The thing that I think it needs is some middle-ground. There is a little bit of green to one side, but not enough separating the mountains from the foreground image. That might possibly be what's bothering you is that lack of depth.
That's only one guy's opinion, though.
Hope you find something useful out of that.
I agree with the above regarding depth. Once you establish a better distinction between fore, middle, and background the composition will start to make more sense. Right now the mountains blend into the sky and make your focal point seem really isolated and small.
I'm starting to think the eyes are a bit too big, I'll decrease it a bit on next update.
Cutie Mark I'll paint in last, once I like everything else about the painting.
Too much sharp detail in the background makes the simple character design look rather out of place. Simplify the hell out of everything.
Hair needs more work. Research how anisotropic highlights and shadows work on hair, especially curled hair like this.
The character needs a clear falling shadow. It also needs some reflected light from the ground.
I see the mountains dividing the picture, leaving almost a third of it totally empty (the sky). Since the mountains arent quite that full of contrast or different to the sky, it kinda feels like the entire background is rather empty, which of course seems boring.
I'd also try and make the flora more simple to fit Rarity in drawing style.
Otherwise you have her looking really simplistic without much of detail and the bushes and flowers around her outshine her because they're much more detailed.
I have a revised the background. I think with this new composition the contrast should be more balanced and the focus will be directed more to Rarity now so I wont have to kill the detail on the flowers for competing attention. I made the eyes smaller.
I havent worked in arenhaus' shiny hair yet.
The flowers have indeed become less "busy" with a more unified shape. Try to play with it even more: tone the detail down and emphasize the overall geometric form with lighting.
The rest of the background, however... it's become ten times busier with all the little details and textures. Keep it simple!
I think you need to increase the saturation to make this piece more vibrant and over the top happy to suit the MLP theme.
I'm really not sure what to make of "My Little Pony" meets conceptart.org. This is so much of an oxymoron. The two would really seem to rule each other out, to me.
I mean, either you go the conceptart way of realistic, borderline gritty, painterly and lighting-intense... or you have... well... my Little Pony.
It might be a fun idea to do a realistic and borderline gritty MLP, but I think any sort of "Pimp my Pony" the conceptart way is almost bound to fall short on either the CA or the pony scale.
I think you might be dealing with a more fundamental problem than the quality of the backdrop or the characters quality of hair. But first the little things.
Just for future reference and before you get lost and lost in details of little folds in the stones or the details of a hedge:
Suggestion is king. Edges get lost in shadow and in the distance.
The problem that the first 4 posters mentioned about the depth or the thing with too much focus on the background was that you had too many sharp edges and contrasty details in it.
Second, watch out for tangents:
There's a waterfall growing out of the characters head.
The point is: watch out when something flattens the picture by giving an involuntary connection between foreground and background. Like the waterfall which seems to be strangley connected to the hair. Then there is one mistakes that's a mix of example 4 and 9: Two objects that are not on the same plane touch each other.
There are two roses from the background which form a tangent with her hair (one is next to her tail, another one next to her mane). Shove them a bit to the side or let the hair overlap the roses.
Ok, and the big thing:
You've painted yourself in a corner by rendering the pony, the stones the bushes really detailed but didn't give a good thought about the big thing, the composition of the picture. It's a really dull composition and I have difficulties thinking about something that could loose it up without overpainting most of the elements or changing the pony.
It's a centre composition together with flat-on perspective and no elements to really give a lot of balance. Symmetrie is one of the most boring compositional choices. There is no small thing you could add or change to break this.
If you want to think more about design and composition: it is really fun if you know what you are doing, a bit like playing chess.
Here is an overview of John K articles on the topic of composition, they are worth a lot and could keep you busy for the next weeks:
Two really good and awesome example links from the collection above:
Another blog by Mark Kennedy:
You'll find lots of recommendations for other ressources about compositions on these links. Good luck, hope you get a fresh idea or two!
Edit: Hey GoldenSeven, are you saying that the choice of artistic style isn't compatible with the subject of ponies?
What exactly do you mean? The realistic interpretation, the strangeness that comes with bringing a 2D figure into 3D space?
If you meant to say this, here is one well-rendered pony picture:
And just to show that the style choice and the subject choice can be amazingly different,
here is another one which is awesome but ..eh.. strange:
I'm sorry if you clicked this link, you will most likley die within the next seven days :C.
Last edited by Kiera; April 1st, 2012 at 07:28 AM.
Concept art is art used in conceptual development of bigger works of art, usually movies or games; but this forum covers a lot of general representative art, simply because in concept art that is a requirement (unlike in some other art scenes).
And, guess what, any TV show starts out as concept art. Including the MLP. Before it was an unexpected cult show, it was a folder with pencil sketches, I am sure; and those were concept art, even though I am sure they were not quite gritty and decidedly not realistic.
Other than that, I think that experimenting with existing designs from TV or movies or literature has enough merit as representational art. Especially if it tries to take the design and give it a different finish, or rework it in other ways.
thanks for the links man! I'll check them out when i have the time. I've always put off composition studies by thinking I could just learn composition without focusing on it directly, I'll have to change that up in the future.
It's nice that you point out the composition because that was my primary concern and my first priority to get fixed. I've already worked in some hard edges up the front to kind of give the illusion of space but the edge thing I think I'll leave to a bit later until I've figured out the composition.
However, I don't think the picture is that atrocious, I believe that I can still finish this painting and get a nice looking picture. I'll try adjusting the composition a bit and proposing a newer comp. soon. ( Not sure if relevant but the composition I'm trying to go for is somewhat loosely based off of some of Frazetta's stuff. )
i'm pretty sure we're allowed to paint non conceptart stuff here. I am however, not going for realistic and gritty. I'm trying to achieve a look which is "pretty".
Last edited by Saurabhinator; April 2nd, 2012 at 01:21 AM.
Me neitherHowever, I don't think the picture is that atrocious
I'm curious what you'll come up with
Yep, this is getting better with every update.
I think you're trying to put too much detail into the background, and the waterfall is creating a tangent with the mane. All in all I think this piece is quite lovely and I like how soft the pony feels, but everything else feels really hard and edgy. This does help to make the pony stand out more, but you shouldn't overdo it or it might overwhelm the character.
Ok I'm kind of liking this composition I think I can work on clean up now /rendering/detailing.
If the backdrop gets too distracting I can just put in a layer later and paintbucket over the top, but I plan to push the contrast of the foreground up a bit higher so I dont think it should really become too much of a problem.
I think this would work better if you gave the unicorn a snarl and a tear drop tattoo? no? never mind. Anyway im not sure the lighting is as cosistant as it could be. the lighting in the foreground is lighting the unicorn and leaves from front/side top left. you also need to put a cast shadow from that horn. However the light rocks in the background seems to be back lit. also the waterfall in the shade on the left would not be recieving that amount of light. The rendering on the unicorn is quite cool, but for me the outline sort of ruins the idea of form.