Okay, before I continue refining and start going into fur detail and such, I was wondering if maybe I could get some critique on this?
Do the colors and light look convincing? Does the snow storm look alright?
What about the background? Should I edit it further or leave it barebones?
This is already too detailed / refined to help with all the structural and anatomy issues, I am afraid. Next time, spend more time planning, less time painting: sketches are much cheaper than having to backtrack from a nearly finished painting when you discover that the pose is impossible.
The two main issues in this picture are the lack of clear lighting and the flat "cutout" feel of the tiger. (The human is also a "cutout" but has less prominence in the composition.) I suggest you spend some time researching tiger poses and building a perspective for this.
The camera is close enough and the tiger is big enough to produce marked perspective distortion and foreshortening at this angle; something that you've apparently tried to ad lib and didn't quite pull off. The whole tiger is guesswork, there is no clear feeling of where the body masses go. So you need to do it the long way and make a formal perspective plot. Then make an anatomy study to make sure that your tiger has visible volume.
In a blizzard, you'll get very pronounced atmospheric haze from the flying snow; a perspective plot will also help with that. It's one of the rare cases when you'll see a marked difference in value between the tiger's nose and tail due to haze. Likewise, the snow, both in the air and on the ground, will produce a very even, obliterating diffuse light; your purple shadows will not happen in reality. There will be hardly any shadows at all, just ambient light occlusion. Light parts of the background will merge into the white haze very quickly; all you'll ever see through it are faint shadows, so your tree trunks would not be visible.
As a minor tip, try to refrain from detailing one part of the picture before it works in general. You've got everything very sketchy, but the human's face is highly detailed. Don't get carried away like that.
And as another minor tip, do research the texture that snow makes when it sticks to fur and clothing and hair.
Which way is the wind blowing and why doesn't if affect the hairs of the kid and tiger? Why does that one birch seem to have leaves (in the upper left corner)? Where is those strong shadows coming from? If the sky is cloudy and there's snow blowing everywhere, I don't think there's enough light to create such strong, blue shadows.
That said, I just realized where I went wrong with the lower quarters. I just have the colors mostly blocked before I start rendering fur, so it should be an easy fix.
As for the cut-out feeling, I'm afraid I'm feeling that too and it's killing me... I'm having a bit of a hard time figuring out how to best convey form within such a low, diffused light setting since I know not a lot of light travels through snowstorms.
I didn't realize the haze was THAT intense though. I'll definitely apply that, hopefully that'll help the human and tiger less flat?
That said, what do you mean by "lack of clear lighting"? Shouldn't light in a snowstorm be extremely diffused?
Also, do you have any tips for expressing form within a low value range?
I'm used to working within a range that allows me to go all the way to black, so yeah... that's part of the trouble I'm having I guess.
I'm definitely gonna research the snow texture. I'll be adding that after properly rendering the fur though.
As for the shadows, I guess I just went further than necessary in trying to express form. All the pictures of tigers in snowy conditions seemed to have that amount of value range, but I could've been wrong. So I should lighten and desaturate them, right?
The primary thing to address is to make sure that all the volumes are in correct relationships. You need a perspective plot for that. Then it's a relatively minor thing to track the muscles and other tricky parts; but your perspective has to be solid. That ought to solve most of the "flatness" problem, too. Build your tiger out of blocks, not out of blobs.
I suggest you post the sketch you've worked the anatomy out on. I can't really tell if the problems were present in the sketch or were a result of losing the sight of the sketch while painting.
"Lack of clear lighting" - I could rephrase it as "you need to get the lighting right for the scene"? If you are painting a daytime blizzard, it has to read as a daytime blizzard.
As for tips for working in narrow range of values - for one, you really need no more than three distinct values to make a picture work. With five, you can do everything, but three is enough with a little ingenuity. You can easily fit three value levels even into a very narrow range. It can even help with the picture's readability.
The bigger problem in a blizzard scene is the lack of directional light. You'll have to rely on other things to suggest the volume: silhouette, overlapping shapes, atmospheric haze, and ambient light occlusion, primarily.
A small point but if they were sitting there for more than a few seconds snow would be accumulating on top of the characters.
