Any landscapes I do tend to turn out too... pastel-ish. I am having trouble pushing my values past a certain point. :/ General ideas on my weak areas would help immensely also. I am aware that the wave has a different light source than the rest of the picture, and is very saturated- it was intentional. I didn't quite achieve what I wanted with it, however. My pictures always look kind of soft, too... I am guessing it is something to do with my painting process. Is there a fix that will help me avoid going in that direction next time? Thank you for your time and consideration.
Last edited by Aphelps; November 27th, 2012 at 11:03 PM. Reason: Wrong version uploaded...
To help push the values, if the background is on a different layer, I would reduce the opacity/lighten it. If it's not, you can lasso out the mermaid and the foreground rock and select inverse and then fade it out that way.
The actual mermaid herself is painted very well, the left hand needs to be redone though.
her hand is problematic. the fingers should appear longer, and slightly bend in line with the surface of the rock. right now they look as if they were amputed. the hand anatomy is totally off. the parts that remain underwater should be darker in color and properly reflect the refraction of the elements such as her tail and the portion of the rock that remains below water level. the water surface in the shallow part too needs a more pronounced reflection and foam. right now, the bubbles are the only things that suggest the water in the shallow area. plus, the height of the clashing wave is a sign that there is weather out there, thus the ocean requires more turbulence and foams in distant areas.
(artist is Victor Nizovtsev)
there's lots of vibrancy in the colours and even though they colours themselves might not be exactly saturated, they look a lot more saturated due the balance of the colours, without becoming an eyesore. Like the place where the red light on the mermaid's chest is accentuated by the darker green background, and the yellow light on the tail is accentuated by the blue shadow.
You might also do well to study the how the details have been applied in the images, where the scales actually don't have all of them painted, they are suggested to be in places where they haven't been fully painted.
In your image you have drawn all the scales with cartoony outlines, which mainly flattens the form and creates this clump of detail that's not applied anywhere else.
These comments are all very helpful! Thank you! I was definitely having trouble with the hand.
TinyBird-- Yep, I meant in relative to the rest of the painting it was saturated. It being grey is what I am talking about when I said "pastel" and you worded it much better. I am kind of locked into choosing these colors that look very greyish. Is there a way to force myself to pick a more saturated palette? I want to use brighter colors, but every time I apply them it looks weird. Is there some way to like... kick start the process? I tried something different in coloring from greyscale on this one, so the values were better. That shouldn't be effecting the colors much in itself much, right?
I'm not an expert on colour theory, far from it but in this instance I think the problem is less the saturation of the colours and more the fact that the whole picture is nearly all pale and cool colours. If you look at the pictures Tinybird showed they use both cool and warm colours, red hair against green water for example. Even a low saturated orange will look bright when against a blue background because they are opposites. I'm sure there is a more technical way of saying this but I hope that gives you a basic idea. One way I've been taught is to pick your basic palette before hand, choose what your main colours and spot colours will be. Spot colours are normally a high contrast colour used on focal areas. Hope this helps.
I would say for a woman that her hips are too small compared to the width of her shoulders. Her arms especially look a bit stiff, muscles could be brought out just slightly on her right arm and the right hand side of her rib cage needs to come out further. Well done for taking up a challenge like this, water is horrible to paint but you will have learnt a lot about it from this I hope Keep at it!
To add what others have already pointed out, she has a case of porn-boob. I'm not saying petite women can't have big breasts, but those just read as augmented to me, not natural, which looks rather weird on a mermaid. There are a lot of people who do this, including professionals, and I'm sure I've done it too on occasion, it's a trope that is sadly easy to fall into without even thinking about it, but have a look at tinybirds examples as a comparison.
Her anatomy overall is pretty undefined, her torso seems to have been stretched out and just looks odd.
You've disregarded her underlying bone structure. There's no way hips and rib cage can be that far apart.
Also, her hair looks very well kempt for someone who's basically straight out of the ocean. I guess it might be a stylistic choice, but it does bother me. I'd like to see it much more wet looking and tangled.
I think I have made a mistake in the tapering of the waist. The image lines up with the reference image completely, except for the tapering of the waist. I guess you can't just chop off parts of a girl's sides and call it done. Learning experience. I do want to ask though. I am trying to move towards semi-realistic comic book style. Does it normally follow the same proportions? To me it looks like it doesn't. I don't know if I am just maybe doing it wrong.
Also, the reference image I used-- her hand was in the position I drew it in. I was having lots of trouble with it, and I definitely could have drawn it better in a different position. Is it better to go with the ref, at all costs? When is it time to throw out reality and go with something different? Does it matter so long as it looks better?
Thank you all for the help!
Try making the colors more coherent. I would color the shadows similarly all over the image, maybe with blue as the blue light from the sky would realistically reflect down that way. Just like that reference picture by jamsession shows.
You could make it a lot more interesting by having her hair do interesting things in the wind.
If her hand was in the position you drew it in in the reference then you need to follow the reference better. Because right now it just isn't working. I'm not saying that the way I drew it is the way to do it. I just did what seemed natural to me.Also, the reference image I used-- her hand was in the position I drew it in. I was having lots of trouble with it, and I definitely could have drawn it better in a different position. Is it better to go with the ref, at all costs? When is it time to throw out reality and go with something different? Does it matter so long as it looks better?
I'd say learn to get your basic proportions right first, then worry about stylizing. Good stylizing is all about knowing your anatomy and proportions.I am trying to move towards semi-realistic comic book style. Does it normally follow the same proportions? To me it looks like it doesn't. I don't know if I am just maybe doing it wrong.