This is actually a belated birthday/christmas gift for a very, very dear friend of mine, and I was hoping to finish it on Christmas, but I've had the flu and strep throat so sickness had prevented me from working on it.
However, now I've hit a brick wall in terms of various issues with anatomy and positioning of the two featured characters in the WIP piece. I originally started out with a reference, but had to end up altering and adjusting the angle for a new pose due to how I drew the angle of the faces, but despite my efforts I still am struggling greatly with the male character's legs. You can ignore the ghost of what use to be the legs of a chair in pink--I mash all my layers together and just paint on top of them each session so it looks very messy.
As for the background, right now those are just some colors I threw on to give a field of color and depth while I painted on the characters (the woman and man in the painting) so it's not even remotely been given any attention. I guess what I'm asking is if I could get some help with the characters (the pose, which I worked from a reference picture but ended up having to freehand and improvise) and any tips on help with shading of the clothing.
Any other help is appreciated, but I'd like to get them completed and out of the way before working on the background! Here's the reference and some attached WIP pictures for help.
Well actually scratch that.
Just tell me what I need to do to make this painting work with me lol. Any critique appreciated!
Decided to work on it some more before bed. Primarily satisfied my itching need to lay down a more substantial color palette and atmosphere lol. I didn't like leaving it so bare, so this should give a better idea of the direction I'm heading. Accidental discovery that red carpeting looks better instead of the wood paneling I was going to painstakingly do. Also did some necessary cropping and sized them down to make the space larger.
Details and help for the background would help. I have no grasp of perspective or depth of field when it comes to backgrounds, so it looks atrocious I'm sure, though I don't know how to fix it...
What hasn't been worked on: his legs, his ear, her right arm, the cape, and clothing ornaments/details
Here's a full-view and a close-up since I know it's hard to see their faces in the full painting.
I like the nice dreamy, washed out atmosphere you're going for here, I think it's working pretty well so far. It's a little unclear to me exactly what your goal is for the image though. Is it purely about the two lovers, or is it a bigger picture about where they are and all? If the focus is just on the two people, I'd say that a tighter crop on them would be better for the image so we can more easily see their expressions and details (basically more like the "closeup" you did for us).
Couple things I see:
- I wish their faces could be a little more clear and discernible. Not sure how you should go about this (while still going along with the overall mood). Maybe some darker lines or shadows, or darkening the background wall that is showing between their faces?
- I suggest redrawing the guy's hand so it looks more like the ref pic, as now it sort of looks like his fingers are getting all up in her crevices back there. (Unless you're going for porn action??)
- His crown looks like it's going back too far, as if he has a giant cranium.
- Oh I just looked and realized that the girl has a fur collar there under the hair. I suggest doing something to separate hair and fur better, like making the fur some non-white color.
- The lighting on the couple is a bit unclear. It looks like the main light is behind them, a bit to the side, with lots of bounce light happening in the room. So for example, I would expect his chest to be in shadow and the shading on his arm to be more or less the reverse of how you have it now (shadow on the upper side with bounce light hitting underneath). Or is there another light right above them? Just try to picture everything more in 3D and figure out exactly how the lights would hit all the objects.
I really like the expression on the characters faces, which look pretty nice so far. It's the rest of them that looks a little confusing. Most of it is a result from copying stuff from your reference while changing other things. It's good to use reference for parts of your picture, but without the right foundations you end up editing, like you are now, and not knowing where to go.
So first you should know where these guys are sitting, more precicesly: Define where your horizon is.
Then you should be aware of what's under all the fabric, hair and fur. The head of the girl is not correctly attached to her body, and if I'm not mistaken her head looks a little big as well.
I made some quick redlines to illustrate what I can't explain that well.
(Attention NSFW XD )
I'd really suggest to figure all that stuff out in the beginning. It saves you a lot of time and work.
Hope I could help!