I like the mood you have going here. It's charming.
From the look of it now, the tiger's hind legs make no sense to me. I can't figure out the structure there, and the paws seem more like a rabbit's than a tiger's. I also can't imagine the front paw facing upward like that - that's a very human gesture that isn't convincing in a tiger.
My Sketchbook - All are welcome
I kind of liked it. The relationship between the front end of the tiger and the child was working well. The back legs of the tiger weren't working well at all, but I found the rest of the picture charming.
I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
The foreshortening on the tiger's back legs MUST BE OBVIOUS if you don't want it to look like it has midget legs. That means making the knee explicit through overlap and the positioning of the stripes (and eventually value). The stripes have to follow the surface of the leg and be foreshortened in the way that people expect. Otherwise the reference photo may be right but your drawing will look wrong.
Expanded it a bit to the right and worked more on the paws. I ended up completely redoing the hind-quarters and will probably re-do the tail.
What do you guys think?
Well... I think I'm done...
Or, at least I've reached the point where I'm not sure what else to do with it...
I also think this is a charming picture. The tiger has a pronounced human quality in its protectiveness towards the girl which works well for me. And the issues with the back legs arent enough to take away from the overall effect. I also like the snow on the fur and the faded trees in the background. They give a good sense of swirling snow and depth which would be lost if the trees were less visible. The composition could probably have worked better with more space to the right of the tiger but again, it's not enough of a problem to take away from the picture.
I'd say you did a good job with this and the issues people have pointed out can always be stored for use in future pieces. Thanks for sharing this and good luck with the next one.
Hey DDar, thought I'd just do a quick paint over to try and highlight some of the issues that have been pointed out in the thread (figure sometimes it's easier to see when someone paints it in). The tiger body is definitely improved since the first post, with the back legs. I think his neck and head still nee a little tweaking... his neck especially seems very long and his head seems a little too rounded off. I think making his head bigger gives more of a sense of corrected anatomy (though mine is still not too accurate). and I've made his central nose bridge and nose a bit bigger and the padded bits below it that form his mouth a little smaller. I've also pushed his lower mouth area out a bit, as yours has a bit of a feel of having an underbite (sher Khan from jungle book is a great example of good tiger stylisation). I've also added a touch of white to his paws, as this is a feature most tigers have.
Background-wise, your trees were the same colour as your sky, if not a little lighter, which wouldn't really be possible, so i've darkened them down, as well as darkening the edges of the canvas a bit too. On top of that i've gone back in with a very pale grey tinted with a touch of orange (as a colour throw back to the tiger and the character's skin), to suggest some lighting, but it might be you were looking for something a bit more heavy blizzard. I've darkened some areas behind the tiger's paler parts (his left cheek, and the snow on his back and shoulders) to make him pop out (which should help diffuse that flattened feel he had). I've given a bit of shadowing under the tiger, as even in a very diffused lighting, you'd still cast something of a shadow, simply where the light cannot get to the snow.
And as a last point I've extended the canvas a little more on the right hand side as it was still feeling squashed.
Hope that's of some help... if there's anything that you're not sure on, give me a shout, and I'll try to clarify. I actually think the image, despite it's anatomical quirks, is kinda cute, and I like the overall mood and message of it. If I were you, I'd be happy with the message you've conveyed and take the advice to maybe research and work on the initial stages more carefully into your next piece.
Wow that is a fantastic paintover, and the reasoning behind the changes are very clear. I actually learned a bit here and there just from reading that and it is not even my painting.
Wish you popped by my thread..
Hmmmm, I haven't posted in awhile, so just my two cents for what it's worth. First off zephari did a great job with some constructive criticism, really helpful stuff, so that's great to see. As for whether it's done: you had asked if if was done, or stated that you weren't quite sure what to do with it. Here's my only advice, and those who remember me probably already know what's coming....
You as an artist have your own style, and only you can say when or if it's actually done. So it's great to ask for advice, but when it feels done for you, then it's probably done for you. You may change your style over the years, and your technical skill may improve, but ultimately, only you can really decide whether you are truly finished or not. Just remember in a sea of art, this is yours and yours alone. So if you like it, and you feel like you are done...........
That being said,
I like it.