue is good (though I have a personal bias against orangy red).
The thing that jumps out at me is that the mountains don't look like mountains. The mountains in the Rockies are more like long ridges that come up out of the plains. The "mountains" here in the Sonora desert are rounded, rocky lumps or giant round-topped boulders, bordered by big piles of rock. If you have only one mountain, you can pull off the pointy pyramid volcano shape, but since you have four of 'em, it doesn't look right. I recommend looking at some scenic photos of various mountain ranges, and choosing one to copy.
I think this piece could use some more focus as well as push atmospheric perspective.
But incase you are moving on from this piece- I also believe the composition could have been more dynamic. If I were the director of this scene-this shot would be a quick settup for the more dynamic and interesting shots. Try something from a lower angle maybe from behind the three giant scorpions or behind and to the side of the large scorpion. Unfortunately I can not make a visual example of what I mean so I hope that all makes sense.
Thanks guys, much appreciated.
I should have mentioned this in my first post (which i will add for those who only read the original post).
This painting was designed for the back of a game case (those small screenshots), so the idea is to have something which reads at a smaller scale.
The other thing about this shot is to show off the landscape rather than the action; which I guess my title through you off, sorry! The reason for the colours scheme is to show a little energy and to 'fit' with the overall design of this game case I am creating. The mountains are supposed to seem alien, as though this place is surreal, like a dream; I guess I might have suceeded considering Wenchworks statement.
I would love to work more on this piece, and possibly will, but because this image is going to be reduced, a lot of detail will be lost.
Wenchwork, if only the background feels like work is needed then maybe I have suceeded with this piece, considering what I have mentioned previously (although sound advice on mountains, will take that into account next time!).
I am very new to environments, focused on characters for a long time, so as you can see a lot of fundamentals are missing from this piece.
That's not going to read as much of anything small - the shapes aren't particularly defined, and everything seems to be hovering around the same mid tone.
Hey, did a quick paintover rather than have a big ramble, but part of the problem looks like you're treating acrylics like oils. Remember that blending with water and putting down wash after wash to build up forms and light can be a very effective way of working with them.
Thank you Janto for putting the time in to do a paint over. It has really helped. I have repainted the piece, keeping in mind every ones suggestions. I found that I did not need another 'chase' painting, so I decided on illustrating the invasion. Here is a description I made on DA.com:
"This shows the enemy coming to invade the mountainous tribes of the Suicidal Wheelchair Bulls.
I wanted mountains to be abstract so that they would not take too much attention away from the main figure. The figure is a flying jellyfish filled with helium, like a balloon. It flies by allowing the wind to push it along, while using its great weight to steer in the desired direction. These creatures can sense wind 'waves' jumping from one to the other in order to reach the location they wish.
The containers they carry are filled with giant scorpions, which when released will chase and catch Suicidal Wheelchair Bulls. These SWB are attracted to the colour red (similar to Bulls with their matador's red cloth) and will close in on the red container, allowing the scorpions an advantage on catching them."
When I started this I thought I was just going to paint over parts of the other painting, but in the end I decided on redoing it. I regret that the Mountain Pursuit does not exist anymore, evidence of my destructive workflow.
The idea is for an image which will work with the accompanying text. So the usual rules for illustration are broken in some ways. I have thought on the abstract of the mountain because when scaled down alot of the details will blend together and might make a muddy mess, so i thought abstraction may keep things clean. The creature, though lacking in explanation, is part of the story of the game, and sort of the 'beginning' to the game.
Crits based on your latest version but some of which also apply to the previous as well:
You're letting detail, all that feathery brushwork, suffocate the forms that need to be strong in this image. The basic tonal range is pretty sound, but you need to establish a solid foundation in form before adding in the right amount of detail:
In the paintover at right, I've reduced the mountain forms to many more nearly-flat tone and hue patches, much more distinct areas of light and shadow, that carve the forms into a more naturalistic mountainscape. Most of it is based on the tonal work in the original, just simplified and strengthened to lay a solid form foundation, then some important details were added back in/recovered, enough to establish scale and accentuate the form but not swamp it. Same is true for the creature, where I've reinforced the forms and muted the detail.
Detail is like seasoning in a recipe -- too much and the soup is ruined, just enough and it's bon appetite!
Your composition leaves a great hole in the viewer's expectations. Jamming the creature into the corner leaves the eye nowhere to go but there, and the creature's apparent eyeline implies attention to something that is left completely ambiguous. Note how adding just a hint of a goal for the creature ties the image space together in a more satisfactory manner. This may be completely irrelevant in terms of your story, but it illustrates the compositional issues.
You've used some hint of atmospheric perspective, but keep in mind that not only value and detail level change with distance, but also saturation. And try not to use pure whites (as in your original sky) -- this may be an artifact of the photography, though, as a Levels tweak in P-shop shows some detail in that cloud patch. In any case, make sure that the strongest high values are not confined to fairly minor areas like BG sky -- I put a few matching highlights on the peak to bring things back into balance.
Last edited by masque; February 14th, 2009 at 11:04 AM.
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"In the end, Razputin, aren't we all just dogs playing poker?"
-- Edgar Teglee
Some solid Crits there, thanks Masque!
I will look into working on the suggestions. Its much harder with acrylic (or at least it feels it) in controlling all the different considerations, such as: hue, value, vibrancy. I could be jumping to detail far too early. I have watched tons of videos by artists where they block in first, so why am I not doing it! Well here goes...