In the Music Shop



  • Hey guys!

    I've been working on this piece over the past few days. I think I've put about 20 hours into it at this point. I'm pretty happy with the overall feel and composition of it, but something about it feels unfinished to me and I'm struggling with figuring out what it is. Any critiques would be great.

    Thanks!

    Music Shop copy.jpg



  • @Renduin one thing that jumps out at me is the blurry banjo on the left. If you were standing behind it and looking forward I don't think that it would be blurry.



  • If you hold up your finger and look at an object beyond it, the finger becomes blurry. That's the idea I was trying to convey. The banjo is hanging on the wall nearer to the viewer and they're looking past it.



  • @Renduin

    I really like the lighting set and atmosphere. The shop, for me, is gorgeus. There are some constructive aspects that must be corrected like the shoulders, the left arm and the left hand fingers. I get the idea of the banjo but it looks a bit odd.

    I really think that, improving a bit your human body drawing, you'll get a very appealing style.

    What is the character looking at? It's not clear. Thinking in similar illustrations I did see before, normally the characters are clearly doing something. Eating a sandwich, reading a magazine, sleeping, thinking, always with very descriptive gestures.

    I think your image will gain interest if the boy handles an instrument like an harmonica and looks at it expressing desire. Then the image will narrate a story...

    Please, excuse my english. :P



  • I agree with Sergio, I would rework the body position
    The perspective of the display he's leaning on seems a bit off as well. it looks seen from up high while the rest of the scene is more at eye level



  • I agree with everything that was said so far (construction of the body, especially the hands, perspective, adding a bit of storytelling...) Another thing I think would improve the whole image is changing some of the violins in the back for other instruments. Right now it is extremely repetitive and I would vary it a bit with instruments of big-medium-small sizes to avoid the "ladder effect".

    I have seen your introduction thread and you have improved tremendously is only 3 years! I hope this forum will help you as much as it is helping me.



  • @NoWayMe said:

    I agree with everything that was said so far (construction of the body, especially the hands, perspective, adding a bit of storytelling...) Another thing I think would improve the whole image is changing some of the violins in the back for other instruments. Right now it is extremely repetitive and I would vary it a bit with instruments of big-medium-small sizes to avoid the "ladder effect".

    I have seen your introduction thread and you have improved tremendously is only 3 years! I hope this forum will help you as much as it is helping me.

    Second these crits.



  • @Renduin I like the feel of the lighting in this piece. What bothers me about the figure is the person has the head of a boy, but the shoulders of a man. Notice the abrupt angle from the neck to the shoulders. Try making this a more sweeping line so the shoulders are less bulky. Also the neck goes straight down from the head to the shoulders. This is a very unnatural posture. Most of the time the neck projects forward. Just observe people in profile. You will almost never see the neck vertical. All that said, you can get this image to feel right and gorgeously rendered, but it will not change the fact that it does not tell the story well. What does this boy see that has him so excited. I think you need to show what has him so excited. As far as the blurred banjo goes, I understand why you did it, but it does not fit the way you rendered the rest of the image. If your boy is the focal point everything that is the same distance behind the boy as the banjo is in front should be blurred as well. Another way to pull focus is to reduce the contrast and details of the objects. You did to with the violins in the window and the display racks in the background. You should treat the banjo the same or treat the violins and racks in the background with a blur. I thing shallow depth of field with heavy broken is effective in photography and film, but less effective in illustration.



  • This is really great feedback guys, thanks! Given that the issues are structural, compositional and narrative, I'm probably going to leave this one as a mile marker rather than trying to fix it, and instead do some more in depth studying of figures, hands, perspective and what not to make my next piece better.

    I think one of the things I realized working on this is that I was too hasty with getting to the rendering. The original concept had a baritone that he was looking at, but I changed my mind once I was already painting. I was thinking that either this could be a two page spread with the baritone on the page opposite (though I didn't draw it this way), or else this could be a setup (the page turner) leading to the reveal of the baritone on the next page. I know this is a thing in comics and manga, but is it typically not done in children's books?

    At any rate, you've given me some valuable areas to focus on and I appreciate it. I'll try to improve for my next piece.


  • administrators

    @Renduin I think you've already received some great ideas. Moving forward I would I would encourage you to make sure you have really good reference for this style. The more academic or "realistic" the style the more necessary it is to shoot good reference with a model lit from the same place as the light you want in your illustration. All of the best realism painters rely on great reference. I love your attitude of chalking this up to a learning experience! :)



  • I know you're moving on but also pay attention to After Thought. Most times people draw the figure first, but draw the background either simultaneously or afterwards. I would suggest making use of layers. Do your background at least 75% complete on a separate layer, and your figure on it's own layer as well. Then you can move them around to what pleases your eye the most.

    Right now I see the banjo's problem isn't that it's blurred as so much as an after thought allowing the full arm to be shown. That's not important, the banjo covering his arm would be more convincing. The objects in the stand are floating with no symmetry, not that it needs it, but one or two objects would have accomplished the same effect, that would say display case. What you have is messy display case, maybe you were going for that, but it detracts from your figure's focus... the same goes for the back of the cello. Feels like an after thought to fill in the corner. A side view of the cello would have told your story better...

    I agree with Sean's advice on the figure, and Will's idea of lighting a model to help with the realism. Anyway just wanted to give you one more thing to consider, good luck with your next step. Peace.



  • I've been a little slow in replying, but I wanted to say thanks to you both.

    Will, I agree, reference would make a world of difference. I've been watching a lot of the SVS videos and some of your Youtube ones lately and the idea of process keeps sticking out to me. The idea of working from the background to the foreground was a new one to me, but I think that'll help a good bit in the next one. In the meantime, I've been doing studies of hands and picked up Andrew Loomis' book to go through.

    Bobby, yeah the banjo was tough. I played around with the size and position a lot and never quite found something that completely worked for me (which should have indicated a flawed concept or execution). Also with the whistles on the counter, I was definitely going for a messy display, but I was also using the lines of the whistles to indicate towards my focal points, namely the boy and the general direction off page which he's looking. I also tried drawing the bass sideways, but the bridge and the strings added too much detail in my opinion which drew the attention towards what was meant simply as a place to rest the eyes.


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