I do like the interaction between the couple, but the lighting source needs to be defined before you go any further. At the moment the light would put the faces in shadow, maybe a secondary light source would help.
wooblood: The light effect on the face was actually a spur-of-the-moment thing while I was adding light effects around her back and hair, so it can easily be taken off or edited to tone down and make them more definable. I didn't know which looked better, so I'll have to go back and edit that. As for the actual picture, I really didn't have anything other than maybe a romantically-lit (I usually say that in terms of glowy, warm light effects in shadowed places--gives it the "dreamy" look) throne room. The style theme is supposed to be sort of rustic almost Viking-like kingdom, but I wanted to try and keep the focus on the couple rather than an elaborate background, so I'm a bit stuck. When I cropped it closer earlier there was too much space sitting behind them and I don't know what to do at this point. I'd honestly be willing to just redo the background altogether if I could get a decent suggestion or direction to go in. And I will change the fur haha. I just realized that too; originally it was brown, and I was debating on whether going back to that or not. Probably a better idea. As for the lighting, it's probably safe to say I am not sure because while I'm trying to give the ambience of this big, cold looking throne room lit up by afternoon light from the windows, it doesn't look like that at all and I don't want to fix up the background and have it not match up perspectives with the couple. You wouldn't have any open suggestions for any possible fixes for the background would you? In your opinion what would work for this idea I'm trying to stab at?
P.S. Oh man haha I totally didn't intend for his hand to look so incredibly invasive there sorry XD I actually turned the entire picture at an angle and referenced my own hand trying to mimic a more cupping action, as if he's holding her up rather than trying to sneak a feel. The rough sketch I had for his hand before looked worse, so that was the lesser of the evils. I probably will have to redraw the hand, as much as I hate hands.
AvisNocturna: I actually realized that after I'd done a rough layout of colors on the couple how awkward her head looked in comparison to the body, and that's when I started modifying the body to try and fit it better. When I went back and redlined over it (much like the one I did for the male in my first post) I realized her head is practically detached from the figure lol, and I hate that because her face turned out well so I've been trying to Liquify adjust her body to suit the face position and failed. I think I'm just incredibly afraid of having to redo the face haha. I spent way too much time on it. Thank you so so much for the sketch you did for me! It does actually help a lot in terms of positioning; maybe I can still save some of the pose I already painted lol.
Bah, I feel like I'm just making it worse so I'm going to take a break for the night and come back to this tomorrow.
Things I (attempted) to fix/address: Repositioned and lowered/shrunk down her head a bit to fit the figure, Edited the crown position/size, changed fur color to brown, tried to adjust the hand to look less like it was hiding in her crevice (lol) and more like it was supporting her, redrew and sketched in a basic framework for his legs (for the millionth time) until I have the patience to try and detail them, added a glaze of shadowy blue on the opposite side of the light effect, added another ray of light from behind the figures to make the light shining through gaps between upper torsos more realistic, toned down the light between the faces
I basically butchered most of what I had earlier in an attempt to fix it lol. Everything looks sketchier/messier now because of it. Obviously his legs have no hilight/light effect work done on them. I'm just going to leave it alone for now, because the background is still upsetting me greatly and I'm very reluctant to trash it altogether because I like where the light source is sitting, but the background is just all sorts of retarded at this point. Aughh help lol. He's still sitting on air too rofl. I can't draw chairs worth a flip.
I feel like the only thing I managed to accomplish here was making it look more cartoony and unrealistic and too contrasted, while I'm trying to go for a very soft, vintage-feel.
I think I realized the unecessary space was throwing off the focus of the painting. Necessary crop--what do you guys think?
If it looks good enough, I'll just make this crop larger and start painting details over it to get rid of any jpeg noise.
Cropping it looks much better. Usually cropping is an easy way out, and a lesson lost- but for what you're up to, I'd say 'Keep your Crop'. I really, really like it.
So I went ahead and finished the painting to the best of my ability since I didn't want to prolong my friend's wait any longer.
I added a lot lot more costume details, using mostly viking costumes and influence for that bit. The crop helped a lot, allowed me to use some artistic license and turn the precarious invisible chair they were sitting on into a footrest at the end of a bed. I think the major mistake I made was rushing too quickly into it without laying out an organized, solid base. Because I didn't have my anatomy sound from the get-go, it pretty much threw off this whole painting and made it less than satisfactory than what I'd wanted originally, but I'll do my best to learn.
I still feel they don't merge enough with the background (possible because of the overlays I did that make them contrast almost too much) but I'm pretty done working with this painting haha. I'll just try a different approach next time x_x